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THE INTERNET: A FORUM OF REAL DEMOCRACY? by Ken Howell

posted 16 Mar 2014, 09:43 by Gerry Kangalee

The person in whose head the idea was formed to combine the processes of the telegraph/telephone, radio signals and the camera to create this thing called the Internet was certainly inspired by some supreme power. I would go further to say that this invisible power is a fighter for democracy.

 

No doubt, because it knows that the real owners of this capitalist democracy in which we live are the owners of the media and whenever we speak out against the atrocities of the state machinery they pretend to be on our side campaigning under the banner of press freedom because they must appear to be balance. But as soon as they detect any serious challenge to the system, they all come out in full force to defend it.

 

With the Internet, however, it is more difficult to control free speech; especially since the introduction of the social media. With the social media the possibilities are endless; as was revealed recently in the Edward Snowden incident. What came out clearly was the extent to which private citizens and some government officials appear to be vulnerable to the whims and fancies of the powers that be that are intent on controlling our every thought and action. On the other hand, the internet, while exposing our vulnerability, provides us with the tools to mobilize our forces on a scale which we were unable to do in the past.

 

Now, we receive the news in real time-as it happens. I am certain that when the idea entered the head of the individual, never in his wildest dream did he envisage such an astonishing out come.


It is not well known that the technology which drives the internet is also a network of fibre optic cables assembled by TeleGeography, the Telecom Data Company. It is alleged that some 300 cables, through which internet traffic is exchanged across the globe, pass under the sea. These cables connect people, business and countries to the internet. As a result many different types of organisations use the internet to market their goods, communicate with each other and share all kinds of information.

 

It is not unusual to see all kinds of religious organisations peddling their wares on the internet. Psychics and get rich quick salesmen are also having a field day conning unsuspecting individuals of their hard earned cash. This thing which can be all things to all men and women has changed the lives of millions of people.

 

It has ushered in what some people call the information age and has created new means by which to store records and useful information. So that institutions such as the Vatican which once was the repository or store house of most knowledge in what was known as the dark ages, now has at its disposal new tools with which to capture and store information about the changing mood of peoples across the globe towards the Catholic Church.

 US NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY

In addition to the tapping of phones hacking into computers by the US National Security Agency (the NSA) child molesters use the internet to trap under age children; go into chat rooms to talk with individuals who pose as children of their age. These are some of the risks to which children who use this form of communication are exposed to.      

 

The internet has brought within focus possibilities for the working class; possibilities I am certain progressive leaders would have considered difficult, if not impossible, to achieve in the past. For example, the ability to communicate swiftly through texting, video conferencing and the use of Skype. It has been reported that the social media played a critical role in the eruption of the so-called Arab Spring revolution in the Middle East in the last few years. We also saw what the organisers of the Occupy Wall Street protests were able to do with social media thereby making their mobilisation efforts a success. Social Media has given voice to the voiceless, while enhancing the work of the working class movement by creating the conditions whereby it can become more productive and effective in the delivery and fulfilment of its mandate.
 
 GUARD AGAINST ABUSE

It is my view that as far as is possible, the movement must guard against the abuse of this facility by ensuring at all times that it is used to advance the legitimate cause of the working class.  However, it seems to me, some trade unions are not making full use of the online presence which they have available to them and their members do not benefit from the interaction between members which that presence can provide, It can be used as a medium through which unions can provide information on industrial relations issues and also educate members on their rights 

 

While we must strive, to protect the real democracy which the internet facilitates, to ensure that it is not destroyed by institutions such as those whose interest and that of finance capital are one and the same. It is also in the interest of the working class the world over to act quickly to mobilize its forces in preparation for the defence of the rights and benefits it was able to secure for its members and the working people of the world because the time is not too far off when the struggle will become intense.

 

If we are not aware, forces that are violently opposed to the working class are beginning to regroup! Those forces are led by finance capital and they are going to be brutal in their attacks on the working class.

 

When that time comes it will not matter which party is in power: the privatization of state assets, that has already begun will speed up. Therefore we must begin to mobilize now! Unions must begin to use the internet for education and mobilization.

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