Category Archives: politics

Stasi SNA

ProPublica published an interesting example of a hand-drawn sociogram / mind-map of the relationships of a person of interested to the former East German secret police.

The graphic shows forty-six connections, linking a target to various people (an “aunt,” “Operational Case Jentzsch,” presumably Bernd Jentzsch, an East German poet who defected to the West in 1976), places (“church”), and meetings (“by post, by phone, meeting in Hungary”).

The article links to a version of the document that provides english translations on mouseover.

Reminds me of similar diagrams I’ve seen in police files related to Black Panther activists.

The Other Kind of Network Marketing

Private Equity firms and shady deals from Darwin BondGraham

Oakland political economy journalist/blogger Darwin BondGraham has an interesting article about a court case that appears to reveal massive collusion between private equity firms to manipulate markets and cheat investors when doing leveraged buyouts (I think thats what “LBO” stands for?) of public companies. Darwin includes some network diagrams, apparently bi-partite networks of the major firms and their shady deals extracted from Dahl v. Bain court documents unsealed by the NYT. The document is a surprisingly riveting read, kind of like techno-thriller-horror script.

Angels of the Right – version 2.0

I’ve been working for the past several months to build a new interactive version of the conservative philanthropy network data from the Media Matters Conservative Transparency Project and other sources. The idea is to have an atlas where you can dive in, explore, and see which organisations have similar patterns of funding relationships. As always, my hope is to make some of these invisible economic and power relationships a bit more tangible.
Continue reading Angels of the Right – version 2.0

Tracking the funding for Proposition 23

Guess who is pumping in the money to support CA Proposition 23 to roll back California’s global warming legislation?
thumbnail of prop23 network map
Yup, mostly its the companies that would be regulated when the law goes into effect. I’ve been working for the past few weeks to build, an interactive network chart of the funding flows. Its an adaptation of our previous dirty energy money site, but using campaign finance data from California, and from for the Federal PACs that are contributing in California. I think it is interesting to see the multiple layers, how the various group funnel in money and influence. I hope to be able to do an expanded version which would also show some of the other strings that Koch is pulling, why Chevron isn’t investing in Prop 23 (it seems they are backing 25 & 26 instead), and the the backers of the various No on 23 campaigns.

Also, can anyone help me figure out what happened to the $5000 contribution from Western Petroleum Marketer’s Association? It was in an earlier version of the data, but now seems to be missing from the filings. It seems that Tesoro may have solicited support for Prop 23 in their meetings, and I’d like to be able to include them.

Update: We’ve added panning and zooming features on the graph. We’ve also done a second chart for CA Proposition 26:

Angels of the Right v1.0

close up of right-wing funding network diagram
[download full map as pdf]

I’m interested in making political structures visible. Trying to put those half-realized connections and linkages into a tangible form–a map that we can point to. I recently located an online database of conservative funding relationships created by Media Matters Action Network. I was able to scrape the site and (with their permission) experiment with some network diagrams in pdf form to visualize the funding relationships among “angel investor” foundations and right-wing organizations.
Continue reading Angels of the Right v1.0

US Social Forum Topic Network

Network map of co-occuring topics in the 2010 USSF

Michael Heaney and Fabio Rojas just released another great network map in a blog post. This one shows the co-mentions of topics (as coded by the researchers) appearing in the descriptions of panel discussions at the recently concluded 2010 US Social Forum in Detroit. The map functions as a coarse-grained representation of interconnectedness of the various topics, and presumably how important and relatively central they are to the activists and organizers participating in the forum.

Delegate Co-memberships

Organizational co-memberships for Republican and Democratic delegates, 2008

A lovely organization co-membership network graph of the delegates to the 2008 party conventions. From Networking the Parties: A Comparative Study of Democratic and Republican Convention Delegates in 2008 (Pre-print. Seth Masket, Michael Heaney, Joanne Miller, and Dara Z. Strolovich). The authors surveyed the delegates at the major party conventions about which groups they were members of. Nodes are groups, links indicate delegates who named both groups. Red only nominated by Republican delegates, Blue only Democratic, Purple = Both. The image gives a nice quick overview of the relative positions of groups, the paper gives more detailed analysis.

Interesting but not surprising to see the Sierra Club / NRA relationship, and NAACP / Young Republicans membership as well. I’m curious what the single red node is between Amnesty International and Sierra Club… Would like to see a version with all the organization names. Does this image match your intuitive sense of the relative political positions of the organizations named?