A river that needs crossing political and tech blogs - On the political side, the is arrogance and ignorance, on the geek side the is naivety and over- complexity

My videos are on these two youtube channals visionontv (2,622,479 views) and undercurrents (21,576,123 views)

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Hamish Campbell
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Richard Hering
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Art, money and socierty - some notes

Went to a workshop at spacestudios on digital money and the arts. Here are my notes of the things I thought about/covered.

Forms of money

* LETS – works for liberals (the Brixton pound is a current example, at the meeting)

* Digital – works for the Geeks then Capital (bitcoin and its clones)

* Gift – works for the community (London boaters and the Rainbow Gathering are examples I give)

* £££ - works for the state and thus capital (what we have)

* Flatter – works for a practical digital utopia (other examples?)

The key point to get across is Don’t - repeat - use existing projects.

- Everybody has to re-create thus you have hundreds of implementations of the same limited fashionable idea and non of them are federate to each other, thus value is lost in the mess. Rinse repeat and move on. Both sad and bad.

The issue of arrogance - who is pushing out who, space is value.

Colonisation of alternatives – capital markets need to expand or die so the things we value are being consumed – gentrification is ripe and spreading is tentacles into every space.

The world used to be regulated

The fall of the soviet union and ripped up money confetti in the parks – the replacement of the old with new temporary currency – old money changing to new – you have to change the money to change society.

Artist reshaping the world, what is art what is tart. The “chattering classes” are they vampire or do they have value – articulates of exclusivity? Curating the conversation – the outcome?

Were douse value come from?

Example - The rainbow gathering – gift – global – everywhere – nomadic

Are you focused on community or on capital - making for self or community, abstract or use – within the art space or outside it – the use space.

Alienated from the establishment – the gate keepers

Attention is currency if we decentralise the current, hierarchy will crumble to an extent. Bravely independent – federated is a solution.

Have to fight against the colonisation of alternatives – capital markets need to expand or die so the things we value are being consumed – gentrification is ripe.

 

 

Where are we - an example of what works

An example of what works.

At Balcome the anti-fracking camp last summer we built a “visible affinity group” to do the power and tech for the camp. This was successful in providing working off grid energy for the camp of more than 200 people for 2 months.

However it wasn’t with out problems and did fail to build on this success when the time came to reproduce this open working model at the next camps over the winter.

How we made it work, a time line:

* Clear the space of the dysfunction by imposing open working practice's.

* This opens the space for functional working which has been excluded by the dysfunctional pushy minority.

* Open working practices nurtures talent and energy the space growers and blossoms, good shit happens.

* A tiny minority of seriously dysfunctional individuals will actively try and destroy this flowering, some emotional violence will inshuew in process of excluding them.

* The wider camp will become used to a working tech space and normality will settle back into place, at its best this is rinsed and repeated for each part of the camp.

* People will start to forget the open processes as artificial, constant vigilances is needed here to keep openness relevant and in place.

* As the camp is packed down a open meeting will bring this amnesia to the surface as everyone has an equal voice and the focus (affinity) that created the flowering will be trampled under the widening of the groups members.

In the horizontal alt the are only two successful working practices, most organising happens by “invisible affinity groups” climate camp and RTS are examples of this. Rarely “open affinity groups” are also successful, examples would be early Indymedia and this tech at Blacome.

Were are we

Its important to understand the perspective/world view am coming from to understand what am saying about the state of the alternative. Anarchist/socialist/libertarian/liberal leaning on the start and tapering off the end... am reacting against Hierarchical/conservative/authoritarian. This is a classic enlightenment divide so we should all be well aware of living it – even though few actively think about this lived experience. The views in this series of posts need to be read with this in mind.

The options for an alternative to our current world view/experience/mindset is narrow and limited, largely it is a collection of failed traditions, unexamined and repeated by each amnesiac generation. The normal world, I will call it the “traditional” world for that is what it actually is is so dominant and global that any alternative is but shadows, the “occupy moment” is a obvious example. How did we come to this?

A very broad outline is needed before we go on, the 19th century was Capitalism, the 20th Liberalism, and the 21st century is Anarchy. Each ideology is a short form for the strongest thread running thought the dynamic parts of the global economy/culture. That is 19th was industrial production, then social democracy/welfareism and now digital libertarianism’s of the internet.

In the 1980's Thatcher and Reagan were the avant-gardist of demolishing idealogical alternatives, they were part of a movement that spread all around the world entrenching a right-wing ideology “the is no alternative” and “the end of history” this has been ingested and become part of all our structures/buroceseys/instations and a core part of everyone who grew up over this time and the generation after. This right project pushed the end of the 21st century back into the beginning of the 19th century at the same time that the “digitisation project” was sweeping in the 21st century of Anerkey. We now live in a hybrid time of 19th century ideology, crumbling 20th century social institutions and the future of the economy running on shackey 21st century arackic just in time/horizontal working of the dotcoms.

Thus at the start of the 21st century much is broken and little working today has “value”. Together with the last 2 century’s environmental legacy of climate change puts us as humanity in a shaky position. The ingested legacy of Ragen and Thatcher puts us as individuals in a shaky state to shape a path for humane survival.

A quick side note, this actually is not an environmental issue at all as in the planetary environment will look after it self as it has for millennium, speshers extinction on a large scale is the norm not an exception in planetary terms. The problem we face is a human one, saving the environment is a side issue, in a few thousand years with out us the environment will stabilise and diversify agen to replace the catastrophe that we are building with our destructive muddled thinking. The issue is can we save the things we value, the shifting environment being the thing we build this value wiithin.

Ok am going to leave this here half finished... and carry on in a scatty but overarching repetitive way in further posts :)

To look at what works in the alt and what doen't work - and the are some bit that do work to cheer you up :)

My Media

I live in a functioning contemporary P2P media world. For a few weeks I have tried going back to the traditional media. Its an eye opener to (re)realise how narrow and right wing the progressive traditional media is. I live in a world of RSS aggregation for my “newspaper”, podcasts for my “radio” and torrents for my “TV” and “Cinema”. With a unhealthy dose of #failbook for organising the social world.



Its winter time so am spending more time in cafés working and charging laptops, in this space am picking up traditional paper news. On the boat I had some internet downtime so plugged back into radio 4 and every so often look for interesting Tv on iplayer etc. What I find when going to traditional media is a narrowing of my world view, its a dumbed down world on paper/radio and TV. Its actually worst than this as its a strongly propagandist in it choice of voices. I find that the “liberal” traditional media is a slow steady drip feed of poison that dulls the wide possibility’s of social and environmental change that is transparently needed and possible.

I advocate wholesale that people leave this world view for their mental health and the health of the wider human/natural world, the liberal traditional media is making you ill (at ease).



But I hear cries “were is this mythical alternative” and in a limited sense you would be right to ask this. BUT it would be a circular discussion, the alternative has existed for the last 20 years – the issue is chicken and egg you have to use it for it to exist.

Most of the real existing alternative is based on a “stupidly simple” technology created by the practical tech visionary Dave Winer. The format is RSS its the based of my news reading (feedly) and my radio (beyondpod) I have been working (and failing) to make it the bases of my TV and cinema for the last 10 years (visionOntv).

You too can shift to/build your own contemporary per2per media world and reclaim your mental health and power to shape your life and the community/world you live in. The traditional media is a slow steady poison, its well past the time to brake free, its not as hard as you think.

Importing goods from China

 

Am thinking about seting up an import and installation business for small wind turbines from China to put onto boats and power protest camps. At the moment the majority of small scale power generation is from fossil fuels, this is both unpleasant and needless. Solar power in the summer being very viable, this leaves 3-4 month of the year with limited power - thus diversifying into solar/wind set-ups.

To buy small wind turbines in the UK the expense is to high so am trying importing them directly from China - the minimum order when shipping is taken into account is 3 so have sent over $1K to a pretty random paypal account to buy them.

For some background on how to go about importing http://importcrashcourse.com/pay-importing-china/

To get an idea if a company is relabel its good to do as much searching as possible - from the pretty random paypal gmail account they sent me I found out this information https://whoisology.com/archive_6/chinaalps.com that they actually own 4 company’s and are the registry email of the Domain of the company I am buying the goods from. This is a good start.

Then the is the issue of VAT/duty to be paid http://www.dutycalculator.com/

Update: the goods arrived and seem to be of good quality, the issue of installing a tower is the subject of my next post.

Stupid individualism and the possibility of an alternative

DRAFT

Stupid individualism and the visionOntv templates.

Our templates for video journalism are designed to radically simplify and empower normal people to make coherent video news pieces using the tools they largely already have. They are successful at this if people fallow the template's – it says this at the end of most of them.

The issue that creates failure is a standard one for the possibility of an alternative, I call it this “stupid individualism”.

The disparity of wealth on the surface and poverty of the underlying human condition (some would call this “spirit”) is striking to many thinking and feeling people. Our shared western society is based on a hegemonic faoles senses of individualism, were the reality is largely faceless conformity thinly vaneared by lifestyle fashion. This is the bases of consumer capitalism our “wealth” is built on. The statues que atomises any possibility of building an alternative and shows up in as a block in most attempts to build one.

Our templates boil down more than 30 years of experience of awarded wining fast turn around video journalism to a A4 cartoon sheet. The instructions are clear and complete, if you fallow these, after a few attempts you will likely have mastered the bases of audio visual story telling and from this point of mastery opens a whole world of creativity and real genuine individualism.

Very few actually get this far and we know this because we have trained thousands of citizen journalist over hundreds of workshops at both undercurrents and visionOntv. Why? I would put fowered my old friend/foe “stupid individualism” as the prime explanation (though would admit the are technical challenges as well).

The impotence of the template is more in what it doesn’t say, the is much more information in the omissions, this is how it fits on a A4 with pictures. It distils what does work and explains this.

People do not fallow the template, often they do not even pick it up and read it, they then go onto do what THEY think is video making, they do all the bits that the template purposely omits and very few of the bits in it, the result is almost always a dis empowering mess. This is the same thing with all groups we work with.

We live in an individualist society, were we are all “empowered individuals”. The problem is evident in that this is our empowerment is an illusion, we are all dis empowered individules with egos let lose on dispoling mode. We think we are empowered because everything around us that works is on bureaucratic auto pilot, we don’t actually have to create anything original and lack the base skills to so when the rare option comes round. Our templates are such a rear opportunity, if you can take your mind out of dispoleing mode and fallow the instructions – the first step and a rare hopeful sign for us as trainers is a budeing CJ actually checking the steps on the paper template as they go though the filming.

This “stupide individualisam” is a block on many parts of building an alternative.

 

Some background

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodity_fetishism

 

The poverty of the alternative

Was looking at this site/project http://occupydemocracy.org.uk here is a reaction:

The tools we use for activism are dominated by top down vertical thinking - the horizontal tools are left at the bottom of the tool box when we reach for a digital front for our grassroots campaigning. Our organising mirrors this right-wing reality – most activism is organized by invisible/opaque affinity groups. The words (wind) are often hippy peace and love or dusty revolution - the reality is far blunter, just open your eyes and look, the isn't much of an alternative. This obvious realization is surprising as we actually have the most open and radical time to move in/ to create real alternatives. The tool box for horizontalism is overflowing with tools, the organizing process are a bit more complex.

To answer briefly two replays to this, for those who say “we just need to love each other”

For those who think dialogue alone will solve this issue

Q. What works and what dose not work?

DIY solar power to far

Many of the times I tell people how easy it is to build a small solar power set-up, I am given a dismissive and superior reply that I should be making my own panels not advising people to buy ones. This like many insecure replies is both wrong, dis-empowering and could be dangerous. Here is an article on the subject http://solarelectricityhandbook.com/Solar-Articles/build-your-own-solar-panels.html the article highlights its not a bad thing to actually make your own solar panel, just don’t do it as a serious way of generating DIY power. To give building a go try this article http://www.wikihow.com/Build-a-Solar-Panel

How to solar power your Tablet

You need a panel with at least 14W to charge a tablet, the are a lot of them out there, but, they get VERY mixed reviews. I have only used larger or smaller panels so can't vouch for any of these so please do some research before buying.

Here are a sample that fit the speck - click on the image for the ebay link for each

The is no guaranty that a naked USB power lead out of a solar panel will charge your device, to increase the chance of this working you need to buy a USB battery with pass-through. This is just an example, check the speck carefully very few USB battery’s do pass-through charging

This setup would work fine for a large smart phone or any USB powered device. Feel free to ask questions in the comments and feedback real life experience here please.

Citizen journalism equipment update 2014

UPDATE

It seems this phone has issues with the adapter cable, so hold on any purchase for the moment.

UPDATE2

We couldent get the moto G to work with the adapter cable, we trayed every way for a few weeks. So tryed the nexus 5 that had simuler issues but finaly worked useing a 3ed party camera app.

For a cheap first citizen journalism phone/camera I would recommend the 2014 version of the Moto G

 

Then you need Audio Technica PRO24

 

And finerly a mic adapter to plug them togather

 

 

As technology keeps updating, I haven’t tested these just based on reviews, please message me with your direct experience.

You could try something like this to stabilise the mobile as they are small and light so and hard to hold steady.  You will have to reach and buy this yourself, report back if you find a good one.

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