Bruce Sterling on “Dumb Mobs”

February 18th, 2003 – 9:34 pm
Tagged as: Uncategorized

“It’s a crisp November day in Florence. The city’s clear blue skies are clouded by black police helicopters anticipating the 2002 European Social Forum, a rally of the international protest movement the Italians call No Global. This European complement to the annual World Social Forum in Brazil counterbalances meetings of the WTO, G8, and other secretive capitalist overlords. As 60,000 delegates meet within the Fortezza da Basso convention center, a rabble 1 million strong gathers outside.

The forum is billed as the premier talking shop for No Global’s rainbow coalition of blacks, greens, reds, and pinks, along with feminists, Luddites, and Euro-Linux geeks hoping to persuade their governments to dump Microsoft. Plans call for the event to culminate in a vast march through the city, promising a remarkable show of technology-assisted activism – and proof that P2P is the wrong topology for a political party.”

An interesting article by writer Bruce Sterling, in which he takes a look at the protests in Florence last November, and wonders what the point is of being able to get all of those people onto the streets if there is no unifying agenda for the protestors. The title is a play on the idea of smart mobs, a meme which describes something that was most recently one of the deciding factors in the South Korean elections.

Read the whole piece here.

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