Friday, 25 December 2009

Happy holidays...

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Friday, 11 December 2009

SLLU at the end of 2009

Siri Vita, one of the organisers of the 16 days of Activism, performing in the closing event - a performance by Junivers Stockholm backed by a light show and dance.
Beginnings until now

SLLU has evolved since the end of 2006 from a small, but effective, core group in rl and sl that decided and implemented actions - into an umbrella group for left interest groups organised in the affinity group method first envisaged when core meetings started to take place in the rented room on one of the Scotland sims.
We have a good RL web presence as well as a name that is reasonably well known in SL itself. People seek us out when they join SL as their research has led them to the only umbrella group for left anti-capitalists.

Junivers Stockholm performs in the closing event of the 16 Days of Activism...
Membership

SLLU, at it’s height, numbered 500 – all of whom were active in some way. The group has diminished as inactive avatars are culled from it’s numbers to ensure we have an accurate picture of how many people are involved in the group. At the moment this is around the 350 mark – how this is ascertained is by the method agreed two years ago at an open meeting – ie. by shedding avatars that have been inactive for more than a year.

Land

SLLU has land. It has parcels in the Flagg sim and also owns a Linden acknowledged train stop – SL Unity Station (the use of which will be the subject of a meeting in early 2010).
We have been involved in many SL actions that have gone beyond the grid – and many actions that have brought people to activism both in SL and RL. I will not list these – they are easily found on this blog (though go into some detail about one defining one, later), and also by talking to active SLLU members.

Upcoming

There have been many suggestions for things we need to do in the coming months. How these are prioritised depends on our members taking charge of them.


Stage show at closing of 16 Days of Activism...

Freebie Shop

Already, some members have come forward to re-create our freebie shop on Flagg. This is important. This shop will not only give away goods that will help encourage the gift economy, but it will also be a place where many anti-capitalist groups can advertise their own existence – so SLLU members can find other groups to help refine their activism both in SL and RL.

Feminist Meetings

Events have restarted in the Flagg parcel – the recent 16 Days of Activism meant lots of anti capitalists used the parcel for meeting up for discussion and planning – and it also played host to the wonderful radical poetry evening hosted by our active member – Zoe Parness and also the chillout vibe of Wildo Hoffman. The SLLU Feminist Network has also restarted it’s weekly meetings there – and seeing how effective their organising has been – I feel the group as a whole, has a lot to learn from them. I cannot over emphasise how fantastically effectively this affinity group has organised. There are quite a few effective organisers involved in this – but Ledoof Constantineau has been key in bringing this group together and in helping organise the 16 Days of Activism (I hope members of the Feminist Network will write about their experiences during these inspiring actions and post on this site). Women make up a huge proportion of Second Life “Citizens,” so it is imperative we support this network in the outreach and activist work they have been involved with.

Wider Meetings and Events

It has been suggested that SLLU has a regular political discussion meeting – perhaps once a week, hosted by a different SLLU member on a different topic every week. This would also, perhaps at the beginning or end of the meeting, be a forum to quickly have organisational chats – a decision making body who will decide use of funds/ lands/ activity etc. It has also been suggested we hold more music and poetry events.

Audience at closing of 16 Days of Activism
Anti-fascism

SLLU also has an anti fascist affinity group which has set up a twitter account - @slluantifa and a weblog - http://slluantifa.blogspot.com/. The current suggested approach is to tweet/ blog and use SL to help in education that counters the spurious claims made by ultra right fascist groups across the Globe. European examples of these fascist groups are– BNP in UK, NPD in Germany; Dutch Freedom Party; AUSTRIA - Freedom Party, Hungarian Jobbik party, the Italian Northern League. Left people in all of these countries and others across the world can use the facilities we aim to produce for education and for an internet fight back.

Our work, and at times emphasis of this work is not surprising given that shortly after the group was formed we managed to rally SL citizens (and encourage anti-fascist individuals and groups into SL) who then forced the French Front National out of the Grid by publicising actions in rl newspapers across the real world with which we had links. This has had the effect of ensuring no extreme right group has organised in such an open and large scale since – though our members – and members of other antifa groups with links to SLLU, remain vigilant. I make no bones about the fact that we kicked this action off, and other groups were made aware of the presence of the FN by us. Other groups formed because of our actions – and because of some people deciding they wanted to fight the fascists, but did not want to be part of an anti-capitalist group. An umbrella group was formed for those of us who wanted to fight side by side with those who do not have our vision of a world free from the inequalities of capitalism – AntiFN. We fought happily side by side with, and indeed in these groups, and still come together, happily with those who are not anti-capitalist when the fight requires it. The whole way through this struggle, SLLU made decisions based on what French members wanted. We had three French core members who were extremely active in this struggle, and who led actions effectively and were extremely effective in bringing different French sl and rl groups into the fight and into SLLU. This is important in everything we do that is connected with RL actions – we need to ensure we are consulting with people who are effected by events etc… this happened effectively when we helped with the IBM strike, and also the Griots (the Greek riots and schools occupations last year).

Mistakes

Let’s not be too self congratulatory. There have been times when members have not consulted widely within SLLU/SL or with RL groups involved in actions, and this has led to rifts and ineffectiveness –I would mark the Palestinian solidarity actions at the beginning of 2009 as one of these (and there have been a few others through the past 3 ¼ years– when rather than finding what we could all agree on and act accordingly, some decided to do their own thing(sometimes individuals/ sometimes small groupings of 2/3/4 people). This action got off to a good, united start, though some then decided to place their “line” as a correct one that SLLU should take and condemn members who did not share their pov. It can sometimes prove impossible to act together on points of principle– sometimes it is more comradely for people to act together when they can, but under other group names, do what their line allows. This, though, leads – and did lead – to a fractious approach, and in the Palestinian case, managed to alienate a lot of good SLLU members.

Blog

More active members have said they will be writing for the blog www.slleftunity.com. Hopefully the fruits of this willingness to write will be seen soon.

Birthday Party

In February, we are planning to have our usual SLLU Birthday Party. It seems this party is getting later each year, but this is only because of commitments in actions such as last years Griots and this years 16 Days of Activism. If you have suggestions for good, Left Wing SL entertainers, please let us know!

Funds

Our funds are slightly in excess of L$103,000. We pay for listings of our builds (totalling L$100 pm– soon to rise to L$150 or L$200 because of the freebie shop).

Forging Left-Links

Lastly, I feel it is also important for members to continue the links with other left groups in SL who are perhaps not openly anti-capitalist (though can contain anti-capitalists)– pressure groups such as Amnesty and Greenpeace – and SL organisations such as “The Rings Discussion,” “Four Bridges” etc and of course, it is important we continue our links with groups such as CPSL, International Socialists, Green groups in SL, etc.

Get involved!

SLLU is maintaining effectiveness beyond its numbers – but it is extremely important YOU get involved.

Please contact me Plot Tracer, Ledoof Constantineau, Smoke Wijaya, Zoe Parness or Aeris Betsen (who is helping with the Birthday Party) to find out how.

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Sunday, 6 December 2009

This week... activism in SL!

Below is a selection of photos from the past few days of activism in SL. These include images from events from the "16 Days of Activism" (and I purposely begin with a photo of the great SLLU Feminist Network organiser, Ledoof Constantineau!), No Berlusconi day, the poetry and "Wildo Hoffman's Chillout session" and others. Literally thousands of RL people logged in for interesting talks/discussions and demonstrations. This is Active Learning in Action!


















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Saturday, 5 December 2009

Remember Fred Hampton & Mark Clark

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Saturday, 28 November 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Over 50 Av's landed on Hard Alley to protest against representations of violence against women in SL. PRESS - Please use these photos referring back to source (photos by Siri Vita, Ledoof Constantineau and Zoe Parness)

WOMEN ARE NOT MEAT: A PROTEST AT HARD ALLEY IN OPPOSITION TO VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN.
===================================

[Snapshots of the Protest are embedded at the foot of the notecard]

As a part of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence, a series of events to promote an end to violence against women being held in Second Life from 25 November to 10 December, a broad coalition of activist groups in SL staged a performance protest at Hard Alley on 27 November.

Hard Alley was chosen because it is one of the most popular sims in SL featuring animations, poses, and products that depict violence against women, including rape, bondage, and violent physical abuse. Such depictions desensitize users to the violence that they represent; they "normalize" the rape and sexual abuse of women by asserting that these things are not merely "fun," but also sexually arousing. By doing so, they impact upon real life attitudes towards a horrendous social blight that annually leaves millions of women across the world traumatized, psychologically and physically scarred or injured, or even dead. Any activity that trivializes or seems to validate real life violence of women is intolerable. This protest was staged to make it clear that our society should not, indeed must not, tolerate it.





As residents of Second Life, we recognize that role play here is "consensual," and that the simulation of rape or other forms of violence against women is NOT the same as real life abuse. At the same time, however, we also understand that images and behaviours here do impact upon first life attitudes and practices, just as the images in any media, electronic or otherwise do. The media, and in particular interactive and "social" media such as Second Life, have an enormous impact, for both good and ill, upon societal values. Our protest here was both in opposition to the misogyny reflected by the form of role playing encouraged at this sim, and a forceful statement of our own commitment to ending the attitudes that sanction or create violence against women.

Because a founding principle of feminism is nonviolent activism, we chose a form of protest that was appropriately peaceful. We were not there to "attack" the sim, nor to grief it or its users. We did not spam visitors here, nor abuse them individually. We are protestors, not griefers.

We chose to represent ourselves as "meat," because this is the most appropriate metaphor to describe the attitude towards women and their bodies endorsed by the activities of places like Hard Alley. We also chose this means of protest to show that, while we take the issue of violence against women very seriously indeed, we also have a sense of humour and playfulness. The joy of shared laughter is one of our most potent weapons against the sort of hatred towards women exemplified by sims like Hard Alley.

More information on the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence can be found online at:

http://slactivists.ning.com/



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Thursday, 26 November 2009

No Berlusconi Day!

For more details, please contact Roja Zapatero, or maio123456789maio Porta or tib elton.

No Berlusconi Day’: Let’s save Italy, Let’s save democracy. Let’s ask for Berlusconi’s resignation (This is a translation of the italian post below)
We don’t know what will happen if Berlusconi finally resigns. And we believe that the false “fair play” of some of our opponents simply demonstrates a coward’s attitude to our democracy and they’ll have to in any case, answer for it to the voters. What we know for sure, is that Berlusconi is a very serious and dangerous anomaly in the framework of western democracy – as reinforced of late by the the international press that defines our government “a dictatorship”. We also know that he understands his political situation so well, that he constantly works to change laws and the Constitution for is own personal benefit. We can no longer aquiesce when confronted by the actions of a man who has taken our Country hostage fro more than 15 years and whose conception of the State and his position in it makes him hostile to every freedom of expression, as demonstrated by his recent attacks against the free press, satirists and the internet. We can no longer stay quiet when faced with theunscrupulousness of a man for whom the shadows of his recent past weigh heavily: his connections to the Mafia; his relations with members of the Mafia like Vittorio Mangano or Marcello Dell’ Utri, who has been found guilty of tax fraud, false accounting, and complicity in conspiracy with the Sicilian Mafia.

He must resign and defend himself, just like every other citizen, in front of the Law.

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Sunday, 22 November 2009

NO BERLUSCONI DAY 5 DICEMBRE 2009

MANIFESTAZIONE A ROMA

A noi non interessa cosa accade se si dimette Berlusconi e riteniamo che il finto "Fair Play" di alcuni settori dell'opposizione, costituisca un atto di omissione di soccorso alla nostra democrazia del quale risponderanno, eventualmente, davanti agli elettori. Quello che sappiamo è che Berlusconi costituisce una gravissima anomalia nel quadro delle democrazie occidentali -come ribadito in questi giorni dalla stampa estera che definisce la nostra "una dittatura"- e che lì non dovrebbe starci, anzi lì non sarebbe nemmeno dovuto arrivarci: cosa che peraltro sa benissimo anche lui e infatti forza leggi e Costituzione come nel caso dell'ex Lodo Alfano e si appresta a compiere una ulteriore stretta autoritaria come dimostrano i suoi ultimi proclami di Benevento. Non possiamo più rimanere inerti di fronte alle iniziative di un uomo che tiene il Paese in ostaggio da oltre15 anni e la cui concezione proprietaria dello Stato lo rende ostile verso ogni forma di libera espressione come testimoniano gli attacchi selvaggi alla stampa libera, alla satira, alla Rete degli ultimi mesi. Non possiamo più rimanere inerti di fronte alla spregiudicatezza di un uomo su cui gravano le pesanti ombre di un recente passato legato alla ferocia mafiosa, dei suoi rapporti con mafiosi del calibro di Vittorio Mangano o di condannati per concorso esterno in associazione mafiosa come Marcello Dell'Utri.

Deve dimettersi e difendersi, come ogni cittadino, davanti ai Tribunali della Repubblica per le accuse che gli vengono rivolte.

COMITATO 'NO BERLUSCONI DAY'

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Thursday, 19 November 2009

RL Left Unity Red Wedge Teeshirt competition




The Scottish Socialist Party, the real life Left Unity group and supporters of SLLU have a teeshirt competition every month on their website in conjunction with Philosophy Football.

Philosophy Football's T-shirt design features their version of the famous 'Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge' propaganda poster in defence of the 1917 Russian Revolution. Part of their Russian Revolution range available from Philosophy Football. We have 5 to be won in our November competition. To enter simply answer the following question:

Who was the original designer of 'Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge' poster?

Email your answer with name, address and preferred T-shirt size to

admin@philosophyfootball.com

Entries close 30 November '09, no purchase necessary to enter.

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Thursday, 12 November 2009

16 days of activism - schedule preview (not final!)

Sneak preview of what we have in store but subject to change! Keep looking here and here for updates!

Wednesday November 25th
Four Bridges Mainstage
10AM SLT - Welcome address from Ledo. Intro. to events from Siri
10:15 AM SLT - Reading of selected poetry by Gwen Carillon
10:30 - 11:00 AM SLT - Music by TBD
11:00 AM SLT - Intro to Language of Pornography Exhibit by UndoneChaos Enoch

11:10 - Noon - Tour of Launguage of Pornography exhibit with Undone available at installation for questions.


Noon to 1PM SLT - Discussion Group on The Language of Pornography faciliated by Undone Chaos Enoch at the Four Bridges Drum Circle


1PM to 2PM SLT - Music: Truelie Telling
Four Bridges Mainstage


2PM to 3PM SLT - Live Music - This Device
Afghan SL Peace at the Peace Park


3PM to 4PM SLT - any1 Gynoid Exhibit and discussion Elimination of Violence Against Women in Afghanistan
Afghan Peace Exhibit - Peace Park



4PM to 5PM SLT - Music by TBD

5PM - 6PM SLT Opening of Ana Herzogs Exhibit on The Impact of War on Women
Casita Gaia Village - The Women's Center


6PM - 7PM SLT



Thursday November 26th THANKSGIVING IN THE US - NOON LIVE MUSIC Atheene Dononpa at the Imagine Nest


Friday November 27th - 1PM - 2PM SLT Alexjo Magic Discussion on Impact of Israeli Occupation on Palestinian Women
Four Bridges North - Actions Against the Israeli Apartheid Wall Exhibit



Saturday November 28th
10AM - Noon SLT Panel Discussion on Domestic Violence
Panelists: Paty Amiot, millay Freschi, Alexjo Magic, UndoneChaos Enoch
Location: Four Bridges Auditorium


Noon to 1PM - The Poetry of Medora Chevalier, Paulette Felisimo and Serene Bichon
Four Bridges Imagine Nest


1PM to 3PM SLT Panel Discussion on the Status of Women in Different Cultures Throughout the World
Panelists: Alexjo Magic (Israel/Palestine), Afghan Expert (per any1), Nany Kayo (Native American), Paty Amiot (Hispanic Cultures), millay Freschi (US), Is there someone for Europe and Asia?,



3PM to 4PM - LIVE MUSIC - Cylindrain Rutabaga


4PM - 5PM -

5PM - 6PM

6PM - 7PM LIVE MUSIC - Shannon Oherlihy


7PM - 8PM -


Sunday November 29th -Noon SLT - Nany Kayo Presentation on Violence Against Native American Women
Virtual Native Lands
lm TBD

Monday November 30th - Noon SLT Amber from Equaltiy now via skype presents on prostitution and trafficking - Info also providded on vaw games in Japan

Tuesday December 1st - HOLD for Presentation on how AIDS is affecting women - WORLD AIDS DAY

Wednesday December 2nd - Stop Porn Culture slideshow - Zoe Parness and Scylla Rhiandra
1PM SLT - Four Bridges Location TBD


Thursday December 3rd - Noon SLT - Ana Herzog Presentation on The Impact of War on Women - Discussion
Casita Gaia Village - The Women's Center


Friday December 4th

Saturday December 5th - Paty Amiot presents on Femincide in Mexico
10AM SLT - Four Bridges Drum Circle


Sunday December 6th - millay Freschi on The Unique Power of the Feminine
Four Bridges Imagine Nest



Monday December 7th

Tuesday December 8th

Wednesday December 9th - millay Freschi on Women Activists at Risk
5PM SLT - Four Bridges Amnesty International Headquarters


Thursday December 10th - Light Show at Imagine Nest 1PM SLT



Pending Booking timeslots:
Kiko Hunniton - Empowering Women
Meditation Workshop - feminist expidition
working with non sexist men - czamy zsun
presentation on transgender issues - tbd kenelle levenque




Artists
[6:47] Kiko Hunniton: very talented artist - check it out http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-348765
[6:47] Kiko Hunniton: or directly his exhibition http://slurl.com/secondlife/Aloha%20Tranquility/110/126/81


Trill Zapatero: Several pieces about the power of the feminine - Working on Instillation

Paulette: Rose Sculpture (INSTALLED!)

Gwen Carillon - Three sculptures, Despair, Rebirth, Stregth (Stregth installed!)

UndoneChaos Enoch - The language of Pornography (Installed on Platform)

Aurakyo Insoo - Imagine Nest (Installed on Platform)

Scylla Rhiandra - Exhibit on Portrayals of VAW in SL (Location TBD)

Carbella Babii - Visual piece (meeting 11/12 to discuss placement)

Medora Chevalier - Stop Stoning culture (INSTALLED)

Jenaia Morane - World AIDS day Exhibit ( To be installed 11/12 or 11/13 - still need quilt to be finished, that will be installed later)

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Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Plot Tracer on History and Future of SLLU

An opinion piece HERE

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Monday, 2 November 2009

Minutes of October meeting. Turnout - 25 comrades from across SL/the world

The meeting covered a lot of points – none of which were concluded – which is a fantastic start as it showed the enthusiasm people from across the left diaspora had for working together on different campaigns.

In particular the threat of the ultra right groups in rl and sl was highlighted, and work continues in various groups across sl to combat this. The coming together of many comrades involved in this will perhaps help to set up educational links.
The Palestinian movements were also highlighted – and again there were various groups represented who can cooperate on various activities effecting both sl and rl.

The introduction and reasons for the meeting were set out thus by Plot Tracer:
SLLU was set up in 2006 originally as an educational organisation – the original idea came from me and three others- that idea was to bring together anti-capitalist SL users in order to create SL installations etc. SLLU then became involved in campaigns that were reactive to conditions (eg. the anti-Front National campaigns); Pro active (educational on poverty/ sexism etc) and proactive /reactive (Palestinian / Greek uprising campaigns).

SLLU was never meant as a sectarian organisation where one group and one “line” was taken on real world campaigns. It is meant as an organisation where people from across the anti-capitalist left spectrum can meet and share ideas – and perhaps link up on issues they agree with.

The “left” does not have to agree on everything – if that was the case, then we would be forcing uniformity upon people. We cannot do this. We can only come to the table with our points of view and agree or disagree – but most importantly, we must either allow others to come to our pints of view through reciprocal education – or agree to disagree. If people cannot do this, they must stay in their own “sect” and stay angry with the world.

The conditions today in 2009 are somewhat different from the conditions in 2006 – there are real opportunities for left gains – and the recent elections in Portugal, Germany and Greece have shown that. People are looking for alternatives to the ultra-capitalism that have almost brought the world to the financial brink.

SLLU has recently been “quiet” – but SLLU has never ceased to be working. The SLLU feminist group has been meeting – albeit sporadically. Hopefully the Feminist Group will continue to inform us and help those of us who find it difficult to accept there are problems within our society that socialism itself will not change.
SL is a link in the chain of online activism. Twitter/ Facebook/ blogs etc all have their place. Sl’s unique points are the ability to “physically” meet within a space at a specific time. It means meetings/ demonstrations and conversations can be had by many people at once.

Recent campaigns using social networks/ blogs etc have shown that online campaigns can be effective – especially when dealing with legislation etc (see the recent Twitter/blogosphere campaign against Trafigura and their injunction placed on the British Parliament).

: And that is what this meeting is for. It is to set a “homework” which will take the form of a report you all will come back together in one month to give.
This may sound perhaps a bit school teacher ish... but...

[14:32] Plot Tracer: it is for a reason
The fact is, a lot of left orgs across the world are wakening up to the social networking thing... and I think SLLU especially can be a hub for these.

Sorry – it is for two reasons – the other being for you, SL users to report here what you have been active doing. This could mean others at this meeting can offer you help/support/comradeship in what you are doing. Could you introduce yourselves, tell us something about your real life activism and if you are involved in SL /internet activism? If you have a blog/ facebook site that reflects your activism, could you please mention that?– in the case of Facebook, my real name is Neil Scott – can you search for me and send a friend request? In the case of a blog, can you mention the url if it is an actisit blog – and we can all link up with it? After we all introduce ourselves I would like to set the homework and the date for the next meeting. OK, first…

I would like us all to meet up again for a reason. We all come from different activism points.
In order to make the most of this place - ie. SL/SLLU we should meet up - share info - and share rl/ internet campaigns we are part of. We need to ensure SL/ SLLU is a part of the chain of web activism - or we need to make it a useful part.

[15:07] Plot Tracer: ok - this is the small task
Activists to come with examples of online campaigns – three types

1. Campaigns that are reactive to conditions (example – Trafigura , in other words were protest and action are concerned)
2. Campaigns that are PRO-active (example – the 16 days of action, in other words, campaigns were education is the outcome)
3. Pro-active reactive (example – reacting to SL incursions of right wing racist organisations with a campaign/ educational etc)
Come with these in order to inform all at the meeting what we can involve ourselves in. SLLU has a blog – www.slleftunity.com

we can use this monthly meeting as a hub for our online activism.
Can i say that i think sl should not be something apart from the other social networks, but something that adds to all of their effectiveness as one activist platform? does that make sense?

i was out of sl for most of this year (nearly eight months)... and what happened here in that time didn’t filter out to me (and i am an extensive user of social networks/ tech) – so we need to revisit some of the ways SLLU used to get left issues onto the pages of our rl newspapers and discuss whether or not these methods are relevant nowadays or should we be looking towards other new networking methods?
[15:12] Deruub Pastorelli: you should keep in mind that sl is hosted on a server owned by a company that gives the log to the fbi without even blinking so its not the most save way

[15:12] Plot Tracer: so - i think we should play to the advantages of all of these platforms

[15:12] Zoe Parness: yes ... but I feel it would be useful to think about what we can achieve in SL which couldnt be achieved in another medium
[15:12] Kara Spengler: with emerald you can encrypt IMs

[15:13] Plot Tracer: we should blog (those who do) twitter/ facebook etc - and also meet up here to plan cross social network campaigns (and sl exclusive ones of course)

[15:13] Bakari Xaris: Deruub no one is going to plan to take over a factory over SL :)

[15:13] Plot Tracer: i disagree, bakari - a factory takeover COULD be planned here.

[15:13] Plot Tracer: :)

[15:14] Deruub Pastorelli: some ppl have to think twice what they do on internet

Next meeting will be Friday 13th November at 2pm SLT Venue tba

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Thursday, 29 October 2009

Demanding Dignity.

Commentary: BeeBee Brouwer

In essence, Amnesty International’s ongoing Demand Dignity Campaign(1) seeks to secure respect for and defense of the basic human rights of all people, regardless of ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexuality, race, religion (or lack thereof) etc. in accord with the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (2) as ratified (though widely disregarded) by most (3) members of the United Nations, with a specific focus on the shocking disparity in maternal mortality between the so called “first” and “third” worlds as being indicative of a fundamental disregard for the basic human dignity of those cultures and peoples who lack economic resources by those cultures and peoples of relative economic prosperity.


For clarity, let’s examine a few key terms; it does little good to discuss such abstract concepts as “dignity” without a common understanding of the word.

Dictionary.com (4) defines “dignity” as :
1. Bearing, conduct, or speech indicative of self-respect or appreciation of the formality or gravity of an occasion or situation.
2. Nobility or elevation of character; worthiness: ‘dignity of sentiments’.
3. Elevated rank, office, station, etc.
4. Relative standing; rank

For the purposes of this article we shall accept this definition as read, with a further caveat to the reader, who is advised to examine other sources, specifically Wikipedia (5) which reminds us that International Proclamations to date have failed to define the term. (see references provided by Wiki)

Rights in the context of this article and applied as a noun, whether singular or plural, are defined (again by Dictionary.com) (6)
As a just claim or title, whether legal, prescriptive, or moral: ‘You have the right to say what you please.’

The subject and definition of ‘rights’ has occupied legalists, moralists, and philosophers for quite a while with arguments about what is and what is not a ’right’ possessed, claimed, or asserted, by any individual or collective entity; this writer asserts that in all such contexts it is demonstrably ‘true’ that the possession of any ‘right’ is ultimately contingent upon the assertion and exercise thereof.

“A ‘right’ is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only ONE fundamental right (all others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life.” - Ayn Rand in “Man’s Rights”

Ms. Rand further states that “Any alleged ‘right’ of one man, which necessitates the violation of the rights of another, is not and cannot be a right.”

Returning to the dictionary.com definition of ‘rights’ accepted as read for the purposes of this article, we find that the justice of any claim to a given ‘right’ is essential if the claimed ‘right’ is to be validated as such.

With the subject of justice we arrive at the crux of the matter at hand and eschewing lengthy discourse on the definition of ‘justice’ we shall again accept as read the simplified definition offered by Dictionary .com (7) “1. The quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness”

This writer asserts that human beings are innately conscious of what is and is not “fair”, “right”, and “just”, and that semantic hairsplitting discussions on the subject are deliberately employed to confound the issue and invalidate the a-priori understanding of such that every child is born with in order to rationalize the invalidation of justice inherent in the assertion and exercise of the ‘right’ to deprive others for gain.

We who enjoy the benefit of a “first world” lifestyle and have inherited a sense that we are rightfully entitled to our comparative wealth, are (generally) accustomed to projecting a sense of our own dignity; we accept, as a matter of unquestionable fact, that we are deserving of the respect we demand, and that the relative material wealth we possess through inherited advantages afforded by the circumstances of our birth is ‘rightfully’ ours.

For us (particularly in the United States) it is unthinkable that our innate or codified “rights” should be violated or impinged, our persons assaulted, disrespected, or violated, or our possessions and/or property taken or damaged by others without our ability to exercise our ‘right’ to recourse, redress, and the pursuit of “justice”.

We, individually and collectively, routinely abnegate the responsibilities inherent in our assertion and exercise of our ‘rights’ to the elected or appointed ‘leaders’ whose function it is to act in such capacity as serves to consolidate and exercise our power and ability to define, assert, and defend the ‘rights’ we take for granted.

Having thus forfeited the individual authority and power of self assertion, we as individuals must, perforce, rely on the systems and leadership of our respective governments for the ‘rights’ we take for granted.

The ‘rights’ of states, as exercised by their respective governments, are claimed, defended, and exercised in the name of their citizens, each of whom has in fact abnegated their personal responsibility for the acts, actions, inactions, crimes and coercions perpetrated in their names, both domestically and abroad, by virtue of the sublimation and subjugation of the individual to the state.

Criminal citations issued by governments frequently charge that the alleged acts were ‘against the peace and dignity of the state’ and seek redress through the systems of law by which statehood is defined, this writer asserts that such citations seek to assert the ‘rights’ of the collective citizenry over the ‘rights’ of any individual.

In corollary, it is the assumed and asserted ‘right’ of the state to conscript the citizen for use as an expendable asset on a battlefield from which all lesser coercions and abuses of individual ‘rights’ are drawn. Regardless of whether the soldier is drafted or volunteers, his or her life is government property and the uses to which that life is put become the responsibility of the government, this has the legal effect of absolving the individual of responsibility for the theft and murder which is the essence of war.

“The term ’individual rights’ is a redundancy: there is no other kind of rights and no one else to possess them.”

“Any group or ‘collective’, large or small, is only a number of individuals. A group can have no rights other than the rights of its individual members. In a free society, the ‘rights’ of any group are derived from the rights of its members through their voluntary individual choice and CONTRACTUAL agreement, and are merely the application of these rights to a specific undertaking…A group, as such, has no rights. “

“Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).

- Ayn Rand in “Collectivized Rights”


Taken as read, we find that the ‘rights’ of states derive from the individuals who comprise their citizenry.
Further, we find that no individual has the ‘right’ to impinge upon the rights of any other individual.
It is therefore reasonable to conclude that the state has no right to impinge upon the individual’s rights, nor does it have the right to deprive any individual of their rights.

If we accept this conclusion we are forced to acknowledge that nations and states, claiming, asserting, and exercising rights they do not in fact possess, are fundamentally criminal in their essence.

Rooted in “the Divine Right of Kings” whose questionable legitimacy stems from the ages of barbarism wherein “might made right” this writer cites kingship and nations et al as the most basic expression of the need for the individual to take back, by force if so required, the rights and responsibilities of being human.

The social evolution of man is such that we must recognize and accept that, in the words of Rand, “Any doctrine of group activities that does not recognize individual rights is a doctrine of mob rule or legalized lynching…” and that “A nation that violates the rights of its own citizens cannot claim any rights whatsoever. In the issue of rights, as in all moral issues, there can be no double standard.”

This writer posits that we who would assert our own rights have a moral and ethical imperative to secure and defend the rights of others lest our claim to those selfsame rights be invalidated.

WE, the individuals, regardless of nation, must expose, face and accept the fallacies inherent in our presumptive and arrogant assertions that the “First World” is economically ascendant because of our supposed moral superiority; ANY honest reading of history will reveal that ‘First World’ economic power and the inherited advantages that accrue therefrom (lower infant and maternal mortality rates, better health care overall, a comparatively well fed and educated population…etc.) are DIRECTLY attributable to the morally and ethically reprehensible exploitation of the resources and assets which were and are BY RIGHT the property of the indigenous “Third World” populations enslaved by our forebears.

WE must face our complicity in the death of every child soldier who dies in the corporate proxy wars of Africa.

WE must validate our own claim to dignity by asserting and ensuring the dignity of those upon whose bones our ascendancy continues to stand.

WE have a moral, ethical, spiritual and HUMAN imperative to reclaim our individual and collective ‘rights’ from our governments; WE must force those who act in our name to act to establish the ascendancy of right (adjectival application) which is a fundamental requirement of human dignity.

Write to the ‘leaders’, instruct them to follow the guidance of the individuals they represent; write letters, publicize the activities of conscienceless corporations and divest yourself of their stocks. Refuse to ignore, participate in, condone or profit from the extractive exploitation of the impoverished, powerless people of the ‘Third World’ and insist, no.. DEMAND an end to exploitative business practices. Demand DIGNITY for all, or face the invalidation of your own.

(BeeBee Brouwer, an SL resident since 2006 for Amnesty International-E)

(1) http://www.amnestyusa.org/demand-dignity/amnesty-internationals-dignity-campaign/page.do?id=1051292

(2) http://www.ohchr.org/EN/UDHR/Pages/Introduction.aspx

(3) http://www.feministcampus.org/fmla/printable-materials/global_project/ratify_factsheet.pdf

(4) http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/dignity

(5) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dignity

(6) http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Rights

(7) http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/justice

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Sunday, 18 October 2009

16 days of activism campaign


The 16 Days of Activism against gender violence is an
international campaign originating from the first Women's Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women's Global Leadership in 1991. Participants chose the dates, November 25, International Day Against Violence Against Women and December 10, International Human Rights Day, in order to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights. This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates including November 29, International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, December 1, World AIDS Day, and December 6, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre.

The 16 Days Campaign has been used as an organizing strategy by individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women by:

  • raising awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional and international levels
  • strengthening local work around violence against women
  • establishing a clear link between local and international work to end violence against women
  • providing a forum in which organizers can develop and share new and effective strategies
  • demonstrating the solidarity of women around the world organizing against violence against women
  • creating tools to pressure governments to implement promises made to eliminate violence against women

A coalition of social justice groups within Second Life will be marking the 16 days campaign here in SL by organising a series of discussions, presentations & exhibits highlighting violence against women internationally.

Topics will include: women fighting for peace in isreal & palestine; the white ribbon campaign and mens role in challenging male violence; anti slavery and trafficking in women;
commercial sexual exploitation & the links between different forms of violence against women; rape and sexual violence as a human rights issue; the situation for women in iran; femicides in mexico; amnesty international campaign on ending violence against women and taking back the tech - representations of vaw in SL.

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Friday, 16 October 2009

meeting today

Meeting in SLLU Unity Hub tonight. No longer than 1 hour long. DETAILS ON GROUP NOTICES INWORLD.

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Thursday, 15 October 2009

Agenda for meeting 16 10 09 1pm SLT (10pm GMT)

Agenda

16 10 09

(detail will be filled in by Plot on the night – the meeting should not be longer than an hour tops.)

Intro (Plot) Why we have met up tonight.

Intro (everyone else who turns up – introduce themselves and something about the activism they engage in in rl/ on the Web and SL)

Date of Next meeting

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Sunday, 11 October 2009

SURROGATES - Second Life geeks?

Jack Ferguson reviews "Surrogates"

Plot Tracer replies to Jack.
A not so Pessimistic view of "the Geek!"

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Jack Ferguson reviews "Surrogates"

‘Surrogates,’ is a thriller about a world in which no one leaves the house any more because we all have robot versions of ourselves that can be controlled remotely, allowing people to experience the world without risk to their selves, and also to project whatever image of themselves they like.

The main plot of the film features two versions of Bruce Willis’ FBI Agent Tom Greer-firstly his unpleasantly photoshopped, waxy surrogate, with a comedy blonde toupee. But when the machine is damaged he is forced to come out into the real world in his real, bald, bearded, fragile and aged self. He does this to investigate the first murder that has occurred in years, using a weapon that is somehow able to kill a surrogate and the remote operator.

If the main plot sounds a bit silly, that’s because it was. The main charm of the film, in a way not unlike ‘Children of Men,’ (but not done nearly as well), is the background details the makers have created. The film opens with the staple of many a sci fi movie-the fake news reports that explain the background that sets up the world of the story. The one in Surrogates is particularly well done, with many of the fake pundits featured very reminiscent of a certain brand of nerd-hypester, insisting on TV the world shaking significance of the latest technological breakthrough. And throughout the film, little details, such as the advert that says, “Give every child the perfect childhood: Surrogates for children,” help to build up the atmosphere to make a creepy allegory about the alienation of early 21st century techno capitalism and the technological changes it has bought to social interaction via creations like Second Life or Facebook.

However, despite the fact that many details help to build a believable world, there’s a lot about it the social and political background of the film that’s unsatisfyingly resolved. A minority, but mass, movement around the world opposes the use of surrogates, and has formed reservations where they can live fully human lives. These people are led by a dreadlocked Ving Rhames, who plays ‘The Prophet,’ who inexplicably has the same first name as the former name of the Democratic Republic of Congo-Zaire Powell. We get to see a bit of this movement and their autonomous spaces, which are ramshackle hippie communes, but with a lot more green space and real looking people than the fake urban robot world outside. At one point a horse and cart is clearly meant to channel the idea of the Amish for the viewer. However, they’re never really fully fleshed out as a group, and remain a bit of a caricature.

But less well done than this is the throwaway mention at the start of “racism and sexism rapidly disappearing.” Why this should happen is never explained, and it is flat out contradicted in at least one scene, when we see two men using their surrogates to beat up a fellow robot woman, apparently simply for pleasure. But more than this, the implied point throughout the film, in a clear metaphor for the internet (with its flame wars and invented personalities for users), people use surrogates to live out their fantasies. Everyone can project whatever image of themselves they want, and more often than not, especially for women, this a sexualised stereotype of the human ideal. In another scene we see a bald, white, geeky scientist whose avatar is a much taller, well built black man. What does it say about this man that his fantasy version of himself, presumably in contrast to his nerdy self, is an athletic black man?

This raises a serious point about the makers’ impression of the changes being wrought in our society by the internet and new technology. One of the greatest economic drivers of the growth of the internet is the vast increase in pornography it has brought about. As a consequence our society is increasingly influenced by the ridiculous sexuality and extreme racism portrayed in porn. In many ways the internet (and its metaphorical version in the film, surrogacy) hasn’t eliminated sexism and racism-in fact it’s heightened it and made it worse.

As well as this, the issue of class and economic inequality is never really dealt with. I know I shouldn’t really expect that of a mainstream Hollywood film, but it did leave me wondering-can poor people afford surrogates? And in a world of such advanced robotics, why is there still the need for many people to even have jobs?

However, when parodying our world and how we interact with each other online, the details of the film are very successful. The world of surrogates is clearly false, but no one can conceive of life without them. This is personified in the character of Bruce Willis’ wife, who is angered when he starts refusing to use one, and is using hers as a means of disconnection from the painful, human reality of their past and current relationship. In contrast to the plastic, cosmetic surgery version of perfection of the surrogates, all the human operators we see are old and fragile, and bear all the hallmarks of our world’s obsessive computer user, with bad skin and damaged eyes.

Many of the action sequences feel a bit tacked on to appeal to people who just want thought free excitement, but despite this a scene were we get to see the US military in operation, with faceless robots descending on a desert enemy who we never really see (are they human or surrogate?) there is a nice touch: the soldiers themselves are sitting in a glorified gaming room. In an amusing comment on how the proliferation of war games to a generation that has fought in Iraq, we see how the conduct of war now really is like a game-when killed you reset to a specified point and go back to correct your mistake.

There’s a lot about ‘Surrogates,’ that’s very of our time. Recently there was a media controversy after a leading artificial intelligence researcher claimed we’re 10 years away from artificial people that can be bought for sex appearing on the open market. And as more and more people, via laptops and iphones, mediate every part of their daily experience through computer technology, are we really that far away from the world of the film? And of course, more than this, there’s the obvious parallel with alienation through consumerism, with people only able to experience the world and feel fully human by using and owning inanimate things.

However, where the film falls down is it wants to be two things at once-intelligent meditation on the theme of consumerism and techno alienation, as well as Bruce Willis futuristic cop action thriller. In trying to do both it doesn’t really succeed in either, but there are enough elements of a cleverer film in there to at least hold your interest.

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Plot replies... A not so pessimistic view of "the Geek!"

Although agreeing with Jack Ferguson on quite a number of points in his review of “Surrogates” (SSV; Friday 2nd October), I have a number of points I would like to add to with a lesser pessimistic view of new technology and the internet.

I agree that there are some people who are obsessive computer users - perhaps with bad skin and damaged eyes – but I cannot agree that this is the norm. An image of the “typical” Facebook user, or Second Life User has been adopted by lots of commentators on these phenomena – and I would argue that the media put across a negative view of these alternative media and the user because they threaten their income and they also threaten the “clearing house” represented by our twentieth century media houses. I agree that there are those who have placed their first life on hold and live their lives through these new media – but the reasons are much more complex than “obsession” or “geekiness” (perhaps one I will go into in depth in another article). Those who have placed their real lives on hold are, in my opinion, far outnumbered by those who use these tools to educationally enhance their lives/ activism etc.
As someone who was a regular user of Second Life (I have not been involved so much in the interface for most of this year, but still stay in touch with a lot of the people I befriended there through twitter, email or Facebook- all of which I can access on my computer and phone), I came to see the positive aspects of this “world”. Yes, it did have the porn aspects and the “flames” etc – people were able to say, “do” and act out fantasies – and still do, though porn has now been relegated to a parallel “Second Life” in which you must sign up with a credit/debit card in order to access – but there were other aspects of this media that were being used by friends, activists and business that were – and are less than “geeky” or sinister.

I won’t go onto ground I have already covered in The Scottish Socialist Voice, Red Pepper (http://www.redpepper.org.uk/Left-unity-in-Second-Life) or Frontline (http://www.redflag.org.uk/frontline/feb07/03secondlife.html ) about the Second Life group a number of us set up nearly three years ago – Second Life Left Unity – which is still going strong, with a women’s network that spreads across the real world and an activist base who meet up periodically to share ideas, links and articles from across the left spectrum. Although these groups – and the individuals involved, operate within this digital “world” – they are using this medium as an aid to their very real life – it is a tool that allows them to talk (Second Life can be used with microphones as well as type) to people involved in real life actions ranging from Palestine, through to indigenous peoples rights activists in North America, New Zealand and Australia and people involved in the recent Greek uprising and also the recent left victories in Portugal and Germany. The first hand knowledge these people can pass on to activists across the real world is invaluable – name a cheaper way for real life activists to meet and question each other on what is going on in Uruguay, Paris, the outback or Glasgow? I would say the only barrier to this medium to being much more popular and useful to activists is the length of time you need to take to set up and learn how to use it, though as time goes on and the technology is opened up to more developers etc, this set up time is reducing – and after a few hours of practise, it is an easy interface to use.

Facebook and other social networking sites can also be frivolous and entertaining etc; but I - and many others - also see them as ways to link up across the world with people of the left and share information about local/national/international campaigns. Through Facebook, I have spoken to people in Scotland I have never met in “real life” and they have, through reading my posts, become supporters of the Scottish Socialist Party, or have educated themselves on various issues. This is, of course, reciprocal, an almost Freirien educational experience, were everyone becomes teachers and learners.

I don’t disagree with Jack that there are people who “fetishise” phones/computers or the like, but I think there are as many people who buy these applications for something beyond the need to have the latest gizmo to impress their friends. New technology has made it cheap and easy to send messages to many people at one time – and this technology has meant that news of events happening in the now can be instantly transmitted across the world without the intervention of “Fox News” or the BBC. During the G8 Auchterarder demonstrations, I was able to pass on information from the news/ the web about why buses were being stopped etc to people on the buses who were not being told any information by the police manning the cordons around the village. Text, and now Twitter and internet phones have made this kind of passing on information easier and quicker. The authorities are panicking about this -this was recently, very graphically shown with the arrest of an activist involved in the protests at the G20 meetings in the US as he was “Twittering” on the spot reports of the demonstrations. Elliot Madison was arrested, along with a friend, in a hotel room in Pittsburgh for using computers and a radio scanner for tracking police movements and then passing this on via Twitter to activists on the ground with internet access on their phones. He is charged with “hindering apprehension or prosecution, criminal use of a communication facility and possession of instruments of crime” (computers and a radio).

The use of Twitter, blogs and Facebook, etc was also very graphically illustrated when on 13th October 2009, the waste corporation, Trafigura was forced to withdraw a gagging order it had slapped on journalists from reporting a routine Parliamentary question. Reporters were able to say in the Guardian, that they “were prevented from identifying the MP who asked the question, what the question is, which minister might answer it, or where the question is to be found” – and that was basically all. Tweeters and bloggers then quickly tore apart the mystery and began reporting that it was a question tabled by MP Paul Farrelly on the dumping of chemical waste in the Ivory Coast. The activist who blew the whistle had published all the details of the gagging order, within 42 minutes of the original Guardian statement going up. Just over two hours after the Guardian statement was published, Carter-Ruck, Trafigura’s lawyers, contacted the Guardian to alter the gagging order and ensure the Parliamentary questions could be reported. It was a victory for new technology. The actor, Stephen Fry, who is a Twitter user – and who also became part of the “Twitteratti” who made sure the story of Trafigura became the biggest internet expose and “high trending” topic on the internet that morning, said, “Carter-ruck caves in! hurrah! Trafigura will deny it had anything to do with Twitter, but we know don’t we?”

Recently, a billboard advert had to be withdrawn from the streets of Northern Ireland after a group of Facebook feminists organised an online campaign. The advertising Standards Authority said it received a number of complaints about the advert, which featured the image of the cleavage of a woman wearing a white bra with the strapline: “Nice headlamps. What do you look for in a car?” The ASA said the poster “caused serious offence… and was likely to be seen to objectify and degrade women by linking attributes of a woman, her cleavage, to attributes of a car, the headlamps, in a way that would be seen to imply a woman, like a car, was to be selected for those attributes.” Glasgow online activist, “Ledoof Constantineau”, said of this victory that it was “totally magic!” She is a user of social networks and Second Life as an aid to her activism. She said, “Social networks afford a range of opportunities for activism for women. We can connect, engage and share information/ideas/strategies for action now on an international level, without borders.

Feminists in Second Life, for example, have worked to raise awareness of the situation for women in Iran during and after the recent uprising. Sharing information across networks such as Twitter, facebook, and blogs has also been crucial in letting the world know exactly what has been happening there. A coalition of feminists, activists and organisations such as Rape Crisis Scotland are currently working together to organise an event for the 16 days of activism against violence against women. Using SL we break down the barrier of being on other sides of the world (The group comprises activists from Brazil, Mexico, UK, USA, Canada, Holland to name a few). We can collaborate synchronously, sharing ideas and common ground. Social media provides fertile ground for education and awareness raising on a scale previously impossible. As women, it is particularly important that we ‘take back the tech’; tech that often mirrors real world sexism (pornography, stalking, misogyny), and makes us reluctant sometimes to fully embrace what’s available and use it to our advantage.”

With access to the internet and in turn, social networking now possible through phones, how we communicate or self educate – or pass on information, has changed dramatically even in the last couple of years. Sitting here in a park (my son and his friend are playing) , I am able to access the internet to find information on Elliot Madison; access the news in order to see updates on the continuing MP’s expenses scandal, communicate with activists (arranging an SSP Campsie response to the Schools survey sent to all homes in East Dunbartonshire), type this article – and, oh – to arrange meeting a friend for a drink tonight. Only a few years ago, when I brought my son to this same play area, I was only able to read the paper or a book. This new technology has meant information on the go – a new world – and way - of education.

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Sunday, 4 October 2009

SLLU Meeting

SLLU meeting on October 16th. All welcome. This meeting will be the first monthly meeting. Members of all left groups are welcome. this is your opportunity to speak to others on the left and perhaps get them involved in your project!

The time for this meeting on the 16th has not been decided... please email me plottracer@googlemail.com with the time that suits you.

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Saturday, 12 September 2009

16 days of activism against violence agaist women

From: Ledoof Constantineau

In the build up to the 16 days of activism against violence against women, we'll be featuring various groups and campaigns who are trying to make a difference.
Today you can check out Men Can Stop Rape, who carry out lots of great prevention work, challenging traditional notions of masculinity and encouraging men to become allies in fostering healthy relationships and gender equity.
In the notecard below you can also see links for their fabulous campaign 'my strength is not for hurting'.

Contact Ledoof Constantineau for more details.

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Thursday, 10 September 2009

Announcements

from Ledoof Constantineau

Volunteers still needed for 16 days of action event to challenge violence against women. contact Ledoof for info.

from Lisabeth Nikolaidis

the facist group European Heritage have called a meeting this Friday Sept 11 at 12pm slt (9pm French time) to discuss the future of EH. Its notice startes that, "Every member of EH should come."

Let's make it clear that racists and holocaust deniers should have no future on Second Life.

Anti fascists from across the world are strongly urged to converge on the European Heritage skybox in Chaska this Friday at 12pmslt to disrupt their meeting.

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Thursday, 23 July 2009

Cross Left Meeting around United Opposition to Fascism

Friday, the 24th of July, there will be a broad, cross-left meeting to discuss and organise for united opposition to fascist, ethnic centric-nationalist and national-socialist presence and organisation in SL.
The meeting will be held at 2 pm SLT(pdt) and will take place at Unity Station of SLLU: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Oculea/156/152/44

[in comments, notes that have circulated, agenda points etc]

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Sunday, 28 June 2009

Letter from Plot Tracer to SLLU


(Please see the post below this letter for meeting details)

I am heartened to see the re-commencement of meetings of the Left Unity project, Second Life Left Unity.

The Aims and Principles of SLLU state – “The group offers the means of a left environment, the term Unity does not claim anything since there is no monopoly. It is a proposition.” – and I feel the honourable history of SLLU has met that aim. Many people from different aspects of the left have used SLLU to rally many others to causes we can all unite on. SLLU has proved time and time again NOT to be a sectarian, evangelical left sect – and has been a welcoming space for the left of different hues.

The aims and principles state, “The SLLU stands for the transformation of society. To replace capitalism with an alternative classless, stateless economic system based on collaborative democratic ownership and control of the key sectors of the Second Life (SL) economy. A system based on physical freedom; artistic freedom and environmental protection rather than private profit and promotion of Real-Life mass produced corporate products.”

This aim is fundamental to the use of virtual environments to be used as freely as possible without exploitation. The recent disappearance of the SLLU shop is a real pity – it was a resource under used and under publicised. Having said that – the use of the physical spaces owned by SLLU by SLLU members for agitation, publicity for issues etc is second to none. Voices usually silenced or filtered by the mainstream media have managed to be heard – and this has led from SL through to the mainstream media, as we have seen in the past with fights against fascist groups such as the French Front National; union battles such as the fight in Italy against vicious IBM bosses and the recent Greek uprisings and Palestinian solidarity demos.

Virtual worlds offer a place to experiment with alternative – fair - economies and social systems. Second Life does not do this, with its tier system of rights according to ability to pay. SLLU has offered space for left artists to express themselves free of charge (for example in the garden for the victims of capitalism and the camp we set up for people to create their own expressions of protest against the capitalists system). In giving voice to those who are usually silenced, SLLU has been meeting its third aim – “The SLLU will provide political support and solidarity to all those who are involved in fighting back against injustice, whether it be trade unionists, community organisations, tenants groups, anti nuclear protesters, animal rights campaigners, anti racist organisations, feminists, anti-war groups, mental health advocacy groups, LGBTI rights organisations and other campaigns and protest movements.”

I won’t patronise members by going through the rest of the aims and principles of the group, they are here for all to see. These aims and principles were created back in 2005/06 by a group of people from diverse backgrounds in real life – some members of real life political/ activist groups, and some who were from none. The aims and principles have been tweaked and improved upon over the years through democratic discussion.
No individual can claim to be SLLU – SLLU is made up of people across the world united by these aims and principles.

The recent call for new meetings by Smoke Wijaya is exactly the way SLLU can be re-ignited – SLLU does not go away much as in countries across the world, left unity is important in order to challenge the current hegemony. In times of crisis, such as that affecting the world at the moment, were workers conditions are attacked by those who control the financial cogs and wheels, the anti-capitalist left MUST unite.

Although unable to attend the meetings for the next few weeks (personal circumstances has stemmed by second life- I WILL be back – and look forward to meeting my SL friends again soon), I hope they go well. I will remind people, that all that was achieved by SLLU was started when three people met and decided to build a left unity project. Dick Marellan, Higgledpiggle Snoats and myself created a space for the left to meet and plan installations. The original idea was to create a space where lefties could share their real life experiences and have a welcoming space in which to express them. SLLU took off in a way none of us could have imagined.

SLLU, as a place for lefties to meet without hierarchy, is vital. The left groups in SL usually have a structure, even though this structure may be informal – there usually is a “leader” - a core activist plugging away at sometimes single issues, or a multitude of issues.

I would suggest that those activists (even if the initial numbers are small) who do attend meetings should contact as many left groups as possible, and show them our aims and principles and invite them along to share their experiences and perhaps a synthesis can be reached of common action and activity.

SL needs SLLU- and those who meet must ensure people from across the grid come together without prejudice.
Plot Tracer
28.6.09

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SLLU Membership Meetings Resumed

SL Left Unity will resume its regular membership meetings inworld (in SL) at the original day and time, namely:
Sundays, 2 pm SLT (Sun 17:00 New York - Sun 14:00 SF - Sun 22:00 GMT - Mon 07:00 Syndey) at SLLU Unity Station: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Oculea/156/152/44

SLLU will continue the meetings starting from Sunday the 5th of Juli.

If you have proposals for agenda-items, please add them in the comments section below.

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Friday, 22 May 2009

Make Greed History

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Thursday, 21 May 2009

Virtually Speaking: Grassroots Organizing, Networking




You are invited ....


Event title: Blogger Clammyc Live in SL/Guest Host CS Kappler

Sponsoring/hosting institution: Virtually Speaking

Date: Thursday, May 21, 2009

Times: 6pm - 7:15 pm SLT

Locale  - InWorld Amphitheater


InWorld Studios


Adam Lambert is a tax consultant living and working in the New York City area. Blogging under the name clammyc, Adam is  a frequent contributor at Daily Kos and front pager at bluejersey. He co-founded Political Nexus, an online Blog Talk Radio site with six different show formats focused on progressive issues and the progressive blogosphere. 


He is currently focused on local organizing and politics and presently following discussions about the first Supreme Court justice nomination of the Obama era.


Clammy and CS Kappler will  talk about social networks and the many ways technologies are enhancing activism and the conversations of activism, organizing, campaigns, messaging and shaping of public policy.


*********************************************


Virtually Speaking with Jimbo Hoyer is a regular public affairs program of Inworld Studios, featuring live, in-depth, intelligent conversations with opinion leaders before a virtual studio audience. Programs are simulcast on Blog Talk Radio. Writer CS Kappler is the alternative show host. Widget Whiteberry dresses the set and promotes Virtually Speaking on the net. Pebea Quandary creates guest avatars. Bookem Streeter stocks the books at Jackson Street Books online , Pb Recrean provides tech support - and DJs afterwards -  and Dire Lobo  manages tech and the site.


Help us spread the word -


1. Follow the schedule and post pictures,  questions/comments to the forum at 


Virtually Speaking blog forum


2. Join the Virtually Speaking group inworld and on FaceBook


3. Follow Jay on Twitter



Contact: Widget Whiteberry



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Friday, 15 May 2009

Lets resume SLLU Membership Meetings

Hey comrades,

I want to propose we will resume the regular membership meetings again.
We for some reason stopped meeting; meetings that we decided to have, several months ago.
Some of us are or have been very busy in RL, sundays was not always a good day, 2 pm was maybe not the best time; whatever the reasons were, please add your thoughts in the commentsection on whether we should resume the meetings, and if yes, what time and day.

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Sunday, 26 April 2009

SLLU - a place in Second Life for the Left

SLLU is a place for left radicals to meet on SL. As the capitalist system crumbles and the capitalists make the poor and working class pay for their failures and bonuses, SLLU – a Left Unity project – becomes even more relevant. People from across the world can meet and share their experiences of the fight for a fair world. SLLU is a place people across the globe can meet to coordinate fightbacks.

It is a space were left anti-capitalists can find what they agree on and act on these things. It is a group where different left groups can explain their program without prejudice.

The internet is an important meeting place to share views and to put alternative views across to people who have been confused by the neo-liberal double-speak we have been subjected to for thirty years. SLLU can bring groups of people together to coordinate blogs/emailings/websites/installations in Second Life.

The capitalist system of greed before people cannot solve poverty. The right wing new ideology of “thrift” is one of austerity not for the rich, but for the working class and poor. Let’s get this message out. Let’s meet in SLLU – let’s be part of the fightback.

To find out when SLLU meets, please contact Smoke Wijaya, Ledoof Constantineau or Zoe Parness.

MAKE GREED HISTORY BY MAKING CAPITALISM HISTORY!

Plot Tracer

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Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Inside the Occupied Schools!

The Occupiers Speak! Richie Venton, Glasgowe Save Our Schools Organiser, in discussion with the women occupying St Gregory's Primary and Wyndford Primary in Maryhill, Glasgow.

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Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Democrats Attack Republicans



Ernest Newman

US Democratic Party Propaganda Attacks Republicans

The US Democratic Party has taken off the gloves, in attacking Republicans for causing, and refusing to allow correction of, the present economic "collapse" ("oops...somebody goofed!", my ass).

Characterizing Republican looting of the Treasury, and anti-democratic obstructionist oppositionalism toward necessary changes, as a "hit and run" on the American people, with sirens sounding in the background, Democrats are no longer pulling their punches nearly as much.

In current commercial mass media ads being fielded against local and state Republican candidates, leading up to the pivotal 2010 and 2012 interim Congressional elections (when fully half of the House of Representatives, and all of the Senators, will be up for re-election, or replacement by more progressive candidates) the Democratic Party is hitting hard, with fighting words, against the Republican Party.

This is stronger rhetoric than we have previously seen on the national level. It basically is saying the Republicans should be arrested, and that they have left our nation reeling, like the lady victim of the hit and run (by a speeding red convertible, lol).

This is so much more sophisticated, than the crude proto-fascist Republican line, which is basically that the commie nigger bastard should be shot, and everyone who likes him, too. A rhetorical civil war is now underway, in the US.

The right is much harsher, more explicit, and more vicious in it's rhetoric and propaganda, aimed at provoking personal violence toward, and fear by "liberals", and everyone anywhere near or to the left of them. They threaten us with death.

Sarah Palins' close affinity with Joel's Army is bonechilling, once you look into the "Christian" cult plans to enslave and slaughter "non-believers". They are as whack as any Al Queda.

Of course, the Democrats aren't going there...yet. But they are standing up and slugging it out, at this point, more than they have done for a long time.

The Republicans are freaking out, insane with hatred and bile. They really are dangerous.

For the Democrats to attack the Republicans in this manner indicates that the Democrats feel emboldened by a surge of popular democratic sentiment against the Republican line and practice.

This is a good thing, even if the Democrats are merely fronting and posing. To the extent that more radical, progressive and determined elements in the Democratic Party are involved in pushing the contradictions within and between the parties, or become involved in this propaganda war, it could get interesting.

2010 and 2012 will be pivotal. They will make or break the Obama revolution, more or less. They will make the difference, between the all out chaos of full-blown civil war, or a sufficient popular democratic mandate, in terms of progressive plurality in the Congress, to quickly and effectively suppress the right wing reactionary conservative fundamentalist fascist counter-revolution.

LOL, you can laugh, nitpick and cuss all you want, but Obama does symbolically represent a genuinely revolutionary fundamental popular demand for real hope and change for the future, for justice and peace, to save the planet. This is the clear popular democratic mandate of his election.

It will not be denied.

All Power to the People!

Death to Capitalism, and it's moribund form, Fascism!

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