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The Wider Problems and Hopes for StreetWise

While there are immediate issues that need to be addressed at
STreetWise involving unfair labor practices, censorship and retaliation, there
is also a larger fight to take on here.
Even with the current progressive content and well-earned activist,
progressive support the paper enjoys, the fact is that StreetWise is a
highly capitalist endeavor that by its very nature promotes cut throat
competition and dissuades collectivity. Across the nation (and in other
countries), street papers are and have been true organs of social change
and empowerment, operating on shoestring budgets with often volunteer
workforces but emphasizing collective, vendor-oriented control of the
paper and democratic, fair labor practices.
It is widely known that for a long time, StreetWise has been looked
down upon by other street papers and other radical social justice
advocates for its failure to even attempt to adhere to these values.
The current crisis and turmoil at StreetWise provides a perfect
opportunity to not only challenge and address the labor and human rights
abuses of executive director Anthony Oliver, but to explore the possibility
of a whole new direction for the paper -- ie a direction that is truly
devoted to empowerment and democracy, and not only in the economic
sense. Of course any discussion of StreetWise's future must at its heart
involve vendors, and this is something anyone interested in this goal
must recognize and commit to -- as of now, there has been something of a
communication gap between streetwise staff and vendors, but this is a
gap that both staff and the general community are likely eager to
address and remove.
In short, we can reclaim StreetWise for the people and reshape it as a
true instrument of democracy! This is an ambitious goal, but it is
something very doable, if not through reshaping the existing streetwise,
then at least through the creation of a new entity.
Meetings will be held in the very near future to bring together vendors
and activiists to discuss these issues. Stay in contact for updates.
 
 

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