Letter to My Representatives on AHCA and Medicaid #2

In the neurodiversity and disability communities, we are sharing stories of how the ACA and Medicaid have helped us and saved us. We’re sharing stories of the dark days before the ACA. The AHCA will return us to those dark days. The ACA, though flawed, works. Medicaid works. Lives depend on them. Improve them. Give them more funding.

Note that there are no stories of how the ACA has hurt people. Sure, premiums could be lower and choice could be greater, especially in states that refused the Medicaid expansion. So fix that. Make a good faith effort to improve policy that has helped so many. Listen to the disability communities. They know our healthcare systems better than anyone. We are full time case workers for ourselves and our families. We know these systems.

The AHCA is theft. It is a transfer of wealth from the most vulnerable to the least. It is cronyism and kleptocracy drafted in a secretive manner defiant of all norms. That the GOP is going forth with it despite its massive unpopularity suggests confidence in the voter suppression that has disenfranchised so many.

What is the future for my neurodivergent, disabled kids in a structurally ableist society that has been stripped of resources by kleptocrats and dominionists, by oligarchs, autocrats and wild notions of providentialism? This dread alliance has declared war on public education. It has declared war on healthcare. It has declared war on IDEA and the ADA. It is intent on dismantling education and our safety nets. And then what?

I don’t feel safe in this post-fact country led by crooks and haters who have seized the levers of power through racialized social control and voter suppression. No marginalized person feels safe right now. The GOP has aspirations of one party rule, and that party is actively intolerant of diversity, inclusion, and a secular society that works for the benefit of all.

My family keeps a copy of historian Timothy Snyder’s book “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century” at hand. These lessons are important civics that we should learn for ourselves and teach our kids. They are necessary literacy all too applicable to these times of cultish compliance and burgeoning autocracy and one party rule. I suggest thumbing through this slim, accessible volume and facing the lessons therein.

Letter to My Representatives on AHCA and Medicaid #1

Please do not cut Medicaid. Medicaid is a lifeline for neurodivergent and disabled families. Mediciad funds community-based supports that keep us in our homes and out of abusive institutions that fail the “midnight burrito test” (if you can’t get up at midnight to microwave a burrito, you are not free).

Medicaid also supports special education. Special education in Texas has many problems, as documented by the Houston Chronicle in their “Denied” series. My neurodivergent kids with developmental disabilities have IEPs. Their education relies, in part, on Medicaid funding. It relies also on respect for IDEA and the ADA, which are being threatened along with Medicaid. Is neurodivergence a pre-existing condition that precludes an education?

Life is hard enough for families with disabilities. The AHCA and the President’s budget are life threatening and future limiting. My family is bracing for the possibility of a society without any support or safety net for our most vulnerable kids. We’re standing at the edge of a cliff, and the Republican Party seems eager to push us over.

Neurodiversity and disability communities oppose the AHCA. Every special education family in our peer groups oppose it. These policies were conceived and iterated behind closed doors without our input or representation. They seem eugenicist in intent. They will certainly be eugenicist in outcome.

Selected Tweets, May 2017: Diversity, Inclusion, Neurodiversity, Disability, Evangelicalism, Tech Ethics, Education, Voter Suppression, Addiction, Drug War, Bodily Autonomy

I’m experimenting with using moments to curate favorite tweets in several categories. I review them at the end of the month to reflect and suss the zeitgeist.

Diversity, Inclusion, and the Social Model for Minds and Bodies

Evangelicalism, Fundamentalism, and Christofascism

Humane Tech and Tech Ethics

Education and Ed-Tech

Voter Suppression

Addiction, Dependence, Rehab, and Harm Reduction

Drug War

Bodily Autonomy

#BodilyAutonomy

Inclusion and the upcoming DSISD school board election

Three candidates are vying for two seats in the election for the Dripping Springs ISD school board on May 6th. DSISD has been the center of a lot of attention around bathroom bills and transgender exclusion. Many DSISD families rallied in support of inclusion, as did incumbent board members Barbara Stroud and Ron Jones. They received a lot of pressure from Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and the anti-inclusion group Texas Values, including harassing phone calls.

Both Stroud and Jones are up for re-election. In a recent candidate forum, challenger Trey Powers came out as anti-inclusion, invoking the zero-sum talking point that accommodation is “at the expense of other [children].” His solution is segregation.

Segregation is always wrong. Inclusion is the new normal. I will not vote for anyone who sides with segregation. As such, Barbara Stroud and Ron Jones will be getting my vote. They sided with inclusion.

Schools with transphobic bathroom policies break the codes of collaboration. They don’t meet the standards for hosting WordCamps, WordPress Meetups, or Automattic sponsored events. They eliminate themselves from hosting meetups for many open source communities, something schools should be doing more of, not less. Phobic policies distance public education from the creative commons and the engines of modernity.

In an era of massive software driven change, the culture of public education should be compatible with the norms of agile teams and distributed collaboration. Self-organizing teams working in open by default, inclusive by default cultures build great things. This is the present and future of work. What we’ve learned over decades of iterating development culture for adult creatives applies also to students.

Our market is the world. Our audience is the world. Designing for the lived experiences of the full spectrum of human diversity requires working inclusively. Together, we will iterate our way through massive software-driven change. We will navigate disruption with compassion, finding opportunity and inspiration in the diversity of our shared humanity. We are humans making things for and with other humans, helping each other cope with sentience and senescence on our pale blue dot. Communicate, collaborate, iterate, launch. With these tools we’ll make it through.

Inclusion is the new normal. Inclusion is the way to our boldly better future. Diversity is a fact of the modern world that is good for society and good for business.

Source: Inclusion is the new normal

Passion-based maker learning, social model inclusion, and indie ed tech are the way forward. Segregation and exclusion are retreats into fear and ignorance.

Instead of connecting neurodivergent kids with an identitytribe, and voice, we segregate and marginalize them. We medicalize and assess them. We demand their compliance and rarely ask for consent. We define their identities through the deficit and medical models and then tell them to get some grit and growth mindset. We reduce emancipatory tech to remedial chains.

Let’s embrace instead the voice and choice of project-based, passion-based maker learning and inform it with neurodiversity and the social model of disability. Create a future of education and work where neurodiverse teams of project-based learners use technology and design thinking to communicate, collaborate, iterate, and launch to authentic audiences of fellow humans.

End the segregation of special.

Source: Education, Neurodiversity, the Social Model of Disability, and Real Life

My oldest, a baseball fan, coined the term “stallbatting”. Stallbatting is interfering with someone going to the bathroom of their choosing. Bathrooms can be anxious experiences for neurodivergent and disabled people who need assistance. Bathroom bills ratchet that anxiety by emboldening fear and hate. Unisex and family bathrooms are wonderful, and often scarce. We are left with assisting our opposite sex family, friends, and clients in binary gendered bathrooms, hoping nobody makes a fuss, hoping we can relieve ourselves in peace. Bathroom bills steal that peace. Bathroom bills hurt the disabled. Bathroom bills hurt the neurodivergent. Bathroom bills hurt my family and hurt my transgender friends and coworkers. Bathroom bills are incompatible with neurodiversity, the social model of disability, and the norms of work and collaboration.

Source: Bathroom Bills, Neurodiversity, and Disability

Early voting starts on April 24th. Here is an application for a mail-in ballot. Candidate applications and bios, which still contain very little information or transparency, are available here.

GenderMag and Cognitive Walkthroughs

GenderMag focuses on five facets of gender differences that have been extensively investigated in the literature pertaining to problem solving. It encapsulates them into a set of faceted personas to bring them to life, and embeds their use into a systematic process based on a gender specialization of the Cognitive Walkthrough (CW) [59, 63]. The five facets are:

Motivation: Research spanning over a decade has found that females tend (statistically) to be motivated to use technology for what they can accomplish with it, whereas males are often motivated by their enjoyment of technology per se [12, 13, 19, 31, 33, 37, 43, 57]. This difference can affect which software features users choose to use.

Information processing styles: To solve problems, people often need to process new information. Females are more likely (statistically) to process new information comprehensively-gathering fairly complete information before proceeding-but males are more likely to use selective styles-following the first promising information, then backtracking if needed [17, 22, 45, 46, 52]. Each style has advantages, but either is at a disadvantage when not supported by the software.

Computer self-efficacy: Self-efficacy is a person’s confidence about succeeding at a specific task, and influences their use of cognitive strategies, persistence, and strategies for coping with obstacles [3]. Empirical data have shown that females often have lower computer selfefficacy than males, and this can affect their behavior with technology [5, 6, 12, 13, 24, 32, 34, 43, 49, 50, 58].

Risk aversion: Research shows that females tend statistically to be more risk-averse than males [23], surveyed in [62], and meta-analyzed in [21]. These results span numerous decision-making domains, such as in ethical decisions, investment decisions, gambling decisions, health/safety decisions, career decisions, and others. Risk aversion with software usage can impact users’ decisions as to which feature sets to use.

Tinkering: Research across age groups and professions reports females being statistically less likely to playfully experiment (“tinker”) with software features new to them, compared to males. However, when females do tinker, they tend to be more likely to reflect during the process and thereby sometimes profit from it more than males do [6, 13, 18, 20, 33, 54].

Source: Finding Gender-Inclusiveness Software Issues with GenderMag: A Field Investigation

Cognitive Walkthroughs focus on just one attribute of usability, ease of learning.

Cognitive walkthroughs evaluate each step necessary to perform a task, attempting to uncover design errors that would interfere with learning by exploration. The method finds mismatches between users’ and designers’ conceptualization of a task.

The procedure uncovers explicit and implicit assumptions made by developers about users’ knowledge of the task and interface conventions. The evaluation procedure takes the form of a series of questions asked about each step in a task that are derived from a theory of learning by exploration.

Source: The Cognitive Walkthrough Method: A Practitioner’s Guide

Per the researchers, the five facets of the GenderMag method are backed by extensive empirical and theoretical work. Facets backed by at least 5 independent empirical studies were chosen, with some having 10 or 15. The majority of studies favor US populations and all are based on adults. Children are excluded from claims.

They realized that, really, it’s all about the facets. It’s not really about gender. It’s all about the facet values and being inclusive across the range of facet values.

I’m channeling Abby, and I do not like this software.

Source: Finding Gender-Inclusiveness Software Issues with GenderMag: A Field Investigation – YouTube

Resist

We face an emerging hyper-capitalist, far right, white supremacist kleptocracy that will dismantle and starve public systems. What’s more, this kleptocracy is much too closely tied to the established hyper-capitalist, far right, white supremacist kleptocracy in Russia. We must be wary. We must resist. Champion diversity and inclusion, and resist intensely ideological authoritarian parties.

Indivisible: A Practical Guide For Resisting the Trump Agenda

The authors of this guide are former congressional staffers who witnessed the rise of the Tea Party. We saw these activists take on a popular president with a mandate for change and a supermajority in Congress. We saw them organize locally and convince their own MoCs to reject President Obama’s agenda. Their ideas were wrong, cruel, and tinged with racism — and they won.

We believe that protecting our values, our neighbors, and ourselves will require mounting a similar resistance to the Trump agenda — but a resistance built on the values of inclusion, tolerance, and fairness. Trump is not popular. He does not have a mandate. He does not have large congressional majorities. If a small minority in the Tea Party can stop President Obama, then we the majority can stop a petty tyrant named Trump.

To this end, the following chapters offer a step-by-step guide for individuals, groups, and organizations looking to replicate the Tea Party’s success in getting Congress to listen to a small, vocal, dedicated group of constituents. The guide is intended to be equally useful for stiffening Democratic spines and weakening pro-Trump Republican resolve.

We believe that the next four years depend on Americans across the country standing indivisible against the Trump agenda. We believe that buying into false promises or accepting partial concessions will only further empower Trump to victimize us and our neighbors. We hope that this guide will provide those who share that belief useful tools to make Congress listen

Indivisible: A Practical Guide For Resisting the Trump Agenda

The Indivisible Guide provides a one page summary of four top-level takeaways, which I’ll excerpt here.

How grassroots advocacy worked to stop President Obama

We examine lessons from the Tea Party’s rise and recommend two key strategic components:

  1. A local strategy targeting individual Members of Congress (MoCs).
  2. A defensive approach purely focused on stopping Trump from implementing an agenda built on racism, authoritarianism, and corruption.

How your MoC thinks — reelection, reelection, reelection — and how to use that to save democracy.

MoCs want their constituents to think well of them and they want good, local press. They hate surprises, wasted time, and most of all, bad press that makes them look weak, unlikable, and vulnerable. You will use these interests to make them listen and act.

Identify or organize your local group.

Is there an existing local group or network you can join? Or do you need to start your own? We suggest steps to help mobilize your fellow constituents locally and start organizing for action.

Four local advocacy tactics that actually work.

Most of you have three MoCs — two Senators and one Representative. Whether you like it or not, they are your voices in Washington. Your job is to make sure they are, in fact, speaking for you. We’ve identified four key opportunity areas that just a handful of local constituents can use to great effect. Always record encounters on video, prepare questions ahead of time, coordinate with your group, and report back to local media:

  1. Town halls. MoCs regularly hold public in-district events to show that they are listening to constituents. Make them listen to you, and report out when they don’t.
  2. Non-town hall events. MoCs love cutting ribbons and kissing babies back home. Don’t let them get photo-ops without questions about racism, authoritarianism, and corruption.
  3. District office sit-ins/meetings. Every MoC has one or several district offices. Go there. Demand a meeting with the MoC. Report to the world if they refuse to listen.
  4. Coordinated calls. Calls are a light lift but can have an impact. Organize your local group to barrage your MoCs at an opportune moment about and on a specific issue.

Our family has used some of these approaches in the fight for transgender, neurodiversity, and disability inclusion in our school district.

I am autistic and uncomfortable talking. I do not like interacting with ableist, exclusionary systems that rely on synchronous meatspace conversation. But, sometimes we must show up to talk to representatives and their staff, face to face. Show up at town halls and other events and let them know your PoV exists. We need to be in the room with power. You must personally present your words, or at least work together with someone who will be in the room for you.

Congressman Steve Israel recommends showing up at an event your representative is at and asking them “Why did you vote a certain way?” and “What’s your position on a certain issue?”

If your representative is not holding town halls and avoiding the public, Indivisible’s Reclaim Recess Toolkit features a Missing Members of Congress Action Plan that describes how to hold and publicize a constituent town hall.

The Indivisible Guide stresses two key strategic elements that made the Tea Party successful.

  1. They were locally focused. The Tea Party started as an organic movement built on small local groups of dedicated conservatives. Yes, they received some support/coordination from above, but fundamentally all the hubbub was caused by a relatively small number of conservatives working together.
  2. They were almost purely defensive. The Tea Party focused on saying NO to Members of Congress (MoCs) on their home turf. While the Tea Party activists were united by a core set of shared beliefs, they actively avoided developing their own policy agenda. Instead, they had an extraordinary clarity of purpose, united in opposition to President Obama. They didn’t accept concessions and treated weak Republicans as traitors.

Defend your neighbors. Defend your schools. Defend our institutions and ethics.

Call the Halls

I believe phone calls have a significant impact because of their immediate call to action. It requires an office to formulate a response right away and in our district office, we began tallying calls immediately when we received a large number on a specific topic. I also liked hearing the voices of constituents because they felt more personal than an email or letter. However, I also agree with the CMF’s assessment that large amounts of calls can be disruptive in a bad way and they should be used responsibly, so you don’t damage your message:

  1. Only call the representatives who represent you.
  2. Identify yourself as a constituent.
  3. Call the D.C. office as well as the state offices.
  4. Call once about an issue.
  5. Tell your story on the phone to the staffer.
  6. Ask for specific action.
  7. Be brief and respectful

Source: Call the Halls: Contacting Your Representative the Smart Way

Even if you don’t speak directly to the lawmaker, staff members often pass the message along in one form or another.

Emily Ellsworth, whose jobs have included answering phones in the district offices of two Republican representatives from Utah — Jason Chaffetz, from 2009 to 2012; and Chris Stewart from 2013 to 2014 — said the way your points reach a lawmaker depends on how many calls the office is getting at the time and how you present your story.

In some cases, it’s a simple process. When a caller offered an opinion, staff members would write the comments down in a spreadsheet, compile them each month and present reports to top officials, she said. If the lawmaker had already put out a statement on the issue, the staff member would read it to the caller, she said.

But a large volume of calls on an issue could bring an office to a halt, sometimes spurring the legislator to put out a statement on his or her position, Ms. Ellsworth said. She recommended the tactic in a series of tweets shared thousands of times.

“It brings a legislative issue right to the top of the mind of a member,” she said. “It makes it impossible to ignore for the whole staff. You don’t get a whole lot else done.”

Source: Here’s Why You Should Call, Not Email, Your Legislators – The New York Times

People need to have a relationship with their elected officials.

#CallTheHalls

Resistance Manual

Action begins with information.

There are more of us who believe in equity and justice than those who support Donald Trump’s ideology of fear and hate.

Together, we can harness the collective power of the people to resist the impact of a Trump presidency and to continue to make progress in our communities.

Get educated. Get organized. Take action.

Source: Resistance Manual

20 steps for resisting fascism

  1. Do not obey in advance.
  2. Defend an institution.
  3. Recall professional ethics.
  4. When listening to politicians, distinguish certain words.
  5. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives.
  6. Be kind to our language.
  7. Stand out. Someone has to.
  8. Believe in truth.
  9. Investigate.
  10. Practice corporeal politics.
  11. Make eye contact and small talk.
  12. Take responsibility for the face of the world.
  13. Hinder the one-party state.
  14. Give regularly to good causes, if you can.
  15. Establish a private life.
  16. Learn from others in other countries.
  17. Watch out for the paramilitaries.
  18. Be reflective if you must be armed.
  19. Be as courageous as you can.
  20. Be a patriot.

Source: 20 Lessons from the 20th Century on How to Survive in Trump’s America – In These Times

Sarah Kendzior and The View From Flyover Country

Sarah Kendzior is an anthropologist, journalist, and expert on Central Asia and authoritarianism. Follow her on Twitter for insight into authoritarianism and kleptocracy and how to #Resist.

Her book The View From Flyover Country offers insight into the structural problems that got us here.

I’m calling it for Trump. I think he’s going all the way. I think people who dismiss this have no idea how poor off people are now and how badly they want a savior and scapegoats. This country has nothing left but pain and exploitation of pain for entertainment. Enter Trump. Deal is sealed.

Here is that pain.

This is the view from flyover country, where the rich are less rich and the poor are more poor and everyone has fewer things to lose.

At play, notes Byrne, was more than a rise in the cost of living. It was a shift in the perceived value of creativity, backed by an assumption that it must derive from and be tied to wealth. “A culture of arrogance, hubris and winner-take-all was established,” he recalls. “It wasn’t cool to be poor or struggling. The bully was celebrated and cheered.”

New York – and San Francisco, London, Paris and other cities where cost of living has skyrocketed – are no longer places where you go to be someone. They are places you live when you are born having arrived. They are, as journalist Simon Kuper puts it, “the vast gated communities where the one percent reproduces itself”.

This is the New York artist today: A literal servant to corporate elites, hired to impart “creativity” to children whose bank accounts outstrip their own.

Creativity – as an expression of originality, experimentation, innovation – is not a viable product. It has been priced out into irrelevance – both by the professionalization of the industries that claim it, and the soaring cost of entry to those professions.

The creative class plays by the rules of the rich, because those are the only rules left.

Today, creative industries are structured to minimize the diversity of their participants – economically, racially and ideologically. Credentialism, not creativity, is the passport to entry.

“What the artist was pretending he didn’t know is that money is the passport to success,” she writes. “We may be free beings, but we are constrained by an economic system rigged against us. What ladders we have, are being yanked away. Some of us will succeed. The possibility of success is used to call the majority of people failures.”

Failure, in an economy of extreme inequalities, is a source of fear. To fail in an expensive city is not to fall but to plummet. In expensive cities, the career ladder comes with a drop-off to hell, where the fiscal punishment for risk gone wrong is more than the average person can endure. As a result, innovation is stifled, conformity encouraged. The creative class becomes the leisure class – or they work to serve their needs, or they abandon their fields entirely.

But creative people should not fear failure. Creative people should fear the prescribed path to success – its narrowness, its specificity, its reliance on wealth and elite approval. When success is a stranglehold, true freedom is failure. The freedom to fail is the freedom to innovate, to experiment, to challenge.

To “succeed” is to embody the definition of contemporary success: sanctioned, sanitized, solvent.

“People”, in Grosse and Thomas’s formulation, are not those who actually live in north Philadelphia and bear the brunt of its burdens. “People” are those who can afford to view poverty through the lens of aesthetics as they pass it by. Urban decay becomes a set piece to be remodeled or romanticized. This is hipster economics.

These dismissals, which focus on gentrification as culture, ignore that Lee’s was a critique of the racist allocation of resources. Black communities whose complaints about poor schools and city services go unheeded find these complaints are readily addressed when wealthier, whiter people move in. Meanwhile, long-time locals are treated as contagions on the landscape, targeted by police for annoying the new arrivals. Gentrifiers focus on aesthetics, not people. Because people, to them, are aesthetics.

Proponents of gentrification will vouch for its benevolence by noting it “cleaned up the neighborhood”. This is often code for a literal white-washing. The problems that existed in the neighborhood – poverty, lack of opportunity, struggling populations denied city services – did not go away. They were simply priced out to a new location.

In cities, gentrifiers have the political clout – and accompanying racial privilege – to reallocate resources and repair infrastructure. The neighborhood is “cleaned up” through the removal of its residents. Gentrifiers can then bask in “urban life” – the storied history, the selective nostalgia, the carefully sprinkled grit – while avoiding responsibility to those they displaced. Hipsters want rubble with guarantee of renewal. They want to move into a memory they have already made.

Rich cities such as New York and San Francisco have become what journalist Simon Kuper calls gated citadels: “Vast gated communities where the one percent reproduces itself.”

Struggling US cities of the rust belt and heartland lack the investment of coastal contemporaries, but have in turn been spared the rapid displacement of hipster economics. Buffered by their eternal uncoolness, these slow-changing cities have a chance to make better choices – choices that value the lives of people over the aesthetics of place.

“I’ve heard several young hipsters tell me they’re socially-liberal and economic-conservative, a popular trend in American politics,” he writes. “Well, I hate to break it to you buddy, but it’s economics and the role of the state that defines politics. If you’re an economic conservative, despite how ironic and sarcastic you may be or how tight your jeans are, you, my friend, are a conservative …”

But while these were memories for some, for others they were merely rumors. A functional local economy was a story our parents told us.

Our rundown towns had little anyone wanted: empty lots, boarded windows, vacant stores. Decades passed, and no one rebuilt them. Now the malls follow, and no one will rebuild them either. My generation watches the malls fall like our parents watched the downtowns die. To our children, the mall will be a nostalgic abstraction, a 404 in concrete.

Materialism may remain rampant, but now its spaces are secret. Retail work has been replaced with jobs in online shopping warehouses where “pickers” labor unseen in brutal conditions.

Malls were once castigated for turning consumers into zombies. Now, the zombie is the ideal online retail employee, unthinking and robotic. Advice by algorithm, delivery by drone: This is what a dehumanized landscape looks like.

Our connections and commerce are dependent on our screens. Pay attention, pay attention, to the men behind the screens.

Do not rejoice at the fall of the mall. The setting may have been artificial, but the people in it were real.

The reality is that, in the “jobless recovery”, nearly every sector of the economy has been decimated. Companies have turned permanent jobs into contingency labor, and entry-level positions into unpaid internships. Changing your major will not change a broken economy.

It is not skills or majors that are being devalued. It is people.

To which the 30-something, having spent their adult life in an economy of stagnant wages and eroding opportunities, takes the 20-something aside, and explains that this is a maxim they, too, were told, but from which they never benefitted. They tell the 20-something what they already know: It is hard to plan for what is already gone. We live in the tunnel at the end of the light.

If you are 35 or younger – and quite often, older – the advice of the old economy does not apply to you. You live in the post-employment economy, where corporations have decided not to pay people. Profits are still high. The money is still there. But not for you. You will work without a pay rise, benefits, or job security. Survival is now a laudable aspiration.

When survival is touted as an aspiration, sacrifice becomes a virtue. But a hero is not a person who suffers. A suffering person is a person who suffers. If you suffer in the proper way – silently, or with proclaimed fealty to institutions – then you are a hard worker “paying your dues”. If you suffer in a way that shows your pain, that breaks your silence, then you are a complainer – and you are said to deserve your fate. But no worker deserves to suffer. To compound the suffering of material deprivation with rationalizations for its warrant is not only cruel to the individual, but gives exploiters moral license to prey.

In the post-employment economy, jobs are privileges, and the privileged have jobs.

Most human rights, policy and development organizations pay interns nothing, but will not hire someone for a job if they lack the kind of experience an internship provides. Privilege is recast as perseverance. The end result hurts individuals struggling in the labor market but also restructures the market itself.

Unpaid internships lock out millions of talented young people based on class alone. They send the message that work is not labor to be compensated with a living wage, but an act of charity to the powerful, who reward the unpaid worker with “exposure” and “experience”. The promotion of unpaid labor has already eroded opportunity – and quality – in fields like journalism and politics. A false meritocracy breeds mediocrity.

Post-recession America runs on a contingency economy based on prestige and privation. The great commonality is that few are paid enough to live instead of simply survive.

Mistaking wealth for virtue is a cruelty of our time. By treating poverty as inevitable for parts of the population, and giving impoverished workers no means to rise out of it, America deprives not only them but society as a whole. Talented and hard-working people are denied the ability to contribute, and society is denied the benefits of their gifts. Poverty is not a character flaw. Poverty is not emblematic of intelligence. Poverty is lost potential, unheard contributions, silenced voices.

In reality, profits are soaring and poorly compensated labor tends to lead to more poorly compensated labor. Zero opportunity employers are refusing to pay people because they can get away with it. The social contract does not apply to contract workers – and in 2013, that is increasingly what Americans are.

In America, there is little chance at a reversal of fortune for those less fortunate. Poverty is a sentence for the crime of existing. Poverty is a denial of rights sold as a character flaw.

American ideology has long tilted between individualism and Calvinism. What happened to you was either supposed to be in your control – the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” approach – or divinely arbitrated. You either jumped, or you were meant to fall. Claims you were pushed, or you were born so far down you could not climb up, were dismissed as excuses of the lazy. This is the way many saw their world before it collapsed.

Unemployment is not only the loss of a job. It is the loss of dignity. It is the loss of the present and, over time, the ability to imagine a future. It is hopelessness and shame, an open struggle everyone witnesses but pretends not to see. It is a social and political crisis we tell a man to solve, and blame him when he cannot. When you are unemployed, your past is dismissed as unworthy. Your future is denied. Self-immolation is making yourself, in the moment, matter.

They cut and blame us when we bleed.

In authoritarian states ruled by tyrants, in democracies allegedly ruled by law, we find the same result: hard-working people let down by the systems which are supposed to support them. When the most you can ask from your society is that it will spare you, you have no society of which to speak.

While the start and end dates of the millennial generation are up for debate – and the idea of inherent generational traits is dubious – people of this age group share an important quality. They have no adult experience in a functional economy.

A generation that can barely stand on its feet is in charge of another generation’s welfare.

Millennials are chastised for leaning on elders, but the new rules of the economy demand it. Unpaid internships are often prerequisites to full-time jobs, and the ability to take them is based on money, not merit. Young adults who live off wealthy parents are the lucky few. They can envision a future because they can envision its purchase. Almost everyone else is locked out of the game.

Dependence may be the primary trait of the millennial generation, but it is a structural dependence, caused not by “laziness” or “narcissism” but by a lack of options or social mobility. For millennials much more than for the generations which immediately preceded them, the future is determined by the past. The son is indebted to the debt of the father.

It is one thing to discover, as an adult, that the rules have been rewritten, that the job market will not recover, that you will scramble to survive. It is another to raise a child knowing that no matter how hard they work, how talented they are, how big they dream, they will not have opportunities – because in the new economy, opportunities are bought, not earned. You know this, but you cannot tell this to a child. The millennial parent is always Santa, always a little bit of a liar.

Americans should not fear riots. They should fear a society that ranks the death of children. They should fear a society that shrugs, carries on, and lets them go.

Source: The View From Flyover Country

Matthew Stoller’s work complements Kendzior’s narrative of a post-employment economy.

#Resist

These folks—from a variety of political and professional backgrounds—have been out front on Trump + Putin + Russia + kleptocracy + supremacy.

I have included tweets from these sources in the comments on this post. Scroll down.

Flocking

Collective action increases individual survival. Birds, fish, insects and herbivores have been doing it for a long time. It’s called flocking behaviour. In the presence of danger they run as one, turn as one. It makes it much harder for, say, a predator to single out an individual.

More than ten years of research (see, for example, Consensus Decision-Making in Crowds) shows that humans flock, too. It takes only 5% of a crowd to begin to move for the other 95% to follow; we do it subconsciously. Flocking is emergent behaviour: it happens when certain criteria are met without the participants making any conscious decisions. Imagine how powerful that strategy could be if we acted consciously.

Fairness and diversity cannot happen until allies speak out. So, to those with power, platform, and access: You probably don’t like the idea of going from predator to potential prey. Oh, well. But you must not duck for cover, you must not hide. You must speak out. Speak out in concert. Talk to your friends and colleagues. Figure it out. Pick a day; do something.

Source: How to defeat an autocrat: flocking behaviour | Nicola Griffith

Power Mapping

In order to effect social change, an advocate needs to be aware of the political and social power structures in play. A power map is a useful visual tool for figuring out who you need to influence, how to influence them, and who can do the influencing in order to reach a specific goal. This guide will help you create your own power map for your area.

Source: A Guide to Power Mapping | Move to Amend

Hat tip: Safety Pin Box

Youth Activist’s Toolkit

Organizing is the process of building power as a group and using this power to create positive change in our lives. Throughout history, organizers have played a key role in addressing injustice in our country. From the Civil Rights movement, to the feminist, LGBT and immigrant rights movements, organizers have come together, created strategies and built collective power to win lasting change.

Organizing has everything to do with power and shifting relationships of power. Power is the ability to control our circumstances and make things happen outside of ourselves. Everyone has power inside themselves—power to make decisions, to act, to think, to create. However, not everyone has equal power to make things happen outside of our own lives due to inequality of resources and authority. Nevertheless, we can build our own power and the power of our community through organizing. Collective power is the power that a group has by working together with a shared interest in achieving a goal.

Sometimes we think that if our cause is right, we will be able to win easily without building power. We might think that if decision makers just understood the problem then they would act. Unfortunately, in most cases, even if we are right, and those in power know about the issue, they still don’t act. This is because they are being pressured by others not to act, such as donors who want school funds to be allocated to sports programs instead of a student health center. Most campaigns will require you to be more than right. You will find that you must build power in order to put pressure on those who can make decisions. Organizing is about figuring out what resources you really need in order to win change. This could mean you need the votes of members of your student council; chatter on social media; the allegiance of a person with power; or it could mean building crowd support to disrupt business as usual with direct action (such as a protest). You must identify what you need and then figure out how you can make it happen.

This guide will serve as a tool you can use to think through how to make change in your community. It will walk you through the steps of developing a campaign strategy that includes setting goals and establishing demands, analyzing key players, building power, and using power to achieve your goals.

Source: Youth Activist’s Toolkit

Hat tip: Safety Pin Box

Direct Action

These movements include the civil rights movement, the student movement, the anti-Vietnam War movement, the women’s movement, the gay rights movement, and the environmental movement. Each, to varying degrees, changed government policy and, perhaps more importantly, changed how almost every American lives today.

Supporters of these movements questioned traditional practices about how people were treated. Why did black and white children attend separate schools? Why were women prevented from holding certain jobs? Why could a person be drafted at 18 but not able to vote until 21? This questioning inspired people to begin organizing movements to fight against injustice and for equal rights for all people.

In addition, they did not use traditional methods of political activity. Instead of voting for a political candidate and then hoping that the elected official would make good policies, these protesters believed in a more direct democracy. They took direct action—public marches, picketing, sit-ins, rallies, petition drives, and teach-ins—to win converts to their causes and change public policies at the local, state, and federal levels. They contributed their time, energy, and passion with the hope of making a better, more just society for all.

Source: Protests in the 1960s

You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.

Source: Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Direct Action and Measurable Allyship

Cindy Gallop, Make Love Not Porn, Sextech, Gender Balanced Writers’ Rooms

Some of the Rick & Morty marketing folks were on a recent episode of Harmontown. They mentioned that Cindy Gallop is changing the ad industry with her diversity and inclusion work. I was unaware of her efforts—a blind spot—so I checked out some of her talks and joints to catch up.

10 habits to change a country | TEDxAcademy

  • The business model of the future is all about doing good and making money simultaneously.
  • Shared values plus shared action equals shared profit—financial profit and social profit.
  • When you identify your values, it makes life so much simpler.
  • Shared values is the key to success for any business.
  • Shared values does not mean shared thinking.
  • Fear of what other people will think is the single most paralyzing dynamic in business and in life. You will never own the future if you care what other people will think.
  • Action is key, because action is transformative.
  • When you do something it makes you feel completely differently about yourself and what you’re capable of.
  • The key to action is micro actions.
  • Change happens from the bottom up.
  • Micro actions from the bottom up
  • How can shared action create shared profit? We make more together than we do apart.
  • Collaborative competition – everyone competing by all doing the same thing
  • Competitive collaboration – when we come together and collab to make things better for all of us in a way we don’t see currently. Rising tide lifts all boats premise.
  • Competitive collaboration > collaborative competition
  • Don’t do good by writing checks to clear conscience. Make money because you do good.
  • When you can create a business that does good and makes money simultaneously, you have your own resources and own funds to draw on to scale and create an ever bigger impact.
  • Women challenge the status quo because we are never it.
  • Diversity drives innovation.
  • True innovation, true disruption is the result of many different mindsets, perspective, insights, worldviews, all coming together in constructive creative conflict to get to a far better place that none of us could have gotten to on our own.
  • Female perspectives are critical within that, because there’s a huge amount of money to be made out of taking women seriously.
    • Women buy. Primary purchasers and primary influencers of purchase in every single product sector.
    • Women share.
  • Openness and honesty around sex is what leads to better human connections, better relationships, and better lives.
  • What are your sexual values?
  • Healthy personal and national sexual values improve productivity and creativity.
  • Micro act together. Create enormous impact at scale.

Women and People of Color in Advertising, Here’s What You Do Next

  • Start your own agency. Start something that gives you agency.
  1. You don’t need money to start the agency of the future.
    • The great thing about working in a service industry is that all you need is your brain. You don’t need an office. You can work remotely.
    • In the gig economy, all the resources you need are in your own network.
    • Identity your minimum viable cost of living.
    • Our industry is very good at persuading us we have to live at a certain level.
  2. Know that you’re extremely good at things you don’t know you’re extremely good at.
  3. Blue sky it. What do YOU really want to do?
    • Look around you? What is missing that should be there. What would you love to have, but nobody’s doing it? What can you uniquely create?
      • What have you always wanted to do?
  4. Design your business to be the way that you want to work
    • Identity what you love doing and the conditions under which you love doing it.
    • Design an opportunity, a job, a venture around those things.
  5. Design your business model to be the way you want to make money
    • Your business model can be anything you want it to be.
    • How would I like to make money? Because I can guarantee you, that you do not want to make money the way our industry currently makes money.
    • You do no want to operate on the premise of timesheets.
    • The value we deliver is not about the amount of time spent.
  6. Design your business from day one to one day ultimately make a lot of money
    • We do not get taken seriously as women unless get taken seriously financially.
    • True for every other diversity group in our industry.
    • The moment you prove you can start making money, you get taken seriously.
    • Diversity drives the creativity that makes a huge amount of money.
    • Reinvest that money in the rest of us.
  7. You can start the agency of the future alongside your current job
    • Start putting what you want to do out there. Start blogging. Start tweeting. Share your thoughts on social media. Start building a community of like minded people around your idea. That’s how you test it in the marketplace, get early proof of concept.
  8. Plenty of people want to fund your business
  9. Your clients are all around you
  10. Make it real

There is a huge amount of money to be made out of taking women seriously.

Make Love Not Porn

MakeLoveNotPorn is a Cindy Gallop production. I date younger men, usually in their 20s, and came up with the idea for MakeLoveNotPorn based on direct personal experience. I launched MakeLoveNotPorn at TED 2009: TED 2009: Make Love not Porn followed by an interview with me on the TEDBlog. Here is a talk I gave recently at the L2 GenerationNext Forum that expands on how this is the single biggest impact that technology is having on human behavior today.

I would like to stress the following:

  • MakeLoveNotPorn is not about judgement, or what is good vs what is bad. Sex is the area of human experience that embraces the widest possible range of tastes. Everyone should be free to make up their own mind about what they do and don’t like.
  • MakeLoveNotPorn is not anti-porn. I like porn and watch it regularly myself.
  • MakeLoveNotPorn is simply intended to help inspire and stimulate open, healthy conversations about sex and pornography, in order to help inspire and stimulate more open, healthy and thoroughly enjoyable sexual relationships.

Source: Make Love Not Porn :: Porn World vs. Real World

Sextech

Gender Balanced Writers’ Room

BTW, season three of Rick & Morty has a gender balanced writers’ room. Harmontown talks about diversity, inclusion, and identity often, including D&I in Hollywood.

“We hired a bunch of new writers,” Dan Harmon told Den of Geek in an exclusive interview. “There was a craving for a gender balance in the writers’ room that we had never had, but I’m also very proud of the fact that we didn’t compromise ourselves following that craving. We just looked harder and I don’t know if it was coincidence or because the show was popping up on the radar of a lot of great female writers noticing, ‘Well, they don’t have any women writers in there. I’m gonna submit something.’ It was probably a combination of all those factors.”

Source: Rick and Morty Season 3 Release Date, Preview Trailer, Interviews And More | Den of Geek