giovedì 25 settembre 2014

Obsolete Capitalism: Camouflage and adaptability in the society of control (Pt. XXV - The Birth of Digital Populism)

Camouflage and adaptability in the society of control (Pt. XXV)

Dreams of power haunted Casaleggio in the early 2000s. These dreams have some aforementioned characteristics: they envisaged a network thickened by independent nodes and self-managed groups of militants – the Meetup network – which are connected within the architecture of the network. Between 2009 and 2012, 5SM became a dynamic subject inside both a highly competitive political market and a complex unstable society. The movement adapted itself to these socio-political conditions through a process of self-organisation which regarded both each single node and the network as a whole. It was a camouflage technique that allowed the 5SM to: (a) maintain its chaotic and plural identity, despite the socio-political inputs that were coming from external sources ; (b) quickly respond to unexpected events called ‘black swans’; (c) flourish within the neo-liberal context of Internet ideology; (d) support a mixture of inexperienced and inefficient policies that are typical of young autonomous organisations; (e) influence its followers’ behavior through three skillful actions, which put together a spectacular scenery, brand communication and a self-regulating mechanism; (f) decide for a strict membership policy, enlisting a series of minimum requirements that can lead to expulsions if not respected; (g) at last, stimulate, a bottom-up self-regulation and a lasting identification with the 5SM brand. An example of the 5SM political approach is given by the hacking policy that have characterised the first year of institutional activity of the group. The following are episodes of hack politics: in April 2013, the movement used online ‘Quirinarie’ to choose a candidate who would rush into Parliament and unsettle the election of the President. Other example are the live-broadcasted meetings between 5SM and DP delegations, which transmit tactical fractures and a lack of conversation between the five-starred MPs. The idea of disrupting the usual functioning of politics is rooted as much in the unusual idea that citizens can gain power from hacking institutions, as in the 5SM’s lack of those intellectual and professional skills that institutional politics require. Casaleggio’s main aim is not to balance the disorder of the political system, but rather to destabilize this system from within and keep it in a chaotic situation. The 5SM wants to amplify disorder and desires, as Luciana Parisi points out, ‘a new kind of nihilism.’ (...) 

Painting: Stelios Faitakis

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