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Grassrooting the Space of Flows. main source: Manuel Castells. what is the “space of flows”?. new spatial logic of the informational age replaces a space of places compression of time reconstitution of space & place 4 components networks (electronic, economic, scientific, etc.)

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Grassrooting the space of flows l.jpg

Grassrooting the Space of Flows

main source: Manuel Castells


What is the space of flows l.jpg
what is the “space of flows”?

  • new spatial logic of the informational age replaces a space of places

    • compression of time

    • reconstitution of space & place

  • 4 components

    • networks (electronic, economic, scientific, etc.)

    • nodes and hubs of these networks (places)

    • spatial organization of the work, play and movement of cosmopolitan elites (us)

    • virtual places (Internet, etc.)



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what is “grassrooting”?

  • autonomous expression of social meaning

    • formation of “horizontal” communications

    • expressions of solidarity (mutual aid)

    • political actions esp. resistance to domination (ironically involving occupations of places)

    • steps toward direct (online) democracy

  • how are these different?

  • how are they the same?


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Connections to familiar authors

  • Hénaff & Strong argue that democracy is a process and voting is only part of that process

  • Poster argues that the state and business “colonize” new media with a “culture of instrumentality”

  • In light of these arguments, what else can we say about “grassrooting” and about media?


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space of flows vs. space of places

  • the space of flows can enhance participation in place-based communities (cities & nations)

    • Barcelona Internet Citizen Project

    • Santa Monica’s PEN Project (1986)

    • One Million Women March (1997)

  • the space of flows can rival the interactivity similar to that experienced in the space of places

    • Amsterdam’s Digital City

  • the space of flows can be used to overcome political handicaps due to isolation & poverty

    • La Neta, Chiapas, Mexico, 1995


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centralization and decentralization

  • centralization in the space of flows

    • giant corporations buy up small companies or drive them out of business

    • the spatial “reach” and economic power of such corporations is historically unprecedented

    • a single corporate HQ can control the options available to hundreds of millions of consumers

  • decentralization in the space of flows

    • meanwhile such corporations find it profitable to split up and divide phases of the production process between different towns, regions, countries, or continents


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media centralization

  • Between 1982 and 1997, the number of corporations controlling ½ of the U.S. media industry shrank from 50 to 10 (see Ben Bagdikian, The Media Monopoly)

  • FCC philosophy pre-1980s

    • broadcasting is a privilege

    • public service model

  • FCC philosophy post-1980s

    • broadcasting is a right (of those who control the market)

    • free-market model


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an example of centralization

  • San Antonio’s ClearChannel

    • in U.S., it controls 60% of rock radio, 20% overall

    • 1200 radio stations reaching 110 million listeners/wk., 54% of all people ages 18-49 in the U.S.

    • 39 TV stations

    • live entertainment venues in 65 countries

    • 776,000 outdoor advertising displays (billboards, street furniture and transit panels)

    • SFX entertainment: the main concert-venue owner and concert tour promoter in the U.S.

source: www.clearchannel.com


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shaping political discourse

  • Clear Channel radio stations have sponsored pro-war rallies called “Rally for America” in Atlanta, Cleveland, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Sacramento, Charleston, and Richmond

    (source: Tim Jones, Chicago Tribune, March 19, 2003)

  • Affiliate stations are linked to a uniform website disguised as a station-specific site

    • currently these sites glorify the war and ridicule protestors


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sounds & silences

  • Cat Stevens' “Peace Train” and John Lennon's “Imagine” removed from affiliates’ playlists after 9-11

  • Dixie Chicks removed from affiliates’ playlists after Natalie Maines criticized George W. Bush

  • Clint Black’s “I Raq & Roll,” Darryl Worrley's “Have You Forgotten” (#1 Country) and Fleetwood Mac’s “Peacekeeper” (#3 Adult/Contemp.) are receiving lots of play time


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“I RAQ & ROLL”Words and Music by Clint Black and Hayden Nicholas

  • CHORUSI RAQ, I RACK'EM UP AND I ROLLI'M BACK AND I'M A HIGH TECH GI JOEI PRAY FOR PEACE, PREPARE FOR WARAND I NEVER WILL FORGETTHERE'S NO PRICE TOO HIGH FOR FREEDOMSO BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU TREAD


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“I RAQ & ROLL”Words and Music by Clint Black and Hayden Nicholas

  • CHORUS III ROCK, I RACK'EM UP AND I ROLLI'M BACK AND I'M A HIGH TECH GI JOEI'VE GOT INFRARED, I'VE GOT GPS AND I'VE GOT THAT GOOD OLD FASHIONED LEADTHERE'S NO PRICE TOO HIGH FOR FREEDOMSO BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU TREAD


I raq roll words and music by clint black and hayden nicholas14 l.jpg
“I RAQ & ROLL”Words and Music by Clint Black and Hayden Nicholas

  • BRIDGENOW YOU CAN COME ALONGOR YOU CAN STAY BEHINDOR YOU CAN GET OUT OF THE WAYBUT OUR TROOPS TAKE OUT THE GARBAGEFOR THE GOOD OLD U.S.A.


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“Peacekeeper”Words and Music by Fleetwood Mac

We make all of our suns the same Every one will suffer the fire we've made They all explode just the same And there's no going back on the plans we've made Peacekeeper take your time Wait for the dark of night Soon all the suns will rise Peacekeeper don't tell why Don't be afraid to fight Love is the sweet surprise


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“Peacekeeper”Words and Music by Fleetwood Mac

Only creatures who are on their way Ever poison their own well But we still have time to hate And there's still something we can sell Peacekeeper take your time Wait for the dark of night Soon all the suns will rise


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“Peacekeeper”Words and Music by Fleetwood Mac

Peacekeeper don't tell why etc. When the night is cold and still When you thought you've had your fill Take all the time you will This is not a test, it's not a drill Take no prisoners, only kill


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ClearChannel stations in Austin

  • KASE (fm) country

  • KASZ (fm) classic rock

  • KFMK (fm) “jammin’ oldies”

  • KHFI (fm) (KissFM) pop

  • KPEZ (fm) (Z102.3) classic rock

  • KVET (fm) country

  • KVET (am) “the zone” sports


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pro-war views promoted on ClearChannel affiliate websites

excerpts from “American Protesters Protesting America” by Betsy Hart - Scripps Howard News Service

“Those Americans who continue to protest against the war in Iraq, now that it has begun and our forces are on the ground, are protesting America itself.”

“Well the fact is, we're more generous than anybody. Unlike any other country that has ever existed, we fight wars only when we truly believe we have to defend ourselves or others, and we do our best to spare civilians and to rebuild the place when we leave.”

“Unique in human history and most amazing of all, our goal really is to leave, and to leave the place better off than when we got there.”


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pro-war views promoted on ClearChannel affiliate websites

excerpts from “Cliff Notes on the News - Protestors” by Cliff Albert - KOGO, San Diego

“The anti war protestors were marching again this weekend ... While they certainly have the right to protest, a lot of people are wondering what it is they're trying to accomplish. I mean, think about it. What are the anti war protestors trying to do? What's their goal? … maybe they haven't noticed. The war is already underway.” “Instead of marching through the streets, how about putting some energy into something that would really make a difference, like sending money for humanitarian relief, or offering assistance to families with loved ones in the war?”


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pro-war views promoted on ClearChannel affiliate websites

excerpts from “Cliff Notes on the News - Protestors” by Cliff Albert - KOGO, San Diego

“Instead, many of the anti war protestors act like a little kid who's lost an argument and everyone has moved on, but the kid sits in the corner with arms crossed and a scowl on his face just to show everyone he's still unhappy.”“You know what advice a kid like that would get? It's time to grow up and move on.”


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pro-war views promoted on ClearChannel affiliate websites

excerpt from Hanther, called “So What Next” (this 3rd opinion piece was presented on ClearChannel sites as an account of a discussion that took place at “Charlies Truck Stop”)

“Willard believes The United States has the responsibility to initiate American style democracy in every country in the Middle East and then possibly in the world. This is the strongest country on the planet and we can bring about world peace and prosperity by eliminating the rotting totalitarian dictatorships that stand in our way. The Weak Willies and Timid Toms who shrink from using military might to get what we want should just get out of the way and let real Americans take control. The day of the United Nations and other ineffectual groups is past. The future belongs to America.”

“Bob insisted he is convinced the invasion of Iraq and removal of Saddam Hussein is a worthwhile cause, but he is not so sure Washington is equipped to reshape the whole world.”


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range of debate narrowly defined

+

advocate expansion of U.S. intervention

-

grow up and accept the war

Aside from the terms of debate, the terrain of action is also defined …


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petition on KVET website

Petition The Chicks

Sign the E-Petition to encourage the Dixie Chicks to stage free, special concerts for our military personnel and families, as a way of making amends for their unfortunate remarks in London. These concerts would be a way to say thank you to the men and women who protect our freedom.


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www.fair.org

www.eff.org

www.democraticmedia.org

www.mediaaccess.org

projectcensored.org

www.clearchannelsucks.org

www.takebackthemedia.com

www.lacarte.org/songs/anti-war/

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Center for Digital Democracy

Media Access Project

Projectcensored.org

Clearchannelsucks.org

Takebackthemedia.com

Anti-War songs a la carte

alternative media fighting centralized media power





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Protesting in Austin

What resources (signs, signals, symbols) areat the disposal of protestors?

What difference does place make?


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protest is a form of communication

  • senders

    • protesters

    • media

  • receivers

    • protest targets

    • reference publics


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spatial dynamics of protest

mass media & telecommunication

& telecommunication

political pressure

mass media

protestors

1

protest targets

3

reference publics

2


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Are protestors acting as embodied or disembodied agents?

Why? With what communicational intent?


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A “die-in”

should obstructing traffic and/or interfering with business be considered “terrorism” (e.g. proposed Oregon law)?


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protest is a form of communication

  • senders

    • protesters: Black Americans and supporters, 1955-1965 (various locations in Jim Crow geography)

    • media: Television, newspapers, magazines

  • receivers

    • protest targets: Southern politicians and law enforcement officials

    • reference publics: White Northerners, international audiences


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protest is a form of communication

  • senders

    • protesters: Philippine people, 1986 (EDSA highway)

    • media: Television, newspapers, magazines, etc.

  • receivers

    • protest targets: U.S.-backed Marcos regime

    • reference publics: U.S. people, Catholic church, U.S. Government, other international audiences


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protest is a form of communication

  • senders

    • protesters: Chinese students and workers, 1989 (Tiananmen Square)

    • media: Television, newspapers, magazines, etc.

  • receivers

    • protest targets: Chinese government

    • reference publics: World audiences, esp. Americans and Russians



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memories of Tiananmen (Hong Kong, 1999)


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remembering Tiananmen (Hong Kong 1999)


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what about this wave of protest?

  • senders

    • protesters: American peace activists, European activists (broad agenda), Muslims

    • media: Television, newspapers, magazines, etc.

  • receivers

    • protest targets: U.S. Government, esp. Bush administration, British & other ally governments

    • reference publics: World audiences



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Getting Arrested in Lafayette Park (in front of the White House)

Presbyterian Minister George Taylor, of Hyattsville, Maryland

Nobel Peace Laureate, Mairead Maguire, of Northern Ireland


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What purpose does this serve?

Why do it?

Consider extensibility, status, social context…


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What purpose does this serve?

think of symbolism …

(Barcelona, 2003)




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Making sense of the protests

  • Content

    • Symbols

      • the flag as symbol of nation

      • rotten tomatoes as a symbol of scorn

      • police uniforms as a symbol of authority

      • McDonald’s as symbol of the U.S. & global capitalist system

      • the body as a symbol of resistance

    • Signs

      • “stop the war,” “no war,” “Bush=terrorist” etc.

    • Signals

      • gestures, expressions, postures, bodily movements, nightsticks, hand cuffs, guns, sirens, shouted demands (protestors), demands over loudspeaker (police), etc.


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communication context

  • historical:

    • European intervention in the Middle East since the crusades

    • American intervention in the Middle East in 20th c. (esp. Iran-Iraq conflict & Israeli conflicts)

    • Euro-American colonial and post-colonial legacies

  • geopolitical (present day):

    • core states vs. peripheral states

    • rich vs. poor states

    • Christian ecumene vs. the rest

    • Dar al-Islam vs. Dar al Harb

    • post-9/11 “War on Terrorism”


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Reuters & AP

on yahoo.com

protest image sources:


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