Virtual Barricades

Not a great deal of time to be posting stuff at the minute, to my regret if not to yours. Here’s a rough translation of an editorial from the July edition of the CNT newspaper which I thought relevant.

To the virtual barricades

The web is bubbling with activity. There are platforms, social networks of support, solidarity, outrage, commitment. We believe we can sift through the avalanche of information about everything that is going on in the world, but the reality is that we are and we repeat what the Opinion Makers tell us time and again.

Virtual life is expanding way beyond our computer screens, and it becomes ever more solid to the point of vampirising our activities in the real world, our practical relations in the physical sphere. If 44,000 people who declared themselves ‘against Esperanza Aguirre’ had been staging sit-ins every week outside the lair where she draws up her criminal regional policies, the sovereign of Madrid would be singing a different tune.

Anyone with the slightest amount of anarchy in her veins should live in perpetual shock/disgust (each according to her taste) at the hypocritical conformity that surrounds us. Our neighbours are delighted to live in this democracy -although the welfare state is being forcibly dismantled-, they are convinced they have freedom of expression -despite the fact their mass media belongs to three or at best four commercial holdings-, and satisfied by the material conveniences they enjoy -even if this enjoyment ends up selling our soul to a bank for the rest of our lives.

The Web of webs, which aspires to be the instrument that helps us all to be all-knowing and illustrious, a multimedia object and collective depository of knowledge, the rouser of wills, is, for the majority of our neighbours, let’s not kid ourselves, an extension of their daily vices and materialisms: shopping, gossip on social platforms, announcements by official corporate spokespeople. But what is worrying, what is truly frightening, is the rise of virtual opposition. Pages and pages of fiery protests, Powerpoint presentations passed along with the disgraceful salaries of politicians or with the just demands of civil servants, firefighters, waste collectors, platforms against the bloodsucking political elite…what repercussion do these messages have on our lives? Do we use the medium, or are we its slaves?

Faced with the avalanche of alternative news, we run the risk that what should be a means, a provocation, turns into an end in itself: a protest that begins and ends on the virtual pages of our computer, a multitudinous group of virtual protesters who exercise their right clicking furiously in front of our screens, whilst in the street, robbed of our presence, the junk food dispensers, advertising hoarding and the queues out the front of the job centre grow and dominate.

No virtual action, however virulent, can be a substitute for direct action, our physical and disrupting presence in demonstrations, concentrations, and in pickets. Communications media wants to rob us of the little that is left to us: the street, the air whether clean or contaminated, the right to shout them in the face.

Let no-one be fooled: the virtual shouts, however big the letters and however bold their font, don’t inconvenience or embarrass anyone. It is at the workplace, in the street that is ours, where we have to have to shout at them all our fury. So that they can’t forget by simply pulling out the plug.

And yes, I am aware of the irony inherent in posting this.


2 Responses to “Virtual Barricades”

  1. 2 Hugh Green July 22, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    I will not be able to reply to this comment because I am presently off the internet.

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