Patrice Riemens on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 05:31:38 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Ippolita Collective, In the Facebook Aquarium Part Two,

With this installment, we reach the end of the second part of Ippolita
Collective's In the Facebook Aquarium. The third part ('The freedoms of
the Net') is the last one, and is only very marginally shorter than the
first and second parts.
I propose to make the next installments longer (and hence less frequent)
to reduce the stress to nettimers, who, I am told, tend to get a bit lost
and forget the gist of the argument due to its segmentation. The rapid
fire of the preceding installments had also a bit to do with my desire to
'make some good progress' in moving this translation forward, so I ask for
your forbearance.

Cheers from p+2D!, hoping you enjoy!


Ippolita Collective, In the Facebook Aquarium Part Two

Anonymous, or out-of-the-box activism (section 8, conluded)

Sociality and politics work in the same way: on-line practice is narrowly
connected with real life practice, and cross-fertilization occurs all the
time. Anonymous' initiatives made a big splash in the media, which in its
turn focused the attention of the police on the group, something they
would have gladly done without. During the Occupy Wall Street
demonstrations, which were inspired by the 'Indignados' movement in Spain
occupying central squares all over the country, Anonymous brought in its
technical expertise. Twitter and Facebook apps were created on the spot to
improve communications between protesters. On many occasion, transparency,
so disparaged, became an effective weapon against the police, e.g. to
identify those law-and-order personel manhandling protesters. Yet the same
face identification technology was repeatedly used against the
demonstrators themselves [77].

As we already wrote speaking of Wikileaks, denouncement works only within
a democratic context and where a certain amount of liberties and citizen
rights still obtain, where civil disobedience is deemed acceptable as a
value, and where state-sponsored repression rarely goes at the cost of
people's lives. In all those cases, appeals, claims, and criticism have
much more bite when the actions show creativity, like Anonymous' ones.
However, it is in the build-up phase that the inherent weakness of mass
movements shows up, yet Anonymous unambiguously claims to be a mass
movement by profiling itself as a 'legion' that nothing can stop. To shout
out /"Que se vajan todos!"/ (let them all f^%$#& of!) as the Argentinian
did in 2001, is a good equivalence of digital sabotage methods, but it is
still a petition of sorts to the authorities. It amounts to a demand to
the powers that they go a bit easy, a demand to the banks that they stop
behaving like . . .  banks, to governments that should stop making war and
to soldiers, that they stop killing. All this is legitimate, it is even
fair and right, but it is also a bit inadequate also, when it comes to the
concrete reality of (these) propositions. It is even counter-productive,
since the request for change is addressed to the very people who are
responsible for repression, and in fact, it (only) bolsters the legitimacy
of their authority in the process. So it is precisely in the build-up
phase that one should be acutely aware and bring about a radical shift in
perspective. The macroscopic lens [approach] of the opposition movement
against a corrupt and oppressive power, coming up with alternatives in the
name of all is doomed from the start, because it espouses the
confrontational logic, which is the hallmark of hegemonic discourses.
Those Anonymous organizers who do not share Wikileaks' /nerd suprematist/
style, once they had all their fun at lampooning banks, churches,
corporates, and governments, should really start concentrating on the
constructive aspects of their technological prowess [78]. If not, they
will end up co-opted to-morrow by the very powers they so much enjoy
ridiculing to-day.

Anonymous' anomaly resides precisely in the fact that its activists hold a
great power: the power of technology. They know the sinuosities of the
digital networks and they know how to make their existence work to their
advantage. They can choose to use this knowledge-power to reinforce the
network of already existing organizations. Governments are organizations
desirous to expand the possibilities to exercise control, sometime with
the benevolent purpose to help the weaker members of society: in which
case they surely need such competences. Big companies (on the other hand),
and especially the major companies providing on-line sociality services
(i.e. the big social networks), are in desperate need of strengthening
their organizations' networks, that is to make them more secure, which
means to close them of to undesirable elements. But other modalities (of
action) are also possible, for instance investing in capacity-building
among budding networks which do not have a stake to defend, or interests
to protect, or copyrighted material, or patents and trademarks, in one
word, stuff to safeguard - but which aim to build-up shared systems, for
exchange and interaction.

Seen from that angle, maybe the most interesting common trait between
Anonymous and Occupy-type movements is the way they profile themselves as
'ontologically' leader(ship)less and self-organized. It is in this
swarming dimension of small organized networks, or networks in the process
of organizing, that the innovative character of Anonymous and Occupy must
be seen to reside. The lack of a leader figure or pre-established program
makes it near-impossible for hierarchical, institutional organizations to
'engage' with such movements.

End of section 8, end also of Part II.
Next time, start of Part III, 'The Freedoms of the Net'
(to be continued, thus ;-)

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

[77] In Rome, after the heavy riots of 15 October [2011?], the mass media
named and shamed all alleged 'Black Bloc' members, many of whom could be
identified thanks to the help of 'honest citizens'. In another context,
and at a different scale, the same procedure was put to work in Iran,
after the June 2009 protests: authorities convinced citizens to contribute
to the identification of the dissenters, whose picture was marked with a
red circle on a government-owned site:
[yes, if u master Farsi, u can still play that game! -transl] ;-(
[78] Lulz's latest exploits (attacks against the security firms Stratfor
and were highly politicized. Here's what the online
press release, LulzXmas, said, December 27, 2011: "Continuing the week
long celebration of wreaking utter havoc on global financial systems,
militaries, and governments, we are announcing our next target: the online
piggie supply store Their customer base is comprised
primarily of military and law enforcement affiliated individuals, who have
for too long enjoyed purchasing tactical combat equipment from their slick
and ?professional? looking website. What?s that, officer? You get a kick
out of pepper-spraying peaceful protesters in public parks? You like to
recreationally taser kids? You have a fetish for putting people in plastic
zip ties?"
[The above site ('Everything about Anonymous and Occupy') is a compendium
of all possible Anon material, documents, press releases etc., all neatly
Finding the (English language) original of the excerpt quoted above was no
sinecure:, referred to in the book, is down (and probably
out), apparently replaced by a same-named '.net' one - which does not
carry this communique any longer. I first stumbled on a Castilian language
blog post, which did not turn out to cary it in the end, but did contain
the complete English translation of 'The coming insurrection' (click into
'Comunicado Anonymous')

Translated by Patrice Riemens
This translation project is supported and facilitated by:
The Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
The Antenna Foundation, Nijmegen
( - Dutch site)
( - english site under construction)
Casa Nostra, Vogogna-Ossola, Italy

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