Freedom Technologists and the Future of Global Justice

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* Essay: Freedom Technologists and the Future of Global Justice. John Postil. 'The State of Power 2016', TNI, 2016



"In the wake of popular uprisings such as the Arab Spring, Spain’s indignados, or the global Occupy movement, many commentators were quick to either invoke the presumed tech-savvy of “digital natives” or the purported “cyber-utopianism” of net freedom advocates who supported the protests. Yet not enough serious attention has been paid to the contribution of freedom technologists to ongoing struggles for progressive political change around the world. To address this neglect, in this essay I review some of the recent political successes and setbacks of freedom technologists of various kinds (geeks, hackers, online journalists, digital rights lawyers, Pirate politicians, etc.) in three countries that experienced mass protests following the global financial crisis of 2008: Iceland, Tunisia and Spain. I conclude by drawing attention to an unresolved issue in most freedom technologists’ projects – namely how to reconcile the pursuit of liberty with that of social justice – with Spain as a curious exception worthy of closer inspection."