When the gods dance...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

BBC covers The Global Square: a grassroots social network

BBC covers The Global Square: a grassroots social network

Posted: 21 Feb 2012 07:19 PM PST

Heather Marsh, spokesperson for The Global Square, appeared on BBC radio to discuss the ongoing effort of building a secure, decentralized social network.

As we reported earlier last week, The Global Square (original project outline here, updated information here) has been picking up steam. The effort to build a secure, decentralized, peer-to-peer, open-source organizing platform for our movement — an ambitious experiment in creating a form of direct global democracy from the bottom up — is gathering increasing attention both from the movement, from developers, and from the international media.

Heather Marsh of WL Central, official spokesperson for the project, appeared on BBC Outriders on Tuesday and gave a very clear outline of where the project stands and where it will be headed in the next couple of months. Listen to her excellent interview here (from 6m30s onwards). Also, please note that we are still looking for coders — for more information on how to contribute, check out this post or contact Heather here.

Via BBC Outriders:

As we know, hackers are not all about taking down sites and cracking security, they also work hard to create connections, especially where there are communities and people who could do with some help when it comes to freedom of expression.

Secure communications over the internet have been paramount lately when it comes to both connecting and protecting people. Online groups associated with uprisings in Libya, Syria and further afield have been a focus point for organisations like Tor and Telecomix.

Another plan is currently in development to address social activity on the internet and the people involved hope to grow their network from the individual out, rather than planning a pre-set ecosystem for people to sign up to. Heather Marsh is the spokesperson for The Global Square project and we chatted about what this could be and how it should work.

Listen to the full interview here (from 6m30s onwards)

This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

Financial Times: “Greece is the eurozone’s first colony”

Posted: 21 Feb 2012 03:05 PM PST

When even the media paragon of free-market ideology argues that “Greece must default if it wants democracy,” you know something is profoundly wrong.

Here at ROAR, we usually don’t rely on the analyses brought forward by the mainstream media; in particular not those of the unreconstituted neoliberal intelligentsia at the Financial Times. But the latest article by financial analyst and EU expert Wolfgang Münchau deserves being disseminated widely. Arguing that “Greece must default if it wants democracy,” Münchau has just launched his most scathing critique of the EU’s approach to Greece yet:

When Wolfgang Schäuble proposed that Greece should postpone its elections as a condition for further help, I knew that the game would soon be up. We are at the point where success is no longer compatible with democracy. The German finance minister wants to prevent a “wrong” democratic choice. Similar to this is the suggestion to let the elections go ahead, but to have a grand coalition irrespective of the outcome. The eurozone wants to impose its choice of government on Greece – the eurozone’s first colony.

As a leading columnist, Münchau’s articles are widely read by policymakers in Brussels, Berlin and Paris. A friend of mine who used to work in the European Parliament once told me that his writings are extremely influential in informing the political debate among the Brussels eurocrats. What’s more, Münchau can hardly be considered a leftist or a radical. Indeed, most of his work has focused on how to save European capitalism from itself.

It is for this reason that Münchau’s criticism bears significant weight. If even the media paragon of free-market ideology argues that Europe’s approach to Greece has completely and utterly undermined democracy, you know something is profoundly wrong. Indeed, with Dutch Finance Minister De Jager calling for the establishment of a “permanent Troika” in Athens to monitor Greek economic performance, the colonialism critique hits straight home.

Now that the unelected Papandreou government has just committed to five years of austerity and an additional 15 percent wage cut (on top of the 30 percent that’s already been cut), and now that the EU has decided to move ahead with the taxpayer-funded subsidization scheme of its banks by disbursing yet another massive bailout, the battle lines are being drawn anew. Münchau echoes our warning that a social explosion might not be far off:

The German strategy seems to be to make life so unbearable that the Greeks themselves will want to leave the eurozone. Ms Merkel certainly does not want to be caught with a smoking gun in her hand. It is a strategy of assisted suicide, and one that is extremely dangerous and irresponsible.

Read the full article here (note: behind capitalist paywall!).

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