community organizing

SWEDISH SCIENTISTS BUILD ARTIFICIAL NEURONS ABLE TO COMMUNICATE WITH ORGANIC NEURONS


Scientists at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have built a fully functional neuron by using organic bioelectronics. This artificial neuron contain no “living” parts, but is capable of mimicking the function of a human nerve cell and communicate in the same way as our own neurons do.

A Note on Call-Out Culture

“Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and language use by others. People can be called out for statements and actions that are sexist, racist, ableist, and the list goes on. Because call-outs tend to be public, they can enable a particularly armchair and academic brand of activism: one in which the act of calling out is seen as an end in itself.

What makes call-out culture so toxic is not necessarily its frequency so much as the nature and performance of the call-out itself. Especially in online venues like Twitter and Facebook, calling someone out isn’t just a private interaction between two individuals: it’s a public performance where people can demonstrate their wit or how pure their politics are. Indeed, sometimes it can feel like the performance itself is more significant than the content of the call-out. This is why “calling in” has been proposed as an alternative to calling out: calling in means speaking privately with an individual who has done some wrong, in order to address the behaviour without making a spectacle of the address itself.

In the context of call-out culture, it is easy to forget that the individual we are calling out is a human being, and that different human beings in different social locations will be receptive to different strategies for learning and growing. For instance, most call-outs I have witnessed immediately render anyone who has committed a perceived wrong as an outsider to the community. One action becomes a reason to pass judgment on someone’s entire being, as if there is no difference between a community member or friend and a random stranger walking down the street (who is of course also someone’s friend). Call-out culture can end up mirroring what the prison industrial complex teaches us about crime and punishment: to banish and dispose of individuals rather than to engage with them as people with complicated stories and histories.”

Read More Here

[Headline image: The photograph shows a person in profile, with dark brown hair in a ponytail, working at a laptop computer.]

And where are the sober spaces? We often talk about “building safer spaces”, and yet our fundraisers are not safe for people that have a current or past history with addiction. They are not safe for people that have experienced abuse because of alcohol/drug dependent partners or family members. And they are definitely not safe for everyone if there is a possibility of police interference. Consent violations also occur more often in non-sober spaces. Don’t we want to ensure the safety of event participants after the event has ended? Including alcohol limits who can attend, what conversations can occur, and who wants to organize. These events usually end with no advancement of our movements, and do not build long lasting, genuine connections.

I am interested in building and sustaining more sober spaces, bridging intergenerational gaps (especially in the queer community), and being accessible to ALL peoples, not just college kids. I am tired of people throwing around the word “community”, when what we really mean is our close group of (amazing and supportive) friends and acquaintances.

While looking for new supplies, I found a range of cheaper alternatives for popular stationery.

Moleskine Planners/Notebooks - Ecosystem Recycled Paper Customised 
                                                      - Muji notebooks
                                                      - “Willow Stories” Decorated Notebooks
                                                      -  B5 Notebooks 
                                                      - Showroom Planner

Staedtler/Stabilo Pens - Paper Mate Retractable Ballpoint Pens
                                    - Paper Mate Ink Joy Pens
                                    - Star Diamond Coloured Gel Pen
                                    - Momoi Coloured Pen Set
                                    - Muji 0.5 Gel Ink Pen Set

Macbook Laptops/Ultrabooks  - ASUS ZENBOOK UX305 
                                                     - Aspire S7
                                                     - Dell XPS 13
                                                     - Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus
                                                     - Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Stabilo HighlightersZebra Highlighter Mildliner
                                - “Cutesy Cutesy” Highligher Pen
                                - Class 302 Star Highlighter
                                - Bic Brite Liner Fluorescent Highlighter
                                - Papermate Highlighter Chisel Tip Fluorescent Colours

Feel free to add on if you have more alternatives/ideas

Families deserve homes more than banks do

(Vaya aqui para este cuenta en español)

Hi folks:

I’m part of a community organizing group here in Chicago called Communities United Against Foreclosure and Eviction (CUAFE).  We assert that housing is a human right, and are working for a world where housing is a resource that belong not to banks or real estate developers, but to communities.  We also strive towards this goal mainly through direct action.  Sometimes this means protesting at a bank, or holding an educational workshop for tenants and homeowners, but it also means liberating a house that a bank is strategically keeping empty for its own profit and using it for its intended purpose: housing families.  What a radical concept, right?! In 2012, one of the families involved in CUAFE moved into an empty house that the bank that legally owns it had foreclosed on.  This is a multigenerational Latino family who are invested in their community and give back in so many ways, from throwing block parties to hosting community organizing meetings in the living room to the community garden installed in the back yard last year.  What would otherwise be an abandoned house is a warm, welcoming home.  Unfortunately, the bank took legal action and they are being evicted. We’re not giving up without a fight, though.  The family and allies of the house intend to use their eviction, which is scheduled for early February, as an opportunity for peaceful resistance to the injustice of a system that prioritizes corporate profit over the need for stable housing.  This is one situation in one city, but it’s part of a nationwide movement that deserves to grow and flourish.  The neighborhood they live in, Rogers Park, is one of the most diverse in the city.  As a former resident, I can attest to its beauty and uniqueness. Chicago would be losing something really special if it was overtaken by gentrification.   How you can help: - As is often the case with political resistance, we are anticipating the need for legal support, which comes at a price.  Please consider donating to our legal fund for this action. We are a grassroots, volunteer-run organization. Except for the small processing fee for GoFundMe, your entire donation will go to support the defense of this house.  There is also the option for you to pledge an amount that we will only ask you donate if there is an immediate need, such as bail money for an arrest. - Follow Communities United Against Foreclosure and Eviction on Facebook, especially if you’re interested in participating in actions to defend this home, as well as other housing rights actions in the Chicagoland area. - Signal boost this story.  Signal boost this idea.  Think about how housing rights pertain to the issues and populations that you’re most passionate about.  Think about what it would look like it there was a family in every neighborhood who liberated an empty, bank-owned home in defiance of the injustices of capitalism.  Learn about how you can help cultivate your local housing rights movement. 
Obama administration wants to restructure neighborhoods that are too wealthy and white

Well, if this isn’t just the natural end result of putting a community organizer in the White House, I don’t know what is.  President Obama  literally wants to re-organize your neighborhood, whether you like it or not. 

from the Hill:

The Obama administration is moving forward with regulations designed to help diversify America’s wealthier neighborhoods, drawing fire from critics who decry the proposal as executive overreach in search of an “unrealistic utopia.”

A final Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rule due out this month is aimed at ending decades of deep-rooted segregation around the country.

The regulations would use grant money as an incentive for communities to build affordable housing in more affluent areas while also taking steps to upgrade poorer areas with better schools, parks, libraries, grocery stores and transportation routes as part of a gentrification of those communities.
“HUD is working with communities across the country to fulfill the promise of equal opportunity for all,” a HUD spokeswoman said. “The proposed policy seeks to break down barriers to access to opportunity in communities supported by HUD funds.”

It’s a tough sell for some conservatives. Among them is Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), who argued that the administration “shouldn’t be holding hostage grant monies aimed at community improvement based on its unrealistic utopian ideas of what every community should resemble.”

“American citizens and communities should be free to choose where they would like to live and not be subject to federal neighborhood engineering at the behest of an overreaching federal government,” said Gosar, who is leading an effort in the House to block the regulations.

Civil rights advocates, meanwhile, are praising the plan, arguing that it is needed to break through decades-old barriers that keep poor and minority families trapped in hardscrabble neighborhoods.

“We have a history of putting affordable housing in poor communities,” said Debby Goldberg, vice president at the National Fair Housing Alliance.

HUD says it is obligated to take the action under the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which prohibited direct and intentional housing discrimination, such as a real estate agent not showing a home in a wealthy neighborhood to a black family or a bank not providing a loan based on someone’s race.

The agency is also looking to root out more subtle forms of discrimination that take shape in local government policies that unintentionally harm minority communities, known as “disparate impact.”

read the rest

This is nothing more than a massive social engineering project, akin to ideas that have failed time and time again in countries like Cuba, China, and Venezuela. It’s failed here in the United States too in places like Decatur, Illinois and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Why? Because poverty can’t be solved with a hand full of cash and a change in your zip code. 

So, here’s a simple solution for this problem: local governments need to stop taking Federal aid money that comes with strings attached.  It’s that simple. 

This was a nurses’ station in Building 17 at Norristown State Hospital in Pennsylvania.  A singularly strange building, 17 was used by a local firefighting crew as a training building, since its construction allowed it to be set on fire many times and the fires extinguished - the firefighters-in-training would have to find a way into the burning building to search for “survivors” while fighting the flames.  When the building was condemned after this, it was left to rot.  Some time later, a mentally ill man cut himself breaking into the building, and was found dead by exsanguination weeks later.

A unique, limited edition print of this image was auctioned off to benefit sundayassemblyrochester, a secular community organization that aims to do good in the greater Rochester area; open editions up to 20x30" are available here.

2

Feminism is for EVERYONE. Spread this brochure around!

What does feminism mean to you?

Thanks to our amazing community organizing students at CUSSW: Tao-Yee, Estrellita & Mae for designing and creating this brochure :)

Cover picture by @soirart

3

Taken after a fulfilling and amazing “Fat 101″ session with so many people who came to share the space with us. This weekend was so special to all of the coordinators, not only for having a great organizing experience but all of the people who came to the space and often never had thought about fatness in a critical way. We’re so thankful to everyone who came out and to each other for creating a supportive organizing team.

GO TEAM! 

10

Peace, 

My name is Bakari Jones and I’m the Founder & Executive Director of Bois of Baltimore. We’re not a non-profit, we’re a group of local Bois that came together to change our city. With the money we raise we’re going to: secure a physical space to use as our headquarters, start a mentoring program for young Bois (including homeless youth!!), expand to other cities (so far we’ve received requests from Oakland (CA), Jackson (MS), Detroit (MI), and Houston (TX), and oh yea, sustain ourselves WITHOUT money from our oppressors!

We have until 11:59pm (EST) on Tuesday, Saturday April 30, 2013 to raise $20,000 or we have to return all the donations we’ve received thus far (at the time of this post over $7,000).  You don’t have to be queer or a person of color to contribute to our campaign. If you ARE a queer person or a person of color or both you should definitely consider donating $1 or more. If anyone has ever stood up for you I’m asking that you pay it forward today with as little as $1.

<Bois of Baltimore LIFT OFF Campaign Link>

In Germany they first came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was nobody left to speak up. ~Reverend Martin Niemoller

Your reblog would be greatly appreciated. 

Peace & Power,

Bakari

Obama: ISIS is a "manageable problem." We need to "organize the Arab world."

So, how does a community organizer respond to the biggest terrorist threat facing our country?  We need to organize it, of course!

Here’s the video:

He’s not a Commander in Chief.  He is a community organizer, and that’s all he knows how to do.

White House ordering closure of hundreds of PRIVATELY RUN parks

More proof that the Obama administration is simply trying to inflict as much pain via the shutdown as possible.

from PJ Media:

Warren Meyer of Phoenix, AZ, is owner and president of Recreation Resource Management, Inc. RRM employs about 400-500 camp workers and managers across about a dozen states. It is one of a handful of companies that have been managing national parks and campgrounds as tenants for years, through previous government shutdowns including the last one in 1995-1996. Those previous shutdowns never closed any of the parks managed in this way, but the current shutdown threatens closure.

The campgrounds are self-sufficient and receive no federal funding. No government employees staff or manage the parks. The management companies pay the National Park Service out of the funds they generate from operating the thousands of campgrounds. So the reason for the shutdown is puzzling to Meyer.

Today, he sent a letter to both of his senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, asking for help to keep his parks open.

“My company, based in North Phoenix, operates nearly over 100 US Forest Service campgrounds and day use areas under concession contract. Yesterday, as in all past government shutdowns, the Department of Agriculture and US Forest Service confirmed we would stay open during the government shutdown. This makes total sense, since our operations are self-sufficient (we are fully funded by user fees at the gate), we get no federal funds, we employ no government workers on these sites, and we actually pay rent into the Treasury.”

[…]

However, today, we have been told by senior member of the US Forest Service and Department of Agriculture that people “above the department”, which I presume means the White House, plan to order the Forest Service to needlessly and illegally close all private operations. I can only assume their intention is to artificially increase the cost of the shutdown as some sort of political ploy.

The point of the shutdown is to close non-essential operations that require Federal money and manpower to stay open. So why is the White House closing private operations that require no government money to keep open and actually pay a percentage of their gate revenues back to the Treasury? We are a tenant of the US Forest Service, and a tenant does not have to close his business just because his landlord goes on a vacation.

read the rest

Since writing the above letter, Mr. Meyer has received confirmation that he is not only to shut down his business, but the NPS is actually telling him to buy the barricades to keep people out!

UPDATE 10/2/13 @ 7:27 pm Central: I just heard from Mr. Meyer. He emails:

It’s official.  They are shutting all of us down ASAP.  Marching orders straight from the White House.

Update: Mr. Meyer emails to add that not only is his business being forced to take losses for the closures, but in some cases the government is making him and the other park management companies buy the barricades that will be used to shut the parks. He says:

We are like prisoners of war who have to pay for our prison.

This is tyrannical stuff from the White House.  He is ordering private business to shut down.  The President has no authority whatsoever to do such a thing.

But there it is, America.  Obama is ordering the closure of private businesses, he’s ordering the closure of open-air monuments that have never been closed before, he’s ordering the Navy not to play its football games that aren’t even funded with tax dollars, and he’s literally asking the stock market to crash!

Obama is reverting to his roots as a “community organizer,” a rabble rouser who chaos and bully tactics in order to provoke public outcry. 

10

New York City: Thousands march in the 11th Annual Trans Day of Action for Social and Economic Justice, June 26, 2015.

Initiated by TransJustice of the Audre Lorde Project, a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two-Spirit, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming People of Color Center for Community Organizing. 

On Friday, June 26, 2015, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) People of Color (POC) and allies took to the streets of New York City once again and demanded ‪#‎justice4allofus‬! 

This year we are excited to celebrate our victory with the Sylvia Rivera Law Project and Make The Road New York in the Medicaid Campaign, as well as rise up to show our solidarity and strength together. We will also honor and continue the struggle for justice, liberation, and recognition for all oppressed people across the globe.

We as TGNC People of Color (POC), recognize the importance of working together alongside other movements to create the world we want to see. We live in a time when oppressed peoples including people of color, people who are currently and formerly incarcerated, immigrants, youth and elders, people with disabilities, women, TGNC people, and poor people are underserved, face higher levels of discrimination, heightened surveillance and experience increased violence at the hands of the state. 

Let’s come together to let the world know that TGNC rights will not be undermined and we will not be silenced!

Photos by G. Dunkel

I started meeting with a group of progressive Vietnamese-Americans in Los Angeles and what really brought us together was this feeling of never having spaces to be ourselves; exploring what it means to be Vietnamese-Americans, especially since we live so close to Orange County, Little Saigon, that’s the largest Vietnamese population outside of Vietnam, but it’s really conservative. You know a lot of times, what that community, what kind of attention it gets in the media is for being anti-communist, for holding months, year-long rallies against people who are deemed communist, and just that community in Orange County is known for red-baiting, and that’s not who I and other members in this Vietnamese progressive group felt like were important to us, we felt like there were other issues that needed to be addressed, like why is it that you know, Vietnamese-Americans are among the poorest in the API group, like why are they most vulnerable to depression, and Post Traumatic Syndrome, and why are we the poorest, right?
—  Duyen Tran