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Cyberspace, Politic and Conflict

Internet, Cyberspace and Cyberfeminism with Focus on Afghanistan

2.5 Cyberspace, Politic and Conflict

Groups and individuals excluded from politics and cultural production have been active in the construction of internet technopolitical culture, as well. While early internet culture tended to be male dominated, today women circulate information through media like Women‘s E-news (womensenews.org) which sends email to thousands of women and collects the material on a website. Therefore, score of feminist organizations outspread internet politics and increasing number of women are actually active in various cyberculture activities. Groups and communities of color, gay and lesbian groups, and many others marginal communities have made their own e-mail lists, websites, and blogs and are now self-empowered force active on cyberspace (Kahn & Kellner 2005: 619).

As another instance, one can look at cyberwar- cyberwarfare- that is an internet- based conflict involving politically motivated attacks on information and information systems. Cyberwar attacks can disable official websites and networks, disrupt or disable essential services, steal or alter classified data, and cripple financial systems.

Thus it points out that cyberspace has dark sides, as well (searchsecurity.techtarget.com).

In the realm of war in relation with cyberspace, it is noteworthy to mention that in late 2002 and early 2003, global anti-war movements began to emerge as significant challenges to Bush administration policies against Iraq and the growing threats of


war. Political groups like Moveon (www.moveon.org), A.N.S.W.E.R. (www.

Internationalanswer.org), and United for Peace and Justice (www.unitedforpeace.org) used cyberspace to spread anti-war information, set up protests, and promote related anti-war activities.

February15, 2003‘s unprecedented public demonstration of millions around the world calling for peace in unison revealed that technolopolitics help to define, coalesce and extend the contemporary struggle for peace and democracy across the world. Indeed, after using the cyberspace and wireless technologies to set up a range of antiwar demonstrations, activists were continuing to build a kind of ―virtual bloc‖, monitoring and fighting against the aggressive and violent versions of western capitalism being promoted imperialists.

Cyberspace along with techno-politics also played a crucial role in the March 2004 Spanish election, where the socialist party candidate upset the conservative party Prime Minister who predicted to win an easy victory after a series of terrorist bombings killed approximately 200 people days before the election. At first the government insisted that the Basque nationalist separatist group ETA was responsible.

However, leaked out information showed that the bombing did not have the signature of ETA, but was more typical of an ―al Qaeda‖ attack and that intelligence agencies themselves pointed in this direction. Consequently, the Spanish people highly used cyberspace to mobilize people for massive anti-government, anti-occupation demonstrations.

These protests denounced the alleged lies by the existing regime concerning the Madrid terrorist attacks and called for the end of Spain‘s involvement in Bush‘s

―coalition of the willing‖ which had Spanish military troops occupying Iraq. Spectacle of lying government by media, massive numbers of people demonstrating against it and the use of alternative modes of information and communication developed a spike of support for the anti-government candidate. Millions of young people who had never voted but who felt deeply that Spain‘s presence in Iraq was wrong went to the polls and finally a political upset with truly global consequences was achieved (Kahn

& Kellner 2005: 619).

27 2.6 Cyberspace and Communication

Cybermalls represent as extension of passive information systems based on advertising, where buyers engage in simple interaction across the net with remote hosts that check supplies, record decisions to purchase, and dispatch orders. Banking and related services are moving online and e-money is appearing with credit card services representing the current modes of exchange. Such online shopping is hardly interactive in the sense of users being part of an active community although the cybermarket does involve linking producer to consumers over the net. Its extension to the actual production process is only a matter of time (Batty 1997: 337).

Thus certain possibilities and spaces that were not available in the pre-internet days have opened up these days by cyberspace. Organizations like the ―People like Us‖ are now able to connect with members, organize meetings and discussions in cyberspace that circumvent existing laws that require permission for public assembly (Baber & Khondker 2002: 135).

―The connection of cybernetics and space points out that cyberspace is a technological space produced by human beings ―social space‖ (Fuchs 2008: 147).

In addition to the possibilities for the creation of networks of communities or virtual communities of various kinds, the cyberspace represents a technology that fuses many domains such as economic, communicative, cultural, entertainment, politics etc., in such a manner that these functions cannot be disaggregated. This bundling together of functions is one of the unique characteristics of the Internet and cyberspace specific social consequences. Internet technology with its aggregated bundling of functions cannot be restricted in a meaningful way without the possible curtailment of possibilities that may affect other domains.

As such, the promotion of this technology invariably promotes other functions that may not necessarily be perceived as desirable by the state. In addition to the bundled nature of functions, the internet, as Poster has argued, it is also unique technology because of its inherently interactive nature. Due to this interactivity, the internet is the case with many other communication technologies. Interaction with the internet plays a fundamental role in its evolution. Hence, it would be short-sighted of some states or


governments controlling over the use of cyberspace since it has been a vast technology (Baber & Khondker 2002: 141).

Cyberspace is a type of social space where communication is technologically mediated and that is organized on a global time-space scale. Its subsystems are specific virtual communities, that is, topic- and interest-oriented social systems that make use of specific Internet applications (such as newsgroups, chats, mailing lists, ICQ , peer-to-peer technologies etc.) in order to establish communication that is globally stretched in time-space. A virtual community is not a space that is constituted by shared values, identities, or traditions but a shared interest in certain issues and communication oriented on these topics. Cyberspace does not mark the end of space but the acceleration of communication and the extension of some social systems to a global scale (Fuchs 2008:148). Therefore, cyberspace may be a vehicle for new forms of alternative radio, television, film, art, and every form of culture as well as information and print material. New multimedia technologies are already visible on different web sites (Kellner 2011:11).

Cyberspace has been a communication system where everyone is a sender and receiver and greatly proliferate the range and diversity of voices which undoubtedly gives a new dimension of the concept of information and cultural overload. It was amazing that the cyberspace for large number was deco modified and was becoming more and more decentralized and open to more and more voices and groups.