• Vision/Strategy:Voters unions and Threshodlware (and uPangea) at Znet. 2006-2007 Member, Board of Directors, Ithaca Health Alliance (formerly Ithaca Health Fund).

    2004- Fellow at the PostCarbon Institute.

    2000- EconomicDemocracy.org (Founder)

  • Am listed at Z Magazine "ZEO Faculty" (backup copy here)



    ActiVita (Activist Vita) 1989-1996
    Contents:
    (A) Introduction
    (B) Summary
    (C) ActiVita

    (A) Here is what I wrote in the fall of '96 when I first wrote the ActiVita:

    As I approach finishing my graduate studies and yet another birthday... I asked myself, "So, what have I done with my life so far, anyway?"

    So, in addition to my academic Vita which I wrote up towards hopefully getting a tenure-track professorship at a high-quality teaching school (whoops, there I go back into cover-letter-writing mode..), I thought I would write an Activist Vita, my "ActiVita". Looking this over, it's pretty clear what a lot of energy that could have gone into proving bigger and better math theorems (or more time for social or romantic life) went towards activism.

    Of course I already knew that. But I wanted to be able to step back and answer "what have I done with my life" and be able to respect myself... hopefully so I can look in the mirror and (paraphrasing Chomsky) be able to say "I've done something decent with my life." Looking it over, I can find many things which I feel good about; which I guess is the ultimate reward... Of course, there is still a lot missing in my life, and so much more I want to do and accomplish... (stopping before I wax any more philosophical..)


    (B) S u m m a r y :  

  • 1989: Organized El Salvador Project. Online organizing, fundraising, getting signatures from almost two dozen states. Sent Amnesty report to all 100 Senators along with Letter signed over internet by people from two dozen states, an Archbishop and others. Copy of Letter and press release to 50+ national media.

  • Spring 1990: Founded and moderated Activists Mailing List (AML) -- grew to 100 subscribers.

  • Fall 1990: Co-founded ACTIV-L -- grew to 1,000+ subscribers.

  • March 1991: Co-founded Misc.activism.progressive (MAP) on UseNet, readership 30,000-60,000

  • 1991-1993: Wrote Electronic Activism Parts I and II which were circulated around the intenret, translated into Spanish (parts into dutch), used by Worldwatch Institute, and others.

  • 1992-1995: Worked with Z magazine, David Barsamian/Alternative Radio, Larry Agran '92 Presidential Campaign; The Nation; FAIR; other activist organizations, groups, and individuals.

  • 1991-1993 (approx): Initiated, created, and/or facilitated many PeaceNet conferences (see below).

  • 1993-1994 (approx): Arranged for MAP to be a co-sponsor of LBBS (formerly ZBBS).

  • 1994 (Summer and Fall semesters): Was faculty member for Z Magazine's LOLU (Left Online University), teaching two semesters course on Electronic Activism on the Internet. LOLU Faculty was under a dozen and fellow LOLU Faculty included Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and other nationally prominent activists.
  • Znet Education Online (local backup copy is here)

  • 1995-1996: Created WebMap web site (http://www.webmap.missouri.edu) (Creation refers t othe content; Rich Winkel set it up on the computer/server side; I authored ~95% of the web site's pages. Got some help from Rich and Paul Houle)


    (C) A c t i V i t a  

    1989 -- Organized the El Salvador Project.

    BACKGROUND:

    Recent [at the time] major 50-page report by Amnesty International documented that the "Death Squads" in El Salvador were run by the Salvadoran government, directly as well as through its military, treasure police, etc -- not run by "extremists out of the government's control" as was the Washington Party Line. Washington was sending our tax-dollars to this mass-murdering regime. Tens of thousands of Salvadorans were killed, mostly civilians targeted by the government, mainly students, members of cooperative, members of trade unions, intellectuals, church workers, human rights workers, and others who could threaten the status quo of a rich tiny elite working closely with U.S. corporate interests, with a majority living in great poverty.


  • Organized activists online
    • Collectively wrote up a Statement to sent to Congress
    • Collected Signatures online from several dozen people in almost two dozen states
    • Obtained with another local activists, signatures of Archbishop Gumbleton (Detroit); mathematician Neil Koblitz
    • Raised funds for buying 100 copies of Amnesty's report
    • Collected media addresses and contacted some 50 national media outlets
    • Sent each U.S. Senator a copy of AI's report along with Statement demanding an end to U.S. support for Salvadoran Death Squads


  • In followup to the El Salvador Project, organized people online by creating the Activist Mailing List (AML) , which grew to 100 readers. (Spring 1990)

  • Joined with Rich Winkel to put AML on a listserv as ACTIV-L, whose membership grew to some 1,000 subscribers within a few years. (Fall 1990)

  • Was contacted by then PeaceNet President Howard Frederick in offer to cooperate with PeaceNet in brining news and information to activists worldwide. (1990)

  • Coordinated during the Gulf War, through ACTIV-L, the distribution to tens of thousand of people on the internet, the dissemination of information activists could not receive from the mainstream media (see the Sidebars about Gulf War activism in my article Electronic Activism: Part I

  • Personally went through all the required "electronic paperwork" to bring to an official UseNet vote the creation of the first moderated progressive news/info newsgroup. Counter-acted a get-out-the-NO-vote campaign by internet right-wingers through outreach to progressive organizations and mailing lists online, and the PeaceNet and EcoNet networks.

  • misc.activism.general was voted in FAVOR by the required 2-to-1 margin. In order to unruffle feathers of those who objected without malice to the name, organized an internet vote for a renaming, whereby the group was renamed misc.activism.progressive (MAP).
    [Original Proposal to create MAP drafted by HB, posted by RW]

  • March 1991: misc.activism.progressive (MAP) passed the UseNet vote and renaming. Initial readership around 10,000


    Roughly 1991-1992

  • Founded and moderated PeaceNet conference (newsgroup) econ.justice to provide an organized source of hard data for activists on economic, military, and related information.

  • Founded and facilitated during its first two years, zmagazine and obtained permission from Z magazine to post articles there.

  • Co-founded with PeaceNet chomsky.views and co-facilitated for the first 1-2 years.

  • Founded and moderated labr.grad.org on PeaceNet for graduate student organizing efforts nationwide (as well as Canada). Facilitated keeping a health dialogue and information and resource sharing for some two years.

  • 1991-92 (?): Wrote an article, Electronic Activism which was later circulated around the internet; translated into spanish; parts into Dutch; got unsolicited thank-you and inquiry about Part II from senior fellow at Worldwatch Institute.

  • 1993 (approx): Wrote Electronic Activism II


    1992: Worked close personally with Stephen Smith, Communications Director of the Larry Agran 1992 Presidential Campaign, giving advice and widely disseminating Agran speeches, campaign platform positions, and Action Alerts. Alerts were to fight Agran's exclusion from national debates

    When the Nation magazine not only virtually ignored Agran but printed false information, I used MAP and other UseNet newsgroup as a platform for Agran campaign information, including the Nation's disinformation.

    I later found out that The Nation received large volume of letters due to our campaign, someone emailed me who heard it straight from one of Nation's top editors [this little 'secret' is buried somewhere in the "Thanks from Larry Agran" file]. This helped get the Nation more interested (who I am and) in the net (see link). They'd probably deny it of course, but given their treatment of Agran, I say let 'em blush.


    1993:
    • Initiated recruiting effort for a Gender/LGBT co-moderator for MAP. Obtained agreement from PeaceNet for a free account for such co-moderator.
    Sept 1993:
    • Undertook three searches, the last one 1-3 months, to find suitable candidates.
    • Interviewed final three candidates and selected Sabina Astete, a Peruvian-born woman who fled repression.
    • MAP Readership reaches:
      Sept: 33,000
      Oct : 39,000
      Nov : 41,000


    Feb 1994 -- During the period when National Health Care Reform was very prominent, PeaceNet's only conference dedicated to the health care issue was a White-House Press Release outfit.

  • Suggested and pushed for creation for health.reform and obtained and posted many activist pamphlets and articles to it
  • Conference is successful to this day with San Francisco Labor Video Project and other organizational accounts posting regularly on health care issues of concert to progressive activists


    1991-1993

    Used my knowledge of Emacs to create, using batch-mode and lisp routines, to automate once-per week posting to MAP from our Quote-of-the-Day file, Videos file, South End Press catalog, etc.

    Thus the first item from a huge file with 40 or 100 items gets automatically posted Week 1; the second item gets automatically posted Week 2, etc, cycling back to the top after reaching the bottom of the file. Or on a daily basis as with the Quote of the Day file.

  • Provided help on getting on the internet and/or advice on how to best use it for their activism, to, among others, Alternative Radio's David Barsamian, Z magazine (Michael Albert) , and the Nation (Micah Sifry), FAIR (Sam Husseini), and Mark Achbar, co-maker of the film Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media,

  • Introduced the concept of a National Progressive Internet-based Virtual Radio Station ("Internet Radio") to FAIR, Barsamian, Z (through LBBS) and others.

    On LBBS Michael Albert replied:

    Harel -- your post about radio over the internet, etc. is quite fascinating and I hope others will react to.

    Suppose we wanted to do talk radio. Can we imagine a moderator and guest, say, in a room with microphones that lead through whatever equipment, into the computer, and out to the internet? Plus, incoming questions/comments--which would be text, but could read aloud to precipitate reactions from the talk radio host and guest?

    If this is conceivable, I think it should be seriously investigated. I would, myself, be very interested perhaps even to the tune of setting up such an operation here, as Z "radio" in a new incarnation (the other one, of course, didn't happen, for want of $ among other things).


    Fall 1994: Arranged for MAP to be a co-sponsor of LBBS. Got free account; LBBS used a MAP feed; and began planning for my teaching a course through LBB's LOLU (Left Online University) on Internet Activism.


    Summer and Fall -- taught one of the courses in the LOLU Course Catalog (see bottom), on Electronic Activism on the Internet


  • [A year and a half of intense working on my thesis!!]

  • 1996: Developed and authored most of the WebMap site.


    Also written in 1996:

    [Those are the main 'big' things; not listed above were my involvement in 'smaller' online/national projects as well as locally, several years with the Graduate Advocacy Organization, several years with the Cornell and Ithaca chapters of DSA, founding and for several years facilitating the Cornell CULEFTY-L mailing list (currently facilitated by Paul Houle), writing several articles for the Cornell Perspective, working against the passage of NAFTA (and being one of the featured speakers at a Rally -- something which left me physically and emotionally quite drained...), and promoting the local left-wing call in and talk show, the Nobody Show as well as helping WEOS which carries it, by spreading the word about it as well as the show, writing to the FCC, trying to get the big local NPR station WSKG to carry some progressive, alternative, and community programming on a regular basis (they only air Alternative Radio every once in a while rather than regularly; the revolving Bridges as well as the standard NPR mainstream news reporting (no less than three hours per day of "All Things Considered"), etc)]