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Re: <nettime> Frank Rieger: We lost the War--Welcome to the World
lotu5 on Sat, 14 Jan 2006 06:41:39 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> Frank Rieger: We lost the War--Welcome to the World


Jack Jansen wrote:

> On 8-jan-2006, at 2:12, Karin Spaink wrote:
>>What else can we - I, you, us - do? I dunno. Nobody believes in armed
>>revolution, so that's off, fortunately. What's left sounds rather
>>lame. Propose alternatives. Keep addressing people. Show them the
>>fallibility of the main-stream argument. Show them the risks _for
>>them_ of what is going on. We have either not been very apt at that
>>or we have underestimated the opposition. That, or people are not as
>>smart as we thought.
> 
> IMHO this hits the nail on the head: it seems that it has become =20
> pretty much impossible to get a sizeable fraction of the population =20
> to react to what is happening to the world. A sizeable fraction of =20
> the people directly hit: maybe. But the rest of the people at best =20
> feel bad for the victims and get on with their life. Most people here =20
> in Holland will sort-of sympathise with the inhabitants of Limburg =20
> who're trying the do something against the AWACS planes soaring over =20
> their heads day-in-day-out, but no more than sympathise. Most people =20
> will sort-of feel bad for the 100,000 families who'll most probably =20
> be out of health insurance in 3 months time. Most people will sort-of =20
> think it's unfair that Moroccans are asked for their ID time and =20
> again. But that's where it stops: nobody except some fringe groups =20
> actually speak up or take action, and this is something that has =20
> changed in the last two decades or so.

Actually, I have to disagree. The flaw in your logic is that the list of
affected people keeps growing, and is already far, far longer than you
even attempted to make it. the very nature of the structure of
capitalism is such that a tiny handful of rich, white guys are reaping
the benefits of the suffering of the whole world. 8 billion to 8. While
it's planes in Holland and Id checks for Moroccans, its also shootings
of Mexican migrants at the US Mexico border, the loss of livelihoods of
both indigenous farmers in chiapas and small business owners put out of
business by wal-mart in arkansas.

I would propose that we're just starting to really see the effects of
corporate globalization and late capitalism. All the things people said
NAFTA would do, it has done. Take the land from 1.5 million mexican
farmers and what do we have? Massive migration and militarized borders.
Turn all of Mexico and the rest of the global south into a Maquila and
what do we need? Huge box stores to sell all those goods.

I hate to be a historical materialist, but its only a matter of time.
Even the little old hardware store owner from middle America in the
Wal-Mart film "The High Cost of Low Prices" thinks that we're on the
verge of a revolution in just a few years.

The task of community organizers and those interested in decentralizing
power is to start creating the structures we want to see. Start learning
how to live in a post-capitalist, post-competitive, post-artificial
scarcity, post-domation environment, learning how to create the systems
to enable and sustain the dynamics we want. We're still so early in our
political evolution. Representative democracy is one tiny baby step away
from Monarchy. What's next? This is a big part of the question the
Zapatistas, the Piqueteros, the squatters and so many people around the
world are trying to answer.


> What makes things worse, actually much worse, is that the news media =20
> have adapted to this, and hard news is losing out to human interest. =20
> This creates a feedback loop, because the audience will of course =20
> also sympathise with the victims of some random family tragedy. So as =20
> the balance in coverage moves away from hard news the focus of the =20
> audience's attention will shift too, which will cause the media to =20
> move the balance further. And while everyone is discussing what to do =20
> about fathers killing their children (which happens occasionally, has =20
> always happened occasionally, and probably always will happen =20
> occasionally whatever you try to do against it) the-powers-that-be =20
> continue with their often infinitely more dangerous activities in =20
> relative obscurity...=20

Fortunately, while some of the technology we've cerated has enabled
ubitquitous surveillance, some of the other technology has created more
mass production of media. The blogosphere, podcasting, net radio, video
blogging, all of these things are the realization of a serious shift
beyonf simple media consumption, and while they're still a relatively
tiny phenomena, they're changing the landscape. Some questions for me
are, how long before it becomes co-opted and controlled? How do we make
it more widespread? Is it possible?

After a talk by =C5=BDeljko Bla=C4=87e yesterday, Natalie Jeremijenko
asked if he thought that the utopian idea that simply observing
something could create a relationship to it was starting to go away and
if people were starting to think of ways to enable more actual
interactivity. It really got me thinking about how reinforced the role
of viewer is when it comes to video. How people are so reluctant to
videoconference. Is it because we've been trained to be passive
observers of video our whole lives?  Will that change now that, as
=C5=BDeljko said, now computers come with video editing software just
as they used to come with notepad?

Ultimately, I think that the current trend of more participation in
media is just another symptom of my first statement. There are a lot of
people being stepped on by capitalism, and being excluded from the media
and from any real political process, while their brothers and sons are
being sent off to die in the desert for the profit of a few leaders of a
few corporations. This can't last for long. How are we going to push
whatever happens next into the direction of more freedom, more autonomy
and more dignity?


  lotu5
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