On tour, I got to catch up with some reading and finished The Power of Maps, which Chiara gave me for my birthday.  One of the things that was most compelling about the book was a brief overview of movements trying to redefine the role of geography and cartography in society, aknowledging the knowledge of any person and their ability to express that knowledge through maps.  One project was the Society for Human Exploration, founded by a geographer named William Bunge  and their mapping of Detroit, The Detroit Geographic Expedition I.  I was able to find a little more about this in an article titled The Academy in Activism and Activism in the Academy: Collaborative Research Methodologies and Radical Geography.

From that article:

Bunge in his description of the early years of this experiment reclaims the use of the words ‘expedition’ and ‘exploration’ so tied to the geographical tradition but redefines their use (Bunge in Peet 1979; p. 31-35). While mentioning the usefulness of the expedition/exploration tradition for those that undertook them he goes on to establish the ideas behind a new exploration. Bunge defines this ‘new’ type of expedition as a “human” one: it is “a democratic, as opposed to an elitist expedition.” “[H]uman explorations are ‘contributive,’ (resource contributing instead of resource taking)…Priorities are totally reversed,” (Bunge in Peet 1979; p. 35). The traditional idea of the ‘field’ and the geographer’s relationship to those who lived there also changes dramatically and here one can also see some more of the organizational philosophy behind the D.G.E.I. experiment:
“Local people are to be incorporated as students and as professors. They are not to be further exploited. Their point of view is given first place. It is democratic also in that if planning work results, and that is one of the main purposes of the Expedition, then the planners, the geographers, are expected to live in the mess that they create. (Bunge in Peet 1979; p. 35)

daniel mcgowan

Friends in DC want Defiance, Ohio to play a benefit show for Daniel. I’m inclided to do this. Reading the court documents regarding and FBI informant who closely followed the Crimethinc. scene and was even in Bton this summer for the convergence hit a little close to home. Unlike that sting, however, where the defendents seem a bit like bumbling kids, Daniel’s case seems like a clear attempt for the FBI to target activists involved in legitimate, above-ground community organizing with the attempt of chilling such resistance. It could be any of us next. If they come for you in the morning, then they’ll come for me at night … | Brooklyn activist faces life in prison on 16-count arson indictment; Bail Denied, Extradiction to Eugene, Ore. Pending:

Daniel McGowan, 31, was arrested in New York City while working at, an advocacy organization that provides legal information for victims of domestic violence. He was held overnight, and brought before a judge in the Brooklyn Federal Court to determine whether he would be released on bail pending his arraignment and trial in Eugene, Oregon. The hearing is currently adjourned until Friday, Dec. 9 at 2 pm, while the judge will review a surveillance recording that an arresting detective alleges demonstrates McGowan is a flight risk.

also | New York Activist Faces Life in Prison; Feds Accuse Him of Eco-Terrorism:

Daniel McGowan was one of six environmental activists arrested last week in a series of coordinated raids across four states. He is accused of setting a pair of arsons in Oregon in 2001 and is being held without bail. [includes rush transcript]

Finally, this came across my radar a few months ago:

Daniel McGowan is an environmental and social justice
activist, unjustly arrested and charged in federal
court on 16 counts of arson, property destruction, and
conspiracy, relating to two incidents that occurred in
Oregon in 2001.  Daniel has plead "not guilty" and
denies any knowledge or involvement in the crimes he
is being charged with.  He is facing a minimum of 30
years in prison and the possibility of life in prison
if convicted.

Daniel is from New York, and has been an active member
of the community, working on diverse projects such as
the demonstrations against the Republican National
Convention, Really Really Free Markets, and supporting
political prisoners such as Jeff "Free" Luers and
others.  Daniel was attending graduate school for
acupuncture and was working at Women's Law, a
nonprofit group that helps women in domestic abuse
situations navigate the legal system, which is where
he was arrested by federal marshals on December 7th,

Daniel was indicted separately, but his arrest comes
in the context of a well-coordinated, multi-state
sweep of six activists by the federal government,
which has charged the individuals with practically every
earth and animal liberation case left unsolved. The
arrests were made primarily from information
investigators received from activist-turned-informant,
Jacob "Sketcher D" Ferguson. Jacob is cooperating with
federal investigators and wore wiretapping devices
while speaking with several of the defendants,
including Daniel.  Since then, one of those arrested,
Stanislas Meyerhoff, has also decided to cooperate
with the prosecution, hoping that the court will show
"mercy."  Daniel has stated that there will never be
any cooperation on his part with his "captors."

In order to help Daniel, his family and friends have
created a support network (Family and Friends of
Daniel McGowan) in order to help fund Daniel's legal
representation which is expected to be hundreds of
thousands of dollars. We are asking his friends and
supporters to donate what they can to help Daniel's
family with the legal bills.  The support group will
also be covering the cost of postage and telephone
calls, travel expenses for prison visits, reading
material for Daniel, his commissary fund, and whatever
other needs might arise.

Donate by clicking here:¤cy_code=USD&bn=PP%2dDonationsBF&charset=UTF%2d8

In addition, we want to make sure that Daniel is
getting the emotional support he needs to remain
strong throughout this process.  He really appreciates
letters and we are asking everyone to please write to

Daniel McGowan
# 1407167
Lane County Jail
101 West 5th Avenue
Eugene, OR 97401

Please remember when writing to not discuss his
pending case, do not use any nicknames, do not discuss
legal information or offer legal advice (even if you
are a lawyer), don't discuss any illegal activity, and
be smart-- remember that ALL mail is read by prison

On behalf of Daniel, we thank you for your support.

Questions and concerns can be directed to