Thursday, February 24, 2011

Permanent Revolution in the NYT and Egypt

The New York Times webpage is adapting to the protests in the Middle East. This is the beautiful thing about the internets: it adapts format. Newpapers can't give you a live feed of people's tweets, especially not as they engage in revolution. (Plus it gets me around the corporate blackout of Twitter! How utterly kind of them.)

But since that page is in movement and in all likelihood will be gone in a few months, I'll add something more substantial....

Egyptian activists have advanced their demands (partway down the page). Among their more routine call for the release of detainees, the end of the emergency law (which bears some striking similarities to certain U.S. legislation?), restructuring ministries and generally sweeping out the old guard, is a certain new phrase, an invention so radical that they need to explain it.

"- Forming a new technocratic government."

(Disclaimer: as a former table-top roleplaying game nerd, I have a particular soft spot for this phrase, a sort of hipster irony and nostalgia. So sue me!)

"Technocratic government: is a specialized government which doesn’t belong to any party. This government is used in the case of political differences."

Emphasis my own. Russians everywhere are amazed as Lenin spins somersaults in his tomb.

Is it naive of them to think they can end party politics? Perhaps. But there is something very appealing in the image of a country governed out of the makeshift volunteeropolis of Tahrir Square. A country where nuance and dialogue is the order of the day, where tweets and facebook groups coordinate the work of society and provides both jobs and compensation. The government is the people, pouring in and out of Tahrir like a fluid neural network, and the issues of the day are resolved in real-time, collaborative conversation.

Something that would take a lot of work. A lot of electing committees and discussing issues in a logical and civilized manner. A way fraught with challenges like any other system, but finally realizing both democracy and technology and advancing our lives in new ways....

"Our revolution and struggle will continue until we achieve all our demands.

The revolution is not finished yet… April 6 Youth announce that there will be another demonstration on Friday the 25th and a sit-in in Tahrir Square on Friday until the implementation of our demands."

The embryo of the future, a people's technocracy

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