For the past 5 years I have intensely focused on an experiment to test the power of the internet to advance the cause of the historic preservation and “neighborhood” movements” in Milwaukee. I would very much enjoy sharing some of my discoveries with you and your partners in the cause of the men’s movement.

For that class of men who find it easy to organize their thoughts in computers and navigate the internet, or who have loving friends to help them learn, the internet opens up a new world of “connectivity.” At the outset I would like to focus on this group of men alone. Down the line we can address the issue of internet empowerment for those now deprived.

Here are four areas I would like to start with:

    * Political Power and the Internet

    * Voice and Shared Stories On the Internet

    * Developing Social and Cultural Capital and the Internet

    * Enhancing One’s Business and Career with the Internet 

Political Power and the Internet

The internet affords small groups of thoughtful men a great opportunity to advance the cause. There are 3 internet tools of great promise: e-mail groups, yahoo groups, and wiki web site groups.

Bundling E-Mail Addresses to Create Task Forces and Political Groups: Creating Ted Seaver Street

When my best friend, Ted Seaver, died, I passed over to what was a clinical level of depression. His death was the final straw after a series of “body blows to my soul” over a 10 year period. Ted was perhaps Milwaukee’s most accomplished civil rights, tenants rights, and anti-freeway leader(Bill Kauth and Ted were very close). At Ted’s funeral I sang a song I’d written for Ted which concluded thusly: “Yours was such a mighty presence, we shall name a street for you!” I turned to directly face Mayor John Norquist, who had told me that Ted Seaver was “my best friend” a few years earlier.

My depression deepened as it became apparent that no one was going to step forward and
go through all of the political hoops required to name a street for someone. After about 6 months I decided Ted Seaver Street was not going to happen unless I did something about it. But I was totally incapable of making 10,000 phone calls or attending meetings to get the job done. The very thought of going to meetings literally made me sick, even meetings for a worthy cause with people I loved or admired.

So I set about to spark the emergence of the “virtual group” to be named “Friends of Ted Seaver.”
I sent e-mails to about 5 of Ted’s friends who were respected political actors and asked them for the names and e-mail addresses of from 2 to 5 of theirs and Ted’s friends who might wish to join an on-line group that would be a task force to name a street for Ted.

In very little time and with very little effort I had a list of about 20 of Milwaukee’s more respected activists. I bundled their e-mail addresses together and invited them to “join the group” and make Ted smile.

I announced the formation(on-line) of the Friends of Ted Seaver and the simple group goal of a street named for Ted. When I sent e-mails to political leaders intending to impress them with the groundswell of support for such a venture, I would include “open cc’s” of the 20 or so members of the group. The members of this group had no objection to that.

The Friends of Ted Seaver never once met as a real world group. We eventually found two streets named for Ted, one by Mayor Norquist, the other by unanimous vote of the County Board, with Penny Podell as our key County Supervisor.

So that’s a start. Le me know if you would wish me to continue. Fell free to pass this and subsequent reports from beautiful Milwaukee to your fine friends and comrades as you see fit.

Clear sailing,

Godsil

Last edited by g.   Page last modified on December 25, 2004

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