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Internet freedom and the new protest movements

April 17, 2012

Internet freedom and the new protest movements: hacking democracy in Reykjavik, Madrid, New York and elsewhere

John Postill
Presentation to the Communication and Computing Research Centre (CCRC)
Sheffield Hallam University
16 April 2012

Last updated: 28 Sep 2012 (Spark 2012 on why nerds are cool)


In this talk I examine the links between ongoing struggles over Internet freedom/censorship and the emergence of new protest movements in Iceland, Spain, the USA and elsewhere. Although it is undeniable that the Arab Spring has been a great inspiration to indignados and occupiers on both sides of the Atlantic, I argue that we should not lose sight of another key source of ideas, technologies and personnel in the birth and growth of these protests, namely the free culture/internet freedom movement epitomised by formations such as Wikileaks, Anonymous, the P2P Foundation or the Free Culture Forum.

Quick slideshow notes

    1. Tale of entry. Barcelona anthropological fieldwork, 2010-2011. Based at IN3, Open University of Catalonia. Aim was to study social media and activism.
    2. Nobody expected the #SpanishRevolution, certainly not in Catalonia of all places.
    3. I got interested in free culture scene in Barcelona, incl. Exgae (La-Ex now, Oxcars, Free Culture Forum, Pirate Party…
    4. Met briefly Icelandic ‘information activist’ Smari McCarthy at Free Culture Forum, Oct 2010. Didn’t know who he was until watched superb Swedish TV documentary on Wikileaks, incl. Julian Assange’s information + political reform activities in Iceland. See YouTube Video from 16:45 to 22:01.
    5. Heather Brooke’s (2011) The Revolution Will Be Digitised is helpful complement and extension to documentary; a terrific work of investigative journalism. Essential reading to understand not only hackers, but also I’d suggest Indignados and Occupy movements. Chronicles the ongoing ‘information war’ between internet freedom fighters and powerful govs and corps.
    6. Brooke on hackerspaces: anti-authoritarian, information wants to be free, tinkering to improve, ‘playfully creative problem solving’, horizontal, consensus, meritocracy of ideas. By analogy, I am suggesting that indignados and occupiers are hacking their representative democracies and creating new techno-political practices and spaces. They have taken the hackerspaces to the streets and squares of many countries. Below some examples of hacker connection  in the wave of global protests:
    7. Spain’s former culture minister Gonzalez-Sinde persona non-grata in that country’s internet freedom/hacktivist circles. When tried to sneak in anti-internet piracy bill under US pressure (revealed by Wikileaks) just before Xmas 2010, online mobilisation; link-sharing sites protest shutdown affected millions of Spaniards who went from being mass audience to outraged public.
    8. When bill passed anyway despite popular outcry, Barcelona technology lawyer Sanchez-Almeida launched in early 2011 with 3 other leading internauts the new platform #Nolesvotes = don’t vote for any of the 3 main parties.
    9. Soon thereafter, #Nolesvotes, Anonymous and a range of other new groups came together under the newly created umbrella DRY (Democracia Real Ya, Real Democracy Now). Slogan: “we are not commodities in the hands of politicians and bankers”. DRY coordinated 15 May protests in 59 cities across Spain. Their Barcelona venue? Free culture centre Conservas. In Madrid: hackerspace Patio Maravillas.
    10. Other sites of movement creation as well, both online and co-present. At my host research institute, IN3, seminar series co-organised by Manuel Castells, Joan Coscubiela and Arnau Monterde (DRY) on digital techs and civil society. We had some really interesting sessions with scholars, journalists and activists involved in the build-up towards the 15 May protests throughout Spain.
    11. The encampments (acampadas) in Madrid, Barcelona and other cities were extraordinary gatherings, huge media attention, consensus-seeking assemblies, cities within cities, described by Castells (2011) as wiki-encampments.
    12. Among those 40 pioneers who stayed first night at Puerta del Sol (main square in Madrid) and later laid out techno-political infrastructure were members of hacktivist collective Isaac Hacksimov.
    13. Both Tahrir and Iceland featured prominently in indignados imaginary from outset, e.g. in Placa de Catalunya map of occupation. “When we grow up we want to be Icelandic” one of slogans – Iceland as model of a people who said no to corrupt political and financial elite (and are now crowdsourcing their constitution).
    14. Digital culture all over the squares, e.g. Senabre’s (2011) analogical tweets in Placa de Catalunya.
    15. A pause for historical and theoretical reflection via Juris groundbreaking (2008) Networking Futures: The Movement Against Corporate Capitalism, based on anthropological fieldwork in Barcelona, 2001-2002. Spain’s indignados movement partly derived from anti-corporate globalisation movement, I would suggest, e.g. No Border Camp set up in Strasbourg in July 2002 striking commonalities with acampadas and subsequent occupy – ‘informational utopics’ (Juris 2008) whereby activists translate their techno-political ideals and practices into physical space occupation. But key difference, in my view: in Spain we saw mass citizen participation and recruitment, not just activists as was the case with No Border Camp and largely more generally with the anti-corporate globalisation movement of late 1990s early 2000s. We are witnessing the (uneven) mainstreaming and outdooring of hackerspaces. ‘Political prototyping’ (Corsin and Estalella 2011) going on in the squares and barrios of 15-M Spain: open-ended, experimental, participatory, horizontal.
    16. Relocation to barrios following end of Puerta del Sol and other main squares occupations in Spain, June 2011. What sorts of techno-political adjustments have been made now that less secure physical anchoring? Digital culture and place-making issues raised by Estalella in recent chat we had in Madrid.
    17. 15 October 2011 was global day of protest (see Guardian image).
    18. Movement spread from Spain to Occupy Wall Street. Mooted by Adbusters via email list, Vancouver-based, in mid-2011. Inspired by both Tahrir and Spanish 15-M. What’s Adbusters? Anti-consumerist magazine, culture jamming, free culture.  Juris (2008): ‘tactical media’: ‘intervene within dominant media circuits to confront hegemonic forces directly through …culture jamming, guerrilla communications, and electronic civil disobedience’.
    19. “This Space is Occupied”, Zucotti Park.
    20. Zuccotti ‘hackerspace’ aka Occupy media team. Abridged quoted passage from Alexis Madrigal (The Atlantic). OWS “designed to be mined and recombined, not simply copied”. “GET Occupation: The physical location provides an anchor for virtual activities (= Corsin & Estalella 2011). GET Decentralized leadership structure: Repeat mantra that the movement is ‘leaderless.’ GET Loudly inclusive userbase. GET Strategy/open source ideology: GET Infrastructure/Internet: Zuccotti park wifi has been run by a group called The Free Network Foundation. They created a $2090 ultra Internet hub called The Freedom Tower that can be easily copied. GET Infrastructure/network amplification: Though the number of people in any individual occupation has tended to be small (relative to the biggest civil rights marches, say), the number of people acting as network amplifiers has been large. Bloggers like BoingBoing’s Xeni Jardin have become key nodes for disseminating information as have internal activists. POST GA/consensus-based decision-making: This form of group deliberation has been a key differentiating component of the occupation. Led by skilled facilitators, the entire group can engage in debate about what courses of action to take. Consensus-based decision-making is not some newfangled idea, but has been developed for years.”
    21. Zuccotti Anonymous protester holding placard: “Arrest one of us; two more appear. You can’t arrest an idea” = what we said earlier (Brooke 2011) about hackerspaces and the meritocracy of ideas.
    22. Anonymous UK London camp (guardian piece). Abridged quoted passage: “Occupy London has learned from Anonymous’s networked organisation. Manuel Castells, in his notion of a Network Society, observed that modern electronic means of communication are powerful catalysts for structural change. For centuries, he said, hierarchical structures were the most efficient way of co-ordinating crowds of hundreds or thousands, but new forms of electronic communication allow us to self-organise in networked structures instead –Online communities provided a testbed for such practice, with the activist group Anonymous representing perhaps the purest form of this, where any individual can propose initiatives that may get adopted, shaped and executed by an incredibly large and fluid network of participants. We’re now applying networked structure to real-life organisations: in occupying London we’re creating a physical space that previously was missing. For example, the London Hackspace, a community-run social space for people with interests in 3D printers, electronics and DIY bioscience. In its radical inclusiveness it borrows attitudes from open source and internet culture: the free sharing of ideas, self-determined creation, self-education, productive togetherness. And despite its diverse set of participants it is the most well-functioning community I have ever experienced. The Hackspace is explicitly not a political organisation, but there is some social overlap with the occupation which provides an intriguing set of engineering problems.”
    23. To conclude, I’m not downplaying the huge importance of Tahrir square. Only saying that timeline that starts 25 Jan 2012 in Tahrir is only one possible timeline, one lineage in complex genealogy that will take years to work out. I hope I haven’t given impression of disregarding huge sacrifice and inspiration of Egyptian, Tunisian, other Arab protesters under very harsh conditions.
    24. My point is rather that in the still early days of 2011 protests genealogy, we shouldn’t forget one important line of ancestry (certainly not the only one), namely internet/culture freedom fighters and their hackerspaces, ideals, practices, techs….
    25. We should watch this (hacker)space – both indoors and outdoors, online and offline.

Updates from 18 April 2012 onwards

Bankia: el rescate se juega también en la red

Lali Sandiumenge | julio 23, 2012

El 15MpaRato, una iniciativa impulsada por personas y colectivos vinculados al 15M, ya solicitó la intervención judicial de Bankia y la quiebra de la entidad en la querella que presentó ante la Audiencia Nacional en junio, pero ha vuelto a la carga esta semana, unos días antes de que se celebre hoy la primera vista conjunta con UPyD. Sus razones y estrategia están explicadas en su página web. Es un asunto complejo, pero en resumen busca un camino a la islandesa: que el banco pase a jurisdicción del juez y que éste liquide la entidad, que entraría en concurso de acreedores. “La intervención judicial es literalmente lo único que puede salvarnos de la ruina”, afirma el abogado de la causa, Juan Moreno Yagüe, @hackbogado en la red, en un video clarificador para los profanos en leyes y economía. Según argumenta, si el juez ordenara la quiebra de Bankia no podrían inyectarse en la entidad los 55.000 millones de euros a los que podría llegar el rescate –a menos que no se destinaran a garantizar los depósitos de los ciudadanos- porque la quiebra se basa “en el principio de igualdad de pérdidas por parte de los acreedores”. Explicado así, se trata de una sencilla regla de tres: La quiebra evitaría la entrada de dinero. Si el gobierno ya no tiene motivos para el rescate, ¿cómo justifica entonces los recortes y las medidas de austeridad?

#LiquidarBankia es la última de las ofensivas que ha llevado a cabo el 15MpaRato desde que lanzó el 23 de mayo pasado la campaña para juzgar por estafa y falsedad contable, entre otros delitos, a los responsables de esta entidad financiera en el momento de su salida a bolsa. Más allá de las repercusiones que pueda tener, resulta interesante recordar y analizar cómo se ha articulado desde Internet, un elemento fundamental de su estrategia y del éxito que ha tenido hasta ahora. “Esta campaña no se puede concebir sin la red, ya que ha sido su altavoz y su medio, y ha demostrado la madurez del 15M trabajando en red de forma distribuida”, opina uno de sus numerosos miembros.


How a divided Spain started a revolution, by Bernardo Gutiérrez, 1 June 2011

I don’t understand why most media outlets framed the protests in Spain as anti-government. Or against unemployment and the dire situation of the youth. Why relate Madrid to Cairo when the real reasons for the demonstrations lie elsewhere?

It strikes me that the Twitter account of Wikileaks was busier than many international newspapers recommending the text The Icelandic revolt of Spain . They saw a clear parallel between the #spanishrevolution and the country in the Atlantic that refused to pay for the mistakes of their banks. The link is so clear that Hördur Torfason, the man who prompted Icelanders to fight politicians and bankers, recorded a greeting to the Spanish people. In fact, the rage against a world governed by rating agencies and financial speculation has been one of the seeds of Spanish indignation…

… Meanwhile, Spain is full of campers. Young. Adult. Leftists. Nonpartisans. Even a couple of conservatives. But the parties still don’t mention the so called 15-M movement. As the world interprets the #spanishrevolution as a revolution towards a system 2.0 that is more participatory and democratic, the political class has yet to understand this message. Spanish society demands a genuine dialogue, a more open system.

But politicians have retreated to their offices, refusing to engage, while I am still tweeting, navigating, guided by hashtags through the #spanishrevolution.


Spain’s Icelandic revolt

19 May 2011, El País Madrid
After passively submitting to the crisis, young Spaniards have finally taken to the street. Breaking out on the eve of municipal elections, the protests of recent days have been inspired by those in Iceland that led to the fall of the government in Reykjavik.

One morning in October 2008, Torfason Hördur turned up at what Icelanders call the “Althing”, the Icelandic parliament in the capital city, Reykjavik. By then, the country’s biggest bank, the Kaupthing, had already gone into receivership and the Icelandic financial system itself was in danger of going under. Torfason, with his guitar, grabbed a microphone and invited people to talk about their dissatisfaction with the freefall of their country and to speak their minds.

The following Saturday Torfason’s initiative brought dozens of people back to the same spot. Those Saturdays in the autumn of 2008, rallying to the People’s Voices movement, led to the proclamation to dissolve Parliament on January 23, 2009, and to hold elections. Now the murmur of the Icelanders has reached the throats of the thousands of demonstrators that gathered in several cities around Spain on 15 May: “Spain arise, another Iceland”, “Our model – Iceland” were some of the yells from the crowds.

The Icelanders didn’t leave it at this. They shook the foundations of the government, went after the bankers who led them into bankruptcy and said ‘No’ in a referendum on repaying debts of some four billion euros to the UK and the Netherlands. Better still: they formed an assembly of 25 citizens elected to carry out constitutional reform. It was an entirely silent revolution that, while the media was focused overwhelmingly on the Arab uprisings, was rescued from oblivion by a web of social networks beyond the control of a state.


Un mensaje para el #12M15M desde el barrio de internet,

Posted on may 12, 2012 in Actividades en Red, Featured

[…] Si queremos que esto cambie tendremos que hacerlo nosotros mismos, por nuestros propios medios.


Reapropiándonos de nuestros espacios de vida y también creando otros nuevos. Esto no es una metáfora, no es una figura retórica, esto no es un deseo, esto es lo que la historia nos ha llamado a hacer.

En el mundo virtual hemos creado formas de organizarnos, de informarnos, de aprender y de participar, formas autónomas y descentralizadas que se apoyan las unas a las otras creando una democracia que se basa en el llevar a cabo proyectos de forma colaborativa, en crear modos de vida entrelazados y organizados en los que se tienen en cuenta las posibilidades y capacidades de cada uno así como sus afectos. De este mismo modo, así como nuestra indignación ha desbordado la Red llegando a todas las calles, así nuestras formas de vida se materializarán en el espacio físico.

El año pasado nuestra fuerza ha sido la de movernos como se mueve una manada: cada individuo durante tiempos breves ha desempeñado una función en el movimiento conjunto: en algún momento ha liderado, en otros ha sido expuesto o ha sido protegido por el resto de los cuerpos.

Ahora ha llegado el momento de adoptar otra forma.

El término catalizador en química designa pequeños conjuntos de moléculas que alteran la velocidad de una reacción, acelerándola (o ralentizándola). Los catalizadores amplifican la potencia. Son grupos pequeños infinitamente numerosos y ágiles que encauzan la atención conjunta.

Hay épocas en las que la historia nos pide ser manada y épocas en las que hemos de ser catalizadores. […]

Liberemos el parque de vivienda de Bankia. Hemos pagado por ella no una sino tres veces. Nos pertenece.

– Educación y salud pública y de calidad. Recuperemos todos los espacios que se están cerrando para ser regalados a los ricos (políticos y/o banqueros). Habitémoslos. Esto es posible: se ha hecho en Islandia, se ha hecho en Argentina… ¿A qué esperamos para hacerlo aquí? Si Evo Morales expropia la Red Eléctrica del Estado español colonizador, ¿cuándo nosotros mismos expropiaremos nuestra propia red eléctrica, nuestros propios servicios básicos para devolverlo a quienes les pertenecen, que es la gente que aquí vive? Sí, se puede.


La ética hacker está impregnando nuestras prácticas sociales

Periodismo humano

28.05.2012 · EMA RTV/ OLA · (Rocío Muñoz) […]
“La ética hacker del código abierto, del software libre está impregnando nuestras prácticas sociales, nuestra participación en los movimientos, nuestra concepción de la política”

“El espacio de debate donde la gente visualiza a la gente que piensa como ellos son las redes sociales y es donde encontramos a los activistas dispuestos a emprender proyectos”


The new social movements in Spain: the Protests for the Right to Housing as an immediate predecessor of the 15M Movement, by Carmen Haro Barba and Víctor Sampedro Blanco

Recently, we have witnessed the emergence of a large number of social protests that seem to be
changing the geopolitical map, the structures of power and social conscience all across the globe. These movements, although different from each other in origin, socio-political context, development, aims, members and results, have a fundamental similarity: the occupation of public spaces by crowds gathered and organized through Information and Communication Technologies [ICT].

….in late 2008, [Spain’s] MRH [Movement for the Right to Housing] had disappeared from the political and information highlights on the Internet, which had marked its origin and evolution, and had been displaced by other technological issues such as the debate against digital canon and free culture. This seemed to indicate that cyber-activism in Spain could have suffered a gradual encapsulation towards issues within the Internet itself, and that the aware multitudes (Sampedro, 2005) had mutated into virtual multitudes (Sampedro y Sánchez Duarte, 2011) which were only active in the fight for freedom on the Internet.

The 15M Movement dispelled these preconceptions and demonstrated, in part, that there are no barriers between online and offline arenas and that, now more than ever, hybrid practices are consolidating that confirm the logic of a network society…

…Sampedro links online multitudes and cybermultitudes, pointing out that these online crowds develop on the Internet, but are physically reclaiming public spaces. But there are other cybermultitudes, the virtual multitudes (Sampedro and Sánchez Duarte, 2011), collective actions limited to the struggle for social rights and freedoms on the Internet and only from the Internet. In Spain, these cybermultitudes became active during the legislatures of 2004 and 2008 as the first protests focused on the digital canon and progressively built up to a whole ideology of basic rights for Internet users.

…The 13M did not manage to coalesce into a social movement and disappeared after the morning of the 14 March 2004. The Sinde Law protests did result in the creation of a social movement, albeit one that operates solely in the online sphere and so far has been unable to break free from its digital shackles. The MRH was the first demonstration to become a full social movement capable of bringing together significant multitudes in the streets. Although it was eventually neutralized, it served as a test bed for the procedures and experiences that ultimately enabled the 15M Movement to take place.


Hacktivismo y sindicalismo.

David García Aristegui   17 de septiembre de 2012 | 12:43

El sector TIC es de los más refractarios al desarrollo de luchas colectivas y/o implantación de los diferentes sindicatos existentes en el sector. Un buen resumen de la mentalidad de las personas que trabajan en las TIC se realizó recientemente en blog La pulga y la locomotora, escrito al calor de la movilización estatal del sector el 30J. En ese certero análisis, se planteaba que el sector de las TIC “se trata del primer gran sector nativo neoliberal. Y eso explica muchas cosas. Por ejemplo, por qué se ha deslocalizado tan rápido. Por qué se juega tan hábilmente con el concepto de carrera profesional. Por qué las consultoras hacen y deshacen a placer, por qué son lobby desde la casilla cero. Y sobretodo, cómo se aísla con tanta facilidad a las personas, en un entorno superpoblado, de miles de profesionales”.


07 de mayo de 2012
El futuro del movimiento de protesta social pasa por la convocatoria global del 12 de mayo. Intentando superar la nostalgia, el 15-M se prepara para su mayor reto: cumplir expectativas.

[…] Lejos de la visión de un 15-M como institución -ya sea a través de asambleas o asociaciones- o con fines ideológicos, hay otra forma de entender el movimiento: aquella que lo define como un diagnóstico, un estado de ánimo, una inspiración para otras iniciativas concretas, que no quieren capitalizar su nombre pero sí convivir en su comunidad. Hay muchos ejemplos: el documental; la iniciativa editorial; la iniciativa audiovisual Tomalatele; la radio Ágora Sol Radio; el periódico Madrid15M; o eventos que recurrentemente se organizan al calor de la indignación. En esos proyectos colectivos, donde no se construyen idearios sino marcos de trabajo, acción y pensamiento aplicado, ha florecido mucho de lo que la acampada de Sol cultivó.


Los primeros acampados de Sol, un año despúes

por , 10 de mayo de 2012

Uno fue el ‘anonymous’ que se coló en la gala de los Goya. Otra ha dejado su trabajo en un bufete de abogados de élite para dedicarse a la defensa de la cultura y el Copyleft. Los hay que conservan la ilusión y también los que esperan recuperarla en el 12M. Hablamos con algunos de ‘los primeros 40 de Sol’, que decidieron acampar aquel 15 de mayo de 2011, abriendo la puerta a un movimiento social ya histórico en España. Podrían haber sido figuras públicas, haber usado su condición de ‘pioneros’ para reclamar algún liderazgo, pero todos decidieron diluirse en lo que llegó después.



#nolesvotes, el Open Source llevado a la política.

 6:27 PM – 15 Mar 11 via web
#YoVoy12M porque es el día qempezamos a conquistar el mundo físico desde el ciberespacio
10 May 2012
Bernardo Gutiérrez ‏ @bernardosampa RT @madrilonia 5 propuestas para el nuevo código fuente de la democracia que viene #Alaplaza12M #desmontandomentiras*****************************

15M: Hacia una democracia en tiempo real, 7 mayo 2012

Mi web: Dirijo la consultora En Twitter soy @bernardosampa

… ¿Qué reveló la explosión colectiva y participativa del movimiento 15M?

Primero, que la topología de red distribuida de Paul Barán es un poderoso cóctel político. El 15M se convirtió en un temido lobby ciudadano que está en todas y en ninguna parte al mismo tiempo.  No sólo está consiguiendo marcar la agenda mediática – consigue Trending Topic en Twitter habitualmente –  sino que ha forzado al poco dialogante PP a presentar una Ley de Transparencia. Más interesante todavía es que el 15M, reconstruyendo vínculos ciudadanos, ha convertido a España en uno de los países más próximos a la sociedad P2P que preconiza Jochai Benkler en The Wealth of Networks. Mientras el desempleo sigue creciendo  (24,1%), a la luz del 15M está surgiendo iniciativas como Goteo (crowdfunding para el procomún), Nockin (búsqueda de servicios  P2P), Kune (una plataforma colaborativa), No-Ma-des (una red de empleo paralela al sistema del gobierno) o Nolotiro (red de reciclaje de objetos).

Aunque quizá lo más interesante sea la descentralización de las acampadas. Toma los barrios ha creado una red de asambleas locales vinculadas a asambleas temáticas. Estas asambleas populares – redes políticas en el espacio público – tienen un fuerte poder de convocatoria. Y crean opinión. Además, el 15M está transformando la inteligencia colectiva  de Pierre Levy en una acción colectiva en tiempo real. Los proyectos StopDeshaucios (que frenan los desalojos de familias que no pueden pagar al banco con presión popular) o las Brigadas Ciudadanas (vecinos protegiendo a inmigrantes ante el acoso policial) muestran que un hashtag de Twitter puede ser una nueva ágora griega. Que la sociedad puede ser un Big Brother ético y ciudadano de políticos bajo vigilancia.


Padre del ‘software’ libre

Richard Stallman a los indignados del 15-M: ‘Muchas gracias y buena suerte’ […]


¿Hasta qué punto coincide la filosofía del ‘software’ libre con el movimiento del 15-M?

Stallman afirma que aunque ambos mundos defienden la libertad como algo esencial, no se deben exagerar las similitudes. “Muchos en el movimiento del 15-M son activistas del ‘software’ libre y organizan la informática de su movimiento con ‘software’ libre porque ven la relación filosófica entre la libertad informática y la libertad en otros aspectos de la vida”, añade.

Recuerda sin embargo que las libertades del ‘software’ libre, que son esenciales a éste, no pueden aplicarse a todo porque están pensadas para la creación de programas informáticos, obviamente. “Se pueden aplicar a obras destinadas a un uso práctico”, es decir, obras que son a su vez herramienta para realizar otras obras, apunta. Ejemplos de ello son las recetas de cocina, las obras educativas, las obras de referencia y las fuentes tipográficas. “Estas obras deberían ser libres en el mismo sentido que lo es el ‘software’ libre”, afirma Stallman.

En cualquier caso, el ‘gurú’ cree que “los informáticos que forman parte del movimiento 15-M valoran la libertad y la democracia, y así apoyan también el movimiento de ‘software’ libre”.

A los ‘indignados’, convocados en toda España para celebrar el primer aniversario del movimiento bajo el ‘hashtag’ #12M15M, les envía un mensaje: “Muchas gracias, y buena suerte”. “No tengo ningún consejo que darles, saben mucho mejor que yo lo que hacen“, comenta.


The problem with nerd politics: If we don’t operate within the realm of traditional power and politics, then we will lose

,, Monday 14 May 2012 16.13

If our inventions rattle enough cages and threaten enough bottom lines, the law will come hunting for them. …In the aftermath of the Sopa fight, as top Eurocrats are declaring the imminent demise of Acta, as the Trans-Pacific Partnership begins to founder, as the German Pirate party takes seats in a third German regional election, it’s worth taking stock of “nerd politics” and see where we’ve been and where we’re headed.

Since the earliest days of the information wars, people who care about freedom and technology have struggled with two ideological traps: nerd determinism and nerd fatalism. Both are dangerously attractive to people who love technology.


Why Nerds Are Cool

By: David Spark | Posted in: Company News, Events, Top Post, Video, Sep. 17th, 2012

 Today nerds are cool and ready to take over the world. After the first day of the 2012 TechCrunch Disrupt conference, we held a party in their honor at the Mighty, an ubercool nightclub in San Francisco. With the music thumping, we asked a very nerdy and drunk audience, “What makes nerds cool?” This is what they had to say about the coolness of nerd-dom.


Virality: international media coverage of The Global Square

by Jerome Roos on February 18, 2012

With Wikileaks and several other major players throwing their weight behind the project, a vaporware press release has made The Global Square go viral.

Update: BBC radio just covered The Global Square in an excellent interview with Heather Marsh, the project’s official spokesperson.

Ever since a group of activists released the original proposal for The Global Square on ROAR back in November, the collaborative endeavor to build an alternative peer-to-peer social network has generated considerable media attention. After featuring in a major story in Wired last year, a recent call for coders by our friends and partners at Wikileaks Central has once again propelled the project into the global public discourse.


How to Help Us Build the Global Square

For such an effort, we must count on the community of coders and developers. We are going to use a Tribler kernel based on Python. We urgently need the help of the community in order to implement all the features planned for The Global Square. If you have expertise in Python and P2P protocols you still have time and opportunity to join our project, a project which will hopefully change the dynamics of interaction among global society.

Various jobs require a combination of the following:

  • Experience with Open Source project basic operation;
  • Python programming;
  • Network protocols, UDP message transfers;
  • Cryptography, pub/priv key management;
  • SQLight, performance, transactions;
  • Epidemic gossip protocols, for global dissemination of crypted info;
  • Self-organising network programming;
  • GUI in WxWindows;
  • Android developer, mixed .py build chain (for later smart phone .apk).

To join:


Occupy Geeks Are Building a Facebook for the 99% By December 27, 2011 |

“I don’t want to say we’re making our own Facebook. But, we’re making our own Facebook,” said Ed Knutson, a web and mobile app developer who joined a team of activist-geeks redesigning social networking for the era of global protest.

They hope the technology they are developing can go well beyond Occupy Wall Street to help establish more distributed social networks, better online business collaboration and perhaps even add to the long-dreamed-of semantic web — an internet made not of messy text, but one unified by underlying meta-data that computers can easily parse.


Josep Jover, Cooperation and game theory, free software or the #15m movement: Two examples for universities

…Of course, I’ve read Eric S. Raymond’s book, The Cathedral and the Bazaar (1997). In it, he calls the free software development model the ‘bazaar model’. This model is a unique contribution in 21st-century capitalist society and one that recently took on tangible form in the #15m street protests. Raymond contrasted the bazaar model with another software development model, which he called the ‘cathedral model’, based on the need for an architect in charge of a rigidly structured and hierarchical staff. According to Raymond, the cathedral model, which reflects the prevailing social structures, is the one used in the proprietary software industry…

…Unlike all previous revolutions, the #15m movement is not a revolution of people of letters. It is a revolution of people of science. The first tent set up in the first square was to shelter the communications equipment; the second, tellingly, was the legal tent. Just as tellingly, most members of the different communication committees are IT experts, sociologists, engineers, etc. In contrast, journalists, linguists, political scientists and lawyers have been excluded. We sit on other committees. In Barcelona, too, the legal tent was the second tent to be set up…

…There are no direct business, social or political interests pulling the strings and levers. There is no ‘architect’. The #15m movement is widespread, ungovernable and free of any higher command. Moreover, the lack of such a higher command, of corporate or hierarchical control, seems to be a sine qua non: whenever such a command reappears, whether in the form of an interest group or a ‘sympathetic’ politician, whether in the guise of authoritarianism, police action or simple exploitation, the #15m model naturally produces antibodies…

…Nothing would have come of the #15m movement had it not been for a generation previously influenced by free software and the attitudes it teaches, such as sharing scientific and artistic knowledge. Unlike other revolutions, this one is not about bread, but rather cultural consumption and incomprehension of the disconnect between what is done and what is said (typical of science).

It must be noted that the first months of the #15m movement more closely resembled the launching of a new piece of free software than a proper political movement.


Net neutrality struggle and new movements in the digital era, IN3 seminar, October 26-27, 2011.

Ismael Peña-López (chair), Txarlie (, Carlos Sánchez Almeida (Bufet Almeida), Gala Pin (


Hacktivism works as a free software project: it collects information, documents the processes and implements actions. The idea is avoiding reinventing the wheel but implementing the same ideas and processes in other social projects — in this specific case, the Spanish Ley Sinde.

Each revolution has its tool. The Protestant Reformation cannot be understood without the printing press, the soviet revolution without fliers and posters, and the 1960s protests without the television.

The Internet is thus the tool of the 15M movement, and not only the Internet as a device, but also as a philosophy, as an architecture, with distributed power, policentric. Indeed, the 15M movement is not a protest without leadership, but, on the contrary, it is a protest with multiple leaders, more leaders than ever.

When it comes to Net Neutrality, the idea is do not wait until the Net is not neutral, but to actually prevent its enclosure. And there is indeed an urgent need to digitally empower people, so that there is no need to prevent the stealing of liberties, freedom instead of having to recover it…

…Facebook is becoming less of a social networking site, of a democracy site, and more of a shopping mall. That is why activists are constantly moving from one platform to another one. This is not happening, though, with Twitter, that is keeping its horizontal, totally flat essence…

..Mayo Fuster: why has not the 15M and other activisms taken more into account the tradition of the commons, of cooperatives, etc.? Txarlie: partly this has been due to the fact that it was preferable to begin from scratch, to avoid predefined mindsets, to promote trial and error, to experiment. The idea was that any solution had to come from the debate within the 15M itself to be legitimate.


Quienes somos

Somos una red de hacktivistas que nace de la comunidad de hacklabs y hackmeeting de la península ibérica. Este espacio surgió para coordinar nuestras acciones a nivel global, debatir estrategias, compartir recursos y sincronizar movimientos de creacion y resistencia hacia una sociedad libre con unas tecnologias libres.

Esta es una comunidad abierta, asamblearia y horizontal. Pero no un lugar en el que vale todo. Partimos de tres principios fundamentales: 1) la construccion de una sociedad y una cultura libre, abierta y participativa a traves de herramientas libres 2) el derecho a la privacidad y 3) el deseo de experimentar libremente.

Pero esto es un proyecto en definición permanente…


txarlie@axebra En el soft libre son 4 libertades que tiene que cumplir el código. En el 15M es no violencia, apartidismo, asindicalismo, apertura… [7 May 2012]

Retweeted by Gala Pin


Bufet Almeida@bufetalmeida  9 May 2012

Jaquear el sistema, resetear la máquina, para que no siga machacando carne humana #MiPrecariedad


El #15m existe hace años, metáfora del Software Libre

Posted by SoydelBierzo on 8 mayo, 2012

El modelo de sociedad que está fomentando el movimiento #15m resulta novedoso para mucha gente.

Algunos no lo entienden, otros lo repudian, muchos creen que es algo que no es…

Para muchos informáticos el #15m representa la extrapolación de un concepto con el que nos manejamos desde hace muchos años, el software libre.

El #15m es una idea común de miles de personas descontentas con la situación actual, con las estructuras de poder cerradas que solo se acuerdan de que existes cada 4 años.

[…] Las luchas a las que estamos asistiendo en DRY estos días también las hemos vivido en el mundo del software libre, peleas de egos, discrepancias entre desarrolladores de algún software bastante importante como el kernel de Linux (el kernel es el corazón de un sistema operativo)… y el software libre siguió adelante con o sin ellos, como el #15m hará con DRY, la asociación DRY o un posible partido político DRY que alguien se quiera inventar… no importa, el concepto #15m/software libre es mucho más grande e incluye a mucha más gente que seguirá adelante, dándole nuevas formas y enriqueciendo al movimiento con más opciones, con más ideas.

Han pasado 29 años desde que naciese “oficialmente” el movimiento del software libre, cuando Richard Stallman anunció la creación del proyecto GNU, un camino largo de recorrer y que poco a poco va viendo sus frutos.

[…] El #15m en menos de un año ha visto nacer multitud de iniciativas más allá de asambleas, #stopdesahucios y demás, han surgido proyectos de autofinanciación, cooperativas de trabajadores basadas en la idea del movimiento…

Pero ojo con confundir el adoptar unas ideas para un proyecto particular con que ese proyecto sea la idea en si misma.

Ni Linux, ni Apache ni Nginx son el Software Libre. Google, Twitter o Facebook tampoco son el Software Libre, incluso cuando esta última ha liberado el diseño de sus centros de datos y sus servidores… son partes de un todo mucho más grande que todos ellos juntos y sobre todo, ninguna de estas partes trata de arrogarse el concepto de Software Libre como algo propio o una estrategia encubierta de promoción de sus servicios… la comunidad reaccionaría de manera fulminante dándoles la espalda

#15m es una idea, un concepto, no es de nadie y es de todos, incluso de aquellos que no saben que existe y de manera directa o indirecta se benefician.


Conversaciones – Marga Padilla(@cien_margaritas) es hacker. Trabaja en la cooperativa dedicada al desarrollo e implementación de proyectos basados en software libre.

«La mejor expresión copyleft de la acampada es que se ha creado un modelo que podía ser fácilmente replicable, y que ha unido el fondo y la forma»

Anónimo Jan 7, 2012 11:20 AM

Un gusto siempre escuchar a Marga Padilla -pensando en alto, más que hablando… -. A mí me ha gustado mucho la sección que empieza en 16:47:31:00 -incluso el silencio mientras maquina lo que va a decir – sobre la relación entre cultura libre, pŕacticas hacker y la acampada.

J. Postill’s notes:

  • what we did was very free culture: you are free to copy but without denying original authorship
  • it’s not about stealing – which we’re often accused of doing – but of recognising the authorship
  • but that authorship does not give you ownership, eg I can be the author of the conceptual map but it’s not ‘mine’
  • acampada is like facebook or twitter: value is generated through countless little contributions, from the good the bad and the in-between; beauty of acampada is that it created mechanism to accommodate all manner of contributions, many different forms of cooperation
  • unlike twitter or facebook, there was no private or commercial profit motive, e.g. no stockmarket or shareholder dimension extraneous to the self-organised acampadads
  • contributions could range from bringing a bottle of water to dynamising an assembly to writing to sweeping the floor – it could be anything
  • there’s a quintessentially free-culture immanence; cooperation begets cooperation, and this happens internally, no-one takes it away
  • the  more you use it the more value, it doesn’t lose value with use
  • the more acampadas there are, the better – because we were the first in Madrid, Km 0 de la revolucion (laughs) [worrying pyramid/Ponzi scheme element here?]
  • free culture is impregnating social relations in millions of facets that we are unaware of
  • Interviewer (Stephane Grueso, a copyleft advocate): me hizo mucha ilusion ver la presencia de la cultura libre desde el principio en las acampadas


15-M, una ‘rebelión copyleft’

STÉPHANE M. GRUESO Madrid 05/05/2012 10:19

El pasado 15 de mayo de 2011 cambiaron muchas cosas, muchas. También en el mundo de la cultura. Yo siempre defino el 15-M como una “rebelión copyleft”. Rebelión en el sentido de movilización legítima, incluso contra poderes legalmente establecidos, y copyleft en el sentido de no sólo discutir y hacer cosas, sino documentar y compartir todos esos procesos, éxitos y fracasos.

En #acampadasol me encantaba encontrarme con estos mecanismos que vienen de la cultura libre. Y es que ese grupo de gente que creemos que otro tipo de cultura es posible, fuimos uno de los muchos iniciadores y catalizadores del 15-M. Las movilizaciones contra la llamada Ley Sinde-Wert, la defensa del uso de otro tipo de licencias como Creative Commons, la lucha contra la SGAE… El colectivo activista y hacktivista “Anti Sinde / Pro Cultura Libre” ha sido importante en los inicios del 15-M. Un grupo dentro de muchos muchos otros, claro, pero uno importante, y eso se notó en las acampadas. Yo desde luego, en las movilizaciones de Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla o Málaga, que son las que más conozco, me he encontrado a toda la gente que conozco del ámbito de la cultura libre. Y me refiero a toda, toda.


lunes, 9 de enero de 2012. Conversaciones – Carolina García (@carolina) es hacker y miembro de la comisión de extensión internacional de Acampada Sol y de 15hack. Trabaja en la cooperativa dedicada al desarrollo e implementación de proyectos basados en software libre.

«En la parte tecnopolítica es necesario entender por qué es importante que sea “feo” pero libre en lugar de “bonito” pero privativo»

«Queremos comunicarnos, tomar decisiones y poder coordinarnos. La idea es que los técnicos se pongan de acuerdo y desarrollen las herramientas necesarias»

«N-1 no está vinculado al 15M: se empezó hace varios años y permite trabajar en grupo»


Kopimism: File-Sharing Religion Takes Root in the U.S.

The Church of Kopimism, a religion based on file sharing and the free flow of information, has taken root in the U.S. a few months after gaining official recognition in Sweden.

Kopimists believe that information sharing is a holy process and that data becomes increasingly valuable the more often it gets shared. Followers of the religion consider CTRL + C and CTRL + V, the keyboard shortcuts for “copy” and “paste,” sacred symbols of worship. The religion’s name comes from the Swedish word for “copy.”


Anonymous y 15M, la criminalización del activismo

Carlos Sánchez Almeida, 3 May 2012

Abogado, socio director de Bufet Almeida, Advocats Associats. En jaque perpetuo frente al sistema desde 1987.

Sobre las togas, caspa; bajo las togas, grasa. Las altas instancias de nuestro Poder Judicial hace tiempo que dejaron de ser independientes, para convertirse en un triste apéndice de la partitocracia corrupta que ha conducido nuestro país a la ruina económica y moral.  Cuando una inmensa multitud de ciudadanos libres decidió desobedecer pacíficamente la orden de desalojo dictada por la Junta Electoral Central contra las acampadas del 15M, hubo que buscar un chivo expiatorio. Ese chivo expiatorio fue Anonymous, y la investigación policial contra Anonymous fue la punta de lanza de la criminalización política de todo el movimiento 15M.

La policía se infiltró en Acampada Sol, y en sus atestados vincula en todo momento a Anonymous con la lucha pacífica contra la Ley Sinde, así como con la multitudinaria protesta social que iniciada por Juventud Sin Futuro, Democracia Real Ya y #NoLesVotes desembocó en el movimiento de resistencia 15M. En posteriores investigaciones se ha llegado a la indignidad de considerar indicio de pertenencia a Anonymous el haber invitado a dormir en casa a uno de sus presuntos miembros.


Is Anonymous vetting presidential candidates? Apr 16, 2012

Anonymous Hispano, the Spanish-speaking branch of the famous hacker collective, issued a statement a few weeks ago announcing that, despite their efforts, they “could not find any evidence of corruption” to incriminate the Mexican presidential candidate López Obrador. The group prefaced their message by clarifying that they “do not have any partisan agenda and do not support any one” of the candidates. The message ended with an invitation to followers to send evidence of corruption; a second tweet quickly followed, inviting the public to submit evidence of corruption of any candidate, suggesting specific hashtags for each of them.

…does this represent a move from public shaming to public endorsement? For the most part, Anonymous hacktivism has focused on public shaming by “doxing” government officials and corporations. I think this might be the first time Anonymous has changed their method, resembling a role more common to governmental transparency organizations. It was interesting that none of the reactions I read raised any questions about the ethics of hacking into politicians’ accounts.

One thing is clear to me: traditional institutions need to figure out how to grapple with Anonymous, or collectives inspired by them, as their presence and political power is only going to increase in the future.


Margarita Padilla, 6 July 2011

Politizaciones en el ciberespacio, Revista Espai en Blanc

…Hacktivistas mandó un mensaje contundente a los lobbies de la industria cultural, a las entidades de gestión y a los políticos españoles y europeos que colaboran en el saqueo de los bienes comunes: El P2P vino para quedarse. Ni siquiera comprendéis el problema al que os enfrentáis. La realidad os pondrá en vuestro sitio, y la caché de Internet recordará siempre vuestras vergüenzas. Así opera Hacktivistas. Todas sus acciones se anuncian con antelación. Incluso se comunican a la policía. Todo lo que hacen es legal, público y abierto. Sacan del kit del luchador el miedo a ser vigilados y el miedo a abrir el código, y
meten la transparencia como estrategia de crecimiento y el hacking a la legalidad como estrategia para evitar la represión y sus consecuencias reactivas.

…Hacktivistas es muy distinto de Anonymous. Hacktivistas es diurno, da la cara, no cruza el filo de la legalidad… Anonymous es nocturno, lleva máscara, pisa el filo de la legalidad… Y sin embargo el recorrido de ida y vuelta entre uno y otro es muy corto, de manera que algunos hacktivistas pueden estar entrando y saliendo de Anonymous y viceversa. Sin coste, sin problemas.

Internet ha cambiado la arquitectura de la realidad, y toda arquitectura es una política. La Red es ingobernable y está hecha de nodos inteligentes y autónomos. De la interconexión de estos nodos surge una nueva esfera público-privada en la que, solo por estar (publicar un post, comentarlo, enlazarlo, reenviarlo, twittearlo y retwittearlo, menearlo, compartirlo…), ya se hace política. Pero ¿qué política? Es el sueño de la «participación» elevado a la máxima potencia, solo que esta «participación» es irrepresentable e ingobernable. Irrepresentable e ingobernable significa que no funciona exactamente según las reglas de las viejas democracias capitalistas. Significa que el kit del luchador (herramientas,
conocimientos y prácticas) está cambiando y el papel de las vanguardias también.


Naomi Wolf wrote on 27 April 2012:

Organising against the enemies of internet freedom

There are powerful state and corporate interests ranged against an open internet. We need a global movement to check them.

On 24 April, a group of internet entrepreneurs sought to get the future into a single conference room in Chelsea, and have it talk. “Hacking Society” was hosted by Union Square Ventures – the venture capital firm that was an early investor in Zynga, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, Etsy, and Kickstarter. The mission:

“[To] discuss how the economics of networks might help solve challenging social and economic problems; examine how incumbents use their influence over the current policy process to stave off competition from networks; define a proactive, network-friendly ‘freedom to innovate’ policy agenda; and examine how ‘net native’ policy advocacy works and how it can be harnessed to promote a positive agenda as well as overthrow bad policy and bad regimes.”

‎The real enemy identified by proponents of Sopa/Pipa-type laws is not piracy, or whatever fake message they come up with next, but dissent – which all of these control corporations know will force them to open up their books and be accountable. This is the same threat that led to the violent legislative and physical crackdown against Occupy.


Laurie Penny writes (October 2011):

“It started off with exposing titty videos to their friends,” explains one member of the militant “tech dissent” collective DSG (Deterritorial Support Group), who identifies as Zardoz. “It ended with bringing down [an] autocratic regime.”

He (or she) is referring to the Egyptian revolution, a key moment of politicization for cyberactivists, who stepped in to help the rebels with communications after Hosni Mubarak shut down the Internet. As the Arab Spring and subsequent global upheaval of the summer demonstrated, the fight for freedom of speech and action online has become enmeshed with the offline struggle for freedom of movement and thought. The “politicization of 4chan,” as this trajectory is partially known among hacktivists, can be traced to WikiLeaks. After the whistleblowing website released thousands of classified documents and diplomatic cables last fall, MasterCard and PayPal announced they would suspend payments to WikiLeaks, prompting members of Anonymous to shut down the companies’ websites. Titled Operation Payback, the project changed the rules of engagement for those cyberactivists who had previously seen their anticensorship activities as separate from geopolitics. In this sense, WikiLeaks’s great triumph has been to make the world think again about whether governments should have the right to withhold information from citizens and obstruct the free exchange of ideas online.


The ethics of digital direct action

Denial-of-service attacks and similar tactics are becoming more widely used as protest tools.
Al Jazeera, 1 Sep 2011
Gabriella Coleman is an Assistant Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University.
Photo: Although some Anonymous participants protest in person, most of their political activity consists of direct action online, such as launching Distributed Denial of Service attacks [GALLO/GETTY]

The political movement known as Anonymous has managed to capture the attention of the media, the hearts of many supporters, and the ire of many spectators after an eight-month spree of political interventions, stretching from Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) campaigns, to human rights technical assistance in Tunisia, to a more recent spate of hacks under the guise of Operation Antisec.

The state has now fully entered the fray with its own flurry of activity. In the past month, twenty-twoalleged participants in the United States and the United Kingdom have been arrested, the bulk of them (14) in connection with a single operation: the spectacular wave of DDoS attacks aimed directly at protesting actions taken by Mastercard and Paypal in December 2010. These were launched after these companies refused to accept donations for Wikileaks front man Julian Assange, soon after the activist organisation released a trove of diplomatic cables. Hackers and activists supporting the DDoS campaign (and certainly not all do support the campaign) regard this act as legitimate protest activity, akin to a blockade or “digital sit-in”. Yet, if convicted, the participants of Anonymous could be charged with felonies and land in prison with excessive punishments…

…whether or not DDoS campaigns are always an effective political sword to wield (and they are strong arguments to be made on both sides) is not the primary question that should concern us. The key issue is the evidence used to decide who is involved and to determine what they ought to be charged with doing. If a DDoS action is deemed as always and under every circumstance unacceptable – always a tactic of chaos – this will in the short term result in excessive penalties; in the long term, an excessive clamp down, such as felony charges for those that stand accused, could stifle these tactics altogether on the internet.

This is damaging to the overall political culture of the internet, which must allow for a diversity of tactics, including mass action, direct action, and peaceful of protests, if it is going to be a medium for democratic action and life.


Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales denies political muscle, via BBC News

2 August 2012 Last updated at 21:44

Since October the website Wikipedia has deliberately taken itself off screens in protest against what it sees as infringements of the freedom of speech on the internet – in Italy, the US and only a few weeks ago in Russia. In the US it caused legislation to be shelved.

It has become a powerful animal – some believe it may become a political one too.

The BBC spoke to Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of the site, discussing what the criteria had become for this community to exercise its increasing muscle.


Mayo Fuster Morell, Berkman Center Fellow
The Spanish Revolution & the Internet: From free culture to meta-politics

“there is an element of the Free Culture movement that does participate in campaigning. The emergence of the #15M created a split inside the Free Culture movement. Previously, we had seen the emergence of the Free Culture forum in Barcelona. In previous years, all of the various strategies I mentioned were used together. This year, the forum converged with the demonstration of the Indignants. For example, I organized a debate about the Commons in the Plaza de Catalunya square, and invited Wikipedians. But, Wikipedians said, we don’t have to go there. We don’t want to be associated with intervention in politics in the classical sense. This generated tension between groups in the Free Culture movement who wanted to campaign and lobby, and those that wanted to just build things. My understanding is that they are a different type of people. There is a split of strategies. But I believe they can be done together. The possibility of combining different strategies is key to stopping the emergence of the authoritarian state. Resistance must be combined with building.”


“In [late May 2011] DRY was facing an increasingly difficult task of trying to coordinate hundreds of people who had joined faster than could be assimilated. There were more than 600 organizers representing several thousand people. In order to resolve this issue, DRY held its first national assembly on May 28 in Patio Maravillas—an autonomously governed social center in Madrid. The outcome was the creation of several groups at both the local and national levels that spearheaded general coordination, local support, the welcoming of new members, communication, design, international outreach, hacktivism, and discussions about how to move forward.” [my emphasis].


Conversaciones – Pablo Soto

Pablo Soto (@pablomp2p) es desarrollador de software P2P.

«El 15M es la cristalización de un cúmulo de circunstancias… Es un síntoma en una situación de clara deficiencia democrática en la que el flujo de información ha cambiado»

«El 15M es una máquina de generar copyleft. Es el resultado de la colectivización de los medios de información”


Entrevistando a @Anonymous_Link, 19/01/2012 1:03 pm, by

¿Hasta qué punto compartes o compartís las ideas del #15M? ¿Que posición toma o ha tomado Anonymous en las manifestaciones populares que durante el 2011 se dieron en todo el mundo?
El Movimiento 15M fue sin duda para mí un soplo de aire fresco, un trago de esperanza, una señal de que las cosas aún no estaban del todo perdidas. Ver como millones de personas se manifestaban primero en España y luego en todo el mundo por un cambio en el sistema hacia algo más democrático, más social y más humano es sin duda algo reconfortante. Los principios básicos del movimiento son compartidos por Anonymous, tanto las propuestas a corto plazo como son las transformaciones a nivel democrático y constitucional por poner la democracia al servicio de los ciudadanos, como las que se han planteado con mayor o menor consenso más a largo plazo hacia una transformación más severa del sistema logrando una economía más humana y un freno al neoliberalismo salvaje que nos azota estos días, no en vano, Anonymous declaró la guerra oficialmente al sistema por diversas razones ya expuestas varias veces.
Sin embargo, está claro que los métodos de ambos movimientos son distintos, aunque no incompatibles, y unos y otros hemos cometido errores que debemos mejorar. Eso es algo que no debemos perder nunca de vista.
En cuanto a la posición tomada por Anonymous en las manifestaciones, puedo citar básicamente dos. Por un lado, hemos apoyado las protestas ayudando en la divulgación de ideas a través de las redes y en las calles y, por otro, participando junto al resto de los ciudadanos en las dichas manifestaciones, asambleas e incluso alguna acampada. Esto ha sido así también en otras convocatorias del mundo, como en el movimiento Occupy Wall Street estadounidense o en las protestas estudiantiles de Chile. United for Global Change fue también nuestro lema, y eso es algo que, al menos a mí, me llena de orgullo.


On Spanish activists’ continued interest in Iceland, see


Iceland’s recovery: a beautiful story?

May 10th, 2012 by Stanislas Jourdan.

One must admit that the Icelandic story has gone through remarkable events such as the seizing of the banks, the cancellation of their external debts, the bravour of Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson (the president of Iceland), the creation of a constituent assembly and two referendums on critical issues for the country.

Few people had any hope for Iceland four years ago when the Island was its banks collapsed with subprime bubble’s burst. This explains probably why the little recovery of the icelandic economy fuels so many fantasies on the internet.

But one have to remind that the management of the crisis in Iceland was more the result of a dead-end situation rather than a conscious “rebellion against the capitalist system”, like it is sometimes said.

Still, the very economic facts are not so shining. And many decisions could have been taken in a better manner, notably in the management of banking reforms and the restructuring of household debts.

Last but not least, tremendous challenges are still facing the tiny island. The People will soon have to decide on the destiny of their national currency, and the opportunity of joining the European Union also bears huge consequences for the country.

All in all, rather than a “beautiful story”, a more appropriate description of the revival of Iceland would certainly be : “it could have been much, much worse”…


Democracia real YA!@democraciareal

8 May 2012

No estamos locos, sabemos lo que queremos #Rescatecudadano y #HagamosComoIslandia . Empecemos el #12m15m


2011 was the year people across the world took to the streets, and the Internet, to try to change political systems they were unable to affect through the the “normal” channels of their respective countries, be they “democracies” or “dictatorships”. From the Arab Spring to the Indignados of Europe and the Occupy movements of the US and elsewhere, people of all ages, completely disillusioned with traditional politics, began to take their collective futures into their own hands through direct action, decentralised methodologies influenced in part by the free software movements, and hacking. Some of them actually hack: they develop and deploy technologies to enable dissenting citizens to communicate and mobiize on the issues they care about. [J. Postill added emphasis].

We’re creating situations that are impossible for governments to ignore, both in the street and online, but while some of those in power are taking note and trying to engage, traditional politics is responding in a traditional way, discrediting activists and looking for ways to block these movements and methods. Are you going to be on the sidelines dealing with the results or going to join in & hack the street?

Investigate and report about a hacktivist project. What problem is it tryng to solve? Do you think it is making a contribution? Why?

Some examples of projects which could be described as hacktivist are:

  • ChokePoint Project is a global censorship monitoring platform based on reliable data, visualised in a very accessible manner and featuring contextual information for each country. It will show up to date information for censorship circumvention and the legal implications involved.
  • GlobaLeaks is the first open-source whistleblowing framework. It empowers anyone to easily set up and maintain a whistleblowing platform. GlobaLeaks can help many different types of users: media organizations, activist groups, corporations and public agencies.
  • Tor is free software and an open network that helps you defend against a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security known as traffic analysis
  • Telecomix is a cluster of internet and data loving bots and people, always striving to protect and improve the internet and defend the free flow of data. Telecomix, just like the Internet, knows no borders technological or territorial.
  • I’m Getting Arrested is an app to alert your lawyer, loved ones, etc … that you are being arrested with a click.
  • Sukey – Is an app to keep demonstrators safe, mobile & informed


Bjorn Larsen, Occupy Wall Street / Social Media Manager

8 May 2012

[…] Occupy is an experimental movement in the best sense — it’s unafraid of trying new things every day. It’s a movement in perpetual “beta” and this is a big part of why it’s been working to the amazing extent it already has.


A Report from the Frontlines: The Long Road to #OccupyWallStreet and the Origins of the 99% Movement

September 29th, 2011 | Filed under Activism, Feature, Hot List, News, Video . Follow comments through RSS 2.0 feed. Click here to comment, or trackback.
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By David DeGraw

How Anonymous, AmpedStatus, the NYC General Assembly, US Day of Rage, Adbusters and Thousands of Individual Actions Led to the Occupation of Liberty Park and the Birth of a Movement.

[…] The Birth of the 99% Movement

On February 15th, 2010, published the first-part of an extensive six-part series that I wrote detailing the financial destruction of the US economy. The report is entitled, “The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the United States.” The first sentence reads:

“It’s time for 99% of Americans to mobilize and aggressively move on common sense political reforms.”


Heather Brooke,, 20 April 2012

We should all be hacktivists now

In the state-orchestrated grab for cyber-territory we have to work together to ensure our online freedom is protected by law

[…] Strategies that work are ones that are collaborative and seek to persuade. Bombing down websites may produce a temporary result and perhaps a headline in the papers, but such antics feed into governments’ desire for an arms race.

There are other hacktivists who follow a different path. I look at the campaigns fought against Sopa and Acta that worked within the law, and by gathering support for ideas and champions they turned this battle into a mainstream movement that raised awareness, changed public opinion and led to changes in law. If laws are felt to be unjust then in a democratic country, part of a campaign is also about changing the law. Circumventing it means the root problem goes unfixed.

The problem for any campaign is the difficulty inherent in social co-operation. It’s hard to get people to work together. Activists in Iceland achieved something remarkable in June 2010 when parliament unanimously passed a resolution to create the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, a set of laws that would guarantee free speech and a free internet. Getting those laws in place has proved a time-consuming and difficult process, but they are gradually getting on to the statute books.


Why Hillary Clinton Should Join Anonymous

The State Department and the online mob are both destroying “Internet freedom.”


Updated Monday, April 23, 2012, at 7:15 AM ET

>> See also interesting exchange with digital anthro and Anonymous expert Gabriella Coleman on Twitter (@biellacoleman)


Quinn Norton ( writes on 18 Oct 2011:

“The point of Anonymous isn’t whether or not you know who they are, but that who they are individually doesn’t matter. I’ll be exploring how that works, and how, counterintuitively, this kind of anonymity coupled with an institutional sense of humor have made them players on the global stage. I’ll be visiting irc channels and Scientology raids, political protests and 4chan. I’ll be interviewing anons, those who study them, and those they come into conflict with.

It might seem odd that I’m covering #occupy and Anonymous together, but it’s not. Both #occupy and Anonymous are each examples of a new kind of hybrid entity, one that breaks the boundaries between “real life” and the internet, creatures of the network embodied as citizens in the real world. As one member of The Pirate Bay explained on IRC, “We prefer afk (away from keyboard) to irl (in real life). This is real life.”

Over the next weeks and months, I’ll look to discover just how real it can become.”


James Gibbs wrote beneath Quinn Norton’s Wired article in Oct 2011:

“Old ‘anonymous’ (not so anonymous if we have a title, are we?) were simply for the lulz, not some liberal agenda. We are literally everyone from all walks of life and we do things simply because it humors us. Now, Reddit and the media have taken the name, ‘Anonymous’, and made it a vanguard for liberal ideology. Thank you for spreading misinformation because of the fact that some protesters wore Guy Fawkes masks (that they BOUGHT from a CORPORATION)”


How Occupy Wall Street Really Got Started

Meet the international activists who lit the fuse for the populist protest movement that’s sweeping the world.

—By Andy Kroll

| Mon Oct. 17, 2011 3:00 AM PDT

John Postill summary notes:

Direct Spanish and Greek connection to OWS, small group. Spaniards proposed assembly. Greek hijacked first protest to steer it towards assembly model. Tahrir another important inspiration, Egyptians there as well. Assembly model alien to Americans, according to journalist (but see consensus-model of hackerspaces in Brooke)

                                                                                                        Iceland photo credit: No caption needed

6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 24, 2012 8:54 pm

    The image is contradicting the title…

    In fact Che Guevara as “new protest” is rather grotesque!

    They should change and take the image of Aung San Suu Kyi.

    This will be a good updating and less eurocentric. If Che Guevara is an example of renewal, then we abandon any hope on the intelligence of the people who raises such a flag.

    • April 24, 2012 9:28 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Ramón. I don’t think there’s a contradiction. No innovation comes out of nowhere. The same goes for new movements. All large protest movements draw from a vast reservoir of symbolic materials, some new, but most old. For example, in the case of the 15M movement in Spain, symbolic resources were drawn from all sorts of places, not least from Iceland.

      Movements are never entirely homogeneous; I don’t know how big the Che is in Iceland, but my guess is that demonstrators’ views on him will vary greatly. I don’t think we can say on the basis of a single photo that “they” admire the Che. It may have just been one or two individuals, who knows.

      • April 25, 2012 4:14 pm

        Yes you are right for this photo. Nonetheless is not so rare that ignorance of history is rather frequent and often becomes regression.


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