Net Politics Cybersalon: 24 April 2013 from 7pm.
From The Californian Ideology to UK student protests, the rise of
Italy’s Five Star Movement and Bitcoin this month’s Cybersalon is
looking at how new media have inspired new forms of activism over the
past two decades. We will explore the transformative possibilities of
the next wave of technological innovation.
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In his 1996 ‘Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace’, John Perry
Barlow announced the coming of a hi-tech utopia where rugged
individualists would escape from the stifling controls and onerous taxes
of national governments into a borderless and deregulated virtual world.
Over the past two decades, this seductive mix of hippie and
entrepreneurial libertarianism codified in the Californian Ideology has
dominated our understanding of the political impact of the Net. Left or
Right, mainstream and alternative, mass connectivity is still celebrated
as the technological antidote to the multiple failings of Westminster
politics from voter apathy to out-of-touch MPs.
While deep scepticism is required about the predictions of dotcom
boosters, no one can deny that the rapid diffusion of social media has
enabled much more participatory forms of campaigning, organising and
From the Arab Spring to the Five Star Movement in Italy, citizens have
bypassed the old party structures to create their own autonomous groups.
As in Athens, Madrid or New York, London’s anti-austerity protesters are
tech-savvy and always on-line.
In Bitcoin, hackers now believe that they have discovered a way of
liberating money from the clutches of the power elite. The Net is still
only a toddler, but it has already established itself as the people’s
forum for political debate and decision-making.
With the status-quo seemingly no longer viable, the collaborative
experience of social media should now inspire an emancipatory vision of
what it means to be a citizen in 21st century Europe. What are the
lessons of Then and Now that we can apply confidently when we’re
anticipating the future of Net Politics?
Richard Barbrook – University of Westminster politics lecturer,
co-author of The Californian Ideology and author of Imaginary Futures –
will trace the evolution of dotcom neo-liberalism from the
techno-utopian early-1990s to today’s more austere times.
Amir Taaki – open source programmer, co-founder of the Bitcoin
Consultancy project development and principal of Intersango, a Bitcoin
exchange – will explain how Bitcoin challenges the monetary hegemony of
both big banks and big government. https://intersango.com/
Jamie Bartlett – the Head of Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at
the Demos think-tank – will describe how the electoral success of the
Five Star movement in Italy was achieved through the intelligent use of
on-line campaigning, the subject of his recent study.
Claire Solomon – the ex-president of ULU during the 2010 student
protests, editor of the book Springtime: The New Student Rebellions and
now runs the radical Firebox cafe in King’s Cross – will describe how
the participatory structure of the Net is inspiring new methods and
ideas of political campaigning. http://fireboxlondon.net
Paolo Gerbaudo teaches at Kings College, University of London and is
author of Tweets and the Streets: social media and contemporary
See you there!
Audio recordings, tweet timeline and transcript of the discussion will
be available after each event.
Entrance is free but please book on http://cybersalon.eventbrite.co.uk/
6.30pm: doors open and drinks
Discussion: 7.00 – 9.00 pm.
Followed by drinks in the pub: The Slaughtered Lamb.
The Arts Catalyst,
50-54 Clerkenwell Road,
London EC1M 5PS
Tubes: Old St/ Barbican
Barclays Bikes: Right outside the venue
Arts Catalyst is next to Foxtons on Clerkenwell Road.
School of Media & Performing Arts, Middlesex University:
Easynet Global Services: http://www.easynet.com/
We hope you can make it!