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Informed Dissent

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Presentation to Melbourne Emergence Meetup 12 September 2019 providing further context for Supervenience Project, interleaving four decades of awareness development with one of local activism and digital photography. Doesn't quite achieve declared aims of bridging Too Funny for Words with Accepting Cosmological Responsibility, but useful starting point nonetheless.

Slide 9 is a montage of frames from two minute video of the first of Josie Taylor's two reports cited on Slide 8, as a placeholder for the actual video.

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Informed Dissent

  1. 1. Informed Dissent no secrets and no need for secrets transparency facilitating ecosystemic diversity sans accumulation & authority Tony Smith Melbourne Emergence Meetup 12 September 2019
  2. 2. Too Funny for Words Abstractions, Category Errors, Epistemic Cuts Life on an Active Planet The Two-edged Sword Multiple Paths to Emergence Constraints and Degrees of Freedom Birds and Others Interweb to Facebook Better than Out of Control Information, Maps and Territories Urban Hydrology out of Sight Going Down with the Egg Basket Self-organising, Adaptive Codification and Communication Exploiting a Dissipating Gradient: creaming, trickle down Dystopian Utopias and Science Fiction Towards Healthy General Knowledge The Inside View: knowing when you're dreaming Verbal Blindness Accepting Cosmological Responsibility
  3. 3. Informed Dissent SUPERVENIENCEhow emergent minds and money seize power over matter Informed by a personal journey to the margins, tonight explores excesses of privileged accumulation and potential rescue via technologies of distraction Words are blunt instruments, dollars blunter Some things lack balance, others just fail Once protective, adversarial systems now exploited Piss and shit are as fundamental as breathing The water cycle is the blood of the life world Soil depletion is killing dependencies we don’t know Terminate Earth Mother Fracking
  4. 4. Focused on possibilities of online information systems and in the midst of a few months of consequent career uncertainty, I’d had no idea that Ricci, his partner and baby were even in Perth before the shooting. On 31 March 1982 my mother and I went straight from airport to hospital. Over the next several days, while spending much of the time developing lasting friendships with Heather and members of her immediate family, I also soon learnt just how much privilege a white male 35 had and could use in this then very racist city which I had previously avoided visiting. Bemusing years on that Perth media had no difficulty finding an unnamed “aunt” who could inject some non facts into an already bizarre story. Always was, always will be aboriginal land
  5. 5. Joan was near the end of typing up a fictionalised account of five years, mostly in East Germany with Ricci and others, when the Warsaw Pact put an end to the Prague Spring. It should be published even if ASIO deny having related files. Flew back to Perth from Stellenbosch workshop on Philosophy of Complexity on my 60th, staying night with Heather and starting track to publishing her autobiography. Advance copies landed later on day of Joan’s second, fatal, stroke.
  6. 6. In the wake of social liberation movements of the 1960s and 70s attention spread to environmental and heritage protection with the support of unions for “Green Bans”. Beyond the 1967 referendum granting Aboriginals citizenship of the colonial regime, the 1988 bicentenary and impending millennium catalysed marches for reconciliation. Police horse attack on protestors at World Economic Forum opening 11 September 2000 at Crown Melbourne overshadowed by events overseas on its first anniversary. Protests in 2003 against prospect of dishonestly advocated Iraq war had no impact.
  7. 7. Electrification of the St. Albans train line was extended to Sydenham in January 2002 with naming rights to the new terminus going to the adjacent Watergardens shopping centre and a new station at Taylors Road named Keilor Plains. Initially the line there still went through the middle of a large roundabout on Taylors Road, but that was replaced by a road-under grade separation in 2007 well before such projects became commonplace. On 7 May 2009 the Victorian Ombudsman reported on an “Investigation into the alleged improper conduct of Councillors at Brimbank City Council” leading to the appointment of Bill Scales to monitor the council for three months and report back to the minister for local government. Meanwhile then Brimbank CEO Nick Foa put a cross on a map at the geographic centre of the municipality and found it was close enough to Errington Reserve in Main Street East, St. Albans, that he would make the Reserve his preferred site for a new civic centre aimed at tying together the remnants of two municipalities which had once been divided by a boundary the length of Main Road. However St. Albans History Society had already dealt with a proposal by McDonalds to acquire part of the Reserve, diverting them to a better for passing traffic site on St. Albans Road, and were fully across of the history of Alice Errington’s bequest of the Reserve to the people of St. Albans. On 12 June and 3 July Josie Taylor’s [2009] reports on the community battle to retain Errington Reserve went to air during the main 7:00 pm ABC TV newscast. Meanwhile in mid June the Victorian state government had unveiled a suite of big plans for the western suburbs: • extensive permanent reserves to protect and recover volcanic plains grasslands • major expansion of designated urban growth boundaries • Regional Rail Link (RRL) to separate V/Line tracks from Metro tracks from Southern Cross station towards Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong with the latter rerouted via Sunshine and a new line serving growth areas in northern Wyndham • planning and reservation of an Outer Metropolitan Ring (OMR) road and rail corridor On 29 June an information session on these initiatives came to Victoria University Sunshine campus for interested locals. On 15 July the City of Brimbank held a public consultation about the civic centre proposal at Errington Reserve Community Centre which focused local opposition but also provided an opportunity to raise the implications of the RRL and growth areas expansion for the future role of Brimbank as central to the western region, a chance to move on from the end of line reputation that Sunshine and St. Albans had developed. On 25 August Errington Reserve was officially removed from list of civic precinct candidates. Following an unfavourable report from Bill Scales [2009], on 12 November the Victorian Parliament passed an Act to dismiss Brimbank Council leaving the council to be operated by State-appointed administrators for almost seven years through to the regular 2016 council election date. After a year in the job, the administrators decided they needed more local intelligence to inform their deliberations and chose to set up advisory committees to consider particular areas of council responsibility. The first quarterly meeting of Economic Development and Transport Committee was held in May 2011 and within six months that committee progressed to receiving a presentation from the authority charged with delivering the RRL and from council officers on a market oriented project they had been developing: Sunshine Rising. —Smith, Tony, 2017 "Brimbank Rising: From a History of Failed Local Councils, Officers and Administrators Promote and Support Sunshine Rising" in Remaking Cities Conference Proceedings 2018 Staying on in Joan’s house was easier that sorting out her records, so got directly involved with local History Society, Living Museum and Volcanic Plains grasslands. Supportive neighbours, since long gone, opened a door to aboriginal activists and helped our 2nd defence of Errington Reserve, with old community centre there soon upgraded to St. Albans Arts & Community Centre.
  8. 8. In the days after retirement birthday from the regularly paid workforce, launched Kororoit Institute through symposium hosted by Engineers Australia (Victoria). Two well attended open days were backed up by an internal planning workshop. The first Future Day fell in the middle, having been adopted under Adam Ford’s Science, Technology and the Future. So we co-promoted and were able to attract Josie Taylor to chain panel and environmental planner Amanda Dodd.
  9. 9. Informed Dissent no secrets and no need for secrets transparency facilitating ecosystemic diversity sans accumulation & authority Rebellion won't be enough Civilisation faces an existential crisis of its own making Need to stop thinking in terms of timeless objectives and start seeing the interplay of dynamic processes
  10. 10. Jason Ball made an impact at 2012 Global Atheist Convention
  11. 11. Every step of the blind watchmaker must be viable. Only mobile animals get to choose a path to meet concurrent desires. There is no shortage of animal intelligence, but only humans have adapted manipulative fingers and recursive communications coding to dominate much of the life world, driving consumption at rates beyond the capacity of the rest of the natural world to offset.
  12. 12. Moonee Ponds Creek and the City of Moonee Valley right in the firing line of contested East West Link Photo Walk via Royal Park escarpment set pattern for new environmental activism
  13. 13. This presentation invokes a personal journey to knowing that there must be better ways. It is grounded in rich experience of natural and urban worlds, of supportive community, of profound imaginings. It struggled with others' prejudices long before admitting its own. It learnt than not all dollars are created equal, that schools aren't primarily about education, and that systems analysis and design skills came naturally.
  14. 14. While it can be hard to get a half decent crowd out for anything seen as local issues, broader environmental call outs get impressive numbers
  15. 15. Lynne Kelly’s books reveal utility and prehistorical context of Orality. Marches asserting that it Always was, always will be Aboriginal Land brought a more co-operative approach from VicPol March celebrating NAIDOC attracts even more support
  16. 16. Then building on the social optimism and confidence of the '60s and '70s, in rapid succession from the start of the 1980s: • confounded online databases with role playing games to reveal the political possibilities of Public Information, Communications and Access • learnt just how deep colonial prejudice runs but that (sometimes) bureaucrats could be told what to do when their system had conspicuously broken • saw government stupidly demand that a rapidly developing industry speak with one voice across conflicting interests of importers, local manufacturers and professionals • fell into cellular automata and other uses of graphical displays, and, after some things that made sense went nowhere, • threw away all prior assumptions and found the first burst of international academic interest in complex systems.
  17. 17. After 20% of 1986-89 around the world learning that we weren't quite the first to imagine what would become the interweb, and that, no matter how culturally close we seemed, such a project could not be driven from even the world's most liveable city; dreams of excessive wealth gave way to commercialising our learnings on the modest scale we could live with.
  18. 18. March for Science with well known faces in the front row
  19. 19. And some miscellany, each part of big story: Megafauna Festival dig Responding to tragedy Lets Make a Park Volcano Dreaming in DWELP HQ window
  20. 20. Other presentations within this project explore those and subsequent learnings, with many specifics gathered in Slaughtering Sacred Cows to be presented to another group in October while Informed Dissent focuses on a particular history and the giant leaps now demanded. This joins the Supervenience network from its introductory Too Funny for Words to its concluding take on Accepting Cosmological Responsibility. SUPERVENIENCEhow emergent minds and money seize power over matter Is to Ought beyond Exploring Possibilities
  21. 21. The very survival of a lot more than human civilisation, not just turning the ship around, depends on women, indigenous people, the marginalised, engaged elders, precocious youth and other earthly animals not just joining the table but assuming collective leadership. Adversary systems have facilitated wider participation than the autocratic traditions that dominate recorded history, but it hasn't taken long for nefarious interests to learn to game representative democracy and the chaos-disposing Rule of Law, strangling challenges in layers of secrecy, administration and political economy.
  22. 22. Letting one pic from a rally in Brooklyn stand for West Gate Tunnel frustration and connection with lower Stony before the fire Recent launch of Recovery Plan, Anti–Toxic Waste Alliance rally Meanwhile, Upper Stony Transformation project stalls
  23. 23. Across the intervening decades we have worked with all levels of government and politics as they accelerated their self strangulation, while isolated pioneers took seriously the application of complexity theory to knowledge management. But half a century on from a cluster of warnings that helped turn the hopes of the '60s into the liberations of the '70s, we can no longer avert our gaze from the existential debt due to unaccounted externalities and enshrined greed. Since then we have sanctified industrial complexes operating opaquely behind a shield of commercial confidentiality and censorious distraction, but from deep within which open transparent collaborative technologies emerged to provide a sliver of hope.
  24. 24. Need to work with Maribyrnong City Council on Stony, against on Footscray Park All pales in light of Extinction Rebellion and inescapable evidence that prospects are even worse
  25. 25. Encouraging diverse groups tacking NE Link, from transport & waterways angles And another EES investigation with same key players ignoring changing world/community
  26. 26. The emergence of social media empowers a wave of well informed challenge to recalcitrant authority and stop-at-nothing accumulators buying influence, with the divide between those who care and those who professionally ignore more stark by the day. But even the best-intentioned are too easily lured by fake news into concocted outrage which focuses on surface-level distractions while protecting the deeper causes from effective scrutiny. A daily diet of personal tragedy reports keeps billions imagining each could be their own personal tragedy. If anything that makes life worth living is to survive, we must not allow the collapse of current systems to be replaced by more of the same, not even just one more time.
  27. 27. Questions? Suggestions!

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