Ian Alan Paul on Wed, 18 Jan 2017 17:24:00 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> The Meme Wars

Just two short notes to add to the discussion.

First, even though the alt-right may be driving the discourse, shaping the
debate, and in some sense curtailing/expanding the public's political
imagination, they have yet to become manifest as a power in the streets. At
least for now, the radical left still is the political tendency/community
that is able to mobilize large numbers and tactically determine the
struggle in that sense. The alt-right continues to organize/agitate in this
direction, but so far they have failed and must be confronted whenever they
attempt to do so. If they were ever able to wrest away the radical left's
ownership of the streets, we would be faced with a problem of a much
greater intensity, urgency, and scope.

Second, I don't think they we should cede the "meme magic" entirely to the
alt-right. We can think of much of the Arab Spring (*"We are all Khaled
Said", "كلنا خالد سعيد", "#Jan25"*), Spain's Indignados ("
*#democraciarealya"*, "*#nonosvamos*", *"#15M*"), OWS (*#OWS, "We are the
99%"*), and even more recently Standing Rock (*"Check In at Standing Rock"*)
and Black Lives Matter (*"#BLM", "Hands up Don't Shoot"*, "#icantbreathe",
"#shutitdown") as deeply shaped by similar forces. I think it would be a
mistake to frame any of these phenomena (including Trump and Brexit) as
being *caused* by social media, but these tactics unquestionably shape
events across political spectra and we should remain attentive to them in
the coming months and years, especially as their effects and consequences
become apparent over much longer historical arcs than are easily visible
from the exasperated tempos of election season.


Dr. Ian Alan Paul
Al-Quds Bard College for Arts and Sciences
Abu Dis, Palestine
"History is made by men and women, just
as it can also be unmade and rewritten,
always with various silences and elisions,
always with shapes imposed and
disfigurements tolerated." -Edward Said

On Tue, Jan 17, 2017 at 3:45 AM, C.Robbins <cpr@mindspring.com> wrote:

> Hi David,
> Thx so much for this explication -

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