I arrived to the country of Georgia on an unusual night of riot police and torrential rains. My handler advised me that it was too dangerous to leave the hotel. I had not heard this from anyone since my time in Iraq.
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Young activists seek digital democracy. Mark teaches tech in Burma & Haiti.
Music eventually drove me to the internet’s dark underbelly. But first, it connected me to an innovative community I’d been pining for as a teenager. Through liner notes in Dischord and Lookout! Records cassette tapes, I discovered not just a directory of information, but a network.
Punks used the post office to bridge distance. Mainstream music stores didn’t and wouldn’t stock their art, so they circulated tapes by mail instead. A band from one city would call up their fan in another, asking to sleep on their couch after playing a concert in their town. This reciprocity grew their community into an organic movement, with a method and ethos called “DIY”: Do It Yourself. After all, who else was there to rely on?
The American punk movement seeded communities across a 3,717,813-square-mile piece of land, forming a web of trust, and an alternative economy.
My bread is black. Everyone else’s is white. Theirs is generously lathered with peanut butter and jelly. Mine is open face, revealing butcher-cut meat, fresh greens and Russian spicy mustard. My dessert is a fig. It looks like a turd. I couldn’t be more embarrassed.
Bio video of Fortnight Journal Edition II contributor Mark Belinsky. Mark is President & Co-Founder of Digital Democracy, a nonprofit empowering marginalized communities with technology. His family fled the Soviet Union as refugees and their experience informs his work as a technical consultant, documentary filmmaker and grassroots human rights trainer.
Fortnight Journal: Edition II
For more on Mark, visit Fortnight Journal at fortnightjournal.com.