This participatory radio show – now called The Media Squat – looks at both sides of Life Incorporated: how life has been literally “incorporated” by business and economics, and how can we incorporate LIFE back into our world: local commerce, community, social currency, and other emerging forms of participatory culture. This is freeform, bottom-up, open source radio looking towards similarly open source, bottom-up solutions to some of the problems engendered by our relentlessly top-down society.
Each show will initiate a series of discussions, which will themselves comprise part of an expanding wiki of resources, support material, and community-generated content. A piece on “local currency” will branch out to embrace the local currency efforts, discussions, and tools out there. How does a person create a currency for his or her town? And where are the other people interested in doing this? Who has the best solar solutions, the most interesting way of organizing labor, the best free local Wi-Max network? Let’s talk to the CEO’s of GE and BP about their green efforts, and whether they believe their own hype. How about urban planning? Bike lanes? Ads on school buses and Coke machines in the cafeteria? What’s in those textbooks, anyway?
This is a 21st Century, cyberpunk reclamation of all technologies and social contracts as essentially open source, up for discussion, and open to modification. It’s an application of the hacker ethic and net collectivism to everything, done in the spirit of fun and adventure.
As the number of foreclosed homes grows in the United States, so do the numbers of people who are left without a home. Most of them cannot afford buying or renting a new house, and so they resort to squat, their own house or another one. This may not be a bad situation for a city, as the squatters prevent a suburb or a neighbourhood to deteriorate, but not every city council thinks this way.
In an excellent article in Slate, Eduardo Peñalver briefly reviews the history of squatting as a need (not as a political act) in the United States and explains why the current economical crisis is leading to another boom in squatting and what are local governments doing about it.
According to the Census Bureau, about 15 percent of housing units in the United States were vacant during the last quarter of 2008. That’s 19 million homes sitting idle, largely in the hands of banks. The difference between the 1970s and today is that the crisis last time was focused on the urban centers, while this time around the suburbs are the site of the greatest mismatch between people without homes and homes without occupants.