[iDC] Iran-- Closed Cinemas, A Filtered Internet, Kurastami, Blogging about Sex and Music in Farsi

Ulises Mejias uam2101 at columbia.edu
Thu Jun 18 16:17:33 UTC 2009


Radio, film, and television also served revolutionary purposes at the beginning. And then they
also served counter-revolutionary purposes and were used to alienate people. And then some
other people found some other tools, and so on. I'm not saying there is an evil master plan
with predetermined outcomes and every Internet entrepreneur is part of it, but I think if we
want to change the way we change, we should be able to identify certain cycles and learn
certain lessons from history.

I suppose at the beginning of the day I'm with Ani DiFranco when she says that, in a pinch,
every tool is a weapon if you hold it right. I applaud and celebrate the way people have used
Twitter, Facebook, etc. in Iran, Egypt, Ukraine, Spain, Philippines... But at the end of the day,
however (at least this day!), I'm with Audrey Lord when she says that the Master's tools won't
dismantle the Master's house. Hence my interest in just *beginning* to theorize ways of
un-thinking the network. By the way, I am not interested in a network-free utopia (which as you
suggest, is pretty much an impossibility), but an atopia where un-thinking the network is
possible everywhere. I'm sorry if I can't provide more details here.

Meanwhile, I am NOT suggesting that we should abandon the use of these tools, just that we
should be more critical about their long term potential and the epistemic enslavement they
create. But perhaps this is what history is all about: find a tool, use it, see it being misused,
throw it away, rinse and repeat. I love this quote at the beginning of Hardt and Negri's

"Men fight and lose the battle, and the thing that they fought for comes about in spite of their
defeat, and then it turns out not to be what they meant, and other men have to fight for what
they meant under another name." --William Morris

Now I beg your forgiveness as I return to being a lurker and focus my attention on writing.



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