I'm spending the summer in Madison, Wisconsin and this morning went
down to the State Capitol to participate in a demonstration in
support of "Healthy Wisconsin, " legislation that would extend
government funded health insurance to nearly everyone in the state,
and which could be a step towards a single-payer system.
As we were assembling inside (for interesting historical reasons, it
is possible to hold quite noisy demonstrations inside the Capitol
Rotunda in Madison-not something they permit in most places), a rally
was setting up outside organized by the Ministerial Alliance Against
the Digital Divide, a Chicago based group based in the black
churches. The literature they were distributing points out that 75%
of African Americans and 74% of Hispanics with incomes below $30,000
are not on line. "Children in economically disadvantaged communities
attend schools without enough computers or high-speed modems and with
teachers who aren't trained. High-speed access costs more money, and
without the ability to pay, these Internet users are left behind."
I briefly talked with a couple of the organizers (one of whom joined
our health care demonstration for a while). Their focus is on
grassroots mobilization to hold governments and corporations
accountable and to demand public and private investment "particularly
in minority communities [their term] and those that are economically
disadvantaged." I don't know much about the group, but this kind of
organizing, with a political focus on making demands on the wealthy
and powerful, is the kind of activity that I think constitutes
genuine science for the people.
If you want to find out more, check out their website: http://maadd.org.