Week 9 – Micropolitics, Networks, Designing for and Living in New Communities
Over the past few years when I surf the net (especially social media network like Facebook and twitter) I always notice a growing trend that heaps people forming groups (or so-called online communities), trying their best dealing with political and expressing their own point of view in regards to that. Not until now after I get in touch with the week9 materials of my uni course Arts3091, I finally realised that this kind of trend could be described as Micropolitics.
During this week’s tutorial of the course, we came to investigate the nature of micropolitics and of course, a few key terms that explain the concepts behind the trend.
The key term that was introduced was “Swarm Politics”. When individual knowingly or unknowingly acted on mass, as a “swarm”, they could hence start a countercultural revolution (nowadays mostly kickstart online) that could possibly transform our society. This countercultual revolution was described as the “rhizomatic meshwork of loosely affiliate struggle”. When struggle were aligned they could have the ability to shatter the “guo” (government use only).
Micropolitcs is always about the “Power of Small”. No matter the scale of the micropolitics is small, or whether it is located on the “right” or “left” of the political spectrum, it always processes in a transversal way, as well as activating the “affective potential of the interval between feeling and doing”.
Yet, in contrary sometimes the revolutions started by “Swarm Politics” were restricted or hindered by the big organisations. The article by Rushkoff mentions nowadays internet doesn’t fully allow people to express their own point of view due to the restriction and laws that were carried out by some governments. Many of us may always dream of start some revolutions that could restore peer-to-peer commerce, culture, and government. Yet the truth is that the current internet system is basically built on a fundamentally hierarchical architecture, in which bigger corporations are used to be the one who control and dominate it. The corporate-government banishment of Wikileaks, as well as the shutting off its networks to stave off revolution in Egypt may be the best examples to explain the cruel facts.
A similar case is happening in my country China. It is no doubt that, with the increased internet usage in China, the country is indeed enjoying some tremendous benefits in social, economic and many other aspects. Yet, we could often hear from news reports that the Chinese government is still maintaining a tight control over the telecommunications industry and the public Internet use by its internet censorship system. The most latest big news regarding the China’s internet censorship issue was obviously the closing down of Google China in early 2010. I always wonder, will the increased internet use provide possibilities for China to become a truly democratic country, or will it the contrary sustain a nationalist supported authoritarianism that may hinder its people to fully get in touch with the global information forever?
I can say I am lucky. As a Hong Kong resident I can still enjoy a certain level of freedom of speech under the “One country, Two Systems” (A system that ensure HK can retain its established system under a high degree of autonomy for at least 50 years after reunification to China in 1997). Yet this unique system will be going to its end 36 years later. What will happen? Is Hong Kong going to be a place without democratic at that time? No one knows. But hopefully China will carefully think about it in the coming 30 years. May God bless my homeland.
Terranova, T (2004) ‘From Organisms to Multitudes’ In Network Culture: Politics for the Information Age, London: Pluto: 101-106
Manning, E (2009) ‘From Biopolitics to the Biogram, or How Leni Riefenstahl Moves through Fascism’ in Relationscapes