Blogosphere as a New Form of Political Organization

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Text

David de Ugarte:

“After all these experiences, blogs too must be seen not only as a distributed mode of communication, but also as a new form of political organisation which has spontaneously arisen within distributed information networks. Through their blogs, individuals lead nonsegregated lives – lives in which politics, work, and personal matters are not categorised and compartmentalised. Lives in which everything comes in the same package.


This new form of organisation, based on contemporary models of nonviolent civil resistance, owes its success to the diffusion and display of a lifestyle based on the collective and individual strengthening of people as opposed to power. This strengthening takes place through small gestures, jokes, signboards, which in themselves are insignificant, but which taken as a whole undermine the implicit consensus that power relies on. Laughter, football matches, graffiti, signs, and rock & roll are the tools which, collectively transmitted and elaborated on the web, blogged about on a daily basis, solidify into the activist nuclei of the Colour Revolutions, from Serbia to the Ukraine.


Blogs epitomise the network nature of these revolutionary movements. The web of activist nodes is a compendium of individual fighting methods, of downloadable signboards, slogans, and stickers – and also, of course, of information about the rallies instigated by autonomous groups in their home towns. But the engine, the spirit that moves them all, lies in the blogs and the webpages of network members. Blogs in which, of course, political analysis mingles with personal narratives. As a result, the collective idea has emerged that the Serbian activists’ motivation for clustering (as for Ukrainian activists later on) was mostly the Zeitgeist, a background of subversive humour and rock & roll.


New forms of organisation are best represented by a creeper that can be embedded in blogs themselves, such as feevy.com, rather than a webpage filled with mottoes, such as those political parties used to maintain. Personal blogs, associative nodes such as blogaditas.com/planet or usfbloggers.com (also feevybased), are collective or individual experiments, automatically gathered in a space which enables them to share readers and grow together as debate and proposals increase. This is a pluriarchic representation of activists who think of themselves as netocrats, and who know that they can propose and syndicate, but not command or frame. For such activists, action is part of their daily lives, which they represent in their blogs as a multidimensional whole, not within a boring, limited classic ideological axis.


By replacing dustdry assemblies with blogs, aggregators, and links, by substituting political rallies and banners by rock concerts and selfprinted signboards, the revolution is experienced as something that is joyful, creative, fun, and fulfilling, in a prefiguration of the lifestyle that is being fought for, and the yearnedfor freedom to live that lifestyle. People sign up for a way of life, they place a bet on life. As the great Serbian activist Srdja Popovic said when looking back on what had happened:

- And we won because we loved life more. We decided to love life and you can't beat a life. So this is what Otpor did. We were a group of fans of life. And this is why we succeeded.


The point, once more, is the power that the network gives us to create and demolish myths, to conquer the future by telling stories. Because the revolution and the new freedoms constitute a tale, a beautiful story about a future that becomes real when we believe it, share it, and start to live in it today.


Even more revealing than the forms and languages of the Spring of the Web were the power elites’ failure to grasp what they were coming up against. Given that their antagonists lack a strictly hierarchical structure which supervises and communicates, old organisations feel that they are increasingly inapprehensible. The key to distributed networks lies in their identity, in the existence of a common spirit which netocrats modulate by means of public messages.” (http://deugarte.com/gomi/the-power-of-networks.pdf)


Source: the book, The Power of Networks