Mark Zuckerberg | 11.07.2010 20:12 | Globalisation
None of this is news. What is news is that David Cameron is asking, via Facebook, for ideas for spending cuts. ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/politics/10575235.stm) Specifically, a party political question. Given that most on the left refuse to have any truck with Facebook, this might seem a little stupid to post onto Indymedia. Far from it.
Politically motivated Americans (remember the American Friends of the BNP?) have always seen the Internet as a way of delivering their message. The EDL are successful at putting across a message that frequently has the left running around after them rather than being ahead of them. All in all, the "non-story" of Facebook is somewhere that radicals should be.
Sorry for all those people who think that it's an endless round of gossip and sewlf indulgent tripe. It is. But it is a powerful political tool. Cameron, along with his ideological peers are about to use it to indoctrinate the largely young demographic into their worldview. So, a generation that never experienced "Tory Cuts" first hand are about to have their "views made important".
It is a marvellous way to brainwash a generation. It worked for the EDL (more likely Tory Test Marketing than a genuine bunch of fascist wankers). It will work for the mainstream Tory Party. The demographic of Facebook is first time voters. You can see the attraction for a government that is likely to get kicked out when september ends and the October Spending Review arrives.
It's not about gestures like getting Rage Against the Machine to number one. It's about millions of lives being manipulated because "well, you told us through Facebook and we listened". It is the kind of politics that is genuinely killing the left. Unless people on the left are prepared to engage with and change the debate within Facebook then there will be fewer and fewer outlets for genuinely radical politics. Cameron is allowing Facebook to claim "he" is responsible for such things as open access to government data. It is not a lie, but it will become the recieved wisdom of first time voters at the next election.
Just because it is trivia and endless (relentless) advertising does not mean it is not a place to go and agitate. The truth is, without agitation in Facebook - on a massive scale - the political wisdom of the next decade or so will be dicated by a Californian Libertarian. The kind of political position that sees the NHS as being as evil as the Soviet Union. The kind of political position that see's government (and government spending) as a hinderance to free markets. Hip enough to attract the admiration of anarchists for the anti-government stance but actually, just like Thatcher.
On to the trolls. Remember: I know Facebook is crap. But I also know that Diaspora is not ready yet. I also know that capitalism is not my preferred economic system. I know that the EDL are undesirables. But that does not mean that I refuse to do something about it.