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#handful-of-idiots

I am ready to cry reading the FBI/DHS document Potential for Violence or Criminal Activity by Anarchist Extremists During the 2012 National Political Conventions. I find it tragic that our own law enforcement agencies have lost credibility with our citizens (Weapons of Mass Destruction) and this document unfortunately continues in that tradition.

I appreciate this quote at the start “Within the context of this product, FBI and DHS do not consider civil disobedience tactics, such as protests without a permit, to constitute criminal activities about which we are concerned.” I also appreciate the clarity in the footnote on page 2 “The FBI defines anarchist extremists as groups or individuals who seek to further their anarchist ideology wholly or in part through force or violence and in violation of federal law.”

But there is much to be sad about when reading this document.  For example in the discussion on use of social media for communication there is this: “In May 2012, individuals coordinating criminal actions against the Bank of America in Charlotte communicated by using a free downloadable software application.” What?  WHAT? There was nothing, NOTHING that qualified the BOA demonstration as evidence for this document under the definitions just cited. The only “criminal activity” was peaceful demonstration and a bit of well coordinated, communicated in advance with local law enforcement, symbolic civil disobedience.

The section discussing training includes this “Anarchist extremists are possibly planning to instigate violent confrontations with law enforcement and other criminal actions if their plans include preparing for injuries”What? Street medic trainings, conducted in advance of any major demonstration, are considered evidence that people are planning acts of violence? Who has not seen the reports of violence by law enforcement used against peaceful protestors? Training people to stay safe, to help one another in the case of injury is being used as evidence of planning to commit acts of violence?  I want to cry.

In the section on Indicators: “Possible factors that may mitigate the threat of anarchist extremists using violence to criminally disrupt or threaten public safety at the national political conventions include:…Law enforcement arrests prior to the conventions deterring further actions by anarchist extremists.”   Arrests in advance of whom? The NATO protests in Chicago are cited as an example in this document but I have yet to see any mainstream media reporting of the role law enforcement played in infiltrating and provoking those arrests.  I have yet to see any significant coverage of the events that occurred prior to NATO, the video captured as the chicago police were threatening people in advance, the fact that the very same people who published the video were later arrested and charged with terrorism.

In an FBI/DHS document that refers repeatedly to potential “criminal activity” in my home of Charlotte NC I will once again point out that the phrase “criminal activity” has been rendered almost meaningless by local politicians passing new laws in advance of the DNC. Carrying a sharpie inside an “extraordinary event” zone is now a criminal activity. Think it can’t happen?  I was arrested with a lap full of crayons (I was later found not guilty because I was resisting an unlawful order).

Many of my friends have pointed out that this constant conversation about “violence” distracts us all from discussing the issues that call us into the streets in the first place. I hear that. And I will not give these reports all of my energy, I will not allow the distractions to shift my trajectory completely. But freedom of expression is dear to me, defending uplifting supporting it, is in fact one of the reasons I am an activist.

I suggest that we all, law enforcement, residents and visitors begin operating under the #handful-of-idiots assumption.  There are a handful of idiots in law enforcement, and a handful of idiots in activist circles. In both cases the people most likely to both resent and curtail idiotic behavior are found within that particular group.

Onward.

  • Interdisciplinary Art
  • Technology
  • Laurel
  • Green
  • Ethics

In addition to bringing together practices from different disciplines (multidisciplinarity),

Interdisciplinarity

implies both analysis (taking things apart) and synthesis (bringing things together).

ART is about truth: finding it, expressing it, questioning it, creating it, changing it. At the deepest level I am an artist to create change in the world, and I understand that the best (perhaps only) way to create that change is to change ourselves. I believe art is something one is, as well as something one does.

Like many art forms, particularly those we refer to as craft,

technology

began as function. The quilt that keeps us warm, the shaborri dyed silk we wear against our skin, these artistic explorations also serve us in ways that could be seen as having sheerly practical application. But while potters and weavers can create art that exists alone in a forest, falling without respect to the presence or absence of others, software seems to exist only when we engage with it.

Neolithic, Sumerian and Akkadian, and Greek artworks have deeply influenced my work. Art from these cultures maps a world view in which art and the Sacred are entwined. These depictions of divinity offer us a different perspective on the Sacred.

I embrace digital tools as a way of questioning what art is and what role art has, as our culture transforms into a technological one. It is the fertile ground of intersection that inspires me, the place where

ancient and new combine

to create meaning.

At the core of my engagement with technology is the belief that it affords us the opportunity to

change the dialogues of history,

by including voices that typically go unheard.

ethical systems

in an information society began with questions. They can be consolidated into a single question: Was this information intentionally and directly shared with me personally? I believe my ethical responsibilities, and my options when acting on the information, are contingent on the answer. Our application of publishing metaphors in a search for ethical structures (if it is published online it is information we have the right to act on) ignores both the reality of how we use online tools and the multiplicity of personal identity.