Archive for October 20th, 2011

October 20, 2011

SlutWalk

slutwalk by angela faz

The SlutWalk protest marches began in 2011, in Toronto, Canada, and became a movement of rallies across the world. Participants protest against explaining or excusing rape by referring to any aspect of a woman’s appearance. The rallies began when Constable Michael Sanguinetti, a Toronto Police officer, suggested that to remain safe, ‘women should avoid dressing like sluts.’

The protest takes the form of a march, mainly by young women, where some dress in ordinary clothing and others dress provocatively, like ‘sluts.’ There are also speaker meetings and workshops. Some objectors have remarked that this approach is an example of women defining their sexuality in male terms.

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October 20, 2011

Tactical Frivolity

orange alternative

slutwalk

Tactical frivolity is a form of public protest involving humor, often including peaceful non-compliance with authorities, carnival and whimsical antics. Humor has played a role in political protests at least as far back as the Classical period in ancient Greece. Yet it is only since the 1990s that the term tactical frivolity has gained common currency for describing the use of humor in opposing perceived political injustice.

There is no universally agreed definition as to which sorts of humorous protest count as tactical frivolity. Generally the term is used for a whimsical, non confrontational approach rather than aggressive mocking or cutting jokes.

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October 20, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

vampire squid

Occupy Wall Street (OWS) is an ongoing series of demonstrations in New York City based in Zuccotti Park in the Wall Street financial district. Initiated by the Canadian activist group Adbusters, the protests were inspired by the Arab Spring movement, especially Cairo’s Tahrir Square protests, and the Spanish Indignants. The participants’ slogan ‘We are the 99%’ refers to the difference in wealth between the top 1% and the other citizens of the United States. They are mainly protesting social and economic inequality, corporate greed, and the power and influence of corporations, particularly from the financial service sector, and of lobbyists, over government. The protest began in September, and by October similar demonstrations were either ongoing or had been held in 70 major cities in the US. Internationally, other ‘Occupy’ protests have modeled themselves after Occupy Wall Street, in over 900 cities worldwide.

In mid-2011 Adbusters, best known for its advertisement-free anti-consumerist magazine of the same name, proposed a peaceful occupation of Wall Street to protest corporate influence on democracy, address a growing disparity in wealth, and the absence of legal repercussions behind the recent global financial crisis. They promoted the protest with a poster featuring a dancer atop Wall Street’s iconic Charging Bull sculpture. They stated that, ‘Beginning from one simple demand – a presidential commission to separate money from politics – we start setting the agenda for a new America.’ Activists from Anonymous (a collection of unnamed internet denizens) also encouraged its followers to take part in the protest which increased the attention it received calling protesters to ‘flood lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street.’

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October 20, 2011

We are the 99%

top one percent

We are the 99% is a political solidarity slogan and implicit economic claim that emerged from the ‘Occupy’ protests in 2011. It is a reference to the difference in wealth between the top 1% and all the remaining citizens of the United States. It started as a tumblr blog and became an Internet meme that went viral, showing a picture of a person holding a piece of paper with their story on it, ending with the phrase, ‘We are the 99%.’ New York times columnist Anne-Marie Slaughter described pictures on the ‘We are the 99’ website as as ‘page after page of testimonials from members of the middle class who took out loans to pay for education, took out mortgages to buy their houses and a piece of the American dream, worked hard at the jobs they could find, and ended up unemployed or radically underemployed and on the precipice of financial and social ruin.’

In 2006, filmmaker and Johnson & Johnson heir Jamie Johnson filmed a documentary called ‘The One Percent’ about the growing wealth gap between America’s wealthy elite compared to the overall citizenry. The film’s title referred to the top one percent of Americans in terms of wealth, who controlled 38% of the nation’s wealth in 2001. The 1% percent in the United States starts with household annual incomes of greater than $593,000.

October 20, 2011

Corporatocracy

corporate republic

bnl

Corporatocracy [kawr-prit-tok-ruh-see], in social theories that focus on conflicts and opposing interests within society, denotes a system of government that serves the interest of, and may be run by, corporations and involves ties between government and business. Where corporations, conglomerates, and/or government entities with private components, control the direction and governance of a country, including carrying out economic planning (notwithstanding the ‘free market’ label).

The concept of corporatocracy is that corporations, to a significant extent, have power over governments, including those governments nominally elected by the people. They exercise their power via corporate monopolies and mergers, and through their subsequent capacity to leverage broad economic interests, which allows them the luxury of being declared ‘too big to fail’; this is accomplished by legal mechanisms (i.e., lobbyists, campaign contributions to office holders and candidates, threats to leave the state or country for another with less oversight and/or more personally beneficial subsidies, etc.), which renders them immune to vague accusations and prosecution.

October 20, 2011

Digerati

digerati

The digerati [dij-uh-rah-tee] are people highly skilled in the processing and manipulation of digital information; wealthy or scholarly techno-geeks. They are the elite of the computer industry and online communities. The word is a portmanteau, derived from ‘digital’ and ‘literati,’ and reminiscent of the earlier coinage glitterati (wealthy or famous people who conspicuously or ostentatiously attend fashionable events). Famous computer scientists, tech magazine writers and well-known bloggers are included among the digerati. The word is used in several related but different ways. It can mean: Opinion leaders who, through their writings, promoted a vision of digital technology and the Internet as a transformational element in society; people regarded as celebrities within the Silicon Valley computer subculture, particularly during the dot-com boom years; and anyone regarded as influential within the digital technology community.

The first mention of the word Digerati on USENET occurred in 1992, and referred to an article by George Gilder in ‘Upside’ magazine. According to William Safire, the term was coined by New York Times editor Tim Race in a 1992. In Race’s words: ‘Actually the first use of ‘digerati’ was in a article, ‘Pools of Memory, Waves of Dispute,’ by John Markoff, into which I edited the term. The article was about a controversy engendered by a George Gilder article that had recently appeared in ‘Upside’ magazine.’

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