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Medium 9781609948337

22 Seeds of a Commons Movement

Rowe, Jonathan Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Every movement requires a story. To claim the future it must first explain the past.

The true story of the commons does this. It explains how we lost the capacity to see our own wealth. It debunks the myth that privatization is always progress. And it shows how growth has become a form of cannibalism in which the market devours the bases of its own existence.

Many of us know this story at some level, but usually it is a story without a name or solution. The commons provides both: it is the commons that is being devoured and the commons that must be restored. What’s more, it is the commons that opens the way to a politics outside the left/right divide.

Some on the right are starting to see that the market isn’t the answer to every problem. Many on the left are coming to the same conclusion about government. So what’s the alternative? An alternative potentially acceptable to both sides is the commons.

If one looks closely, one can see the seeds of a new commons movement germinating. They’re visible in many places, from local land trusts to your laptop to your tabletop. They’re seen in battles against Walmart, patented seeds, and advertising in schools, as well as in open source software, free wi-fi hot spots, farmers’ markets, time banks, and big ideas like the sky trust.

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Medium 9781609941055

7 Restoring Democracy and Republican Government

Clements, Jeffrey D. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

This is a moment of high danger for democracy so we must act quickly to spell out in the Constitution what the people have always understood: that corporations do not enjoy the political and free speech rights that belong to the people of the United States.

—Maryland Senator Jamie Raskin1

Great corporations exist only because they are created and safeguarded by our institutions; and it is therefore our right and duty to see that they work in harmony with these institutions.

—President Theodore Roosevelt2

As President Theodore Roosevelt put it, we have the right and the duty to control corporate power to protect our institutions of self-government. So what can those who wish to fulfill that duty do now? Three key steps will lead the way back to government of the people, not of the corporations.

First and most important, we need to work for the Twenty-Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, a People’s Rights Amendment, to reverse Citizens United and corporate constitutional rights. For thirty years, we have been in a power struggle over the Constitution and Bill of Rights, but only one side—the side of organized corporate power—has shown up to fight. It is time for the people to take the field. Without ending the corporate rights veto over our laws and without reforming the corporate domination of our government, elections will become more meaningless. Representative democracy will become a fading memory.

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Medium 9781626566743

1 Dirty Business

Perkins, John Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

When I graduated from business school in 1968, I was determined not to participate in the Vietnam War. I had recently married Ann. She too opposed the war and was adventurous enough to agree to join the Peace Corps with me.

We first arrived in Quito, Ecuador, in 1968. I was a twenty-three-year-old volunteer assigned to develop credit and savings cooperatives in communities deep in the Amazon rain forest. Ann’s job was to teach hygiene and child care to indigenous women.

Ann had been to Europe, but it was my first trip away from North America. I knew we’d fly into Quito, one of the highest capitals in the world — and one of the poorest. I expected it to be different from anything I’d ever seen, but I was totally unprepared for the reality.

As our plane from Miami descended toward the airport, I was shocked by the hovels along the runway. I leaned across Ann in the middle seat and, pointing through my window, asked the Ecuadorian businessman in the aisle seat next to her, “Do people actually live there?”

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Medium 9781609945169

5 Raise the Money

Pelosi, Christine Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Your values are all in your checkbook.

ANN RICHARDS (1933–2006)

The late Ann Richards, former governor of Texas, provided this plainspoken advice at a women’s networking lunch I attended in the 1990s: “I see a lot of nice handbags and purses in this room. Now if one of you ladies left this lunch and were hit by a car and someone opened your purse to find identification, they might look at your checkbook. What would they see? How would your spending priorities identify you?” She concluded: “Your values are all in your checkbook.”

To attract people to your vision and plan, you must be able to appeal to their values, ask them for money, and receive it.

Whether you are seeking donations for political or philanthropic efforts, you must believe in the purpose of your work and build the skills needed to ask others to help. Fund-raising in a down economy with intense competition for dollars is challenging, but your call to service demands that you meet those challenges with new innovations in values-based fund-raising.

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Medium 9781608680221

26. Riding in the Rain by Amy Walker

Amy Walker New World Library ePub

Amy Walker

If there’s one great place to enjoy bad weather, it’s on the seat of a bicycle. With a canopy of painted clouds, percussive splashing from car tires, and lights reflecting on wet streets, the watery world of rainy-day biking can be beautiful. When you’re bundled up properly against the cold and rain, it feels like being 5 years old, full of wonder and out on a field trip.

For years, I was a fair-weather cyclist and would take the bus on rainy days. The few times a shower surprised me, I ended up at my destination a soggy, miserable mess, my pants soaked and heavy, a stripe of mud running up my rear.

When finally, after sixteen years of commuting, I bought raingear for about $300, it was the biggest and best investment I had ever made in cycling. Overnight, I had an alternative to standing in the rain waiting for and packing myself onto crowded, steaming buses. I gained more freedom. I saved money and time. And I discovered something truly wonderful: a way to boost my energy and enjoy the rain.

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Medium 9780253015693

3 Mythic Oil: Corporations, Resistance, and the Politics of Claim-Making

Omolade Adunbi Indiana University Press ePub

THE NIGER DELTA, particularly the Ìlàjẹ area of the western Niger Delta, can be situated within a historical tradition that produces and reproduces narratives of unjust marginalization based on claims to own land and resources. These claims are embedded in histories that cause those making them to see themselves as the rightful owners of the land and its resources, on the basis of their ancestral lineage, in ways that challenge the colonial and postcolonial basis for ownership. The consequence of this challenge is a high level of contestation among multinational corporations, the Nigerian state, and oil-producing communities such as Ìlàjẹ.

The core problem is that the oil economy is structured by excluding resource-rich communities from the benefits of the oil’s exploitation. This exclusion, which began during the colonial era and continues in the postcolonial state, is implemented through land reform, usage laws (such as the Land Use Act), zoning restrictions, Nigerian army maneuvers in the region, and security forces set up by the multinational oil corporations to protect their operations. Such exclusionary practices deny communities access to their land, create high unemployment, and cut off communities from oil revenues. As a result, many communities, including that of the Ìlàjẹs, have organized politically against corporate control of land and oil in the Niger Delta. The conflict between regional belonging and national resource control is at the heart of this chapter. A good understanding of how the physical presence of oil drilling platforms, flow stations, and pipelines represents a promise of widespread wealth while at the same time excluding local people from the benefits of oil-related modernity illuminates the link between ancestral claims of ownership and protests against corporate and state control of land and resources.

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Medium 9781576758892

Letting Go of Outcomes

Sinema, Kyrsten Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Since we’re so smart and have all the answers to the world’s problems, you’d think that we progressives would get more done. But sadly, we spend a lot of our time yelling in the corner that the prevailing idea or project or bill is a bad one and the one that we’ve painstakingly created over the course of three years, complete with charts and graphs in a shiny plastic binder, is infinitely better. And really, it should be appreciated. Meanwhile, the compromise package moves forward and wins while we stand forlornly with our three hundred shiny copies of the “good” plan. In this chapter, I posit to you, dear reader, that our obsession with specific, predetermined outcomes limits our ability to find real working solutions that appeal to a broad swath of America.

This chapter is a scary one because it advocates that we put down those shiny plastic binders, store away the charts and graphs, and let go of our predetermined outcomes. By outcome, I mean the thing that you just know will fix the problem du jour. Your seventy-two-page proposal to solve America’s health-care crisis. Your treatise on the solution to the Southwest’s water shortage. Your plan to ensure that every American kid leaves the third grade knowing how to read. Whatever it is, it’s your outcome. It’s predetermined, and you think that it is the way.

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Medium 9780253356833

25. Down to the Wire

David M. Jordan Indiana University Press ePub

Governor Dewey had a big day in Wisconsin on his way to Chicago. In Milwaukee he spoke from an automobile in front of the Pfister Hotel to a crowd estimated at eight thousand persons, telling them that he would restore harmony between the Executive and Congress and would get rid of “the quarrelsome, wasteful, bungling” bureaucrats. Dewey urged the re-election of Governor Walter S. Goodland and Alexander Wiley, the state's isolationist senator. A band serenaded the New York governor with “The Washington Post March,” and a clubwoman with a megaphone sang a “Dewey-for-President” song she had written.1

At a press conference a bit later Dewey said he thought his foreign policy position after the Minneapolis speech was “so clear” there was no possible question of interpretation. After leaving Milwaukee, the candidate's train stopped for brief talks in Kenosha and Racine, where Dewey proclaimed, “You people put me into this [referring to the Wisconsin primary in April] and I promise that I won't let you down.”

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Medium 9781936227037

7. Clarence Brandenburg

Turner, William Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

“Personally, I believe the nigger should be returned to Africa, the Jew returned to Israel,” Clarence Brandenburg said. The film showed twelve hooded figures, some of whom carried firearms. They gathered around a large wooden cross, which they burned. The members of the group could be heard saying, “This is what we are going to do to the niggers,” “Save America,” “Bury the niggers,” “Freedom for the whites.”

In the late 1960s, Brandenburg was a Ku Klux Klan leader in Cincinnati. He had telephoned a local television station and invited a reporter to come to a Klan rally at a farm in Hamilton County. The reporter, accompanied by a cameraperson, attended the rally and filmed it. During the rally Brandenburg made a speech, in which he said, “We’re not a revengent [sic] organization, but if our president, our congress, our Supreme Court continues to suppress the white, Caucasian race, it’s possible that there might have to be some revengeance [sic] taken.”

Brandenburg was prosecuted under an Ohio criminal syndicalism law of the same vintage as the “red flag” law used to prosecute Yetta Stromberg in California, one of the batch of similar World War I–era laws passed by states out of fear of Bolshevism. The Ohio law made it a felony to “advocate ... the duty, necessity, or propriety of crime, sabotage, violence, or unlawful methods of terrorism as a means of accomplishing industrial or political reform.” Brandenburg was convicted, fined, and sentenced to one to ten years in prison.

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Medium 9781607320548

PART I Introduction

David M. Freeman University Press of Colorado ePub

In a moment utterly without drama, on October 24, 2006, negotiators representing Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, the environmental community, and the United States Department of the Interior—each of whom had struggled for years in Platte River habitat recovery talks—assembled in a Denver hotel conference room. The mood was quietly positive as they sat in a horseshoe arrangement at tables covered with white tablecloths studded with notebooks, laptop computers, water pitchers, glassware, and soft-drink cans. For nearly an hour they had been reviewing for one last time electronically projected editorial changes to the bulky program document. Among some good cheer and subdued laughter, the negotiators then unanimously approved sending that record of their agreement to the printer. The first audience would consist of the governors and congressional delegations of the three Platte Basin states and the secretary of the United States Department of the Interior. Something new was being birthed under the Platte River Basin sun. These representatives had agreed to govern their water commons in important new ways.

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Medium 9780253018632

Presence of Mind

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

revealing Africans in renaissance art

Adrienne L. Childs

WHAT WAS THE African “presence” in Renaissance Europe? This is indeed a compelling question, and one that the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland has addressed in its recent exhibition Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe. The politically and culturally charged terms “African” and “Renaissance Europe” that seldom inhabit the same sentence come together in this exhibition and challenge us to reformulate our thinking on both the history of Africans in Europe and the European Renaissance. We are asked to imagine, through the evidence of art and material culture, the lived experiences of Africans or their descendants in Europe during one of the most important cultural epochs in the history of the West.

When we think of the Renaissance, it conjures up a legendary era when European art and culture began an unfettered ascendance to world domination. In what is conventionally characterized as the dawn of the modern West, the likes of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci created a tradition of European art that remains influential to this day. Until recent years the roles played by Africans, slave or free, were never a factor in the traditional histories of Renaissance Europe. Alternatively, histories of Africa and Africans in relation to Europe during the late fifteenth through the early seventeenth century immediately summon images of conquest, exploitation, and enslavement. Yet this exhibition proposes that we consider the interrelated histories of Africans and Europeans in a more qualitative, nuanced fashion—a topic that has garnered increasing scholarly attention in recent decades.

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Medium 9781576755969


Savir, Uri Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

THE TERM peacemaker HAS TRADITIONALLY BEEN APPLIED ONLY to those who are directly involved in the planning, negotiation, and signing of a peace treaty. This definition is very limiting. In our modern peace, every member of society—both in the conflict states and in neighboring countries—has the ability to contribute to peace.

Of course, there is only so much room around the negotiating table. There is a clear gap between the ideals of participatory peace and the practical demands of the peacemaking process—a gap that can be bridged by new perceptions about who can be a peacemaker and on what level. In this chapter I offer new definitions of the terms peace leader and peace bureaucrat. The former occupy a highly visible role in the peacemaking process; the latter represent a more diverse group of actors in government, nongovernmental organizations, and the public and private sectors. Peace bureaucrats are the link between the elite negotiating team and the greater society; they help communicate the needs of society to the peace leaders and explain the actions of peace leaders to their constituencies. Understanding the unique characteristics and responsibilities of peace leaders and peace bureaucrats will be crucial to shaping the modern peace process for the benefit of all.

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Medium 9781626567658

4 A North Dakota Reservation Where Fracking Rules

van Gelder, Sarah Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

FORT BERTHOLD, NORTH DAKOTA—The haze from the wildfires burning in Washington and Montana followed me as I left the Otter Creek Valley and headed northeast toward North Dakota. The land was open grasslands with few trees. The late August sun was unrelenting, temperatures climbing into the upper 90s. I reluctantly left the back roads for Interstate 94, hoping to finish the 400-mile drive to Fort Berthold before dark.

As the day progressed, the soot and smog from methane flares and, I assumed, fracking by-products deepened the haze and added an odor of hydrocarbons. The flares were my first signal that I was coming into Bakken oil country. Then well pumps began to appear in farm fields, like giant grasshoppers bowing again and again in front of bright orange methane flares. The flaring of natural gas is so widespread it can be seen at night from space, competing with the nation’s major cities for brightness in satellite images.

This is boom country. The number of wells in use in North Dakota nearly quadrupled to more than 12,000 from 2004 to 2014;1 oil extraction increased twelvefold; the state now pumps more than a million barrels a day and is contributing to the massive increase in domestic oil extraction of the last decade.

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Medium 9781607320661


Dian Olson Belanger University Press of Colorado ePub

The IGY is the world studying itself. It is seldom that this
world of ours acts together. . . . Yet, for the next 18 months, east
and west, north and south, will unite in the greatest assault in
history on the secrets of the earth. . . . At the same time, it may
well help to solve the real problem—the conflict of ideas.

—Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, 19571

Early Antarctic explorers often used scientific research to legitimize and attract support for their expensive expeditions. The disappointed Shackleton brought back coal, fossil plants, and petrified wood from his near-conquest of the South Pole, proof of a temperate past. Sometimes there was genuine interest, as with Scott who supported a broad science program besides famously man-hauling thirty-five pounds of rock specimens to the last. Byrd showcased science on his own expeditions and promoted it as a worthy context for Operation Highjump. Now, in mid-century, science was enjoying unprecedented respect and popularity, having been widely credited with winning World War II with such breakthroughs as radar, the proximity fuse, and the atomic bomb. The establishment of the Office of Naval Research in 1946 and the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 1950 were but two governmental responses to the increasing glorification of science. For scientists, expectations were high, opportunities great. So perhaps it is not surprising that a small cadre of influential scientists would audaciously propose a worldwide commitment to probe the secrets of the earth. But could they pull it off in a world teetering over a nuclear abyss?

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Medium 9780253020680

1 Factionalism, Privatization, and the Political Economy of Regime Transformation

Daniel Brumberg Indiana University Press ePub


Factionalism, Privatization, and the Political Economy of Regime Transformation

Payam Mohseni

THE CONTESTED IRANIAN presidential election of 2009—which ignited the most serious challenge to the authority of the Islamic Republic since the revolution—seemed to be a turning point in Iranian politics. The violent repression of the Green Movement by the coercive forces of the state and the timely inauguration of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad to his second term in the presidency were ominous signs of a closing of the Iranian regime and a turn toward military dictatorship.1 The expanding role of the Islamic Revolution’s Guard Corps (IRGC) in the economic and political realms, the strengthening of the Supreme Leader’s power and position, and the sidelining of the reformists from the ruling elite all pointed to a fundamental change in the nature of the regime. Indeed, that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared Iran to be “morphing into” a dictatorship2 demonstrates the significance of this issue for both contemporary world affairs and domestic Iranian politics, presenting a bleak image of the future evolution of its political system. The specter of Iranian dictatorship thus came to loom prominently in both Western policy and academic circles alike.

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