only search

Edited by Aaron Peters

...nodes, memes, code and viruses... the language of the network is familiar to many but the world is only now waking up to its potential to radically transform the ways in which we communicate, coordinate, deliberate and organise. Sceptics, previously inclined to dismiss the revolutionary nature of online coordination and the birth of open source politics as over-hyped have been back-peddling fast in light of recent events. In the UK, the student and anti-cuts movements have demonstrated the power of networks to facilitate activism, dissent and resistance on a large scale and in radically new forms. Elsewhere events in North Africa and the Middle East have decisively illustrated that online networks have a crucial role to play in bringing about genuine political change.

Yet, while around 460K people are joining Twitter every day, our ability to reflect and evaluate on such 'revolutionary' change is struggling to keep pace with the technology itself. The OurKingdom debate on the networked society aims to have a place at the forefront of this struggle, with a particular focus on Britain.

The debate will launch with an article by Joss Hands, author of "@ is for Activism".

Goodbye, year of new movements: bring on 2012 and Occupy Everything

The editor of our Networked Society debate concludes the project by sharing his reflections on the last tumultuous year of global networked protest, making way for a new debate on the escalating Occupy Movement.

Part One: the alter-globalisation movement goes North

Part One of our conclusion to the Networked Society debate: Goodbye, year of new movements: bring on 2012 and Occupy Everything.

Part Two: open source activism and memes

Part Two of our conclusion to the Networked Society debate: Goodbye, year of new movements: bring on 2012 and Occupy Everything.

Part Three: reality management #fail

Part Three of our conclusion to the Networked Society debate: Goodbye, year of new movements: bring on 2012 and Occupy Everything.

And so?: Occupy Everything

The final part of our conclusion to the Networked Society debate: Goodbye, year of new movements: bring on 2012 and Occupy Everything.

Occupy London: keep your nerve, your unity and your integrity

The London occupation is nearing its one month anniversary, and the cracks are beginning to show.

Europe's new populist leaders

Populist movements pick up significant levels of support by presenting themselves as ordinary Joes who are honest and up-front about society’s problems. The most successful leaders are those that can embody this folksy outsider image

Batman in Wall Street

The sub-Hollywood spectacle of the new Batman film - being shot in Wall Street - provides a striking contrast to the unheroic determination of the protesters in Zucotti Park.

No deadlines: Occupy London activists won't be co-opted

The City of London Corporation has dropped its threat to evict 'tent city' at St Paul's Cathedral. Negotiations are on, but occupiers are wary of being transformed into a mute tourist attraction.

Church, city, media: how the message of #OccupyLondon is being disrupted

OccupyLondon's encampment is facing eviction from outside St Paul's cathedral. The Church of England and City of London Corporation are in turmoil. Meanwhile, the media frenzy is in danger of drowning out the message of the occupation.

Lacking transparency? Can #OccupyLondon live up to its own demands

The Occupy protest site at St Paul's Cathedral has become a thriving community. But errors of judgment have left it lacking the same level of openness and accountability it seeks of others.

Reproduction of movement(s) without organisation: #UKUncut, #OWS, #OccupyMovement

A global day of collective action in 82 countries shook the world on October 15, 2011. Yet the protests were not co-ordinated by political parties, unions or other institutional actors. They were driven by the rapid dissemination of memes, made possible by the internet.

#OccupyLondon: not the beginning or the end, but a momentous opportunity

The first weekend of the London occupation felt victorious, as the protesters established their own democracy and showed solidarity with a growing global movement. Even if it is soon disbanded, this is one step forward in an ongoing struggle.

The two challenges that could make or break #occupyLondon

Will the activists who tried to occupy the London Stock exchange be part of the start of a revolutionary movement?

Three thoughts on #Occupy

I’ve not been to Wall Street. I don’t have to. Though separated from New York by an ocean, half a planet and a different political culture (one in which it is significantly less scandalous to talk about the obvious and total failures of capitalism), I can browse through any number of digital echoes and recordings, each with varying degrees of fidelity and spin. What has been most striking about the media reports from Wall Street is that – if you stripped away the inconsequential affect and incidentals – they really could have been written by anyone with an internet connection. This leads to the usual overhasty generalisations about the role of the internet and rapid distribution of callouts, data, plans, images, videos, plots, analysis, complaint, trolling and information that attends social movements. The obvious issue here is that these things don’t really transmit ideology, analysis or demand, they simply foreground the ease with which the method can be replicated. This method-as-meme is doubtless linked to the prominence of internet communication between activists and interested onlookers; its proliferation also speaks to a new interconnectedness felt by the disenfranchised, whether in New York, London, Barcelona or Athens. But as DSG point out in that link, the success or failure of a method is if it catches the zeitgeist, if it is passed between and above all replicated by a growing multiplicity of consumers.

Talk Amongst Yourselves

As a movement to occupy the centre of financial districts including the City of London spreads, here is a practical guide to the ideals of deliberation that lie behind it, inspired by Madrid

A national curriculum for the information age

The web is becoming the most important way that we learn about the world - particularly for a new generation of 'digital natives'. Schools must provide the skills needed to navigate cyberspace, and sort the good information from the bad.

The Revolution Will Be Digitised: dispatches from the information war

Heather Brooke uncovered the MPs expenses scandal and played a key role in the Wikileaks project. Her new book explores the emancipatory consequences of digitisation, as well as the potential for new forms of oppression.

Acknowledging alternatives is a human right: a UKUncut activist speaks out after her trial

Following a two-week trial for protesting against tax avoidance, an anti-cuts campaigner asks who the real criminals are: herself and her fellow protestors, for taking direct action, or those telling the British public that there is no alternative to the government's stringent austerity programme.

Anatomy of a Networked Riot: rapid violence, rapid response

Social networking has come under fire since England's week of riots and looting. But the same tools that facilitated a rapid escalation of violence also allowed citizens to organize a speedy response.

The far right are the masters of network politics, not the 'internationalist' left

While the left presume they are the internationalists, it is the far right who have mastered network politics, by scaling seamlessly from the local to the national to the civilisational

Anarchists are under attack because their ideas are gaining ground

The London Metropolitan Police have withdrawn an appeal to the public to 'report anarchists'. This incident is part of a state offensive against anarchism, driven by the fear that anarchist ideas are gaining ground amongst the younger generation in the UK

Is the hacking scandal the British establishment's 'Napster Moment'?

There are two new models of crisis: the 'Wikileaks Moment' and the 'Napster Moment'. They involve the technological freeing up of information, and the consequent delegitimisation of the elites who have controlled that information. The News of the World scandal relates to both

Journalists should be hackers - but target the open web, not private phones

The News of the World scandal has changed our perception of the term 'hacker'. But the technique of hacking is opening up a new future for online news and newsgathering that is in the public interest and is becoming increasingly vital for holding power to account

Is Assange the "world-spirit embodied"? A Hegel scholar reports from the Žižek/Assange Troxy gig

WikiLeaks combats the hidden but constant brutality of institutionalized violence, not just by the news content it brings to light but by disturbing the formal functioning of power itself: it has the power to circumvent the oblique ways in which information flows and thereby rewrite the very rules which regulate how rules can be violated. The critical task is to keep this disruptive strength alive.

Reality Management: Hack-gate, Hari, Milibot and the Cyber War

The closure of the Murdoch-owned British tabloid News of the World amidst an escalating phone hacking scandal is just one aspect of a bigger crisis that is undermining the reality management system upon which the media, politicians and the financial sector rely

Time for Britain’s Indignados: the pension strike, Labour and strategic optimism

The UK-wide strikes over pension reform failed to release the energy many hoped for on the left. Coupled by the Labour leader's condemnation of 30 June, it is easy to be pessimistic. Yet the way to beat the Coalition is through a strategic optimism that is prepared to think big and look beyond Westminster

The Movement for a New Direction

The nature of capitalism over the last three decades has led to the present crisis in the West. A counter-movement is developing across the world, but it is yet to find a name and develop a coherent alternative, a third contribution to openDemocracy's debate

The movement that needs no name

A global movement is taking shape. The failure of neoliberalism, the development of new technologies, a burgeoning class of the over-educated and under-employed: all play a part in its birth. Yet the movement is only now beginning to recognise itself and its future role

Will the spirit of spring come to cyberspace?

Anonymous and LulzSec represent a real change in the politics of cyberspace. The networked power at the hands of the hackers may show itself to be the equal of people power on the streets

Naming the movement

The early 21st century is marked by a profusion of initiatives that bring people together to discuss and explore big questions. It amounts to a great river of change - but to realise its potential the movement needs a formal designation, says Keith Kahn-Harris.

Some kind of revolution

In Puerta del Sol, the camp’s peaceful and serious ethos seems to have won the demonstrators the respect of many older members of the Madrid community. Can it have lasting impact across the country?

Syndicate content