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Re: <nettime> Hackers: the political heroes of cyberspace + URL target f
Armin Medosch on 13 Mar 2001 00:36:55 -0000

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Re: <nettime> Hackers: the political heroes of cyberspace + URL target for NeTstrike

This article

> Hackers: the political heroes of cyberspace

which was written before the actual event, shows how different a mediated
representation of an event can be from what actually was going on.

In short: The panel on  Hacktivism Thursday March 8 in London in 
the ICA was total Cyber-Bollocks. 

It only showed what happens when you let loose English University 
lecturers/Professors of sociology with a left leaning mind on issues 
such as hacktivism. It also should be noted that these academics, 
one Paul Taylor and a Tim Jordan, his mate, have a possibly (more 
or less) lucrative book deal in the pocket, for a book on, guess 
what, Hacktivism. But at the same time they were able of brushing 
aside any suspicion of them taking part in the commodification of 
Hacktivism - a notion which was raised by Korinna Patelis in the 
discussion part.  
Moreover, with the exception of Caroline Basset, who gave a 
reasonably serious talk about hacking and gender and was the 
only panelist showing a fair degree of intellectual honesty, 
panelists, including "electrohippie" Paul Mobbs, seemed to have 
agreed on the idea, that "old style hackers" were closet 
technophiliacs with no interest at all besides showing off their skills 
in manipulating unix-based operating systems, whereas Hacktivists 
were the brand new hip and politizised global counter cultural 
avantgarde. This was underlined by Mr.Taylor quoting Naomi Klein 
at least 10 times (in a declarative way) and repeated onslaughts on 
the apolitical "old hackers".
But the real disappointment (who expects anything from 
sociologists anyway) was Mr.Mobbs, who publicly distanced 
himself from everything that possibly nurtured his development into 
a fully fledged hacktivist. The bad (old hackers), the good (a 
vulgarized explanation of Situationism) and the rewriting of history 
(computer supported political activism started in 1998, according to 
him) signified his speech which was held in the tone as if he was 
talking to children. He also seemed to claim (someone please 
correct me, maybe I misheard) that his group, the electrohippies, 
owed nothing to Floodnet - this, when I remember a press release 
from electrohippies 1999, before doing their Seattle thing, where 
they said that they had adapted and used the code of Floodnet (but 
again, I might misremember).
So all in all, we are faced with a new threat, much worse than 
net.art, Hacktivism becoming the latest media item of affection and 
people like THEM becoming known as leading protagonists in this 
oh so very exciting field where technology, art and politics merge...

> Stuart Millar, technology correspondent
> Thursday March 8, 2001
> The Guardian
> Hackers, the most maligned species of the digital age, will tonight be
> declared the ideological heirs to the great protest movements of the 19th
> and 20th centuries.

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