Dr. Walter Greason: […] “Hip hop—the only social force to create an equitable, participatory, democratic, and global system of politics and economics over the last three decades—will vanish into history under a fascist backlash, consume the soul of our generation with consumerism, or evolve to inspire greater intelligence, creativity, and faith among ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren.
The crossroads we face is no less than the choice about the direction of our species and our planet. This essay hopes to open a conversation about the tools of culture hip hop may provide for our uplift and empowerment.” […]
Tantek Çelik, Chief Technologist at Technorati, is shooting to enable the independents of the world. Building blocks are built by both experts and non-experts to advance the enablement of independents.
- Blogger did this in new ways. Publishing content on your own site and made extremely easily.
- Creative Commons is a building block as well, but in legal terms to free up content.
- Wiki’s enable the independent, because no one needs to manage the edits.
- IRC allows anyone to download a client and run it without signing up for the service. And it’s coded in a smart, lightweight manner.
- Tagging has been established to remove the constraints of categories and to tap into an aggregate of perspectives
- SuperHappyDevHouse was a social building block, where developers could code next to one another (with beer) and get instant feedback.
- foo camp was Tim O’Reilly’s way to bring people together and allow them to figure out how to spend three days collaborating within an empty program grid, with just whiteboards, power hooks and a wireless network; a completely decentralized social building block.
Tantek created the idea of barcamp out of his experience with foo camp; why not have it on the same day as foo camp? They registered the domain 6 days before the event and reverse engineered the requirements to run it from the foo camp Wiki.
We’re now watching a friggin’ music video barcamp rehash. This should lead to a point (because the video is a bit over the top)… So people around the world jumped on the idea of barcamp. The barcamp Wiki led to replication and building; Building blocks.
The challenge is not only creating building block for ourselves, or friends, or community… but the people who are on the other side of the digital divide. Tantek’s position is that we are the privileged, so how do we provide building blocks for others who are not.
End live-blog (well, pseudo live… the WiFi was down).
Sure… to a degree. This is all good within our sphere of reality. But Wiki’s and tagging and foo camps mean nothing to people stuck in the real; struggling to get by to pay the rent, put food on the table, pay for their children’s education. Tantek’s challenge still applies, but how?
In the Q&A, I asked him how we can apply this concept to the digital divide and people operating outside the context of content creation — people who are stuck in a service based economy. A fair question? Not really, but it opened up the conversation a bit. Tantek feels that creating building blocks saves people time, and time is money and freedom has a cost. Very true, but the question remains.
Disclaimer: This is live blogging; all quotes are paraphrases.
I stumbled across the no one’s listening podcast site and their interview with Noam Chomsky yesterday. The interview was entitled, Fake News; a title fitting his perspective on the American media. I have to admit though, after reading most of Noam’s work from the 80’s and 90’s, it was good to hear that he’s optimistic about the future.
The following is a transcript of part of the interview:
Noam: The effect [of the media] on the public isn’t very much studied, but to the extent as it has been, it seems that among the more educated sectors, the indoctrination works more effectively. Among the less educated sectors, the people are more skeptical and cynical.
Irene: Right… so what can we do because now I’m depressed. [nervous laughter]
Noam: I think it’s a very optimistic future, frankly.
Irene: Really? You wrote 90 books…
Noam: Look, very much so. There’s something we know about this country more than any other: we know a lot about public opinion. It’s studied very intensively.
Irene: That it’s fickle?
Noam: But it’s very rarely reported. You can find them, it’s an open society, you can find them. What they show is very remarkable. What they show first of all is that both political parties and the media are far to the right of the general population, on a whole host of issues. And the population is just, you know, disorganized, atomized, and so on. This country ought to be an organizers paradise. And the, that’s why the media and the campaigns keep away from issues. They know that on issues they’re going to lose people.
So therefore you have to portray George Bush as a, look he’s a pampered kid who came from a rich family, went to prep school, an elite university and you have to present him as an ordinary guy, you know, who makes grammatical errors, which I’m sure he’s trained to make, he didn’t talk that way at Yale and a fake Texas twang and he’s off to his ranch to cut brush or something.
That’s like a toothpaste ad. And I think a lot of people know it.
Given the facts about public opinion it means what’s needed is something, you know, not very radical. Let’s become as democratic as say the second largest country in the hemisphere: Brazil. I mean their last election was not between two rich kids who went to the same elite university and joined the same secret society where they’re trained to be members of the upper class and can get into politics cause they have rich families with a lot of connections. I mean people were actually able to vote and elect a president from their own ranks. A man who was a peasant union leader never had a higher education and comes from the population.
They could do it because it’s a functioning democratic society. Tremendous obstacles, you know: repressive state, huge concentration of wealth, much worse obstacles than we have, but they have mass popular movements, they have actual political parties which we don’t have. There’s nothing to stop us from doing that. We have a legacy of freedom which is unparalleled, its been won by struggle over centuries, it was never given, you can use it or you can abandon it.
It’s a choice.
So… I guess the question is who’s ready to begin sacrificing to elicit change?