Privatisation and Criminal Justice: Dominique Strauss-Kahn

One detail of the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case that is reported matter-of-factly actually sounded quite unusual and disturbing to me. As now commonly known, Mr. Strauss-Kahn was released from custody in the notorious Rikers Island prison in New York on bail of $ 1,000,000 (plus $ 5,000,000 in insurance guarantees) and is under house arrest in a Manhattan apartment. So far, so standard procedure. Now awaiting prosecution for attempted rape and six other counts, he may not leave New York and is being guarded 24/7 by a private security company. That’s right, a private security company. And this private security company is not being paid by the city of New York, but by Strauss-Kahn himself. Read more

UniCommon: The rebellion of living knowledge

An extraordinary season of struggle, beyond Uniriot, which has been several things: the will to compose different political cultures, the desire of conflict and the innovation inside and against the university reformed by Bologna Process. The attempt of building up a new experimentation outside of any reassuring identity, but creating a new network able to change and being changed by the richness of discussions and the unquestionable reality of the struggle that cross us.

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Pirate Utopias

During the ‘Golden Age’ of piracy in the 17th and 18th centuries, crews of early proletarian rebels, dropouts from civilization, plundered the lucrative shipping lanes between Europe and America. They operated from land enclaves, free ports; ‘pirate utopias’ located on islands and coastlines as yet beyond the reach of civilization. From these mini-anarchies – ‘temporary autonomous zones’ – they launched raiding parties so successful that they created an imperial crisis, attacking British trade with the colonies, and crippling the emerging system of global exploitation, slavery and colonialism. Read more about “Pirate Utopias: Under the Banner of King Death”.

If It Sounds Too Good…

What You Need to Know, but Don’t, About Privatizing Infrastructure
States and cities are being told that they can fix their budgets and have money left over by leasing their infrastructure for 50, 75 or even 99 years. It sounds great, even miraculous. But we all need to slow down and do our homework, because the rule “If it sounds too good to be true, it is” still applies, and there are good reasons why state and local governments should not want any part of these deals. Read more

Freedom by decentralization

The net needs alternatives to corporate social networks like Facebook because social networking and digital communications technologies are now critical to people fighting to make freedom in their societies or simply trying to preserve their privacy. But corporate services and other parts of the Net are intensively surveilled by profit-seekers and government agencies. Because smartphones, mobile tablets, and other common forms of consumer electronics are being built as “platforms” to control their users and monitor their activity. Freedom Box exists to counter these unfree “platform” technologies that threaten political freedom. Freedom Box exists to provide people with privacy-respecting technology alternatives in normal times – like Facebook alternative diaspora, and to offer ways to collaborate safely and securely with others in building social networks of protest, demonstration, and mobilization for political change in the not-so-normal times. Read more

Piracy Trials in Hamburg

Gutachter des UKE Dr. Kammal: "Er wog 52 kg ohne Hand- und Fußfesseln."

“The fishermen, when they lose their fish, they think” – A., Somali in Germany.

Since November 2010, ten Somali citizens are on trial for Piracy in Hamburg, Germany. Reclaim the Seas ist the blog about the trial and the backgrounds on why fishermen are forced to change their profession.

Property, Commoning and the Politics of Free Software

The Commoner, “web journal for other values”, presents the first of a two volume Special Issue. Both volumes will have a focus on commoning and property. The essay in this first volume – divided in chapters, which can be read separately – is based on an inter-disciplinary PhD thesis titled “Property, Commoning and the Politics of Free Software” completed February 2010, by J. Martin Pedersen at Lancaster University.

Conference Report: “The Public Domain and Digital Natives”

Communia, a thematic network, aims at becoming a European point of reference for theoretical analysis and strategic policy discussion of existing and emerging issues concerning the public domain in the digital environment. Read a subjective report about the Communia conference “University and Cyberspace. Reshaping Knowledge Institutions for the Networked Age”.

Private Companies and Emerging Economies in Zones of Conflict

Annotation, better late than never: About 120 participants, amongst them representatives of research institutes, private companies, civil society as well as politicians accepted the invitation by the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC) and the Fatal Transactions campaign to talk about the challenges of Private Companies and Emerging Economies in Zones of Conflict on the occasion of an international conference which takes place from 21 to 22 November 2008 in Bonn. The two-day event, entitled: “Digging for Peace: Private Companies and Emerging Economies in Zones of Conflict” at the Deutsche Welle is supported by Stiftung Internationale Begegnung of the Sparkasse Bonn, the European Union and Oxfam Novib. Read more

Within the state, without the state

The WSF 2011 will take place in Dakar, Senegal. This is why from mid-January bus and car caravans will start their journey to Dakar from several places in Africa and Europe. When talking about government in this context, it is useful to distinguish between local authorities and the national (or federal) state. Demba Moussa Dembele, coordinator of the Forum for African Alternatives, a senegalese organization, pointed out that the municipal government of Dakar has a particularly good relationship with the movements. “The mayor is one of us”, he said, adding that the mayor has worked on themes like the foreign debt and Economic Partnership Agreements. One of the ways through which the organizing process might increase its autonomy vis-à-vis the Senegalese government is the creation of a South-based transnational organizing committee for the Dakar WSF. It remains to be seen how this and other new proposals will function in practice, but today it does seem that the process is advancing through learning. Read more

The Future of ‘The Commons’: Neoliberalism’s ‘Plan B’ or the Original Disaccumulation of Capital?

The current issue of new formations contains an interesting article on “the future of the commons”:

The ‘commons’ has undergone a remarkable transformation in the last fifteen years, from a word referring rather archaically to a grassy square in the centre of New England towns to one variously used by real estate developers, ‘free software’ programmers, ecological activists and peasant revolutionaries to describe very different, indeed conflicting, purposes and realities. I believe that this resurgence of ‘commons’ thinking is due to a confluence of two streams coming from opposing perspectives.

Read more: Caffentzis: Future of the Commons

Land grab fears for Ethiopian rural communities

A controversial new farms policy has led to a political clampdown in a remote lowland region of Ethiopia. The government of Meles Zenawi is pioneering the lease of some three million hectares of land over the next five years, an area the size of Belgium. The policy is targeting massive lowland areas mostly in the west and south-west of the country. These are regions populated by smaller minority ethnic groups. The government denies conducting any repression, and says instead that its policy is aimed at lifting local people out of poverty. Foreign investors in Gambella include Chinese, Indian and Saudi firms. The Saudis alone say they are hoping to produce as much as a million tonnes of rice per year, most of it for their own domestic market. Read more (BBC, 16.12.2001)

Image Collection Palastine 1917-1918

Sorry, only in german language: A collection of more than 1.500 photographs mostly taken from airplanes that have been shot by bavarian air force soldiers on the base of their cooperation with the Ottomanic Empire. The Bavarian State Archives digitalized and published the pictures in very high resolution. I can not find any hint about the license the images are published under. See more