Communication Commons

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Dorothy Kidd:

"The Honduran Network of Indigenous and Garífuna Radios, and MediACT, represent two distinct opportunities to analyze how the ‘communication commons’ counters capitalism’s attempts to ‘enclose’ airwaves, bandwidths and cyberspace, just as it once enclosed the collective lands of the rural commons (Kidd, 1998; Dyer-Witheford, 1999). The Honduran Network extendsback to more than a century of struggles over the enclosure of rural indige-nous land, airwaves and cyberspace. It extends what autonomist Marxist Harry Cleaver called the ‘electronic fabric of struggle,’ made famous by internet-based transnational support for the Mexican Zapatistas who had challenged land enclosures enacted by NAFTA in 1994 (Cleaver, 1994)." (

South Korea

Dorothy Kidd:

"During the same decade, labor, student and independent media movements in South Korea adapted advanced information technologies that were once disseminated by corporations and the military as part of the South Korean state’s development of a high-tech export economy. MediACT designed its media center as a hub for the creation of an autonomous cultural infrastructure for the production and exhibition of independent film, and for the expansion of critical media literacy, in order to operationalize what Dyer-Witheford called a ‘communications commonwealth’ (see Kidd,1998, p. 222). At MediACT in January 2005, during the international seminar entitled‘Theoretical Studies on New Strategies for Media and ICT’s for Social Movements,’ we discussed the commons and autonomist communications, as well as a second approach to political strategy and radical democracy. Across language barriers and through available texts, we discussed the framework of dominant and oppositional ‘public spheres.’

Dongwon Jo, then the directorof research at MediACT, presented a paper entitled ‘Social Media, Com-munications System and Communication Rights.’ He described MediACT’ssupport for media literacy, and the efforts of educators, independent mediaproducers and media policy advocates. Media education was necessary to foster awareness of people’s rights to communicate, and to encourage themto participate as critics and producers within public spheres. Independent media were important for articulating and representing claims within thedominant public sphere, especially from new social actors who had emergedfrom the crises of the neoliberal period. Facing resistance from the state’sand the dominant public sphere’s allocation of public resources, these newlyemerging groups often had to represent their claims in terms of ‘rights’ inorder for dominant groups to accept them (Hadl, 2005).As a rejoinder, I presented Nancy Fraser’s idea of ‘recognition,’ derived from the practices of ‘subaltern counter-public spheres.’ She described how members of subordinated groups invent and circulate counter discourses,‘which in turn permit[s] them to formulate oppositional interpretations of their identities, interests and needs’ (Fraser, 1993, p. 14). This process mustbe linked to the politics of redistribution, in which claims to resource redistribution are made (Fraser & Honneth, 2003, pp. 1–5).

Below, we will see how MediACT and the Honduran Network share a common praxis, which combines the four dimensions of rights, representation, recognition and redistribution." (

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