Recent changes Facebook has made to Pages & Events have greatly reduced its usefulness for radical political organising. Here I reject the idea that the reason for these changes is political censorship and examine what the actual reasons & effects are. In doing this I'm building on my article of last week that argues that Facebook should be a collectively owned public utility and not a private company - in part because of the way it has sabotaged its own usefulness in the search for advertising revenue.
Over the last few months changes made by Facebook have greatly reduced the effectiveness of Events and Pages because it has become much less likely that someone following a page will see made by that page. According to Facebook on average only 12% of followers will see a given post. In 2011 Facebook did the same to events, multiple changes in the way events work saw response rates to event invitations decline from around 80% of those invited responding to this figure often being less than 20%.
Last week I edited the last of the audio recordings from the 2012 Dublin anarchist bookfair and got them online. Each year we try and record any of the suitable sessions and get them up shortly after the bookfair. This is never 100% successful as the hectic nature of the day along with random technical and other difficulties always manages to sabotage some recordings, this year was better than most as I we 'only' missed 3 of the targetted 9 sessions. The audio from the 6 that made it are below, its almost 9 hours worth of listening in all so don't eat it all in one sitting.
The revolutions and revolts that swept the world in 2011 took almost everyone by surprise. One of the first strong attempts to explain why they happened is Paul Mason’s ‘Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere.’ He argues that “the materialist explanation for 2011...is as much about individuals versus hierarchies as it is about rich against poor.” By far the most provocative element of his book is the idea that communications technology, in particular the internet, is transforming the way people behave and that a significant contribution to the revolts of 2011 lie in these changes. If he’s right it had profound consequences for the form and structure of revolutionary organisations including anarchist ones.
This article also availale on audio & video, see end.
To what extent do the revolutions and revolts of 2011 reflect a new world born from the shell of the old? Were these revolts of the internet generation -- networked individuals? Are people not only using new technology but becoming transformed by it? For anarchists, what lessons can we learn and to what extent must we transform our organisational methods and structures?
Andrew Flood looks at Paul Mason's recently published book 'Why its kicking off everywhere' and in particular what Mason has to say about the internet and the emergance of the 'Networked Individual'. The recording is of a WSM supporters meeting in Dublin and the 20 minute presentation is followed by 30 minutes of discussion on the ideas outlined, roughly as summarised below.
Dublin last weekend saw about 400 people take part in a demonstration against the intention of Seán Sherlock, the Labour Party Minister for Research and Innovation to bring into law a requirement for Irish internet service providers to block access to sites that allow the downloading of copy righted material. This is a similar law to the SOPA and ACTA laws that Hollywood & music industry lobbyists tried unsuccessfully to force through the US Congress. A second demonstration is to take place this Saturday.
In December 2010, I and a few other people published 200 copies of Anarkismens ABC, a Danish translation of Alexander Berkman's ABC of Anarchism. Since I had never tried publishing a book before, I have decided to note down some of my experiences with the process, in the hope that it might be useful for others thinking about experimenting with small-scale self-publishing.
Last Monday I did a talk on the political use of social media like Facebook and individual security concerns for RAG (Revolutionary Anarcha Feminist Group). The text I based the talk on and the audio recordings of the talk (which had four other speakers and 40 minutes of discussion) are with this blog post. I ranged fairly widely as I think these questions can only be understood in the balances revolutionaries have always had to strike between effective communication and personal security.
Last week a friend on Facebook was complaining that she was getting Youth Defence ads. Youth Defence are a virulently anti-choice organisation in Ireland, probably comparable to the likes of Operation Rescue in North America. Anyway I was curious and asked her to do a screen capture if it re-appeared which it did. I then realised this was a parallel campaign to the one they were running in the newspapers and that it all related to the ABC case in the European courts so I wrote up the article below for the WSM site to put it into context.