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The revolution will not be televised

Well, it’s about time I started writing again. During my recent hiatus the world has continued going to hell in a handcart, and I can’t imagine this is a coincidence. Sure, I spray venom around on CommentIsFree and elsewhere, but blind fury isn’t enough – it’s time the world learned to fear my name.

I certainly fear the world, so it’s only fair.

I think it’s reasonable to say things are not going well with Planet Earth, and it’s time I explained to the rest of you what’s going on. Actually… no – we won’t agree, I have no proof and I sure as hell can’t be arsed researching anything. In fact, I may make that a rule of this blog – no research. Nope, forget what is happening now, let’s concentrate on wild speculation – what will happen next. What is to come come? That, I know.

I fear them – they fear us. Take a look at experience in the UK this week and last – minor riots, major political discomfort; the common factor connecting both being that government and media found themselves wrongfooted and forced into retreat positions by… you lot. Joe Public; Joe Public and his cameras, Joe Public and his blogs, Joe Public and the internet. Whether t’power is smacking a demonstrator in the teeth on London streets, or concocting a string of lies to smear a political rival, a string of ones and noughts is hanging about just seconds away from upsetting the well-laid plans of politicians and pundits. User generated content is getting to be a real pain for the powers that be. Sometimes they’re open about this – they’re pretty gung-ho against file sharers, no one is suprised that they’re keen to lock up child porn users, and there are plenty who applaud national clampdowns on, (variously) extreme pornography, holocaust denial, gambling, dangerous western liberal freedoms… Porn in the UK, Falun Gong in China, each nation has its own triggers, each has managed to implement censorship mechanisms and, more importantly, each has engineered social consent for these censorship mechanisms. Different countries, different issues, near-identical technical responses. And the plague is spreading. Interesting eh?

Some claim coincidence, some claim it’s a damn good thing. Me? I reckon it’s the end of the fucking world.

Noam Chomsky is a lefty twat but he seems a bright enough bloke apart from that, and his leftiness is an odd sort. I’m not entirely convinced. Regardless, he’s absolutely right on one key point – governments which do not and can not control their populations by force of arms must govern by other means, and that is, of course, by manufacturing consent. Conning your populace into supporting war against people who can do you no harm, distracting them with televised trash, convincing them it makes sense to mortgage their grandchildren’s futures to pay for a banker’s retirement, or even convincing them that nine out of ten cars should be fucking silver…

They’re pretty good at it. Your average faux democracy muddles along, presenting the illusion of competing political interests, generally managing to gather and maintain power at the centre via the lite-touch control of patronage, juicy government scoops, and of course the subtle and pervasive long term policy of making sure that those who pull the media strings are people like us… The UK and the BBC being the best example of this by far. Then you have the odd overtly fascistic nation such as Germany or the USSR where propaganda becomes supremely vital, and supremely effective, but consumes an inordinate amount of time, effort, and may eventually be subverted by internal samizdat, more often by external broadcast and communication.  But if the whole world agreed… If practically every nation adopted the same policies, if practically every nation quietly joined the cosy little consensus, if practically every politician figured out that his best interests – best personal interests – lay in joining that special club, if the guiding political principle of the entire political world became… keep power where it is right now. Forever… What then? What chance for change then? Where might the rogue radio beams come from? Where might the smuggled books emanate from?

Luckily, my theorised totalitarian world has an Achilles Heel. T’internet. And you. So long as you and I can talk, so long as one or both of us can manufacture dissent, so long as stainless steel rats can gnaw holes in the wainscoting of the mighty, the world is not yet enslaved. And don’t they fucking know that.

There are two things that might be true today, in every country of the world. 1) The rich are getting richer, 2) The government is working on clamping down on the internet.

We see it here in the UK. In myriad smart little ways these bastards have been edging to it for a decade. The restraints began with child porn, they now encompass posting poetry supporting terrorism – and as we know, the mechanism for controlling the UK internet is solid. They can block anything, they can record anything, they can track anything. So far, they have chosen not to use these powers to go to war with their own people – but I reckon they are coming close. When a government loses control of the story they are close to losing control of the streets. Any government that requires manufactured consent in order to rule must control the prevailing myths of the day – it isn’t optional; it’s a core, founding, necessity. Governments worldwide are, frankly, terrified of the net. Our own government especially.

So what will they do? Well, the frontal attack; censorship, rushing through some kind of libel and seditious libel laws to deal with bloggers – fast-tracking Guido back to the Tower – impose fear using shitty despicable legislation like that aimed at extreme porn, hentai cartoons, attacking P2P, perhaps try to use ID cards as an online biometric identifier; measures aimed essentially at enclosure, limitation, regulation. And alongside this, the government’s shield – their shills – will play their part. The mainstream media have their own reasons to attack the net, their own reasons to hate bloggers, their own finance and ego goals to please. But underlying everything they face the same possible fate as the governing elite – that the net will sap their power, steal their position, chip away at their fortress. They too will fight.

There you go folks – things to come. Not across the centuries, across the months and years to come – right now. Your lifetime. And who can stop it? You.

Don’t look at me chum, join your own fucking dots.

More to come…

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15 comments to “The revolution will not be televised”

  1. Glad you’re back – have linked to this, thanks.

  2. That’s SO near the knuckle I’m still trembling. Needed to be said though. Thanks.

  3. Try and sort out your RSS feed Frank so when you post it goes to the top of the list. At the moment no updates are registered on linking sites.

  4. Hmm. What are you using to grab it GoodnightVienna? Seems to be okay at this end…

  5. Frank Fisher on top form: ‘Governments worldwide are, frankly, terrified of the net’ –

  6. A film for you!

    Also good to find another Harry Harrison fan.

  7. Great post Frank. We look set for a real struggle. Even at Cif there is outrage at big brother police activities – witness the current thread on the two Austrian tourists being told to delete their photographs in London by plod.

  8. Ah, TheyLive AntiCitizenOne – and after that, Carpenter never made a decent film…. An odd little movie but in it’s own way as compelling as 1984.

  9. The long drawn out fight over the sunglasses in They Live is hilarious. One of my favourite movies, far superior to V for Vendetta.

  10. Picked up on this excellent piece at old holburn,
    It is exactly how I feel too.
    The actions of the crowd at the G20 protests was incredible. No violence from them, no police injured. Only, the state shamed by it’s heavy handed actions. Gandhi would’ve been proud of all of them.
    As for your fears that the state will clamp down on the Internet, well you may be right. The Internet is an expression of our need for freedom.
    But, Gandhi did not need the Internet.

  11. But, Gandhi did not need the Internet.

    Gandhi didn’t have an all-pervasive mass-media skillfully working against him.

    We need the internet. And those special sunglasses.

  12. Quote from Gandhi:

    “I’m here to chew bubble gum and kick ass and I’m all outta bubble gum”

  13. Wonderful stuff Frank. Keep it up. There are millions out there that need an awakening. You are obviously part of the smell of the coffee and the slap in the mush.

  14. The thing is you don’t need special sunglasses to see the propaganda. It’s quite blatent really when you’re awake.

    They Live,
    We Sleep.

    But we are waking.

  15. […] should all watch our backs. As I wrote before (here and elsewhere), when governments that depends for their very existence on their control of the […]

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