We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The fiction of a free internet

Click here to access article by Musab Younis from Ceasefire (UK). 
Musab Younis argues that our perception of the "battle for the internet" is skewed by our acceptance of a hierarchical network run in the interests of advertisers, whose ability to codify, individuate and manipulate large populations is being increased by the spread of social media. 
The idea of an internet was first inspired by the concerns of US military regarding communication problems after a nuclear attack. It was quickly adapted by computer nerds into civilian use--but this was an unintended consequence of its development. Since then government and their ruling operatives have been concerned that its use might not always serve the interests of the One Percent. See this, this, and this. They now are using it to keep activists under surveillance. See this, this, and this. Also, commercial interests of the One Percent have gradually inserted profit oriented features into the internet in order to serve their needs. See this. The above article expands on this theme and focuses on commercial interests taking over social media.