Activism That Could Get Somewhere

Did you see this shocking story in today's New York Times? New York's family courts were ordered to provide open access to the public fourteen years ago, but they have simply ignored the law, with over 90% of them refusing the public access. The whole family court system apparently desires the hearings to be closed, so that the public doesn't see things like mothers permanently losing custody of their children in a seven-minute hearing. Now, if an "activist" really wants to help people by making a substantive change, rather than stroking their egos by telling themselves how their drum circles are "bringing down the system, man," why not fix this? If, say, a quarter of the people at OWS showed up at family courts demanding access (which courts have said is their legal right!) every day, I bet it would take about a week for the system to break down and family courts to start adhering to the law. One week, and they could accomplish a dramatic change for the better in the legal life of many poor families. But actually fixing a real, albeit small and local, problem in a way that actually helps people doesn't sound nearly as romantic as "changing the world," does it?


  1. Nah, I think Hillary Adams already took care of this problem by pointing the spotlight at her father, a family court judge, turns out to have made very questionable rulings behind closed doors.

    That rallied plenty of activists, all right.

  2. I can tell you are being sarcastic about something, Silas, but I'm not sure what.

  3. The main problem is most people don't know about these issues but a lot of people know that Banker McBank went bankrupt and then the government gave him a bunch of money so he can still drive a ferrari everywhere.

    There is a good social entrpreneurship oppurtunity here for someone to make a website or something called "the little injustices" which focuses on these more "local" ( that's the wrong word ) as you'd say issues.

    People would be free to post what they think are systematic injustices they've come across and then they could vote eachother's suggestions up or down with like buttons, there could be tags, there could be comments under each one. Eventually when enough people group together or whatever around one of these injustices they could make a plan for how to handle it and then set dates, have a map with locations activities etc.

    Would be nice to see.

  4. Nice idea, Avram.


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