Monday, May 14, 2007

Political Hoaxes, Youth Activists, & An Optimistic Global Superpower Movement

The article “Be your own Yes Man in 3 Simple Steps” discussed show to be a Yes Man on the local scale (intriguing, yes?) I Thought it was interesting how Yes Men prides itself on it’s politically inspired hoaxes, such as their successful impersonation of a spokesman for Dow Chemicals. According to the Yes Men, there are three easy steps one must follow if they desire to create a political hoax. The first step “Figure out how to satirize your target”, involves researching a group that is need of “satirical lambasting.” The second step: Identify your opportunity, centers on scouting out a private meeting or charity event to infiltrate while the third step “Make sure your event gets publicity” emphasized the importance of publicizing how the media fell for your scheme.

This third step was especially interesting because it mentioned how the “life-blood” of political activism is public attention. This is an obvious statement, but I never really reflected on the profound truth of it. Yes Men is dedicated to using the internet to preach about political events that they are passionate about. Thus while public attention is the “life-blood” of political activism, the internet is the “life-blood” of public attention.

Despite the fact that I am from Seattle, I had not heard about the student walk that was staged last month. On April 18th over 800 students walked out of schools throughout the Seattle area to demand an immediate end to the Iraq war. I found it remarkable that as I perused the Indymedia site, I continued to discover multiple links to this article. I thus got the perception that the site intentionally wanted readers to stumble upon this article. The incentive for doing so could be because the walk-out was under publicized or because Indymedia wants to portray an example of how youth have the capability for political activism. I suspect that it has to do with both.

Regardless, I think that it is fantastic that Indymedia puts so much attention on student initiated political events (see also Palestine Awareness at UCSC) unfortunately, all too often events organized by young adults don’t get the recognition or attention that they deserve. Additionally, the author of this article is Philip Locker and Ramy Khalil, both members of Youth Against War and Racism. I suggest that you guys visit this site:
It is incredibly interesting as it is all about successful political events directed by teens.

The global social movement that James Moore speaks about is composed of individuals who “identify their interests with world society as a whole”. Subsequently Moore refers to this social movement as an “international player.” Moore uses words such as “global” “will of the people” “all one” and “planetary society” to make it seem as if the entire world is supporting this global movement. Yet ever so covertly does he mention “This movement has a surprisingly agile and muscular body of citizen activists who identify their interests with world society as a whole—and who recognize that at a fundamental level we are all one. These are people who are attempting to take into account the needs and dreams of all 6.3 billion people in the world—and not just the members of one or another nation.” Thus what Moore is aiming to say is that it is a certain group of citizens who have taken it upon themselves to fight for the needs of 6.3 billion people. Pretty optimistic huh?

Moore asserts that participation in the second superpower movement occurs through web-enabled initiatives. This is very true, and there is no underestimating how influential blogging, texting, e-mailing, and instant messaging are, but to think that they can somehow help create a “world of peace” seems rather wishful. Technology is very conducive to social networking, but if we are going to aim to create a world free from destruction, tedium, and tragedy as Moore proposes, individuals are going to have to foster the desire to use social networking to promote social justice. And Moore never addressed how you get individuals to work up this desire. After all, how can you persuade a teen to stop using technology to post pictures on my-space and instead use it to promote world peace?

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