Politics 23/10/2017 – Casualties of the Digital Revolution

88 News ssoosay1 Today, the issue is no longer whether we are witnessing the digital revolution, but what the consequences of this revolution are. Many have heralded the Internet as a life-enhancing medium that promotes freedom, a sense of community, democratic participation, social movement mobilization and citizen empowerment beyond the borders of nation states. In an essay discussing the utilization of the Internet in the Chiapas rebellion by the Zapatista National Liberation Army against the Mexican Government, Harry Cleaver wrote that “the primacy of the nation state is being challenged from both above and below”. [i] Moving on to discuss the potential political consequences of transnational networks such as the Internet, he stated that “not only do such networks outflank national government policymakers; they often work directly against their policies”.[ii] These views were expressed in 1998, but they seem to carry relevance some thirteen years later. Recent events in parts of the globe have been interpreted as further validation of this belief that the net acts as a vessel for citizen empowerment and tool for the mobilization of political protest. Optimists were quick to assert the importance of Twitter and Facebook in the Tunisian Revolution and the protests in Egypt. Elsewhere, the power of citizen journalism was providing a more amplified voice to the marginalized in states like Iran. All in all, it seems that these days the scent...

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