Monday, September 01, 2008

Korean Candlelights in History

“The people make history,” often an empty rhetorical device in the mouths of politicians, helps highlight the meaning of recent protests. Looking at the “candlelight revolution,” I observe basic elements of the same form of direct-democracy that emerged in the 1960s. Apparently leaderless gatherings with open mikes bring participants from all walks of life rather than monologues from “prominent” individuals. Rotation of events’ organizers encourages the participation of many different groups rather than the stifling control of one “key” group. New sectors of the populace (from middle school girls to religious leaders to workers) have continually emerged to join in. Diverging tactics and multifarious slogans reveal inner tensions in the movement. Far from being reflective of weakness, these differences spring from diversity—and hence strength—a vibrant inner dialectic which motivates development and progress. The new form of protests empowers people directly.

I also detect the enacting of an “eros effect” in which apparently minor protests set off national crisis. The cyber activism of H-generation (Hyperspace) quickly mobilized the entire nation, transforming despondency with 2MB’s election into energetic struggle against him. Dozens of ordinary people were overnight turned into veteran activists. They criticize old-time activists who seek to frame their protests. Like all autonomous movements, they are independent of political parties and guard their precious autonomy by refusing to join any central organization. Rather than merging into old activist (undongkwon) circles, they use cyberspace to synthesize a new form of collective intelligence.

Read more here:

No comments:

Irom Sharmila Video

Irom Sharmila is a young woman of Manipur who has been on a fast-to-death for nearly 7 years now. She has been demanding the removal of a brutal law from her land. Manipur is a north-east Indian state (bordering Myanmar), riven for decades by insurgency and armed separatist movements. The Government of India has attempted to control the situation militarily, granting drastic powers to the security forces. The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act enforced in the region lets people be arrested, shot and even killed - on suspicion alone. But Sharmila is willing to stake everything -- even her life -- to restore justice and dignity to her people.