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dan mcquillan's List: social media campaigning IS71055A - lecture 8 - prototyping and prefigurative politics

    • If PiratePad is about collaboration and discussion, Liquid Feedback is about competition and decision-making. Any of the 6,000 members that use it can propose a policy. If the proposal picks up a 10 percent quorum within a set period, such as a week, it becomes the focus of an almost 'gamified' revision period. Any member can also set up an alternative proposal, and over the ensuing few weeks these rival versions battle it out, with members voting their favorites up or down.
    • "In the ideal case you have five or six people working on alternative initiatives, and everyone tries to be the better one so they can win the poll in the end," Berlin Pirate Party spokesman Ingo Bormuth explains. "We hope it's healthy competition, but we want people to compete against each other so they stay [involved] in the topic."

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  • Jan 11, 13

    #Spain’s @Partido_X: a new political party steeped in digital culture @danmcquillan @hrheingold

  • Jan 07, 13

    Everything is connected: Can internet activism turn into a real political movement? in @TheEconomist
    Just in case you missed it on Jan 5 | Everything is connected: Can Net activism turn into a real political movement?

    • The success at the ITU conference in Dubai capped a big year for online activists. In January they helped defeat Hollywood-sponsored anti-piracy legislation, best known by the acronym SOPA, in America’s Congress. A month later, in Europe, they took on ACTA, an obscure international treaty which, in seeking to enforce intellectual-property rights, paid little heed to free speech and privacy. In Brazil they got closer than many would have believed possible to securing a ground-breaking internet bill of rights, the “Marco Civil da Internet”. In Pakistan they helped to delay, perhaps permanently, plans for a national firewall, and in the Philippines they campaigned against a cybercrime law the Supreme Court later put on hold.
    • “It feels like when ‘Silent Spring’ was published,” says James Boyle, an intellectual-property expert at Duke University, North Carolina. The publication of Rachel Carson’s jeremiad on the effects of pesticides in 1962 is widely seen as marking the appearance of modern environmental awareness, and of the politics that goes along with it. Fifty years on, might the world really be witnessing another such moment, and the creation of another such movement—this one built around the potential for new information technology to foster free speech and innovation, and the threats that governments and companies pose to it?

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  • Feb 15, 13

    What these new political models hope to achieve is not just decentralization, but self-organization, and this is something categorically distinct from the libertarian individualist ideal.

    These are the "better tools" that will legitimately help traffic flow improve, and they are all predicated on the assumption that the system will effectively self-organize when provided these tools.

    • The other, more insidious way of being wrong about the internet is to accept that the internet changes things subtly, and proceed to argue that the old ways were better. That's what I take Evgeny Morozov to be doing in this article, and it's important to see how regressive his arguments (and the institutions they support) are.
    • Morozov repeats this theme for the rest of the article: decentralization is a poor method of organization, centralization and hierarchy is a political reality we must take seriously, decentralization is unprepared to meet that challenge. "Internet centrism", while superficially advocating decentralization, is itself a centralizing, institutionalizing force, putting "severe intellectual limits" on the narrative surrounding politics in the digital age. More than just hype, the naive politics of internet centrism is a discursive nuisance. It distracts us from serious reflection on the activities of legitimate institutions of power.

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    • commentators struggled to describe its ethics, sociology, and history using traditional analytical categories.
    • Anonymous functions as what Marco Deseriis defines as an improper name: “The adoption of the same alias by organized collectives, affinity groups, and individual authors.
      • luther blisset

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  • Jun 28, 11

    The protesters around the world that Fein used in his examples function like an offline, rapidly prototyping, open source community. In Tahrir Square, not only did they get people out to protest, but they set up a medical tent and a barber shop. They set up a stage where for the first time in 50 years, people could stand up and say what they thought. In Spain, people occupying the square in Barcelona have started gardens at the protest site.

    • In it, he explains Telecomix, which he describes as "yin to Anonymous' yang," and "builders, not breakers."
    • He described the successful efforts of Telecomix and other groups as "disorganization," although I think de-organization might be more accurate.

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    • Carlos is glued to his smartphone and every now and again updates us on the progress of the protests in Madrid and other major cities. The reports are encouraging, although the mainstream media still refuse to cover the event.


      After a couple of hours we reach our destination. Carlos tells me that the protest hashtag is now Twitter’s second most popular topic worldwide.

    • n the early hours of 16 May something unexpected happened. A group of some forty protesters decided to set camp at Madrid’s main square, Puerta del Sol, instead of returning to their homes. One of them, a member of the hacker group Isaac Hacksimov, explained later: ‘All we did was a gesture that broke the collective mental block’ (quoted in Sánchez 2011). Fearing that the authorities may evict them, they sent out calls for support via the internet.  The first person to join them learned about their action on Twitter.

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