The Charlotte Gore Blog

Free Trade and Free Minds. Politics for Reasonable People. Independent Political Blogging. Top 20 Blog. Libertarianism. Laser Kitties.

The War on Internet Terrorism

August 3rd, 2013 at 4:33 pm

A one off post

They call it “Trolliday”. Show your support for victims of intensive and targeted harassment by boycotting Twitter for a single day.

The original plan was to use people power — lots of people working together with a single aim — to force Twitter into adding a ‘Report Abuse’ button. I’ve added a report abuse button to this blog, too. Click it for a demonstration of how useful Twitter’s report abuse button is going to be at stopping targeted harassment: 

But Twitter, having had a lot of negative publicity for their platform have decided it’s probably for the best if they just add the button to make the problem go away. Doesn’t really matter what the button does or how it works behind the scenes. It’s a button. People love buttons.

So why is “Trolliday” still going ahead regardless? And what’s with calling these people ‘trolls’? “Troll” being a cutesy term for people who wind other people up for the lulz. That’s…. that’s not what’s happening here. What’s happening here is terrorism.

Terrorism is the use of fear and intimidation to achieve political ends. Making sure there’s a woman on British banknotes? Political. Some journalist abusing a minority in a column? Political. The war for what our culture should be is being literally fought out on the Internet.

To me, sustained threats of violence, rape, murder along with more general abuse from hundreds of people targeted at an individual? That’s not trolling. That’s war.

The aim? To silence the enemy and prevent others taking their place. The worst thing is that it works. It works really really well. Sometimes it’s intensive, targeting bullying and other times it’s just the general background noise on Twitter where you see your allies and friends mocked and abused for holding different opinions, different ideas and beliefs. Do you stand your ground, do you stick up for your friends? Or do you keep your mouth shut to avoid the aggravation of a confrontation?

I think all too often I’ve been guilty of the latter. Increasingly so. I don’t feel as free to express my opinion as I once did.

So, the way I see it? Disappearing off Twitter for a day is like protesting against the Taliban by pulling your girls out of school. It’s giving them exactly what they want.

And that’s why this is the wrong action to be taking. Tony Blair and George Bush’s kneejerk reaction to terrorism has turned airports into the most miserable places on earth, has extended the surveillance state and very nearly caused us to end up with ID cards. I thought we’d learnt that the best way to stand against terrorism is to refuse to change our way of life, to not let the terrorists win?

Freedom of speech is something that can be taken away from you by a self-selecting mob, no matter what rights the state gives you. The state promises not to interfere with your freedom of expression but that doesn’t prevent others having a go.

The only rational response is to never let yourself be silenced.

Perhaps I’ll continue being a hypocrite and keep my own mouth shut… but I mean to try harder to actually use the rights I have. And that’s why I’m going to tweet until my fingers cramp up on Trolliday. What’s needed isn’t solidarity. It’s holding the line.

 


Update: Lots of people having problems with the Report Abuse button. Here’s another button to report technical problems:

4 commentsPosted in Opinion

Lib Dems: Blowing it here.

May 6th, 2011 at 4:38 pm

There's no referendum the Lib Dems could support that would win.

Poor Lib Dems. It all seemed so exciting and new when the Coalition was formed… then they increased Tuition Fees to £9,000. In a stroke they lost the nearest thing to a natural constituency they had – namely students – and left everyone else not quite able to shake the idea that Lib Dems are untrustworthy mercenaries interested only in the fortunes and successes of the Liberal Democrat Party itself.

Is that unfair? Well, yes, up to a point. There’s only one real policy that the Lib Dems as a whole care about, that’s not open to negotiation, and that’s Proportional Representation – which, sadly, reinforces the idea that all Lib Dems really care about is the fortune and success of the Liberal Democrat Party.

Still, because of this, the one non-negotiable concession they wanted from the Conservatives was the referendum on electoral reform, in this case on AV (which, just possibly, might lead to another Coalition and a further referendum for PR). It was a classic example of short term tactical thinking triumphing over long term strategic thinking.

What astonishes me is why anyone imagined that any referendum put forward by the Lib Dems so soon into the life of the Coalition would ever be supported by the public. We all know the circumstances that led to the referendum, and we all know that the Lib Dems desperately want it to succeed. It’s my belief that no matter the question, people would always have voted against the Lib Dems out of spite. Labour and Tory alike, the Lib Dems aren’t where they should be and their wrath will not be easily diminished. If the Lib Dems said that food was good, people would stop eating.

The Lib Dems had one strategic objective going into the Coalition, and that was to prove to everyone how trustworthy and competent they were, how their ideas when put into practice delivered real benefits and improved people’s lives. They blew it, instantly, and for what? A shoddy referendum for a pointless reform. Without trust, politicians are nothing.

If they’d been willing to go into Coalition without the referendum promise then people might – just might – have been willing to believe that they went into the partnership in the national interest rather than their own. If they’d successfully established themselves as trustworthy and competent then maybe, just maybe, the next time they were in Coalition people would see it as a good thing and look more kindly on their efforts at reform.

Yet this whole strategy of reforming Britain’s electoral system by exploiting hung parliaments looks as squalid and desperate as it ever did. This is a party that has long since abandoned any ideas it might have of winning an election in its own right and has instead taken a path which the voters, quite rightly, resent and object to.

If they want PR, they need to win a bloody general election. That’s all there is to it.

Magic and Kittens Socialism

March 5th, 2011 at 10:39 am

In which I write stuff that people who already agree with me will agree with, and those that disagree will disagree.

Yesterday I made a comment that, to me, socialism was like “Everybody in the country getting dial up Internet and Internet Explorer 6 (a very bad browser) a year before the rest of the world’s even thought about the Internet, but then never upgrading again. Ever.”

A huffy reply comes back. My crime? Conflating “socialism” which is lovely and full of kittens and magic, and “Stalinism” which as any right thinking person knows was really Capitalism.

Since I last brought up this subject on this blog I’ve made no further progress on understanding what on earth people expect from the Magic And Kittens version of Socialism – the version that ‘will’ exist, in the future, when ‘real’ Socialists are in power, as opposed to the Evil Capitalist Socialism which is What All Countries That Call Themselves Socialist actually are.

A simple experiment: Open up Wikipedia and search for “List of socialist countries”. Then do a search for “List of Libertarian countries” and spot the rather overwhelming difference: The latter page doesn’t actually exist.

Is it really so unfair of me, when talking about Socialism, to use Actual Existing Socialism as my starting point, even if the Magic and Kittens Socialists dispute the labels these regimes have placed on themselves?

Recently I read Colonel Gaddafi’s Green Book and his chapter on Socialism (“The solution to the economic problem”) and I wonder if his regime is counted as Evil Capitalist Socialism or Magic and Kittens Socialism. I wonder this very briefly – Gaddafi is an evil tyrant therefore this is the Evil Capitalist Socialism again. The answer is obvious: No magic or kittens there.

The real problem is that all varieties of Socialism – even the Magic and Kittens version – depend on egos, individualism and materialism (a term which is often misunderstood as meaning greedy, when it really refers to the ‘material’ world as opposed to the ‘spiritual’ world – material rewards rather than spiritual ones) being perceived as a flaw with humanity to be ‘fixed’, something to be got rid of as they ‘make people better’ than they are. It’s Capitalism that makes us this way, therefore once Capitalism has gone we will be ‘better’.

At least, we’ll be better after significant re-education, after Capitalism has been completely wiped off the globe so that people forget that individualism ever existed as a concept (let’s hope they’re right, that it’s not simply built in to us by evolution), after Socialism gives them sufficient time and resources to concentrate on self improvement and enlightenment.

Of course there’s always going to be a transition period. Not everyone will become properly class conscious during the revolution. Some will resist, and then the workers in charge will need to democratically decide what to do with these people. Re-educate them? Let them starve to death? Force them, at gun point, to play nice and share with the other children? Do you let all the doctors and scientists leave the country and hope you can fill the gaps using your schools and universities, or do you shoot them if they try? Do you need to keep them in for a little while, just until things have settled down?

At the heart of it is a creed which pits one ‘class’ of people against another class which promises to take everything that one class has – their wealth, their power – and give it to the other class. It’s the ancient idea of invading another country and plundering their resources for the benefit of the people back home put applied within a country, or raiding the neighbouring tribe’s food stores. “There’s more of us than them. We can take what we want.”

I’m beginning to think that Socialism isn’t really an economic theory or a social theory at all. Every Socialist imagines Magic and Kittens Socialism to be something quite different – it’s their own personalised version of political heaven, whatever that is. What they have in common is that Magic and Kittens Socialism is tailored for the domestic audience. What a British Student in 2011 regards as Magic and Kittens Socialism would not be recognised as such by a Russian Serf living in 1912. Or, let’s face it, another British student in 2011.

So trying to get a proper definition – a prescription, if you will, a list of things that will be different and how it will all work – is impossible, but it does point to the real answer: Socialism, when you reduce it down until there’s nothing left but what is true of all Socialism everywhere is nothing more than a means of getting sufficient support to successfully take over a country.

So, having considered my position, I wish to amend my pointless twitter comment. Socialism is like “Someone with Internet Explorer 6 organising all the other people with IE6 into a giant gang that then forces the rest of the world to use IE7 (a very bad browser, but slightly better than IE6). Forever.”

The Revolution Will Be Commentated

February 23rd, 2011 at 12:02 am

You wanna know what I think?

This post has been abridged:

Thought 1:

Machiavelli is out of date – there’s a new truism when it comes to the successfully holding onto power: No longer is it better to be feared than loved. Now, I think, it is better not to be thought of at all.

Thought 2:

If a collective wants ruin and damnation, that’s what the collective gets. I’m looking at the Middle East and I don’t know whether the people there will get what they want – or, if they do, whether they will like it once they have it.

Mortality

February 19th, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Need to get this out of my system.

As a child, death meant Jesus coming down from Heaven and taking someone away with him on a cloud. It also meant lying flat on your back, arms spread into a T shape, eyes crossed and tongue lolling, a child’s cartoon interpretation.

Occasionally I would perform this pantomime, every time disappointed by my lack of success. Perhaps, I thought, I moved. I breathed. I did something to give myself away. I just didn’t understand.

As a teenager, it meant the mysterious disappearance of a sad but much loved relative and a complete reordering of the family to adapt to new circumstances. I didn’t understand.

In my twenties death meant drug overdoses, car crashes and gunshots: Life lived so close to the edge that one simply fell off. Death was just around the corner and I was never afraid. I suppose I just didn’t understand.

Now, in my thirties, death means getting some news from a doctor and, after going under a knife, you get drugs that, after a while, make you wish you were dead. Sometimes the universe obliges, other times it does not.

This time it’s not me. This time it’s a friend, not a friend of a friend, or the relative of a friend. Suddenly I understand a terrible disease, understand what ‘The Big C’ really means and suddenly this disease is a part of my cosy, comfortable little world and finally, at last, I think I’m starting to really understand what mortality really means. Perhaps, in ten years, I’ll see that I did not.

It seems late in life to be learning these lessons. Life, it seems, isn’t just what you make of it.

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