Wednesday, December 09, 2009

note on protest and power

Briefly: Power is not located only in "seats" or palaces. An action protesting governmental action doesn't have to take place in the so-called seat of governmental authoritarian power. Because authoritarian power is deployed ubiquitously over broad regions, and in countless exchanges and interactions, resistance can happen anywhere. Moreover, resistance should happen everywhere (which is as much a prediction as a prescription).

Any intelligent contemporary media theory would point this out. Networked communication is networked power. Resistance can be an overtaking of the machinery of the network, a reverse-flow, or even just cognitive dissonance. Tactics and strategy do not have to be concentrated, nor even apparently rational (not according to the instrumental rationality of a dominant force) to be effective. And "effective" does not need to mean "winning, today."

But the people who are publicly denying that small-scale action and media networking are effective are only doing so cynically or in reaction to the real threat to their power that those nodes of resistance create.

Finally, human energy and fun are forms of counter-power.

That's what I'm learning so far from CSU resistance movements.


California State University Sacramento said...

We have a few college students online from Connecticut College and we love your blog postings, so well add your rss or news feed for them, Thanks and please post us and leave a comment back and well link to you. Thanks Jen , BlogCalifornia State University Sacramento

Doc Nagel said...

Oh! Thanks very much. You do realize there's also a fair amount of silliness...

Anonymous said...

This post is right on. On our campus, we planned a demonstration outside of the faculty senate and one main reaction we had was that "we should be protesting in Sacramento not at the senate." Your post responds perfectly to their critique. I'm going to Xpost this analysis to our FB page (citing you of course). --Luz