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Posts Tagged ‘cyberpunk

Will revolution start on the Internet?

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I guess many people recalls cyberpunk books written by writers such as William Gibson these days. The conflicts between hackers and corporations, post-industrial world, dirty businesses and corrupted politicians. The struggle against them. A few decades ago it all looked like an intriguing fiction or great ideas for a movie.

Today, it’s not a fiction anymore. We witness a growing conflict between organized (but leadership free) groups of hackers such as Anonomyous and corporations or governments. In many places of the world we face an environmental disaster caused by big businesses or tragic effects of globalization such as mass exploitation and degeneration. We’re monitored by thousands CCTV cameras and surveillance tools, we’re forced to eat GMO foods, we’re influenced by corporate propaganda and threatened by economic compulsion. Mortgages, unemployment, crisis… we face a number of issues like these every day. It’s not something new though. The political movements opposing capitalism are trying to cope with it from many years. We had massive Seattle protests in 1999, anti-capitalist Genoa in 2001, direct actions led by groups like ELF, ALF or urban guerillas from Greece, Italy, Argentine or Chile. Zapatistas, Argentinian workers and their cooperatives, social centres. Revolts in France and Greece. And many many more. Those actions caused a lot of confusion and fear among politicians and shareholders. But the system remains strong. At the end of day you may see a black block with molotov cocktails but the other side have tanks and guns.

The system remains strong because it’s hard to fight the enemy who’s way more powerful on the streets. It’s hard to win with an opponent who’s so violent and depraved. However as we learned in a last few years it looks different when it comes to the Internet. Internet gives people the tools they wouldn’t find in reality. Internet allows people to organize themselves anonymously and democratically. It gives them freedom of expression and creation. At the same time it is a way to exchange unlimited information on any subject. On the Internet it doesn’t really matter whether you’re white, black, gay, Russian or Canadian, queer, Christian or Jew.

So when you see such a bastion of freedom in the enslaved world of capitalism it’s not surprising that it becomes a threat to the system. In fact, it was the work of Internet activists that shook its foundations. Wikileaks leaks such as CableGate or Iraq War Logs were and are the cause of the crises of several governments. Their impact is really huge and in consequences it means their activity seriously affects the reality we all live in. And when the US administration and fellow corporations tried to shut Wikileaks down they received a quick response from Anonymous. It’s quite fascinating that the web attacks were more serious for all the companies and governments than thousands of protests and boycotts. It brings us to the question, what does it mean?

Perhaps we’re looking for a change in the wrong place? We expect that the Occupy Movement or Arab Spring will inspire a revolution. But most people are not on the streets. Most people are on the web though. That’s why you got so big resistance re PIPA, SOPA and ACTA bills. That’s why sites like PirateBay are so popular and Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites in the world. People want to share their knowledge, information, music, films, ideas. People want to live together and organize themselves freely. They want to join projects, they want to leave projects, they want privacy, they want freedom. On the Internet they realize they don’t need governments or big businesses to rule their lives. The progress of civilization is amazing on the web. The current system with all those copyrights, profit-based think tanks and neoliberal perspective can’t follow it, can’t understand what’s actually going on. They’re still looking for money when people are building a new kind of social and political relations. No borders, skills sharing, open source, free speech, free culture. Anonymous group even released A Declaration of the Independence of CyberSpace where they state:

In our world, whatever the human mind may create can be reproduced and distributed infinitely at no cost. The global conveyance of thought no longer requires your factories to accomplish.

In other words, maybe this is the place where the revolution starts?

Written by Kruk

March 5, 2012 at 10:19 pm