Search results for 'democracy'

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Signs of the Times 

Friday, October 05, 2001 12:20 PM
subject: Activism After September 11

Dear Friends,
This essay was published today in The Nation. It's an attempt to discuss what the atrocities of September 11 might mean to those of us who are publicly critical of corporate power and the current global economic model. There are no easy answers to this question so the essay is more of a meditation on symbolism and tone than a political roadmap.

Take care,
Naomi

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Vectorial Empires 

01. These are precarious times. These are eventful times. Let us note some of the symptoms of this instability. There is September 11,and the prospect of a new form of American empire that uses September11 as its pretext. There is the global stock market slide, triggered by the collapse of American tech stocks, which altered the lives of chip-makers in Korea and Coltan miners in the Congo. These are instances of what I call weird global media events. They are events because they are singular. They are media events because they happen in a vectoral space of communication. They are global media events because they call a world into being. They are weird global media events because they defy explanation. They subsume every explanation as mere ripples and eddies in their wake.

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The Brazilian Context 

Many are the social, political or economic problems in Brazil. Socially, there's an extremely unequal distribution of wealth. Such a big social unequality is reflected, for example, in the extreme differences between the center and the periphery in the big cities, regional unequalities, criminality, racism. Besides that, we live in an unnoficial police state that acts in defense of the elites, murdering and arresting poorer citzens, because of the color of their skin or social condition.

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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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Paolo Gerbaudo, Tweets and the Streets: Social Media and Contemporary Activism 

"Tweets and the Streets analyses the culture of the new protest movements of the 21st century. From the Arab Spring to the "indignados" protests in Spain and the Occupy movement, Paolo Gerbaudo examines the relationship between the rise of social media and the emergence of new forms of protest. Gerbaudo argues that activists' use of Twitter and Facebook does not fit with the image of a "cyberspace" detached from physical reality. Instead, social media is used as part of a project of re-appropriation of public space, which involves the assembling of different groups around "occupied" places such as Cairo's Tahrir Square or New York's Zuccotti Park."

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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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Media Darkness 

Reflections on Public Space, Light and Conflict

There is an unshakable belief in the idea that what defines the mass media is that they produce or constitute, in all their different ways, a public. So while there is agreement on the fact that not every public sphere is a communication medium, many people tend to think that every communication medium constitutes a public sphere - the most recent and prominent candidate being, of course, the Internet. But is this claim as to the public quality of all media, hegemonic as it may be today, really tenable?

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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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    Toward Polymorphous Radio 

    We understand the end of something all too easily in the negative sense as a mere stopping, as the lack of constitution, perhaps even as decline and impotence, the end suggests the completion and the place in which the whole of history is gathered in its most extreme possibility.[1]

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    Data Trash: The Theory of the Virtual Class 

    Arthur Kroker, Canadian media theorist and is the author of 'ThePossessed Individual', 'Spasm' and 'Hacking the Future'. Over the pastyears he, together with Marilouise Kroker, were often in Europe andmade appearances at Virtual Futures, V-2, Eldorado/Antwerpen, etc.Recently, they have also been discovered in German-speaking countries.Both are noted for their somewhat compact jargon, which made theirmessage appear to drown somewhat in overcomplex code. But "DataTrash"`(1994) changed all that. The long treck through the squashydiscourses had not been in vain. Firmly rooted in European philosophy,yet not submerged, Arthur Kroker has found his topic: the virtual class.

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