The vast, coordinated protests that occurred february 15th worldwide were just the latest manifestation of the power of the loose, non-hierarchial, evolutionary movements that have been enabled by the development of the Internet. And this fundamental social change is just beginning. Between twelve and twenty million people around the world took to the streets to protest the rush to war with Iraq. While the numbers of people involved inthe global demonstrations will never be fully known, what is clear is that these were the largest co-ordinated protests in human history.
Yet the question of how these demonstrations came about has been conspicuously absent from discussion of this momentous event. What group is capable of organising such a co-ordinated human effort on such a vast scale How can so many people from so many backgrounds in so many places work together in such a focused way towards a common goal? And why were politicians, media analysts and even the local organisers themselves so surprised at the vast scale of the protests? What's going on here?
In millions upon millions of daily creative acts and informational transactions, the online community by-pass conventional media and economics to create what is almost a parallel world. It's not an exact representation of the real world, but then neither is the conventional media and economy.
The Internet can be called a 'meta-medium'. It IS text, but it is more than text. It IS radio, but it is more than radio. It IS television, but more than television. It in fact encompasses all electronic media and more. While bandwidth restrictions constrain the possibilities of the Internet, it is already possible to see an end point in which all electronic content forms are immediately publishable by anyone and accessible to everyone, always and everywhere.
Thanks to only a few decades of mass media, human perspective has become homogenised to a greater extent than ever before, a homogenisation that is reflected in sport, in culture, in politics and in the economy. But by undermining and subverting this 'official view' of how things are, the Internet and the movements that grow from it are fundamentally changing the way in which we see the world, and thus are changing the world itself. The medium is indeed the message and just because the stock market drastically and myopically misunderstood the meaning of the Internet does not mean that it is anything less than revolutionary.
Another world is not only possible -its happening. >from *The Rise of Open Source, Network-Based Movements By Graham Caswell*. Indymedia, february 19, 2003
> 'sync. the emerging science of spontaneous order' by steven strogatz. how spontaneous order emerges from chaos. march, 2003
> unraveling the mysteries of the connected age by duncan j. watts. february 14, 2003. essay adapted from 'six degrees: the science of a connected age.' how does individual behavior aggregate to collective behavior? the coming of a new science, the science of networks.>
> uniting with only a few random links: small-world networking in simulations. february 4, 2003
> poly-morphic systems