Electronic Civil Disobedience
New Books on Activism,
Social Activism, Hacktivism, Computerized Activism
It engaged its FloodNet software and invited participation to an international set of artists, digerati, and political activists to make a "symbolic gesture" in support of Mexico's Zapatistas. While at the same time, in Britain, in Australia, in India, in China, on almost every continent there were reports of hacktivity. In the spring of 1998, a young British hacker known as "JF" accessed about 300 web sites and placed anti-nuclear text and imagery. He entered, changed and added HTML code. At that point it was the biggest political hack of its kind.
Taken together we may consider both the more symbolic electronic civil disobedience actions and the more tangible hacktivist events under the rubric of extraparliamentarian direct action Net politics, where extraparliamentarian is taken to mean politics other than electoral or party politics, primarily the grassroots politics of social movement.
Acting in the tradition of non-violent direct action and civil disobedience, proponents of Electronic Civil Disobedience are borrowing the tactics of trespass and blockade from these earlier social movements and are experimentally applying them to the Internet. A typical civil disobedience tactic has been for a group of people to physically blockade, with their bodies, the entranceways of an opponent's office or building or to physically occupy an opponent's office -- to have a sit-in. Electronic Civil Disobedience, as a form of mass decentered electronic direct action, utilizes virtual blockades and virtual sit-ins. Unlike the participant in a traditional civil disobedience action, an ECD actor can participate in virtual blockades and sit-ins from home, from work, from the university, or from other points of access to the Net.
Electronic Civil Disobedience and the World Wide
Web of Hacktivism:
Stefan Wray, "On Electronic Civil Disobedience," Peace Review 11, no. 1, (1999), forthcoming; Electronic Civil Disobedience archive 1998
Stefan Wray, "Paris Salon or Boston Tea Party? Recasting Electronic Democracy, A View from Amsterdam," Electronic Civil Disobedience archive 1998
Stefan Wray, "Towards Bottom-Up Information Warfare: Theory and Practice: Version 1.0," Electronic Civil Disobedience Archive 1998 12. Stefan Wray, "The Drug War and Information Warfare in Mexico," Masters Thesis, Univ. of Texas at Austin, Electronic Civil Disobedience Archive 1997
Brett Stalbaum, "The Zapatista Tactical FloodNet," Electronic Civil Disobedience Web Page 1998
"Mexico rebel supporters hack government home page," Reuters, 4 February 1998; Same in Electronic Civil Disobedience.