Cover

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Title

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

The struggle for justice is hard, but it is made easier by thousands of everyday people, fighting to build a society based on the belief in dignity for all. This book is a small contribution to this long struggle. And while it bears my name and the burden of my shortcomings, I could not have put it together without the generous help and insight of many comrades, colleagues, and friends...

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Introduction: History, Capitalism, and the Cyber Left

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pp. 1-8

In an instant, the immaterial aspects of the financial capitalist system melted away, as the tightly held logic of neoliberalism came crashing inward. The world watched with fear and awe as the collapse of the speculative markets quickly exposed the entire financial system, and foundational institutions— imbued with all of the power and majesty of global capital—crumbled before our eyes...

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Part I. Origins

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pp. 9-24

On October 29, 2006, the homepage of the New York City Independent Media Center (IMC) was transformed from a local news portal to a “virtual memorial,” celebrating the life and sudden death of indymedia journalist and activist Brad Will. The Web site was overflowing with reports of Brad’s murder and messages of mourning, outrage, and solidarity from his friends...

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1. The EZLN and Indymedia: "One No, Many Yeses"

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pp. 25-47

While the indymedia movement materialized on the streets of Seattle amid clouds of tear gas and columns of brightly dressed protestors, the seeds were sown three thousand miles to the south in the verdant rainforests of Chiapas, Mexico, in 1994. As the political and economic elite of the United States, Canada, and Mexico inaugurated the North American Free Trade Agreement...

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2. Activist Laboratories: The Road to Seattle

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pp. 48-70

In the 1990s, as the Internet went public, a throng of technological utopianists began declaring the coming of an authentic social, political, and democratic revolution. In the reflection of instantaneous, unregulated flows of information and countless self-generating channels of communication, a growing group of pundits saw the promise of an empowered and engaged citizenry...

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3. The Battle of Seattle and the Birth of Indymedia

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pp. 71-96

On the eve of the 1999 World Trade Organization ministerial meetings in Seattle, two software programmers, Matt Arnison and Manse Jacobi, posted the first message to the newly created, open-publishing indymedia.org Web site: Welcome to indymedia. The resistance is now global . . . a trans-pacific collaboration has brought this web site into existence. . . .

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Part II. Logic of Resistance

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pp. 97-106

In “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (1969), Walter Benjamin famously wrote, “To pry an object from its shell, to destroy its aura, is the mark of a perception whose ‘sense [is] of the universal equality of things’” (225). In this poetic turn, Benjamin impels the reader to reckon with the irrevocable (progressive) changes to social life that came with the technological advances of industrial capitalism...

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4. Structure: Networks and Nervous Systems

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pp. 107-133

On February 15, 2003, I followed Mia out into the brisk winter day. We hopped on an eastbound trolley and headed toward Center City, Philadelphia. As we got off the trolley and walked across the concourse of City Hall, I began to hear the faint murmur of people chanting and the unmistakable din of a momentous gathering of people. Walking a few more blocks...

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5. Governance: Democracy All the Way Down

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pp. 134-155

It is now seared into the collective American psyche: hundreds if not thousands of people, packed tightly together in a park or church, working through an arcane, ritualized process to make both the most important and trivial collective decisions. These images of primarily young, white, middle-class urbanites...

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6. Strategy: Communications and the Switchboard of Struggle

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pp. 156-180

In Hegemony and a Socialist Strategy (1985), Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe contend that left-based political strategy is at a crossroads. Challenging a long history of Marxist theory, they argue that socialism is “in crisis” and no longer the counter-imaginary to capitalism. More importantly, they argue that the working class is no longer the historical agent of change...

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Conclusion: Social Movement Logics—Past, Present, and Future

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pp. 181-194

It started with an image—the arresting image of a ballerina elegantly, and perhaps defiantly, poised atop the iconic Wall Street Bull, the symbol of free-market capitalism. In the backdrop, just beyond the bull and ballerina, stands a throng of riot cops or protestors obscured by the haze of tear gas, foreshadowing the struggle to come. The ad hails the reader, “What Is Our One Demand?”...

Notes

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pp. 195-210

Bibliography

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pp. 211-226

Index

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pp. 227-238