Patrice on Sat, 12 May 2001 03:40:31 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> Dutch magazine 'Ravage' on activists and the media

The Dutch activist magazine ³Ravage² ( devoted
its recent issue on the tricky relationship between activists and the media.
In an article titled ³Under the Spell of the Media². Freek Kallenberg goes
more into the details of various media strategies pursued by activist
movements. This he wrote on (the strategy of) Œdisappearance¹:

³Realising that information in itself does not have healing or subversive
qualities brought about a healthy dose of media-scepticism among several
social and autonomous movements, and even led them to total rejection in
some cases. For a prolonged period in the nineties, for instance, a majority
of the squatters in the Amsterdam scene would hop from one squat to the
next, neither fighting eviction nor even bothering to inform the
neighborhood about their motives, since they no longer believed it possible
to defend a squat with projectiles, pamphlets, manifestoes or any other

The British anti-roads movement of the nineties also avoided the media for a
long time. This Do-It-Yourself movement had no faith whatsoever in the
strategies pursued by media-oriented organisations like Greenpeace. Earth
First! activist  Thomas Harding: ³A few minutes on television showing a
placard on an industrial sewer might make people conscious of the existence
of an environmental crisis, but it does not prevent the crisis from going on
the following day as usual². And besides, Earth First! activists were
combining protests with experiments with a different life-style. This surely
did not include media exposure. ³We do our best to keep out of Œreality¹ so
as to ensure that our kind of reality gains in strength², said a member of
the Donga Tribe that originated in the Twyford Down protest movement.

The British Rave culture, however, experienced the hard way that the
(mainstream) media are not pleased at all when movements go consciously for
a Œstrategy of disappearance¹. When they finally unearthed their existence,
the media unlashed an unprecedented demonisation campaign against ravers.
The nation was shocked, the more so since ravers appeared to have emerged
straight out of nowhere. The authorities¹ answer was swift and brutal: rave
parties, which had taken place for years without the media noticing them,
were declared illegal. The death knell had sounded for this culture once it
had been highlighted by the media: a Œreturn to reality¹ proved then to be
no longer possible.²

(Q&D translated (but spell-checked!) by yrs truly)

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: contact: