By Finlay MilesThe last few centuries have seen the rise of truly geopolitical stakes in human relations and discourse. This move towards globalization in not only humanitarian concerns but in general has led to the description of the period we occupy as...
Category: Protest and repression
The internet’s prominence in our daily lives’ is indisputable, it plays a profound role in all aspects of our lives. For instance, the internet allows us to build networks, both on a personal and professional level, and pre-existing friendship ties are strengthened through communication on social media networks. Additionally, the internet provides a platform for businesses and corporations to prosper. It could be said that the internet’s uses are focused on individual and corporate interactions, but this view is what I would consider invalid and outdated. In recent years, a third political dimension has manifested itself. This third political use of the internet aims to tackle global social challenges such as gender inequality, capitalism, and climate change through social movements, which exist, in some form, on the internet.
photo: AAP (Joe Castro) by Jessica Peacock Social media are the defining characteristic of the late modern world. The constant and unconstrained communication they allow has created a completely new form of society, where people, regardless of time or place, can be...
Three years ago, in light of the case of Brock Turner, women began a long overdue conversation. One that was about shame, privilege and accountability: The culture of rape. Having this discussion, openly and on a public platform was liberating and silencing at the same time. We dealt with backlash from the media and their all-too-common recycled narrative. They framed the aggressor as the victim, by privilege of his gender and to an extent race, a Stanford kid with a bright future and aspirations who could be “severely impacted by jail” as the judge stated. And the actual victim as a naïve girl who should have known better. Despite all the commotion and rage around the case, he only got six months of jail for a crime that under US Federal Law, was punishable, given the specific circumstances, for 15 years behind the bars. But justice can bend when the situation’s right. When the aggressor does not fit the profile of a criminal and the victim is deemed untrustworthy. So, instead of a fair sentence, they gave him six months. Six months, which later on turned into three. And nothing more. The narrative always follows the plot and, in most scenarios, we are never victorious.
We have seen a change in protests from the days of the civil rights movement of the 60s. Today, protests are digitally enhanced with activists able to connect instantly across geographical borders, sharing images and stories of injustices and easily rallying global masses to a cause. The Zapatistas have been termed the ‘first information social movement’ (Edwards,2014,169) due to their use of the internet to spread their message, and today technological developments aid activists in a multiplicity of ways as seen with Occupy Wall Street. But with news of the removal of Net Neutrality in the US, questions have been raised whether this is an attempt at internet censorship and if so, whether this will have a detrimental effect on our online political freedoms.
You probably brush your teeth with a multinational conglomerate; hear from friends through a tech giant and drive using a horizontally integrated car firm. That is because corporations, those powerful social and economic institutions, have become embedded in our modern lives. We occasionally like to ask whether this is right, whether society should allow corporations to have more power and influence than our governments. We take to Twitter, rant on Facebook and document on Snapchat. As will be noted here, this sometimes leads to mobilising at a physical protest, too. After all, only our governments are (democratically) elected, and only they are designed to maximise social welfare, so upholding them against the motives of corporations doesn’t seem like a bad idea. Rightly or wrongly, corporations will always pursue profit. That is their nature, their design and it is wonderfully predictable. It is why economists are always quoted as saying that profit maximisation is the ‘aim’ of a corporation, because it is what evidence predominately suggests – not what economists prescribe corporations to do.
As the sociologist and political theorist Karl Marx stated, “[…]the emancipation of the working class must be the act of the working class[…]”1. Revolution is characterized as resistance from below against a pervasive power system. Thus, technically the only way a ‘true’ proletarian (working-class) revolution will be achieved is through grassroots movements, therefore my question is somewhat a paradox. What I mean is, has a profit-obsessed neoliberal system subjugated and divided the poorest in society to a point where unity that could lead to revolution is not currently possible? It is my contention that revolution is entirely possible and necessary for upholding equality; however, this must come hand in hand with a movement from above — the capitalist system will have to be weakened. This perhaps also means the reliance upon individual forms of rebellion, such as non-consuming, and the system ‘eating itself’ through overproduction, greed, and reliance on crises.
The ‘March For Our Lives’ and ‘Never Again’ – campaigns, fighting for gun control as a response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, have dominated international news recently. In March, events in favour of these movements were held in over 800 locations across the globe, demonstrating how this movement has managed to gather force in areas far beyond the US. What is it about this time that caused the issue to come to such a head when gun violence has existed as a prominent issue in the US for such a long time?
by Maeve CarrollEditor update: This article was selected as runner up in our 2018 Blog Prize competition. Well done Maeve.The ‘Me Too’ campaign has been one of the most publicised global protests in the last year. Women were empowered, and the taboo subject of sexual...
Any large-scale protest is a powerful tool. In England, the history of popular protests reaches way back into the 13th century. Back then, protests were more violent than now, which could be a reason for their effectiveness. Throughout modern history, social movements have been taking different forms, and as people gained more rights, these movements became more peaceful. This blog post is going to focus on the transition of global movements, from hunger strikes to protest on Twitter and Facebook; how these adaptations changed the effectiveness of protesting; and how long social media are going to be a platform for them.