Phillip Smith

The revolution is calling: will you answer?

Not one to mess around with all-things revolutionary, I decided to spend May 1st -- a date that symbolizes solidarity between workers around the world -- on a pilgrimage that thousands of Cuban workers make from places like La Habana Vieja to Plaza de la Revolución. It's a journey that I would recommend to anyone with an interest in experiencing the passionate connection that Cuba has with its revolutionary history.

But May 1st, 2007 wasn't just about an international day of solidarity with workers...

Last week our friends at Telekommunisten -- a 100% worker-owned telecommunications company -- also announced the launch of their newest product called Dialstation. Dialstation is an incredibly innovative way to make international calls from a mobile telephone; and it works with any normal telephone and doesn't require any special software. Basically, Dialstation is a prepaid calling service designed to be used from your mobile phone. You can make a call by sending an SMS, calling the mail Dailstation number or by using a unique "Personal Direct Number". From that point, the call is connected using VOIP technology, which makes the rates to many countries, such as China, Argentina, Venezuela, Australia, the USA and Canada very inexpensive.

I had a chance to trial Dialstation while Melanie and I were visiting Berlin in December. I have to admit: it really is "revolutionary" technology. And, on more than one occasion this last week (while I was visiting Cuba), I wished that I could remember my Dialstation number! (I'm dreading that next mobile phone bill.)

As if that wasn't enough revolution in my inbox for one day, once I found my way to one of the few wireless Internet hotspots in Havana (which is located in the Hotel Saratoga) I found the latest digital edition of New Internationalist waiting for me. This isn't just any issue of NI, it's the 400th issue! The issue -- called "Daring to dream: Inspiration from the Majority World" -- was put together by the ever-talented Dinyar Godrej and contains an incredible collection of articles devoted to ideas and activism, and a special feature on Palestine.

Reflecting on the date of NI's inception, I realized that we're the same age -- so it should come as no surprise that the magazine has been a constant theme in my life. First as part of an assignment in high-school, then again as inspiration during my early days as a photographer, and now as a client of Community Bandwidth. And, when I mentioned that I was heading down to Havana, NI editor Wayne Ellwood handed me a copy of his 1998 issue on Cuba that was as valuable a resource for me as anything that I read before going. And, as Wayne predicted, not much has changed since he was there over 9 years ago.

Anyway, enough reminiscing about May 1st: the phone is ringing... ;-)


Hi, I'm Phillip Smith, a veteran digital publishing consultant, online advocacy specialist, and strategic convener. If you enjoyed reading this, find me on Twitter and I'll keep you updated.


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