Recent Projects and Archives

1 Oct

October 23, 2020

The Magic Door on Summit Hill
Chapter 2:  A Big Tree Falls So Close

I finally caught up with the first and founding chapter about the Magic Door on Summit Hill. It’s on Jennifer Bruni’s blog from three years ago. With a Brookline adventure/journey all its own, helped along by travel advisors Chobee Hoy (of course), Barr Jozwicki, Mac Dewart, and Arlene Mattison leading me to Jennifer Lockwood and her artist and artisan site with its small confirming photo. (More here).

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June 3, 2020

Community Technology in the Time of Covid-19

I see that there hasn’t been an update here since last December, to the national US-Cuba Normalization Conference postponed in March, and that the Tech4Seniors section has yet to have more than a brief three-paragraph link. Developments in both these arenas over the last six months, most notably with the pandemic’s dramatic emergence in March, have been substantial and help define some of the recent issues in community technology, first and foremost, video-conferencing, in a briefer word: Zoom.

Even before the Covid-19 outbreak video conferencing was becoming a major app. Back in June of 2017, several of us had an exchange on the Massachusetts nonprofit technology list about Zoom, Join.me, WebEx, Bluejeans, Skype, Shingdig, and Anymeeting and looked forward to a wider discussion about online conferencing and webinar platforms for nonprofits that never quite happened. But even then the need for a combination of advanced systems, good Internet speed, and participant know-how was bringing renewed meaning back to the notion of “the digital divide” and the importance of dealing with all the inequalities that originally gave the expression passion, intensity, and focus. The explosion of webinars, online meetings, and educational programs following school closings has given equal access an urgency it hasn’t had since the Internet burst on the scene in the 1990’s.

As complications in both the very different Cuba Solidarity and Tech4Seniors arenas have given me pause, I pull together these summaries in the hope that this will provide some useful perspective for myself and others interested in community media and technology matters. They go something as follows:  (more here)

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December 18, 2019

Organizing the second national US-Cuba Normalization Conference this March

cuban_protest-2

Planning for the second national US-Cuba Normalization Conference to be held in New York City, March 21-23, 2020 is now underway. The conference web site is www.us-cubanormalization.org — with a summary overview at July26.org.

The six panels and follow-ups stand in contrast to the 20 workshops, resulting from an open call, organized for the first conference in 2017 — and reflect the conference organizers’ commitment to a focused anti-embargo/blockade action plan called for — to be finalized Sunday. Notably, planning for the conference, with 40+ organizing committee members participating in each of the first two teleconferences, is using the solidarity movement’s first participatory electronic forum/discussion.

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August 12, 2019

The Berkeley School of Political Theory and its Lessons on Technology

As a guest on Marcus Breen’s Boston Media Theory Show, taped July 18, I thought it was going to be about the history of community technology in Boston and then get around to technology in Cuba and in the solidarity movement in the U.S., but it started with some exchanges on the Berkeley School of Political Theory, went on to some basics about Community Technology Centers, and, with time drawing to a close, a bit on Cuba.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted or given public attention to community media or technology matters. The program shows how I look and come across these days.  It’s given me pause to reflect on, among other matters, the Berkeley School and my initial dissertation treatments — and more resonances are springing forth, as a current New York Review of Books “Real Americans” essay leads back to John Schaar’s “The Case for Patriotism” that originally appeared in the [New] American Review, #17 in 1973.

If I took the opportunity to refine my initial treatment, I’d try to include a more succinct definition of the Berkeley School, though you can see how difficult that is from its Wikipedia entry. And I’d offer, too, a more pointed summary of its lessons about technology, those from both Langdon Winner’s The Whale and the Reactor: A Search for Limits in an Age of High Technology and from Ed Schwartz’s NetActivism: How Citizens Use the Internet and his work with LibertyNet and as founder the Institute for the Study of Civic Values. Good models all.

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May 31,2018

Digital Service Learning — The Workshop

When I first saw and responded to the outreach notice for workshop panelists who could offer some guidance in the field of Digital Service Learning, on the Boston digital humanities list way back last August, the opportunity felt like a natural one to follow-up with. More here.

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February 6, 2018

A Cultural History of Cuba and the Literacy Campaign of 1961

A+G-508crTwo Programs:  February 1 & 2

Alan West-DuránA Cultural History of Cubabook launch — reading, discussion, Q&A — Thursday, Feb 1, noon-2:00, Northeastern University, Department of Cultures, Societies, and Global Studies. Alan hosted the Friday program.

Friday, Feb 2, 7:00 at Encuentro 5. Griselda Aguilera Cabrera was a seven-year-old teacher in Cuba’s 1961 Revolutionary Literacy Campaign, one of nine women featured in “Maestra,” the award-winning documentary whose synopsis begins: “250,000 volunteer teachers joined the national literacy campaign. Almost half of them were under 18 and over half of them were women. Together they taught a nation to read and write – and their lives would never be the same.”  Now retired from her career as an educator, Griselda works with the Cuban Psychology Society’s Working Group on Identity and Diversity.  Following a showing of the 32-minute documentary, Griselda spoke about Cuban education then and now and entertained questions on a wide range of topics. Some scenes of the Friday program are available here.

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November 3, 2017

“U.S. Cuba Policy from Obama to Trump — It’s Not What It Looks Like at All”

Northeast Conference on Public Administration (NECoPA 2017)
University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
International Transboundary Coordination and Conflict Track
Saturday, November 4, 3:30-4:45

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October 21, 2017

Special Greetings and Regrets

This is a slightly edited version of a communication to the co-chairs of the National Network on Cuba (www.nnoc.info) and some other folks, on the occasion of the annual national conference, held this year in Seattle, at the Washington State Labor Council HQ on 16th Avenue S., October 20-22.

  • Subject:  Special greetings and regrets re NNOC conference
  • Date: Oct 19, 2017 11:55 AM

Greg, Nalda, Cheryl, Banbose, Alicia — Having done projects with all of you, and with Miguel, Lee, and Ike whom I am cc’ing this along to, as well as others whom I’ve met at the last two NNOC conferences, I want to say how truly sorry I am not to be joining with you this weekend and send you all my best wishes for an energizing and successful gathering and hopes to see you before next year’s meeting. As anticipated, I am somewhat exhausted from the conclusion of five months of organizing the Boston-area Leonardo Padura festival that has just ended.

I believe the festival site — at july26.org/october-2017-leonardo-padura-festival/ — exemplifies why Padura is so important to US-Cuba relations and the Solidarity movement.  That this festival was sponsored by the July 26th Boston-Cuba Solidarity Coalition has given us a special visibility both for ourselves and to others.  I hope it is an opportunity we can build upon and look forward to doing so, along with our other important cultural-political work.

Once again, I wish you the best in solidarity, abrazos,

— peter
peterbmiller.wordpress.com
july26.org

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May 31, 2017

Cuba Project Update: July26.org, “Complicity” presentation at BU Conference

Over the first part of the year, development of an updated Boston-Cuba Solidarity Coalition july26.org web presence took place and became official early this month; much of the Cuba Technology Project now takes place there.

Thursday, June 22, “COMPLICITY: How US Community and NonProfit Technology Has Been Complicit in Some Very Ugly Cuba ‘Regime Change’ Policies and Practices — And What To Do About It,” one of two papers written for the National Cuba Conference workshops in March (see below), will be delivered at “#ScreenTimeBU 2017: Fake News, Real Emotion, and The Mediated Self,” the Graduate Student Conference of the Division of Emerging Media Studies, at Boston University.  Presentation outline/notes.

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February 14, 2017

Workshops for the NationalCubaConference.org in NYC, March 24-26

  • National Legislative Action to End the Embargo and Opportunities for Local Campaigns to Play a Major Role” — with Andrea Fernandez Aponte, The Latin America Working Group (LAWG.org); Tim Craine, the Greater Hartford Cuba Coalition; Pepe Rossy, Albany-Cuba Solidarity, and Peter Miller, July26.org in Boston. The session is informed by a review of last year’s four successful municipal campaigns, as published by NACLA.org here.
  • “Technology and Digital Media Support for Cuba and the Solidarity Movement,” with Charlie Welch, Boston-Cuba Solidarity July26.org and TecsChange.org; Sam Kellogg, North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA.org); Cheryl LaBash, the National Network on Cuba (NNOC.info); Danny Spitzberg (peakagency.co), NPOTechCoop Cuba project; Peter Miller, July26.org and the Progressive Technology Cuba Project. The session is informed by the short paper “Complicity: How US Community and NonProfit Technology Has Been Complicit in Some Very Ugly Cuba ‘Regime Change’ Policies and Practices — And What To Do About It,” available here.

More information available here.

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January 13, 2017

Oberlin — Directory page for 50th reunion

Memories and life since Oberlin meld together, witness the following notice from a year and a half ago:

Mini-50th Reunion
            Tim and Leslie Hart Craine (both, ’65) and Peter Miller (’67) caught up on October 17, 2015 at the “The Future of U.S.-Cuban Relations” Conference at Central Connecticut State University…

More here.

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December 8, 2016

Dr. Digipol on Cuba, Technology, and US-Cuba Relations

The Dr. Digipol Show with Alan Rosenblatt:
     Cuba, Technology & Normalizing US-Cuba Relations
Featuring Nalda Vigezzi, Greg Klave, & Cheryl LaBash
from the National Network on Cuba
Thursday, December 15, 4:00-5:00pm (EST)

Nearing the two year anniversary of the historic December 17, 2014 joint normalization announcements by Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro, we talk with three of the five co-chairs in the National Network on Cuba about the implications of the death of Fidel Castro and the new regime of president-elect Donald Trump for US-Cuba relations.  Nalda, Greg, and Cheryl will also discuss the use of media and technology they co-ordinate for the network of solidarity groups – the www.nnoc.info web site and listserv, its Facebook page and webinars, organizing and advising local film and video festivals. More here.

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July 18, 2016

New Guantanamo Film — July 26 Cuba holiday premiere at the Coolidge Corner Library

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May 12, 2016

Community Technology in Cuba Update:  Report on the April 2016 Delegation

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July 12, 2015

Community Technology in Cuba Project Report

alt-rootsofhope.org: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

There are a couple of key markers, stopping off points on the Community Technology road between the US and Cuba, and an especially useful one is rootsofhope.org. It’s got prime resources and lessons to teach, about what to do, and what not to do.

What’s not to like? — www.rootsofhope.org is a bilingual “international network of students and young professionals working to inspire young people across the globe to think about Cuba and proactively support our young counterparts on the island through innovative means.” As “a nonprofit, nonpartisan movement,” it’s supported with big name endorsers, a funding program, travel support, and a “Tech4Cuba” component, gathering and distributing new and used equipment.

The show-stopper for this self-proclaimed “nonprofit, non-partisan” effort is near the bottom of the page:

“Right now, 11 million people in Cuba are systematically denied the ability to exercise their most fundamental rights and actualize their full potential. Living under the Western Hemisphere’s last dictatorship, Cuba’s people are denied their most basic rights of free speech, free association and information freedom.”

For more, see the full report here.

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April 20, 2015

Draft papers on Manuel Castell’s Information Age Trilogy and Ed Schwartz’s NetActivism Available for Comment

I’ve recently completed two drafts, each still needing more work, but both well enough along that despite their embarrassments, ellipses, and other failings, there’s enough in the attempts to merit making them quasi-public for review, feedback, and suggestions.  Their long titles tell the story of what they’re trying to do and are linked to the drafts:

Manuel Castells’ Information Age Trilogy and the Epic Tradition of Political Theory — Marxist and Weberian Transformations

and

Ed Schwartz and NetActivism, Theory and Practice:  Legacy and Lessons for Localism, Civic Education, and Community Organizing

Should either strike a chord of interest and you take a look, know that your comments will be appreciated.

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October 7, 2014

BIG News:  Ethel Weiss, Larry Lessig, Kathy Bisbee and the Road Ahead

BIG, the Brookline Interactive Group, formerly Brookline Access TV (BATV), is currently blessed with at least two major productions of special note — the first, on Ethel Weiss and Irving’s Toy Store, not only for its presentation of one of Brookline’s true town heroines and institutions, but also for the unique behind-the-scenes story it holds, its well-conceived and exemplary video production values, and the key role that BIG/BATV staff played in its development.

The second video is Larry Lessig’s recent League of Women Voters-sponsored “MayDay: The Fight to Save American Democracy” presentation, Lawrence Lessig, reknown Harvard Law School Faculty member specializing in — Telecommunications — radical activist and founder of the superpac to end superpacs and champion of real campaign finance reform. It’s Larry Lessig, because, as he points out from the packed and overflowing Selectmen’s hearing/meeting room on the sixth floor of Town Hall, that’s where his home is, a mile away. It’s a major town event.

Together these videos — along with a host of other fine productions — play key roles on the Brookline Public Access cable channel, Comcast channel 23, RCN channel 15, the 24/7 ongoing, online multi-media re-presentation of Brookline’s public face. (for more, see BIG News 10-07-14).

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July 2, 2014

“Innovations in Community Media and Technology: 3/29/12 Live from Brookline, MA and Webcast Everywhere” — Guide to the 12-Minute Version

A variety of long-range considerations and circumstances of the moment, including the current search for a new Executive Director for the Brookline Interactive Group, formerly Brookline Access Television, make a review of this live program especially timely… (for more, see Innovations Guide).

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This site houses my recent academic and journalistic work, on community technology centers (CTCs) and telecentres, Journal of Community Informatics (JoCI) eTextbook material, article links for pieces in OpenMediaBoston.org, and other community media and technology resources that have been developed in the last few years along with some older related matters, including archival information for The Community Technology Review, its predecessor and successor.  I’m reachable about any of these things at peterm@igc.org. —pbm

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