Two days ago, you guys stepped up once again to show the world just how much we care about protecting the Internet. Together, we generated more than 140,000 calls to Senators, spent more than 4,200 hours on the phone with their staffers, and blacked out 650,000 of our blogs to make our point and inspire others to get involved. And what’s more, this was on top of the 90,000 calls we sent to members of the House of Representatives a month ago. Incredible.
It’s now becoming clear just how much impact our action is having. On January 18th, only 31 members of Congress opposed these bills. Just one day later, 101 members of Congress publicly stood with us in opposition. We are being heard.
And as of today, it looks like both the Senate PIPA and House SOPA bills have been shelved, for the moment. It seems pretty likely that the bills won’t pass as written—a big first win. We now hope that Internet companies, the creative community and the content industry join together to innovate and devise new partnerships to combat online piracy. We’re confident there are effective ways to do this without damaging the Internet or diminishing our freedoms.
You’ve made a big difference in keeping the Internet a safe and open place for creators. Thank you again.
But Occupy Des Moines leaders say there’s a difference: The Iowa group’s planned sit-ins at presidential campaign headquarters are not intended to shut down the Iowa caucuses, they say. Rather, they want to target presidential candidates and big-moneyed corporations that activists say are pulling the strings behind the scenes.
While there are similarities between the groups’ beliefs, they are separate, Occupy Des Moines participants emphasized Sunday.
“I don’t like it one bit,” former Rep. Ed Fallon, a Des Moines Democrat and participant in Occupy Des Moines, said of the video on Sunday. “It doesn’t fit with my definition of Gandhi- and Martin Luther King Jr.-style nonviolence. The core of nonviolent action is truth. And if you are doing everything you can to be truthful, then you should be up front and transparent. No distorting of your voice or hiding.”
I was there to photograph the police dissemble the occupation, and therefore what many call the trampling of the first and possibly second amendments. The people assembled in a (literal) public square, were paid lip service to by local authorities, and on the last morning of October, the local police were forced into thuggery by an order from on high. Again, I was not at Kanawa Plaza to make a political statement, I wanted to take some pictures… and instead, I got arrested for crossing the fucking street. The official charge is of trespassing. There were people on both sides of the crosswalk where I was arrested, and none of them were arrested. But none of them had cameras, either.
Image: Screenshot from a CBS video of Ian Graham getting arrested.
Networking: Strong Ties Bind Transnational Corporations
A new study analyzing transnational corporations demonstrates the power a core group of 1,318 companies has over the global economy. The most powerful, not surprisingly, are banks.
The study, conducted by researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, explores the network of transnational corporations — including who owns who among other economic relationships — and further discover that a super-connected 147 companies control 40% of the wealth in the total network.
(These “super-connected” companies are represented by the red dots in the image above. The “merely” very connected are in yellow.)
[The study] combines the mathematics long used to model natural systems with comprehensive corporate data to map ownership among the world’s transnational corporations…
…John Driffill of the University of London, a macroeconomics expert, says the value of the analysis is not just to see if a small number of people controls the global economy, but rather its insights into economic stability.
Concentration of power is not good or bad in itself, says the Zurich team, but the core’s tight interconnections could be. As the world learned in 2008, such networks are unstable. “If one [company] suffers distress,” says Glattfelder, “this propagates.”…
…Crucially, by identifying the architecture of global economic power, the analysis could help make it more stable. By finding the vulnerable aspects of the system, economists can suggest measures to prevent future collapses spreading through the entire economy. Glattfelder says we may need global anti-trust rules, which now exist only at national level, to limit over-connection among TNCs. Sugihara says the analysis suggests one possible solution: firms should be taxed for excess interconnectivity to discourage this risk.
One thing won’t chime with some of the protesters’ claims: the super-entity is unlikely to be the intentional result of a conspiracy to rule the world. “Such structures are common in nature,” says Sugihara.
Image: The 1318 transnational corporations that form the core of the global economy. Dot size represents revenue. New Scientist via PLoS One.
“The internet helped to speed up things. But the revolution would have taken place without it.”
Hossam al-Hamalawy, an Egyptian blogger at 3arabawy.
Memeburn reports that 200 bloggers from the Middle East and North Africa are gathering in Tunis to discuss the role online activism and social media has in political change.
According to event organiser and administrator of Tunisian site Nawaat, Malek Khadroui, the bloggers will focus on the role of cyberactivists in a period of political transition.
“It is an exceptional meeting. There have been three Arab revolutions and the majority of the invited bloggers have been involved in these revolutions, which will allow them to meet and develop solidarity networks,” he said.
We will reflect together on new challenges facing movements in countries like Syria, Bahrain, Yemen,” Khadraoui added, underlining the symbolism of holding the meeting in Tunisia, the birthplace of the Arab Spring.
One topic which the bloggers will focus on is their continuing role in political life. This is particularly relevant to seven of the Tunisian bloggers who are candidates in the upcoming constituent assembly elections.