A few days ago, I watched Chuck Turner get thrown off of the Boston City Council by a near-unanimous vote of his peers as I took photographs of the sad scene for Open Media Boston. The fact that he got shown the door that day surprised no one. One had only to look at the stony faces of most of the councilors as Turner made his final defiant speech to them to know that he was definitely going down. The feds were handing his political head to them on a silver platter. And there was no way they were going to pass up that opportunity.
Wow, time sure does fly. This is Open Media Boston's third Holiday Appeal since we started publishing in March 2008. That means for the last two years and (just about) nine months we've been bringing you - our expanding core of regular viewers - news and views with a progressive editorial stance. And we've been consistently covering issues that affect working families in Boston and environs every week - week-in and week-out - on a shoestring budget.
It has been 40 years since the Wampanoag leader Wamsutta (Frank B.) James was asked to give a speech at the annual Thanksgiving reenactment in Plymouth, MA. That year, 1970, was the 350th anniversary of the Pilgrims' arrival on Wampanoag land.
On Thursday, I spent part of my afternoon covering the latest intervention in the "official" Boston Veterans Day Parade by the Veterans for Peace. While I waited for them to appear behind the main parade, as has become their annual custom, I decided to shoot photographs of the some of the participating organizations. After a while, I noted that rank after rank of marchers were Junior ROTC members at several Boston high schools. Hundreds of kids in military uniforms.
We interrupt our regular editorial schedule to bring you an important announcement. Over the last year we've written a number of times about our work on launching an Open Media Co-operative as a democratically-run business wing of Open Media Boston. Well now it's go time. Next week, on Nov. 17th at 6 p.m. we're having an organizing meeting for the co-op at the Community Church of Boston, and you're all invited. The first part of the meeting will be public; so if you're just curious about the new co-op, and want to hear more, come on down.
Originally I held up this week's edition until today to cover yesterday's rally in support of Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner. The event was announced on understandably short notice after Turner was found guilty on charges that he took a $1000 bribe in 2007 and later lied about it to federal agents. He faces up to 35 years in prison at his sentencing hearing on January 25th. My plan was that I'd write a straight news piece about the rally, and then a short editorial about Turner's verdict. So I went and covered the rally as planned. And then I sat in front of my computer for a while.
Whatever the outcome of Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner's trial in federal court over the next several days, I can say as sure as poor DJ Henry was executed in upstate New York by the Mount Pleasant 5-0 a few days ago for DWB (Driving While Black) that Turner was targeted for political elimination for being - first and foremost - an outspoken progressive black politician by former US Attorney (and Republican) Michael Sullivan. These kinds of events are the "exceptions" that prove the rule that we are not living in a "post-racial" society yet. Far from it.
Many Americans may get a kick out of making fun of the French. But our neighbors across the pond can teach us a thing or three about how to keep a society democratic. Admittedly, France has a different history than the U.S. - having been ruled by a hereditary monarchy more than once, having overthrown their monarchies more than once, suffering from much more class stratification than we have had, and creating a parliamentary democracy in response to that situation that has resulted in their having major political parties of the left that survive to this day.
Regular Open Media Boston viewers have been seeing occasional editorials about our progress in forming a co-operative business to run alongside our existing non-profit since late last year. Now, we're pleased to announce that we're almost ready to launch our Open Media Co-operative - and we'd like to invite anyone interested in investing at least $3 a month who wants to help us build a strong progressive community news weekly to attend our co-operative organizing meeting.
Starting an online community news publication like Open Media Boston has been, in many ways, a leap into the unknown. Since our first weekly edition in March 2008, we've been building the road as we travel. Figuring out how to produce regular original content on a growing, but still shoestring, budget. Building a staff and an audience. Raising money. Learning the technical side of social media. And always looking around the country (and world) at what other startups like us were doing.