10 Questions for presidential candidates

My friends at echPresident are launching a new site today called 10 Questions. The idea is to take the “YouTube debate” that gave regular people a chance to ask questions of the Democratic candidates a few months ago, and make it even more democratic by allowing the community to vote on which questions get asked instead of having them hand-picked by the TV networks.

Here’s my contribution, I did it in a hurry so please pardon the grammatical errors, etc.

Since the site is brand new, there aren’t many videos yet. This is a chance to get seen by the thousands of people who will check out the site today. Post your question at http://10questions.com now!

Why I’m fasting tomorrow

Interfaith Fast Because it’s not enough to vote in November. Because it’s not enough to write letters to Congress. Because it’s not enough to march in the streets of Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Fayetteville, and Washington. Because it’s not enough to reduce my consumption of fossil fuels and boycott businesses that support the war and the Republican party.

Because we all must be the change we want to see in the world.

I will join thousands of other Americans tomorrow in refraining from food from dawn to dusk. I will meditate and I will generate compassion and love (metta) for the people of Iraq and the U.S. service members, who are suffering every day that this war goes on and will continue to feel the physical and mental pain of war for years to come. And like many others, I will join with an interfaith community to break the fast and celebrate our unity around the cause of peace.

Find out more and find a fast-breaking near you at http://interfaithfast.org

Join me in Second Life to feed our avatars and our souls at 7pm EDT. keep reading for more information.
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Virtual registration of real voters

Since you read my blog religiously (what? you don’t???) you know that I have been facilitating weekly meetings of the SL Netroots group that emerged from RootsCamp in Second Life back in November. In January, this group put on Avatars Against the War, bringing over 100 people to a peace protest held at Second Life’s Capitol Hill. Since then our participation has ebbed and flowed. I haven’t had as much time as I’d like to put into it, and many of our leaders were also engaged with other important activities like organizing against fascism in SL and putting on Yearly Kos in Second Life (YKSL).

At last week’s meeting we had a lively group with some regulars and some newcomers and folks came up with a great idea: a voter registration drive to make SL residents aware of the need to register and vote and to make it easier for them to do so. Being the voice of reason (a.k.a. seasoned cynic), I recommend that our volunteers bring us a plan to be discussed at our next meeting. (We’ve had issues with folks bringing good ideas but not following-through.)

Sure enough Jamming Independent (a.k.a. John Breyault in RL) has come up with a plan, and we will be discussing it at our weekly SL Netroots meeting tomorrow (Thursday) at noon PDT/3pm EDT. We will also be talking about the Netroots Nation group that emerged from YKSL and how to work together with them in the future.

This is great stuff going on and I am very excited! If you’ve been meaning to come or if you used to and haven’t been in a while, this one is the meetup to attend. Hope to see you there.

RL media covers SL politics

Thanks to Sara Donnelly (a.k.a. Sara Susa in Second Life) of the Portland (ME) Phoenix for her coverage of the Avatars Against the War protest. Sara attended many of our meetings as well as the protest and I appreciate her taking the time to learn about what we were/are doing.

(Speaking of what we are doing, we are still holding meetups weekly on Thursdays at 3pm EST. However, I won’t be there this week as I am going to see Cory Doctorow speak at UNC. My co-organizer Andrew Hoppin/Drew Frobozz will be facilitating today’s meeting.)

“We had envisioned doing something small and symbolic until . . . we realized that we had clearly touched a nerve in the Second Life community,” said Ruby Sinreich, a/k/a “Ruby Glitter,” a real-world activist who helped organize the virtual-world rally. “Although we can’t vote in Second Life, we can raise awareness and connect people and show our strength.”
The Phoenix – Out-of-body politic, 2/7/07

However I have two corrections to Sarah’s article:

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BBC interview & SLNN story

With the gracious permission of Chris Vallance of the BBC’s Pods and Blogs radio show, here is the audio of the BBC Radio interview (4:46 2.9MB MP3) mentioned below.

You can read the show notes and hear the whole program on the BBC website. (Thanks to the awesome Audio Hijack software by Rogue Amoeba for making it really easy for me to make the above MP3.)

Also, Second Life News Network published a nice (and long!) article by Scarlett Qi. Unfortunately many viewers (at Wonkette, too) didn’t recognize the iconic “pink slip” of Code Pink. My favorite line in the SLNN article: “Amazingly, it was not chaotic.” Quite true. :-)

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I’m! In! Wonkette!!!

Wonkette posted Rik’s machinima of the protest – without attribution :-( – and generally made fun of us, called us hippies, etc. As Rik pointed out: “there’s no such thing as bad publicity.” And as I replied: “there’s also no such thing as a kind word from Wonkette.” In other words, I’m honored to be on the receiving end of their snark.

Give it up for liberals: they managed to find the one way left to make traditional protests even more ineffectual and embarrassing. Have ‘em on the internet!
‘Second Life’ War Protest Ensures Continued Occupation of Iraq For Next 1,000 Years – Wonkette

Unfortunately, this post wasn’t nearly as funny as most Wonkette entries, but it’s a start. I see we’ve caused them to create a new category for politics in Second Life, so we’re clearly having some kind of impact, 😉

Here’s Rik’s machinima video with music by Sweet Honey in the Rock. I understand a longer video may be in the works.

Post-protest processing

First, you can now hear my interview with the pods & blogs show on the BBC HERE! I’m not sure how long this audio will be available, so listen now…

A lot of reporters have been asking me for statements about the march so to save us all time, here it is. Use at will (with attribution):

I was thrilled with the event. The owners of Capitol Hill reported that we had 126 people attending, which is a lot in a world where it is technically difficult for more than about 40 avatars to gather in one space at one time. Our group SL Netroots had envisioned doing something small and symbolic until last week when we realized that we had clearly touched a nerve in the Second Life community. The turnout was amazing, especially considering we did very little to promote the event, and everyone there was engaged and having a great time.

The fact that a normally apolitical population like SL residents responded so enthusiastically shows how widespread the opposition to the Iraq War is. People who heard about it told their friends or blogged about it, and spread the word themselves. We simply facilitated that by linking to our wiki and making it easy for people to share the information. Most of the participants were from all across the country, and a few came from other countries – including Iraq! I think this reinforces the idea that most Americans agree with world opinion in opposition to the war.

SL is a very creative medium, and events like this help to develop it as a outlet for activism and political expression, as well as a place where people can find and participate in a community of like-minded advocates. This person-to-person connection is as “real” as any other. This is movement-building. Although we can’t vote in Second Life, we can raise awareness and connect people and show our strength. We will continue to do so!

Rik Riel and In Kenzo put together Video of “Avatars against the War” Peace Demo in Second Life. It doesn’t exactly show the narrative of the whole event, but it has some great looking avatars breaking it down as we danced for peace. (I have some more video that I will share with them.)

There are now a bunch of pictures on flickr, and they’re not all by me! Although this one is:

Capitol steps

I have been been contacted by many members of the (surprisingly-large) SL media corps, but I haven’t seen any of those stories come out yet. I’ll post links when I get them….

Monday we march

Tomorrow this space will be full of avatars: Alone on the steps

You know, some of us just thought this peace protest in Second Life would be a fun thing to do, but we really hit a nerve in the community. I think we’re going to make a big splash at 5pm EST today (Monday)!

In the past few days I have met tons of anti-war residents of Second Life, as well as several in-world reporters and machinimatographers who want to cover the march. The creators of SL Capitol Hill will be on hand to support us as well.

Keep checking our wiki for the latest on the Avatars Against The War events. I’ll see you in-world!

More blogging about the march:
http://www.secondlifeinsider.com/2007/01/28/march-for-peace-in-sl-on-monday

Avatars Against The War


http://beth.typepad.com/beths_blog/2007/01/avatars_against.html

And a good time was had at our Peace Party earlier today:
http://djdoubledown.blogspot.com/2007/01/oyster-bay-house-events-for-peace-jan.html

Avatars Against the War

RootsCamp & peace poster gallery Our weekend of peace in Second Life is already going great! The latest plans and SLurls are at the RootsCampSL wiki.

First of all, errcheck Hick’s workshop today was great and was attended by at about a dozen avatars. We now have a groovy sign you can carry that changes textures with a click, and that includes sign waving/pumping fist animation.

Tomorrow, errcheck will lead a talk on “Deconstructing Fascism” including his experiences with the recent protests against French white supremacists who have set up shop in SL. This and a Peace Party with a live DJ will be at Conscious Lounge.

me with sign On Monday at 2pm we will have a march on SL Capitol Hill! The creators of SLCH are very supportive of what we’re doing and will be on hand to make sure everything runs smoothly. Protesters should meet at RootsCamp first, where we will have a teleporter that will send people to the right spot. Then we will march around a circular path and wind up on the steps of the capitol building. At this point, we will probably pass a megaphone around so folks can say whatever is on their mind, and/or watch a streaming video of today’s march in DC. (Suggestions?)

We have already had some great blog entries about the protest:
http://www.rikomatic.com/blog/2007/01/reminder_virtua.html

Peace in the Metaverse, Goodwill Toward Avs


http://muveforward.blogspot.com/2007/01/political-science-civil-protests-in-sl_27.html

I have been amazed at the amount of excitement there is about the demonstration on Monday. People have been dropping in to RootsCamp all day asking about it. The March will be filmed by some machinima makers, so it’s especially important to get people there.

On a less happy note, errcheck pointed out to me that the SL Netroots group has been joined by one of the right wingers that have active with the Le Pen camp. Nothing bad has hapenned yet, and I don’t think he has visited RootsCamp, but we need to be cautious, especially since most of the stuff at RootsCamp has relatively open permissions.

See you in-world!