Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Protesters and Information

Just read the nice Time Magazine Persons of the year story. They picked the protester and picked a gripping narrative connecting the Arab Spring to the european proto-communist revolutions of the 1860's or the social upheavals of the 1960's. Of course I heard about it in bits but to hear the whole year from Arab Spring to Occupy Wall St connected into a narrative does make the whole thing sound impressive. Though maybe Time is too early to judge properly as the Color revolutions (rose, orange, cedar, blue, etc.) of 2004 was less monumental than they first appeared, at least at first. Though the importance of social media, both in spreading the ideas of revolution in the 1860's (newspapers and telegraphs back then), to connecting the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall St today (3/4 of Tunisian internet users are on facebook?!) reminded me of Neal Stephenson's (my favorite novelists) prescient 1999 novel Cryptonomicon whose premise was that if you found a way to make information free, autocracy cannot survive. Now if there were only a way to sneak internet into North Korea.

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