307 Articles

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Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto 

In memoriam: Aaron Swartz

Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves. The world's entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries in books and journals, is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of private corporations. Want to read the papers featuring the most famous results of the sciences? You'll need to send enormous amounts to publishers like Reed Elsevier.

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Mediate YourSelf! 

At the end of the third 'Next 5 Minutes' conference on tactical media (March 1999) in Amsterdam, an interesting discussion emerged around the question of how the minor media practices elaborated and highlighted in this vibrant event would ever reach a wider audience for lack of being covered by any mainstream outlet. At one point, some people from the back of the room (unfortunately I don't know anymore who exactly, I believe an Italian group), shouted: 'We don't want to be mediated - we mediate ourselves!'

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Media Without an Audience 

Presence in the mediated environment of digital networks is probably one of the most complex phenomena of the new types of social interaction that have emerged in these environments. In the current phase of radical deployment (or penetration) of the Internet, various attempts are being made to come to terms with the social dynamics of networked communication spaces. It seems that traditional media theory is not able to contextualise these social dynamics, as it remains stuck on a meta-level discourse of media and power structures (Virilio), hyperreality (Baudrillard), or on a retrograde analysis of media structures deeply rooted in the functionality and structural characteristics of broadcast media (McLuhan).

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The Internet Freedom Fallacy and Arab Digital Activism 

This article focuses on grassroots digital activism in the Arab world and the risks of what seems to be an inevitable collusion with U.S foreign policy and interests. It sums up the most important elements of the conversation I have been having for the last two years with many actors involved in defending online free speech and the use of technology for social and political change. While the main focus is Arab digital activism, I have made sure to include similar concerns raised by activists and online free speech advocates from other parts of the world, such as China, Thailand, and Iran.

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Occupy and UK Uncut: the evolution of activism 

Occupy Sandy gained the attention denied to Occupy Our Homes because it replaced militant Occupy! with "do-it-yourself" Occupy. Feel-good mutual aid displaced attention from the underlying contradiction between public housing and private utilities onto the quick fix of digital media. Occupy Our Homes, on the other hand, confronts the system with its failures ? predatory lending, homelessness, and empty bank-owned houses. The problems it addresses can't be solved by rolling up our sleeves and getting involved; they require political solutions.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Justice on Trial 

It is neither easy nor popular to go against prevailing assumptions in society, especially when they pertain to how justice is dispensed in this country. But speaking out against injustice is and always has been the moral assignment of those who are inspired by the promise of American Freedom. That's why Johanna Fernandez and Kouross Esmaeli sought to tell this difficult story of a system gone awry in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Dissecting what went wrong - and what continues to go wrong - in the American justice system when it comes to people of color or of lesser economic means (and working toward correcting those injustices) is an essential civic duty, and the basis of Justice on Trial.

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Syrian Hands Raised: User Generated Creativity Between Citizenship and Dissent 

As much as images of violence, civil war, and sectarian strife become prominent in the media narrative of the Syrian uprising, little gems of innovative cultural production, artistic resistance, and creative disobedience continue to sprout across the virtual alleys of the Internet. These creative gems are also the germs of a viral peer-production process at work at a grassroots level in the new Syrian public sphere. Such acts of creativity - mash-ups, cartoons, slogans, jokes, songs, and web series - are probably too small and inconsistent in impact compared to the horrific magnificence that shelling, bombing, sniping, and killing scenes that provide daily fodder to global television viewers. It is also challenging to discover them; in fact, as remarked by Tunisian blogger Sami ben Gharbia at the Arab Bloggers meeting in Tunis (3-6 October 2011), Facebook is not the most suitable platform for activists to store, archive, tag, search for content, and give it a context.

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Occupy Sandy and the Occupy Movement 

Friends,

At Zuccotti Park, there was always a bit of social service involved in the occupation:-- homeless people sheltered, the hungry fed -- but it was ancillary to Occupy's main objectives, which dealt with societal, structural problems. But the reaction to hurricane Sandy, and the formation of Occupy Sandy, brought out a different aspect of the Occupy movement, not directed at Wall Street or big systemic issues, but directly providing help to those in need.What kind of role is that for Occupy? How does it fit in with Occupy Wall Street's basic thrust?

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The Little Book Of Ideas 

A small handbook which explains complex economic terms and theories in simple language, to help everyone understand what has caused the economic mess, why it's still continuing, and enable them to engage in the debate about what needs to be changed for the better in our economic system. It is NOT a manifesto. It has been created to stimulate people to engage in discussion, and so to make up their own minds as to what they think should be done to create a better and fairer world.

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Art and the Human 

The punk band Pussy Riot, which I belong to, is a musical group that conducts unexpected performances in different urban spaces. Pussy Riot's songs address topical political issues. The interests of the group members are: political activism, ecology, and the elimination of authoritarian tendencies in the Russian state system through the creation of the civil society.

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I disagree with the indictment. 

The indictment says that I committed disorderly conduct motivated by religious hatred and enmity and by the hatred of Orthodox Christians. I fundamentally don't understand this statement. Our performance aimed to attract the attention of the Russian clergy and the rector of Cathedral of the Christ the Savior, patriarch Kirill. We are representatives of our generation, and we are at a loss after his actions and appeals.

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Welcoming the Iraqi Invasion Act 

On the occasion of the action by refugees-on-the-street who started a camp outside the Collective Center at Ter Apel in the north of the Netherlands on the 8th of May, Jo van der Spek of M2M wrote the following column. These migrants are supposed to return voluntarily to their country, because the Dutch government believes that they are not in danger there. However the governemnt in Iraq refuses to take them back if they are forced. So they have nowhere to go to, no right to be here and no way to go there. But they act together for a chance to live and live better than before. Why not?

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