Thursday, August 28, 2008

Public Libraries

My town's public libraries are so great that I am inspired to write
about them, today. There are 5 branches and the population is 100,000
people; that's pretty good. The catalog usually has the book I?m
looking for, unless it's an academic book. However, there are quite a
few good academic books, as well. There are plenty of DVDs including
some great documentaries and independent films.

The book collection includes lots of subversive fiction and
non-fiction as well as crazy bestsellers and "fun reads." It includes
new publications and older classics. Even the children?s section is
overseen by people who obviously know and love literature and democracy.

The library has a fast and functional delivery and holds service. Late
fines are reasonable and you can renew things over and over, if
there's no hold. There are computer terminals for use by anyone with a
library card. Two of the branches are in beautiful, humane buildings.

And it's all free: helping people get informed and liberated. Hurray
for our local government funding the public libraries so well!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I started a new blog

It's called Ground Up. I'll probably put the same posts on both blogs, but it looks like the other one will get more comments. I only started it because it comes with the free membership to The Guerilla News Network. You can go to it here - - or via the link on the right.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

changing work

Some things I dislike about many jobs:
- hierarchy
- sitting still most of the day
- windows that don't open
- selling labor to managers/owerners
- throwing ethics out the window as soon as you get to work
- bad labor unions
- exploitative bosses
- extreme specialization
- using computers and phones so much
- competition with co-workers
- classism and sexism
- under-payment
- lack of benefits
- long work-weeks
- long commutes in cars
- away from friends and family

What I'd like to see more of:
- worker co-ops
- healthy buildings
- diversification of duties
- unions and bosses who are trying to increase equity at work, not get as much as possible for themselves
- active listening and consensus-building at work
- benefits for every worker
- living wages for all full time workers
- short commutes on bikes or feet
- full time reducing from 40 to 25 hours
- friends and family as co-workers, or at least "on site"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

from the ground up

We imagine an issue as something we can separate out, with a beginning and ending: issues like child care, water pollution, gay rights, money's influence in politics, and so on. But actually, there are no issues, distinct and finite. There are only entry points into the network of life.
- Lappe & Perkins. 2004. You Have the Power, p.160.

The network: it's more than the network of life. It's the network of the universe and particle physics. It's the network of sociality. It's the network of sympathy. It's the network of history. It's the network of food, waste, and death.

Since I must enter and I must enter somewhere and some time, choosing something and starting it as soon as possible is the right decision. I don't know what the next step will be. I try not to get hung up on doing it right or the way someone else (such as Frances Moore Lappe) does it.

Derek Jensen says he can't/won't advise people what to do, because every great action is only great/right in chronotopic context; it won't work in another place and time, without appropriate adjustment for place and time (from an issue of Ascent magazine). This seems about right.

Just doing something can be a big deal for me and my sense of life and my place in it. It can be a big deal for others' senses of life and their place in it. It can be a big deal for how whole systems function. No matter what, it's all part of big systems' functioning.

Not doing my something feels stultifying, it's frustrating, it's deadening, it's unethical. Some things I sometimes do:
  • write a letter
  • have a pot-luck
  • ride a bike
  • turn off the air conditioning
  • display a political pin or sticker
  • boycott mainstream media
  • get outside
  • buy local
  • meet my neighbours
  • listen
  • meditate
  • speak from experience
  • eat fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains
  • participate in my labour union
  • call out prejudice