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Kit O'Connell: Approximately 8,000 Words Posts

Hemp Makes Great Plastic, So Why Isn’t Hemp Plastic Everywhere?

Posted in Ministry of Hemp

Plastic is an inescapable part of our everyday lives, so why is almost all of it still made from polluting, non-renewable petrochemicals?

You may have heard that agricultural hemp, the non-mind-altering cousin of cannabis (commonly known as marijuana), has dozens of potential uses from clothing to paper.

Since virtually all climate scientists agree that we must replace our dependence on fossil fuels, and given that hemp can even make the soil cleaner, it’s surprising that this miracle crop isn’t in wider use.

While The U.S. Prepares To Crush Net Neutrality, Other Countries Have Made It A Basic Human Right

Posted in Journalism, and Lee Camp

Many countries have made net neutrality a basic freedom. Yet now, the FCC is planning to make sure the U.S. is not one of those countries.

Today, the internet is classified as a “common carrier” in the U.S., which forces telecommunications companies and internet service providers to treat all content more or less equally. If Ajit Pai, chair of the FCC and former Verizon lawyer, has his way, the internet could be reclassified by the end of the summer, replacing internet freedom with a corporate free-for-all of greed and political corruption.

Though the internet was born in the U.S., our ISPs are also slower and more expensive than other countries, so maybe it’s no surprise that we’re behind the curve in net neutrality, too.

Laughing Ourselves To Hell: Trolling As A Lifestyle (Gonzo Notes)

Posted in Austin, Creative Commons, and Gonzo Notes

I was a teenage (and young adult) troll.

In my early 20s especially, I hung out on SomethingAwful, a website with a lively associated forum that would often target groups we perceived to be low hanging fruit (furries, goths, and so on) for online attacks.

Our viciousness never rose to the level of today’s super-trolls, who send SWAT teams to their enemies’ houses or wage ongoing campaigns that drive vulnerable people to suicide, but I can see how I took part in the early days of this trend, and I’m not proud of it.

Part of maturing for me has been recognizing that I can’t eradicate this prankster side of myself, so I’ve instead learned to direct it against the corrupt systems that promote inequality and the powerful people who profit off modern day, extractive capitalism.

Pranking up, not punching down.

Why The United Nations Protects Empires While Failing To Protect Human Rights

Posted in Act Out!, Creative Commons, Journalism, and Video

So, you might be surprised to learn that Saudi Arabia recently gained a seat on the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

That’s right — a country where male guardianship requires that women get permission to do everything from receive an education to travel, a country where women can not drive or leave the house without proper head-to-toe covering – and when they do everything is gender segregated — that Saudi Arabia was given a three year term as a member of the U.N. agency whose sole mission is to promote gender equality and women’s rights. Take a moment with that.

Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a nonprofit that tries to keep the international body accountable called the move “absurd — and morally reprehensible.”

Absurd as it may be — and it is fucking ridiculous — what’s even more absurd is that the appointment isn’t a sign that something is wrong at the U.N.

Containers: Global Capitalism At Sea & Transforming The Planet

Posted in Creative Commons, Occupy Wall Street, and Radical Media

The objects around you right now, from your phone to the clothes you wear to the coffee in your mug, most likely traveled to America in a shipping container on a massive cargo ship.

This simple fact, both obvious and mostly overlooked, has radically transformed virtually every aspect of global capitalism over the past several decades. That prosaic shipping container, and the process called “containerization,” are the subject of a recent 8-part audio podcast documentary called “Containers.”

The podcast is sponsored by a shipping company, which stirred some controversy, but the show usually reads as if it’s most sympathetic toward the rank and file workers of the docks, and the people who live nearby, than toward the industry as a whole.. While “Containers” is hardly anti-capitalist, the series and its creator Alexis Madrigal are openly critical of the consequences of unchecked growth.

Unpacking The Fascist Rampage On May Day In Austin: What Happened, What Went Wrong

Posted in Austin, Creative Commons, and Journalism

On May Day, 2017 in Austin, Texas, a coalition of heavily armed Nazis shut down a radical activist march.

The international workers holiday brought a variety of activist events to the Texas capital, from workers’ protests organized by Fight For 15 to a sit-in at the Governor’s Office in opposition to SB4, the brutal and inhumane anti-Sanctuary Cities bill.

In the afternoon, a Communist organization in Austin had called for a radical (“red bloc”) march. While these kind of events are a fixture in cities like Portland and Seattle, but has only begun to appear in Austin in the last couple of years, and with far fewer numbers attending.

At 4pm, the designated start time, a couple dozen radicals dressed in black began to trickle into the meeting place, a downtown intersection near Republic Park. However, the fascists were already in the area and on the march, even as our people began to gather.

Although Republic Park is a historic meeting place in the city, it’s currently shut down for construction and surrounded by high fencing. In fact, the entire area around 4th and Guadalupe is full of construction, creating a boxed in atmosphere that the fascists used to their full advantage. Additionally a security camera operated by the local transit service, along with what was most likely an undercover cop disguised as a homeless man, were present at the site, further placing activists at risk.

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