A Reply to Whiting on Strangelove


Sender: "Michael Strangelove" <•••@••.•••>

In reply to John Whiting's insightful comments,

"Cyberspace, however, is only a means of communication through which
such forces [state and corporate] can operate. In itself, it has no
direct power for good or evil, unless one is convinced that, like
Scientology, it exerts some sort of hypnotic influence."

I, of course, must disagree. Cyberspace is a social force on at
least three levels, as a collection of myths and symbols, as an
experience that contradicts the myths of freedom of speech with
democratic societies, and as an ideal (democratized mass
communication). Cyberspace is much more than merely a "means of
communication", or a tool of distribution and production. Within the
context of corporate media culture we find that cyberspace, as the
experience of democratized mass communication, is having the same
effect as previous paradigmatic ideals, such as the equality of the
sexes, the equality of race, and so forth. It is taking its place
along side some of the most powerful historical forces: myth,
imagination, and claims-to-rights.

Of course, few things have power "in itself". The power of cyberspace
is manifested not merely in the still immature direct political
action of its users. It is also manifested in the way it changes the
imagination of the possible within the minds of its users.
Self-determination within the global media sphere of cyberspace
presents a direct threat to social structures held in place by the
control of the imagination through corporate and state media culture.

As to your comment,

"One can speak meaningfully of a conflict of interest or of
jurisdiction between nation-states and multinational corporations
because both are capable of claiming immense power over the lives of
people whom they govern and/or employ."

Keep in mind that I am *proposing* a structural model of the global
political economy that is *not yet present,* but emerging as a
result of the combination of the new media class of the uncensored
self and a new economic force of globalized small business. The
combination of these two cyberspace-based realities should prove
similar to the effect printing had in the years of 1500-1600 when it
was a critical component in creating a new class of merchants who
proceeded to "negotiate" new forms of power sharing concurrent with
the rise of the nation-state.

Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment,


 Posted by Andrew Oram  - •••@••.••• - Moderator: CYBER-RIGHTS (CPSR)
   Cyber-Rights:  http://www.cpsr.org/cpsr/nii/cyber-rights/
   CyberJournal:  (WWW or FTP) --> ftp://ftp.iol.ie/users/rkmoore
 Materials may be reposted in their _entirety_ for non-commercial use.