I’m going to quote and respond to a few key points now.
People, yes, do have a right to separate from mainstream society and live the way they please, it’s not something to marvel at when an event like the Tarnac crackdown happens. The pattern goes like this. An alternative culture gets some radical insight, decides it wants to break out of society and does so in a way that’s immediately, easily identifiable. Again, they have every right to do this. But it shouldn’t surprise anyone when the equivalent of shouting to the people and ideas running the show “hey bastards, we’re here!” gets a backlash. Well, what do they expect?
I disagree. The best argument the French authorities seemed to have here was that by throwing away their mobile phones, this group was trying to drop off-the-grid and be untrackable; ie by ‘hiding’, they’re Terrorists. When actually all they were doing was trying to live out their ideal utopia in a peaceful manner.
I think they didn’t shout “We’re Here!” loudly enough. What they should have done is be far more public. Showcase their revolution-in-living with blogs; get testaments from the much happier locals. In short, make it cool and appealing to the greater public.
Status quo literally means “where things stand.” Said dominant cliques and cultural institutions “stand” and clawed to the top in the first place because they’re very, very good at handling straight-up, blatant opposition. If alt cultures put more energy into building political connections or spreading in a manner less separatist and more viral or developing tactics to deal with this kind of response, the future would be closer already.
Again, I think demonstrating loudly and publicly that an alternate way can exist is a far better response to ‘working within the System’. Be the Leader and the rest will follow. Make it cool, and they will beg to join. Imagine some bastard hybrid of this scenario and Big Brother. Not only should the Revolution Be Televised, it should be the highest rating show on the planet!!!
The idea that tech will save us from our sins should itself be a thing of the past.
I don’t think technology itself will save us. But we’ve reached a radical point here; the creation of a technologically-facilitated, global human network. Through social media (twitter, blogs, wikis, forums, etc etc) we can collaborate world-wide and prototype in parallel a wide array of solutions to the world’s problems. All in real-time, with immediate feedback. It’s going to take everyone working together to get us out of this mess.
This time around those who want to build tomorrow need to spend as much time thinking about those old thorny questions of power as new technology. The alternative is that it won’t be “worse before it gets better,” it will just be worse and worse, down into the dust.
I think the politics here comes with the technology. In short, the need for a Managerial Class is eliminated. The hierarchies are collapsed and we can revert to our natural state of individuality and equality.
OK, that’s all I’ve got. I want to thank David for his contributions and insight. I’ve only quoted a fraction of his response; I encourage everyone to click through and read the whole thing.
I hope this is a discussion that continues to occur both publicly on the internet and in private.
We need to understand the potential we have to re-shape things, in light of the changes and challenges ahead of us. Let’s all do our best to make this the best of all possible Futures!