Comments: Is Web 2.0 a manifesto for anarchism?

Excellent post, David.

I have only just stumbled over your blog and it looks like an exceptionally good read...something to enjoy I think.


Posted by Amitai Givertz at July 14, 2007 3:18 PM

This is quite ridiculous. You can't have anything close to Anarchy through a computer screen - it is an image, a SPECTACLE (Guy Debord's "Society of the Spectacle"). If the old Anarchists were alive today they would have nothing to do with the internet - there's no relationships derived from it, except those dictated by images, and there is no community, whatever you'd like to say. Anyone who has experienced community would be sickened to find people talking of web 2.0 being community.
We need real life interaction - that in itself, when not dictated by the spectacle, is Anarchy! Anarchy in action is action - anarchy in action is autonomous action for self liberation, period.
From Your Side of the Cage,
Comrade BenPeridol

Posted by BenPeridol at July 21, 2007 9:35 PM

Thanks for this comment, which I feel like responding to at several levels.

1. "Ridicule is nothing to be scared of," as one would-be dandy once said.

2. I made my way from beginning to end of "Society of the Spectacle" about 20 years ago: it wasn't fun, and I didn't feel much wiser at the end... I do, however, have Raoul Vaneigem's "Revolution of Every Day Life" on my shelf of books to read at some point. I hope it will be more engaging.

3. I'm suspicious of those who presume to judge, from outside, what interactions count as 'real life' and which do not. The assertion that someone else's consciousness is false is an attempt to gain power over them by denying their experience and asserting yours as superior. That's a slippery slope. As a participant in this interaction, how does it feel to you? To me it feels, well, a bit 'thin' perhaps, but no less real for that.

4. The capital A in Anarchy - when did anarchism get so ossified that we had to refer back to the old texts to check ourselves against the authority of the "old Anarchists" (= dead white males + Emma Goldman)? Maybe that's at the root of our differences, because I'm interested in small a anarchy that is always provisional and contingent on the circumstances in which it finds itself (while being aware of, but not in hock to, its predecessors).

(4a. Example: the cover image of "Society of the Spectacle" speaks to the kind of society that Debord was railing against; but that is emphatically not an image of Web 2.0 society. The problem has moved on, so must we.)

5. I've sent you a MySpace friends request.

I'd be pleased to discuss this further.

Thanks again, David

Posted by David Jennings at July 22, 2007 12:27 AM

This book has an interesting thesis.

Also some interesting commentary. For instance, the assessment that there can be no literal human connection when using a computer screen. Due to the Internet, more people are becoming incapable of understanding human relationships, so the "human connection" part of anarchy is lost in the Internet world.

Anarchy also means the lack of standards that are provided by "the pyramid" model referenced in the comments on this blog. To me, anarchy provides justification for the student in a class who argues that it is okay to have no rules and referees in a football game, so players are allowed to break each other's necks - to murder.

Anarchy ignores the respect of human life. The Internet, devoid of true human connections, encourages human dis-respect because the association or connection is with a "thing" - the computer and humanism is not being separated from the "thing."

Posted by Doug at July 24, 2007 4:02 PM

You've got some pretty sweeping claims there, Doug.

Can you provide any substantial evidence to support your statements about the causal links between the internet, human relationships and anarchy?

Can you cite any examples of people who call themselves anarchists, and are recognised as such by peers and other parties, and who use anarchism to justify murder on the sports field?

I shall be astonished if you can.

I know there are people who feel the need to fearmonger and fabricate to warn people away from anarchy with fanciful allegations. I can't help wondering whether they know that their own power and influence would not withstand any scrutiny that anarchy might encourage. I urge you not be taken in by them, and to put the same challenges to them as I have put to you.

Posted by David Jennings at July 24, 2007 4:46 PM

Hey David!

I am actually reading "Wikinomics" and after the first 15 pages I thought: "This is anarchism and it's working!". I googled if anybody saw that connection, too. I stumbled upon this post and really enjoyed it. Thank you very much.


Posted by Nik at August 1, 2010 11:38 PM

Good post...

Posted by Jake Brown at June 27, 2011 8:26 AM
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