A little (Blairite?) optimism about the internet.

Peasants Revolt 1381
Richard II diffuses the 1381 Peasants’ Revolt at Smithfield

The tools that are (really only just) becoming available on the internet have the potential to place the interests of the many, probably for the first time in our history (since the early Medieval period, since…forever?) , on an equal footing with the special interests of the few.

One of the things that has made it difficult for the many people without power to be heard by the few with power is that the advantage of the many (the fact that they are many) is often negated because it is so difficult to capture and channel the Moment in which a desire for change occurs (i.e. to harness that visceral reaction of someone saying, “That’s enough, we have to do something”).

This Moment dissipates easily (and, moreover, the methods by which it has in the past been effectively captured are pretty crude; they lend themselves to extremism, violence etc.).

But with the tools that are becoming available online this Moment can not only be captured easily, but aggregated to an appropriate scale and accurately represented; people calling for change can take on the level of participation they want (the options for involvement are no longer just sign the petition or join the march); and action can quickly be taken that has an impact at the points of the political (small p) process that have the greatest impact.

Many of the barriers to doing something are being removed.

I don’t believe this is primarily a technology revolution.  I think it is far more than this:  a social revolution that is dramatically changing the way we (societies) organize ourselves.


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