Following close on the heels of #100hardtruths #67, by Jacque Wernimont, I now share the work of Equality Labs, “the first South Asian Women/Gender Non-Conforming/Trans Technology Startup.” They have created a series of curriculum and one sheets to help activists around the US help better prepare to protect their privacy rights during the Trump Administration.

“We Believe that the right to privacy, assemble, and free speech are threatened by global surveillance by countries around the world. We support activists around the world to help them protect themselves and establish secure communications, devices, and network access.”

“We believe artist belong at the table of change. Artists through socially engaged art help to inspire, build community, and make a heart connection to the issues that matter the most. Our art projects impact communities through both process and product.”

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This #100hardtruth was shared with me by my friend, the feminist scholar, network weaver, and digitrix,  Jacqueline Wernimont:

“My topic is ‘tracking and surveillance aka “who’s watching from the shadows and making a TON of money doing so…?” Which seems particularly relevant in context of the upcoming Net Privacy vote. I took a series of screen shots using Disconnect and Ghostery on Chrome (Ghostery blocks trackers, Disconnect blocks and also visualizes the set of companies watching). While drinking my morning coffee, I browsed as I might do on any normal day. A little news reading, social media, fact checking on Snopes, going to the bank, etc.

I’m attaching the screen shots.

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According to Nancy Watzman, from the Internet Archive, in: “By providing a free and enduring source for TV news broadcasts of Trump’s statements, the Internet Archive hopes to make it more efficient for the media, researchers, and the public to track Trump’s statements while fact-checking and reporting on the new administration. The Trump Archive can also serve as a rich treasure trove of video material for any creative use: comedy, art, documentaries, wherever people’s inspiration takes them.”

“We consider the Trump Archive to be an experimental model for creating similar archives for other public officials. For example, we’ll explore the idea of creating curated collections for Trump’s nominees to head federal agencies; members of Congress of both parties (for example, perhaps the Senate and House majority and minority leadership); Supreme Court nominees, and so on.

A work in progress, the growing collection now includes more than 520 hours of Trump video. The earliest excerpt dates from December 2009, and the collection continues through the present. It includes more than 500 video statements fact checked by, PolitiFact, and The Washington Post’s Fact Checker covering such controversial topics as immigration, Trump’s tax returns, Hillary Clinton’s emails, and health care.”

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This #100hardtruths was shared with me by my often-collaborator, the filmmaker, Cheryl Dunye.

“Although the numbers of girls that are missing are unclear and the circumstances of their disappearances are continents and lifestyles away, we really don’t care do we? But for me, it’s time that black girls form a global army to take back the night …

MARCH, 2017

An Instagram post claiming 14 girls had disappeared in D.C. over a 24-hour period went viral across social media on Thursday March 24 2017

“Behind every report of a missing young person is a family’s difficult story. Though almost all young people reported missing in D.C. quickly come home, readjusting isn’t easy. News4’s Kristin Wright spoke with the mother of one D.C. teenager who went missing Monday — and now is home with her family, who are still dealing with the emotions they felt when she was missing.” (Published Friday, March 24, 2017)

April, 2014

This lead me back in time to this story from the New York Times:

“LAGOS, Nigeria — Two and a half years after nearly 300 girls were kidnapped from a school in northeastern Nigeria, the government said on Thursday that 21 of them had been freed, the biggest breakthrough in an ordeal that has shocked the world and laid bare the deadly instability gripping large parts of the country. Boko Haram, the radical Islamist group that has killed thousands of civilians, overrun villages and terrorized the region, seized the girls from a school in the town of Chibok on April 14, 2014.”

February, 1983

 Which lead me back to this fictional film …

“Born in Flames is a 1983 documentary-style feminist science fiction film by Lizzie Borden that explores racism, classism, sexism and heterosexism in an alternative United States socialist democracy,” according to Richard Brody. in a recent reevaluation of the film in The New Yorker. ‘All oppressed people have a right to violence,’ activist Flo Kennedy posits. ‘It’s like the right to pee: you’ve gotta have the right place, you’ve gotta have the right time, you’ve gotta have the appropriate situation. And believe me, this is the appropriate situation.'”

from “Born in Flames” (Lizzie Borden, 1983)


When our fictional truths and are truthful fictions become blurred, what does a black girl/woman do? Thoughts?

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In “Eleven Theses on Neo-Fascism and the Fight to Defeat It,” Lia Haro and Romand Coles write:

“The new regime bears important similarities to classic fascism: rapid, rabid intensifications of white nationalism, dismissals of reason, autocratic leadership, deepening entwinements of state and capital, disenfranchisement, attacks on liberal and representative democratic institutions, and increasingly open right-wing populist violence. However, today’s neo-fascism relies on distinctive, twenty-first century dynamics that are not only antithetical to the survival of democracy in the United States but also threaten planetary ecological collapse. These dynamics, slippery as they are, must be illuminated to move toward understanding— and ultimately transforming—our current condition. We also need new surges of radical creativity that can generate a complex ecology of democratic sensibilities, alternative solidarities, political modes, and relationships that move beyond the ruts of rote protest politics. Here, we offer eleven theses on emergent neo-fascism and a receptive, full-bodied politics that can vitalize a formidable demos to defeat the regime.”

In one of many acts of self-reflexive uncertainty and commitment to contradiction that unerline this project (“understanding and not simply producing contradiction; naming and not evading complexity” is my own fifth #hardtruth written half-way through #100hardtruths-#fakenews”), I share Haro and Coles’ #5, which reads:

“Efforts to parse truths, reveal contradictions, or selectively negotiate and collaborate with this mode of power are both blind to and disguise what it fundamentally is—a new fascism that operates through disordering ordering and hyper-prerogative power.”

(this #100hardtruths was given to me by a friend and scholar who wishes to, and succeeds at remaining anonymous online)

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This #100hardtruths was shared with me by my friend, a scholar and leader within Digital Humanities,  Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Associate Executive Director and Director of Scholarly Communication of the Modern Language Association:

“The health of nations is directly related to the depth of knowledge applied to public decision-making.” So says former chairman of the NEH (and former Republican congressman) Jim Leach. The #hardtruth is that our nation is not healthy.  As Tom Nichols has recently explored, our top decision-makers today not only disregard the advice of experts but actively reject the notion that their knowledge is any more worthy of consideration than anyone else’s opinion.

The other hard truth is that we are all responsible for finding new ways to re-engage with the public, to find ways to interest them in the knowledge we produce, and to demonstrate to them that facts persist even when master narratives are long gone.

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#62, don’t look

March 25, 2017

In “How Do I (Not) Look? Live Feed Video and Viral Black Death,” July 20, 2016, after the viral visibility of the Diamond Reynold’s live feed video of Philando Castile’s brutal death at the hands of the police, I wrote some #100hardtruths that must still figure:

“We come to this cultural, political and media onslaught as individuals but, it is my contention that each of us must take responsibility for our own acts of looking. When we look (or write) we engage in the regimes of visibility—complex networks of power, ownership, and access that frame our viewing and knowing—that surround and inform violence. Accounting for our place, our needs, our actions in the face of viral videos of murder is one within a constellation of necessary ethical and political acts. This is particularly true because it may feel like our current media conditions of onslaught and abundance allow us no choices at all. When we have the choice to look, we are bound ethically and politically to what we witness and what we do with all we have seen. Below is a brief primer of ways to understand how or why we might (not) look.”

Image adapted from Diamond Reynolds’ video

In that article, I share these principled positions: Don’t Look, Look Askance, Look at Death, and Look at Death’s Platforms and connect these to deeper traditions of thinking about practices of looking.

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