Mini MegaBlog

Here are highlights from blog post’s for our April 26 class (there were only 2…).

Nathalie

Nathalie draws connections between COINTELPRO in the United States and Pinochet’s government in Chile from 1973 – 1998.  She finds similarities and differnces between them.  For instance, they both instilled terror in their opponents.  However, torture was more prevalent in Chile.  She postulates that COINTELPRO was perhaps involved with Pinochet’s order to assassinate Letelier.  She asks why Chile’s torture was more widespread than the U.S. when both governments had similar intentions and a similar level of ‘red scare’.  In reference to the McPhail, Schweingruber and McCarthy piece’s section on political and legal environment, she compares the nationalized and centralized forces in Chile to the decentralized system with many checks and balances in the United States.

Pamela

Pamela writes a book report on “The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom” by Evgeny Morozov.  I will be writing a summary of her summary of the book…isn’t it frustrating for authors when we whittle down hundreds of pages in to summaries of summaries?

Morozov is arguing that in order for the Internet to fulfill its promise to aid in the fight against authoritarianism, Westerners must ditch the cyber-utopianism and Internet-centrism that add up to what he calls ‘net-delusion’.  He talks about the Google Doctrine as “the enthusiastic belief  in the liberating power of technology accompanied by the irresistible urge to enlist Silicon Valley start-ups in the global fight for freedom”.  He claims that just because there is a vibrant Internet culture and the government is censoring the Internet, that does not mean a regime’s collapse is imminent.  To summarize the next section I will take a quote directly from her book report, “Western policy makers should, Morozov argues, rid themselves of the illusion that communism came to an abrupt end or that simply because people were watching it was guaranteed to be a peaceful end at that.”  She includes a great image for the next section.  The next section looks at cultural contradictions when it points out that the West, as well as countries like Iran, engages in looking over their citizens’ shoulders using the Internet.  The next chapter serves to warn against obsessing over the Internet’s possibilities because many technologies are often overly-praised and then they do not deliver because we are only thinking about them in terms of today.  Additionally, policy makers need to know that the Internet can be used for good and bad before progress can be made.  In the end Morozov, and Pamela, end by talking about cyber realists who “would focus on optimizing decision making and not get swept away by the abstract discussions about the capabilities of technology to change the world” (quote from Pamela’s book report).

Culture, Media and Women

On Marco Giugni’s piece.

I saw his focus on cultural impacts and long-term indirect impacts as incredibly valuable points!  While reading his piece I was yet again reminded of the book I read for my book report, Power in Movement.  In it, the author writes that movement outcomes are rarely as radical as they were intended to be.  This is because the movement’s claims are get filtered through the mainstream and through the government.  The book argues that if a movement wants a policy change, by the time it comes around, the original desired change will have been diluted.

Politics is important.  Not for each individual piece of legislation or politician that slides across the marbled steps of a capitol building, but for the precedent that it sets for populations to come.  In a similar way, movements are so crucial for their ability to provide “fertile ground for what could come later.”

I initially thought that the Giugni piece and the Pastor, Ito and Rosner piece were in conflict with one another.  One emphasizes the long-term indirect cultural change while the other emphasizes present measurements.  However, when I got more deeply in to the parts describing measurements of transformation, I realized they complement each other.

This piece talks of new media as an add-on (high-tech does not equal high touch).  With new media developing rapidly, can these thorough metrics keep up with it?

I also have a question about who the audience is and what comes after a document like this?  When and how does it get put in to effect?

I recently read an article by Jael Silliman about NGOs.  She wrote about how the importance of receiving funding (and showing accountability) ends up driving NGO actions and behaviors more than their initial mission.  She warns about the co-optation of NGOs and writes about how some people are pushing back against the heavy-business-oriented efforts of NGOs.  Furthermore, some governments get too involved with NGOs and interfere too much with their missions.  Networks have formed among NGOs and lead to complications because of the centralization of decision-making and monopolization of resources that occurs.

Measuring movements and measuring NGOs are two different tasks yet they are related.  I could not help connecting the two readings and get concerned about some of the emphases that the metrics paper made on evidence for funding.  Some of my concerns were addressed, for instance on page 8-9 one participant is quoted as saying that it is the “mission that determines the path – not the metrics.”

Finally, I would like to ask the question, “What is a women’s movement?”

Is it different and if so, how?  How is it characterized?  How are men involved?  Is the way you measure outcomes different?  The readings talk about the impacts on the individual activists involved in movements.  So how would a women’s movement impact individuals differently or similarly?  Can part of the measurement of transactions and transformations include women specifically?

This site lists some successful women’s movements from 2011.  However, I would argue that these are not each movements but are individual instances that are perhaps part of a broader women’s movement.  Successful instances (according to this site from the Global Fund for Women) from all over the globe include:

Uruguay on the Cusp of Legalizing Abortion

Gender Equality Cemented into Moroccan Constitution

Egyptian Court Bans Virginity Tests

European Women Win Domestic Violence Treaty

Originally posted on khkern:

One article that I chose to read, “Occupy Wall Street: Return of a Repressed Res-Publica” by Wendy Brown, asked why the Occupy movement started when it did.  There were opportunities in 2008, 2009 and 2011 for it to come in to existence.  However, the Arab Spring coupled with the Obama’s administration to deliver on the hope his campaign had promised to bring were the catalysts for Occupy (with the recession intensifying the movement).  It argues that now more than ever people are identifying with each other and rather than being divided by the policies and income inequalities that attempt to separate populations, we are coming together.  The article claims that Occupy “has revived the classical image of the nation as res-publica, the nation as a public thing.”  

One of the most interesting parts of the article for me was the section that talked about how depoliticized our vernacular as…

View original 559 more words