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Hello folks,

Thanks for the amazing time this weekend, Teo from Labor Notes asked me to write up a quick description of the days activities. I am sending the below to Jane Slaughter at Labor Notes, she will more than likely edit the piece down (because Teo told me 200 words and I have 500), so she may not include the titles of the weblogs we made, but she might. So I wanted to give you folks a chance to opt out of this project before it possibly goes to press. I am leaving town (and the internet) for a few days to visit family so any opt outers should contact me at 734.945.9622, and Labor Notes at 313.842.6262.

I am excited by the possibility that this could turn into a cool online community and will work to tidy up the site (get comments and RSS feeds up) and help you folks get going on this. Best, Mark

Labor Notes Internet Cafe, minus the coffee, tea, food or other cafe familiarities.

Labor activists came from around the country and world to this fantastic conference and I wanted to provide them with email so I set up free internet access on Saturday from 10am to midnight in the lobby/hall of the second floor. I also spent 14 hours doing impromptu workshops on democratic, self-organizing information sharing on the internet through the use of two simple things: Weblogs and News Aggregators. Both are free and easy to set up and hopefully used to further peoples activism.

* Weblogs are simple to setup (>5 minutes) and are simply a web page that is ordered by time, with new "posts" at the top. This is good if you are interested in reading one or two, but what about hundreds of peoples and organizations information? You simply need to add the capability to have a program automatically see if there is something new on your weblog. (Install an RSS feed, first time >1 hour, quicker after that). Then you can use a:

* News Aggregators track new information on weblogs , or other information sources that are similarly "syndicated.” , of sites that you want to follow. They do this easily by pulling it all into one program or site, so you don’t have to (and wouldn’t) look at dozens of sites.

How is it democratic? You can "self-organize" your news sources with a personal news aggregator and people can “self organize” the information they produce through weblogs. Anyone and any group can “produce” news and people can choose who they want to hear.

Dozens of people learned about this new technology and initially set up these weblogs:

Troublemakers Awards
Out Front Labor
I Hate Walmart
Progressive News
OPEIU Local 39
Adult Education
Grievance Issues
Green Party
Postal Worker
Students for Corporate Responsibility
DRUM - Democratic Rights for Union Members

These were in addition to the unofficial conference weblog, “When we fight for our rights…" and these others:

Borders #1 vs Binc
Coalition of Graduate Employee Unions
Worker Centers
All Pages
Recent Changes
Help with this site
Bruce Liles
Mark Dilley, and
TresHermanos, a “private” weblog, set up as a test to see if these could be used for private conversations.

They are all organized, so far, under one weblog entitled “they call us troublemakers” ( in a wiki like fashion, don’t worry about wikis right now)

Several people immediately grasped the concept and talked to me about organizing progressive groups at a college and a union officer elections. I have thought about its application to organizing drives, elections, bargaining and a forum for people to discuss issues effectively.

Please check it out at they call us "troublemakers" or use Google.

In Solidarity, Mark Dilley

Opps, I forgot to add that pictures of the protest at Ford went onto the site within hours of the event,

(quick links - TheyCallUsTroubleMakers or Google)

"...get together and organize.

Which is to say - learn how to get things
done together that we can't get done alone.

That's all a union was intended to be." Utah Phillips
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