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 14, 2013

The whistleblowers at the frontier of digital liberation

Click here to access article by Nozomi Hayase from Reflections on a Revolution

This is the best article I've seen thus far to capture what is at stake in the worldwide civil war that is beginning to take shape with the persecution of internet activists. On one side of these preliminary battles we see heroes like Manning, Assange, and Snowden standing up to the empire builders on behalf of the liberating possibilities of the internet. 
The common struggles of these young people bind them together, but the true mark of this generation is a shared vision of a world with virtues like sharing, love and creativity that have been suppressed in the generalized trend towards extreme capitalism within the neoliberal corporate-state. Along with their enormous courage, the digital dissenters reveal a strong sense of compassion and trust in ordinary people. In the online chat logs, Manning showed his extraordinary empathy for others when he wrote that “I can’t separate myself from others… I feel connected to everybody, like they were distant family.”
And on the other side, are the capitalist authoritarians who are intent upon extending their empires of oppression and control in their mad pursuit of power and wealth. 
For those in power, the idealism of this generation and their conscience is an existential threat to their order. The ‘crime’ of aiding the enemy here is really the act of aiding democracy and acting for the public good. In the end, it has shown that we the public have become the enemy of the state.
The author sees a generation of participants in the internet culture who have been socialized in a different way from those of the older generations. These young people have seen and experienced the potential of the internet to liberate people and bring them together. They have also seen the other side: the nightmarish potential that internet technology has to oppress people by self-serving authoritarian regimes. The battle is only now beginning, but the younger generation brings all of us hope for a better future.