Saturday, 20 June 2009

Communication Revolutionaries

Douglas Carswell co-author of The Plan (buy it - it's great) asks on his blog:

"Do revolutions in communication bring political upheaval? Or is it the other way round?"

My view is that sometimes 'enabling technology' makes revolutions possible that otherwise wouldn't happen. Douglas quotes a few examples on his blog such as cassette tapes in the 1970's being used by the ayatollahs to spread radicalism and text messaging being used to co-ordinate civil upheaval in Lebanon.

For a brief period of time, the revolutionary can start using the new technology, understand it's practical uses and master it before 'the establishment' or the vested interests that support 'the system' realise what is going on.

But once they are aware, and do understand the technology, they can neutralise the short-term temporary advantage that the revolutionary had.


This week in Iran following the miraculous election result, the efforts of the 'revolutionaries' were not shut down the old fashioned way by shooting hundreds of them in the street, but by simply turning off the mobile phone networks and the Internet - thereby stopping people from co-ordinating efforts they nipped the revolution in the bud. The Iranian state learned the lessons from Lebanon.

To me it looks like the state is now going through a 'managed cooling process' by letting protestors take to the streets and chant whatever they want for a while and by attempting to re-direct the anger of the people elsewhere.

It was lovely to see the Ayatollah telling his people yesterday that the election result was fine and asking them to re-direct their anger at Britain. A big crowd duly chanted 'Death to Britain' - how sweet.

We have to guard very carefully against giving the state the power to quell revolution. One reason our country has avoided revolutionary bloodshed is because we effectively do have the opportunity for a bloodless revolution every few years - when we choose to overthrow the government or not.

But imagine if the government:

1) Believed that it was more important that it stayed in control than that the democratic will of the people was allowed.

2) Had control over communication technology.

We would be living in a country like Iran.

Which is why the ID database, govt interception of email and mobile data and Internet control at a UK and European level must be opposed and stopped.

If it isn't, we will have subjugation and eventually, probably - bloodshed.


Anonymous said...

Are we not bordering on having a government that thinks it is more important to stay in control by denying the British people an early elelction? Also if we believe the CSI type programmes - and a lot of us do - don't the government have a certain amount of control over communication technology already.

Crossfire said...

Anon - Yep agree entirely - the question really is how do they use it?

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