This is my first plugin!
You’re feeling wanderlust. The past two years have been a great adventure, but now your savings are depleted and you’ve had to earn rent. You left “Occupy Sandy” in mid-March without much fanfair. It was a simple act of not checking your e-mail as often, and then not at all. You hold on to a creeping feeling that this was a bit irresponsible, but you let it go. You were a volunteer anyway, there was no shame to going back to paid work– doing what you had to do to carry on.
It had been several months of freelance work, your coffers were once again full and around August you knew it was time to take the next step. You flirted with Open Flows, the tech co-op in Manhattan. You also applied to work at a firm. You recalled, early in summer, walking through the coolies with the father, talking about all the amazing possibilities. Start ups and non-profits all seemed within reach. Any job you wanted, anywhere you wanted to go.
As you contemplated a radical option began to emerge, something you had often fantasized about.
It was near the end of summer when you went to help ourgoods.org with writing some code. The project was frustrating but it allowed you to work with some interesting people. Through this you were introduced to an artist with a reputable body of work offering an apartment in exchange for web work. Once again the stars had aligned for you. The offer was good and the artist’s work was very interesting in the way it related to food justice and the new economy.
It sometimes feels overwhelming the way the world falls into place. Your brash choices seem to always work out. It would be a discredit to your dedication and effort to pin these outcomes solely on fate. You know very well that fate is simply what you make of it.
The plan forms in your mind quickly, it’s always been there, bits of it anyways. You’ll work for the artist, living in a small Manhattan apartment for about 6 months then set off in spring to places unknown. The framework begins to become clear. You have a unique set of skills, sought after by many. You’ll travel the world and find good work that makes the world a better place. Find the people doing that work and serve them. Listen and learn from them.
The artist is eager and so are you. They compare you to Walden, things seem set in their ways. You feel confident about this situation. A new tenant is found to replace you, the wheels begin to turn. You’re passing the point of no return. There is no stress; there are little, if any, feelings. You are in the present. You have client work to finish; you have arrangements to make.
The month rolls over and the artist begins to get cold feet. Things rapidly change, but the course is set. The ship has left the safety of the harbor. You knew that there was a risk. You gave up your apartment before you had a real agreement set in the binding terms of a contract. This was the risk you took and the worst happened– some bullshit about the co-op board of the building. You move on. You’ll try and help the artist out, but there is friction. You have learned over the past years that if you don’t value yourself others won’t do it for you. Your time and skills are worth something in this fucked amazing world. Time is all there is, and you’ll not be giving that away for nothing. You have too much respect for yourself to do that (ever again).
The artist is also an academic, used to fresh faced graduate students falling all over themselves to give away their talent for free. You’ve known those who go and build for the artists for nothing more than “great experience”. Their toil makes the artist fame and fortune. Yet they get nothing, not even a 10 point font thank you on the fliers.
So now here you are, you’ve moved out of your apartment. With little more than a backpack and some boxes of your artwork in a friend’s basement. You find yourself writing the first chapter of a new time in your life. You’ll do what you’ve said you were going to do, someday. What a privilege to find someday is today.
We are all nomads now. What do we own? The car is leased, apartment rented. The institutions that lend to us have only one motivation, money. After the powerful take their cut we are left with never enough to invest in something permanent. So we wander still, suspended in wage work and ever most costly consumables.
So I haven’t been following the news very closely as of late. Turns out the US is running a media campaign to build support for their plans to attack Syria.
I’m sure they’re doing the right thing, I’ll just sit back and eat some yellow cake.
Last night I got a Facebook message from a comrade regarding yesterday’s post defending the Occupy Money project. I want to take a quick moment to clarify a few things based on what was said to me in that message.
I’ve got no beef with Suzahn, I think they have a very important voice and their piece in Tidal brought up some very good points. Perhaps it was a little hyperbolic for my taste, but then again I would prefer that all text be written in a emotionless pit of logic… Suzahn didn’t just write some rhetoric attack, it is a valid critique which I can fully respect while also critiquing parts of it (meta critique). The piece is important to me because even though I disagreed it helped me understand why and how. It informed and strengthened my opinion.
I’ve heard rumors that other groups and individuals have been attacking Suzahn and others for being “against the movement” for their critiques of Occupy Money. This is extremely troubling, especially from a movement based on descent. I hate to think that I appear to fall into that category!
A divergent opinion, criticism, or question is never a bad thing. Unless it is intentionally misrepresenting facts. In my last post I advocated for compassion for the project you lay criticism upon. The same should be true for the one speaking their mind.
Open and honest dissent and debate is crucial for any organization. Solidarity doesn’t mean sticking with the party line or pretending that everything is okay. It most certainly doesn’t mean silencing opposition. It is not our right or our job to be protecting or shielding others from valid criticism.
The only thing worse for your project than negative reviews in no reviews. When someone feels strongly enough to critique your work that is always a good thing. You want to know what people think about your project. You want to respond to these comments even if they are hyperbolic, off base, or rude. Try to separate the emotion from the substance.
Naturally we must distinguish the trolls from those that are honestly being critical, which is sometimes difficult.
So let’s continue to be honest and compassionate with each other. Let us celebrate the rabble rousers, especially when they are within the movement because an act of dissent is also an act of collaboration*.
* In the computer world we often attack our own systems to ensure that they are prepared for a real adversary. Breaking projects down, asking tough questions, and playing devils advocate can all function to make a project stronger.
If #OCCUPYWALLSTREET is anything it’s anti-capitalist. Which, of course, conveniently leaves out many self identified “occupiers” who aren’t self identified anti-capitalists. While the mainstream narrative paints Occupy as a convergence of the radical left, my experience paints a far more complex picture. Former Tea Party participants (who left after the neoconservative take over) libertarians, anarcho capitalists, radical industrialists and many other not-so-occupy occupiers have crossed my path. I found myself working alongside people I would never have expected. It also shattered my preconceptions about people. The black anti-eviction activist who was a Ron Paul loving libertarian or the self proclaimed anarchist woman who turned out to be one of the most authoritarian people I’ve ever met. The conservative fundamentalist christians, ex bankers, and homeless persons with PhDs.
Put simply Occupy is extremely diverse (politically speaking anyways). So it comes as no surprise that the The Occupy Money Cooperative has caused quite a stir within the Occupy community.
The Occupy Money Coop seeks to provide a pre-paid VISA card to it’s members. Anyone who has a card becomes a member of the coop.
I was invited to a meeting earlier this year for the group where I got to meet some of the folks behind it and ask some tough questions. Apart from that I know fairly little about the project, but I seek to defend it, in principle. This post is in response to reading Suzahn Ebrahimian’s piece in Tidal entitled: Help Support Better Stronger Neo-Liberalism with the Occupy Money Cooperative. Suzahn’s article embodies a few negative traits I’ve seen again and again throughout Occupy which I would like to address. Please note that the following is not directed toward Suzahn’s piece in particular but generally to the Occupy community. More specifically toward the radicals within this movement. I will also assume that Occupy Money’s stated objectives are an honest representation of their actual aims, as I have seen no evidence to lead me to believe otherwise.
This is just recreating the same system we seek to destroy.
Yes, Occupy Money is literally putting the Occupy name right above a VISA logo. However, to achieve their objective there isn’t any other way. I’m not fond of this line of thinking because it demands every project to be perfect, which in our current situation is impossible. You’re going to eventually end up relying on something, be it oil, federal reserve notes, or infrastructure.
Furthermore, not everyone thinks that destroying the current system is the right strategy. This touches on the reform vs revolution debate that’s been going on in the left forever. As if social change were some binary decision. Personally I don’t think revolution is the right answer, not because we don’t need a revolution (or evolution) but because there is nothing in place to replace many of the things that “the system” provides. Even the most radical folks I know depend on The Machine (that food you dumpster doesn’t get wasted and thrown away on it’s own).
There isn’t a system to exchange currency outside of banking cartel controlled money monopoly. Timeshare, alternative currency (like Bitcoin), and barter networks simply aren’t to scale. Occupy Money’s objective is to provide a debit card that can be used to exchange currency for goods and services. The only way to do that right now is with VISA.
These people aren’t radicals, they are [insert "evil" profession] looking to make a buck off the Occupy brand.
This, like the above criticism, could be about any number of Occupy projects (or reformist projects). There is a complete lack of compassion in this kind of statement.
We should be applauding converts (eg bankers turned radical). Taking on a radical stance might not seem like a big deal to some, but to someone who has been inside the system and still benefits greatly from the system, it is a pretty big deal. This isn’t to say that converts shouldn’t be called out on privilege or are free from criticism, only that we should try and respect that they are a product of a racist, sexist, classist system.
I was raised as a white cis male, not just by my parents (who I think did a fine job) but also by a society that taught me some seriously fucked up things. It’s a difficult process to unlearn all that junk. It’s made more difficult when I’m prejudged. I have no idea what it means to be oppressed, but alternatively you have no idea what it’s like to look in the mirror and see the oppressor.
As a community we should be pushing each other to do better, not demonizing some people because of their privilege or former place of employment. Occupy Money is being bottom lined by mostly white male capitalist, while obviously problematic that doesn’t make it okay to automatically assume they are just a bunch of opportunistic cartoonish villains. Can’t we be both critical of our peers and give them the benefit of the doubt?
Stop fearing corporate speak!
Marketing, return on investment, users, conversion rate, profit, business strategy, analytics, etc. These are not dirty words. Just because our adversaries use these tools doesn’t make them evil. Suzahn writes (emphasis mine):
The usual neo-liberal language makes its debut, though it has seemingly fused with the vocabulary of Occupy Wall Street. Untapped markets of the “40+ million underbanked,” all ripe for the picking, all ready to be “included.”
Running a business and being part of The Machine are two completely different things. Radicals desperately need better business skills. The rejection of all things corporate sounding is hurting us. Managing resources, advertising, and running an operation are essential to any project, radical or otherwise. Understanding the current situation and how your project fits into that is also important.
Language matters, and perpetuating neo-liberal rhetoric isn’t ideal, but it also doesn’t automatically make Occupy Money or any other project just another neo-liberal evil doer. I think we should be on the look out for the neo-liberal assimilation of radical language, rather than radicals using neo-liberal words.
Let’s break down the “40+ million underbanked” thing. What Occupy Money seems to be saying is that there are many people (mostly low income) who don’t bank or can’t bank. These are the people who use check cashing places which are ripping them off just as much as most of the big banks. So this fact is a good indicator that a “less evil” banking solution might be adopted by people (eg there’s a market for it).
Everyone should be doing this kind of basic research before they start a project. I’m not going to go to the upper east side and try to organize the people there to start dumpster diving, there isn’t a market for that.
Let’s be careful not to confuse words we don’t like with actions we don’t like.
Is Occupy Money a good idea? I don’t know. It’s interesting and I’m excited to see what happens with it. I’ll show them solidarity, because after all this isn’t just some random group of people. These are folks who came out of the Alternative Banking Working Group which is, by my calculations, one of the longest running working groups from the #OCCUPYWALLSTREET camp. Don’t they deserve just a little benefit of the doubt?
Of course it’s possible that this experiment will fail. It won’t come as a surprise if a bunch of privileged people won’t be able to pull it off without oppressing and screwing over everyone. But why are some of us so quick to assume that?
I think the last paragraph of Suzahn’s piece is right on:
And I can guarantee to you, board members of the occupy money cooperative: the brand “OWS” will not be a shield, nor will it be your free pass to abuse people’s sense of ethics in order to abuse their wallets.
Calling yourself Occupy shouldn’t make you immune from criticism. nor should we let down our vigilance.
I just wish we would base our criticisms on facts, rather than assumptions. That we would be supportive and compassionate for the hard work of others, rather than instantly attack. That we would reflect and consider other’s viewpoints and their theory of change, rather than assume our own immature views are free from fault.
I’ve been invited to run a program at The Base Brooklyn (thebasebk.org). I’ll be discussion it this Sunday 7/14 7:00pm @ Human Relations: 1067 Flushing in Bushwick.
1) What is it
2) Reason: The problem its looking to address or benefit its trying to create
3) Background: If you have done something like this in the past, how its worked
4) Structure: Will it be a one-off workshop or series?
What is it?
Understanding the internet and technology is an important skill in our brave new world. There are many free services and software available to anyone with access to a computer. These tools can empower people and projects to achieve their goals faster, easier, and cheaper than ever before.
I would like to create a space where technical experts can share their knowledge and learn from technology users. Participants will discuss problems that they wish to solve and skills they can share. We can all learn something from each other.
Technical literacy is a must in our increasingly tech based world. Learning how to manage e-mail filters or write more effective Google queries can greatly increase one’s effectiveness in their endeavors. A better understanding of technology also brings awareness to matters of online privacy and safety.
Furthermore people working in the tech field often can become disconnected from the struggles of those who are less comfortable in the world of tech. Understanding these struggles helps those who create tools make better, more equitable solutions.
I’ve been using computers since as long as I can remember. I’ve grown up a child of the internet age. Later, in mid 2011, I helped found the internet working group for #OCCUPYWALLSTREET which later grew to become the Tech Ops group which provided solutions and assistance to activists here in New York City and around the world.
I’ve run multiple trainings in the past and have learned a great deal about what is not effective when trying to increase people’s understanding of available tools.
The general idea will be to have an open space where people can introduce their skills and problems. From there participants will share their skills and help solve each other’s problems.
If a more structured space is ideal then panels of “experts” will be selected and answer questions.
Possibly themed sessions will be organized. This can include topics from e-mail management, newsletter creation, or making your first website. More advanced topics like rooting phones and hardware modification could be introduced.
I will promote free open solutions when possible.
EDIT: A friend is interested in also offering the following, so this program might expand into a general small business workshop:
Choosing an entity to reduce liability. (ex: LLC vs.sole proprieter)
What happens when I need to hire employees or subcontractors. Workers Comp, Unemployment, and payroll tax basics.
What kind of deductions am I allowed when I get a 1099 from freelancing.
Self Employed Retirement Plan Contributions – amazing and interesting tax deferral item
How to charge and calculate sales tax for retail businesses (catfish needs this!!, they are eating into their profits because they are not taxing correctly)
Tax planning when you get a real job… I got the best job ever and the biggest effing tax bill ever! I need to reduce my tax bill.
People are interested in what I am doing. How to take on business partners and investors to grow your enterprise.
Business Integration Strategies – how big words like mergers, acquisitions, vertical and horizontal integration relate to a small business owner.
Forecasting Revenue for retail enterprises (or in general)- in excel – a personal favorite, great when you are looking to raise money
Flexible budgets – in excel – another personal favorite when you are looking to raise money and manage costs.
Often times we want to add media to our WordPress pages and/or posts. This is an easy task with WordPress.
Because there are a number of options and methods to add media let’s consider a few real life examples.
- You want to add a single image from your computer (or the WordPress media library) to a post.
- You want to add an image you found online to your post.
- You want to add a gallery of images to your post.
Log in to your WordPress account and create or edit your page. Once you are on the Add New Post page you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the Add Media button, it’s right above the text editing box:
1. Adding a single image to your post
- Move your cursor to the area that you’d like your image to appear in. Remember that if you float the image left or right the text following the image will “flow” around it.
- Click Add Media button, you’ll be presented with the Add Media Pop-up:
- Under Insert Media select Upload Files OR if you’ve already uploaded your image (see how to upload image tutorial) skip to set 5.
- Drag your image onto the page or click “Select Files” and select the image (or images)
- From the Media Library section make sure the image you want to post is selected.
- Now focus on the right hand side of the Insert Media box. This is where you can change the title, caption, alt text (this is how blind people “see” images), and description of your image. These settings will save with the image so that if you add it elsewhere in the site they will transfer over.
- Once you’ve set the “meta data” of the image you’ll want to scroll down to the Attachment Display Settings and set these options.
Alignment: This is how the image will rest on the page. Left and Right will allow text following the image to flow around it while Center will put the image on it’s own line and center it. None will add the image to the same line of text, you should play around with these to get a better understanding.
Link to: When the image is clicked on, where will it take you? The Media File is common, this will just take the user to the full size image. You can also send folks to a Custom Link or the Attachment Page which is a post like page for media.
Size: Depending on your theme WordPress will create multiple sizes for each image you upload. Thumbnail, Small, Medium, Large, and Full Size.
- Once you’ve got that just click the Insert Into Post button! Now you’re image is in the post. If you need to edit the image or change settings just click it and hit the top left button. If you want to delete it press the red delete button.
Great, but what if you just want to
steal use an image you found online? We just need to alter the above workflow a little bit:
2. Add an image you found online to your post
- Find the image you want to use online, right click on the image and select “open image in new tab”. From there copy the URL in your URL bar:
- Now go to the Add Media button and navigate to the Insert from URL button.
- Now just paste in the URL you copied. You’re image should appear shortly and you can configure the settings below, just like I explained above.
3. Adding a gallery of images
Some times you want to create a big group of images into a gallery. WordPress makes this very easy with the Create Gallery option inside the Add Media pop-up.
You can learn more about WordPress galleries on wordpress.com
Generic Product, how does it feel to be both NEW! and IMPROVED!? And, as a follow up, how do you management to pull off 20% more FREE!
Well, random internet user, we accomplish this by being very NEW and IMPROVED in all aspects of our business. Customers like you allow us to offer 20% more FREE. Thank you for the question.