How capitalism is turning the internet against democracy? How can we turn it back?
If you enjoy stories of the internet’s potential for social change, and prefer ones that transcend the common celebrant/sceptic binary, you should check out this article/book.
A central point is that technology isn’t good, bad or even neutral. Technology can’t be separated from power relations that exist in the economy and society. It will “amplify the dynamics of the existing social and economic system”. Technology under capitalism will tend to reinforce domination and inequality, unless there is a serious class challenge against who has power and why.
The internet has a great potential to create open spaces “for interaction not dominated by the enclosures, ad hominem violence and commercialism of the web as a whole” – but it’s not inevitable.
To defend the commons, we first have to understand it — the physical factories with low-paid staff behind Amazon, the copyright-holders that stifle debate about meaningful and new forms of compensation, smartphones tying workers to the office, the “immaterial labour” dialogue that addresses current Western struggles whilst often ignoring workers made invisible by familiar industrial conditions, and the parallels between corporations control of the internet and the control of the map by imperial powers in the 1800s.
This article is a great start!
For other articles on the internet and its woes/joys, see the Tips for Radicals internet and technology tags.