intro...and some thoughts

From eric steenz <>
Date Fri, 27 Aug 1999 09:57:58 -0500 (CDT)

[: hacktivism :]

Thought I'd introduce myself here before I jump in with some rambling

My name is Eric Stiens and I'm currently going to be a junior at
Macalester College in St Paul, MN (although currently I'm getting ready to
spend a semester in Limerick, Ireland). While I don't particularly want to
get into a longwinded dissertation on political views, I consider myself a
collectivist anarchist and a popular insurgent. I actually attemted to
start an electronic civil disobedience mailing list on onelist a while
back, but it didn't get off the ground too well.....ECD (or hacktivism)
represents unexplored potential for effective action (and in some cases,

Regarding 'ethics' here:

Activists have ALWAYS disagreed on tactics. There are those that prefer to
work through legal channels. There are those who prefer to organize at the
grassroots level. There are those that prefer to do symbolic civil
disobedience, and there are those that prefer to, quite blatently, fuck
things up. (Case in point: the current environmental movement. You have
everything from mainstream groups like the Sierra Club to hardcore outfits
like the Earth Liberation Front and evverything in between from canvassing
groups, to environmental lawyers to Earth First!. Some people thing that
chaining yourself to a tree is wrong. some draw the line at tree spiking.
Some think that burning down a ski lodge at Vail is wrong...etc) We all
draw our lines at what we think is 'wrong' for a variety of
reasons--personal morals notwithstanding. THis is fine. This is great.
THis is how it needs to be. For a popular movement to be effective there
MUST be people working at all different levels from the most aboveground
to the most covert. Don't kid yourself. MLK and the Black Panthers with
both absolutely necessary parts of the Civil Rights movement. However, and
there is where I've run into problems a WHOLE lot in the past--WE MUST
STICK TOGETHER--regardless of whether we find a tactic particularly
wholesome, effective, etc. Movements for change are not (usually) crushed
from the outside. They are, rather, ripped apart from the inside.
Infighting in Earth First! among the tree spiking issue ALONE (not to
count the recent torching at Vail) has been a source of contention and
conflict for years--weakening the group and turning people off
dramatically. Yes, we should all discuss the pros and cons of a particular
tactic, and we are definitely free to share opinions. However, when the
shit hits the fan and something goes down because of a tactic you didn't
particularly like turning your back on the people involved, fellow
comrades that are in arms for the same reason(s) you are...well that's why
movements fail.....Unity in Purpose, Diversity in with that
sermon done :)

I think ECD, being as new as it is is going to be especially volatile in
this area...line drawing and the like....I think one of the biggest
advantages to ECD is the opportunity for information dissemination, not
information control.....much more effective (IMHO) to put facts about the
Drug War (and for christ's sake, facts about the drugs themselves) on the
DEA's web page than to shut it down altogether. However, this is not to
say I don't think "destructive" hacktivism doesn't have its place. Fax
Jams, pager explosions and web site crashes can be very effective ways of
showing dissent and shutting down a sense of 'business as usual' at your
target. and you know, getting the credit card numbers of some of the Power
Structure and funding activist groups...well nevermind :) (Sneakers,
anyone?) Shutting down a bank for a few hours in a revolt against
neoliberalism has its place and its effectiveness. So I think, that is the
question we need to return to. Will this be effective as an activst
strategy in this campaign, at this time?

I'm rambling now, so I'll sign off....but I'm looking forward to
brainstorming and debating and probably even the occasional flaming from
everyone in the future!!!

Peace Love Power Magick (R)Evolution

-Eric Stiens-	   (

"To be governed is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed,
law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at,
controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures
that have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so"
                    		 -Pierre-Joseph Proudhon- 

"Music is sort of the last pure thing on earth."
				 -Trey Anastasio-

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