Friday, October 3, 2014
In a political world where for centuries the individual had been a statistic, a mere single vote, a consumer of political rhetoric and high street junk, a loyal, unquestioning soldier, a cupcake on a table laden with gastronomic desserts scoffed by the multinationals, the banks, the church, the royal family, the landed classes, the judicial system, Westminster politicians and all the rest that make up the establishment, the elite, suddenly along came the internet, created by hippies on LSD. It looked ripe for a commercial and political killing, the latest invention in the capitalist dream of seduction and control, a way to individualise the clarion call to the cash till and the ballot box. But, built into its DNA, in codes so basic that they hid in broad daylight, conceived and developed on tables heavy with cocaine and whatever else fired the synapses of Silicon Valley, was the Anarchist Gene. The Web, the roaring tiger of universal communication, had a tail so dumbfoundingly capable of transforming the beast into a spitting, unmanageable demon that the once despised and benighted individual could suddenly change the direction of mass markets, expose the pompous face of the rich and the would-be powerful, the duplicitous nature of government actions whether despotic or pseudo-democratic, the obscene exercise of power in all its forms from paedophile priests to preening presidents, secret government agencies to globally corrupt corporations. And with the technology came the individual heroes and heroines, the committed evangelists for a new order, the righteous campaigners, the rule-breakers, the scoffers, those once-humiliated but now retaliating millions of voices. All worms turning. From cassetteboy to Edward Snowden they each have a voice that once would have been muzzled.