Social movements and the Internet

Monday November 10, has finished in the IGOP (UAB) the last of the three seminars by Guiomar Rovira, Professor at the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana Xochimilco in Mexico City. The seminars dealt the interrelation of Internet and social movements. Guiomar Rovira illustrated how Internet stands as Hypermedia and breaks the hegemonic media circle formed by parties, Mass Media and Public Opinion. The type of medium becomes dramatized the confluence of the Internet press, radio and television and have no specific language only but a multiplicity. In turn, it generated an interactive space where transmitter-receiver patterns are modified and exchanged. This creates the thing that social movements cannot rely solely on traditional media for media coverage and visibility and a great change in the ecology of these last.

The teacher Rovira has hold the importance of military source in parallel with the Internet action individuals called Hackers, holders of libertarian ideas and the impetus to connect, share and access information through networking. In the germination process of the medium together several disparate goals. Internet as a tool for control purposes as opposed military and as a tool that fosters empowerment.

Several theories elucidate and describe the incidence of Hypermedia and generate hypotheses about this. First, the idea that the Internet holds a structure of risoma. The risoma, a botanical term that is often used to describe weed, was used by Deleuze and Guattari, to describe the heterogeneous, diverse and constitutively impure connection that characterizes the network.

The term Netwar, developed by a US Think Tank introduces the concept of network warfare and sits as contemporary wars. To elucidate this concept, Rovira uses the example of the 1994 Zapatista uprising in Chiapas, Mexico. This social movement to prevent the repression of indigenous people, was structured information networks and mobilizing a transnational network of solidarity with Chiapas prevented brutal repression and global media coverage of the protest was generated. These networks allow lower cost, faster and instant hinge on par Expectant necessary incentive for obtaining information collective.

Various social movements that have occurred have been subsequently organized and articulated in networks like the global justice movement in Seattle in 1999, the movement of opposition to the 2003 Iraq war, the Arab Spring etc. The spread of the symbols, the emergence of citizens in the streets, the crowds connected and citizen journalism using social networks help facilitate these movements but it is noteworthy that after the protest and not before, when more followers usually host these networks and protests. Rovira also highlights the critical cyberculture that includes several aspects; Wikileaks, Anonymous, Kaos Computer Club which, by claiming Hacktivism maximum privacy rights for citizens and complete transparency and visibility for power and employ tools such as blocking the flow of information, expanding free software decryption etc, to achieve their goals.

The general optimism phenomenon of emergence of a new medium is a fact that has already happened with the media today are defined as traditional. Internet capabilities have often been interpreted under the technological determinism and strong hope for this, but it should be added that the possibility of emancipation does not guarantee the symbolic power. We note that the Internet is a change of era, for example, in terms of horizontality of information and organization of social movements, a platform where there is a chance to defend the “common”, where new forms of spatiality occur, and the confluence of the local and global. Although these facts are not new in themselves, today there are more tools to transform activism and the difficulties imposed on the slower and less simultaneous involvement with the absence of diffusion networks.

Still, we should not ignore the possible dystopian scenario of absolute control, where our data are sold and controlled. The complexity of these events makes us wonder what kind of changes will be generated in the various ways of political participation and how will be modified the public space.

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