Occupy America Occupy America

Call for Writers

See below for the most current call for writers, and Occupy America’s¬†Contributor Guidelines.

 

Happy New Year!

 

Issue Four: Eco-Power
Call for Writers

Email occupyusinfo [at] gmail [dot] com to sign up

What kind of power lies in the environment? Corporations, government at all levels, and the public all have a great stake in our environment. Materially it is our habitat and provides the building blocks for energy production, which in turn powers our entire civilization. What kind of interest groups exist within the environment, and how do they shape our conceptualization of what responsible use looks like?

Both activists and businesses alike struggle over how to frame the environement. In Issue Four, “Eco-Power,” we examine different framings and how they relate to current environmental concerns. Perhaps new ways of conceptualizing our environment will be necessary before lasting change can be achieved.

Schedule:

Writers Locked – Jan 10

First Drafts – Jan 15

First Draft Comments – Jan 18

Second Draft – Jan 21

Second Draft Comments – Jan 22

Final Draft Approved – Jan 23

Issue Launches – Jan 24

Possible Article Leads:

These are short-form article leads available for development by interested writers. Feel free to come up with your own article lead so long as it fits the Issue Topic. Email occupyusinfo [at] gmail [dot] com to claim or suggest an article!

1. Fracking/natural gas – who is behind it, what are its ramifications, how are they mis-represented, who pays the price with a polluted environment/bad health outcomes, what can be done to oppose it

2. Deepwater horizon (BP) – what went wrong, why it went wrong, systemic risk endemic to corporate management of natural resources (destroys public oversight)

3. Nuclear power after Fukushima – should we even consider it, what other kinds of nuclear power exist, also especially how trans-national citizens independently used science to create the SafeCast map (http://blog.safecast.org/). People power where government and corporate interests colluded to keep the public in the dark.

4. Urban farming / pirate gardening – possible resistance against destruction of greenspaces. Maybe it’s just a bougie change that doesn’t help people though. Relationship to historical precedent of “Victory Gardens” and urban gardens providing fresh vegetables/community solidarity to urban low-income areas.

 

 

Occupy America Contributor Guidelines

Length: 1000-1200 words.

 

1. Use short sentences. The shorter the sentences, the faster and more excitingly the piece will read.

 

2. The primary purpose of contributions to Occupy America is to provide a vision OF contemporary world events and issues FROM the perspective of working Americans with an activist passion FOR the Americans who have become curious about class position from learning about the Occupy movement nationally. Thus, our readership is:

  • Moms and pops, young professionals, retirees, veterans and working people of all stripes curious about class issues, but uninformed about some of the bedrock statistics or dynamics that shape economic inequality
  • Digitally proficient, but perhaps not fully digitally literate
  • Largely uninterested in academic writing / philosophical language
  • Populated with people who DO NOT have a ton of time, but still want to keep up with the world and know about the political currents affecting their future

Our focus is not restricted to class issues, but in general class position can be a useful touchstone to inform analysis of other oppressions as well.

 

3. Contributions should follow Orwell’s writing tips regarding simplicity and succinctness, and should begin with a lead or hook to draw the reader in and explain why the issue is important. A nut graph stating the basic facts of the story should follow. Unless otherwise specified, contributions should be grounded in a new event or revelation from after the Call for Writers is posted.

 

4. There is a difference between objectivity and neutrality. Occupy America seeks to present facts objectively, but not neutrally, as we prefer to take the perspective that favors the interests of working Americans, rather than mainstream newspapers which often report from the perspective of upper-middle class urban consumers who, it is supposed, play the stock market and have complex finances.

It is important to remain factual, but to always keep workers’ and activists’ interests in mind as you are writing. Therefore, please NEVER include an unsupported observation in your articles, but feel free to stick it to employers who bust unions, perpetuate unsafe or unhealthy working conditions, and who contribute to the intensification of wealth inequality through highly disparate wage schemes between craftspeople and middle management. Endnotes can help; infographics are encouraged. If you can work with an illustrator or designer to drive your point home, do so.

 

5. This is not an ideological publication — it does not subscribe to Marxism, Capitalism, or any other ‘ism’, and most of all, it does not subscribe to dogmatism. A nice turn of phrase is always appreciated, but take care to present your arguments logically with claims and warrants.

 

6. Ideally, you will NEVER include hyperlinks to major news stories that may attempt to neutralize the approach to an issue. If you want to hyperlink, please use Alternet or Occupy Wall Street Journal, or better yet, a blog attached to a local Occupy movement. Primary source digital reporting that makes use of recent photography or YouTube footage of on-the-ground organizing is also highly encouraged. These sources should all be added to pieces as ENDNOTES, and should ideally be given brief context. If you want to make your endnotes more accessible, you can embed footnotes-as-endnotes, which is the citation format of Wikipedia.

 

7. Plagiarism of any kind that willfully steals another’s intellectual labor without their consent will not be tolerated. Appropriation is encouraged, but please be honest in giving credit where credit is due.

 

8. The content of Occupy America will be licensed through Creative Commons during the digital circulation of the issue, and Occupy America reserves the right to archive or re-publish any content featured in any issue of Occupy America.

 

9. Check for correct spelling, grammar and syntax.

 

SUGGESTIONS

  • Imagine the reader before you start writing. If they wouldn’t find your article interesting, write something different.
  • If you feel stuck, try writing under a pseudonym. The social aspect of digital media is a powerful censor. If you don’t want your real opinions attributed to you just yet, then don’t use your real name.
  • Image your antagonist. Who is the enemy of your article? Class-focused writing is generally antagonistic, and good stories usually have an enemy.