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'Free Media v Free Beer' by Andrew Lowenthal

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The free beer Richard Stallman loathes is everywhere. Media companies are currently falling over themselves to produce the new hive for user generated content. The names have rapidly become common place - YouTube, MySpace, Flickr - and their affect has been enormous, dramatically changing the production and distribution of media globally. Free beer pours from the taps of these new hubs of participatory media as they clamor to get you in the door. But free beer, as Free Software Foundation founder Richard Stallman has always emphasised, is not the same as freedom.

The Free Software Foundation has a stock standard one liner about what free software is and is not: "free as in free speech, not as in free beer". That is free software is not about price, but liberty. Free software is software that may be freely shared and modified, generally on the basis that those modifications also be made available to others. The defining document for free software is the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL).

Free software is the philosophical Genesis of a much broader set of practices that seek to empower the user and challenge the limitations of the proprietary model in the realm of software, culture, media, politics, science and more. The model and ethics of free software production can be ported to a range of other realms. I will explore two activist media and software projects that attempt to embody free software principals and challenge the proprietary model.

They are;

EngageMedia.org - an Australian based free software project and video sharing site for social and environmental justice film from Southeast Asia, Australia and the Pacific.
* Transmission.cc - a new global network of social change online video projects co-founded by EngageMedia.

But first.....


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'Booty Dancing and Petroleum Dreaming' by Tim Parish

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Booty Dancing and Petroleum Dreaming
Verb | 10:35am, Fri 23 Sep 2005 | Gunbalunya, Arnhem Land

Bam bam bam chk bam bam bam bam bam chk (repeat).The eighties hardcore techno track ‘Here’s Johnny’ pumps from the Blue Light Disco’s sound system of the youth centre as we enter through the roller doors. In front of us, the concrete dance floor is packed with waste-high kids bumping and grinding their little bums to the beat. The girls stand with their feet firmly planted on the ground, ass out, hands on knees in controlled motions. Some of the boys are more radical, busting out electric waves and robot breakdancing moves.

Yellowcake Country


Yellowcake Country?

Australia’s uranium industry.

As Australia increases it's commitment to uranium mining Yellowcake Country is an important fact sheet about the current state of Uranium mining in Australia. Produced the Beyond Nuclear Initiative, it seeks to explain the issues concerning uranium mining in Australia and clear outline of the perspectives of those opposing it.

The Doors of Perception

The Doors of Perception

illustration: by Gwyllm Llwydd http://www.earthrites.org

'Poet, Fool or Bum' by Beth Sometimes



Poet, Fool or Bum?
Miss Sometimes | 2:21pm, Sun 29 Jan 2006 | El Paso, Texas

An endless day. Crampy greyhound sleep interlaced with heavy Texan accents and five am McDonalds breakfast stops that seemed unfair to count as beginnings or endings. El Paso bus station at around midnight seemed to be the maddest, baddest, saddest place we could lay our America-fresh eyes upon. A thick ‘n’ rich jungle of stereotype. A woman with terrible skin covered in skin-coloured paste, wearing teddy bear pyjama pants and clutching a blankie, huddled on a seat nearby. A woman wearing a leather stars’n’stripes ‘Support Our Troops’ jacket, crouched strange, cat-like in an unused corner. Several obese young men staring deadly at anything but their own souls, fat cheeks pushing fat lips into a sad pout. An ultra-trash young couple came in bitchin’ loudly, making a beeline for the row of personal coin operated TV-chairs. I heard another lady confessing she didn’t know where she was going, but she was going somewhere.

'We Are With You Fidel' by James Halford


(The names in the following piece have been changed)

In a 2000 interview, former UNESCO director, Federico Mayor asked Fidel Castro what he believed would occur in Cuba after his death. The leader maintained that the present system would continue without disruption.

¨I did not inherit a position, and I am not a king. Therefore, I do not need to prepare a successor… There will be no trauma, or the need for any kind of transition.¨ Naturally, Castro´s position and the official position are one, however, in the same breath, the President also downplayed his own importance within the Cuban political apparatus.

¨When a genuine revolution has been consolidated and when ideas and consciousness have begun to bear fruit, no human is indispensable, no matter how important his or her contribution may have been. There is no cult of personality in Cuba.¨ Any person who has spent even a few hours in the country will know that the final statement is either a lie, or a monumental delusion.

Reclaim the TV

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Guerilla gardening and street sculpture meet in this reclaimed TV by Catherine Duniam.

"This sculpture was first unveiled to the public during the Sustainable Living Festival (http://www.slf.org/festival)in February 2007... mmm, quite exhausting riding from Thornbury to the city, in 40 degree heat, towing a television..

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Last night I heard consciousness whisper crude jukebox sonnets to an already subdued and lovesick dream, while in between the body slept with ancient purpose. Absurd in absent motion. Groping sculpted bedsheets with the thirst for intimacy. Primal as the moment of touch. Homesick for reality, warm and sweaty nights of tantric communism. Dreamlike but true. Never forever but long enough to seem, another dimension away.

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The Psynapse Cities

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The Psynapse Cities'The Psynapse Cities' illustration by Tim Parish February 2007, Vang Vieng, Laos.

Plan_Plant_Planet> by Terence McKenna

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illustration: by Gwyllm Llwydd http://www.earthrites.org


Our present global crisis is more profound than any previous historical crises; hence our solutions must be equally drastic. I propose that we should adopt the plant as the organizational model for life in the twenty-first century, just as the computer seems to be the dominant mental/social model of the late twentieth century, and the steam engine was the guiding image of the nineteenth century.

This means reaching back in time to models that were successful fifteen thousand to twenty thousand years ago. When this is done it becomes possible to see plants as food, shelter, clothing, and sources of education and religion.

The process begins by declaring legitimate what we have denied for so long. Let us declare nature to be legitimate. All plants should be declared legal, and all animals for that matter. The notion of illegal plants and animals is obnoxious and ridiculous.

Re-establishing channels of direct communication with the planetary Other, the mind behind nature, through the use of hallucinogenic plants is the best hope for dissolving the steep walls of cultural inflexibility that appear to be channeling us toward true ruin. We need a new set of lenses to see our way into the world. When the medieval world shifted its worldview, secularized European society sought salvation in the revivifying of classical Greek and Roman approaches to law, philosophy, aesthetics, city planning, and agriculture. Our dilemma will cast us further back into time in search for models and answers.