Thursday, August 17, 2006

The technology of social disorder

Let’s face it; the general press doesn’t represent the public any more. I don't believe they have a check-and-balance function. The national press corps had become little more than another special-interest lobbying group.

Indeed, the territory the traditional media once occupies is increasingly being deluged by political lobbying, celebrity publicity and product advertising - cleverly staged ‘photo ops’, carefully produced propaganda rallies, preplanned ‘events’, tidal waves of campaign ads and the like.

Afraid of losing further influence, access and the lucrative ad revenues that come from such image-making, major media outlets have found it in their financial interest to quietly yield to new media channels.

But we live in a very dangerous time in which the right to express dissent and to raise questions about the workings of power is seriously imperiled by fundamentalisms of many kinds. Now more than ever, we need to keep the lessons of history foremost in our minds and to defend the critical discourses and practices that enable differing experiences and perspectives to be heard and understood.

What does this downgrading of the media's role say about how our government views its citizens – or in most cases - consumers?

It suggests that because ‘we the people’ are seen not as political constituencies conferring legitimacy on our rulers, but as consumers to be sold policy the way advertisers sell product. In the storm of selling, spin and bullying that has been the big media ‘hic et ubique’, traditional news outlets are finding themselves increasingly drowned out, ghettoized and cowed by the public opinion.

Good news. Finally.

Add in a further dynamic (which intellectuals from Marxist-Leninist societies would instantly recognize): Groups denied legitimacy and disdained by the state tend to internalize their exclusion as a form of culpability and often feel an abject, autonomic urge to seek reinstatement at almost any price.

Little wonder that the traditional channels have had a difficult time mustering anything like a convincing counter-narrative to the onslaught of Web 2.0 tools.
Not only did a mutant form of skepticism-free news succeed - at least for a time - in leaving large segments of the population uninformed, but it corrupted the ability of traditional media to function.

All too often they simply found themselves looking into a fun-house mirror of their own making and imagined that they were viewing reality.

Then social networking showed them what the real ‘reality’ was.

In this world of personalized news, information loops have become two-way highways again.
The done of the higher ups to ‘stay on message’ the campaigns to dominate the media environment employ all the sophistication and technology developed by communications experts are now based on the understanding and use of psychology to market ideas; public relations techniques as a fountainhead of artful propaganda so well-packaged that most people can't tell it from the real thing.

At the moment, the general population is being pushed forward to the front lines of faith-based truth. And make no mistake; this experiment will continue if we allow it.
Complete conversion would mean not just that the press had surrendered its essential watchdog role, but - a far darker thought – that it might be shunted off to a place where it would not matter.

Although freedom of information has been endlessly extolled in principle, it has had little utility in practice. What possible role could a free information play when ‘revelation’ trumps fact and conclusions are preordained?

An honest and truthful information source is logically viewed as a spoiler under such conditions, stepping between those who have and those who need … and those who are true believers.
Information feedback loops have played a crucial role in any functioning democracy but are ceasing to operate. The media synapses which normally transmit warnings from citizen to government are frozen.

Television networks continued to broadcast and papers continued to publish, but dismissed and ignored, they are becoming irrelevant, except possibly for their entertainment value.
As the quality of information diminishes, normal Jane’s and Joe’s on the street – both west and east – are being deprived of the ability to learn of dangers to our societies.

Just as the free exchange of information plays only a small role in the relationship between a fundamentalist believer and his or her God, it is playing a distinctly diminished role in the world of money and politics.

After all, if you already know the answer to a question - what is the use of the media, except to broadcast that answer? The task at hand, then, is never to listen but to stand on the soap box and sell the gospel to non-believers, transforming the once interactive process between citizen and its leader.

New social networks inflate the way technological systems operate with modern human communication. We are supposed to believe that we live inside the world of William Gibson’s Neuromancer and that salvation is only attainable via very specific technological expertise unleashed against the system.

Consider the heroes of Hollywood sci-fi blockbusters such as The Matrix whose power lies in their knowledge of ‘the code.’ It is implied that we operate in networks because computers and the Internet have restructured our lives and because global economic systems have turned us into global citizens.

‘Social hacking’ then comes to stand for all forms of critical engagement with preexistent power structures.

I’m just a little too old to believe these new media mantras unquestioningly.

While I can understand that there might be a dearth of knowledge about tactical interventions of previous societies, I am perplexed by the apparent loss of short-term memory of today’s cultural technocentrics.

The shift from internationalism to a more globally inclusive worldview came long before the age of the Internet. It was launched outside Europe and America and emanated from the geopolitical margins.

The process took place across a range of fields of knowledge, culture and politics. This revision of the world picture was catalyzed by postwar decolonization; the Non-Aligned Movement launched in 1961; and civil rights struggles in the developed world, including the Black Power and Chicano movements—all of which invariably affirmed their alliances with Third World revolutions.

This political process was expanded upon by a postcolonial understanding that various diasporas shared transnational connections and that these diasporas were produced by the economics and politics of colonialism and imperialism.

The historical bases of these movements are consistently obscured by the technocentric rhetoric.

Instead of dealing with these histories, modern discussion on globalization and new technology tend to dismiss postcolonial discourse as ‘mere identity politics and societies’.

I am a great admirer of the practice of electronic civil disobedience and those that have used ‘hacktivist’ software such as Floodnet to engage in online protest actions. But I find the willed historical amnesia of new media theory to be quite suspect and even dangerous.

The alienation caused by multinational corporate domination that many feel is just the last chapter in a long history of reactions against imperial projects.

Those that argue that increasing the use of social technology, rather than simply increasing social consciousness, would do well to examine the history of globalization, networks, social dissent and collective actions in order to understand that they are rooted in the geopolitical and cultural margins – not the new world order.


Blogger THIRD WORLD WAR said...

Non Aligned Movement (NAM) More Important than United Nations (UNO) in 2006- Kalki Gaur

Sept 12, 2006, Tuesday, 6:30 pm Washington DC:
Post-cold War United Nations is corrupt dysfunctional and irrelevant in 21st Century just as League of Nations had become dysfunctional at the eve of Second World War. Diplomats should dissolve the United Nations and dismiss its entrenched bureaucracy and form a New United World Organization (UWO) but must not hire any person associated with erstwhile UNO. Non-Aligned Movement with 116 members has bright future. India should lead NAM to form NAM head quarters, NAM Treaty Organization (NAMTO), NAM Common Market (NAMCOM). Let us bury United Nations alive in 2007 and sell its assets to pay for its debt.
The United Nations should be dissolved and all its assets auctioned to pay for its debt. The UNO should be replaced by UWO (New United World Organization), but UWO should not hire any person from the UNO as most if not all officials of the UNO are incompetent and have caused to make UNO dysfunctional. The Second World War made League of Nations irrelevant and it was wisely put to deathbed and peace of the coffin. The 2003 Iraq War made United Nations irrelevant and it is wise to put United Nations to deathbed and we should give UNO the peace of a coffin. The old building of the UNO is falling apart and it is high time that we should dissolve the United Nations and save the money we waste on UNO. The UNO has become the home of the parasite diplomatic class that is concerned only about its own self-interest than for anything else. It is high time to dismiss all employees and officers of the United Nations and its subsidiaries. There is no way United Nations can be reformed to meet the need of the modern times. India, Japan, Germany, Brazil and USA should work towards the dissolution of the United Nations in 2007, as it has become dysfunctional just as League of Nations was. Let diplomats of the world join hands to give death burial to the United Nations in 2007.

First. The problems of United Nations are the product of the plethora of new states in Africa that emerged out of the decolonization of the European colonial powers. The very concept of nation-states is facing demise and thereby it is only logical that incompetent United Nations led by incompetent officials is given a swift death-burial and all assets of the United Nations are transferred to the New United World Organization (UWO) that should replace it. However, the New United World Organization (UWO) should not hire even a single person that has worked for the dysfunctional United Nations.

Second. The black leadership of Kofi Annan and preponderance of African officials in the United Nations caused the demise of United Nations. United Nations became a tool of the De Beers and improperly promoted the concept of Conflict Diamond to the detriment of the Black African diamond producers. Just as during slave trading age, the black slave gatherers worked with Arab Muslim slave traders and Christian slave traders to harvest black slaves, similarly United Nations worked diligently to support the genocide of Pagan Blacks at hands of Arab Muslims and Catholics throughout sub-Sahara Africa.

Third. Kofi Annan appointed Saudi woman to lead the women committee of the United Nations. Kofi Annan implanted his henchmen as profiteers of the business of United Nations. United Nations had a chance to reform itself by making India, Brazil, Japan, Germany the Permanent Members of the Security Council. United Nations is beyond repair and it should be dissolved and all its assets sold to pay for its debt. The world would be better off without United Nations ass it is a disgrace to the world and a disgrace to the diplomacy.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh went to Cuba to attend the Non Aligned Nations (NAM) and it shows that NAM has more vitality than UNO. India, Brazil should lead the NAM movement and transform it into a permanent organization with permanent structure and promote it as an alternative to UNO. The Black leadership of the United States sabotaged the UNO to the detriment of the Third World to favor white nations, just as black slave gatherers in the past worked for Arab Muslim slave traders and white Christian slave traders. Similarly, the Muslim leaders that infiltrated in to Non-Aligned Movement as Trojan Horse of the White nations weakened the Non-Aligned Movement from within. The Christian Third world nations and Buddhist nations that are members of the Non-Aligned Movement should play a greater role in the Non-Aligned Movement.

Non-Aligned Movement should develop permanent NAM Secretariat in Andaman Islands of India, which should rival New York UNO headquarters. Non-Aligned Movement should organize NAM University (NAMU), NAM Treaty Organization (NAMTO), NAM Common Market (NAMCOM), NAM Peacekeeping Force (NAMPF) and NAM Administrative Services (NAMAS). The Non-Aligned Movement has 116 members and it is high time that we promote NAM as a permanent world organization, permanent common market, with permanent organizational, bureaucratic infrastructure. NAM Organization (NAMO) shall have better credentials than UNO. It is high time that world leaders agree to bury the incompetent and dysfunctional United Nations with incompetent officials so that out of the ashes of the dead United Nations Organization a new good organization NEW WORLD ORGANIZATION (NWO) could emerge. Let us all celebrate that Havana Cuba Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement has signaled the predestined demise of the United Nations. Let us all work towards the dissolution of the ugly organism of United Nations. Let us all work to develop Non-Aligned Movement into a permanent world organization.

Director: AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF GEOPOLITICS. USA Blog URLs: ; ; ; ; ; ; Email: ;

1:31 AM, September 13, 2006  

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