Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
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I agree, I think if we'd had something like this in '68 and '69 we might not have been in retreat by '73.  I really enjoy the ET, and I think the quality of writing here is generally pretty high.  I wish I spoke a couple more languages, english and ancient high-school french is my limit.  dkos may have some pretty wide variations in the quality of writing from day to day and item to item but it is a forum that brings encouragement and hope to the struggle against the complete corporate takeover of the US political system.  I think there is a name for that....hmmm.

I look in on the ET pretty regularly, but don't often know enough to have a worthwhile opinion on a lot of your topics.  One thing I've wanted to see is Europeans writing in on dkos and describing their experiences with universal health care, vacations, stronger unions, and things like this.  It would be enlightening.

I hope this is not too off-topic.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson

by NearlyNormal on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 10:31:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One thing I've wanted to see is Europeans writing in on dkos and describing their experiences with universal health care, vacations, stronger unions, and things like this.

I second that!

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 10:48:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 01:59:08 AM EST
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Jerome, you know that is at least partially what I mean.  I followed the links from your work on dkos to here and am an unashamed fan or your work, especially the energy seminar that you have provided.  But what I think would also be helpful is to have people post the day-to-day stuff that Europeans have accomplished and that we have not obtained.  Really nuts and bolts things like health care, how it is provided, what kinds of things you think it does well for your life, how you get your vacations arranged, how long they last, what the rules are.  I think it is very helpful to have proof posted that these things are possible to have without bankrupting the state-though we may have to tone down the adventurism-sort of a reverse Norquist theme.  I'd like to see people who work in trade unions spelling out not just the advantages of them but also the nuts and bolts of how they work.  This all would be in addition to your usual great work, not in place of it.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson
by NearlyNormal on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 10:08:34 AM EST
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I know what you mean, I just had the list of my diaries handy. Actually, there are a fair number of European posters on dKos, it's just that they get swallowed in the mass and are not that visible (also they tend to write in the European morning, I've noticed). I have the advantage of having more visibility, so I do try once in a while to get these kinds of stories in - but it's getting harder and harder to get to the reclist.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 11:48:29 AM EST
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In fact, I think I'll just go on vacation in your honor Jerome.  I'm taking next week off and heading for the Wild West, although since i'm in California it is actually East of here.  I'm one of the lucky ones, I get about 6 weeks vacation a year.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson
by NearlyNormal on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 10:16:31 AM EST
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Yes, like that. :)  

But, and really, don't take this the wrong way, nothing against you, and we could never get tired of your or anything, but it would be nice to hear from other Europeans too.  

You are right that they do post on Kos, but it is usually on American issues or the way Europe fits into American issues.  I'm thinking we need more diaries like "a day in the life of a German or Italian or Brit or whatever."  Things that are NOT news to YOU, but would be very informative to us.

And I think we are especially interested in benefits.  What does the gov't pay for or garantee?  What is expected of you in return?  How does a "welfare state" actually function?  Where does all the money come from?  That kind of thing.  

More clear examples of how, exactly, what Europe is doing differs from what America is doing, and how we might try to implement similar policies and lifestyles in America.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 12:34:45 PM EST
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Way waaay back in the dark ages (ca. 2003), when I was a young and naive blog user, I tried to discuss healthcare and welfare systems in Europe in places like Dailykos, Agonist, and several others. I ended up either getting ignored or ridiculed, so I gave up pretty fast. I would think the situation would be even worse now, especially at Dailykos.

I seriously think that most Americans are not interested in seeing how things are done elsewhere, unless it reflects well on the American way of doing things. The exception would be when the way they do it elsewhere in the world fits perfectly in with policy initiatives by one of the two parties...

by Trond Ove on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 02:39:59 PM EST
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God, I cannot believe I am even having this conversation.

So much for enlightened Europeans.  You are just as ignorant as the Americans who digust you.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 02:49:04 PM EST
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Pot. Kettle.
by Trond Ove on Sun Aug 27th, 2006 at 01:19:55 AM EST
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yep!
by Richard Lyon (rllyon@gmail.com) on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 02:49:14 PM EST
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I think the response you get can be much affected by how you phrase your discussion attempts. No one likes to be told that they are doing it wrong, and we here in another country knows how to do it right. The same seems true here when someone from the US writes on, for example, their approach to integration, and how it is superiour to ours. It makes people defensive even if they would readily agree that their own system lacks much. I think it helps a lot, especially in the beginning before people "know your name", to start in a softer way. For example:

"I have noticed that people on this forum feel that the current healthcare system of the US does not work very well. Let me describe the system we have in my country. Our system is also not perfect, it has advatages and it has problems, but maybe knowing about its workings can be useful for those of you that want to think about how your system should be changed." I haven't tried this on blogs, but in some e-mail conversations and some live conversations. It seems to work pretty well if your goal is to have a discussion.

I know nothing about what you wrote so I am not judging it. But I know that I have read a couple of diaries by Europeans that were quite, um confrontational is not the quite right word, but something like that. Diaries that when I read them I feel on the one hand "yes, I agree with you, the author." But also "the way you write, the way you express yourself, I know already what the reaction will be in the comments. You are not sparking fruitful discussion here, people will get defensive."

I find it a bit annoying in general how touchy people can be. How quick they are to assume the worst intentions of others. How unwilling they are to read that which pisses off a second time, with a more charitable approach, and then try to shape a non-confrontational response for fruitful debate. But maybe their intentions and goals are different than mine? But I am also willing to assume that this will be the case and I attempt, as much as I can bear, to take into account this tendency to defensivness and preempt it as much as I can. It only works when I am in a good mood...

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 03:56:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for giving the response I should have given but instead got too upset to give.

It's just been my experience that most DKos people are willing to hear Europeans out.  In fact, the argument that Americans don't want to hear about Europe and other ways of doing things holds no water when you look at Jerome's numbers there.  Of course, if you don't have the name recognition, it hard for anyone, European or American, to get a good response.  

Anyway, yes, I guess I just feel a certain kind of nihilsm toward Americans that angers me.  And which becomes a kind of self-fulfilling prophesy.  

And yes, it work the other way around too.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 04:08:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You know, I was basically told by relatives of an American ex-girlfriend of mine that  I was not entitled to an opinion because I was not, nor did I intend to become a US citizen. My experience is that outside of the sheltered environment of a University Campus, Americans don't want to hear Europeans out.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 2nd, 2006 at 05:12:11 PM EST
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I think there may have been some changes since the dark ages, and this is a place for the seeding of changes.  There are some dunderheads at dkos, but it is a good forum for getting a message out there, and I think that it is an important message.  It is the same battle here as there, and we have been losing here.  I am not sure, and don't want to succumb to American exceptionalism, but I think it will be difficult for Europeans to prosper in the long run if the forces that are ascendent in this political system are uncontested.  Mybe I'm wrong, and maybe the political factors inherent in Europe now will protect you from the slow and steady grasp of neo-liberal economics which values economic freedom over all other facets of freedom.  If we lose, I hope that you are able to prevail and flip Churchill on his head and have the old world come to the rescue of the new.

I would humbly say that I think your last paragraph has the usual amount of truth as any other stereotype.  Some, but not the whole story, and that is what I, and poemless are asking for, tell the whole story, or your portion of it.  We are so big and insular that we have more myopia than is healthy.  I had a Spanish girl as an Exchange student in the early 90's and even here in Sonoma County California it was culture shock for the kids who would ask her stupid stuff like, "Do they have cars in Spain?"

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson

by NearlyNormal on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 04:43:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would humbly say that I think your last paragraph has the usual amount of truth as any other stereotype.  Some, but not the whole story, and that is what I, and poemless are asking for, tell the whole story, or your portion of it.

Well, my last paragraph was not very diplomatic. (Consciously so.) But I did include the qualifier most americans. This was based on most of the Americans I personally have met on and off the net.

But then it is difficult to extrapolate on how people behave outside of ones own frame of reference. I haven't talked to enough Americans for my sample to be statistically valid, so I guess I might be full of shit. But it was based directly on conversations I have had with Americans.

The knee-jerk reaction by poemless to me telling about my trouble with communicating with Americans (and my theory for explaining it) fits quite neatly into the pattern. I doubt she would have reacted as she did if I said "most republicans" instead of "most americans".

by Trond Ove on Sun Aug 27th, 2006 at 01:38:03 AM EST
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You think because you are on a Eurpean forum America bashing is safe, don't you?  Hell, go to town, not my site.

But it speaks volumes that in a diary about how to make the European blogosphere better you spend it talking about how much Americans suck.  You still make it about us. ;)

I can communicate quite well with any number of Eurpeans, on this site in in real life (half of my co workers are...).  Maybe it's not Americans, maybe it is YOU!

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Sun Aug 27th, 2006 at 11:37:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You still make it about us. ;)

Nearly Normal, upthread:

One thing I've wanted to see is Europeans writing in on dkos and describing their experiences with universal health care, vacations, stronger unions, and things like this.  It would be enlightening.

I hope this is not too off-topic.

Reply from poemless:

I second that!

That was how this subthread about Europeans writing on American blogs began -- by a (perfectly reasonable and intelligent) request from two Americans. Disagree with Trond Ove if you like, but don't say he hi-jacked the thread.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 27th, 2006 at 01:12:29 PM EST
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Where oh where is Condi when her intervention is so urgently required?
by Richard Lyon (rllyon@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 27th, 2006 at 01:19:28 PM EST
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This is not "your site", and there has been no "america bashing", no matter how much fun it is for you to throw claims of anti-americanism around.

Now, the big question is why did you feel it was appropriate to start yelling at a total stranger on the Internet?

by Trond Ove on Sun Aug 27th, 2006 at 10:29:03 PM EST
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Well, I guess I think "appropriateness" is overrated.  That's why I can't fault you for giving me a 1.  

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Mon Aug 28th, 2006 at 08:28:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
<sigh> poemless isn't a troll.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 28th, 2006 at 08:34:24 AM EST
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How do you know?  Have you ever seen me?  Just sayin'...

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Mon Aug 28th, 2006 at 08:52:12 AM EST
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Agreed. Let's allow people to have a bad day. It happens to everyone, no need to smack each other over the heads with the dreaded 1s.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Mon Aug 28th, 2006 at 09:12:36 AM EST
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Indeed. Now play nice, kids :-)
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Mon Aug 28th, 2006 at 09:31:22 AM EST
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I know. I have tried to remove the 1 several times. Don't know what is  wrong...
by Trond Ove on Mon Aug 28th, 2006 at 05:49:02 PM EST
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It seems it is possible to change the rating, but not to return to no rating. At least for me in Firefox.
by Trond Ove on Mon Aug 28th, 2006 at 05:53:32 PM EST
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Might be to prevent people from giving "knee jerk" ratings...

I don't think you can change them.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Mon Aug 28th, 2006 at 06:22:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The reason why I wanted to remove it was not because I thought it wasn't deserved. It was because I thought it was wrong both to troll rate you AND answer you back. So this wasnt a case of "knee jerk" reaction.

To be honest, I think you acted like a bully. I hope you will choose to attack the argument and not the person the next time you read something that annoys you.

by Trond Ove on Tue Aug 29th, 2006 at 09:45:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not sure, and don't want to succumb to American exceptionalism, but I think it will be difficult for Europeans to prosper in the long run if the forces that are ascendent in this political system are uncontested.  Mybe I'm wrong, and maybe the political factors inherent in Europe now will protect you from the slow and steady grasp of neo-liberal economics which values economic freedom over all other facets of freedom.

There are no "political factors inherent in Europe" protecting us from anything. I'm pessimistic.

I had a Spanish girl as an Exchange student in the early 90's and even here in Sonoma County California it was culture shock for the kids who would ask her stupid stuff like, "Do they have cars in Spain?"

My cousin was an exchange student in Muncie, Indiana in the 1980's and she had some really weird stories along those lines...

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 2nd, 2006 at 05:15:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IMHO American expatriates are best placed to write those diaries. Things that you or NearlyNormal desperately want to know about or would be interested in are just part of the landscape for me [or others] and there's no real motivation to write about them. It wouldn't "scratch an itch" to paraphrase ESR's The Cathedral and the Bazaar.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 2nd, 2006 at 05:08:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My experience as a euro posting on american sites is not very positive I'm afraid.

Granted I'm a cynical so-and-so, but I found that my willingness to be critical of US foreign and domestic policy was not welcomed. It was a case of "hey limey, Shut the F--- Up, you're not from here, you don't understand why we are how we are, your viewpoint is neither valid nor welcome"

So, I have no intention of posting on an american site again.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 06:37:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is too bad, Most of the posts I've seen from foreigners on dkos has been pretty well received, but you'd know better than me.  I certainly have been well-treated here and am sorry if some of the louts over here were assholes.  They don't seem to know that perspective requires a look from two different vantage points.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson
by NearlyNormal on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 10:11:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll second that, by and large. If you want to post on American blogs, get yourself an ultra-thick skin (everyone knows I've got one of those), and prepare to be surprised by the exceptionalism even of American lefties.

Honour where honour is due, though: I was generally well received on Digby's blog. Moon of Alabama (where I didn't post) seems very open too. But I don't post on US blogs any more. Apart from anything else, there's so much to do here.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 10:11:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome doesn't seem to have a problem with it.  

There is a nice bunch of people on Booman doing it too.  (From the Americas as well as Europe)

I think you might have trouble getting noticed because of the sheer number of diaries on Kos, but I've never seen anyone go after someone because they are European.  Like, ever.

Of course, if you go there expecting Americans to be rude and exceptionalist it will probably be reflected in your writing and we Americans have a pretty good radar for detecting that.  

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 12:25:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, if you go there expecting Americans to be rude and exceptionalist it will probably be reflected in your writing and we Americans have a pretty good radar for detecting that.

I hope the irony of phrasing was intended.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 01:45:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
we Americans have a pretty good radar

What do you know, "we Europeans" too...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 04:27:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's something that needs to be said about how internet forums work. They all have a narrow set of accepted norms, this place included. Deviation from those norms will cause problems for the poster. To their credit the people here are very cordial, so on the occasions where I have skitted the edge of the local norms I wasn't told to "f*** off and die" or other such nonsense which can be common elsewhere.

I think people forget or downplay the fact that internet forums are used for social purposes just like real "forums" in meatspace (the local coffeeshop, hobby groups, book clubs, etc). The average poster doesn't read or participate to debate and learn only - they are looking for approval, acknowledgement, and friends as well (I certainly enjoy getting 4's for my comments). Just as in meatspace, it takes time to gain acceptance from the broader community, and before that happens feelings of isolation and indifference can be very common.

Americans do differ in that Europeans and Russians are much better conversationalists and are generally better at arguing. Arguing is a lost art in America. The odd co-evolution of conformity and individualism in our culture has led to a view that to argue with someone is to attack them at their very core. When the extra step of removing the face to face interaction is taken things can get quite ugly.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Sun Aug 27th, 2006 at 12:22:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll obviously have to disagree with this. My experience on dKos has been mostly positive, with only the odd hostile comment, even if there are sometimes surprising disagreements, on economic issues for instance (where kossacks are to a surprising extent to our right).

Always try to get a clarification before you take any comment as an attack or an insult, you'll be amazed at how much civility this brings into the discussion.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 11:51:15 AM EST
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Helen's experience wasn't mine. I didn't get insulted. But I didn't find much interest in what a non-American might have to say -- even when the topic was ostensibly something like the health service in different European countries. Now it's true I have never posted a diary on DKos, and things might have been different there. Might.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 04:34:12 PM EST
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My views about Americans and non-Americans on the net are colored by having spent the past three years of regular attendance at The Guardian talk board. There is a substantial group of Americans who have invaded the place for the entertainment value of picking fights with the "Euro lefties". It is not hard to find similar people on US based web sites. Even for people with liberal domestic politics there is a pervasive attitude of American exceptional ism that has been dumped into us from the cradle. I think the the Rest of the World is thoroughly sick and tired of it.
by Richard Lyon (rllyon@gmail.com) on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 05:03:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, "exceptionalism" can cover a range of things. It can be aggressive (the kind you mention on The Guardian), or it can be naive -- meaning spontaneous, unthinking, "innocent" in the sense not meaning any harm. And shades in between. But whatever shade, it's a considerable obstacle to communication.

And it's something that, over time, I thought would lessen. Looking back, young Americans of the Vietnam era I knew were (it seemed) more critical of the American Way (of life or whatever), less imbued with the unexamined conviction that there was just one natural way of doing things, than Americans now. In other words, things don't appear to have improved, meaning that America has remained as isolated as ever. What I sometimes get is the impression (and, please, this is not some superior, elitist, condescending, arrogant European position, and it is not coming from any certainty that the EU is a miracle-working solution to anybody's problems) of an American regression, by which I mean that (despite hi-tech etc) America has missed a train somewhere.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 05:32:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As one of those Americans who was young during the Vietnam era, I often feel that the train is headed in the wrong direction. As a nation and a society we did not not learn what we needed to learn from Vietnam and that has led us into a similar quagmire. Even though a growing number of Americans are beginning to get the smell of quagmire in their nostrils they are mostly sitting there saying how could this have happened to us. When someone attempts to explain that, the response is predictably defensive.
by Richard Lyon (rllyon@gmail.com) on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 05:52:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As an American who is critical of American society on some fundamental issues that go beyond the particular party in power, I have had somewhat similar experiences. You can't knock the system or The Way Of Life. However, there is also a particular strain of xenophobia that describes your experience.

European sites to me are something more than bring just non-US sites. By their nature they are compelled to be international sites. I can't think of much on which Europeans stand united. What I seek is an opportunity to escape the claustrophobia of any body's nationalism.

by Richard Lyon (rllyon@gmail.com) on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 01:01:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What I seek is an opportunity to escape the claustrophobia of any body's nationalism.

If there's one thing that makes me want to believe in and support the European project, it's exactly that.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 04:40:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not off-topic, it's about blogs, right? One problem in Europe is the language divide, it's part of what's keeping people from talking to each other more. So basically, if you want to organise a Europe-wide grassroots campaign against anything, you'll have to do it in multiple languages. This means that traditional websites have the edge over blogs.

Personally I can write somewhat flawlessly in two languages (English and Dutch), and my German writing is serviceable. French I have trouble enough reading, and that covers it. I can understand about 50% of Europe's population and address about a third in their native language. There will be exceptions, but generally it doesn't get better.

Kos is a bit too chaotic for me to read, but I'm impressed by what the community has accomplished in terms of political organising, raising funds for candidates and getting Senators to write diaries. I was also impressed by the kind of organising that Josh Marshall did on TPM around social security, a kind of collaborative activist journalism.

The only succesful internet organising that took place on the EU level was the campaign around software patents, and that campaign mainly used a number of traditional sites, translated in many languages (see nosoftwarepatents.com). Still, there is potential for this site, and it does exciting things, like taking part in the consultation on biofuels. That's a big step.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 07:45:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is just too much of kos to read, so it's worth being selective.

I usually read the front page, and dip into the recommended list. I might look at a normal diary if it relates to aparticular interest, but generally not.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 07:52:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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