Ronda Hauben on Thu, 22 Jun 2000 05:50:08 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> The role of model citizenz or the role of the Netizen in
Subject: <nettime> The role of model citizenz in the development of fascism 
wrote equating Netizens with fascists.

That is a strange and serious distortion of both the history
of fascism and of the emergence and the nature of the netizen

The netizen is a concept that grew up and spread around the 
world in opposition to the commercialization and privatization
of the Internet.

The fascists were in support of commercial entities and supported
by them.

The citizen of the french revolution was a force challenging the 

The netizen of the Internet revolution is a force challenging
the old.

The fascists have been trying to maintain the old.

There were citizens even during fascism in Germany, they 
were those who were part of the resistance, who hid those
who were trying to stay out of concentration camps, and who
did many other brave activities.

Basically their role is ignored by the media and their story
isn't told in general.

There are citizens during the corporate attack on the Internet.

These citizens are netizens because they are fighting for something
not limited by geography as a city is, and often against corporate
entities and their effort to convert the Internet into their
private commercenet.

To equate netizens with their opposite is again not to argue
a point, but to call names.

The concept of Netizens is described in the preface at

Michael (co-author of Netizens) writes:

"I wanted to explore the larger Net, what it was, and its 
significance. This is when my reseach uncovered the remaining
details that helped me recognize the emergence of Netizens.
These are poeple online who actively contribute to the development
of the Net....These are the people who discuss and debate
topiocs in a constructive manner, who e-mail answers to people
and provide help to newcomers, who maintain FAQ filesand other 
public information repositories, who maintain mailing lists and
so on. These are the people who discuss the nature and role of this
new communications medium. Therse are the people who as citizens
of the Net I realized were Netizens. However, thse are not all people.
Netizens are especially not people who come online for individual
gain or profit. They are not people who come to the Net thinking it
is a service. Rather, they are the people who understand it takes
effort and action on each and everyone's part to make the Net a 
regenerative and vibrant community and resource. Netizens are people
who decide to devote time and effort into makingthe Net, this new part
of our world, a better place..." (pg ix-x of "netizens: on the 
history and impact of Usenet and the Internet).

Certainly there would not any longer be anything but a commercialnet
if Netizens hadn't taken on the challenge to contest commericalization
and privatization of the Internet.

And the contest is far from over!


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