Tag Archives: Activism

To serve and protect

This is what you get when you give a lot of power to a small minority (and only to a small minority) of people in order to “protect” you.

We had to wait again, with the handcuffs on, in the bus outside the prison for about one and a half hours. One protester was begging the police over and over to be allowed to go to the toilet, but was continually ignored or refused. The protester asked if the police wanted him to pee in his pants on the bus floor. In response, two policemen dragged him outside, smashed his head hard against the side of the bus and told him something the rest of us could not hear. After this, the protester was dragged back on to the bus, still in desperate need of the toilet.

Fucking, fucking pigs!

I’m certain all of you will rest better knowing that all those scary pacifists are being practically tortured for your protection. We can’t have the unwashed masses crashing the party of the ruling elite now can we?

Make your avatar a "Hoodie"

Last year during the Greek Riots, there was a government suggestion to somehow punish people who cover their faces during protests, in effect making it unlawful to protect your anonymity. Back then along with another person, I took a symbolic solidarity action by taking a picture of myself as a hoodie but as time passed and the riots abated, the issue was forgotten.

However it seems that the Government has not forgotten their plans and has now proceeded to decree that anyone caught “vandalizing”, acting violently or simply disrupting the public peace while wearing a hoodie or otherwise covering their face characteristics will be further charged with 2-10 years of punishment. You read that right, if you go out to protest and you are deemed to be disruptive to the public peace (who will judge that? The cops of course) while covering your face (or not, Greek cops have no problem accusing you anyway, and what is easier to accuse than “covering the face characteristics”) then you can go to jail for 2 years at least.

Wonderful.

As a reaction to this announcement, Plagal, who initiated the action the last time, brought up this symbolic move of picturing yourself in a hoodie once more and urges everyone to do something similar. The reaction this time has been much more positive and many more people have done the same (there’s a list in the link above) which could possibly be due to the fact that another blogger proposed the same thing independently, only she went one step further and proposed the great idea to switch all our avatars to Hoodies in solidarity.

So here we go:

Hoodie Solidarity

I’ve already updated my twitter and facebook avatars and I urge you to do the same in all the places where you commonly hang out. And of course if you’re a blogger upload one in your blog and explain why you did it.

If you live in Greece I furthermore wholeheartedly suggest you start strolling around the city as a Hoodie, just so that you can show your disdain for this new government clampdown of freedom of expression and the right to anonymity.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

KnowMore

Finally! I just discovered a site, the type of which I was looking for quite a while.

Knowmore is a mediawiki based site who’s aim is to raise awareness of corporate abuse and actions and generally to create more informed consumers who avoid supporting companies with a track record of corruption.

The funny thing is that I was having an idea for the same thing a few months back but looking around the web, I couldn’t find anything relevant. I knew that I couldn’t have been the first to think of this but without any such place I was honestly thinking of starting it myself. Fortunately, I was right. Other had thought of it before me and had created something already that is much, much better than I ever expected.

Not only is KnowMore wiki based and open for edits for everyone, not only does it already have an estabilished community but it also has a great firefox extension that will inform you of company abuses when you visit their website, when you see their result in google or when you are about to buy their product on online shops (currently amazon only)

It is actually through their extension that I discovered Knowmore as I was looking for more kewl plugins to add to my wonderful, wonderful browser. I am actually surprised that not more people are talking about it. I mean, I just checked and it seems that there are 0 blogs linking to it!

Anyway, I’m very excited to have found this resource. It was desperately needed in this day & age where croynism and corruption run rampart. Did you know for example, that Coca Cola has problems in pretty much all areas of concern? Worker Rights, Croynism, Environment, you name it.

So, to cut this short, at the very least, just go and install the extension on your browser and then forget about it. You’ll only get informed when there is something wrong and then you at least have the chance to avoid it. If you have information on a company OTOH, just head over there and put it in and help the rest of us know.

European Copyrights

European Copyrights for works created 50 years ago are about to expire and a handful of major record labels are lobbying heavily for their extension in order to be aligned with US copyrights and in a sense make our European version of the Mickey Mouse protection act.

As expected, the only activist group that cares for our digital rights, the EFF, is starting a petition to lobby the European Commission (and other relevant groups) to block this extension that is set to rob us of our cultural heritage for the benefit of a bunch of greedy corporations.

You should sign.

Even if you’re not EU Citizen.

Like, now!

And since I’m on this subject let me just state my personal opinion (This is a blog after all).

Copyrights represent a deal, or a promise if you want, between the artist and the goverment. The artist puts some effort in creating something of “artistic value”[1] and the goverment provides him with a limited protection so that he can capitulate on his work. This protection is a form of monopoly that is supposed to spur creativity by giving artists an incentive to create more work. It is not supposed to be a welfare system, as it has ended up today where the grandchildren of famous artists are earning money from the cultural work of their forefathers (How many of you keep getting paid for work you did 50 years ago?). This is not only bad for our culture, but it is counter to the spirit of copyrights.

Not only that, but extending copyrights so much is economically unsound as far too many researches have shown.

Furthermore, if we are to treat Copyrights as “Intellectual property“, shouldn’t the owner have to pay taxes like all of us? Here’s an alternative off the top of my head:

Have automatic copyrights last for 5 years after the day of publication and after that the author has to a fee proportionate to the number of years passed since initial publication in order to keep them from passing to the public domain. This way, the fee would be modest (but significant enough) initially but would grow steeper as the time passed. Thus, the economically viable works could be retained (while also paying the appropriate tax) while the rest would pass to the public domain for the benefit of everyone.

I personally don’t agree that copyrights should last more than 10 years (more than enough to earn from the effort you invested) and only for artistic work; but the previous suggestion is, at least, a better alternative than what we have now.

The problem you see, is not strictly Mickey Mouse or other known works. It’s that the copyright holder tends to possess copyrights to non-economically viable works. He does not release them because, hey, why should he? And he doesn’t publish them because they won’t make any money. This leads to our loss as we cannot anymore share, modify and enjoy our own culture.

PS: Take a few mins to FSD or Digg this to help raise awareness.

Footnotes
  1. This idea of course excludes absurd things like threatening people posting Cease & Desist letters online from being threatened with copyrights in order to silence them.