I should point out that I’m not ridiculing internet activism. The flow of ideas and communication across vast distances is absolutely of value. Not everybody can get to a picket line, not everybody feels safe on demonstrations, but that doesn’t mean they should be excluded and the internet can be a good way for people to be involved, and to find other ways they can further their involvement. The internet can also be a good tool to change people’s opinions. But the idea that it will be “the face of the international revolution”? lolwhut.
There are a lot of people who love to ridicule internet activism, they call it arm chair activism, sofa activism, along with other names. These people have completely missed the point of the last 10 years. The people have taken over the internet, the voice of the people has infiltrated every avenue of the cyber world and it is spilling onto the physical world.
Here are 10 reasons for the effectiveness of Internet Activism:
1)It is extremely cheap, it costs a person nothing to take up activism on the internet.
As long as they happen to live near a public library with computer and internet access. My internet at home costs me, as did the computer I’m typing this on. Not all places have easy access to the internet, not all people have the wealth required.
2)Extremely convenient, people no longer have to choose between their crappy jobs and activism, both can be done, easily.
3)Extremely liquid, ideas and thoughts move at a very rapid pace, which actually destroys the capitalist flow of information.
Undermines it, sure. But alternate news and media sources by no means hold hegemonic sway on the internet, nor are they immune to the effects of capitalist interests (hint: many run as a business).
4)It proves the actual inefficiency of the capitalist system, because all internet activists and bloggers will move to the more honest, coherent, stance of activist socialism. There is no model for activist capitalism, because capitalism is based on pacifying the minds of the people.
No … capitalism is based on the accumulation of wealth for the individual. I’m sort of bemused at the assumption that the way people interact digitally will definitely shape how they interact tangibly. Even more bemused by the assumption that the internet can’t, won’t and hasn’t been used as a media tool by government and corporations. AND the assumption that if activism happens on the internet the masses will suddenly drift towards it sort of massively underestimates the capitalist hegemony.
5)Internet Activism sucks the life out of the capitalist economy because of its cerebral nature. Internet activism by its nature is extremely mental, it is psychological, the perfect tool to launch a psychological war on capitalism. Also, the fact that activists do not need to drive and consume gas, or go out in the streets and buy things, adds on to the effectiveness of destroying the capitalist economy.
No … I just. I don’t. What? Don’t leave the house folks, you’re only supporting the capitalist system when you step outside the door! Stay home and pay for the internet and do all your activism through that, that’ll teach them!
6)Extremely egalitarian, everyone on the internet is one race, one human race, one class. Again, capitalism and its classist model is extremely weak in the face of internet activism.
Right, but a person’s digital person does not exist in a vacuum from their lived experiences. Their opinions are by-and-large reflective of their socio-economic conditions and just because they’re typing them into a computer doesn’t change that.
7)No racism, on the internet racism dies, the anonymity along with the ability to manipulate images and spaces, destroys the racist constructs. Constructs which serve to provide cheap labor and war targets for the capitalist machine. An American blogger with Iraqi blogger friends will have a hard time justifying an invasion and the murder of countless innocents.
Yes, but there is still a rest-of-the-world out there where racism still exists. The internet isn’t immune to racist people using the internet. On the one hand if blogger in the US makes friends with a blogger in Iraq they may say “oh golly I’ve been wrong all this time about you guys! So sorry, stop the war now!” OR they may say “I never realised you were Iraqi, I don’t think we can communicate any more.”
8)The organizational potential is infinite and again free.
Again, not free.
9)It does not need the financing of the bankers. Internet Activist organization do not need funds, thus do not need to allow bankers and corporate foundations to taint the message.
10)There are no borders, which in my opinion is the greatest advantage of Internet Activism. There are no countries, no borders, which supports and reinforces the internationalist revolutionary goal.
That said, we should still take the streets, we should embark upon the physical struggle. But those who mock internet activism are completely mistaken and they will soon realize the consequences of this mistake. Sun Tzu once said that wars are won before the battle ever starts, in the human mind. The Internet is symbolic of the collective human mind and the people have risen to control it and revolutionize it.
Party Member #4
Also, internet activism is good for spreading awareness and changing opinions but at no point is it a substantive attack against corporate interests, capitalism as a whole nor the bourgeois ruling elite. Hacktivism can be a significant symbolic attack but it can only really cripple businesses that only run online, and in itself isn’t an attack against the capitalist system as a whole just one of it’s branches.