Re: HateWatch Press Release: Activism vs Hacktivism

From Aimee <>
Date Sun, 5 Sep 1999 18:33:35 -0900 (PDT)
In-reply-to <>

[: hacktivism :]

This is from Parsifal:

> Freedom of speech can not be limited. It exists or it 
> If it exists, it is for any cause, anybody.

This, Parsifal, is not the only opinion on this matter.  
All freedoms have limitations.  There is no pure freedom 
of speech.  I think you need to be aware that your view 
itself "acts like God".  You have put forth a principle that is 
more important than anything else.  "Thou shall not limit 
anyone's speech ever for any reason."  This is its own 
dictatorship (and it is not a dictatorship of the people 
because of the way current social relations stand.)

It doesn't make sense (to me) to talk about freedom of 
speech as more important than fighting racism (or 
imperialism or heterosexism or whatever).  Non-whites, the 
world" and queer people do not have the same freedoms 
including those to speech (witness the paucity of 
minorities on television, the lack of third world people 
in public discourse, and the cancelling of "Ellen").  In 
many cases in the U.S. such people are being singled out for 
torture and execution.  

If this were not the case, the universal application of 
free speech over EVERYTHING else MIGHT make some sense.  
But how does it make sense when the power to speak is not 
evenly distributed?

Besides, temporary hacking of a site is perhaps akin to a 
counterdemonstration on a street that blocks racists or 
whatever from getting their message out.  You, I assume, 
would not want to limit this sort of 
counterdemonstration.  Can hacking/hactivism not be seen as 
free speech, a counterdemonstration?

One more point:

> But as soon as you hack a site, you hurt 
and endanger your OWN freedom of > speech.
> Do you understand this ?

No, I've never bought this slipperly slope argument.  It 
doesn't seem to me to be predetermined that if floodnet 
(for example) is deemed legal than all hell will break 
lose and there will be rampant denials of service and 
censorship.  Every single "freedom" has limitations in 
order for society to function.

> According to me, the only serious hacktivism possible deals with 
> providing, and releasing info to people.

For me this is way too limited a definition.  "Educating" 
is only one very slim portion of activism.  I think acts 
of civil disobedience must be included in the definition 
of hactivism (even if everyone who is a hactivist does 
not do civil disobedience).


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