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Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism

To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution

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Location: Northwest Arkansas, United States

Monday, November 21, 2005

Making Ourselves Ungovernable: Networked Activism and Decentralized Resistance

An excellent post by John Mendel at Land&Liberty on the potential for networked activism. He quotes a 1996 Rand study by John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt on the subject. The same principal authors did another study for Rand in 1998, The Zapatists "Social Netwar" in Mexico, MR-994-A (1998), which expressed some alarm over the prospects of such decentralized resistance techniques, in terms reminiscent of Samuel Huntington's panic over the "crisis of governability" in the 1970s.

Here's what I wrote about the Fonfeldt/Arquilla assessment in an earlier blog post, "Fighting the Domestic Enemy: You"

Even before the post-Seattle movement caused such panic, RAND analysts were expressing grave concern over the possibilities of decentralized "netwar" techniques for undermining elite control. David Ronfeldt saw ominous signs of such a broader movement in the global political support network for the Zapatistas. Loose, ad hoc coalitions of affinity groups, organizing through the Internet, could throw together large demonstrations at short notice, and "swarm" the government and mainstream media with phone calls, letters, and emails far beyond their capacity to absorb.... These were, in fact, the very methods later used at Seattle and afterward. Decentralized "netwar," the stuff of elite nightmares, was Huntington's "crisis of governability" on steroids.



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