15.9.08

e-narchy

“Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of the Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty.”

Technology has been used to benefit mankind since the beginning of time. The agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution, and the information revolution have all impacted society to give us more “free time” in which we can create newer technologies and ideas to look at the world in different ways. Especially in this time of environmental chaos, when our lifestyles are seriously acting in a detrimental way, information exchange is crucial in combating planetary destruction to ensure the survival of our own species. Considering that the younger generations in educational facilities are the ones that predominately use the Internet, it is not only possible but probable that the youth of the world will be the ones who save it. “The younger the generation the greater the use and the higher the education level the greater the use.” (1st Reader 149) As data is turned into information and analyzed to become knowledge, we can see the contradiction between what we are told should happen and what is happening in today’s politics. Our deteriorated educational system has collapsed in many places, leaving those who care about the fate of the planet to turn to the most global source of knowledge there is in order to perhaps gain some wisdom as to what is happening—the internet.
When 81% of the American population thinks this country is headed in the wrong direction and it is unclear whether the media is simply influenced or dictated by institutions like the Council on Foreign Relations, it seems as if the Internet is the last safe place to compare and contrast various information. Corporate Influence has promoted a global economy and with it the greed, poverty, and corruption that accompanies it. However, technology has also produced the capability for consumer items to be copied at no expense. Music, intellectual property, movies, and television programs are all able to be disseminated at no additional costs, we have only recently recognized the double-edged sword of making things for free. On one hand, the consumer gets everything for free. On the other hand, suppliers fear that they are unable to survive in a money based society when what they produce is given away for free. When we see that what money is is basically just information allocated to organize labor, which in fact marginalizes and trivializes certain individuals’ labor in relation to others, we can also see that money is in fact slavery: One cannot have food, (good) education, medicine, technology, housing, or anything without money. This causes people to do anything for money whether or not it is morally and ethically acceptable, because they need money in order to live and exist. When millions of dollars are likewise sunk into the campaigns, we are called to wonder whether or not biases and special interests do not come attached.
Along with the Economic inequality we know in “real space” comes the Political inequality. Officials are often times appointed by other officials who are voted in by less than half of the population of a given country in certain instances, posing the question of whether we live in a real democracy or if “democracy” is simply the enslavement of 49% of the population by 51%. It is important to note that Democracy when first established was a new political technology and, along with the newspaper, helped people to understand what was occurring in the world. Before democracy and communication technologies,
“the impoverishment of information and communication stunted the evolution of political identities, since identity formation requires the exchange of ideas and values among citizens and the limited flow of information obstructed the formation of coalitions and coordinated political action, thus retarding the development of a system of political parties.” (1st Reader 179)

The ability of the new Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) to organize and inform the public rendered the current system obsolete. The previous government had not only retarded the process of making decisions to create real effects, but enforced policies that contradicted the interests of its citizens as well. In Indonesia for example, the government was overthrown because of the massive organizational potential that the newly utilizable Internet offered.
“Through the Internet, people could gain and share information that previously was controlled by the state and its infamous Ministry of Information—especially forbidden information about such scandals as the massive wealth of Suharto’s family and his role in the attempt to take over the government in the “G30S affair” of 1965.” (Merlyna Lim, Reformatting Politics 97)
Because of the ease with which one could establish identities and networks on the World Wide Web, war between different communities has moved into a new domain. As real space is copied into cyberspace, the events that occur in cyberspace reciprocate real consequences that affect real space.

“Political conflicts have been carried further through practices like hacking and raids on Internet service providers…six days before September 11th, FBI and other agents raided InfoCom Corporation in Texas, crashing five hundred websites with Arab or Muslim connections.” (Lina Khatib, Reformatting Politics 69)

Just as governmental ideologies aim to destroy each other on earth using its citizens as agents, cyberspace becomes the new place to destroy “the other.”
With the new forms of organization that the Internet brings comes the necessity to define who exists as “society” and who exists as “apart from society,” while laws are created to define and enforce those differences. Cyberspace offers a sanctuary for groups to gain membership and support in such networked societies like Facebook and Myspace, where various groups advocating the legalization of marijuana can come together to share ideas.
Whether groups are politically motivated or simply for fun, the ability to organize and exist within a safe space is key in the rising popularity and efficiency of the Internet. And as it spreads worldwide to those impoverished communities previously unconnected, the membership grows as people find new communities online.
Blogs are an even more democratic tool than websites and online communities because they allow political dissent and freedom of speech at an individual level. The ease with which individuals can express themselves leads to public forums for this speech, letting the people have the freedom to be in control of the news, to decide for themselves what is important to know. Unfortunately, many government filters (Iran, China…) prevent speech that detracts from the political agendas that are implemented. Resources and labor are no longer used to create a military in real space but Information control in cyberspace-
“Our sights must not be fixed on the firepower warfare of the industrial age, rather they must be trained on the information warfare of the information age.“ (2nd Reader 93)
As more and more young people begin to disseminate information that inclines towards extreme and unacceptable perspectives, “cybercampaigning” to promote their agenda, it seems as if the governments become more and more frightened of letting the people criticize the policies they are subjected to, provoking the question whether national governments are created to protect their citizens or control them. Based on the overwhelming evidence that secret organizations of elite political members exist to promote a new world order given by such open networks like wikipedia and youtube, one might wonder how long the Internet will be allowed to exist for, if its existence conflicts with the interests of any who are willing to carry out their plan no matter what cost.

Through the chaos that exists in cyberspace we can see a beacon of light- the knowledge that we are all able to assert our individuality in relation to one another. Moreover, we have doubled our own selves to create Avatars, incapable of bodily harm in a purely physical sense. In this way, conflicts turn from battles of physical supremacy to differences between conscious awareness. We now have the technology to reflect the image of ourselves from “reality” to “cyber-reality” with the Internet, giving us the potential to transform reality by altering specific details of cyber-reality. If we are ever finally able to coexist with each other in a designated space on-line, then we can surely attain peace on the earth that cyberspace was born on. It seems as if the only thing standing in the way are the national governments that have taken on a life of their own. Welcome to E-narchy.

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