Saturday, 25 September 2010

Plot podcast

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Monday, 26 July 2010

Announcing the "Consumer Watch": A New Feminist Blog for Second Life

http://sllufnconsumerwatch.blogspot.com/

The SL Left Feminist Network is excited to announce the launch of a new blog focused upon feminist issues and Second Life, the “SLLU Feminist Network Consumer Watch.” The “Consumer Watch” will highlight and analyze products available for sale in Second Life that tap into the lucrative market for violent pornography and role play.

Why have we decided to create this new information source?

At one time, “Your World, Your Imagination” was the sales pitch, and indeed, philosophical underpinning for Second Life. Thousands of residents took this mantra to heart, and sought to make this virtual world a place to explore their own expansive imaginations, and transcend the narrow limits of our everyday physical existence. One result has been the creation within this virtual world of unparalleled new forms of art, of landscapes of breathtaking beauty and scope, and of liberating experiments in social organization and personal identity.

But there has always been, of course, a darker side to Second Life, epitomized in the subcultures that have chosen not to see the boundless potential of this virtual world as a way of imagining something better for human kind, but rather as a means of indulging in the some of the very worst instincts that still prey upon our culture. Nothing embodies this retrograde approach to the potential of Second Life more than those varieties of role play that fetishize and indeed celebrate sexual violence. Dolcett, Vore, snuff and rape role play, sexual age play, Gor, and some of the more extreme fringes of BDSM have parasitically infested Second Life for nearly as long as the application has existed, ensuring that this virtual world reflects not only the very best that the human imagination can conjure, but also, sadly, the very worst that human civilization has wrought.

If Second Life truly were nothing more than a mere “fantasy world,” and the borders between it and “real life” as impermeable as some like to pretend, the existence of grotesquely violent sexual role play here would be offensive, but not necessarily worrisome. But Second Life is, in truth, an extension of “real life”: those who enact scenes of violence against women here are indulging their real life predilections, while those who immerse themselves in such role play are carrying those experiences and their emotional and psychological consequences with them back into the physical world. What happens in Second Life DOES matter; it both reflects and impacts upon the real world.

And for this reason, it is time to shine a little light upon the darker corners of this, our virtual world.

"The SLLU Feminist Network Consumer Watch" is committed to doing just this. Features will focus upon animations, skins, clothing, and furniture available for purchase that normalize and trivialize gender violence, or otherwise reinforce dangerous and harmful misogynist attitudes. In addition to providing an overview of such content, usually highlighting the work of an individual content creator, each blog article will include a feminist analysis of the reviewed products.

Through its examination of these products, "The Consumer Watch" will offer a frank and often deeply disturbing insight into those subcultures within Second Life that role play explicit and extreme scenarios of sexual violence. It will demonstrate that rape, snuff, and other violent forms of sexualized role play are expressions of harmful and deep-seated misogynist attitudes, and it will argue that such role play, far from being harmless "fantasy," does impact negatively upon real life perspectives on and approaches to gender equality and social justice.

Because the most democratic and effective means of responding to the sale of violently misogynist content is the consumer boycott, "The Consumer Watch" will also maintain a running "Boycott Notification" list of content creators.

We invite you to visit the “Consumer Watch,” and join in the conversations there.

The first two blog posts for the "Consumer Watch" are now online:

"Battle Royale Redivivus"

http://sllufnconsumerwatch.blogspot.com/2010/07/battle-royale-redivivus.html

An analysis of the unresolved "Battle Royale" skin controversy that swirled around Gala Phoenix's *Curio* skin line in October of last year.

[WARNING: Contains mild images of violence that may be triggering]

"In Which We Dipp into the Dark Side"

With images:
http://sllufnconsumerwatch.blogspot.com/2010/07/every-once-in-while-one-runs-across.html

Text only:
http://sllufnconsumerwatch.blogspot.com/2010/07/in-which-we-dipp-into-dark-side-text.html

An examination of a few of the snuff, rape, and bondage devices offered for sale by Dipp Canning's *Dip Dexines*.

[WARNING: Contains language and images of extreme violence.]

For a general introduction to the “Consumer Watch,” see:

http://sllufnconsumerwatch.blogspot.com/2010/07/welcome-to-sl-left-unitys-consumer.html

Questions and comments regarding the “SLLU Feminist Network Consumer Watch” can be sent to:

sllufn.consumer.watch@gmail.com

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Sunday, 18 July 2010

CapitalismGreedAusterityPretense

by Lemonodo Oh

France has seen
repeated general
strikes,

with resistance initially
stoked by
the ...

Labels:
austerity, capitalism,
cuts, david cameron

Deficits
have grown
because of the

capitalist
economic downturn. ...
more user fees

for other public
services are
also

part of the
right-wing
package. ...

We should be
inspired by
the

resistance to cutbacks
in Greece.
'Capitalism

is killing us',
U.S. Social
Forum

meets in Detroit ...
Being part
of

mass movements is
a better
strategy

for labor than
simply ... student
resistance

to budget cuts
and the
capitalist

crisis.
The end
of my action

was part of
the plan,
my

strategy,
by the
summer of ... out

a violent, imperialistic
capitalist agenda
for

the real rulers. ...
Further, without
seeing

the big picture
of people's
resistance

to
capitalism ... Severe
budget cuts were

announced,
including the
closure of 11

public ...
Trade Unionist
and Socialist Coalition

Standing
against cuts
and privatisation ... on

6 May - who
are against
the

pro-big business
agenda of
the

main political parties. ...
IF ANYONE
still

believes
that Tony
Blair had to

sanction ...
in the
form of the

New Labour part-privatisation
academies agend...
Anarchist

Panther ·
Black Agenda
Report · Black Commentator ...

Hope
readers are
having fun with

State Capitalism and
World Revolution ?
I

don't think I
got ... in
own

forms of resistance —
sometimes individualized,
sometimes

organized. ...
The Debate
on

Strategy in the
Anti-Budget Cuts
Movement ...

Indeed,
large protests
and resistance have

become
central ... A
key part of

this
theatre is
to mask its

true agenda behind
a charitable
theme. ...

In order to
pay for
this

extravagance, our government
has cut
women...


Part of the
reason for
the

wholesale
rejection of
the ND in

2009, ...
Though the
drivers' association leader

spoke
of opposing
the “global neoliberal

agenda”, ...
When the
global capitalist crisis

hit
in 2007,
Greece like most

other ...
Sweeping budget
cuts by the

Greek government have
provoked a ...
This

resistance took place,
of course,
in

the context of
a ... flowing
from

the Lisbon Agenda
and the
high

levels of structural
unemployment

(2000 –

2004). .....
They were
significant for the

participation of the
CUT ... He
has

taken their part,
their lot,
their

future as his
own. ... imposed

and
the first
to produce a

sustained
resistance movement
to it, has

long been a ...
eliminate the
minimum

wage,
cut health
and welfare spending,

and privatize education. ....
In The
Shock

Doctrine:
The Rise
of Disaster Capitalism ...

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Tuesday, 1 June 2010

NO GAG (NO AL BAVAGLO)

Ci hanno chiuso gli occhi, tappato le orecchie e adesso vogliono farci tacere, NOI NON CI STIAMO!!!.
Bisogna chiaramente rispondere con un 'no al bavaglio' al via libera alla riforma delle intercettazioni che mette il bavaglio alla stampa e le manette alla magistratura licenziata dalla Commissione Giustizia del Senato.I cittadini italiani non vogliono la censura che scaturirebbe da questa norma.Parmalat, i fatti di Genova e tante altre inchieste esplose in questi anni sarebbero passate senza nessuna informazione se il ddl intercettazioni fosse gia' stato in vigore.Ma soprattutto per noi, popolo della rete, con le nuove norme verrebbe di fatto impedito di diffondere le libere informazioni, come facciamo da quando abbiamo scoperto che il web e' anche uno spazio di libera circolazione delle notizie.Chiediamo a tutto il popolo di Second Life di far sentire la propria voce, unendosi alla protesta già in corso nella RL, alla quale hanno già aderito 120.000 persone.
Stiamo organizzando una manifestazione che coinvolgerà tutte le lands che vorranno aderire.Partecipiamo imbavagliati, alla protesta, manifestando apertamente il nostro dissenso .
Per le adesioni, contattaremaio134567890maio PortaViola Tatham

translation english
They closed our eyes, plugged our ears and now they want us to be still, WE WON'T!. We must reply with a clear 'no gag ' to the reform of interceptions that hushes the press and ties down the magistrature dismissed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Italian people do not want the censorship that would stem from this rule. Parmalat, the events in Genoa and many other investigations exploded in recent years would pass without any information if this decree law was in force . Above all for us, the people of the net, the new rules would in fact prevent us from divulging free information, as we do since we discovered that the web is an area of free circulation of news too. We ask all of the people of Second Life to rise up by joining the remonstrance underway in RL, which have already signed up 120,000 people. We are setting up a manifestation involving all the lands that wish to adhere.
If you'd like to join, please contact:maio134567890maio PortaViola Tatham

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Monday, 31 May 2010

Reaction to Israeli murders in international waters

Scottish Socialist Party condemn Israeli murder of Humanitarian Aid workers.

HERE

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Sunday, 9 May 2010

Post Election Rant

by Wenceslas Wellesley




I'm so excited I could just soil myself. An old Etonian who inherited most of his personal wealth and who has co-opted most of his old school mates into his "team" is currently in talks with another posh-school old boy to decide who is going to run my country. Whoop-de-f***ing-doo. We're in a time warp going back to the 18th Century, where we'll all have to start tugging our forelocks to anyone wearing a wig, renting our hovels from his lordship in the big house, and being turned off our land for his poaching rabbits or looking at his wife's tits. Ranting???? I've hardly f***ing started!!!

Gordon Brown has fought the campaign of a worm that couldn't quite be arsed to turn. Why didn't he stick it to us morning, noon and night that the very bankers who caused all the shit we are in are the very people who BANKROLLED the Tories' campaign which spent 4 times what Labour were able to summon !!!!??? Why did he campaign like a speak your weight machine which only took one foot out of its mouth long enough to insert the other??? Why did he apologise to that woman when actually she WAS (albeit mildly) bigotted?? Why the hell did he allow the MP's expenses scandal to look like a government problem, when Tory MPs had to pay back on average nearly TWICE what Labour MPs paid back, and HIS payback was less than Cameron's OR Clegg's.

Still, Liverpool's back in Labour hands. So us scousers have seemingly forgiven ourselves for Degsy. OK I'm going for a lie down...

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Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Notes from the SLLU Feminist network meeting

Notes of the meeting of the SLLU Feminist Network on Sunday 2nd May

At this meeting we talked about the involvement of men at our regular Sunday meetings. Coincidentally there were only women here today so it seemed a good time to talk about it. It was something we had talked about at the very beginning of the network over a year ago but had never returned to.

Our feelings about two recent meetings were shared.

At one of these meetings the group had to deal with a man who seemed to be there with a view to being deliberately if not confrontational certainly challenging.

At the second meeting, the men present were totally supportive. However, it was felt by some that the dynamics of this meeting was different.

The differences are subtle and sometimes hard to pin down.

Thinking about it, we noticed the following :-

Chat speed was much faster – this had made it difficult to read and reflect on each person’s contribution. It had been difficult to show that people were being heard.

Individual contributions had been much longer.

The effect on some had been to silence them, the effect on others was to feel they had to say more than the normally would.

[13:47] : Well I just have to say this is one of the few places where I don’t feel stressed out

[13:47] : I mean I don’t feel I have to comment on everything

[13:47:: This is a very nice group like that

[13:47] : In other contexts, you feel you need to pick up on everything.

[13:48] : I usually talk 90% of the time. I always struggle to take less of the space and here I find that struggle easier

[13:48: Interesting.

[13:49: One might have thought, that the effect of women only would be to make it easier for you to talk, not to be silent.

[13:49: I find that pretty interesting.

[13:50] : Well I think there is a lack of triggers

[13:50: Ahh. OK.

[13:50] : Lack of verbal dominance play

[13:50: Right.

[13:50: if you understand what I’m saying

[13:50] : Yes, entirely.

[13:50: Good point ...it may be that men raise the feeling of competitiveness

The above is interesting not just because of the content but in the feel of the dialogue. The space that someone is given to express a view and the evidence that she is being listened to.

We talked about whether the ‘physical’ presence of a male avi made a difference to the dynamics within the group.

[13:38] : But I think of it mostly as my own prejudice, I react to a male shape differently. So it’s kind of my own fault I guess

13:39] I'm very sensitive to the nature of the avi.

[13:40] : maybe we could put up a screen ;)

[13:40] : smile

[13:40: Like in a synagogue?

[13:40: lol

[13:41] : haha

[13:41] : exactly :)

[13:41] : Why don’t we just put them in these boxes

[13:41] : and sit on them

[13:41] : I have a few folding screens

[13:41] : Lol

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

Having said all of this (and taking into account the difficulties of determining gender and wanting especially to be welcoming of transgender people) all of us were reluctant to exclude anyone who shared our aims or who genuinely wanted to engage with us.

“it would hurt my soul to exclude comrades”

“I know you are right ... I hate the idea of excluding”

“ but on the one hand, women only space is really important. especially in particular settings and the involvement of men can really change the dynamic and it's not about exclusion, more about maintaining a safe space for women”

These were some of the suggestions generated:-

Always having a facilitator

Putting up a poster with some of the ground rules

Having some meetings which are women only

Meetings in the main SLLU group discussing feminist issues

Passing out copies of our ground rules to newcomers

Excluding ‘trolls’ or those who are obviously antagonistic

Turning on our typing animation

Sending out copies of these notes to generate thought and discussion

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

PS Some interesting posts on the subject :-

“I find it odd to realize that most men don't observe something that is obvious to every woman I know: that there is a competitive male dynamic to groups that is completely different from the way female groups act. They don't know, of course, because unless the group is overwhelmingly female, the dynamic of any mixed group always defaults to male, with women fading back into supporting conversational roles. Maybe it's the kind of thing you can only observe by contrast to the extremely anti-competitive nature of female groups.

The easiest way to put it (and this is hardly original) is that men in groups are focused on their role within the group. Women in groups are focused on the group. Men gain status by standing out from the group; women gain status by submerging themselves into it — by strengthening the group, often at the expense of themselves.”

and

Research shows that in western culture there are gender differences where men and women tend to use different paradigms for communication. Women tend to communicate with a goal of establishing connection and men tend to communicate with a goal of establishing status.”

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

Our Ground Rules

The SL Left Unity Feminist Network is made up of members from around the world with varying viewpoints on lefty issues and various perspectives on feminism. There will be times when we disagree, perhaps passionately so, on topics discussed. This is fine, of course, and to be expected, but we need guidelines to help us ensure - as far as possible - that debate and discussion is kept respectful and that people feel safe to air their views.

No aggression - under any circumstances. We can disagree but we'll endeavour to do so respectfully and constructively. Personal attacks have no place in this group.

Confidentiality - Group members may share their personal experiences and/or opinions. Those experiences and contributions to group discussions should never be shared outwith the group. However, since it is difficult to monitor and enforce all of these guidelines in SL, I would ask all group members to think about what they are sharing and consider that everyone may not respect the rules of the group. It has been known for people to post chatlogs and IM's on blogs or to share them inappropriately with other people.

Non discriminatory - The network, like the general SLLU group, opposes discrimination in any form on the basis of race, religion, language, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, age or ability.

Non judgemental - a tough call sometimes, but important in fostering an atmosphere where we can challenge and disagree without judging or silencing those who have differing or opposing views

Be mindful of your own and others contribution to the group. We should aim to include the views of others, to make sure everyone has space to contribute and to encourage everyone to share. It is destructive for any group to be dominated by one or a few participants. Sometimes people may just want to listen or be quiet and there must be space for this too.

Be mindful that people will have had lots of different experiences which may have impacted them in some way or arouse strong emotions for them. Think before you make statements.

Be mindful that even if you have shared similar experiences to a group member, that they may have chosen - or had to - deal with that experience differently from you. It sometimes helps if we are clear that we are speaking from our own experiences rather than generalising.

We all have responsibility to follow the ground rules and challenge within the group when they are not being followed.

We don't need to agree! Let's listen to each other, debate, challenge (ourselves and others), discuss, explore, learn and develop.

If ground rules are not followed, we decide as a group how to deal with each individual situation. No one group member should have a monopoly on this, or any other decision, for the network.

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Monday, 3 May 2010

UK Election

My contribution as to how I am voting can be found HERE

Below are SLLU member Elle Finistair and Galaxia Rhaidra's contributions. Email contributions to me, Plot Tracer at plottracer@googlemail.com, or send to me by notecard inworld.

_____________________________________________

Hi I am known as Elle Finistair on sl.

I will be voting Labour on 6th May because of all the things Labour have achieved and will continue to do and because the Tories policies scare me.

How can it be right to give 3000 millionaires a £200,000 tax break and take away the winter fuel allowance paid to pensioners, because the Tories call it a gimmick. Its vital to keep our elderly warm in the winter.

The world is changing, and Labour's manifesto rises to this challenge.
As Gordon Brown says in his introduction to the manifesto, "Over the next ten years, we will confront major challenges - intensive global competition, climate change, an ageing society, and bringing stability to Afghanistan." Labour accepts the need for change, and our manifesto
sets out how this will happen. In particular, we show how we will give the maximum protection to front line public services. I don't usually read these kind of documents, but this election it is important to have all the facts.

Gordon Brown is a serious man for serious times, and many people aren’t aware of his achievements. Look at the work our Government have been giving to the third world on our behalf.

In the last ten years there have been thirty-four million extra children going to school in Africa, 3.2 million extra people on AIDS drugs or anti-viral drugs, and half the amount of deaths from malaria.

An accident in geography should not decide whether you live or die. To have AIDS in London or Edinburgh is not a death sentence, and it’s not acceptable that it’s a death sentence in Africa.

The recession has hit Britain hard, but it has hit people in the developing world a lot harder. I am proud that we have been helping those in our society that need extra support and also making big positive changes to the lives of people in the developing world.

All best wishes

Elle

__________________________________________
From Galaxia Rhiadra

Foundation for Proportional Representation-based Socialism
Website: http://www.PRsocialism.org Forum: http://tinyurl.com/PRsocialismforum Newsletter 8 (16 April 2010)

Editor’s note: I, Steve Wallis, have written all the articles in this newsletter. I would welcome replies to points in this newsletter and articles/letters for future newsletters, posted to the forum (with the web address above) or emailed to me personally at revolutionarysocialiststeve@yahoo.co.uk. Various socialist organisations in Britain (Respect, the Socialist Party, CPGB, CPB and Democratic Socialist Alliance) and Alex Callinicos of the SWP have come out in favour of PR, and I’d welcome the involvement of members of those organisations in the Foundation.

As with previous Foundation newsletters, anyone who agrees with (some or most of) the politics in it can download it from the website (http://www.PRsocialism.org) in Word or PDF format, print it out, photocopy it and distribute it.


Vote Socialist, Green or Liberal Democrat
- and prepare for a Greece-style revolt!

There is a general election in the UK on Thursday 6 May, at which voters will have the opportunity to dismiss Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The Conservative Party (Tories) are currently leading in the opinion polls, but not by a sufficient margin to gain an overall majority. It looks as though other parties, particularly the Liberal Democrats (Lib Dems), will hold the balance of power and be able to determine the shape of the next government.

The electoral system in the UK, misleadingly called "first-past-the-post" with the candidate who receives the highest vote in a particular constituency getting elected, is extremely unfair. In only about 150 of the 650 constituencies - the so-called "marginals" - is there any realistic chance of causing an upset, so most people’s votes are "wasted". The so-called "floating voters", who tend to be quite well-off and middle class, decide between Labour, the Tories and Lib Dems (plus the Scottish National Party or Plaid Cymru in Scotland or Wales) as to who is elected. Well, that is not entirely true! A credible well-known candidate of one of the "fringe parties" or an independent, of the left or right, may stand a chance of causing a massive upset if they put forward well-argued election material and perhaps are featured enough in the media. Also in this election, for the first time, there are also live TV debates between the leaders of the three main parties (Labour’s Gordon Brown, the Tories’ David Cameron and the Lib Dems’ Nick Clegg). This is providing the Lib Dems with a great opportunity to make big advances and even win in supposedly safe Labour seats or Labour-Tory marginals!

People tend to vote out ignorance, to a large extent. The parties produce manifestos, which are supposed to be their contract with the people to justify us not having a vote for another four or five years. However, very few people bother to read them and rely on snippets featured in the TV, on newspapers or in election leaflets, as to who to vote for. These snippets are based on the biases of journalists and media bosses (plus the whims of party members/leaders in the case of the parties’ own material).

See below for proposals of how to run elections more fairly, under capitalism or in a future socialist society.

I felt that, for such an important election, it was necessary for me to read the full manifestos, downloaded from the parties’ websites, in order to come to an informed decision. Some of the Tories’ arguments for people power in their manifesto were quite convincing, but were completely dropped by Cameron in the first TV debate! They cynically argue for big cuts in corporation tax at the same time as professing to be reducing the deficit more than Labour, and have a very tough stance on crime and immigration to appease the right-wing press and similar minded voters such as Sun readers.

Although the Liberal Democrats have traditionally been the centre party, and have sometimes claimed to be "equidistant" from Labour and the Tories, there has been such a massive shift to the left in society as a result of the credit crunch (and the actions of many individual activists) with a hatred of bankers, the rich generally and of course politicians (which has even forced the Tories to pretend to want to hit the rich and help the poor), that the Lib Dems have now come up with a manifesto that is on the whole far to the left of Labour. Don’t believe me? Download it from http://www.libdems.org.uk and decide for yourself! Socialists have traditionally argued that the Lib Dems (and Liberals before them) are just another big business party and criticised "do-gooders". Well, it is a justification for my New Good Intentions Manifesto (see http://www.socialiststeve.me.uk/good-intentions-manifesto.html or
http://www.socialiststeve.in/good-intentions-manifesto.html), which argues that wanting to make the world a better or worse place is a better guide to what side people are on in struggles in society than what class they are in.

The Lib Dems have, to some extent at least, costed their programme, unlike Labour or the Tories who have blatantly advocated many (usually small) measures which add up to large unfunded spending commitments. Some have criticised them for calling for "savage cuts", but in reality no government (Labour, Tory, Lib Dem or a coalition) could carry out cuts significant enough to seriously bring down the deficit quite simply because it is not economic to do so! Sacking workers necessitates redundancy pay, benefits and lost tax receipts taking money out of the economy (and quite possibly causing a double dip recession). That is why cuts identified so far have been limited to contracts like IT and not filling vacancies, avoiding redundancy pay (or passing such needs on to the private sector). Furthermore, workers are not just going to take such attacks lying down. There has already been an upsurge in industrial action, but that is nothing compared to what will happen with the level of cuts envisaged by the major parties! And if they can’t carry out such attacks, there is a further complication - the money markets will stop lending (by buying bonds) to UK plc, so the government will have to go cap-in-hand to the European Union or International Monetary Fund. And that opens up the possibility, if we adopt good enough strategies and tactics, of not just triggering a strike wave and huge demos like in Greece, but socialist revolution! The next section will be devoted to discussing a programme for avoiding cuts, as a contribution to the necessary debate on what to do in that situation.

But voting Lib Dem is not sufficient! Good votes for socialist candidates, and the Green Party which has produced a reformist socialist manifesto (that I’ve also downloaded from http://www.greenparty.org.uk and also provides detailed costings), even for those candidates that fail to get elected, will indicate support for left-wing policies and give a boost to the inevitable movement that will take place after the general election. Anti-cuts MPs in parliament would be particularly important, and I’d particularly identify Socialist Party councillor and former Labour MP Dave Nellist (standing for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition which includes the SWP, against Labour warmonger Bob Ainsworth in Coventry), Respect’s George Galloway, Abjol Miah and Salma Yaqoob, former Scottish Socialist Party MSPs Colin Fox (standing against Chancellor Alistair Darling in Edinburgh) and Tommy Sheridan (now of Solidarity and part of the Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition), the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas, Adrian Ramsay and Darren Johnson as standing a good chance. Although I am generally arguing for a Lib Dem vote against Labour or the Tories, an exception should be made for left-wing Labour MPs (such as John McDonnell, Jon Cruddas, Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott).


No cuts - nationalise banks and use bailout money!
Close tax loopholes - force the rich to pay tax!

The scale of the economic crisis in Britain, in which there has been a longer recession than any other Western country despite the massive stimulus package, is so severe due to previous Tory governments decimating manufacturing and industries like coal and steel to try to smash the trade unions, with the economy now relying on services largely based in the City of London. After the run on Northern Rock, that looks foolhardy. There are big opportunities for the left, and the right blaming immigration. We need to put across our ideas skilfully, particularly with respect to where we suggest the money should come from to avoid the cuts planned by the main parties. Whereas most socialists oppose wars, Trident and ID cards, as well as taxing the rich of course, the economic problems are too great for such savings to be sufficient.

Around £1.3 trillion (i.e. £1,300,000,000,000) of our money has been spent by Labour on bailing out the banks. Socialists should argue strongly for nationalising all the banks, but this would cost money the government doesn’t have unless we only compensate pension schemes. This would allow whatever’s left of the bank bailout money to be used for the benefit of all, avoiding cuts. We should also argue for all banks, whether currently nationalised, part-nationalised or private, to be run democratically from below with most control in the hands of borrowers, savers and workers (plus government representatives). Marxists typically argue for workers’ control, but it seems clear that those whose money is at stake should have at least as much control as those who happen to work at a particular bank. If the European Union objects, a socialist government may need to withdraw (unless socialists come to power across Europe at once).

The Liberal Democrats have been criticised for being "unrealistic" about saving £4.6 billion from closing tax loopholes. Meanwhile the Greens claim in their manifesto that they can save £10 billion from closing tax havens and clamping down on tax avoidance and evasion. It may be that international agreements are necessary to get the really big sums of money that the rich avoid in this way. It may also be that rich people and corporations relocate to elsewhere in the world to continue avoiding paying a fair share of tax. There are two answers to that - don’t let them take their assets with them and encourage revolutions in other countries so they have nowhere to run to!


Proposals for real democracy - under capitalism or socialism

The "alternative vote" (AV) system has been proposed by the Labour Party for electing members to the House of Commons. With AV, voters specify as many candidates as they like for their vote to be transferred to if their earlier preferences are eliminated, until one candidate gets over 50%. Though sometimes called a form of proportional representation (PR), it is not proportional; Labour would have had a bigger landslide in 1997 if conducted under AV!

Like the Electoral Reform Society and Liberal Democrats, this Foundation favours the "single transferable vote" (STV) form of PR. With it, there are multi-member constituencies and votes are transferred if earlier preferences are eliminated or get more votes than required to be elected. As well as being fairer it gives voters the opportunity to choose between candidates of the same party, removing power from party machines.

Measures are also needed to guard against politicians selling out. There should also be annual elections and the ability to recall a whole government, triggering a general election via a petition of some proportion of the electorate.

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Sunday, 2 May 2010

May Day at Flagg!








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Monday, 26 April 2010

MAY DAY

Group Notice From: Smoke Wijaya

Going to attend a local celebration/demonstration on May Day?

If so, please consider writing a short report on your local event/demo, with maybe some pictures.

It would be nice to get a post up on our website with different accounts of May Day from across the globe, highlighting the international membership of the SLLU and showing the other members what happens near you.

You can pass the reports on to me (Smoke Wijaya) and I will make it all into a post for our website. Thanks in advance.

Kind regards.

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Saturday, 24 April 2010

Introducing... Joseph Hubbard

In our series of introducing new members to the group, Joseph Hubbard presents his views!


“We are a diverse group, united around social justice and
anti-capitalism.“ -SLLU website


“Well, let's see how far I can stretch that statement, shall we?” -
Joseph Hubbard


Hi there, my name is Joseph Hubbard, Second Life
resident for over four years. I come to SLLU as (it seems) a half-fit to
the ideology of the cause. I share a sympathy of viewpoints on pragmatic
actions with the SLLU cause on several fronts, which means that my
interests aren't diametrically opposed to yours. Whether I am welcome
depends, perhaps, on this introduction, so please let me know in
comments if I would be wasting my time or yours with participation in
the group.


By way of background, I was born, raised, and continue to live in the
United States of America. While in college, I successfully attained both
a degree in physics and a degree in philosophy. Perhaps I have some sort
of love for the “F with a Ph” sounding topics, though I stayed far away
from pharmacy. The physics isn't particularly germane to me giving my
bio to SLLU (I never had a single physics professor make an even mildly
political statement. It was all about figuring out the guts of the
universe), but the philosophy is. Several of my favorite courses were in
the social and political philosophy vein, with a particular focus on
philosophy and race relations due to the academic specialty of the
particular professor involved. To paraphrase Charles W. Mills, I was a
fish who began to recognize the water of race-based and gender-based
privilege he was swimming in.


I remain, though, rather enamored of the capitalism of my youth not
because of the unsavory results it can produce when loosed, but for the
bottom-up structuring it provides. I like the idea of socialism in
theory except for the need for a top-down hierarchy, which is inherently
unstable, to use a phrase from my training in physics. I see both
systems as unworkable in practice if employed to their logical extremes.
I'm sure I can make a rather thorough blog post about my views on this
at some point and let you fine ladies and gentlemen find the weak joints
in my arguments. For now, sufficed to say that if SLLU is
“anti-capitalism” and this is interpreted as 'the full and utter
revocation of the concept of personal ownership,' I'm likely not
eligible as a member.^*

By turns I'm a pessimist and an optimist... a pragmatist and a
realist. I am an idealist in the classical sense, if there is one. I
believe in the power of ideas to illuminate and empower, if one merely
takes the bold step of following the truth regardless of how it may
square with one's own preconceptions. It's a temptation to all of us
(and I exempt myself from this in no way shape or form) to view any
circumstance, argument, or position that doesn't square with our own
point of view as inherently oppositional. It's a habit we could all
stand to train ourselves out of as much as possible.



The greatest recent example of that one in Starr's life and mine was a
chain email from a conservative (U.S. brand conservative) family member
making some predictably hyperbolic claim about “Obama has just done
this-or-that with taxpayer money! OMG!” With about five minutes on a web
browser, I had gotten the information about the event from the
government financial institution actually involved, clarifying the
nuance of the event and simply showing no need for alarm. I typed this
up, replied to all senders, taking exquisite care to state only plain
fact in evidence, and call for people of all political affiliations to
pursue only the truth.. The next weekend Starr and I visited said family
member who insisted that my reply was highly partisan.


It takes all kinds, they say.


What might we agree on, and why am I interested in participating in the
SLLU?

*

The social, political, financial and intellectual systems of
racism and sexism must be dismantled.

*

A state has no legitimate interest in enforcing any religious
belief via law or de facto discrimination.

*

Progressive income taxation makes sense (within limits).

*

A war of a nation against an idea is wasteful and self-defeating.

*

As a species we have some enormous challenges ahead in the area of
resource consumption, not just in terms of our impact on climate,
but also in terms of the dwindling supplies of certain elements
and compounds.

* I mean by “personal ownership” something in the vein of 'A person can
reasonably say that “An object, X is mine. That is, it is my sole
decision what becomes of this object in the future, even if X can make
copies of object Y.”' If there are no localized objects X which fit this
model of “personal ownership” then I'll have nothing to do with the
theory because it's simply not cutting the reality of people embodied in
this world at the joints. Where I think a socialist will disagree with
me is on X being able to make Ys, which makes X a means of production.
My hands can make Ys. They are mine. My computer via my ability to
program can make new Y computer programs. It is mine. On a subtler
level, extend X to include one's own body and I think there's an
argument to be made that all oppression takes the form of a rejection of
personal property.


I'm excited to be here!

-Joseph Hubbard

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You "Look" Illegal To Me!

Arizona passes immigration law that urges law enforcement to detain people that appear to be illegal immigrants.

(The above link is simply news. What lurks beneath is my personal opinion, and not the viewpoint of the SLLU.)

Unbelievable. How exactly does one identify what an 'illegal citizen' looks like? (If they should be harassing them in the first place.) While this law was largely created in response to the very real and very brutal drug cartel violence that is becoming prolific in border areas, this response goes to show what civil liberties we are willing to strip away in order to feel safe. What's going to happen after the next attack on the level of 9/11? Mandatory I.D. cards? I.D chips?

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Wednesday, 21 April 2010

A view from a Starr...

Starr Luna is a new member of SLLU. These are her words!

Disclaimer: The following post is not representative of SLLU, or its core values. It's written from my perspective, a new member.

Hello SLLU Members! I'm Starr, a proud to be a new member amidst your ranks, very nearly 38 years old, happily married to Joseph Hubbard, another newbie with SLLU, and disabled with a few chronic neuromuscular illnesses. I became introduced to SLLU through Plot Tracer, and the Avatars United website. He had kindly united with me some weeks back, and lately, when I read about the issues related to the false allegations, and premature suspension of his account, it piqued my curiosity. The situation didn't sit well with me, and to make a messy story short and sweet, I ended up involving myself a bit in “Plot's plot”, and upon his being free and clear, he has been generous enough to befriend Joe and me, and bring us into the fold.

I have never considered myself as being very interested in politics, nor have I ever thought I was 'any good at it', per se. What I have had an interest in, from an early age, is society, people, and equality. I herald from an area of the world that is largely very right-wing. Still, in speaking to my friends up North, and elsewhere internationally, and I am somewhat dimly bemused at many of their view of the states, particularly the Southern states, and especially Texas, as this conglomeration of overblown stereotypes and generalizations, a wild caricature straight from a satirist's panel, or a television skit. Texas is a beautiful dichotomy. The boys in my parochial school, our senior year of 1991, showed up en mass to the KKK's annual demonstration on the courthouse lawn. Every year the foul hate group would exercise their right to assemble and free speech to gather, and the town would hole up in their houses, and ignore them. The hooded morons would stalk around, waving bibles, and attempting to recruit, though nobody ever came. When a couple cars full of healthy young Caucasian boys showed up, they were muchly enthused, until those boys used the years of bible classes they had perhaps less than enthusiastically endured, to nail them regarding the numerous ways that they were misquoting and twisting the words of the book they'd never actually read. It resulted in quite a row. That was the last year the KKK bothered to assemble in our town. I had driven back and forth and hollered at them, but somehow, I think being shamed by the boys was more effective. =) Today, each of those fellas are as right-wing as their fathers and grandfathers taught them to be. I love them all regardless, and always will.

My first experience questioning political authority was also in my Senior year, when our Congressman visited our school for an assembly, during which he boasted a policy in which he would oust persons from public housing who were found to be illicit drug abusers. I was a 'good girl' back then, and fairly shocked everyone when I raised my hand, and challenged him, inquiring as to how it would improve the situation to toss a person afflicted with a drug problem out onto the streets, so that they could be homeless, too. I then inquired as to why our county didn't have any drug rehabilitation resources available to the people at all. The gentleman was a bit taken aback, but gave me a typical mealymouthed answer that said nothing at all, and was pleasantly condescending about the whole thing. I then proceeded to write a letter, to which I received a slightly more respectable reply.



I do not believe in the “war on drugs”. I believe that drugs should be decriminalized, and that the funding that has been poured into 'the war on drugs' should be put into education and rehabilitation, including providing clinics with clean needles, Methadone, and rapid detox programs. Marijuana being illegal just insults my intelligence, and is hardly worthy of discussion. It is no more harmful than alcohol, and its being illegal is purely a matter of right-wing politics and taboo. Its medical potential is abundant, and I could be benefiting from it immediately, should it be available to me. I believe that prostitution should be decriminalized, and that the women should have access to healthcare, and education, including and particularly counseling and group therapy, focusing on self-value and personal safety. Safe sex education and birth control should be made readily available to the public via the education system and clinics. Abstinence is a viable option to be taught to young people regarding sex, as a healthy, holistic choice, not as a religious more that is being applied arbitrarily on another person.

It is essential that there be a stark separation of church and state, because each person has a right to their belief, and as soon as someone puts commandments in school, or in the courthouse, then they are no different than the militant theocracy that tortures and commits genocide with those that believe differently than they do, elsewhere in the world. People, regardless of gender, have the right to marry and share benefits. Deciding that homosexual marriage is immoral is a purely religious knee-jerk reaction, and is therefore inapplicable as a matter of government. I believe, strongly, in socialized healthcare. Everyone should have the right to help when they're sick. The fact that the technology exists in the world to assist a human being that's suffering, or in pain, and that person, man, woman, or child, wherever they are, languishes without that assistance, proves how very far from having attained true civility we really are.

It is clear that the big corporation has been allowed to erode away at the environment until it is all but destroyed. Lobbying in the U.S. Should be illegal.. period. Corporations buying votes should have never been allowed to happen, and horrible things have resulted.

'The War on Terror' is the most counter-intuitive phrase I can possibly conceive of. One cannot attack the intangible, and in our terror, and paranoia, post-9/11, we recoiled into a defensive posture, allowing ourselves to find a reason to be the first to strike out in a war against an ideal. In doing so, we have simply fueled endless hatred, and it's the song that never ends. A dirge, playing the loss of lives, both figuratively, and literally, on both sides of the conflict. I support my brothers and sisters who have chosen to defend their country, but I have protested, and will continue to, protest the war, since its inception.

Socialism is my ideal world, but I don't know that pragmatically people will ever allow it to happen. How does one get all of the people in a nation in one accord, working together, in order to support the utopia? What happens if people decide they don't want to be productive? They have the right not to be. What will happen to society? What will happen with the people who are not content with what they have? I fear that capitalism may be a necessary evil. Libertarianism or minarchism comes close to espousing my ideals, in that I am very pro-people's rights, and civil liberties, and personal freedoms. But then I am forced to wonder, if our nation were Libertarian, and I had no husband, no family, no one to watch after me.. being sick as I am, what would become of me? Would I languish and die, homeless and in agony? I heard one Libertarian say that they would not have offered support during Hurricane Katrina, but the people would have had to rely on themselves to take care of things. I can't get behind that.So where am I, politically? I am -not- Republican, and I am -not- Democrat. I loathe the parties. It has almost come to the point in the States, in my opinion, where as soon as a person espouses a party, they rescind their ability to think for themselves. I have a particular seething dislike for pundits, the talking heads that dominate the airwaves, and say everything and nothing at all. The truth is found in small print, buried in documents on government websites, it is in the sum and total of the actions of the man or woman in office, and the truth will eventually be found through my own self-explorations, and my armchair activism, through petition signing with moveon.org, and elsewhere, and now through SLLU. I am fervent about protesting sexploitation sims (rape/incest/snuff) and racist groups in Second Life. In my downtime, I roleplay, and explore. It's my hope that I can exist in a zen space somewhere between my righteous rage, and the better world we all hope to attain through SLLU in Second Life, and indeed in RL, because, of course, while I can love my opportunity to 'live my voice', via SLLU, and activism, I can't force anyone to listen to it. That is just one of many ways for me to begin to grow with you all. Thank you for the opportunity!

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Monday, 19 April 2010

Rape Play - my contribution to the discussion

I have published a discussion piece HERE
Plot Tracer

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Market Forces Trading on more Misery...

Personal view - Plot Tracer


Europe has shut down, it seems. Airlines have been instructed not to fly because of ash being spewed into our atmosphere by Iceland (some have joked, because of the fact that Iceland was hit particularly badly in the capitalists ecomomic crash, the ash is from the Icelandic banks burning our money!)

In times of trouble, and when a friend is in need, we as human beings, neighbours, family come together and help each other. Tony Benn, the famous left wing Labour politician from the UK once spoke in Parliament on the ousting of Thatcher and against Thatchers famous statement that, "there is no society", and illustrated his belief that there very much is a society by way of his interupted train journey that day. He told the UK Parliament that at the beginning of the journey, the train was a capitalist train - all seperate, reading their papers, punching their calculators, not inter acting etc. But when the train broke down and they were stranded somewhere in the English countryside, the train became a socialist one - people sharing food, drink, talking, helping each other through the mini-crisis.

Lots of people stranded in countries far from their homes are acting in a socialist way - groups of travellors hiring buses etc in order to get home - the young helping the old and vice versa. Others working together to make sure the airlines give them their rights - meals/ hotel accomodation for three nights etc.

However, reports are coming in through the news - and through friends and family stranded in Spain, Malta and Greece - of hotels, as soon as the airline legal responsibility of 3 nights accomodation is up - bumping up prices. One friend has phoned me to say the hotel he is in in Alicante has more than doubled their price from 45euro a night to 110Euro a night. Prices a lot of working class people cannot afford as they had went on budget holidays to escape their daily working drudge.

Governments need to step in. The European Parliament need to act quickly and prosecute hotels, transport companies and food sellers who are now trading on people's misery.

This is not a crisis on the scale of Haiti or the recent earthquakes in other countries around the world. Nor is it on par with the poverty and misery caused by capitalist imperialism and the victims of market forces in Afghanistan or Iraq - and various other poverty stricken countries and warzones in the world.

It is, however, an illustration of the insidiousness of this disgusting exploitative system we live in. The airlines are already crying to Governments for "bailouts". Who will bail out the poor people now having to spend their hard earned savings - or those who have to beg from other people in order to survive in foreign lands away from family and friends?

There is an alternative to this system - and the more of us meet and talk and plan and force our political class to properly represent us against the machinations of capitalism the more likely we have change.

If you want change - we need a clean break from what we have now. The socialist train is a happier one - sharing and interacting. Let's hop on it!

PEOPLE NOT PROFIT!

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Femnet meeting

Another, well attended and lively meeting of the SLLU Feminist Network met last night. People from across the real world came together to discuss the upcoming anti-racist/pro-tolerence event; our response to Rape-play role play games in SL and for gaming platforms and representations of women in SL (including the Emerald viewers "bouncing breasts" facility).

The Feminist group will meet again next week at the usual time - keep an eye out for notices!

Photos: Starr Luna


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Sunday, 18 April 2010

Discussion

Noah Gearbox, a journalist from New York and SLLU member, in discussion with Plot Tracer about organising in SL.


[8:00] Noah Gearbox: Hi!

[8:02] Plot Tracer: Hi :)

[8:02] Plot Tracer: What can i do for you, Noah?

[8:03] Noah Gearbox: Well, I'm kind of curious about what you think has been most effective inSL

[8:03] Noah Gearbox: In terms of organizing

[8:03] Plot Tracer: depends what u mean.

[8:03] Plot Tracer: there are different events/ conditions need different kinds of organising

[8:04] Noah Gearbox: Of course -- what are the main things that generally get addressed in-world these days

[8:05] Plot Tracer: :) tbh, I have been out of the loop since February (I was banned... you can read about it on my blog - http://plotsplot.blogspot.com/ as well as my Avatars United site... i intend writing a longer article soon... but up to my eyes with General Election in UK...

But

I personally think that it is rl issues that are most effectively addressed in SL. I think SL is a brilliant platform to raise awareness and help educate potential rl activists.

I mean for example

The Italian contingent in SLLU have effectively educated people from across the world about the anti-Berlusconi movement in Italy through music events that coincide with rl events in italy. Also, the IBM strike in Italy a couple of years back was extremely effective - it was a "virtual" strike - and it lead to the sacking of IBM Italy’s ceo and the workers won their rights

[8:09] Noah Gearbox: Yeah, the IBM strike is really interesting to me.

[8:10] Plot Tracer: Personally, I think raising awareness through events/ demonstrations/ meetings/ exhibitions all have their place.

[8:10] Noah Gearbox: Yeah, totally. Do you think that people make the real-world connection more often than not?

[8:12] Plot Tracer: I think people do make a rl connection. For example - when we led the anti-Front National demonstrations inworld, a lot of people who had no idea of what fascism means learned about it here - through dialogue and personal research.

[8:13] Noah Gearbox: That's good -- so if you tackle real-world issues, people will make the connection

[8:13] Plot Tracer: Also - something that was unique about the anti front national thing at the time was the noobness of the sl platform, so we managed to get press releases about the fight against front national into press across the real world - from San Francisco through to Japan!

I think inworld issues... like issues of privacy / LL's policies are just like complaining to McDonalds about the fact there is too much pickle on their big macs. (Tho not entirely- I will expand on this another time).

[8:15] Noah Gearbox: Hah, yeah. OK.
The point about criticizing SL kind of brings me to something I've been thinking about in my own RL work, which is that it's really hard to escape capitalist means of production.

Because ultimately SL is run by a commercial enterprise, so how do you square doing organizing on a platform like SL with that reality?

[8:24] Plot Tracer: well - it is no different than organising through facebook or twitter - or blogspot or whatever - all of these are "enclosed" parts of the web - ie. parts of the web ran by commercial enterprise. Capitalism is insidious - hard to escape! Unfortunately in order to exist reasonably comfortably in society we must interact with all kinds of compromises - shopping in ASDA/Walmart/ Tesco/ Lidl/ Marks and Spencer... climbing on board a Greyhound/ Stagecoach bus/ buying petrol/ etc. Lot's of the political parties in rl stand outside supermarkets in order to give out leaflets etc - because that is where people are.

SL is a great place for people to come together to share ideas etc. In a socialist society, places like this would exist without the profit intention. Good ideas survive the fall of societies. Look at roads... the Romans refined that idea... and we kept them :)

[8:27] Noah Gearbox: Well do you think the attitude about SL that it is a "business" platform gets in your way, or helps you?

[8:27] Plot Tracer: it would be a strange thing to say, "I am a socialist, so i wont interact with capitalist society".

[8:27] Noah Gearbox: mhm

[8:28] Plot Tracer: It is essential for survival to interact in capitalist society - but at the same time, pointing out its inadequacies and pushing for change, regardless of what you call that change (reform/ revolution etc)
Pulling down Linden Lab would be counter active. It is the system that has forced LL to make SL more and more commercial that needs to be changed. If the system is changed, then LL will evolve into that system (call the new system what u like - socialism/ a fair society etc)

[8:30] Noah Gearbox: mmm. Yeah, I see what you mean.

[8:31] Noah Gearbox: I have always struggled with the fact that the technology I use for a lot of my work is on many levels sullied by capitalism and its attendant violence.

[8:32] Plot Tracer: But everything is! From the bike you ride to the car u own to the company that supplies electricity to your house to the rings on your fingers’ and food on your plate

as i said, it is impossible within a system to totally disengage from it. we have to push for change/revolution/reform

[8:34] Noah Gearbox: Yeah, I agree. It's sometimes a difficult matter to explain to people.

It's kind of funny because people have a specific idea of what is "serious," too, I find.

[8:36] Plot Tracer: the start off point is to ensure people realise they are in that system... they have to become educated/radicalised etc. We can’t do that for them, but we can hold up the evidence of the barbarity of the present system. Only through their own education can people become "conscious".

[8:36] Noah Gearbox: Have you found SL residents to be receptive to thinking about their Second Lives in critical ways?

[8:39] Plot Tracer: Well, that is a difficult question. Generally people come to SL to escape their rl in lots of ways. Some in Role play others to make friends others to engage in representations of sex they do not engage in in rl etc. I think people’s reception of SLLU and other "radical" groups in SL depends on how relevant they see the message to them at certain times. eg, i think the radical movement in sl will become more and more relevant in the coming months as the rich make the working/middle classes suffer for the rich man’s crisis. brb

[8:43] Plot Tracer: sorry, rl tends to creep in :) back

[8:43] Noah Gearbox: Haha, that's fine

[8:44] Noah Gearbox: I always find myself multitasking when I'm in SL
Do you generally find that people are more interested in "entertainment" type events like concerts, etc?

[8:45] Plot Tracer: yup - i am at the mo promoting videos I have edited for my rl political party and liaising with activists out and about at the moment lol
I think originally when SLLU started (about 3 1/2 yrs ago) people liked to voice their dissent (eg the 24hr/7 day a week and nearly 2 month long anti-front national demos)

But I think nowadays the best way to get people involved is through music/ exhibitions/ interesting builds etc.

[8:47] Plot Tracer: also

I think avatars united is a brill way to engage with new people and bring them into organisations

[8:49] Noah Gearbox: What are some limitations you see to using SL as a platform for organising?

[8:52] Plot Tracer: I think all means of organising have limitations. I think Sl is one link in a chain of organising. I think some people think, when new types of social networking become popular that "this is the new and ONLY way!" I know rl people who argued that, for example, rl activist organisations should give up old ways to engage (newspapers/ leaflets etc) and bring everything online. similarly i know of people who jumped from yahoo groups to sl to facebook and now twitter - i feel all organisation - effective organisation - uses tried and tested methods as well as new

[8:53] Noah Gearbox: mhm

[8:54] Plot Tracer: I engage in all sorts of organisation/ education activities. Another one i use is youtube (for my rl political party) - http://www.youtube.com/nwsocialist

and blogs - www.slleftunity.com www.campsiesocialists.com http://plotsplot.blogspot.com/

to name a few :)

[8:55] Plot Tracer: these all feed into other things @sspcampsie on twitter and the national Scottish Socialist Party website, www.scottishsocialistparty.org

[8:56] Plot Tracer: and rl publications like red pepper http://www.redpepper.org.uk/Left-unity-in-Second-Life amongst many more :)

[8:56] Noah Gearbox: nice

[8:58] Plot Tracer: at different times different aspects of these interfaces become more important... eg, at the moment i am engaged in rl public meetings and with rl media because of the General Election in UK (where in the world are u Noah?)

[8:58] Noah Gearbox: upstate NY

[8:59] Plot Tracer: k- i am in Scotland. So right away, the importance of SL and this kind of social network becomes apparent :)

[8:59] Noah Gearbox: Yeah, absolutely. :)

[8:59] Noah Gearbox: It's a good place to share our projects with each other.

[8:59] Plot Tracer: absolutely. sharing... collaborating and aiding education.

[9:01] Plot Tracer: http://slleftunity.blogspot.com/2008/03/what-it-is-to-be-sllu.html

[9:01] Plot Tracer: the last line of the aims and principles of SLLU reads "As Freire said, and SLLU agree, each individual wins back the right to say his or own word - to name the world."

[9:02] Plot Tracer: Paulo Freire is a huge influence on the work we started here.

[9:03] Noah Gearbox: Love him! I run a radical pedagogy reading group in RL

[9:05] Noah Gearbox: Maybe one of the things that is most intriguing to me about this kind of netroots organizing is that you cannot just name the world but remake it.

[9:05] Plot Tracer: you know, that was something I thought would be a good idea for SLLU - perhaps a fortnightly reading group. Scylla Rhiadra is , along with smoke wijaya, going to build a radical bookshop/ cafe... would u be interested in running such a group here?

[9:05] Noah Gearbox: Yeah, absolutely!

Most of the books we would do are also available for free online. So that's great.

[9:11] Noah Gearbox: maybe I will just ping the group to see about general interest first

[9:12] Plot Tracer: just go right ahead and organise a meeting - perhaps first meeting to see interest and perhaps discuss regularity of meetings and what materials people will want to read.

[9:12] Noah Gearbox: Alright, sounds like a plan.

[9:13] Noah Gearbox: It might be in a couple weeks, I have to wrap up my semester here at school, so I'm rather swamped for time.

[9:13] Plot Tracer: come, I’ll show u were the bookshop etc is going to be - it might be an idea to add links in the new shop to materials so people can come here and access them...

Plot Tracer: nice one. i look forward to seeing the notices! if i am speaking to people in sllu can i give them your name to contact if they are interested?

Noah Gearbox: Yeah absolutely.

Plot Tracer: cool. ok... speak later, Noah!

Noah Gearbox: Ciao!

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Friday, 16 April 2010

SLLU membership takes a leap

Back in October, I deleted around 100 avies from our membership as they had not logged in to SL for over a year. This brought our membership down to about 340. As can be seen by the screenshot below, taken from LL's own groups stats page, our membership has increased by around 50 since then. This proves that in SL there is a thirst for left political engagement.




Due to the increase in membership, I am asking new members to write a short blogpiece to say why you are a member of SLLU... add questions you have etc... and your personal political beliefs as they are at this stage (political beliefs are fluid, I know). It would be good to have a cross section of group noobs views/ beliefs/ expectations etc on the blog. We do get decent hits for a SL blog - spesh a political one. Contact me with questions etc. plottracer@googlemail.com

If you are not a member, please contact me inworld.

Plot Tracer

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Thursday, 8 April 2010

Old Archive

Article about SLLU from 3 years ago (thought I would archive this :)

HERE

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Sunday, 28 February 2010

Another successful meeting of SLLU Feminist Network

SLLU Feminist Network had another successful regular weekly meeting tonight. Notes to follow.





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Video-report of the SLLU Party

A video-report of the party we had last sunday, the 21st of februari.
The party was a celebration of the 3rd anniversary of SLLU, the 1st anniversary of the SLLU Feminist Network and the newly created SLLU LGBT network and was organised by the Feminist Network this year.


[bear with me, I am still a noob at creating of video's :)]

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Advice for activists

If Linden Lab ban you for reasons unknow, there are steps you can take.

Plot Tracer explains what you can do if the private company puts profit before your personal rights.

Article HERE

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Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Who Says Leftists Can't Party? The SLLU Birthday Party, V 3.0

Well, so it's over. And what a wonderful time it was. Nearly six hours of partying, live music by three terrific acts, wonderful poetry, and great chat with friends. How successful was the party? Well, all of the events, from the beginning of the party to its conclusion five and three quarters hours later, were very well attended. The numbers of people enjoying the celebrations seldom fell below 30, and for much of the time, the sim was in fact full to capacity.

And no wonder. The party began with a Radical Poetry reading, hosted by Zoe Parness, and focussing upon poetry by women. I am biased, but in some ways, this was my favourite part of the evening: the readings, particularly of a number of poems by Margaret Atwood, were wonderful, and were well recieved by a gratifyingly large crowd. Thanks go out to Zoe for organizing and running this!

And then came the music. We began with the rough-edged and exciting rock of Zaphod Theas, who set the tone for much of what was to follow. As the sim began to reach capacity, the dance floor in front of the stage filled to overflowing. Zaphod has not, I think, played for SLLU before. My guess is that he will again, and is destined to become a favourite.
The Virtual Live Band followed, with Zaphod staying on stage as a guest performer. The VLB are old favourites of SLLU, and it's not hard to understand why: driving rock tunes powered by the playing of BlueTom Haller and Mambo Welles, and the soaring bluesy vocals of Foxyflwr Cure were the main reason that the sim was soon so full that it was inaccessible to latecomers. By this time, it was hard to move on the dance floor; strangely, no one seemed to mind very much!


The party ended with another perennial favourite of SLLU: Wildo Hofmann's sometimes eerie but always compellingly beautiful soundscapes worked wonderfully with her particle light show to bring a new and more meditative ambiance to the event. It was, really, a perfect way to end a party celebrating the anniversaries of two groups that are all about a thoughtful and imaginative contemplation of a future and more just world.

I say "two groups," because, of course, this party celebrated (belatedly) not merely the third birthday of the SLLU, but also the first anniversary of the SLLU Feminist Network, which was hosting the event in honour of its parent organization. I'd like to say something a bit more about both of these groups, and in particular about the generosity of the way in which they relate to each other because, for me, this is what this double-handled birthday party represented.

That we were celebrating both birthdays together was entirely appropriate, for the Feminist Network of course grew entirely out of the SLLU. It was a suggestion by Plot Tracer that led the SLLUFN's Ledoof Constantineau to form the feminist group; drawing on the membership of the SLLU, the Network's first meeting was held here almost exactly a year ago.

In that time, the SLLU Feminist Network has grown, in membership, and in maturity. From a small group of dedicated feminists who gathered to discuss women's issues as they pertained both to SL and to RL, the Feminist Network has developed into, I think it is safe to say, one of the most active of the many activist groups in Second Life.

From protesting at rape sims, providing online guidance for new women in SL, and documenting representations of violence against women in SL, all the way to the group's central role in last year's enormously successful 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence -- the Feminist Network has grown into a real force for positive change.

Although I was a member of the SLLU for some time before the founding of the Feminist Network, it was as a member of the latter that I really cut my teeth as an SLactivist. I owe a great deal to the women and men of the SLLUFN for helping to nurture that side of me, and I am even more grateful to them for the many strong friendships and collegial relations that I have developed with them over the past year. The Feminist Network is an activist group, but it is also much more than that: it is a group of remarkable and warmly supportive people whom I cherish as friends as well as comrades and colleagues.

I am also enormously grateful to the SLLU itself, which has never wavered in its strong support of what the Feminist Network has done, and that has also provided a broader context of Left activism that helps inform our own feminist work. I am immensely proud to be a member of both groups: proud of the way that both fight for social justice, and for inclusiveness.

The ongoing concern for both to these is apparent in the recent creation of the SLLU LGBTI Network, a new "child" of the SLLU whose birth we are also celebrating today, and which will grow strong and influential, I am sure, with the support of both SLLU and the SLLU Feminist Network.

Finally, it is only remains to me to thank the many people who have contributed their invaluable assistance to this party today: in particular, to Plot Tracer, Smoke Wijaya, Zoe Parness, Teachergirl Razor, Maggy Portello, LolaRennt Blanco, and Aeris Betsen. Most especially, however, I want to thank the musicians and poets who have donated their time to be there with us, showing their support for the causes the SLLU represents. I very much hope that they will all soon again celebrate with us the twin causes of socialism, and social justice.

And this time ... let's not wait a whole year before we party together again!

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Sunday, 21 February 2010

Photos from party at FLAGG

SLURL TO PAAAARTY - HERE











SLURL TO PAAAARTY - HERE


















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