Being a Censor
Anarchists hate censors. Who should have the authority to prevent someone from expressing their right to free speech? Certainly not the state which has it’s own oppressive agenda. Yet these days, somewhat reluctantly and distressingly, I am donning the hat of a censor. There is, of course, a story.
Twin Oaks has a number of ways it presents itself to the world. There is large, complex website which gives information about the community, how to join the visitor program or participate in our 3 hour Saturday tour, media coverage about the community and more. There are distinct business websites for Hammocks, Tofu, the Women’s Gathering in August and the Communities Conference over Labor Day. There are also numerous presences of Facebook, including one for ex-members and long time followers of the commune called “Friends of Twin Oaks”. There is a new collective blog called “Running in ZK” and soon there will be an official blog.
Valerie and I manage outreach and recruiting for the community. There are a number of different tasks which fall under this managership. Valerie corresponds with prospective visitors and guests, answering their questions and scheduling their visits. She also responds to media requests for interviews and information. I work with people who are considering the community and have obstacles to membership (typically debts or pets or complicated family or legal situations). Also part of this area is the TOAST program, Twin Oaks Academic Speaking tour, which presents about the community at colleges and universities. We coordinate the articles written about the community for the progressive and mainstream press as well as reviewing posts for some of the various blogs.
And now, we are the ones who resolve disputes about what is posted on the various official community facebook pages. I don’t really want to go into the content of the recent controversy, which has consumed a bunch of time and frustrated a number of people. However our internal process as how and what to delete from these facebook pages is worth of note.
Several ex-members started complaining about the posts of one person and asking us as administrators to take them down. This was novel, we had not had this experience before. They pointed out that besides being insulting and disrespectful to them, it was damaging to the reputation of the community. This presented us with problem of how do we decide to pull someone’s writings off the Facebook page? Is there are free speech right on what is basically an archival and promotional site for the community?
In the end we decided on a very simple, and perhaps dangerous method. If someone asks for a post to be removed, we remove it. My guess is that this wont happen very often. And my feeling is that for most people who are looking at our various internet presences, this feels like a big request and thus wont happen frivolously.
I have been in touch with the author of the offending posts and he has gracefully agreed to stay off the site for a month and let things cool down.
Obama returns to a headachy nearly identical congress. Though i am certainly relieved at his re-election, i cant say i am really happy. i was immediately reminded that there is still plenty of places where the Obama policy must change.
Yet there are definitely important winners in this most recent elections, specifically: Marijuana rights, Women and marriage rights.
Both Washington State and Colorado have voted to legalize recreational marijuana sales. This puts these states of a collision course with Obama’s current drug policy. But there is an easy out for Obama, he can simply embrace the new science. Permit it to be rescheduled and then tax it on a federal level like the $1.20 per pack tax on cigarettes.
This could be a major break in the Mexican drug war, where 1/3 of the drug cartels profit is from marijuana. One in 6 prisoners in the US are in for crimes involving marijuana, nearly 900,000 convictions a year.
There are now 19 women in the US Senate, the highest number there has ever been. The Rape Republicans i blogged about recently proved a likely unforgettable lessons for to the GOP. “Even in highly conservative constituencies, if you are stupid on rape, your career is over.” Fortunately, the demographic shift in this country away from whites and away from the elderly increases the chances that the ideologically failed Republican party will be shrinking further still.
As Angie points out in the comments – all 4 states with same sex marriage referendums won: Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington state. [To be technically correct, Minnesota did not approve gay marriage, they defeated a constitutional amendment which would have prohibited it.] There are now 9 US states which permit same sex marriage and on Nov 20 the US supreme court may chose to hear cases about gay marriages which have been denied their rights.
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