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Call For Collective Coverage: U.S. Conference of Mayors

The Madison IMC's plea to indyjournalists nationwide - come here and help with events or muckrake in a coordinated fashion! Sent to various lists, reposted here just for kicks.

The Madison IMC's plea to indyjournalists nationwide - come here and help with events or muckrake in a coordinated fashion! Sent to various lists, reposted here just for kicks.

Greetings IMCstas -

Come June 14-18 2002, Madison, WI will become the smallest city ever to host the U.S. Conference of Mayors. In a nutshell, this gathering is a chance for the power elites in our municipalities to schmooze each other and cozy up to corporate interests, who have turned these conferences into backroom deal sessions where they negotiate the privatization of cities' services, consolidate corporate power at the expense of citizen input, etc. The public is barred from attending most of the events, and the decisions that will be made at these events will affect municipalities around the country. It's another facet of globalization, but it's concentrated at the local level - OUR local level - what the World Bank is now calling "Glocalization" - and it's time to speak out.

Our fair city is gearing up for quite a spectacle. While mayors from all over the country will hob-nob with corporate lobbyists on private golf outings, parties and the like, Madison police will be deploying their special riot squad and are planning a "soft perimeter" around the conference location, closing down several public buildings and grounds (potentially including the two lakes that Madison, an isthmus, is situated between).

Security costs alone have more than SEPTUPLED since the announcement of planned protests, thanks to sensationalist rhetoric about the supposed onslaught of "violent anarchists" who will supposedly descend in hordes here for the weekend.

As an IMC in a relatively small city, our resources are thin and stretched to the limit. That's where we need your help.

On behalf of the Madison IMC, I'm putting out a plea and asking for any help from anyone who's concerned about the increasing (and already unacceptable) corporate influence on local governments. This is a cancer both global AND local. We'd love to have your help in any way you see fit. Here are a couple of suggestions:

1) COME TO MADISON JUNE 13-18. There will be lots of activity going on, plenty of things to cover, and seeing

as how this is a small town not used to "unrest" (except way back in the '60s, when we were the 'Berkeley of the Midwest') things may get interesting in a hurry.

In addition, chances are your mayor or municipal executive will be very accessible, as they'll be traipsing all around Madison in public on several outings. What a great time to engage in some controversial questioning on unfamiliar ground! We'd love to have you here, and our activist community can help help with housing, food, etc. See the Creative Peoples Resistance for more information on the (still developing) plans for the weekend:

Creative Peoples Resistance (CPR):

Also, there is the Cities for People website:

2) REPORT ON CORPORATE INFLUENCE IN YOUR CITY. If you can't make it to the meeting, that's okay - take some time to write about how corporations and other special interests are warping democracy for their own designs in the place where you live. If your community has had experience with the U.S. Conference of Mayors (or the Mayor's Business Council, check their members, many names will be familiar), write a story on it! Muckrake about corruption in your town!

Alternately, you could dig up the dirt on your mayor/municipal executive and how they've used and abused their powers at the behest of corporate citizenry. It never hurts to remind the powers-that-be how much you care...

We've created a special archive of Mayor's conference stories that have been produced so far and we'd love to add yours into the mix. This provides a wonderful opportunity for collective, distributed journalism - just because we all can't be together in one physical place doesn't mean we can't coordinate our power and shine the light on wrongness. Write what you can, post it to your IMC, and then let us know.

You can check out the work we've already done at our

Mayor's features page at the Madison IMC:

There is also a link to this page off our IMC's front page - it's the second one below our ((i)) graphic in the upper left-hand corner of the page, marked "Mayors features."

We think this is an important and underreported issue,and we'd like your help in giving it some more coverage. If you can spare the time and effort, we'd loveto know what you think.

Thanks - and keep up the inspiring work everyone


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