Friday, January 28, 2011

if social media's so liberating - why all those boots still on the ground?

NYTimes | I think Morozov is brilliant and his book is a useful provocation. I also think he’s dead wrong.

Sure, the first decade of the 21st century has seen anti-Western authoritarianism hold its ground, and there’s no question the people running repressive systems are quick studies who’ve learned to exploit, or suppress, a revolutionary technology that challenges them. Still, they’re swimming against the tide. The freedom to connect is a tool of liberation — and it’s powerful.

I am writing this on my return from Tunisia, where Facebook gave young protesters the connective muscle to oust an Arab dictator, and as I watch on YouTube images of brave young Egyptians confronting the clubs and water-cannons of President Hosni Mubarak’s goons.

“All they have, all they have,” says one bloodied protester of the brute force he’s encountered. Yes, when all you have is a big hammer — and that’s what’s left in the arsenal of decaying, nepotistic Arab regimes — everything looks like a nail.

The truth is these men — add the 23-year rule of the ousted Tunisian dictator Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali to the reigns of Mubarak and Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya and you have almost a century of despotism — are relics to whom a wired world has given the lie.

Organization, networking, exposure to suppressed ideas and information, the habits of debate and self-empowerment in a culture of humiliation and conspiracy: These are some of the gifts social media is bestowing on overwhelmingly young populations across the Arab world.


nanakwame said...

Intelligence is connection, which leads to awaken conscious in many inho - They shut down the internet in Egypt, and this is proving the following, though folks like myself don't need facebook

Enlightenment Reason and Classical Rationality have been shown over and over in the cognitive and brain sciences to be false in just about every respect. Yet they are still being taught and used throughout the academic world and in progressive policy circles. Real human reason is very different. - GEORGE LAKOFF
Here are the claims of enlightenment reason, and the realities:
•Claim: Thought is conscious. But neuroscience shows that is about 98 percent unconscious.
•Claim: Reason is abstract and independent of the body. Yet, because we think with our brains and thought is embodied via the sensory-motor system, reason is completely embodied.

CNu said...

Why you go and pull a reverse Roger Cohen like that Nana?

Cohen makes an elite mimetic cover play, pretending as the PE want folk to pretend that "social media" precipitated what's unfolding in the middle-east. However, the ease with which the Egyptian authorities shutdown both cell and internet infrastructures puts the lie to all of that narrative imoho.

Meanwhile, your take on intelligence as connection is a little too easy, as well.

How long we been tracking on commodity food price spikes hereabouts? In egypt specifically if memory serves correctly (and memory ALWAYS serves correctly). The long-term unemployment situation combined with soaring food prices have brought about serious authoritarian governance challenges - old school style. Authoritarian governments are tolerated when/if they keep the bread prices low and the trains on time.

This isn't a social-media "feel-good" moment, no matter how badly the PE want to spin it. This is a fed-up, hungry belly and no hope moment brought about by capitalist excesses and out of control profit seeking in the commodity market that has driven food prices through the roof in countries where a MUCH higher percentage of income is spent daily just trying to stay fed.

Social media gots nothing to do with Mohammad Bouazizi self-immolating and sparking up this wave.

nanakwame said...

Come on Doc, we know that it isn't that easy, I know the audience here. And I am not against the hardware of social networking on the internet, the term comes from my generation when we were orgainzing on the ground, and we know Doc that revolts are not started in the main by poor folks, it is started by middle class, educated folks who see a historical wall build by national power - To overthrow the Demiurge imprisoning human reality PKD.
This also proves that our invasion of Iraq, were lead by neo-Jacobins on the far-right and wrong.

CNu said...

So what you sayin then Nana?

Circumstances have brought about grass-roots connections that formerly may not have been strong enough or motivating enough for folks to take to the streets?

Following that theme, who do you believe will make the grass roots connections between middle-class, working, and poor here in the U.S.? Progressives or conservatives?

nanakwame said...

Have Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck already won that race by their early adopter strategery of taking to the old-fashioned air-waves?
You sound nostalgic for a person who is a computer wiz, and I believe they proved my fears. The shadows behind folks like Limbaugh and Beck are quite established on the internet and even have their own networking since the 1980’s, and you know that.
I don't know, U? Both progressive and conservative use the middle class and poor connections, you jest. I subscribe to the notion that necessity and motion creates leading personalities and gifted conscious folks accelerate a movement, finally with empathy in a time of growing entropic. Society makes the moral decision, collectively. I did not see America losing sleep over bombing children since George Bush 1, or the amount of blacks in prison, even based on your dopamine theories.
Yes! They sure used the mass motion here which was to the far right. Who do you see on the left here? I see more anarchists. I see a bunch of Apocalyticist writing on both sides and heuristic life proves what trajectory will take hold. We don’t change the world, the world changes us and we respond consciously and become co-creators imho. Chance plays a major part in individual human life on a daily bases, that is what interests me. Down with 19th Century Politics, the necessity is calling.

What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning
Werner Heisenberg

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