Back in the days of the Howard Dean campaign, it seemed that the political left had a near-monopoly on brilliant, technologically sophisticated "netroots" activists, a situation that carried over to the Obama campaigns. But by 2016, the Pepe-slinging alt-right showed that earlier right-wing cybermilitias weren't just warmed over jokes with an unhealthy appreciation for Conservapedia -- they, too, could fight effectively by forming decentralized open source insurgencies that allowed autonomous activists and groups to change the political landscape.
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Though the crimes and abuses of the GW Bush era seem almost quaint in comparison to the trumpist agenda, the Bush actions spawned a new kind of protest movement, the first mature, networked resistance, which tried (unsuccessfully) to haul the Democratic Party away from finance-oriented neoliberalism and into a labor-oriented, diverse, racially aware left wing opposition party. Read the rest
Doubtless you've laughed at the ideological war between the Judean People's Front and the People's Front of Judea
. I laughed along with you: having grown up in politics, I know firsthand about the enmities that fester between groups that should be allies -- groups whose differences can only be parsed after months of study, but who are seemingly more at odds with one another than their obvious political opponents on the "other side" of the debate.
Bruce Sterling's characteristically acerbic remarks on the US election gets to a really important point: internet-based movements have been amazing at tearing down corrupt establishment system, but have failed (so far) to create the kinds of stable governance structures that build up something better from the ruins. Read the rest
Netroots movements -- grassroots programmers who pitch in on political campaigns -- have been significant factors in US electoral campaigns since the Howard Dean era, and indeed, some of the key players from that era are still deeply involved in campaign tech, but the netroots that's pulling for the Sanders campaign is a significant advance on the netroots of years gone by. Read the rest