Big Brother Has Gone Viral

When I was at Drupalcon in April, the keynote was echoed by a crowd of twitterers and live bloggers. They were all grabbing the elephant just as it was being simucast to the web. People wanted bragging rights in their 3000 circles that they emparted some cool info and did so first. World shaping events are watched by all and used to the commentated by three networks in America plus the newspapers. Then came CNN. The quantity of voices in professional media grew. But they were slow. A story had to be assigned by an editor; or a story had to be approved before it saw the light of day.
Internet publishing started in the 1980s. The Informati fringe could log in, post to newsgroups. There were a lot of steps, a small audience and the whole experience was not for the faint of heart. The Web made it easier, but you needed to know HTML and how to FTP your opinions and do it from the safety of your dial-up and your desktop. The advent of blogging then Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) made it very easy. Mobile blogging, SMS and posting cellphone media has made this whole experience very easy.
During the G20, the Man has been beating on the people who pay The Man's way. Yes, there are gimmes in the crowd, they're rabble and they're the distraction. Police have been beating down and routing benign protesters. I say benign but not peaceful. Peace is akin to contentment and these people are not content. They want to shake things up. They want to aggravate the Police and the Powers That Be. You want a reaction and a route to change.
But as the Police beat down and bully the public, there is a Orwellian spin happening. Big Brother in 1984 used to watch Winston Smith and his fellow workers from an omniscient wall-- a television and video camera all in one. One eye that saw all of the people. With the advent of cellphone footage and tweets, we're all watching each other. During the G20 protests, the Police have practiced a policy of beating journalists and protesters, routing the people-- some of whom aren't even protesters, but just citizens trying to get from A-to-B in a bisected city. This criminal conduct by a bunch of thugs in black has not happened in secret or seen by a select few. Thanks to cellphones and easy uploading, hundreds of people are recording these transgressions and broadcasting them. Almost everyone has a cellphone. Almost every cellphone has a camera. It's not yet illegal to film police brutality (it is now illegal in the UK), but there are so many people recording these attacks that the police cannot find every recorder, confiscate their phones and destroy the evidence (as Vancouver police did last year on several occasions). We're all feeding Big Brother and his all seeing eye. Big Brother isn't the government per se, but the eyes of the public.
Unfortunately, Big Brother could convert disapproval into brute force. We can only convert disapproval into disapproval at the polls when/if the Conservatives allow Canadians to go to the polls.
If you have a Conservative MP, let them know that you're dissatisfied. Tell them that their own version of their Rahim Jaffer antics are no longer appreciated. If you don't have a Conservative MP in your riding (and most of us don't), tell your MP that now is the time to vote against the next Conservative move in the House of Commons. Ignatieff has been tacitly supporting Harper and Layton has been siding with Ignatieff. I didn't vote for Jack Layton. I didn't vote for Michael Igatieff. I voted for my MP. My Member of Parliament, Denise Savoie, has to hear the voice of the people she is representing or she is supporting this whole house of cards. If your Member of Parliament isn't voting against the status quo where people can be arrested for getting too close to a fence, then they're part of the problem and they need to go.


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