The relation of information technology (IT) and more specifically the internet, to politics is a central issue facing contemporary social movements. Like many previous scientific advances the IT innovations have a dual purpose: on the one hand, it has accelerated the global flow of capital, especially financial capital and facilitated imperialist ‘globalization’. On the other hand, the internet has served to provide alternative critical sources of analysis as well as easy communication to mobilize popular movements. The IT industry has created a new class of billionaires, from Silicon Valley in California to Bangalore, India. They have played a central role in the expansion of economic colonialism via their monopoly control in diverse spheres of information flows and entertainment. To paraphrase Marx “the internet has become the opium of the people”. Young and old, employed and unemployed alike spend hours passively gazing at spectacles, pornography, video games, online consumerism and even “news” in isolation from other citizens, fellow workers and employees. In many cases the “overflow” of “news” on the internet has saturated the internet, absorbing time and energy and diverting the ‘watchers’ from reflection and action. Just as too little and biased news by the mass media distorts popular consciousness, too many internet messages can immobilize citizen action. The internet, deliberately or not, has “privatized” political life. Many otherwise potential activists have come to believe that circulating manifestos to other individuals is a political act, forgetting that only public action, including confrontations with their adversaries in public spaces, in city centers and in the countryside, is the basis of political transformations.
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