I’ve been deluged with requests from readers whether they can borrow the Wisconsin Solidarity graphic posted here on my blog. The answer is yes, individuals can use the graphic on their Webpages, blogs, Facebook, etc., and also on posters and their personal T-shirts for the protests in Madison and elsewhere. To those individuals I am only asking that you leave the Rock Netroots name intact in the bottom left corner.
I happened to see this image online and tracked it down. It is from a local Wisconsin news blog for Rock County, Wisconsin. Started several years ago as a more liberal alternative to the conservative media in that county, it has become a much more widely read site over the last few days.
Much like what happened to The Mudflats site – an Alaskan blog – when Sarah Palin came on the national scene, Rock Netroots started getting more traffic when people wanted to find a more local source of regional information than the mass media would/could provide (they could helicopter in journalists to Egypt but not to Wisconsin). In almost any corner of the country people are creating their own news media. Some of the better, more informative ones then serve to provide benefits to a larger group when something important happens locally.
The creator of this site sketched out this image last week. He did a great job with a very simple, iconic image. It does not matter what side you are on, you’ll never forget what the shape of Wisconsin is from now on – the shape of a clenched fist.
A month ago, the Rock Netroots was simply providing an outlet for information to a small group of people. Today, simply type in “Wisconsin Solidarity” and it is the number five link on Google and the first non-union/party site. Look for images and the above is what you will find that stands out.
The ability of average citizens to create and distribute such material, without having to ask permission from anyone, can have a catalyzing effect on the democratic impulse. People who have felt disenfranchised from the power structures of a country can find a way to route around those roadblocks and have a huge effect.
The new technologies allow the creativity and innovation of individuals to spread throughout a region in ways that were not possible even a few years ago. They create an adaptive and resilient source of community information that can move much more rapidly that the tools of the 20th Century allow.
That is what the despots in the Middle East are now discovering. These tools allow people to find innovative ways to make their wishes known. Might is no longer necessarily the arbiter of what is right. They may not succeed immediately but the people will eventually get the government they want.
From the Virginia Bill of Rights to the Declaration of Independence to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights there is one concept that is omnipresent – The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government.
These new tools make that even more obvious than anytime before.