Thursday, June 28, 2007

Internet Action: Support Pro-Choice for Canada

The CBC is hosting “The Great Canadian Wish List” on Facebook. The top wish will get a bunch of coverage on the CBC.

The anti-choice folks have been hard at work trying to take away women’s rights to make their own reproductive choices, and are currently in the lead with the top wish being anti-choice.

The current second place wish is pro-choice, and I strongly encourage you to support it: “I wish that Canada would remain pro-choice.”

Voting ends on Saturday, June 30, 2007.

Thanks.

More Wishes to Support

Some additional progressive wishes I encourage you to support (supporting multiple wishes is a good thing - it’s not zero-sum voting):

Democracy

Economics

Education

Environment

First nations

Gender & rights

Health

International

Labour

Media

Poverty & housing


Update: The Tyee has an article about the CBC’s Wish List: Is CBC’s New Populism Perverted?

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Youth activism websites

[Photo: Peace Rally: Dijla] A recent posting on Feministing (one of my favourite blogs these days) mentioned a few new websites for youth activism. I was pleasantly surprised to see one of my photos in the header of one of the sites, Future5000.

Future5000 looks to be of similar intent to the Activist Network project I started back in 1999, but focused on youth activist organizations in the U.S.

Another site from the article is the Youth Media Council. It “builds communications power and defends the communication rights of youth, communities of color, and organizing groups working for racial and economic justice.”

Finally, “BLOC (Building Leadership Organizing Communities) is a national network of young organizers and activists working in communities of color as ‘alliance builders’. BLOC brings young people into the youth movement as community workers, develops their political analysis and strategy, and supports them in staying healthy and continuing to fight for social justice.”

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Saturday, June 9, 2007

“Free Speech” on Message Boards

I participate in a message board for web-based community organizers. We’ve been having a discussion about people trolling, and otherwise disrupting, discussions on message boards. I figured my latest contribution to the discussion would make a good post here:

I’m extremely tired of people claiming “free speech” as their excuse for disrupting a discussion, particularly when they go “off-topic”.

The thing is, free speech does not apply to message boards (or email lists or what have you) unless those boards are specifically set up as open free-for-all’s. Message boards are private spaces, even if you can freely join and anonymously read them on the net. Would it be “free speech” for me to walk into a public church and start shouting down the preacher with an attack against the evils of religion?

Without rules of order and constraints of topic, there can be no reasonable communication on message boards. If someone has something they want to say that is outside the scope of a particular message board, all their “free speech” gives them is the right to go to, or setup, a different message board where their message would be on topic.

Also, it’s like with the principle of “the rights of my fist end where the rights of your nose begin”—free speech does not extend to statements that cause harm to another person. That is why some countries have explicit laws against “hate speech”, for example.

I sometimes setup an “off-topic” board on sites where I setup message boards so that I can readily point people to a place where they are free to post on subjects not covered by the ‘main’ boards. That helps in making it clear that they can say what they want, but it has to follow some constraints in order to facilitate a reasonable flow of dialogue. Without those constraints, all we would have is noise and communication would stop.

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