Felix Stalder on Sun, 12 Feb 2012 12:12:45 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> ACTA Act

Like 10'000s of people across Europe, I spent a few freezing hours
yesterday at the local anti-ACTA rally. Vienna in my case. Even the
police estimated the turn-out to be around 3500 people, which is about
10 times the number I expected before hand.

The event was very 'young male geek' oriented, with a few sprinkles
of diversity, mainly some political parties, including some some
right wing fringe parties I had never heard of before, and sizable
contingent of young people who were hard to pin-point in terms of
their appearance. Normal, like the confused lookers-on who had their
Saturday afternoon shopping interrupted by people chanting obscure
acronyms. How about âACTA AD ACTAâ as rousing slogan?

It's amazing to see that after 10-15 years of arguing these things
in relative obscurity, they have hit the mainstream. It strikes me
more than ever that there is a big generational divide between those
who take Internet culture as common sense and those for whom it's
weird, or, at least new, in comparison to an old common sense. For
the first group, ACTA is both very personal â since it's interferes
with their intimate day-to-day environment â and also symptomatic
for corruptness of the entire system as they suddenly have come to
understand it, by coming of age during the crisis. For the other
group, it's a minor abstract issue, and, by and large, business as
usual, simply confirming their well-honed cynicism.

Every generation needs a political fight that allows them to relate
politics to their personal life and experience how power interferes
in their own everyday world, rather than understanding it as some
far-way abstraction. I think for a whole generation, these types
of demonstrations and all the stuff that happens before and after,
is doing just that. The financial crisis â arguably the more
relevant issue â is too big and too abstract. In this light, I
think phenomena like anonymous â the black block of this movement
â is playing an important role, less as an organization, but more
as an experience of radicalization at attunes people to politics in a
contemporary mode and in their own words, rather than through critical
frameworks of the previous generation.

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