September 18, 2020



Zachary and I spent the evening tonight watching "Captain America: The First Avenger", and after the movie ended I checked my email. For some reason, I'm on the email list of the group "Americans for Limited Government", and they emailed out a statement regarding the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Say what? A check of other media outlets and the news is confirmed: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is dead. A check of my social media feeds and the verdict is unanimous: People are in shock, people are scared, people are pissed. Some are ready to give up, saying we're fucked, the fix is in, it's over. The feelings are overwhelming, overwhelmingly negative, and totally understandable. In reply, I want to share a story in hopes of bringing a bit of light during this discouraging time that just got more discouraging.

In 2002, I took part in a conference on media activism. Saying I "took part" is an understatement; I attended organizing meetings and helped set up the credit-card payment system on the conference website. To my horror, on the day of the conference, the organization president made a dramatic unannounced controversial last-second schedule change that shocked and pissed off a lot of people, myself included. My friend Chris Geovanis, to her eternal credit, stood publicly against the stance and got arrested as a result. (You can read about the whole saga here:

I was impacted deeply by Chris' arrest. I was in shock, I was pissed, I was probably a bit scared. But I translated those emotions that into nonstop activism for the next eleven years: I helped found a rival group which quickly outpaced the work of our original group, and made an impact on the media activism and media policy scene locally and nationally. I helped set up and run a TV series which aired locally in Chicago and nationally on satellite. I ran a weekly radio show for more than a decade, then produced another radio show for another five years after that. And the activism continues still: Just this week, I completed my contribution to a chapter for a book with the economist Robin Hahnel to be published next year about a proposed non-market, non-command-planning participatory economy.

Odds are good that things are about to get much, much worse. But that doesn't mean we don't work to change things for the better. As I wrote nearly four years ago: "I am convinced that acts of activism, however small, are never wasted. You never know how the actions you take today can compound on positive actions later". And a related quote: "People are active. We need to sustain that anger and unify that power into a more cohesive whole."

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, presente!