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How Facebook is fueling the French populist rage • Monday Note
Frederic Filloux:
<p>The “Gilets Jaunes” (Yellow Vests) unrest that has been spreading across France over the recent weeks is the perfect, grass-rooted, unstructured movement that demonstrates the efficiency of Facebook and the damages it can indirectly cause to Western democracies.

The Yellow Vests started with the controversial tax on gasoline and grew with a widespread discontent against the government. President Emmanuel Macron is viewed as the embodiment of the French elite, disconnected from the country, and willing to favor “The Rich”. Next was a series of blockades across the country, that turns increasingly violent.

On Saturday, 166,000 people carrying the iconic outfit— invented by some Scottish railway workers nearly a century ago and which is a mandatory equipment in French cars — were on deck. In Paris, the demonstration turned violent in with scores of destructions. Firefighters had to respond to 249 fires of cars and stores.

I spent my entire afternoon there. Nearly all the people I talked to admitted to relying on Facebook to get informed in real-time on the unfolding events. In France, 63 percent of internet users are on Facebook. The country is served by a remarkable cellular infrastructure that is relatively inexpensive and reliable (laws have been passed to force carriers to progressively cover 100 percent of the territory). The result is countless selfies, videos, and live blogging taken during the event, which fuelled anger and fantasy and above all an incredible efficiency to organize hundreds of demonstrations large and small.</p>


As he points out, for those who want to revolt, or who sympathise, Facebook has replaced the traditional media - and nothing can penetrate the new bubble it creates. But he also has an important message if you think the answer is "ban Facebook".
facebook  france  riots 
december 2018 by charlesarthur
potlatch: London riots: the limits of Left and Right - Will Davies
Do these anecdotes and qualitative impressions mean that it isn't about class, that it isn't about capitalism? Not quite. But Marxists need to remember the Hegelian distinction between 'in itself' and 'for itself'. In themselves, these riots may indeed be about inequality: the concentration of wealth and power may simply have become too unwieldy, regardless of what the rioters think is going on. But for themselves, they are about power, hedonism, consumption and sovereignty of the ego. Anyone who disagrees with that is simply not crediting the participants with being able to make sense of what they're doing. And if there's one thing likely to incite even more rioting, it's treating the participants as lacking independence of thought. In many ways, blame is what they each individually deserve, because recognition of their own individual agency is what they most desire.
riots  neoliberalism  blame  identity 
november 2018 by max_read
How to Cope with Iraq’s Summer Brushfire | Crisis Group, July 31, 2018
The unprecedented scope and intensity of this year’s unrest underline the population’s deep alienation from the political system. For the first time, protesters targeted the full spectrum of the (mainly Shiite) ruling elites, from former exiles backed by either the U.S. or Iran to those who survived Saddam’s regime and have developed strong nationalist orientations. They marched on and, at times, occupied or torched government buildings and political party offices without apparent distinction. In Basra, protesters demonstrated in front of the provincial council building and set on fire the headquarters of the Badr Organisation, a political party with ties to Iran. Elsewhere, they attacked offices of Daawa, Hikma, Fadhila, Kataeb Hizbollah and other parties, all of which have their electoral strongholds in the country’s centre and south. In Najaf, they stormed the airport, briefly occupying it and halting air traffic. In Karbala, they set ablaze the offices of Asaeb Ahl al-Haq, another party with close links to Iran. In Amara, they torched both the district government headquarters and the district director’s residence.

In some southern cities, such as Hilla, the protesters even attacked the offices of the Sadr movement. The Sadrists had risen to prominence in 2003-2004 with their nationalist fervour and pitched battles with U.S. troops – as well as their rhetorical broadsides against parties, like Badr and Daawa, that were members of the U.S.-sponsored post-2003 governments.

More important, the heavily Shiite protesters did not spare their religious authorities from reprimand. Few actually blamed the Shiite clerical establishment for the country’s ills, but many expressed their disappointment in the ayatollahs’ early passivity as the disturbances spread and the state ratcheted up repression. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the Shiites’ foremost religious authority, came in for particular censure when he failed to condemn the government’s crackdown in his Friday sermon (delivered by his representative) in Karbala on 20 July. Overt criticism of Sistani is unusual. But it has been less rare since 2015, when he issued a call for reform that Baghdad’s political class ignored.

Many of the major civil society organisations, which have their headquarters in Baghdad, have not been involved in guiding the demonstrations, though they have publicised them on social media. The capital was initially quiet, with only occasional small protests in solidarity with demonstrators in the south. A primary reason may be that the Sadrists, who formed the bulk of Baghdad marchers in the past, stayed home, depriving the protests of critical mass. The protest movement remains active in the capital, however, and will likely continue to mount periodic Friday protests throughout the year.
Sistani  riots  electricity  Basra  protests  water  Sadr  Baghdad  Iraq 
november 2018 by elizrael
Kuldip Nayar and Nandita Das: A friendship that transcended age
The actor and director reflects on her friendship with the veteran journalist who died last month.
kuldip  singh  nandita  das  gujarat  riots 
september 2018 by mickeykedia
Ledande centerpartist lanserar konspirationsteori om bilbränderna: ”De vill att valet ska handla om bilbränder” - Nyheter Idag
“GÖTEBORG: Centerpartiets rättspolitiske talesperson Johan Hedin är en av många som upprörts av måndagskvällens bilbränder i Västsverige. Men han är också övertygad om att det finns en agenda bakom det hela. I ett inlägg på Facebook så skriver han om hur de som tänt på bilarna gjort det för att påverka valutgången. Inlägget har gillats av förra justitieministern Beatrice Ask (M) och vänsterpartisten Linda Westerlund Snecker.”
Göteborg  CarFires  Riots  Sweden 
august 2018 by cbearden

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