[bestbits] Re: [IRPCoalition] Blogpost: Civil Society and the Emerging Internet Cold War: Non-Alignment and the Public Interest

Marianne Franklin m.i.franklin at gold.ac.uk
Tue Feb 12 11:47:22 EST 2013

Dear Best Bits folk (sent this to the IRP list...!, thanks Mike!)

This is a very interesting discussion. If I could suggest however that 
the reiteration of Cold War references actually serves the purposes of 
those interests keen to keep this issue a polarized one. The use of 
military idioms is an well-worn element in the 'armory' (see I am doing 
it too!) of political communications.

How things are said matter, for critique as well. So, whilst I agree 
with the substantive point Mike is making, and also concur with the 
point Carlos has made about the EU Budget cuts (and this is something 
for the upcoming EuroDIG I hope) here, I am not sure about formulating 
the work and various affiliations of 'civil society' ( which is also a 
large fuzzy term that includes lots of different sorts of committments) 
as non-aligned. The use of 'war' and such like appeared just prior to 
the WCIT in major broadsheets around the world, the UK in particular. 
This is the work of Spin and if civil society has anything to offer to 
my mind it needs to work hard at reframing the debate in other equally 
evocative ways.

Moreover, historically the Cold War has past. The East-West compass in 
that respect has since shifted so I for one am uneasy about an 
over-reliance in this sort of vocabulary; 'us versus them' is already 
framing things as a zero-sum game and this is the fallout from the WCIT, 
by design perhaps.


On 12/02/2013 00:47, michael gurstein wrote:
> McTim, my point was and remains that there are a range of issues involved in
> these matters and that the polarization generated at the WCIT may serve the
> interests of some but it doesn't necessarily reflect reality nor the
> interests/values of CS.
> CS should be looking for higher ground (to my mind support for the Internet
> as a global public good) and finding allies in support of this wherever they
> can found.  The focusing in the WCIT (and dare I say before that at the IGF)
> on the Internet Freedom issue by certain elements within CS and others
> ignored the very large range of issues on which agreement could and should
> be found and overall as I said CS should be "non-aligned" in the emerging
> "Internet Cold War" and developing it's own position(s) which include among
> others free expression, human rights, and digital inclusion.
> M
> -----Original Message-----
> From: McTim [mailto:dogwallah at gmail.com]
> Sent: Monday, February 11, 2013 3:29 PM
> To: michael gurstein
> Cc: governance at lists.igcaucus.org; bestbits at lists.igcaucus.org; IRP
> Subject: Re: [IRPCoalition] Blogpost: Civil Society and the Emerging
> Internet Cold War: Non-Alignment and the Public Interest
> On Mon, Feb 11, 2013 at 5:55 PM, michael gurstein <gurstein at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> I've no idea of the position of "China, Russia, Iran etc." on the
>> issue, but at least from my reading there was considerable support for
>> the below among the "sovereigntist" camp
> "The approved Resolution was unanimously supported by ITU Member States"
> I don't see your point.  Everyone supported this resolution according to the
> BDT press release, which is hilarious BTW...."ITU is at the very heart of
> the ICT sector" for example.
> --
> Cheers,
> McTim
> "A name indicates what we seek. An address indicates where it is. A route
> indicates how we get there."  Jon Postel
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> http://lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/irp

Dr Marianne Franklin
Convener: Global Media & Transnational Communications Program
Goldsmiths, University of London
Dept. of Media & Communications
New Cross, London SE14 6NW
Tel: +44 20 7919 7072
<m.i.franklin at gold.ac.uk>

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