Re: Want to Join a Protest? Press 'Forward'

From megan <>
Date Mon, 20 Dec 1999 19:10:42 +0000 (GMT)

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Want to join a protest? get your ass on the street....

I dunno how astute this article is - it seems pretty ridiculous to me -
especially given the fact that I know that activists travelled the west
coast and beyond all summer long - to spread the word for the WTO. It is
true that we use the Internet to organize - but a lot of the actual
"organizing" is still taking place in conferences, meetings, direct action
camps, and other places.... meaning that - we, as activists, still
organize face to face the majority of the time (we get a lot more done, it
is more secure, and it is nice to get to know the people that we are
working with)

It is bullshit that we are all modern "lenins" who instead of having to
educate each other face to face - can just hit a reply button. To forward
emails is not to "join the revolution" - what a totally smug and
self-congratulatory analysis....

No - the real revolutionaries are those doing the on-the-ground 
organizing work day to day - the folx who participate in the direct
actions themselves - and those that actually demand revolution (instead of
fix it or nix it - which is not a revolutionary demand).... they are the
people that are building infrastructure for radicals in their communities
(like info shops, community daycares and food distribution systems)...

If revolution was so easy as forwarding around a few thousand emails -
then it would have already happened..... I have see one too many articles
like this hailing the internet as the reason for the huge numbers at the

this totally ignores all evidence to the contrary (ie - all the work that
people did around the country in their communities and others to spread
the word).... same with the School of the Americas protest - which is not
huge because of email - but because that same protest happens every year
and has for over 10 years now.... it is the consistency of the organizers
of the SOA protest that allows the demonstration to grow year after year -
not the internet....

This article is mostly just smug, self-serving and totally inaccurate -
its too bad that more activists don't work to correct this type of
misinformation.... since it really discounts the real work that people do
every day.


"i suggest that if you break a window, you are an idiot to not take that
which is protected by it. after all, it was stolen from us in the first
place"  - quoted from an email sent to the vancouver list
Find me at -

On Mon, 20 Dec 1999, Chuck0 wrote:

> [: hacktivism :]
> Wow! This is a pretty good article!
> LA Times 12-20-1999
> Want to Join a Protest? Press 'Forward' 
> WTO: As the Seattle demonstrations proved, there's a quiet revolution
> being organized on the Internet.
> My fantasy is that, like Dr. No stroking his cat, I masterminded
> the "battle in Seattle" over the World Trade Organization. The reality
> is
> that on my personal computer I watched, then joined in, the drama of
> organizing Seattle's shutdown two weeks ago.
> My access to the Internet--the key organizing tool in bringing tens of
> thousands to the port city in protest over the 135-nation WTO
> meeting--gave me unparalleled political power. I did it comfortably from
> my office chair. Lenin had to stand on a soap box freezing his backside
> in snow blizzards. All I had to do was press the "F" for the forward
> button and "mobilize the masses" at my fingertip.
> As the legendary labor martyr Joe Hill might have said: Don't mourn
> for me, computerize.
> I allocate 15 minutes a day to browse the Web. From the free news-nets
> I've signed up with--diverse organizations like Hackworth (a dissident
> military group), the International Workers of the World, AlterNet,
> Left-org and whatnot--I can usually figure out what's going on among
> activists I've never met. These computer-literate comrades I know only
> as
> "Michael P" or "Flint Jones" or "Starhawk" the pagan witch. Even Gus
> Hall, the Communist Party's leader-for-life, has a flashy Web page.
> There is an unacknowledged youth revolt out there. Anyone who plays
> Nintendo can join the revolution. Last month, for example, in the
> largest
> demonstration against a military facility for a decade, thousands of
> computer-tied students and dropouts gathered at the U.S. Army School of
> the Americas at Fort Benning, Ga., dubbed "school of assassins" because
> it trained so many Latin American military death-squad soldiers.
> Prior to Seattle, across my screen, at lightning speed, flitted
> messages from Nader's Public Citizen team, the Sierra Club, United World
> Federation, the steelworkers' union, Teamsters, Sea Turtle Restoration
> Group, Seattle Lesbian Avengers, various stripes of anarchism, "free
> Mumia" adherents, a group dubbed "Art and Revolution"--a patchwork of
> interests and philosophical camps. Hundreds of high school kids ditched
> school by agreeing, via e-mail, to meet in Seattle.
> The extraordinary thing was the level of literacy and awareness. Even
> among 13-year-olds, there was genuine debate about unsexy subjects like
> trade liberalization, tariff barriers, agricultural subsidies and export
> regulations and fierce but friendly arguments about nonviolence versus
> trashing "capitalist property." An electronic consensus was achieved,
> namely, the WTO delegates' habit of secrecy was odious, and power
> without
> responsibility was uncool. It was as clarion-clear as a Tom Paine
> pamphlet.
> At the flick of my wrist I forwarded e-mail messages all over the
> country and to Europe. Sometimes I entered the debate. More often, I
> used
> my computer as a message center, bringing together like-minded
> unaffiliated persons. Lord knows how many romantic liaisons I
> unwittingly
> assisted between free-wheeling high schoolers. ("See you in Seattle,
> Alice! I'm the guy with a purple skateboard!")
> Perhaps the most enduring legacy of Seattle, and the Fort Benning
> sit-in, is the creation, mainly by argument and action, conducted
> electronically, of a fairly coherent vision of a better American future.
> In 1917, John Reed had to sweat out interminable meetings in drafty
> halls
> to help bring a new world to birth. I sip my latte and punch in "R" for
> reply, and I have joined the revolution.
> Clancy Sigal Is a Screenwriter in Los Angeles
> -- 
> Chuck0
> Mid-Atlantic Infoshop
> Leonard Peltier Freedom Month 
> Executive Clemency For Peltier!
> Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Now!
> "A society is a healthy society only to the degree 
> that it exhibits anarchistic traits." 
>         - Jens Bjørneboe
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