netweed
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netweed is the creation of Clyde Smith with the editorial involvement of Clay Richards.

The netweed story by Clyde Smith

netweed began with an idea for a "directory of alternative culture" - radical politics, experimental art, stuff like that. But when I finally got it online, my energy focused on the projects hosted by netweed, so I called it a "project platform."   I also used variations on such slogans as "Resources for Radicals" to encompass both the projects and the directory. Now, netweed has developed to the point that my energies are focused where necessary.  I'm sure the labels and slogans will continue to shift as I maintain the current esoteric blend.

So the hosted projects were the initial focus, both my hip hop projects as well as Clay Richard's contributions as The Postmodern Anarchist and John Dancy-Jones' ongoing activities with The Paper Plant. And I am gradually building the directory by creating links pages for specific categories, like the Anarchy links. My goal is to grow netweed organically with some projects eventually moving to their own domain and others staying rooted right here.

What's up with the name?

I came up with netweed while pulling weeds at my parents' house in the summer of 1999, when the Internet bubble was expanding rapidly and causing nutty projects to get lots of money. I was pondering all that and imagining how I could join in and somehow my long-standing interest in alternative resouce directories that began with The Whole Earth Catalog got mixed in with netmania, weedpulling and rhizomatic theory.

So it's not a pot reference, though I strongly feel that pot should be legalized. The key to the name came from my thoughts about weed structures as metaphors for revolutionary organization. See I was pulling both English Ivy and Virginia Creeper that had slowly taken over my parents' yard. Some of the oldest ivy vines had grown inches thick and it covered everything. When you pulled it up you had to get rid of it or it would start sprouting wherever it was. That long term buildup till ivy was everywhere impressed me.

But the Virginia Creeper offered even more food for thought as it branched out underground, sending shoots up into the air that attached to and crawled over whatever it touched. And it was even harder to get rid of than the ivy. I appreciated the fact that, though both plants had starting points, they didn't depend on a centralized structure for support. They could be broken off into many pieces and respond by becoming more deeply embedded in the environment. And once you turned your back on them they just kept on coming.

So pulling weeds, natural metaphors for social change, the Internet and the World Wide Web, the Whole Earth Catalog, the fact that websites are cheaper to start than print publications, rhizomatic theory and other anarchopoststructural musings resulted in netweed.

Where's it g[r]o[w]ing?

After that first blast of brainstorming nothing happened on the surface while I slowly accumulated links and plotted in front of my computer. I finally got online due to NC Hip Hop Online and that story is briefly recounted at About NC Hip Hop Online. That step sparked the first visible shoots of netweed/project platform.

This current phase actually fits much of my earlier thinking of a directory with associated projects, like a small alternative to Yahoo, that gradually expands and deepens, like the course revolutionary change is taking. And perhaps, one day, there will simply be more of us than of them and the weeder will have fallen. Till then, the long walk continues.

 

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