Since I'm out of town for part of this week, I thought it might be a good time to make a pitch for more volunteer reporters to consider working with us at Open Media Boston. Then I remembered that I had done a pretty solid job of that a couple of years back; so I decided to just run that editorial of February 16, 2010 this week - and quickly add that we're also always interested in running op-eds from Boston area progressives and progressive organizations for our Opinion section. So read on ... and hope to hear back from interested parties at their earliest convenience.
The Students Occupy Boston march last week was a bit small; so I thought I'd devote this week's Open Media Boston editorial to discussing it and making a couple of suggestions.
OK. So the weather was lousy. I know how it goes. But rain or no rain, the turnout was way low for a citywide action. Last fall, students in and around the Occupy Boston movement were turning out in their hundreds and thousands for actions of all kinds. Fast forward a few months, and a purpose-built student action calling for free public higher education for all couldn't even crack 100 attendees.
In less than a month, Open Media Boston will celebrate our fourth anniversary. Hard to believe that so much time has passed already. But I'll dwell on that more in my upcoming anniversary editorial. Today it's time for one of our periodic appeals for funds. And I think I'll be a little more blunt than usual this time around and say that the entire staff and I greatly appreciate all the support we get week to week from folks we meet while reporting in the field - and in online communications we regularly get across our social media presence.
There is no real crisis at the MBTA. There is, however, a major problem with the way public transportation is funded in Massachusetts. And particularly with the way the MBTA is funded. As long as the existing funding system remains in place, the public will be left with the current two bad choices on offer from MBTA leadership - either accept a big fare increase and some bad cuts to service, or accept a slightly less big fare increase and even worse cuts to service. Neither of which is acceptable or necessary. But to understand why, let's take a closer look at MBTA funding.
The winter has led to many new developments for the Occupy movement - some good, some bad. One positive thing is the fire the movement has lit under left-wing student organizing. And one interesting result of that new fire has been the call for an Occupy Boston Student Summit this weekend. Which looks like it could potentially result in the formation of a significant network of radical students with chapters all over the Northeast.
There is far too much for me to say about UMass Boston to fit in one editorial; so I'll restrain myself and keep this brief. Open Media Boston strongly supports the Occupy UMass Boston movement's decision to found an encampment at the UMB Campus Center on Monday. And supports the movement itself. For the first time in a long time, Boston's working class university - my alma mater - is home to a growing and vibrant network of progressive students who are organizing for radical and much needed changes to public higher education system in Massachusetts.
The annual public ritual of rendering homage to Martin Luther King Jr., the man, while obfuscating - if not actively betraying - his message, is de rigueur for elected officials, with or without the gospel choirs. Once a year, these officials issue their compulsory paeans to Dr. King's legacy, or to what passes for his legacy these days. Their homilies secure that legacy firmly within the civil rights realm - King's later writings and speeches are not exactly on the tips of their tongues.
A handful of Massachusetts legislators have offered some solutions to the state's budgetary woes, fearlessly pursuing the criminals who enrich themselves at public expense but pay little or no state taxes. The big banks, you might ask? The pharmaceutical companies bilking the state's Medicaid system of tens of millions of dollars? Well, no. It turns out that the most serious pillagers of public funds, to judge by these proposals, are not predatory lenders or tax-dodging corporations, but the poor. Not exactly a new idea.
Quick note to say that Open Media Boston will be on a break while your faithful Editor/Publisher is attending his semi-annual graduate school residency. We'll be back after January 18th. However, if there's anything major happening in the Boston area labor and non-profit sectors before that date, be sure to flag us at info [at] openmediaboston [dot] org - and we'll do our best to cover it. And, as always, feel free to submit opinion pieces anytime.
Our colleagues at South End Press put out the following call for financial support this week, and we're republishing it here it in hopes that Open Media Boston viewers will send them some money at speed. There aren't very many left-wing publishing houses in the U.S. and we can't afford to lose another one. Especially in times like these. So please check out their pitch and then dig as deeply as you can to help them out.
Read on and thanks,
Open Media Boston