[Plura-list] What Democrats need to do; Automated functional drone manufacture; Privacy Without Monopoly Pt 2
doctorow at craphound.com
Mon Feb 22 10:52:31 EST 2021
On Wednesday, Zeynep Tufekci and I are delivering the Mellon Sawyer
Seminar on Contemporary Political Struggle: Social Movements, Social
Surveillance, Social Media:
* What Democrats need to do: Don't just stand there, govern.
* Automated functional drone manufacture: Robutts stole my jerb.
* Privacy Without Monopoly Pt 2: This week on my podcast.
* This day in history: 2006, 2011, 2016
* Colophon: Recent publications, upcoming/recent appearances, current
writing projects, current reading
👥 What Democrats need to do
Although a significant majority of Americans support "progressive"
policies, the US electoral equilibrium is forever balanced on a
knife-edge between GOP and Democratic victories. That's not merely a
result of gerrymandering and voter-suppression, either.
US elections are decided by mobilizing habitual nonvoters, who primarily
stay home because they don't believe change is possible.
That's not an unreasonable position in a country where the minimum wage
and care deductions have been frozen since the 80s.
The Democrats control the White House, the Congress and the Senate. They
have an opportunity not seen since 2008 - when Obama threw away this
hard-won opportunity, on the eve of a grave economic crisis created and
exacerbated by ignoring progressive values and policies.
Time is short. US state-houses are dominated by GOP lawmakers who owe
their seat to grotendous gerrymandering. This summer, they'll get to use
the census to lock in that advantage *permanently* at the federal level
when those state-houses do their redistricting.
Unless, that is, the Democrats in Congress, the Senate and the WH take
decisive action to prohibit gerrymandering.
Preventing another generation-long cycle of disenfranchisement is only
for starters. Once that's done, they have to fight for the House and
Senate in 2022.
That's tough sledding. The president's party usually gets creamed in
midterms. The exception? Midterms where the president faces a crisis
with decisive, bold action to materially improve peoples' lives.
Lucky for Biden, Trump bequeathed him a hell of a crisis to face.
Today, The American Prospect published a massive package on the collapse
of left community organizing. While the right mobilizes its base with
gun clubs and evangelical churches, the left focuses on "analytic
activism," which is powerful, but incomplete.
Community organizing is a longitudinal, relationship-based, face-to-face
project that creates durable political force. It's the kind of project
that we celebrate Stacey Abrams for: a decade-long, unglamorous, project
aimed at structural change.
The Prospect's package is full of uplifting and sobering reports from
the field, postmortems on projects like Indivisible, and an account of
the challenge ahead of us.
"Progressives need well-developed voter contact plans for voters of
color, suburban voters, young voters, and union members/supporters in
six states that will likely determine which party controls the Senate in
2023: AZ, GA, NC, OH, PA, and WI."
"We must start organizing in those seven states *now*. And when I say
now, I mean yesterday...We need to fund organizations that have a
connection to the voters they are organizing...We must help nourish the
indigenous organizations that grew out of the Trump resistance."
And: "Organizing solely around Trump is not a strategy to win."
That's so important. The Dems can't solely campaign against Trumpism -
they need to campaign *for* something. A vision and a plan. A
track-record. Material improvements to the lives of people in crisis.
They have just over a year to accumulate accomplishments to run on. And
the progressive wing of the party has shovel-ready proposals that can
pass *now*, and create massive changes in the lives of everyday Americans.
The only single mom in Congress, Katie Porter, has the Family Savings
for Kids and Seniors Act, which indexes savings allowances for care
(daycare, senior care, afterschool care) to inflation. The $5k currently
permitted hasn't budged since 1986.
And Bernie Sanders is confident that we can get a $15/h minimum wage
*right now* through the Senate budget reconciliation process. The
minimum wage was last raised in 2009. It has lost ground against
inflation since 1968. It should be $24/h.
It's no use nurturing an army of grassroots organizers unless they've
got something to campaign against. US elections are won by convincing
stay-at-home voters that their vote matters - that change is possible.
There is no better way to make that point than by actually changing
things - by making material improvements to the lives of
crisis-tormented Americans by using the mandate represented by control
over the Senate, Congress and the White House.
Just fucking do it already.
👥 Automated functional drone manufacture
Automated manufacturing is a dream as old as the Shoemaker and the
Elves, a nightmare as old as the Sorcerer's Apprentice. But the
(delightful) science fiction dreams about automated manufacturing so
often fall short of the reality.
Not always, though! MIT CSAIL researchers' "Laserfactory" demo at this
year's CHI is a marvel straight out of a novel I wish I'd written:
The demo uses a modified laser-cutter to print, assemble and finish a
working drone that then flies off the build plate, with only the tiniest
It uses a multifunction add-on that bolts onto the laser-cutter's head,
and uses an accelerometer to locate itself in space over the
build-plate. The add-on can dispense conductive silver paste and perform
pick-and-place operations with a suction cup.
The control system integrates the laser with the special head: it tidies
up the silver paste traces into sub-millimetre traces, thermally cures
the paste to solder components together.
The money-shot is that robotically assembled drone taking off on its
own, (almost) untouched by human hands.
👥 Privacy Without Monopoly Pt 2
This week on my podcast, part two of the spoken-word version of "Privacy
Without Monopoly: Data Protection and Interoperability," a major new
white-paper that Bennett Cyphers and I co-authored for EFF.
It’s a paper that tries to resolve the tension between demanding that
tech platforms gather, retain and mine less of our data, and the demand
that platforms allow alternatives (nonprofits, co-ops, tinkerers,
startups) to connect with their services.
I read the second portion of it this week – about 30 minutes' worth –
and I'll finish it next week. If you don't want to wait, you can dive in
with the written version straightaway:
You can subscribe to my podcast feed here:
Here's a direct link to the MP3 (hosting courtesy of the Internet
Archive; they'll host your stuff for free, forever, too!):
👥 This day in history
#15yrsago Using corn-rows to teach fractals
#15yrsago Why kids are on MySpace http://www.danah.org/papers/AAAS2006.html
#15yrsago Transport for London censors anagram Tube map
#10yrsago Egyptian orders a pizza for the Wisconsin demonstrators
#5yrsago Citing copyright, Army blocks Chelsea Manning from receiving
printouts from EFF’s website
#1yrago Wells Fargo will pay $3b for 2 million acts of fraud
#1yrago ICANN should demand to see the secret financial docs in the .ORG
Today's top sources: Hackaday (https://hackaday.com/), Naked Capitalism
* My next novel, "The Lost Cause," a post-GND novel about truth and
reconciliation. Friday's progress: 601 words (113076 total).
* A short story, "Jeffty is Five," for The Last Dangerous Visions.
Friday's progress: 258 words (6467 total).
Currently reading: Analogia by George Dyson.
Latest podcast: Privacy Without Monopoly: Data Protection and
Interoperability (Part 1)
* Keynote, NISO Plus, Feb 22,
* Mellon Sawyer Seminar on Contemporary Political Struggle: Social
Movements, Social Surveillance, Social Media (with Zeynep Tufekci), Feb
* World Ethical Data Forum keynote, Mar 17-19,
* Launching "The Future You" with Brian David Johnson, Mar 19,
* Balancing Worldbuilding and Narrative (with Karen Osborne and Kali
Wallace), Mar 24,
* Interop: Self-Determination vs Dystopia (FITC), Apr 19-21,
* Technology, Self-Determination, and the Future of the Future (CERIAS)
* Talking "Permanent Record Young Readers' Edition" with Edward Snowden
* Talking "Agency" with William Gibson
* Software Freedom is Essential to Human Freedom (linux.conf.au keynote)
* "Attack Surface": The third Little Brother novel, a standalone
technothriller for adults. The *Washington Post* called it "a political
cyberthriller, vigorous, bold and savvy about the limits of revolution
and resistance." Order signed, personalized copies from Dark Delicacies
* "How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism": an anti-monopoly pamphlet
analyzing the true harms of surveillance capitalism and proposing a
* "Little Brother/Homeland": A reissue omnibus edition with a new
introduction by Edward Snowden:
https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250774583; personalized/signed copies
* "Poesy the Monster Slayer" a picture book about monsters, bedtime,
gender, and kicking ass. Order here:
https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781626723627. Get a personalized, signed
This work licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.
That means you can use it any way you like, including commercially,
provided that you attribute it to me, Cory Doctorow, and include a link
Quotations and images are not included in this license; they are
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basis of a separate license. Please exercise caution.
👥 How to get Pluralistic:
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"*When life gives you SARS, you make sarsaparilla*" -Joey "Accordion
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