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Re: <nettime> Technologies of Resistance: Transgression and Solidarity i
Miguel Afonso Caetano on Fri, 2 Jun 2006 12:02:51 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Technologies of Resistance: Transgression and Solidarity in Tactical Media

2006/5/31, Brian Holmes <brian.holmes {AT} wanadoo.fr>:
> I'd be totally interested to read your dissertation Miguel,
> is it online?


I forgot to say that the thesis is only in Portuguese. If you stil
want to read it and understand Portuguese I can send the PDF to you.
I might translate some of the most interesting chapters into English
later, though.

> > I think it would be good to start a debate here in My feeling is
> that cooptation is an infinite process - part of social struggle,
> which demands that every dissenting or antagonistic expression be
> abandoned and reinvented soon after its first release into the
> infosphere. I also think that the expression "tactical media" was
> launched at a great moment of political weakness and under-the-radar
> diffuse experimentation from the left/anarchist side of the cultural
> and political spectrums - a moment coinciding with the massification
> of a new communicational toolkit. That those days are gone is pretty
> clear (the state of exception was definitely the turning point), but
> what's interesting is all they produced, the new possibilities. The
> questions of what at the time was called tactical media, and more,
> the forms of experimentation with communicational politics from
> below, are something you can only move through as it happens and
> leave aside as it disappears. Still, histories are fascinating when
> they're not confused with futures.

The problem is that, at the moment there seems to exist a vacuum left
over in the place that tactical media occupied. It seems to me that at
least in the North of the globe, in the last two years there has been
some kind of resignation from that left/anarchist side that you talk
about regarding emancipatory uses of technology and media. Fear has
gained terrain. There's no new ideas. But who am I to say anything? I
live in Portugal, a country where nothing ever happens...

> There's something to that. First of all, De Certeau was inspired
> by Brazil and wrote about it, if I'm not mistaken. Second, the
> massification of the Internet toolkit is still underway in Brazil
> and India. Third, the state and therefore, the cooptation apparatus
> is weak in Brazil, though as far as I can see (on short visits)
> it still works all too well. Actually, I think people in Brazil
> and India would be best off inventing new concepts to really drive
> home the point that things are happening - and should happen, are
> urgently needed - in those specific contexts.

Well, I must say I never really went to Brazil. What i wrote comes
from all the experiences I have collected from mailing-lists,
wikis, blogs and other collaborative online tools, apart from email

> The thing that amazed me on my last trip to Sao Paulo was hearing
> about the PCC weekend. What does nettime think about that? A gang
> that has totally dominated the prison system in Sao Paulo state,
> that controls the drug trade in the cities of that state (including
> the megalopolis itself), that has built up a very sophisticated
> economy and a functioning leadership structure, and is able to
> coordinate an attack on the police using cell-phones from inside
> the prisons, burning 60 buses and assaulting reportedly a hundred
> police stations (is that true?), carrying out what friends of
> mine described as a "subjective occupation" of the minds and
> emotions of one of the largest cities in the world! Talk about
> tactics... It seems as though a networked criminal organization (the
> Primeiro Commando da Capital) is able to run rings around a state
> which cannot catch up to it, cannot install the kind of hi-tech
> protection and distributed control mechanisms that the US and other
> Western countries are working so deperately to perfect. This is
> fantastically interesting, actually hopeful in some wierd respects
> (if the state fails to that degree, must it not be reinvented?),
> but mostly just astounding, with the great danger that a kind of
> fascist electoral reaction will come out of it (as in the US), as
> well as police death-squads which, I have been told, immediately
> formed to exact repraisals. The whole thing is incredibly important
> as a phenomenon of our times, I would be curious to know what others
> think about it.
> best, BH

Well, as some people have been saying in brazilian mailing-lists,
PCC acts just like another fascist organization, and in that way it
is similar to the PM (Military Police). We must not see any hope in
these type of operations just because they compromise the structures
of the State, as has been the error of many people in the left in
the last decades (century?). Even if it is a network, it is a mix of
a decentralized and a centralized network, where some central hubs
control the nodes but also where, ultimately, these hubs respond to
the leader, "Marcola". It only took a phone call from "Marcola" for
the main wave of the attacks to stop. The mainstream media have been
saying that he has read more than 3.000 books since he has been in
jail, and gave Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" to read to his highest
ranking "officials".

And has you hinted, the police death-squads have already murdered
more than a hundred innocents who live in the "favelas" - slums. Not
only these people have to submit to the power structures of the drug
gangs, they also are indirect victims of the war against the police.
Actually, the "favelas" are the terrain, the proper place of the PCC,
and in De Certeau's sense, one can see the criminals as representing a
strategy and the people living there as some kind of tactics, because
they have to compromise with the ruling powers but, on the other
hand, manage to escape to their control by engaging in collective and
cooperative efforts, like Samba schools and "mutir=F5es" organized to
expand and paint their houses made of cardboard and wood.

Best Regards,

Miguel Caetano

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