World Citizen Comics: a new line of graphic novels for young activists

Firstsecond Books (previously, publisher of In Real Life, which I created with Jen Wang) has announced a new line of YA-oriented graphic novels called "World Citizen Comics," on contemporary activist themes like "how to fight corruption in elections, blast fake news with truth-telling, and even battle would-be dictators both near and far through a better understanding of constitutions and the rule of law." Read the rest “World Citizen Comics: a new line of graphic novels for young activists”

Artist Nan Goldin leads protests at the Guggenheim and the Met over their reputation-laundering of the Sacklers' opioid epidemic fortunes

The Sackler family (previously) is one of the richest in the world, and if you've heard of them, it's probably because their family name adorns so many art galleries, museums, and academic institutions around the world: but they way they got that money is less-well-known. Read the rest “Artist Nan Goldin leads protests at the Guggenheim and the Met over their reputation-laundering of the Sacklers' opioid epidemic fortunes”

EFF is hiring an activist!

My colleague Elliot Harmon writes: " EFF is looking for a new addition to our activism team. This job is a big one: you’ll be joining EFF’s efforts to end warrantless spying by the NSA and other federal government agencies, as well as to fight for restrictions on the use of surveillance technologies by local law enforcement agencies. And it’s the perfect time for you to start: Section 215—the law that the NSA relied on for decades to collect Americans’ phone call records—is set to expire at the end of 2019. Between now and then, we expect a major legislative fight over its reauthorization. We need someone activating the public to demand that lawmakers respect their right to private communications." Read the rest “EFF is hiring an activist!”

To do: attend a Youtube town hall and learn how to join the Right to Repair movement

With the Right to Repair movement surging around the world, now is the perfect moment to check out the Right to Repair Youtube town halls, which will help you get involved with your local policymakers to ensure that you can fix your stuff! (via Motherboard) Read the rest “To do: attend a Youtube town hall and learn how to join the Right to Repair movement”

Striking photo essay about Oakland's Black Panther Party (1968)

Fifty years ago, San Francisco's DeYoung Museum exhibited Ruth-Marion Baruch and Pirkle Jones's striking photo essay depicting Oakland's Black Panther Party at the peak of their community activism and political activity. Starting this week, those powerful images will be displayed again as part of the Vanguard Revisited: Poetic Politics & Black Futures exhibition at the San Francisco Art Institute.

The work is still pertinent today and will serve as a platform to discuss issues of documentary photography, social activism, and how the Black Liberation Movement of the 1960s in many ways manifests itself in the social context of today...

Black Futures is not delivered with a passive voice, but a voice steeped in deft poetics and sharp politics that continue to accumulate power from its own rich history.

See more of the images at Juxtapoz.

To learn about the Black Panthers's inspiring, polarizing, and ultimately tragic history, I recommend the fantastic documentary "The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution."

Read the rest “Striking photo essay about Oakland's Black Panther Party (1968)”

Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream," the deep house mix

From 1989, Fingers Inc.'s beautiful mix of "Can You Feel It" with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech:

Read the rest “Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream," the deep house mix”

Vermont man installs massive middle finger sculpture on lawn

Several weeks ago, Ted Pilkey of Westford, Vermont installed this massive wooden middle finger sculpture on his lawn atop a 16-foot-pole. From Boston.com:

“I’m not trying to cause hate and animosity to the people who live in that town, because there’s very good people in that town,” the 54-year-old Westford native says of his fellow residents in the 2,000-person town. “All the people are very good people.”

With the exception, Pelkey says, of the Westford Selectboard, Development Review Board, and other town leaders, who have blocked his efforts to get a permit to build the 8,000-square-foot garage, so he could move his truck repair and monofilament recycling businesses in nearby Swanton to his own property.

Officials say Pelkey’s applications have fallen short of the town’s standards, but he thinks they’re biased against him...

Although the structure is visible from a state highway, it is outside of the State Right of Way and not within our jurisdiction,” Jacqui DeMen, a spokeswoman for the agency, told Boston.com in an email. “The structure does not meet the statutory definition of ‘sign’ and thus can’t be regulated under the Vermont Billboard Law.”

Perhaps Pelkey was inspired by a similar sculpture outside the Italian stock exchange in Milan.

Read the rest “Vermont man installs massive middle finger sculpture on lawn”

Activist Shaun King relaunching Frederick Douglass' abolitionist paper, North Star

On Thursday, civil rights activist and journalist Shaun King announced that he will be bringing back North Star, the abolitionist newspaper started by Frederick Douglass and Martin Delany 171 years ago, after receiving full permission and blessing from Douglass' family.

He writes:

In 1847, with slavery still in full force, two brave men, Frederick Douglass and Martin Delany (both pictured above), started an abolitionist newspaper called The North Star — named for the star, Polaris, that was often used as a guide for those seeking freedom in the North.

Douglass and Delany knew then, as we know now, that in order to fight back against injustice, their stories had to not only be well told — with the color and dimension and nuance that was frequently missing elsewhere, they knew they needed a newspaper that represented the cause of liberation with urgency, clarity, heart, and soul...

While The North Star was originally a print newspaper, we will be launching a news app, a full news website, a collection of podcasts, and an online nightly news broadcast. We’re not just here to change the news — we aim to change the world.

King, with his friend Ben Dixon, are first gathering 100,000 people to assist in their November 15 launch through BuildingTheNorthStar.com. Since the announcement yesterday, over 61,000 people have signed up to help.

By the end of 2018, they hope to have 25,000 people signed up as members of the new North Star.

Go get'em, gentlemen!

Thanks, Kristen! Read the rest “Activist Shaun King relaunching Frederick Douglass' abolitionist paper, North Star”

Supreme/Richard Prince release t-shirt with composited face of Trump's female accusers

Clothing brand Supreme and artist Richard Prince created "18 & Stormy," a new t-shirt design emblazoned with the composited face of Stormy Daniels and eighteen women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct. The proceeds from the t-shirt benefit Downtown for Democracy, "a political action committee founded by creative people to transform cultural influence into political power."

(Hypebeast) Read the rest “Supreme/Richard Prince release t-shirt with composited face of Trump's female accusers”

Public watched opioid addict detox on big screens in Greenwich Village

The film above documents "Treatment Box," a one-day installation in New York City's Greenwich Village over the summer where passers-by could watch 26-year-old Rebekkah suffer through the horrors of painkiller and heroin withdrawal. Anti-addiction organization The Truth orchestrated the recording and public showing of Rebekkah's five-day experience that was edited into a single long-form video. After the detox, Rebekkah entered a treatment facility for treatment at no cost to her. From Ad Age:

The scenes of her shaky limbs, nausea, vomiting and insomnia played out on a three-dimensional installation at Astor Place in New York City in June. Passersby stopped to watch a life-size Rebekkah in her room, often huddled in bed, wracked with pain. Interspersed are short interviews where she explains that she was prescribed opioids when she was 14, after injuring her ankle during cheerleading practice. Addiction quickly followed, and two months later, she tried heroin. “I feel like I’m coming back from the dead,” she says on Day 3 of detox...

Before beginning the campaign, the organizations met with a medical ethicist to determine whether the project should move forward, and the treatment protocols were reviewed by Phoenix House, a national addiction treatment program.

Read the rest “Public watched opioid addict detox on big screens in Greenwich Village”

New music video for Thom Yorke's "Hands off the Antarctic" from Greenpeace

Greenpeace International just released this beautiful music video for "Hands off the Antarctic," a new track by Radiohead's Thom Yorke. Part of Greenpeace's Protect the Antarctic Ocean initiative, the footage is from their Arctic Sunrise research vessel.

"There are some places on this planet that are meant to stay raw and wild and not destroyed by humanity’s footprint,” Yorke said. “This track is about stopping the relentless march of those heavy footsteps. The Antarctic is a true wilderness and what happens there affects us all. That’s why we should protect it.”

The environmental group premiered the video yesterday by projecting it onto London's Marble Arch.

Read the rest “New music video for Thom Yorke's "Hands off the Antarctic" from Greenpeace”

Activists teaching Australian Aboriginals to protect themselves by recording their interactions with law enforcement

Smartphone video footage of police brutality being exercised against black Americans and other ethnic minorities living their lives within the nation’s borders have become depressingly commonplace. While difficult to watch and, most likely for the videographer, difficult to stand by and film, such footage can be an important tool in bringing cops who abuse the power of their office to justice. The news, social media and water cooler talk here in North America often overflows with reports of abuses of power by law enforcement officials. It’s easy to forget that the very same brand of injustice and violence are served up in other parts of the world – a lot.

According to The New York Times, in Australia, a country that’s been marred by institutional racism since its inception, “...aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are incarcerated at 13 times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians. They make up 27 percent of Australia’s prisoners, compared with 3 percent of the overall population.” Given the disproportionate representation of Indigenous Australians in the clink, it’s safe to say that there’s some greasy shit going on Down Under, of a similar sort to the greasy shit we see going on up here in places like New York City and Ferguson, Missouri.

To help Australia aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander peoples to mitigate this prejudicial treatment at the hands of those meant to serve and protect them, human rights activists are teaching them how to respond to the threat of police violence and to record their interactions with law enforcement, just like we do up here:

From The New York Times:

The Copwatch workshops, activists said, are intended to teach people their legal rights and how to safely record interactions with police officers.

Read the rest “Activists teaching Australian Aboriginals to protect themselves by recording their interactions with law enforcement”

Watch Sister Rosetta Tharpe perform ‘This Little Light of Mine’ in 1960

In 1960, Sister Rosetta Tharpe performed this rousing rendition of "This Little Light of Mine" at France's Festival de Jazz d’Antibes Juan-les-Pins. Most of us are familiar with "This Little Light of Mine" as a lovely children's spiritual, but the 1920s tune, written by Harry Dixon Loes, became an anthem of the Civil Rights movement.

Learn more about the song's history at NPR: "'This Little Light Of Mine' Shines On, A Timeless Tool Of Resistance"

(via The Kid Should See This) Read the rest “Watch Sister Rosetta Tharpe perform ‘This Little Light of Mine’ in 1960”

Help save artist Kal Spelletich's robots and the future of tech-art

For 25 years, my friend Kal Spelletich of Seemen and Survival Research Labs has lived and worked in a San Francisco warehouse studio where he's built myriad robots, fire machines, and sculptures, hosted music, art, and political action events, and provided support for more than 100 other artists, activists, and fringe characters. Guess what. Kal's been evicted. This is yet another gut punch for the Bay Area's creative community that inspired so many technologists but is now being eviscerated by today's big money tech bubble. Kal has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help him push through: Save Kal's Robots

Rented way back in 1995, my space is was one of the last remaining raw warehouse art spaces and I made it into a home for experimental, non commercial art. I hosted jaw-dropping, fire spewing, ear shattering robot performances, music, noise and art events with the likes of Chris Johanson, Johanna Jackson, Marie Lornez and her epic boat, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Matt Heckert.

I did all this without grants or outside support.

No trust funds, patrons or high paying side jobs here. I passed along the cheap rent.

I provided housing and studios for countless artists, freaks, traveling activists and radical journalists like Trevor Paglen, AC Thompson, Heather Dewey-Hagborg, worked on Survival Research Laboratories shows, and countless others.

My life and warehouse were the inspiration for Rudy Rucker’s sci-fi novel Realware. Another book that wouldn't have happened without my warehouse is Streetopia.

I ran my studio as an experimental art/live space that housed and supported over 100 other artists and activists.

Read the rest “Help save artist Kal Spelletich's robots and the future of tech-art”

We need 46 more Congressional votes to force a vote on restoring Net Neutrality

The Discharge Petition that cleared the Senate in May is struggling in the House (as we knew it would). Read the rest “We need 46 more Congressional votes to force a vote on restoring Net Neutrality”

Protest without strategy is performance

In times of trouble, people want to do something, but as activist Kat Calvin points out, make sure your time and resources are spent wisely. Otherwise you end up enriching grifters: Read the rest “Protest without strategy is performance”

The EU's latest copyright proposal is so bad, it even outlaws Creative Commons licenses

The EU is mooting a new copyright regime for the largest market in the world, and the Commissioners who are drafting the new rules are completely captured by the entertainment industry, to the extent that they have ignored their own experts and produced a farcical Big Content wishlist that includes the most extensive internet censorship regime the world has ever seen, perpetual monopolies for the biggest players, and a ban on European creators using Creative Commons licenses to share their works. Read the rest “The EU's latest copyright proposal is so bad, it even outlaws Creative Commons licenses”

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