What We Feel and What We Mean
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Alternative Media and Why it Matters Now

On Thursday, November 10th the Wolfe Institute invited DeeDee Halleck to speak about alternative media. Without a clear image of what the event was, I went on the notion of, “perhaps they’ll talk about how alternative media is effecting the way people express themselves or report things.” However, it was not so.

The first hour and a half consisted of stories. Stories of different radio programmes in different countries and how they came to be. They ranged from a communicative Bolivian Miners’ Radio to an empowering Honduran Teenage Radio. Each came with a little historic context and then, almost formulaically, their current success and influence. Despite the almost universal fact that these stations were representing the demands and preoccupations of “the people”, I felt that Halleck, for some reason, did not mention places that one would assume have much to do with rebellion, protest, and freedom of speech, namely, Egypt and the rest of the Middle-Eastern countries. The utter lack of any mention of the “Arab Spring” seemed odd and detrimental to the lecture because of their importance in the movements of Occupy Wall St. and the related causes.

Despite this, Halleck covered many different movements that while not inciting global occupations brought about practical and immediate change in there conditions. For example, the group that Halleck focused on the most was one of illiterate, rural, Indian women. Trained by a local university professor and given A/V equipment, these women were about to document their farming practices and related process to illuminate the damage certain government changes had caused and also to fight against the establishment of Monsanto terminator seeds. Their reports, sent to the government, helped pass legislature that benefited them and eased their woes.

But they are not alone, along with them were many others that worked in what Halleck called, “community media.” It is this resurgence of alternative media as a way of empowering and unifying the community that Halleck believes will be able to accomplish the dreams of movements like Occupy Wall St.: liberté, égalité, fraternité.


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