Anil Dash hits one so far out of the park it attains orbit in this response to a silly Malcolm Gladwell column that decried Internet activism as incapable of achieving meaningful change. It's all must-read stuff, but here's the bit that made me want to stand up and salute:
Today, Dale Dougherty and the dozens of others who have led Maker Faire, and the culture of "making", are in front of a
movement of millions who are proactive about challenging the constrictions that law and corporations are trying to place on how they communicate, create and live. The lesson that simply making things is a radical political act has enormous precedence in political history; I learned it well as a child when my own family's conversation after a screening of Gandhi turned to the salt protests in India, which were first catalyzed in my family's home state of Orissa, and led to my great-grandfather walking alongside Gandhi and others in the salt marches to come. Today's American Tea Partiers see even the original "tea party" largely as a metaphor, but the salt marches were a declaration of self-determination as expressed through manufacturing that took the symbolism of the Boston Tea Party and made it part of everyday life.
To his last day, my great-grandfather wore khadi, the handspun clothing that didn't just represent independence from the British Raj in an abstract way, but made defiance of onerous British regulation as plain as the clothes on one's back. At Maker Faire this weekend, there were numerous examples of clothing that were made to defy laws about everything from spectrum to encryption law. It would have been only an afternoon's work to construct a t-shirt that broadcast CSS-descrambling code over unauthorized spectrum in defiance of the DMCA.
And if we put the making movement in the context of other social and political movements, it's had amazing success. In city after city, year after year, tens of thousands of people pay money to show up and learn about taking control of their media, learning, consumption and communications. In contrast to groups like the Tea Party, the crowd at Maker Faire is diverse, includes children and adults of all ages, and never finds itself in conflict with other groups based on identity or politics. More importantly, the jobs that many of us have in 2030 will be determined by young people who attended a Maker Faire, in industries that they've created. There is no other political movement in America today with a credible claim at creating the jobs of the future.
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