Category Archives: Reflection 3

The Gender Revolution

Speaking about the opportunities and LGBT movements it is worth to mention a generation of gender. It even became one of the most popular slogan on the Internet (gender was elected Word of the Year 2013 competition conducted by scientists from the Institute of Polish Language).

Image of “gender” concepts relating to identity and gender roles in society. This subject is controversial as gay marriage and the fight for LGBT rights. Generally speaking, gender is the study of gender, only understood in terms of cultural, not biological. Gender is not the only culprit of social change. Gender is related to discriminatory situations. What is more it is difficult to separate from the concept of gender and feminism. It is normal that there are social movements or currents of thoughts which introduce changes in the perception of certain concepts in science. I think that is a natural consequence of the struggle for gender equality and the fight for the legalization of same-sex marriages.

I know some people media and politicians who claim that “gender” harms society because it is hitting into a traditional model of family. I encourage you to look at the issue from a historical perspective. This is how it looks today, the family is so different from how it looked in the sixteenth century, the seventeenth or even the nineteenth that present standards would be greatly scandalized. Changes are subject to a number of factors, not just gender theory and feminism. Blaming any study or discipline of gender for breaking habits is a misunderstanding. Then there are demographic, economic, ability to move, or very many cultural trends that have changed our behavior and habits.

Blaming the Church about gender study is a misunderstanding.

Currently in Poland it takes a huge struggle for “gender” in church. This is not about the concept of these studies. They exchanged a lot of threats and changes, which may lead the next generation. One polish bishop asked what is the Church’s problem about “gender” responds that this ideology comes from the wrong understanding of freedom. It is hard to be surprised that some do not like it when they hear that some roles, behaviors and even attributes that their society has created for men and women, suddenly begin to be called into question.

But history has shown that what was impossible a few decades ago, today it is widely accepted.


Impact of the Media in Revolution

One small fire engulfed the entire Middle East and North African countries . After the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia , very few people , in such a short time and in a great country like Egypt, rooted in power for 30 years, Hosni Mubarak would have guessed that they would have to leave his seat . In the same days, Jordan, Yemen, Morocco, Bahrain , Iraq, Libya and other countries in the region that erupted in riots, the world is sitting on the top of his agenda . This revolution speed of the process of political, economic, international and systemic cause-effect already the most discussed issues of the agenda is set. However, the same process to do something very important to analyze the size of the media influence and contribution in this process . At Al-Jazeera and social media , including the revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa experienced in the process of analyzing the impact of the media to understand and impossible to make sense .

Middle East and North African revolution if analyzed the impact of the media on al-Jazeera should be considered together, the second address social media. Social media that has become the trend of recent years, more independent and varied, more flexible and open to differences in the field of communication has opened a can be personalized. Many of us first that comes to mind is Facebook and Twitter, essentially only a part of social media, many of them outside the field of communication is available. This field computer or mobile device that is suitable for everyone to use and no one wants without direct control of the area can establish a communication with people has become a medium. In a matter of a few hours a group of people who are sensitive communicates with Facebook, Twitter share can fill the largest square in the city the next morning. Al-Jazeera after the uprisings in the region, therefore the major elements that have influence on social media networks.

Starting from Tunisia , Egypt and some other countries , especially the things we see , the regime was shut down access to the internet before swinging leaders . Thus, young people would not be so easy to organize . Internet and mobile communications in the period in which it is so easy for the realization of the popular uprising like today was more difficult in any case . At least 15-20 years in power in the Middle East displeasure with satellite leader , there were maybe 10 years ago in the Arab peoples . But it is precisely the emergence of channels like Al-Jazeera and social media with the multiplier effect of this revolt has become possible today . For example, inspired by Tunisia and psychological support area of Egyptians filled Tahrir Square , Tahrir Square and psychological support area inspired by other Arab societies descended to occur . This is uncontrollable ” exceed the threshold ” process . Middle East and North African societies had been rescued after the period of colonialism , most of them originated in the military so excited the first time against the leaders and their inner colonies no longer intend to clean .

Many people on the turning point in the history of the world , fed by conspiracy theories tend to think in a way . ” Big Brother” I see everything directed by the perception of a world system , in explaining the reason for social transformation as one of the most widely used method emerges . However, this method though is another name for the easy , though . Today’s Middle East and North Africa in transition, of course, has the effect of major powers . However, everything on this basis to explain the current uprisings in the Arab societies disrespect , as well as unsustainable in the Middle East in order to occur would be playing dumb . Yes, indeed the Camp David order in the Middle East and the situation became unsustainable society, primarily through al-Jazeera saw in his mirror . Hosni Mubarak, in power for 30 years, along with the U.S. and Israel as a partner of the Camp David order before anyone else did not offend the people of Egypt ? But society rebelled against the regime in order to govern themselves oppression they see the back wall climbing were required to demonstrate courage . Here’s what happened the last 10 years in the region , beginning with the invasion of Iraq and the ongoing process of Turkey in Davos , Arab societies , it does not exceed the wall will have the courage came to the edge of the psychological threshold . Accumulated over the years of the economic and social problems , corruption and repressive regimes already pointed out to the point of a social explosion . Then one day a young 26 -year-old has set himself on fire in the minds of the media and its ” revolution” occurred at a time overflowed . Today, the changes in the Middle East and North Africa behind the process a ” media revolution ” there. The impact of this revolution continued as long as the process of change will continue in the region .


Reflection on 1968 generation – Poland

Year 1956 brought hope and more freedom for polish society and also more liberal rule in Poland, although the country was still part of communist block. But this, to some degree liberal, policy began to crumble in 60s and became a reason for polish society, especially students, to protest and fight for their rights. This was the most important cause. The moods were also, like in western Europe, connected to anti-war attitudes, but in Poland in different case. In 1967 Soviet Union criticized Israel, for their war with Arabs (Israel was viewed as a U.S. ally). In many communist countries government took anti-Israel and often anti-Jewish measures (in Poland it was also related to the war between politics inside communist party): they had been thrown out from their work and discriminated . In the end a lot of Jewish people or rather people with Jewish origins, from those small remains after the second war, left Poland in 1968. This also was one of the reasons for polish student movement.

The direct cause of the protest was censorship of play “Dziady” (in opinion of government it was anti-Russian) in Polish National Theater. After the last play, last because of the government decision, many students who came to see it, went to the statue of Adam Mickiewicz (he died in Istanbul and even has a small museum there), polish famous poet and dramatist, also author of “Dziady” , to leave some flowers. After the event they were attacked by police and 35 of them were arrested. What’s more two of the students were thrown out of the University.

Because of this events students movement rose even more. Students began to collect money for to pay fines for students and make petition to government, they also make an alliance with Polish Writer’s Union. They planned a very big protest in defense for those two students, but before the event, the leaders were arrested. The protest still began but at the end of it more than two thousand policeman attacked them. This began students protests in almost all polish university’s . The goal was to show their support. In almost all of the cases students were attacked by police.

The party that ruled the country began counteroffensive . They started propaganda against the students, especially within workers, to show that students are bored youths who are making a fuss in society. There were slogan like „Banana Youths” or „Student’s to study, Writers to writing and Jewish to Zion”. The last part came from mixing anti-Jewish moves of government with students, since some of the leaders had Jewish origins and it was a good excuse.

Of course students still fought for change, they protested, but the other side was too strong. Many professors were thrown out of University and even Departments were closed (for example Philosophy Department in Warsaw University) by communist party. After government dealt with the students they thrown eoght thousand people with Jewish origins from the party.

The communication between students was of course not as easy as today, but students had been closer with each other so sending a message from person to person, making larger meeting or giving news during classes (in those years students were coming to them) was not so hard. Leaflets had been used in a really big scale in 1968. Some even named it „ leaflets war”. Polish students of course were aware of protests in western countries but the their consciousness was quite different. In Poland the aim was to reform, to make a regime more liberal (social too, but this is a little different case), and this movement did not want as much as those in western Europe since the starting point was different. But as Daniel Cohn Bandid said to Adam Michnik, one of the leaders of student movement in Poland, their aim was still similar -students wanted a change, change that would make world more for them.

The communist party won the battle but that does not mean that this student movement did not have any positive outcome. Of course for some years changes seemed impossible, especially after the events in Prague in 1968, but the movement had an impact on people who were part of it. Some of the professors that could not teach went to other countries and became and made quite a career and what is much more important this movement had impact on the students. Many of them were a very important figures for changes in Poland 1980s and especially in the round table’s talks , at the end of communism in Poland and in early 1990s. Today one of the student who was thrown out of University is the owner of the second biggest News Paper in Poland. Many other also became quite influential.

Reflection on Clay Shirky “The Political Power of Social Media” by Willi Ibbeken

In the beginning of his essay, Clay Shirky is writing about the “first time that social media had helped force out a national leader” (Shirky). The Philippine President Joseph Estrada was forced out because activists were organizing demonstrations by forwarding text messages. Nevertheless, Shirky is posing the question, whether digital tools will have a positive influence on democracy. Hillary Clinton sees the task of the U.S. in preventing the censorship and restriction of websites like YouTube, Google and general news pages. “(…) United States would promote Internet freedom abroad.” (Shirky).

In my opinion, Hillary Clinton is proving a double moral standard here. Now, we all know that the U.S. is excessively collecting and accessing personal data from all around the world (PRISM). I really do not believe that the U.S. is in the position of being the upholder of moral standards, when it comes to Internet freedom. Also her suggested instrumental approach in order to achieve Internet freedom is wrong, as Shirky is correctly pointing out by saying: “It overestimates the value of broadcast media while underestimating the value of media that allow citizens to communicate privately among themselves. It overestimates the value of access to information, particularly information hosted in the West, while underestimating the value of tools for local coordination. And it overestimates the importance of computers while underestimating the importance of simpler tools, such as cell phones”

Shirky explains, that a computer must not necessarily be the best tool for sparking collective action. More basic technology like mobile phones proved to be more effective.

Furthermore: “Political freedom has to be accompanied by a civil society literate enough and densely connected enough to discuss the issues presented to the public” (Shirky). Social media is creating a space, where people can talk about the drawbacks of their country. This does not ensure, that a government will be defeated. It is only the basis, the seed, of what could happen in the future.

“Opinions are first transmitted by the media, and then they get echoed by friends, family members, and colleagues. It is in this second, social step that political opinions are formed. This is the step in which the Internet in general, and social media in particular, can make a difference” (Elihu Katz and Paul Lazarsfeld). Mass media on its own does not change anything. I agree with this statement. Social media is often glorified as a miracle cure and universal weapon against political grievance. But in fact, social media is only one (important) step in the chain of a successful protest. Technology will never remove the effort of real participation and real effort. Social media can be the important catalyser but not the replacement of real activism and direct disobedience.

Furthermore, Shirky is mentioning the conservative dilemma, a tricky situation for governments and businesses. It basically means, that government and economy are in need of the Internet in order to be progressive and modern. Blocking the Internet because of activists will also harm the government. In my opinion, this is the result of the fact, that the Internet is a space with a relatively low hierarchy. Every user is more or less playing by the same rules and sits at the same table. There is more commonness online, than there is in the real world. Sad but true.

Briggs says: “The state will censor critics or produce propaganda as it needs to, but both of those actions have higher costs than simply not having any critics to silence or reply to in the first place. But if a government were to shut down Internet access or ban cell phones, it would risk radicalizing otherwise pro-regime citizens or harming the economy”. The government would run the risk of waking the sleeping dog or better, the cute cut lovers. Brigg’s explanation is quite d’accord with Ethan Zuckerman’s cute cat theory.

Moreover, Shirky is writing about two arguments against the idea that social media will have an effective impact in national politics:” The first is that the tools are themselves ineffective, and the second is that they produce as much harm to democratization as good, because repressive governments are becoming better at using these tools to suppress dissent.”

Concerning the first argument, I think that social media is very useful for online activism. Sure, amongst users you will always find a large amount of Slacktivists but that does not mean that real activists can’t use the social media in an effective way. Sure, for most of the people social media is only about having a good time and enjoying cute cats but for a maybe small but nevertheless  decisive minority, social media contains the chance of sparking something big. Concerning the second argument, sure, repressive governments are becoming better at using tools to supress dissent but in my opinion they can’t stop it. There will always be a cat and mouse game. You can ban one network and more networks will spring up like mushrooms. This will also result in the provocation of previously inactive internet users. They might become active.

At the end of the text, I stumbled across the following statement, which nowadays appears in an unfavourable light:” One way the United States can heighten the conservative dilemma without running afoul of as many political complications is to demand the release of citizens imprisoned for using media in these ways. Anything that constrains the worst threats of violence by the state against citizens using these tools also increases the conservative dilemma.” (Shirky). By imprisoning Bradley Manning and chasing Edward Snowden for their leaks, pressuring journalists and spying on citizens, the U.S. has proven that their Internet freedom measures can only be masquerade – don’t throw bricks when you live in a glass house. First of all, the U.S. should look at the way they treat Internet freedom, than they will have a great chance of being a good example to other countries.

Student movements and media

Many social movement were started by students in history. Generally students were at the front of the mass in the protests or activities. Also, some events and activities called student movements by researcher in history because sometimes only students join that activities or they launched that events and than other people support them. 1968 is a milestone for the student movements because big student movements began in the worldwide in 1968. Firstly, events started in France than separated other countries and affected them. In every country, the facts of these movements were different but also they had some common reasons. These reasons were opposition to imperialism, opposition to war and human rights, freedom of thought. In all of these movements students tried to use the media very effectively.

May 1968 is a most important breakpoint for the history of France. Some students who were annoyed from the politics of the government and their management began to protest in Sorbonne University in Paris. After the intervention of the police, events get out of the control and separated all country. In the beginning of the events the count of the protesters were 400 but after a day of events the count of protesters were 20.000. After one week thanks to support of workers and public that count were 10.000.000 people. According to these counts, we can say that easily under the terms of the day using of the media was very important to find support.

The support of famous people for these events and seeing that persons together with students were very effective to support these events by the other people because television channels generally were in the hand of government and actually did not show the true face of the all events. However students prepared banners, posters and they published papers to make their voices heard and to find supports from other people. Eventually they managed that and government went to re-election. When these events were occurring, radio channels had live broadcast in the evenings to give information to people about events and televisions showed the events after a day of the events. All of these causes were effective to grow up these movements.

The situations of the events were not different in the worldwide in 1968. In USA, students began to protest government in lots of universities because of the Vietnam War, opposition to imperialism and racism. Black people and white people protest racism together in the universities. Imperialism was the common enemy to all people in 1968. Also, Americans understood that government said lots of lies about Vietnam War and government did that thanks to media. They made many pro-war publications to convince people to war and they tried to show people legitimacy of war according to themselves. However they could not managed to reach their target and all of the people who were against to war protested American government in the worldwide. Finally government pulled army back and they did not continue war.

Turkey also lived student movements heavily in 1968. The causes of the events were same with France, America and other countries. Also in Turkey, there were different causes. The events were not effective until France or America because in the end of the events, government did not change or a war did not finish. However there was a right movement in Turkey. Radio, television and newspapers were in the hand of government and students could not use these media devices but they had alternative ways to make their voices heard like handmade magazines and papers, slogans and banners. In the end of the events protesters may be could not have concrete results but they changed many ideas and they showed some facts people.

In conclusion, in the student movements, media affect was very significant to find support and to tell themselves. Both students and governments knew that that’s why both of them tried to use the power of media in the best possible way. It still did not change in nowadays. When we look at the last events which lived in our environment or in the worldwide we can understand that. The protests, social movements or governments which against these movements firstly try to take their hand the power of media. Nowadays, social media like facebook and twitter is an alternative media device for this kind of movements. That’s why social movements are more effective than old movements now thanks to social media.


Social Media and the Decision to Participate in Political Protest: Obersavtions from Tahrir Square

The power of social media can bring down a government. 

This message, as clear as it is, has been veryfied by the Egypt’s Tahrir Square protest movement in 2011. That different channels of social media as Facebook, Twitter and so on do have an influence on political protests are now proofed.

To have a better understanding on how social networks can cause a revolution, Zeynep Tufekci and Christopher Wilson started a research during January and Feburary, 2011. Their central research questions were:

“Did social media use shape how they learned about the protest, how they planned their involvement and how they documented their involvement?”

This study, called “Social Media and the Decision to Participate in Political Protest: Observations from Tahrir Square”, analyzed around 1,000 interviews with people who had participated in the demonstrations. A survey has been handed out to the selected group which contains more than 100 different questions from basic demographics over political engagement to use of social media.

The study’s findings include:

  • The majority of the protesters interviewed were male. Both male and female  protestors tended to be well educated but the females were younger compare to the males.
  • Two thrids of the sample has been to different protests before.
  • Even if the majority has been using phones to communicate about the demonstrations, the women were more likely to have Internet access on their phone and at their home than the men.
  • Females of those interviewed used Facebook more likely for both in general and for communicating about the protest rather than Twitter.
  • Nearly half of participants (48.4%) first heard about the protests from face-to-face communications. “Traditional mass media were far less important for information people about the protest than were more interpersonal means of communication (face-to-face, telephone, or Facebook).”
  • Nearly half of participants (48.2%) had shared videos and pictures. More than half of them used Facebook for its sharing. A smaller group used Twitter or E-Mails to share their content with others.

After reading and learning about the findings of this survey one can definetly say that social media has a large influence on the protests at Tahrir Square. The authors gave a good overview on what they found out. In the end it totally makes sense who used social networks, how they have been used and how intensive they have been used during the demonstrations.

Interesting would be to find out if the same use of social media during other protests would bring down other governments also, or if this media use during that causes the Arab Spring is an unique event.

But as we, and also the governments heard of the use of social networks by protesters it will be more difficult as it was for the proteters from Tahrir Square. Also the government is able to check every social network like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and so on. They can do both, provide themselves and also try to turn other people in different directions.


Digital Zapatistas

Reflection 3

Every cultural societies have an overload point in terms of problems of ideologies. Especially in neoliberalism. We can see the issue clearly in Mexico, also in Turkey. I saw many similarities between of these countries. Even the movements’ periods are the same(1968-60, 1980) these type of countries used to be forced ruined by the government literally in a long term. Because they has a huge complicated cultural relations and needs. Combining these groups in a democratic movement has to be done naturally. People should want to choose this way to go. So it is the most impossible way to solve. Internet has no limitation like traditional media whereas it has no fairless or equality like traditional media. Popular websites are belongs to ruler media stations’ websites. But the limitless prilivege could provide to reach the large masses in effectually.

Digital Zapatistas is the most melodious movement that i have ever heard (except Gezi park Movement..) converting a riot to unarmed way must have creativity. I believe that bombing Mexican Army with paper airplanes in Chiapas is the most powerful language in militaristic tactics. The movement has a potential to be sustainable, besides we can see that it has continued since 1994.  Zapatista Movement has a chance to break the boundaries of activeness. It means that if you want to become a part of a riot and you want to become effective in it, you should do it in active way or physically. But Digital Zapatistas achieved to destroy the difference between passive and active resistance. Because the past must be resolved with new opportunities.

Measureless monitoring and atrocity should be examined in a tactical way. Hackery is the most intelligent way of revolting. Hacking a government’s organ’s website and uncovering the secrets about corruptions etc. is more persuasive and viral as well. Usage of internet in this way cannot be denied easily. Thus, you can be big as the government even if you do not have army or, guns like them.