At the end of the fourth chapter of Graham Meikle’s book Future Active: Media Activism and the Internet Meikle emphasizes Internet critic Geert Lovink’s statement “serious opposition these days has to be on the run (p. 112).” This idea is continued through his next two chapters—“Turning Signs Into Question Marks” and “Hack Attacks and Civil Disobedience”—as the importance of, and differences between, alternative media and tactical media are discussed.
Ultimately, Meikle introduces his reader to a new age of activism that, like the activism that came before it, has its own fair share of adversity. Meikle provides the reader with an in-depth look into the various forms of tactical media, its pairings with alternative media, and examples of successful activist events. Tactical media is successful, in returning to Lovink’s statement, because it is mobile and flexible, and in Meikle’s words, is “about hit-and-run guerilla media campaigns (p. 119).” What I found most interesting to read about in this new arena of activism, was the emergence of the term ‘electronic civil disobedience.’ Nowadays an effective and efficient way to protest can be through cultural jamming—or virtual sit-ins—staged by the Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT). Through detournement, cultural jamming, and “hacktivism” activists are being heard and staging successful protests, that have resulted in front-page news stories as well as the introduction of new terminology such as “netwar”. And although there is a divide in whether electronic civil disobedience should be transparent or retain its anonymous nature, there is no argument over its potential.
The Yes Men:
I truly enjoyed watching the documentary The Yes Men Fix The World. It is simultaneously upsetting, humorous, eye opening, and inspiring. The film demonstrates various successes of culture jamming and tactical media employed by the activists Jacques Servin and Igor Vamos. I am now interested in checking out their first film.
In one of the segments of the film they target HUD and the closing of public housing in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. This segment reminded me of the book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein, in which Klein uncovers the exploitation of natural disasters under capitalism. After Hurricane Katrina, for instance, a possible restructuring of the education system emerged.