Currently organizing where he grew up in Lancaster PA (as a Menonite), he was involved with Occupy Wall Street and has a lot to say about what worked and what we can learn from what didn’t. Example: The rituals of assembly ended up standing in for strategy, becoming an end rather than a means. Smucker questions the left’s tendency to identify as “the righteous few”, where purity can become an obstacle to amassing enough power to win. He doesn’t use the term “activist” because he believes that (self-)identification separates fighting for peace and justice from the rest of life, and creates an us which can leave out others. Insightful stuff.
“If it doesn’t spread, it’s dead,” is the simple consistent message of a new book, SPREADABLE MEDIA: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture, that maps the changes taking place in our media environment. For all their consolidation, concentration, and money, corporations can no longer control media distribution. Millions are now directly involved in the creation and circulation of content.
“Stickiness” – focusing attention in centralized places — has been the measure of success in the broadcast era. No more. “Spreadability” – dispersing content through formal and informal networks, with and without permission – is the new goal.
What does this mean for media? For information? For culture? For the distribution of power? And how can you take advantage of the new realities to have greater impact and influence?
I’ll be talking about all of that this week with one of the book’s authors, HENRY JENKINS. He coined the term “participatory culture” and he’s been paying attention for decades to the crowd on the other side of the camera, the microphone, and the screen.
For over thirty years, you and I have lived through a radical redistribution of wealth — upward, to a tiny fraction of the population — as though we’re part of a bizarre experiment to see how much inequality a democratic society can tolerate. Finally this past year, as a result of the Great Recession that burst the mortgage/refi/credit card bubble that had allowed too many of us to deny reality, people have woken up and “We are the 99%,” the rallying cry of the Occupy movement, has spread far and wide.
CHUCK COLLINS has been on the case since at least 1995, when he co-founded United for a Fair Economy to raise the profile of the inequality issue and support efforts to address it. In fact, when he did so, he was one of my first guests on this show and we talked then about the same issues we will talk about today.
Chuck’s new book, 99 to 1: How Wealth Inequality is Wrecking the World and What We Can Do About It, paints a picture of how disparities in wealth and power play out in America and the world, and identifies the shifts in social values, political power, and economic policy that have led to our current era of extreme inequality. He lays out the destructive cost of inequality on virtually every aspect of society.
But Collins believes there’s hope and offers proposals for closing the gap, and a guide to many of the groups working toward a society that works for everybody.