In the West, the revolution is hushed. It is carefully framed by the police (tear gas, water cannon and batons) : it is the power of the street against the power of money. This repression is more hypocritical than elsewhere because of the impact of images-on-screens that are now publicly disseminated. The first players targeted are journalists and cameramen.
There are common links between all these theaters of emergent action. People are in turmoil around the world. Even if the situations seem desperate (because they are based on local realities) the frustration and anger is widespread, and global in scope :
- Citizens want to change the course of things because they sense that their society(ies) will soon hit a wall;
- youth (most of whom are unemployed) are frightened by the menacing complexity of the legacy being left to them by Baby Boomers :
- the financial domination of political elites distorts societal governance, so the population becomes increasingly frustrated.
Dialogue between the haves and the have-nots (for example) is currently non-existent. The members of the establishment do not want to lose their privileges. We are therefore facing a Revolution 2.0, being developed by new and younger actors who are versed in and using more effective communication tools. By speaking out, citizens begin to feel involved because she or he expresses their « reality », which is not always the same reality described by the mass media.
The power of the people is stronger than the people in power,
A young Egyptian, Tahrir Square, 2011.
Today’s political elites misunderstand today’s youth. The youth are bringing an entirely different logic to confronting power. The political culture of today’s youth is unprecedented: they demand (and increasingly expect) transparency, direct democracy and consensus. In comparison, for the elderly, power has traditionally been based on legitimacy. The emergent younger generations are beginning to reject a society that seems to become a global shopping center, one that continuously tries to to sell more and more to anyone and everyone.
The real power is in the hands of the governed, not the governors,
David Hume, Political speeches dating back to 1752.
After 2020 (?)
Several key trends are already apparent :
- Cloud computing enables the synching of all devices, networks, information stores and different platforms into a whole that will become increasingly abstract (chapter 3, no 14).
- The complex digital tasks will be increasingly treated in a central manner. automated and stored in the cloud.
- A multiplicity of smaller and cheaper devices will appear. These will become commonplace, to the point of melting into everyday environments, as at the beginning of the century with the arrival of ubiquitous access to electricity (chapter 1, no 1).
- Communications will become even more emotional. Generally, this is a key reason for the current rise of verbal abuse in online networks.
- The emergence of interactive media writing focused mainly on images and symbols which is replacing written culture. It will offer a podium to many people who want absolutely to be heard (chapter 5, no 4).
The current breakdowns
Historically, there have been peasant revolts, worker revolts or more recently, student revolts (1968). However, from the rupture (2000) onward, the anti-globalization movement, which covers a lot of territory conceptually) has generated a wide range of police actions that take just as much.
This movement is growing for several reasons :
- misallocation of resources (15% of well-off vis-à-vis 85%) ;
- widespread education increasingly inaccessible;
- daily flood of images conveyed by television ;
- the use of social networks ;
- and the organization of civil society.
Information becomes a battlefield ; it is manipulated in media wars based on images. In response, police everywhere have adopted new communication tools :
- wiretapping : the phones and emails ;
- infiltration : plainclothes police planted in the demonstrations ;
- misinformation, claims of having seen weapons, etc.
- profiling : wearing a beard or a certain type of clothing means « public emergency».
All this is happening in the shadow of another major global crisis, – the war on terrorism (see US Patriot Act). We are entering an information-based society that is forcing us to live a delicate balance between privacy and the security of the state (chapter 6, no 17).