Feminist grassroots organizations as peer-to-peer network

Via JStor Daily: Why the Future of the Internet May Depend on the History of Abortion

This thought-provoking article by Alexandra Samuel discusses how to preserve or reestablish connectivity in case of a disaster that brings down communication networks.  The author argues that to guard against such catastrophes, we need to “radically expand the number of people who have the technical know-how, hardware, and emergency power to set up and sustain an peer-to-peer mesh network.”

The model for creating this kind of “grassroots self-reliance” comes from a surprising source: the movement for abortion rights, which spread knowledge about an early abortion technique known as “menstrual extraction” through the feminist self-help movement and alternative feminist press. (for more on the history of this technology, see  Johanna Schoen’s fabulous new book, Abortion After Roe).

As I observed in my book, The Morning After: A History of Emergency Contraception in the United States, knowledge about other women’s health technologies like emergency contraception were also spread through these type of self-help networks.  The Web has replaced the fanzines and other alternative publications, but maybe there should be print backups just in case this information gets suppressed, or, as Samuel warns, the Web goes down because of a catastrophe.

Samuel argues that “we need a grassroots movement for disseminating networking knowledge that is just as ardent as the radical feminist movement of the 1960s and 1980s.”

Great point:   As a start, perhaps someone could bring back an updated print version of “The Whole Earth Catalog“?



Blogging U #everydayinspiration: I Write Because, I live for “likes”


Well,  I took the plunge and registered for the (free) Blogging U course “Finding Everyday Inspiration.”  My school year is over, so why not take a class myself (I’m also auditing a class in ARC GIS to prep for my digital history class this fall).

Day One’s assignment:  answer the question, “why do I write?”

I did a 15 minute free write offline, and the key phrase that leaps out at me is, “I live for likes.”  This is probably why I spend more time on social media (see my Twitter feed below) then writing for this blog. I don’t need to write a lot! Instant gratification!

The longer material I do also is aimed at getting “likes” — i.e. admiration from colleagues, good karma for my own writing (in the case of book reviews), etc.  I hate getting negative reviews.  So, this may be why I find staring at a blank screen so paralyzing:  the internal editor kicks in almost immediately.

I supposed the thing to do is to focus on writing that I like, rather than aiming to get likes, right?  Find something I want to write, not something I have to write.

Whew!  That wasn’t so bad.  I may even do my “assignments” over Memorial Day weekend!


Knitting Clio is Going to Blogging U

In an effort to get some inspiration for this blog, I’ve been experimenting with WordPress’ Blogging University.  I subscribed to the 10 day “Branding and Growth” — but the ideas just weren’t suited to me as they seemed aimed at for-profit blogs.

So, now I’m contemplating the “Finding Everyday Inspiration” one.  Anyone out there tried this one?  I certainly could use some inspiration. . .

So, I have a Bernie magnet on my car, but then I see this

You’re not making this easy for me, Historiann!


So many voters this year weren’t even alive for most of the 1990s, so–as the kids say on the internets–in case you missed it, here’s Hillary Rodham Clinton’s speech at the United Nations’ Fourth Women’s Conference in Bejing, China on September 5, 1995.  At the time, it was a pretty big deal for a sitting U.S. first lady to speak publicly and boldly as a feminist, and unfortunately, I still think this performance is still singular although we’ve seen twenty more years and two more first ladies.

You can find the full text of her rotten, craven, neoliberal, baby-killing, Goldman-Sachs approved totally right wing and corrupt speech here.  (The excerpted part of the speech from 11:30-15:00, for those of you with short attention spans.)  A little flava:

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