[NetBehaviour] Fwd:The Globalization of Resistance to Capitalist Communication

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>
>The Globalization of Resistance to Capitalist Communication
>
>
>Sasha Costanza-Chock
>schock AT riseup.net
>
>
>
>
>I. INTRODUCTION
>
>II. BACKGROUND
>
>III. GLOBALIZING RESISTANCE
>1  Unorganized Resistance
>2  Mass Movements
>3  Communication/Knowledge/Cultural Workers
>4  Reformers
>5  Autonomist Media Networks
>
>IV. CONCLUSION: ARTICULATIONS
>
>
>I. INTRODUCTION
>
>         The first years of the new millennium saw the continuous 
> and seemingly
>unstoppable onslaught of capitalist globalization, greater consolidation
>of the cultural industries in the hands of ever fewer multinational
>conglomerates, and a blanket of information warfare, perpetrated by
>those conglomerates in conjunction with the Bush administration,
>intended to mask the horror of that administration's repeated, criminal,
>unilateral deployment of deadly military force. Yet these same years
>also saw extraordinary growth in the size, sophistication, and
>coordination of various progressive and radical tendencies that aim to
>block further commodification of, and seize control over, communication
>and cultural production. These tendencies are globalizing in several
>senses: first, there is the rapid, unorganized, worldwide explosion of
>freely distributed audiovisual materials and software, which implicitly
>or explicitly undermines the so-called 'intellectual property rights'
>regime; second, there is significant deepening of the links between mass
>movements that resist the enclosure of the knowledge commons; third,
>workers and unions in the knowledge, culture, and communications
>industries are adopting a more progressive internationalist stance;
>fourth, reformist organizations that aim to change state or corporate
>communications practice or policy are forging stronger international
>ties; fifth, local autonomous media production is increasingly linked in
>global networks.i Across the spectrum, there is an increase in awareness
>of and actions targeting the trade regimes and supranational
>institutions that affect communication systems, and a corresponding
>recognition that  alternatives must be developed, supported, and extended=
>.
>
>         Of course, these tendencies do not advance unopposed. Capital does
>everything in its power to promote splits between them, and to crush the
>growth of real alternatives to profit-driven communication systems. The
>key to the successful advance of alternatives will be for reformers and
>autonomists to sidestep the 'in/out' dichotomy, and to develop
>solidarity between those who seek to hold state or corporate media
>accountable, produce structural policy changes, and create fully
>autonomous communication. The battle for structural change must take
>place both in the arena of naked confrontation with capital, such as the
>so-called 'free trade' deals like the WTO/GATS/TRIPS, and in the
>convoluted venues where capital now seeks to mask and legitimate the
>logic of the market by providing symbolic seats at the table, such as
>the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).
>
>         In this chapter I provide a brief theoretical orientation, then
>illustrate each of these tendencies with examples, and conclude by
>considering the serious threats to  the globalization of movements for
>control of communication posed both by organized capital and by internal
>tensions between reformist and autonomist camps. Despite these threats,
>I argue that there are clear signs of the growth of a transnational
>movement around popular control of communication, and that this movement
>must be nurtured as a key element in the struggle to establish
>alternatives to neoliberal adjustment, imperialist war, and other
>manifestations of capitalist globalization.
>
>
>II. BACKGROUND
>
>
>         Media, communications, and the entire cultural sector are now more
>highly concentrated in the hands of a few powerful multinational
>conglomerates than at any time in human history. Never has the sector
>been so profitable; never has it represented a greater proportion of
>capital accumulation; never has it extended so far into every corner of
>life. For progressives who hope for greater democratization of
>communications, lobbying in the halls of power appears to be less
>effective with each passing moment. Structural solutions to the extreme
>power held by corporate communications conglomerates over
>representation, public discourse, and the political process are
>hamstrung at the starting gate by the selfsame corporate media lobby: in
>the USA, these companies spend millions each year wining and dining
>Congress and the Federal Communications Commission in order to assure an
>ever more favorable regulatory climate (Williams and Jindrich, 2004).
>The only coherent response to the consolidation of capital's control
>over communications at every level =96 production, distribution,
>regulatory environment, access to globalized markets through removal of
>'barriers' like public broadcasting and monopoly limits, and the
>commodification of previously personal or collective forms of knowledge,
>information, and communication in the form of so-called 'Intellectual
>Property Rights' (IPRs) - is the development of a movement that combines
>concrete demands for reappropriation of the public resources that enable
>communication (the public domain, the electromagnetic spectrum, the
>geosynchronous satellite orbits) with the active construction of radical
>communication networks and practices.
>
>         This is not a pipe dream. In every facet of communication 
> that has been
>penetrated by capital, or caught in the straightjacket of neoliberal
>policies adopted by local elites or imposed from above, we find the
>reflection of myriad bottom-up resistances and concrete existing
>alternatives. This is true for the production and distribution of
>cultural 'goods and services' via a range of alternative and autonomous
>spaces, sites and networks, as well as for the hacking, altering, and
>reconfiguration of hardware, software, infrastructure, and
>sociotechnical practices. It is also true in terms of mass resistance,
>both organized in social movements and replicated widely in everyday
>practices, to the IPR regime, the commodification of previously common
>information forms, and the growth of the market for personal
>information. It is also true for those international governance
>institutions that bear on communications, which face increasing pressure
>to implement transparency and democratic reforms, and for US designs to
>consolidate control over cultural industries by extending the 'free
>trade' regime to audiovisual services, a process that, in 2005, faces
>the largest coordinated opposition since the New World Information and
>Communication Order debates of the 1980s.
>
>         The year 2003 alone saw the continued breakneck expansion 
> of autonomous
>media systems, including the spread of the Independent Media Center
>network to more than 130 local nodes in over 60 countries. In the USA,
>2003 was the year of a massive popular outcry against the Federal
>Communication Commission's relaxation of ownership caps and
>cross-ownership rules, which mobilized groups across the political
>spectrum to decry corporate media consolidation and transformed a
>seemingly arcane policy battle into one of the most important issues in
>Washington. Although this particular battle was a defensive action to
>maintain minimal antimonopoly limits within a regulatory status quo
>already favoring the corporate sector, it has without a doubt
>strengthened local and national advocacy networks and organizations.
>Also in 2003, the office of the United States Trade Representative
>(USTR) was thwarted not once but twice in its efforts to bring
>'audiovisual services' fully into the General Agreement on Trade in
>Services (GATS) regime, first at the World Trade Organization (WTO)
>Ministerial in Cancun and then at the Free Trade Area of the Americas
>(FTAA) Ministerial in Miami (Costanza-Chock, 2003a; Khor, 2003; Neil,
>2003). Widespread resistance to the inclusion of the cultural sector in
>'free trade' deals also received a powerful boost in 2003 when the
>proposal to draft a Convention on Cultural Diversity (CCD), which would
>potentially allow each country to maintain public funding, local content
>quotas, national ownership requirements, limits on consolidation and
>cross-ownership, and subsidies for cultural production against the
>mandates of GATS, received the approval of UNESCO's 32nd General
>Conference over the objections of the USA. The CCD is now winding its
>way through the UNESCO process, with a target completion date of fall
>2005 (Coalitions for Cultural Diversity, 2004).
>
>         2003 saw what may have been the first, and also the second, street
>mobilizations against the Geneva headquarters of the World Intellectual
>Property Organization (WIPO). The first such mobilization was part of
>the opening salvo against the May meeting of the G8: three to four
>thousand people marched from the WTO to the International Organization
>of Migration to WIPO, to link the demand for freedom of information to
>the demand for freedom of movement (Indymedia UK, 2003). The second such
>mobilization took place in December, when autonomous media activists and
>progressive NGOs stood together against the implicit endorsement of the
>existing IPR regime by the World Summit on the Information Society
>(geneva03, 2003)ii. This second action against WIPO took place in the
>context of a great deal of activity around the WSIS, which, although a
>problematic process that will be discussed in more detail below, does
>provide a focal point around which communication reformers, radicals,
>and autonomists from around the world have been able to strengthen their
>networks.
>
>
>Infocapitalism Sets the Stage
>
>         These resistances have not erupted spontaneously. If infocapitalism
>requires the wider distribution of information and communication
>technologies (ICTs) and associated skills among certain groups of
>workers, then at the same time that those workers are trained to
>increase their productivity through the use of ICTs, they also become
>prepared for new forms of nonwaged activity - including innovative types
>of cultural production, active resistance to capital, and self-valorized
>information work. Marxian thinkers have long pointed out that
>infocapitalism produces technologies and sociotechnical skills that,
>though initially designed in the service of capital, can be and have
>been appropriated for resistance (Mosco, 1996; Dyer-Witheford, 1999).
>
>         This process of reappropriation is not new, and is of course not
>specific to information and communication technologies and skills, let
>alone to 'new' ICTs. Yet it is possible to specify that infocapitalism,
>at the same time as it broadens the base of ICT literate workers in
>order to staff the growing cultural, knowledge, information service,
>telework, and back-office industries, actively produces the conditions
>for a shift in the strategies, tools, and tactics of the resistance
>movements. As ICT skills become mainstreamed throughout the population,
>existing movements are able to take up these new tools and skills and
>add to their capabilities; simultaneously, the increased capitalist
>emphasis on immaterial, symbolic, and communicative labor reveals new
>pressure points for resistance and sets the stage for the emergence of
>movements focused explicitly on democratizing control of communication.
>
>
>Inequality of Access
>
>         Of course, this process is deeply constrained by the 
> radically unequal
>distribution of ICTs and sociotechnical skills both between and within
>nations. While the development establishment, including national telecom
>policymakers and multilateral bodies including the G8 Dot Force, the New
>Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), the WSIS, and others frame
>this inequality in terms of a so-called 'digital divide,' the phrase is
>a thin scrim: ICT access inequalities, for the most part, replicate
>other existing disparities (Noronha, 2004). The 'digital divide' is for
>the most part the good old economic divide, which is of course also
>deeply gendered, as well as constituted by massive inequality according
>to ethnicity, caste, age, and other vectors of oppression (Breathnach,
>2002; Di Martino, 2001; Skinner, 1998; Wilson, 1998). Nevertheless, it
>would be a mistake to dismiss either the potential or actually existing
>significance of ICTs to social movements even among the most excluded
>populations. In fact, it is clear that the diffusion of ICTs has been
>significant not only for NGOs and professionalized advocacy
>organizations but also for many social movements. ICTs developed or even
>'embedded' in the service of capital have repeatedly been taken up,
>reconfigured and redeployed by resistant forces.
>
>
>ICT Use by Social Movements
>
>         The 'new' ICTs are not so new, and neither is the process of their
>(re)appropriation by social movements. Almost from the earliest days of
>the fledgling Internet, progressives and radicals of all stripes
>recognized its potential to amplify and strengthen their work. In the
>late 1980s, when ftp and email were the primary capabilities of the
>nascent Net, already groups like GreenNet, PeaceNet, LaborNet and
>WomensNet seized on these tools for rapid global information
>distribution and action alerts (Association for Progressive
>Communication, 1997; Banks et. al., 2000; Le=F3n, Burch & Tamayo, 2001;
>Surman and Reilly, 2003). The effective use of the Net by solidarity
>networks in support of the Zapatista uprising against NAFTA and
>neoliberalism should barely need rehearsing here - it has become a
>paradigmatic tale of the use of the Net by social movements. The
>attention of global civil society, generated in part by the wide
>distribution of Subcomandante Marcos' poetic communiques from the
>Lacondan jungle, produced the necessary 'boomerang effect:'
>international pressure raised the stakes until the Mexican government
>was forced to abandon (or perpetually delay) its initial plan to repress
>the uprising with overwhelming military force (Keck and Sikkink, 1998;
>Ronfeldt and Arquilla, 2001; Smith, 2001).
>
>         It is not my aim here to develop a case study of a particular social
>movement or organization's use of 'new' communications technologies, or
>to rehearse in more sweeping strokes the history of social movement use
>of the internet or older communication technologies. Many well-written
>case studies and histories already exist, and now proliferate rapidly
>across scholarly fields including social movement studies, political
>science, and communications, as well as within literature and
>documentation produced by radical communicators and by movement
>organizations themselves (Rodriguez, 2001; Halleck, 2002; Kidd,
>2002)iii.  There is a growing body of work that aims to further analyze,
>theorize, categorize or map movement use of new communication
>technologies, for example in terms of the relation to the shifting
>nature of capitalism (Mosco, 1996; Dyer-Witheford, 1999), by
>distinguishing between various forms of electronic contention
>(Costanza-Chock, 2003b), or in other ways. There is a growing body of
>self-reflection by independent media movement participants, as well as
>by external observers, drawing attention to persistent problems
>including N/S inequalities, gender dynamics, lack of connection to
>labor, need for race analysis, and so on (Halleck, 2003; Kidd, 2003;
>Milberry, 2003; Indymedia Documentation Project, 2004). The Social
>Science Research Council has recently attempted to create a set of
>'state of the knowledge' reports examining the ways in which social
>movements are using ICTs, and to decipher the various ways in which
>changing global governance of ICTs might impact social movements'
>continued ability to utilize these technologies to organize for social
>change (O'Siochru with Costanza-Chock, 2003; Surman and Reilly, 2003).
>In broader strokes, there have long been detailed descriptions of social
>movement use of other communications technologies including radio,
>video, and of course the printing press. In other words, the recent
>interest in social movement use of the Internet reflects only the latest
>stage in the broader cycle of the appropriation of communication
>technologies by social movements.iv
>
>         Given this burgeoning discussion of the adoption, deployment, and
>innovation in the use of ICTs by social movements, rather than detail
>another case study or attempt to summarize a history, my aim here is to
>distinguish between various tendencies within globalized movement
>activity focused on communication control. This is crucial, because
>capital and its functionaries understand divisions between these
>tendencies and take steps to exploit them, to drive in wedges, to split
>the emergent movements around communication control between 'good'
>reformers who are willing to sit at the table and 'bad' radicals who,
>their numbers diminished once the policy advocates have been siphoned
>off, professionalized, and given a (back)seat at the table - or at least
>in the peanut gallery - can be actively crushed or marginalized into
>near invisibility. As the movements around control of communication gain
>steam, it is important to develop our own analysis of their composition.
>The next section, the main body of this chapter, is an attempt to
>understand recent instances of resistance in this light.
>
>
>
>
>III. GLOBALIZING RESISTANCE
>
>
>         At the risk of caricature or reductionism, and always 
> recognizing that
>boundaries between categories are blurry and contingent, it is possible
>to observe several broad tendencies in the globalization of the
>movements for control of communication. These can be grouped into the
>following ideal-types: unorganized resistance, mass movements,
>communication workers, media monitors, reformist policy organizations,
>and autonomists. Of course, it is easy to find examples of organizations
>or networks that crosscut each tendency. For example, the global
>networks of programmers, hackers, and users who develop and spread Free
>/ Libre Open Source Software (F/LOSS) span all categories, from
>anarchists who deploy F/LOSS to support radical horizontal communication
>during street protests against meetings of international financial
>institutions, to policymakers who encourage or mandate the use of F/LOSS
>by government agencies and schools. In the final section of this chapter
>I emphasize that linkage, crossing, and solidarity within and between
>all tendencies is not only desirable but crucial to their mutual
>advance. Here, I will ground each category with concrete examples.
>
>
>1. Unorganized Resistance: File Sharing
>
>         First, there is the rapid, unorganized, worldwide explosion of freely
>distributed audiovisual materials and software, which implicitly or
>explicitly undermines the so-called 'intellectual property rights' regime=
>.
>
>         It would be a mistake to look for resistance to capitalist
>communication only where it manifests in formally structured
>organizations or movements. Perhaps the most widespread opposition
>actually exists in the unorganized forms of increased popular distrust
>of both state and corporate media, as well as in the practical rejection
>of so-called 'intellectual property rights' regimes.
>
>         Arguably, one of the largest threats to capitalist control of
>communication is the massive everyday undermining of the IPR regime by
>millions of Net users who upload, download, and otherwise freely share
>texts, music, audiovisual materials, and software. It is true that a
>majority of users may not necessarily engage in pirate practices with
>the conscious purpose of undermining IPR, an artificial form of resource
>scarcity that serves as the linchpin of capitalist control of culture
>and knowledge (Martin, 1998). It is also true that technolibertarians
>who assert that 'information wants to be free,' quite aside from their
>mistaken assignment of agency to the dead product of living human
>creative processes, are naive to assume that illicit information flows
>cannot be regulated or controlled. To the contrary, vast technical,
>legal, and discursive resources have been deployed by both the corporate
>sector and the state in their attempts to reign in the hemorrhage of IPR
>through fiber optic arteries. These efforts have met with varying
>degrees of success, and there is every reason to believe that
>recuperation of profits can be reimposed through various layers of
>control, including technological, legal, and normative (Lessig, 1999). v
>Nevertheless, the seriousness of the threat to the cultural industries,
>and to the very principle of information scarcity they impose as a
>precondition to squeezing profits from their imposed monopolies on
>cultural material, can hardly be overstated.
>
>         One indication of the severity of the crisis for the information and
>cultural industries are the figures disseminated by those industries
>themselves. The International Intellectual Property Association (IIPA)
>estimates profits lost to intellectual 'piracy' in 2002-2003 at 1.7
>billion in the Americas, 5 billion in Asia, 3.1 billion in Europe, and
>894 million in Africa and the Middle East. The IIPA country-by-country
>'piracy level' estimates for 2003 find, for example, that in the
>People's Republic of China, 95% of motion pictures, 90% of records and
>music, and 92% of business software were pirated product. In India,
>these figures were 60%, 40%, and 69%, respectively, while in the Russian
>Federation, they were 75%, 64%, and 93% (IIPA, 2003). Tellingly, all
>these figures are only for 'hard' piracy, or production of material
>copies for sale; profits lost to the free distribution of material
>through filesharing are so vast that IIPA refuses to even publicly
>release estimates.
>
>         Domestically, the industry and the state have attempted triage in the
>form of lawsuits against individual filesharers, including now infamous
>lawsuits against senior citizens and Brianna LaHara, a 12-year-old girl
>living with her mother in New York City public housing (BBC, 2003). It
>remains to be seen whether this strategy will backfire on the industry;
>there are already signs that it has prompted organized resistance to the
>crackdown (Werde, 2004). For example, groups like downhillbattle.org
>have begun sophisticated campaigns to mobilize filesharers to take
>political action, sponsoring nationwide call-ins to block new, overbroad
>federal IP legislation (downhillbattle.org, 2004a). At the same time,
>alternatives to the existing IP regime that would make space for
>increased filesharing outside the profit motive are rapidly gaining
>ground and globalizing. For example, by 2004, Creative Commons licenses
>had been translated from the US to Brazil, Finland, Germany, Japan, and
>the Netherlands, with additional translations - both in terms of
>language and from legal system to legal system - underway for 15 more
>countries (Creative Commons, 2004).
>
>         Internationally, the WIPO wrings its hands at the multibillion dollar
>'loss' in pirated intellectual property each year. Such figures make the
>imposition and enforcement of US-style intellectual property law one of
>the most important planks in US trade policy. Here, the US government,
>at the bidding of the communications conglomerates, may in the medium
>term even be forced to further sacrifice its already withered industrial
>and agricultural production on the altar of improved foreign IPR regimes
>and access to audiovisual markets. However, grassroots resistance to the
>attempts by capital to impose global 'harmonization' of intellectual
>property rights, especially through the WTO/TRIPS, has mounted steadily.
>In 2003, those attempts were temporarily blocked by the collapse of WTO
>and FTAA trade negotiations.vi These victories did not proceed, of
>course, from disorganized filesharers, but from mass movements of the bas=
>e.
>
>
>2. Mass Movements: Globalized opposition to TRIPS
>
>         Second, there is significant deepening of the links between mass
>movements of the base that resist the enclosure of the knowledge commons.
>
>         Although it receives the lion's share of popular press in the North,
>music sharing is far from the only, or the most important, form of
>resistance to the imposition of IPR regimes. In the global South, strong
>resistance to IPR has been around for decades. This resistance has come
>from mass based peasant and small farmer movements, in the battle
>against the privatization of seed genes by the agribusiness and biotech
>industries, AIDS activists fighting big Pharma for access to generic
>versions of patented drugs, and demands from Africa for a moratorium on
>all patents on life. Unlike music sharing, these life-and-death battles
>against IPR have long been politically organized. In addition, in many
>cases these movements have shared unlikely common cause with national
>elites interested in opposing the imposition of US-style patent
>protections, which limit the possibilities for technology transfer
>essential to nationalist 'development' aspirations.
>
>Globalized opposition to TRIPS
>
>         These movements of the base that have fought so fiercely 
> against TRIPS,
>composed largely of poor peasants, farmers, and the landless, are often
>themselves engaged in the appropriation of ICTs for internal
>communication and for articulation with solidarity networks that span
>the globe. For example, the Brazilian MST (Landless Movement) has
>vigorously embraced F/LOSS, and has constructed a nationwide
>communications infrastructure and training program through its system of
>free schools (Ortellado, 2003). ICTs have played a key role in linking
>poor people's movements against TRIPS, seed patents, biotech, and AIDS
>drug patents within transnational advocacy networks of NGOs and
>solidarity supporters in the North. These movements have gained such
>strength and global coordination that they have forced national elites
>to shift position in recent rounds of global trade talks, contributing
>greatly to the stalemates in WTO and FTAA  negotiations in 2003 (Khor,
>2003; Eleusa and Sean, 2003; Wallach, 2003).
>
>         One key to the continued growth and spread of resistance to 
> capitalist
>communication control will be to make explicit the link between these
>forms of organized struggle against IPR, based in farmer, peasant, and
>other communities, and the unorganized waves of filesharing of 'cultural
>goods.' This link has been made by some media activists and radical
>thinkers, and to some degree in the development of an alternative legal
>regime under GPL and Creative Commons licenses; however, it has not yet
>been widely popularized (but see Mute magazine, www.metamute.com).
>Instead, the overwhelming discussion around cultural production remains
>reformist, as evidenced by the constant talk of 'balancing' IPRs with
>fair use, or the 'rights of the creator' with the 'rights of the user.'
>There is also every possibility that music sharing, for example, will be
>recuperated in part via schemes like Apple's iTunes, which attempts to
>capitalize on the cultural chic of filesharing. iTunes winks at piracy
>and attempts to convince people (as consumers) that the process of
>downloading is 'resistant' or 'edgy' in and of itself, while continuing
>to extract profit from false scarcity (see downhillbattle.org, 2004b).
>Against reformist and recuperative strategies by capital, we need to
>link mass unorganized rejection of IPR directly to the life-and-death
>struggles over food sovereignty and biomedicine waged by peasants,
>farmers, AIDS activists, and other people the world over.
>
>
>3. Communication Workers: CWA and UNI-MEI
>
>         Third, workers and unions in the knowledge, culture, and 
> communications
>industries are adopting a more progressive internationalist stance.
>
>         While organized labor in all sectors have faced severe pressure
>everywhere under neoliberalism, a few unions have been marked by
>increasingly visible organizing campaigns. In the late 1990s and early
>2000s in the US, this has been the case especially for service workers,
>for example the highly visible Justice for Janitors campaign (Bacon,
>1999). There has also arguably been increased organizing among knowledge
>workers, in the cultural industries, and among the 'creative class.' For
>example, there are mounting drives to unionize graduate students, call
>center workers, graphic designers, and software workers (Mosher, 2004;
>Communications Workers of America, 2003). Pressure on these workers to
>organize builds as communication/knowledge/cultural work, supposedly
>their 'reward' for supporting the new international division of labor,
>in the form of higher-pay, more skilled, more creative jobs that replace
>outsourced industrial production and automated agricultural production,
>also becomes automated, segmented, deskilled, and outsourced from the
>'first world' to sites of cheaper labor. This trend is marked, for
>example, in the call center sector, increasingly outsourced to
>information sweatshops in 'Free Trade Zones,' to the informal economy on
>the margins of global cities, to prisons and Native American
>reservations in the US, and to other kinds of information sweatshops
>(Skinner, 1998; Breathnach, 2002; Costanza-Chock, 2003c ; Gurumurthy,
>2004). There is mounting pressure for software workers to organize, as
>higher skill information jobs flee to the lowest bidder both
>internationally, as in IBM's 2004 disclosure that it would shift several
>thousand programming jobs to India and China over the next year, and
>within countries, as in Indian IT giant Infosys' plans to shift jobs
>from Bangalore to lower-wage sites in Kerala and Tamil Nadu State
>(CNN/Money, 2004; World-Information.org, 2005). Of course, it is true
>that these developments are often met first by nationalist
>protectionism, and that organized labor has played on white collar
>workers' nationalism, xenophobia, and racism in shortsighted attempts to
>organize workers behind simplistic protectionist responses. It is an
>open question whether this approach  can be overcome by more
>sophisticated strategies that seek not to 'stop outsourcing,' but to
>organize information industry workers globally. Recent decisions by some
>of the largest communications and media labor organizations provide
>reason to hope that this is the case.
>
>UNI MEI
>
>         Several of the resolutions passed by the 2003 general assembly of the
>Union Network International =96 Media and Entertainment Industries (UNI
>MEI) are quite radical and global in their focus, especially the
>decision to actively organize part-time, temporary, and outsourced or
>intermittent media workers, rather than fight to exclude them from the
>production process. UNI MEI also is taking the lead among media workers'
>unions by recognizing the importance of the trade regime as a primary
>site of power in the cultural sector, and the potentially devastating
>impacts on workers in the cultural sector if audiovisual services are
>brought fully into the WTO/GATS. Accordingly, they passed a resolution
>supporting the proposed Convention on Cultural Diversity, or CCD (UNI
>MEI, 2003). Although it may not be possible to make broad
>generalizations across the sector, it is clear that at least some
>networks of already organized creative workers are internationalizing
>their perspectives.
>
>         There are of course serious questions as to whether the majority of
>software workers, increasingly outsourced, will continue to accept the
>decimation of jobs or will begin to organize en masse. It is also true
>that deskilling produces multitiered infoworkers who don't necessarily
>identify with each other, as in the gulf between infosweat work,
>primarily performed by Third and Fourth World women, and
>professionalized infowork primarily performed by men (International
>Labor Organization, 2001). Infosweat work is often performed in
>environments least conducive to organizing, while within the 'top' tiers
>of infowork, class consciousness is minimal and programmers are more
>likely to belong to professional organizations than to identify as
>workers. Still, some of these organizations take quite progressive
>stands. For example, Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
>(CPSR) has recently played a key role in organizing to pressure for more
>nongovernmental, noncorporate participation in global communication
>governance bodies like ICANN and the ITU. This takes us to the fourth
>tendency.
>
>
>4. Reformers: Media Monitors, Policy Advocates, WSIS, CCD
>
>         Fourth, reformist initiatives that aim to change state or corporate
>communications practice or policy are forging stronger international ties=
>.
>
>         The fourth globalizing tendency of activity against capitalist
>communication is the forging of strong international ties between
>progressive media reform organizations and networks. By reformers, I
>include all those groups that attempt to hold corporate or state media
>accountable for isolated instances of bias, or to alter state,
>corporate, or multilateral communications policy primarily through
>legislation. Both media monitor organizations that observe, critique,
>and pressure media corporations into providing more 'balanced' coverage,
>and policy advocacy organizations that attempt to gain small concessions
>from capital by carving out government approval for a noncommercial
>niche, should be understood as reformist. This is not meant in a
>pejorative sense, but as an analytical category. What reformist groups
>share is that their demands address current power holders: the
>(neoliberal) state on the one hand and the corporate sector, on the
>other - though it may be more appropriate to describe these as two
>fingers of the same hand. In the context of this chapter, what is most
>relevant is that some reformists are also beginning to turn attention to
>global media governance institutions.
>
>Media Monitors
>
>         Media monitors attempt primarily to pressure communication
>conglomerates into altering their coverage of particular events or
>issues. Actually, in the US context, the most powerful monitor groups
>may be those aligned with the center and religious right, who organize
>mass complaints about levels of violence, sexual content, and threats to
>heteronormative, patriarchal 'family values.' Most recently, they
>organized pressure on the FCC to censure CBS for the broadcast of Janet
>Jackson's left breast, exposed in a 'wardrobe malfunction' during the
>Superbowl halftime show (NOW with Bill Moyers, 2004a). Occasionally,
>progressive monitor organizations turn their attention from content to
>industry hiring practices, for example to create pressure on media firms
>to employ more journalists of color, women, or LGBTQ people. Some of the
>most prominent left media monitors in the US include Fairness and
>Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), Colombia Journalism Review, and
>Mediachannel.org, just to name a few. The development of the MoveOn.org
>media corps mailing list, with tens of thousands of subscribers, links
>the monitor function with a version of citizen 'activism' in which large
>numbers of emails and phone calls are occasionally able to influence
>coverage of a given event.
>         It may seem at first glance that monitor organizations are little
>inclined towards the development of global networks. However, this is
>not entirely the case. For example, some momentum has developed towards
>the elaboration of an international network of monitor organizations
>through the World Social Forum process, where Inter Press Service
>founder Roberto Savio has launched a 'Media Watch' initiative that now,
>after 3 years, counts 10 chapters in Europe, Africa, Latin America, and
>Asia (Miller, 2004). Media Watch functions according to the classic
>monitor model, with groups of volunteers observing media content,
>tallying evidence of biased coverage, and writing letters to corporate
>media editorial staff.
>
>
>Policy Advocates
>
>         Policy advocates attempt to thwart particularly dangerous attempts at
>reregulation in the corporate interest, and in some cases introduce new
>legislation or amendments to existing legislation, by pressuring
>regulatory bodies and elected representatives. The globalization of
>policy advocacy operates in at least two ways: increased links between
>organizations focused on policy reform at the national level, and at the
>same time, increased focus on reforming the institutions of global media
>governance. In the past two years, one focal point for these linked
>processes has been the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).
>
>
>World Summit on the Information Society(WSIS)
>
>         The WSIS, convened as a UN summit under the auspices of the ITU, was
>intended to bring together governments, the private sector, and
>non-governmental organizations to formulate a 'common vision' regarding
>information and communication policy around the world. The summit was
>designed to take place in two phases: during the first phase, which
>culminated in Geneva in December of 2003, all participants were meant to
>create a common Declaration and Plan of Action. During the second phase,
>scheduled to take place in Tunis in 2005, there is meant to be
>assessment and follow-up on commitments made during the first phase.
>After a two-year series of regional consultations during which it became
>clear that 'civil society participation' was primarily a token designed
>to legitimate a process subordinate to the interests of neoliberalism,
>the governments and the private sector succeeded in drafting a common
>Declaration and Action Plan, predictably watered down to the lowest
>common denominator and couched in the language of 'Public Private
>Partnerships' to 'bridge the Digital Divide.'
>
>         By contrast, the Civil Society Plenary, a self-organized 
> structure for
>participation created largely through the efforts of progressive NGOs
>that engaged with the WSIS process from the start, released their own
>Declaration, a strong consensus document that should serve as a
>touchstone in the development of a people-centered 'information
>society.' Concretely, WSIS phase I also agreed to set up a high-level
>committee to investigate the possibility of shifting responsibility for
>internet governance from the US-based Internet Corporation for Assigned
>Names and Numbers (ICANN) to a UN body,vii and another committee to
>evaluate a proposed Digital Solidarity Fund to subsidize internet
>infrastructure in the developing world. Most important in the context of
>the current discussion is not the outcome of the formal WSIS process but
>the emergence of strong NGO networks targeting global media governance
>processes and institutions, for example the international CRIS
>(Communication Rights in the Information Society) campaign. It is likely
>that the CRIS campaign, and other networks created around WSIS, will
>move on to organize for increased transparency and accountability in
>various global media governance bodies including the ITU, ICANN (or its
>UN successor), and the WIPO, as well as against further incorporation of
>communication sectors into the 'free trade' regime of the WTO, FTAA, and
>other regional and bilateral deals..
>
>
>Convention on Cultural Diversity (CCD)
>
>         With regards to the trade regime, these same networks may also play a
>key role in the current battle to establish a new international
>Convention on Cultural Diversity (CCD =96 although formally titled the
>Convention for the Protection and Promotion of Cultural Contents and
>Artistic Expressions). The proposed CCD, backed by an increasing number
>of states, would be a binding international legal instrument that would
>allow each country to exclude its cultural sector from forced
>liberalization or privatization under the WTO/GATS or other so-called
>'free trade' deals. The CCD has emerged as a potentially powerful buffer
>against the persistent attempts of the United States Trade
>Representative (USTR) to fully incorporate audiovisual services into
>GATS. It has also served as an organizing focus for a global advocacy
>network that includes cultural ministers of over 80 countries (the
>International Network on Cultural Policy), the NGO International Network
>for Cultural Diversity, and the Coalition for Cultural Diversity, with
>chapters in a dozen countries and growing (Coalitions for Cultural
>Diversity, 2004). These networks, and the CCD itself, are explicitly
>designed to counter the reduction of culture to the status of commodity
>and the further consolidation of cultural industries in the hands of
>ever fewer media conglomerates. They have drawn from the environmental
>movement and the concept of biodiversity to articulate a plan to
>insulate cultural production from the market, and to guard cultural and
>media policy, including local content quotas, public broadcasting, and
>limits on foreign ownership, from attack via the WTO/GATS regime
>(Bernier, 2003). In October of 2003 a proposal to draft the CCD was
>approved by the General Assembly of UNESCO, with a target date of 2005
>for completion. The proposal passed with overwhelming support over
>initial (informal) attempts by the US delegation to shut it down. It
>remains to be seen whether US attempts to amend the CCD to be
>subordinate to the WTO, and therefore useless, will be successful;
>however, the negotiation process itself has already encouraged many
>countries to keep exemptions for their cultural sectors from GATS
>(Coalition for Cultural Diversity, 2003).
>
>         It is true that the CCD can be seen as, in large part, internecine
>warfare between different sectors of capital in the cultural industries:
>on the one side, the largest media behemoths based in the US; on the
>other, second or third tier national cultural industries of France,
>Brazil, Canada, and others. The defense of small cultural producers,
>cultural workers, community media and horizontal communication is not
>the primary aim of the CCD. Thus in Argentina, for example, we find the
>analysis put forward by the artist and cultural workers' collective
>LuchArte, allied with the workers' movement Polo Obrero:
>
>Not with 'forums,' 'cultural industries,' or 'media protection laws'
>will we defend our popular culture, but rather by making ourselves
>conscious that the only ones who can defend it is those who produce it
>daily: artists and cultural workers. This is why we propose: "Place the
>cultural programs and budget under control of the workers and their
>organizations of struggle," and in this way "nationalize the mass media
>under workers' control." (LuchArte, 2002).
>
>The proposal of LuchArte takes us beyond the simplistic idea that
>neoliberalism merely erodes state intervention in the cultural
>industries. Rather, as in other sectors, those states with powerful
>cultural industries continue to subsidize them for export while
>simultaneously deploying the instruments of 'free trade' and structural
>adjustment to eliminate cultural/media subsidies by less powerful
>states, in order to force open  smaller cultural markets to unimpeded
>penetration by their own cultural/media services and products. Indeed,
>the USTR is so keen on liberalizing the cultural sector because cultural
>'goods and services' is now the second largest US export sector (after
>aerospace). At the same time, US media conglomerates continue to receive
>massive state subsidies in the form of free access to public airwaves,
>tax breaks and countless other sleights-of-hand (McChesney and Schiller,
>2002). This hypocrisy behind the free-trade rhetoric has not yet been
>laid bare in the cultural sector as it has, for example, in agriculture,
>where the Group of 20+ developing countries, led by China, Brazil, and
>India, called the US bluff during the Cancun WTO ministerial.
>
>         The point here is that, as in other sectors, neoliberalism in the
>cultural sphere does not operate on 'the state' in the interests of
>'capital' in the abstract. Rather, neoliberal tools are deployed by the
>most powerful, (mostly) US based media conglomerates in order to most
>effectively pursue expanded markets, which includes sweeping aside state
>protection of national cultural industries. This process is opposed both
>by powerful sectors of capital, including national communication
>industries and lower-tier media firms, and by smaller cultural
>producers, cultural workers, and policy lobbyists. Still, it is possible
>to recognize these motivations behind the CCD but continue to support
>the convention on the grounds that the national space it would protect
>remains, for the most part, more accountable and amenable to pressure
>from below than the alternative: unchecked domination by US based
>conglomerates.
>
>
>5. Autonomous Media Networks: Indymedia, Hurak=E1n Cancun, F/LOSS
>
>         Fifth, local autonomous media production is increasingly linked in
>global networks.
>
>         The final tendency in the globalization of the battle over
>communication is perhaps the most vibrant: the increasing articulation
>of local autonomous media production within global networks. Here,
>radical alternatives are daily put into practice. It must be said that
>the terms autonomous, horizontal, independent, alternative, community,
>and citizen's media, as well as underground, samizdat, or guerrilla
>communication, might all apply to this category; each of these terms has
>its own meaning and its own history, and I do not have space to delve
>into each or to carefully differentiate. For the purposes of this
>discussion, by 'autonomous media' I embrace a loose inclusive definition
>of communication practices, groups, sites, and networks of production
>and distribution that are at base dependent on neither the market nor
>the state. Autonomous media are not supported by advertising and are not
>subsidized by corporations or political parties. They are the realm
>where 'actually existing communication commons' are developed, put into
>practice, and extended.
>
>         There are so many beautiful autonomous communications 
> projects, events,
>groups, and networks that there is no way to do justice to them here. In
>2003 the bottom-up globalization of autonomous media manifested in a
>dizzying array of convergence spaces like (just to name a few) Hurak=E1n
>Cancun against the WTO ministerial and We Seize! against the WSIS; media
>workshops within Enero Autonomo and the World Social Forum; distributed
>projects like the Free Radio Area of the Americas; the extension of
>global networks like Indymedia; articulations between autonomist media
>and labor unions like Jinbonet; the list could go on and on. Rather than
>fill the remaining pages with a list, I'll elaborate slightly on just a
>few of these.
>
>
>Indymedia
>
>         One undeniable instance of the globalization of autonomist
>communication is the explosive growth of the Independent Media Center
>(IMC) network since its birth in 1999, drenched in tear gas and rubber
>bullets, in the streets of Seattle. I could not repeat the history and
>analysis of Indymedia that has been written by Dorothy Kidd, Dee Dee
>Halleck, Sheri Herndon, and many others, often members of IMC
>collectives themselves - in fact, the IMC network itself has developed a
>participatory documentation project that will prove a goldmine for
>future IMCistas and scholars of all kinds (see docs.indymedia.org).
>Rather than tell that history again, I point here to Indymedia as a
>living example of autonomous counterweight to corporate global
>communication control in several key facets: Indymedia was created and
>continues to develop entirely through self-valorized labor; it is
>opposed to corporate control both in content and process; it operates
>according to the system of open publishing, which means that anyone with
>Net access can publish. Editorial control is exercised by collectives
>open to anyone with the time, and the amount of control is explicitly
>limited. Perhaps most important in the context of the current
>discussion, Indymedia provides a model for the articulation of local
>with global that demonstrates the possibility of communication practices
>grounded in local specificity, language, struggles, and issues of
>importance, at the same time amplified and projected across the world.
>This happens both on a technical level, through content syndication, and
>in the social networks that have emerged around the IMCs: Indymedia is
>not only a media organization but also provides a substrate for the
>circulation of struggles, as well as for the physical movement of
>radical communicators.
>
>         The IMC network has its problems, including hidden and not-so-hidden
>hierarchies of technical knowledge, gender, race, and class. Indymedia
>has been critiqued for its overwhelming emphasis on the internet, often
>to the exclusion of more accessible forms of communication. It was born
>and continues to be dominated by those located in the North and in the
>cities. There are also the difficulties of balancing open publishing
>with 'good' content (regardless of the measuring stick). All of these
>are the subject of often fierce debate within the IMC network itself.
>None of them eliminate the power of the IMC as an actually existing
>example of global, horizontal linkage between local autonomist
>communication.
>
>
>Hurak=E1n Canc=FAn
>
>         The globalization of autonomous communication also operates in ways
>that mirror corporate globalization: in parallel and against the summits
>of the powerful, independent media convergence spaces form temporary
>autonomous zones where communication activists gather not only to
>respond to capital but share concrete alternatives, skills, software
>tools, social technologies, and collaborate on independent journalism
>and cultural production. In 2003, the Hurak=E1n Canc=FAn alternative medi=
>a
>convergence marked a model focused on broadening and strengthening the
>radical communications networks, by creating an international space of
>encounter for trainings, workshops, and skillshares that then fed into
>comprehensive, in-depth coverage of the successful mass mobilization
>against the WTO Ministerial. Hurak=E1n Cancun was also a space where olde=
>r
>community media networks like the World Association of Community Radio
>(AMARC), media makers aligned with supposedly anticapitalist but
>structurally hierarchical organizations like the Italian Disobedienti
>(Global Project), and more 'professionalized' alternative media
>organizations (like Free Speech TV) physically worked side by side
>within a space predominantly defined by autonomist communicators from
>the Indymedia network (Ruiz and Coyer, 2003). In terms of the
>articulation between the local and the global, Hurak=E1n Cancun was also
>noteworthy for the attention its organizers paid to information
>distribution via channels not accessible to those without access to
>internet. For example, a daily broadsheet called La Boca del Hurak=E1n
>(The Mouth of the Hurricane), based on articles drawn from the open
>publishing space of the IMC Cancun newswire, was printed and distributed
>throughout the city. This radical communication apparatus stumbled
>across a new articulation with reappropriated transportation service
>sector labor, as taxi drivers requested multiple copies to hand out to
>their fares throughout the city.
>
>
>Free/Libre Open Source Software (F/LOSS)
>
>         Indymedia and Hurak=E1n Cancun, of course, would not be 
> possible without=
>
>the existence of what is actually another one of the most powerful
>examples of the global circulation of autonomous communication practice:
>the Free/Libre Open Source Software (F/LOSS) movement. The distributed,
>self-valorized labor of thousands of programmers has resulted in the
>most dynamic, flexible, scalable, software development process on Earth
>=96 all for free, in fact antiproprietary; a living refusal of the logic
>of capital. Not only that, this process has developed useful tools and
>systems that extend far beyond the persistent 'demo mode' that arguably
>constrains many autonomous media projects. F/LOSS has crossed the
>threshold from geeky periphery to, in some cases, adoption by entire
>educational systems or state institutions. The widespread adoption of
>F/LOSS poses a material threat to the multibillion dollar proprietary
>software industry, to the point that internal memos reveal worried
>hand-wringing in the depths of Microsoft's corporate offices (Weber,
>2000). Not only that, but as a model of collective, self-valorized
>production, F/LOSS threatens informational capital in parallel to the
>way that autonomous worker owned factories in Argentina threaten
>industrial capital, or collective land ownership by Movimento Sem Terra
>(MST) in Brazil threatens agricultural capital. Not surprisingly, the
>links are increasingly explicit: in 2003, MST strengthened the
>communications network it has created between its own autonomous
>schools, built with donated, retooled computers and F/LOSS software. At
>the World Social Forum in 2003, MST activists entered computer labs and
>replaced Microsoft operating systems with Linux, then remained in the
>space to train all those who needed help (Ortellado, 2003). What's more,
>the already internationalized F/LOSS movement is increasingly finding it
>necessary to take action offline as well as on. In the European Union,
>for example, organized opposition continues to mount against the EU
>Copyright Directive, with programmers demonstrating in the streets from
>Brussels to Budapest (Varady, 2004).
>
>         Microsoft is fighting back, of course. In 2003, the software giant
>attempted to consolidate its hold in the developing world with
>'donations' of billions of dollars of software and hardware. Within
>international treaties, and even discussion venues like the WSIS,
>Microsoft lobbies hard (through US delegates) to delete even references
>to F/LOSS (Barr, 2004). Microsoft is now actively attempting to use the
>language and institutions of the development establishment to establish
>hegemony in the South. For example, in 2003 Microsoft announced a new
>partnership with the United Nations (UNESCO, 2004); at the same time,
>the software giant put heavy pressure on WIPO to abandon a planned
>meeting to simply discuss the possible benefits of F/LOSS (Krim, 2003).
>Adoption of Microsoft OS and software in educational systems throughout
>the South is designed to ensure the future hegemony of the software
>behemoth, based on the difficulty of retraining and retooling entrenched
>software systems and skills. Yet already national and municipal
>governments in countries including Brazil, China, England, France,
>Germany, Israel, Japan, and South Korea have passed laws requiring the
>adoption of Open Source or F/LOSS software by publicly funded agencies
>(Schenker, 2003; Veloso et. al., 2003). Government adoption of F/LOSS
>ushers us into the discussion of articulations between the various
>tendencies in the movement for control of communication.
>
>
>IV. CONCLUSION: ARTICULATIONS
>
>
>         Intense pressure, both external and internal, generated by the state,
>the corporate sector, multilateral institutions, funders, and even from
>NGOs and movement organizations themselves, militates towards a split
>between the tendencies I have just described, especially between
>autonomists and reformists. When pressed, power, as always, responds by
>offering seats at the table to a select few who promise to behave. This
>process took place with the 'at-large' membership of ICANN, over time
>whittled down to fewer and fewer seats with less and less input. It has
>taken place with the 'opening' of the ITU - to NGOs who can pay huge
>fees. It has taken place in the supposed 'participatory' process of
>WSIS, where 'civil society' has been allowed entrance, along with the
>private sector, to a forum where the dominant discourse holds that
>universal access to ICTs will magically appear through a process of
>privatization and 'public-private partnerships.' At the same time,
>capital offers repression if you get uppity: witness the brutal attacks
>on independent communicators during the G8 protests in Genoa; the
>attacks and arrests of 'non-embedded' reporters in Miami during FTAA
>protests; the killing of 'non-embedded' journalists in Iraq (Independent
>Media Center, 2001; Hogue and Reinsborough, 2003; International
>Federation of Journalists, 2003). However, it is not my purpose to paint
>a pessimistic picture or to indicate that the movement to wrest control
>of communication from capital is stillborn, hopelessly fragmented,
>always at cross-purposes, or subject to immediate defeat, dilution,
>appropriation or incorporation by capital. If we look more closely, we
>find numerous instances of cooperation, coalition building, and
>resource, tool, and skill sharing, producing concrete impacts at
>multiple levels. It is these types of articulation between tendencies
>that feed the growth of the movement.
>
>         For one, reformist policy initiatives to curb the worst excesses of
>corporate communication control can be and often are supported
>tactically by groups that ultimately aim to establish fully autonomous
>communication. For example, groups affiliated with Indymedia have
>provided extensive organizing support and coverage of the ongoing FCC
>battle. Indeed, autonomist groups often pioneer strategy to force policy
>changes; for example, the Prometheus Radio Project, originally founded
>by pirate radio enthusiasts, was instrumental in winning Low Power FM
>licenses across the USA (Huron and Tridish, 2003). Horizontal
>communication networks, or at least instances of horizontal
>communication, can be embedded within 'vertical' structures like
>organized labor, political parties, or membership-based liberal advocacy
>organizations: witness Jinbonet, a radical, alternative media network,
>linked tightly to the progressive arm of Korean organized labor; the
>incorporation of blogs into the Howard Dean campaign strategy; and the
>use of e-voting tools by MoveOn.org to devolve some decisionmaking to
>its membership. In some instances, national governments support attempts
>by community media to link with global networks; this may be the case
>with the Chavez government's support of aporrea.org, a portal that
>nationally syndicates what is purportedly community-based news. It
>remains to be seen whether, in Venezuela, the devolution of government
>funds to local control via the Bolivarian Circles will lead to a new
>kind of relationship between horizontal communication and the state, or
>whether the state is simply interested in a strategy of reappropriation
>of horizontal communication. Indeed, the state stance towards horizontal
>communication can serve as an indicator of the 'true' limits of social
>democratic party politics. For example, the Lula administration in
>Brazil, swept to power on a populist platform that included promises to
>resist neoliberalism, has with one arm supported free software and
>fought against the imposition of US-syle copyright and patent law. Yet
>with the other arm, it has actually increased funding for enforcement of
>the so-called 'Community Radio Law' passed by the previous
>administration. Under that law, close to 13,000 Brazilian community
>radio stations have now been shut down (Milan, 2004).
>
>         These examples point to the difficulty for movements of engaging with
>state media policy:  on the one hand, movements must attempt to work
>with the state in order to check the rise of corporate conglomerate
>control, while at the same time the state nearly always threatens to
>centralize media control in its own hands. In other words, there is a
>need for new models and mechanisms of state-supported, or at least
>enabled, horizontal communication practices. For example, concretely:
>the state can take action to retake the commons of the electromagnetic
>spectrum, by forcing corporate users to pay rent which can then be
>devolved to support local communications, or by mandating swaths of
>'free spectrum' for use by the public. If there can be a system of
>public parks, highways, and waterways, there is no reason why we can't
>imagine systems of public spectrum. In a similar vein, we can easily
>imagine, and in fact we see in at least a few cases, the nation, state,
>or city putting resources into ensuring free ubiquitous high speed
>wireless, as a public service akin to water or roads. The state can, and
>as we have seen some have begun to, mandate the adoption of Free/Libre
>Open Source Software by all state offices and agencies, including the
>education system.
>
>         There are many other ways in which movements can pressure states into
>rolling back the IPR regime, blocking the further enclosure of the
>knowledge commons, and laying a fertile field for the growth of public
>knowledge and culture. Movements must continue to encourage states to
>resist arm-twisting towards the criminalization of filesharing and of
>so-called 'intellectual property theft' via trade instruments like TRIPS
>(or 'TRIPS plus,' as in the FTAA). In fact some states are resisting the
>IPR regime, most notably Brazil and India (to some degree) over drug
>patents, but this lays the groundwork for broader resistance in the
>sphere of cultural production and communication. Increasing numbers of
>states, especially the less developed countries, are taking explicit
>stands in favor of F/LOSS. From the perspective of policymakers in
>India, Brazil, and elsewhere, this last may simply be a cost-saving
>measure, or even a snub to Washington; the result, however, is a greatly
>expanded field of opportunity for the spread and mainstreaming of the
>horizontal, participatory, global gift economy project that is F/LOSS.
>In terms of trade in cultural 'products,' as discussed above there is
>growing momentum behind the proposed Convention on Cultural Diversity to
>exempt cultural industries from the trade agreements entirely, allowing
>countries to protect and invest in local cultural production without
>threat of economic sanctions.
>
>         In another form of articulation between movement tendencies,
>'alternative' communication channels operating within the framework of
>the media market system can provide space for the wider dissemination of
>media content produced by autonomist networks. For example, Free Speech
>TV regularly runs IMC content on the Dish satellite network, and FSTV
>producers often share footage with IMC videographers. In the Miami
>mobilization against the FTAA, as in many other cases, the Indymedia
>video working group shared hours of footage with FSTV producers, and
>vice versa, while in Hurak=E1n Cancun, FSTV and the IMC worked out of the=
>
>same physical space (Ruiz and Coyer, 2003). These collaborations do
>often run afoul; for example, when the FTAA IMC video working group
>provided footage to Bill Moyers' NOW for a segment on police brutality
>in Miami, NOW ultimately ran clips from the footage without crediting
>FTAA IMC, in a segment that replicated the classic 'good peaceful
>protesters/bad anarchists' script (NOW with Bill Moyers, 2004b). This
>took place after debate raged within FTAA IMC over whether and under
>what terms footage could be shared, sold, or given to producers working
>on content to be aired on corporate TV networks, including PBS. Still,
>when such terms are carefully negotiated, autonomist networks are
>occasionally able to sustain and extend explicitly anticapitalist
>communication in practice. It is also clear that alternative media
>networks, including autonomists, are the only media that we can expect
>to provide good coverage of policy battles over control of
>communications.viii
>
>         Links also exist between media monitors and policy 
> reformers. While all
>media monitor work to some degree provides fodder for those groups
>aiming at policy change, a few organizations have made the link between
>the two types of media reform explicit. This is the case with Calandria,
>a Peruvian NGO that combines media watch, policy advocacy, and
>development of participatory democracy. In 2003 Calandria gathered the
>requisite number of signatures (45,000) to introduce a referendum to
>reform the Peruvian media system. The initiative currently faces a
>stonewall by legislators, but significantly, was successful at
>denaturalizing the commercial media system and creating widespread
>awareness and action towards structural media reform (Alfaro, 2003).
>
>         A few networks, for example the CRIS campaign and
>OURmedia/NUESTR at Smedios internationally, the Medios Libres group in
>Mexico, and the N/Euro meeting in Europe, have recently emerged as
>spaces devoted explicitly to developing and strengthening links between
>the various tendencies. Other spaces for dialog between movements, for
>example the World Social Forum and various regional forums, have
>increasingly included communications in their analysis and groups
>focused on communication among their attendees.
>
>         Finally, as problematic as 'civil society' inclusion in global
>governance mechanisms may be, the slight opening of global media
>governance institutions also provides unprecedented opportunities for
>the growth and strengthening of grassroots media networks. Funds and
>face to face meetings cluster around official 'inclusion' processes,
>which may therefore be quite important not for the stated reasons (since
>inclusion is largely token), but as venues where groundwork is laid to
>strengthen the emergence of a global movement for people-centered
>communication on a scale similar to other transnational movements.
>
>         These developments all take place alongside growing awareness by
>independent media makers, media policy activists, and trade justice
>activists that the struggle over control of communications must link
>more tightly with other arms of the global justice movement. Corporate
>communication conglomerates, faced with a new wave of dissatisfaction
>and mobilization in national contexts, are shifting communications
>policymaking to even less democratic venues. Even modest national level
>policy victories will evaporate in the face of trade sanctions and other
>enforcement mechanisms unless the battle is joined at the institutions
>of global media governance. The various tendencies within the growing
>global movement for control of communications must guard against
>mounting pressures to succumb to 'in/out' dichotomies, and seek out
>articulations, links, and common areas of mobilization. These
>articulations are indeed taking place, while the movement builds
>strength in global, national, and local policymaking arenas and
>continues to construct radical alternative communication practices on
>the ground.
>
>
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>
>---
>[citation: Costanza-Chock, Sasha. "The Globalization of Resistance to
>Capitalist Communication." In Media in the Age of Marketization, ed. by
>Graham Murdock and Janet Wasko, Creskill, NJ: Hampton Press, forthcoming.]
>---



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