Nation Topics - Internet and New Media
News and Features
Does Dean for America have a second act? That's the question a lot of people have been asking after the collapse of Howard Dean's presidential campaign.
There was a contagious optimism in the air about the potential of the Internet to effect political change.
Despite the frigid weather, the line to get into Hammerstein Ballroom snaked all the way down Manhattan's 34th Street the night of January 12. Vendors hawked shirts with slogans like "George W.
Eben Moglen has been
representing parties sued by the recording industry and is working on a
book about the death of intellectual property.
From MoveOn to meetup.com, the net is facilitating a new citizen
The year since Congress passed the USA Patriot Act has brought an ever-growing enemies list from our nation's thought police.
These days, it's the media conglomerates who are drunk with power--demanding a larger share of the nation's airwaves and threatening to turn the World Wide Web into an electronic theme park--and
On May 14, 2002, the first wave of Internet file-sharing died.
Unions are gradually making fuller use of the Internet's capacities to
improve communication with their own staffs or members. But increasingly
they are also using the web to recruit new members or to establish
"virtual communities" of union supporters in arenas not yet amenable to
the standard collective-bargaining model.
Alliance@IBM (www.allianceibm.org) is an example of an effective
Net-supported minority union, operating without a demonstrated pro-union
majority and without a collective-bargaining contract at a traditional
nonunion company. The alliance provides information and advice to
workers at IBM through the web. A similar effort at a partially
organized employer is WAGE ("Workers at GE," www.geworkersunited.org), which draws on contributions from fourteen cooperating
international unions. The Microsoft-inflected WashTech
(www.washtech.org) and the Australian IT Workers Alliance
(www.itworkers-alliance.org) are open-source unions that are closer to
craft unions or occupational associations. Both are responsive to the
distinctive professional needs of these workers, such as access to a
variety of job experiences and additional formal education, and the
portability of high-level benefits when changing jobs.
The National Writers Union (www.nwu.org), a UAW affiliate, is another
example of a union virtually created off the Net. It provides
information and advice--including extensive job postings--to members,
and it lobbies on their behalf, most spectacularly in the recent Supreme
Court decision it won on freelance worker copyright rights. But most of
its members work without a collectively bargained contract.
In Britain, UNISON (the largest union in the country) and the National
Union of Students have a website that tells student workers their rights
and gives them advice about how to deal with workplace problems
(www.troubleatwork.org.uk). It is a particularly engaging and practical
illustration of how concrete problems can be addressed through Net
Finally, for a more geographically defined labor community, take a look
at the website of the King County AFL-CIO (www.kclc.org), the Seattle
central labor council that uses the Net to coordinate its own business,
bring community and labor groups together for discussion and common
action, post messages and general information to the broader community,
and otherwise create a "virtual" union hall with much of the spirit and
dense activity that used to be common in actual union halls in major
Media policy need to change in the digital age—but how?
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