unions and Threshodlware (and uPangea) at Znet.
2006-2007 Member, Board of Directors,
Ithaca Health Alliance
(formerly Ithaca Health Fund).
at the PostCarbon Institute.
2000- EconomicDemocracy.org (Founder)
Am listed at
Magazine "ZEO Faculty" (backup copy
ActiVita (Activist Vita) 1989-1996
(A) Here is what I wrote in the fall of '96 when I first wrote the
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..)
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.
1990: Founded and moderated Activists Mailing List (AML) --
grew to 100 subscribers.
1990: Co-founded ACTIV-L -- grew to 1,000+ subscribers.
1991: Co-founded Misc.activism.progressive (MAP) on UseNet,
Electronic Activism Parts I and II which were circulated around
the intenret, translated into Spanish (parts into dutch), used by
Worldwatch Institute, and others.
with Z magazine, David Barsamian/Alternative Radio, Larry Agran
'92 Presidential Campaign; The Nation; FAIR; other activist
organizations, groups, and individuals.
Initiated, created, and/or facilitated many PeaceNet conferences (see
1993-1994 (approx): Arranged for MAP to be a co-sponsor of LBBS (formerly
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)
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)
1989 -- Organized the El Salvador Project.
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
- 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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
- Initiated recruiting effort for a Gender/LGBT co-moderator for MAP.
Obtained agreement from PeaceNet for a free account for such
- Undertook three searches, the last one 1-3 months, to find
- Interviewed final three candidates and selected Sabina
Astete, a Peruvian-born woman who fled repression.
- MAP Readership reaches:
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
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)]