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Decentralization / Super-Centralization Clash and Social Movements: Turkey Case (#DirenGezi #ResistGezi)
Transcript of Decentralization / Super-Centralization Clash and Social Movements: Turkey Case (#DirenGezi #ResistGezi)
23 June 2013
There is a profound tension between the very structure of Internet based upon decentralization (open, distributed, global, interactive) and super-centralization (close, controlled, secured, monitored) tendencies. This supercentralia is the state of affairs and realm where national states and other international power mechanisms become, through state-of-the-art and radically enhanced control, surveillance and manipulation technologies, qualitatively more powerful and intrusive than the current legal systems would customarily allow (a paralegislative transition phase where proper legislation lags behind)… Super-centralization tendency manifest itself as the neo-corporatist security islands in the decentralized network structure, like Cloud Computing, Fabric Computing, Internet of Things (ontologies), new military-industry complexes, giant multination security, surveillance and spying industry…
At the opposite side, there are new players in the game, enacted asymmetrically by the deep decentralization of this new world: Digital activism, leakers / whistleblowers, leak journalism, citizen journalism, dusk computing / lurkers, hacktivists… and, of course, the people empowered by these new comers…
The rules of the game are changed. After 2008, we witnessed a new vague of dissidence coming: WikiLeaks, Arab Spring, Los Indignados, Occupy Movement, … and finally Turkey resistance… What happened (and happen yet) in Turkey gives us a unique example to comprehend the profound relation between social movements and communication through the Internet intimate dynamics and especially social media. During this presentation, we will focus, in the theoretical framework concerning the intimate structure and the new tendencies of the Internet world, on the Turkey case and on the innovative usage of social media for resistance…
U.S., UN & ITU
Digital Millenium Copyright Act
Global Security and Intelligence Industry
Nokia Siemens Networks
GSM Tactical Interception
Tactical GPS Tracking
Music, Movie & Publishing Industries
Banc of America
the rules of global game
"The rules of global game is changing… In this game, governments and multinational corporations are not the only players anymore. New and unsolicited players entering to the game. There are new and powerful players of information in the game; represented by WikiLeaks, they exposes the dirty secrets of power spots subverting the corporate and industrial media order, bypassing them, breaking the barriers of information circulation. More importantly, the people is again in the game. We will remember Arab Spring as a very powerful moment in the history in which, after a long period, the peoples entering in to the historical stage unexpectedly and, in particular, unsoliciteadly. These new powers, of course, are closely related to the networking technologies, particularly the Internet. People now have new powers: coming together and disband very quickly; showing unpredictable patterns of behavior through decentralized organizational processes; rendering internal and external communication unstoppable; creating global support for their local actions; influencing global public opinion with their global communication capabilities and creating an unprecedented pressure mechanism on their governments; and, above all, rendering countries transparent to the world by destroying the walls of oppression…"
Özgür Uçkan & Cemil Ertem,
Wikileaks: Yeni Dünya Düzenine Hogeldiniz (WikiLeaks: Welcome to the New World Order), Etkileşim, 2011, p. 18)
"The words 'community' and 'communication' have the same root. Wherever you put a communications network, you put a community as well. And whenever you take away that network — confiscate it, outlaw it, crash it, raise its price beyond affordability — then you hurt that community."
Bruce Sterling ,
The Hacker Crackdown, 1994
"Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather."
John Perry Barlow,
A Cyberspace Independence Declaration, 1996
Mutual Learning Process:
A first in relatively brief history of Internet: Egyptian government shut down the Internet (and mobile phone services, all voice and data communication through these channels) at the night of 27 September 2011! I.e., all communications beside Satellite communication that they couldn't control… The country becomes a dark hole on the global network up to 2 February 2011.We know that an even a very brief cut in the Internet can harm seriously one country’s economy.
Qaddafi's Libya is engaging in the strategy that Mubarak's Egypt used to little effect.
Did this precaution worked? Not exactly.Egyptians by-passed the shut-down using low tech solutions (using decentralized networks build on Internet fax bridges, ham radios, satellite phones etc.)The new-kind organizations like Telecomix, Chaos Computer Club and Anonymous empower the dissidents to use untraceable encryption technologies...Dissident information keeps flow through networks of people.
Network theory predicated that: Communication is basic to all kind of social movements, especially the revolutions...
"Most of us know that a spider is a creature with eight legs coming out of a central body. With a magnifying glass, we can see that a spider also has a tiny head and eight eyes. (…) If you chop off the spider's head, it dies. It could maybe survive without a leg or two, and could possibly even stand to lose a couple of eyes, but it certainly couldn't survive without its head. (…) At first glance, a starfish is similar to a spider in appearance. Like the spider, the starfish appears to have a bunch of legs coming out of a central body. But that's where the similarities end. See, the starfish is Tom Nevins's kind of animal—it's decentralized. With a spider, what you see is pretty much what you get. A body's a body, a head's a head, and a leg's a leg. But starfish are very different. The starfish doesn't have a head. Its central body isn't even in charge. In fact, the major organs are replicated throughout each and every arm. If you cut the starfish in half, you'll be in for a surprise: the animal won't die, and pretty soon you'll have two starfish to deal with. ”
Ori Brafman & Rod A. Beckstrom,
The Starfish And the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations, Penguin, 2006, pp. 36-37
Conquistador and Apache:
"By the 1680s, the Spanish forces seemed unstoppable. With the winds of victory at their backs, they headed north and encountered the Apaches. (…) The Spanish lost. They lost to a people who at first seemed primitive. Unlike the Aztecs and the Incas, the Apaches hadn't put up a single pyramid, paved a single highway, or even built a town to speak of. More important for the conquistadors than pyramids or high-ways, the Apaches also had no gold. So, instead of pillaging, the Spanish tried to turn these people into Catholic farmers by forcing them to adopt an agrarian lifestyle and converting them to Christianity. Some of the Apaches did in fact take up rake and hoe, but the vast majority resisted. Not only did they resist, but they actively fought back—raiding everything in sight that was remotely Spanish. (…) "By the late seventeenth century, the Spanish had lost effective control of northern Sonora and Chihuahua to the Apaches. The Apaches had successfully wrested control of North Mexico—not that it was ever their desire to do so." This wasn't a single accidental victory, however. The Apaches continued to hold off the Spanish for another two centuries. It wasn't that the Apaches had some secret weapon that was unknown to the Incas and the Aztecs. Nor had the Spanish army lost its might. No, the Apache defeat of the Spanish was all about the way the Apaches were organized as a society. The Apaches persevered because they were decentralized."
Ori Brafman & Rod A. Beckstrom, pp. 21 -23
The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organisations:
“We look for hierarchy all around us. Whether we're looking at a Fortune 500 company, an army, or a community, our natural reaction is to ask, "Who's in charge? "This book is about what happens when there's no one in charge. It's about what happens when there's no hierarchy. You'd think there would be disorder, even chaos. But in many arenas, a lack of traditional leadership is giving rise to powerful groups that are turning industry and society upside down. In short, there's a revolution raging all around us. (…) Decentralization has been lying dormant for thousands of years. But the advent of the Internet has unleashed this force, knocking down traditional businesses, altering entire industries, affecting how we relate to each other, and influencing world politics. The absence of structure, leadership, and formal organization, once considered a weakness, has become a major asset. Seemingly chaotic groups have challenged and defeated established institutions. The rules of the game have changed.”
Ori Brafman & Rod A. Beckstrom, pp. 11 - 13
Eight Principles of Decentralization:
1. When attacked, a decentralized organization tends to become even more open and decentralized.
2. It's easy to mistake starfish for spiders.
3. An open system doesn't have central intelligence; the intelligence is spread throughout the system.
4. Open systems can easily mutate.
5. The decentralized organization sneaks up on you.
6. As industries become decentralized, overall profits de-crease.
7. Put people into an open system and they'll automatically want to contribute.
8. When attacked, centralized organizations tend to become even more centralized.
new technologies of censorship, control and oppression
new counter-technologies of participation, transparency and privacy…
"the future history of dissidence"
current landscape: a transition period
various power struggles get crushed one after another as a result of the new communications technologies, superstructures and emerging attitudes;
the heavy hand of the distinctly more powerful side does not necessarily mean a surefire victory over the lesser opponent, we get used more and more to the new concept of asymmetry;
the battle fields is becoming increasingly leveled, and ever so, but not depending on the size and resources of the players;
this can be also observed in case of operational communications, information gathering, surveillance, tracking, processing, dissemination of information/disinformation, social engineering, propaganda machination, and other similar activities...
"authorities" change... governance/accountability/transparency, globalization/interconnection, decentralization, massive/real time information processing capabilities, massive/real time surveillance (total surveillance space - total CCTV space: ALL streets, facilities, buildings, elevators, etc.), objectification (e-government: no need for human intermediaries during transactions), mechanization (call centers > no human "managers" available)
"individuals" change... extended existence in the cyberspace (accounts/passwords, exposure, socializing, massive/real time information access, communities/connectivity, flash mob formation, mobility)
"platforms" change... conventional media gives way to Internet media, citizen journalism, real time dissemination, mobility, convergence, cloud computing (i.e. centralization tendency, ii. complexity -of maintenance of technology based, interconnected but still insular microworlds- is too difficult to overcome)
yes, the “center” transforms, too; but with a caveat!
even if the power mechanisms themselves catch up with the realities of the day as imposed by the new technological milieu, and are forced, for example, to become more decentralized and distributed, they still take all the necessary measures -although the latest events proved that they were lagging far behind in that respect- to process information and govern centrally: any nervous system is, by definition, central (q.e.d.)
Internet: two antagonistic, but cohabited tendencies
decentralization: Internet structure - decentralized, distributed, global, interactive...
supercentralization: (super)centralized, closed, controlled, secured (neo)corporate islands on the Net - cloud computing, fabric computing, Internet of things (ontologies), surveillance and control technologies...
probably since the dawn of mankind, the individual vis a vis the "authorities" has, however, to its disposal a very powerful, and by nature, an asymmetrical tool to fight back: dissidence!
impromptu or organized, of whatsoever kind...
dissidence is our vital source to create, that is, to patch up new "realities" and transcend beyond the "given";
this creativity comes usually in the shadows of conflicts, tensions, cracks, disapprovals, inconsistencies, disharmonies, pains, derailments, implosions...
hence Minerva's owl begins its flight only in the gathering dusk.
anatomy of dissidence:
two simple points suffice to dissect the concept of dissidence...
1. the right to act dissidently, rebelly, iconoclastically, unorthodoxly is based on the right of the freedom of expression (article 19, the universal declaration of human rights); albeit, physically an extremely tiny, limited space, the hyde park is an omnipresent megasymbol of freedom of expression: its blogosphere counterpart, the cybe(r) park must be established with the same resolution and vigor...
2. dissidence results in creativity (Minerva's owl, "out of the box" thinking, etc.); the diagonally opposite concept, the status quo, is, on the other hand, have minimal utility, if ever...
the new players (in the dissidence game)
toward the "new" turn of the century, because of, especially, the Internet and the potential for decentralization it has been hatching all the way during its deployment, two unexpected and unsolicited new players emerged:
the anonymous, and self-proclaimed leaker (the little brother watching back the Big Brother); that is, the person who, somewhat more equipped than the whistleblowing role model of the past, turns around, asymmetrically, the intelligence and surveillance mechanisms against the authorities, and makes use of the same dissemination platforms -which are used by the Big Brother- for purposes of some deliberate dissidence...
the other player is the lurker: usually, a community platform (of the scientists/technologists -technorati) on the Net, again self-proclaimed, for promoting and facilitating leakers to do their job, in a safe and secure environment; the lurker depends on dusk computing (distinct from malware or dark computing) which comprises various technologies and communities such as chaosboxes, Tor, Freeeet,Telecomix, WeRebuild.eu, (the latter two are "a group of agents as a method to interact with the European Union and to direct the union towards a more open society") etc...
but the ultimate player - and the star of the show- is the transformed public (flash)power! thanks to memetics, it can emerge spontaneously, and seemingly out of blue, for a cause, becomes visible, makes an impact, and vanishes back into the "dusk" from which it extracted its life energy and was invigorated into existence...
new players in the game
Egypt internet shut-down
“Deep Packet Inspection” (DPI), “real time Internet tracking”
PRISM-kind surveillance systems
Decryption of advanced crypto algorithms using quantum computing and identity tracking, breaking anonymity...
little brother' “Invisible Internet Projects” - IIP:
I2P networks strengthening P2P networks with maximum security and protection of anonymity,
“Virtualization-data haven chaosbox”; blacthrow / ultimate chaosbox,
TOR, PGP, Shields etc...
Little bother uses two technologies against Big Brother initially developed by him:
Dissemination of -dissident- information.
Encryption technologies (This technology, normally used by the Big Brother to hide and protect his own secrets, is turned now against him, helping the dissident to remain anonymous)
The unsolicited and unexpected player, the People is equipped with these technologies offered by the Little Brother.
the hypothesis: there will be no clear winner, ever
however, there will be never a clear winner in this tug-of-war between dissidence and surveillence parties: basically, it is just another escalation game...
compromises? is this really possible?
one thing is indisputable: authorities’ need and appetite for more surveillance “in the name of public good” is clearly a stifling threat for the individual...
however, another development, i.e. the asymmetrical power gained by the individual on the -seemingly- leveled battlefield will be, probably, not welcome by the authorities; the only solution to this problem is, then, to make a compromise and accept a “mutually coordinated supervision” of the stifling and tolerating mechanisms, subject, of course, unavoidably, to applicable jurisdiction...
the inevitable future landscape:
ultimately, technologically everything will be a single system (total convergence) (even if balkanized at national levels)
it seems, as stated above, this single system cannot be allowed, as a matter of fact, to exist outside the national/international "jurisdiction"
on the other hand, the extreme, and fine structured monitoring capabilities are too dangerous to be left to the authorities
the only solution is shared governance of the monitoring process (monimonitoring) and additionally, an allowance must be made for incognito activities (traditional mechanisms allow them, too: e.g. secrecy of the votes, secret ballot, etc.)
probably, however, this central/altercentral effort (altermonitoring: futuristic watchdogging) and the tolerated incognito activities will be not the only game in town
it will be extremely difficult to stop individuals/”communities” to operate in the dusk (incognito) dusk computing (and black computing, i.e. people abusing the “system” for their own interests) will always exist
thanks the dusk, the future is not that dim
an optimism dictated by the necessary consequence of a duality hypothesis
denis sener, draft – 11 march 2012
NGS - a virtual, unchartered non-governmental system
the leaker (prosecution), the lurker (jurisdiction), and the public flashpower (execution/enforcement) constitute a virtual, unchartered non-governmental system (NGS);
unsolicited players would create an unchartered system, what else? a sign-up mechanism is self-defeating (hacking is another kind of dissident counterbalancing mechanism, however, there, the prosecution/jurisdiction/execution tasks are delivered, in the dark, by a single entity, which is obviously more controversial)...
it must be noted that an NGS is not anti-governmental in the sense of eliminative or deflationary approaches to government mechanism; it is simply society's another venue of organization (as is the state/government itself) in the overall power sharing and wielding game...
not quite an NGO
under the increasingly centralized governmental/state powers of the 20th century, NGO's worked hard to counterbalance them, even if to a limited extent;
however, in the light of the contemporary supercentralization, as enabled by the state-of-the-art and radically enhanced control, surveillance and manipulation technologies that are available to the national states and other international power mechanisms, a different kind of decentralization efforts is needed...
the mission statement remains the same as in the case of an NGO: watchdogging and counterbalancing the government!... but the NGS, by its very nature, is amoebic and anonymous;
it evolves (it is a self-emerging, spontaneous formation rather being a deliberately "founded" initiative) into an unchartered system; the fact that some parts of this formation may become "publicly visible" as a "closed organization" (e.g., Anonymous, or "Wikileaks proper" -as opposed to the "Wikileaks ecosystem") does not defy its essential feature being an unchartered virtuality operating in the dusk...
"the powers in dusk"
now, can the powers that be challenged by the powers in dusk?
as the power that be get darker it is inevitable that the epicenter of the (democracy) game gets drawn into the penumbra! consider, for example, the stunning escalation of drone deployment as a riskless kind of destructive war technology; here, the point is that, as the ground control station (GCS) is not located at the battlefield on enemy's soil, there is no need to secure the legislative branch's approval to go to war; indeed, such operations are maintained by "civil" authorities rather than by military...
therefore, in this shadow politics, the powers in dusk is the destined dual of the darker power that be; interestingly, they also feed from the same matrix as their dual antagonist and thus constitute a cohabitating, mutually interacting "system", as in the case of the master/slave relation exposed by Hegel ...
a duality hypothesis
more elaborate features are at work in this dual system;
the duality hypothesis simply asserts that in any cohabitated "system" of mutually interacting constituents, the focus of power/force will be challenged by a reactive counter element that operates "at the same order of magnitude" and also feeds from the "same matrix of resources"...
these two criteria are a necessary condition for the existence/survival of the original power/force as their absence would otherwise lead to an impossible positive feedback mechanism, readily exhausting the available resources of the matrix (in more practical terms and in familiar contexts, this phenomenon is called the escalation game)...
in the case of contemporary supercentralization and its reactive dual NGS's, they exploit the same information and communications technologies and media, the same visibility/invisibility conditions (covert operations, encryption, anonymous initiatives, etc.) and the same appeal to the legitimacy permitted and enfranchised by the society's ever dynamic contract...
from peer review to mass review
such an emergence of the powers in dusk can be seen as the participatory involvement of the masses in the grand process of exposing the truth (the right to know), and consequently the right to judge and act as facilitated by this newly created/discovered mass review mechanism;
it is comparable to the well known "peer-review" mechanism of a rigorously defined domain: the scientific discourse... the production of scientific knowledge of and information about the reality, and/or facts, is usually entrusted to the science establishment which has created, in time, the provisional "peer-review" and the subsequent "academic community scrutinization" mechanisms to ensure a (relatively) impartial objective evaluation; this is much acceptable than the endorsement and/or enunciation by a single authority;
this was not the case, until recently, in the political sphere: because information is predominantly gathered, filtered, classified and disseminated under strict government supervision! (although effective to a certain extent, the Fourth Estate's recognition and influence is quite questionable);
however, thanks to the bidirectional opportunities offered by the contemporary "technology", the rules of the game now seems to have at least the potential to change...
can you floodlight the dusk?
anonymity is a fundamental right; more than that, it is also a basic need for the survival of humanity...
therefore, the cybe(r) park where people can gather, discuss, share and interact anonymously without the fear of being hunted down, must be preserved and protected in the name of collective wisdom and public interest, as the several faces of the cybe(r) park, be it some instrument of open politics, citizen journalism, participatory democracy, etc., are legitimate developments du jour!
this dynamics cannot be challenged by the "center"... both the emergence and persistence of "the dusk" are, as a consequence of the duality hypothesis, a necessary outcome of internal conditions (tensions) that will almost always follow any new positioning of the power that be at some escalated level of the game...
no, dusk cannot be floodlighted!..
the next thing
the indispensable jump of the escalation game to the cyberspace can be interpreted as a natural consequence of humankind's insatiable appetite for extending its territory and it seems it has never been short of opportunities in this “the next thing” game…
it has been exploring and conquering the planet since the 15th century;
in the second half of 20th century the near space and the cyberspace were new targets of interest, (probably, going deep and connected to the human nervous system will be the next step; the interplanetary space will be next in line for the subsequent centuries);
however, the cyberspace has a special status as it is also, concomitantly, the realm of the extension of the species Homo sapiens itself; thus, it has far reaching existential implications for its individual and social essence, and day-to-day practical organization of social life…
by the way, as goes the appetite, in accordance with the duality hypothesis, the extension or expansion of the theater does not matter, at all…
an escalating game...
#DirenGezi / #ResistGezi
Decentralized nature of #OccupyGezi: A perfect “leaderless organization” – A decentralized network organization – Spreading through “rhizomatic” / disseminated social behavior patterns to all country…
#OccupyGezi is a NGS (Non Governmental System), not a NGO based movement: Even some NGOs were involved at the very beginning (especially environmentalist and urban rights NGOs), but dissidence is rapidly blowing out, and resistance is extended to all country, without control of any “body”, forming a NGS structure: the leaker (prosecution), the lurker (jurisdiction), and the public flashpower (execution/enforcement).. This was the opposite reaction to the state power’s move to the illegal, dark operations… The duality hypothesis is working…
Street + (Digital) Communication = Activism
Main characteristics of Social Media Use in #OccupyGezi Movement
#ResistGezi, mark a summit in the intensive use of social media for activist purposes…
Focused efficiency of content: With specific hashtag use, every content group reach to its target audience; different content groups are organized as searchable archives; visual content are organized for specific purposes…
Social media became the main alternative media: The traditional media kept silent. They muted their microphones, turned the cameras elsewhere and ignored the unfolding events at Gezi Park and around the country. If the media covered the protests, then it was only to re-utter the official line stated by the government, turning the private media to the communicator of the provocative language used by the government officials. These developments led people to rely more on the Internet and especially on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Vine).
Social media use open the country to the world: State terror was copted out
Functional use: Medical care, legal assistance, information about geographic police moves, etc.
Gathering evidences against police brutality, militia attacks, etc.: #DelilimVar #IhaveEvidence; gathering visual evidences through hashtags, archiving them and communicate them to the Bar Associations.
Strategic use: Discussing and creating consensus for further moves, organizing forums, etc. (Leaderless organizations)
Forming an effective resistance language: Dissidence grammar; An ironic, creative, innovative, attractive use of street language: Creating a semantic, visual, iconic language; “Chapulling”…
Forming a common memory: A huge album of images, slogans, analysis, emotions…
Istanbul Bilgi University - Alternative Informatics Association