Search results for 'fear'


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Can Internet technology still revolutionize activism? 

One of the biggest promises of the Internet was the transformation of political activism. No longer would change come about solely through the actions of large organizations, claimed the Web's early enthusiasts. Now, they claimed, individuals could rouse the concern of their fellow citizens for a particular cause through Web sites, e-mail, and online petitions. Those who normally shunned demonstrations and limited their participation in the public sphere could be contacted personally in their e-mail box, and all that would be necessary for them to do to show their support would be to click a button or fill in a field. Soon, pundits predicted, there would be a revolution in grassroots participation in the political process.

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Indonesia: The Web as a Weapon 

CAPABLE OF cutting through time and space, the Internet offers a means of communication not previously dreamed of. It has created important new possibilities as it shrinks distances and provides an astounding volume and variety of information to those who have computer access. One result of these is the acceleration of the development of solidarity networks among peoples, regions, and countries. In Indonesia, it has even managed to help topple a strongman who, until his unscheduled resignation in May 1998, had been Asia's longest reigning postwar ruler. To Indonesia's powers that be, controlling the Internet has become close to being an obsession.

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The Brent Spar Syndrome 

Shell is not going to forget lightly its misadventures with the Brent Spar. The Oil Major was taken by complete surprise when the Greenpeace campaign against sinking that former drill platform achieved its goals. What happened to Shell can in fact happen to any corporation. Loosing control of the situation as result of the activities of a pressure group has become a nightmare scenario for the modern multinational enterprise.

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The XYZ of Net Activism 

It's time to create the pop stars of activism,
the idoru of communication guerrilla,
it's time to threaten and charm the
masses by the ghosts coming from the
 net, to play the myth against the myth,
to be more nihilist than infoteinment!
                                  - etoy -

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The Information war 

Humanity has always invested heavily in any scheme that offers escape from the body. And why not? Material reality is such a mess. Some of the earliest "religious" artefacts, such as Neanderthal ochre burials, already suggest a belief in immortality. All modern (i.e. post-paleolithic) religions contain the "Gnostic trace" of distrust or even outright hostility to the body and the "created" world. Contemporary "primitive" tribes and even peasant-pagans have a concept of immortality and of going-outside-the-body (ec-stasy) without necessarily exhibiting any excessive body-hatred. The Gnostic Trace accumulates very gradually (like mercury poisoning) till eventually it turns pathological. Gnostic dualism exemplifies the extreme position of this disgust by shifting all value from body to "spirit". This idea characterizes what we call "civilization".

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    Wikileaks and Freedom, Autonomy and Sovereignty in the cloud 

    "We have to be very attentive and united at a state level to fight against what is a threat to democratic authority and sovereignty,"
    - French government spokesman Francois Baroin speaking out against wikileaks releasing US diplomatic cables.

    "Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather."
    - A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, John Perry Barlow

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    Fuzzy Biological Sabotage 

    If the left has learned anything from resistance against capital driven technocracy, it is that the democratic process is only minimally useful for slowing the profit machine of pancapitalism. Since corporations and other capital-saturated institutions own the process, and tend to function outside national democratic imperatives, other methods of power appropriation have to be developed. In the case of biotechnology, the resistance is unfortunately in a position of reactivity. Corporations have already infiltrated most governments and markets at such a furious pace that all that can be done is attempt to slow them down, while cells and organizations regroup and decide on a way to address the many problems that have already arisen, and the many potential accidents that are in front of us.

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      Unknown Quantity - Foreword 

      "Contemporary civilization differs in one particularly distinctive feature from those which preceded it: speed. The change has come about within a generation," noted the historian Marc Bloch, writing in the nineteen-thirties. This situation brings in its wake a second feature: the accident. The progressive spread of catastrophic events do not just affect current reality, but produce anxiety and anguish for coming generations.

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      Speed and Information: Cyberspace Alarm! 

      The twin phenomena of immediacy and of instantaneity are presently oneof the most pressing problems confronting political and militarystrategists alike. Real time now prevails above both real space and thegeosphere. The primacy of real time, of immediacy, over and above spaceand surface is a ~fait accompli~ and has inaugural value (ushers a newepoch). Something nicely conjured up in a (French) advertisementpraising cellular phones with the words: "Planet Earth has never beenthis small". This is a very dramatic moment in our relation with theworld and for our vision of the world.

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      SWARMACHINE 

      Activist Media Tomorrow*

      * BH: When I wrote this text five years ago, it really was not clear whether the swarming tactics of the counter-globalization movement would get a "second chance." But they have, and now the subtitle could be "activist media today."

      What happened at the turn of the millennium, when a myriad of recording devices were hooked up to the Internet and the World Wide Web became an electronic prism refracting all the colors of a single anti-capitalist struggle? What kind of movement takes to the barricades with samba bands and videocams, tracing an embodied map through a maze of virtual hyperlinks and actual city streets? The organizational aesthetics of the networked movements was called "tactical media," a concept that mixed the quick-and-dirty appropriation of consumer electronics with the subtle counter-cultural anthropology of Michel de Certeau. The idea was to evoke a new kind of popular subjectivity, constitutionally "under the radar," impossible to identify, constantly shifting with the inventions of digital storytelling and the ruses of open-source practice. Too bad so much of this subversive process was frozen into a single seductive phrase.

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      Talking about a Revolution: An Interview with Camille Otrakji 

      "If you've been following events in Syria, you'd know that the English-language press is mostly deeply critical of the Assad regime (while the Arabic press displays a slightly wider range of views). I thought it would be worth trying to present a minority report on the situation from a Syrian friend of mine, although, as you will see, he argues precisely that his position is actually held by a very significant majority (albeit a rather quiet and frustrated majority) of Syrians.

      Camille Otrakji is a Syrian political blogger based in Montreal. Although he tends to keep a low profile, Otrakji has been, for the past several years, at the forefront of many of the most interesting and influential online initiatives relating to Syrian politics. He is one of the authors and moderators at Joshua Landis's Syria Comment, and the founder of Creative Syria, a constellation of websites including Mideast Image (a vast collection of original old photographs of Middle Eastern subjects) and Syrian Think Tank (an online debate site hosting many of Syria's top analysts). Last year, Otrakji courted controversy with a new initiative devoted to the subject of Syrian-Israeli peace, entitled OneMideast.org. He agreed to speak with me about the latest events in Syria, and I'm sure that his views will generate plenty of discussion."

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      No One is Illegal! Manifesto 

      For a world without borders! No immigration controls!

      DEFEND THE OUTLAW!

      Immigration controls should be abolished. People should not be deemed 'illegal' because they have fallen foul of an increasingly brutal and repressive system of controls. Why is immigration law different from all other law? Under all other laws it is the act that is illegal, but under immigration law it is the person who is illegal. Those subject to immigration control are dehumanized, are reduced to non-persons, are nobodies. They are the modern outlaw. Like their medieval counterpart they exist outside of the law and outside of the law's protection. Opposition to immigration controls requires defending all immigration outlaws.

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        The Role of the Engineer in the Information Age 

        When looking at technology, we barely see machinery, let alone the people who made it. We seem to take technology and its development for a given, neglecting the process of its creation. We live off the fruits of the tree, without examining its roots.

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          Absorption and Exposure 

          I am interested in a certain sense of wanting to be "in" something: to participate in it, to connect with it, to synchronize with it, to be caught up with it, rather than to visually possess it. The desire to be attuned to something that is happening, or that might happen at any moment -- not necessarily as a conscious thought, but as a vaguely felt expectation. The desire to move toward something that is (or might be) happening, in order to absorb its force, touch it, taste it, surrender to it -- rather than simply to observe it.

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