OccupyMedia!: The Occupy Movement and Social Media in Crisis Capitalism
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The Occupy movement has emerged in a historical crisis of global capitalism. It struggles for the reappropriation of the commodified commons. Communications are part of the commons of society. Yet contemporary social media are ridden by an antagonism between private corporate control (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and self-managed, commons-based activist media. In this work, Christian Fuchs analyses the contradictory dialectic of social media in the Occupy movement. Drawing on a political economy framework and interpretation of the results of the OccupyMedia! Survey, in which more than 400 Occupy activists reported on their social media use, OccupyMedia! The Occupy Movement and Social Media in Crisis Capitalism shows how activists confront the contradictions of capitalism and communication in the age of crisis and social media. The book discusses the contradiction between commercial and alternative social media and argues that the existence of a surveillance-industrial complex expressed in the PRISM system shows the urgent necessity to create social media beyond Facebook and Google.
media centralize resources, users, audiences, attention and markets because capital investments and monetary profits allow them to generate these resources. Alternative media have a different model. They often do not want to be commercial because they are critical of capitalism and thereby face the problem of how to mobilize resources in a capitalist world, where the main enabling factors of resource control are money and commodity logic. The conducted study shows that Occupy activists see large
time immanently violates these values by structural inequalities. Liberal ideology postulates individual freedoms (of speech, opinion, association, assembly) as universal rights, but the particularistic and stratified class character of capitalism undermines these universal rights and creates inequality and therefore unequal access to the public sphere. There are specifically two immanent limits of the bourgeois public sphere that Habermas discusses: • The limitation of freedom of speech and
problems of user exploitation and privacy-violating economic surveillance. Both advance the logic of capitalism and commodification that left-wing movements want to challenge. If there are one the one hand platforms that are accessible without payment and use targeted advertising (such as Facebook and Twitter) and on the other hand alternative platforms that charge usage fees, it could be that many users choose the ones, where they do not have to pay, which can further advance and sustain the
This will buy time for our old media newsrooms – and for us citizens – to develop a plan to establish journalism in the digital era. We could see this evolving into a system to provide tax credits for online subscriptions as well (Nichols and McChesney 2009). Some respondents noted that there are problems with all options. So for example one respondent argued: “I wish the donation-based model would work well, but the reality is that very few will (or can) donate. Similarly, few will pay a usage
due to corporate pressures. • The contradiction of the stability of paid media activism and the logic of bureaucratization and commodification: Paying media activists could improve social movements’ communication possibilities but could also at the same time turn movements into bureaucratic NGOs with reformist goals and commodify activism, although the movement questions the logic of commodification. Being an Occupy activist means helping to awaken the dialectic of capitalist society. Although