Saturday, 28 August 2004

Die Wende in New York?

Jonah Langenbeck, the blogger behind Spastic Robot, posted an noteworthy article an hour ago: "A Wende for Our Times; NYC, the GOP and hundreds of thousands of techno-protestors."

The Bruce Sterling short story "Deep Eddy" is about the events surrounding a massive cataclysmic event called a Wende in Düsseldorf in the year 2035. Sterling's Wende is a massive confluence of various protests, electronic disturbances and random anarchic actions that combine to create an event so chaotic that it crashes every system in the urban infrastructure that it occurs within. It starts with small plans by numerous and varied groups of activists, artists, and other assorted troublemakers who then multiply into a heterogeneous body of critical mass. Sterling describes the Wende as, "rumor, boosted by electronic and digital media, in a feedback-loop with crowd dynamics and modern mass transportation. A non-linear networking phenomena". […]

In German wende literally means "climactic period", "turning point", "rebound", "reversal" and about 14 other things related to a period of sweeping change. In the common German parlance die Wende describes the era surrounding the falling of the Berlin Wall and the period preceding reunification. It was a time of anarchic jubilation and intense political uprising, which led to massive transformative social changes. Die Wende was all about the multitude coming together to fight against a repressive political apparatus that had miserably failed the citizenry both in a moral and economic sense. […]

That this event will be anything less than similar to Sterling's description of the Wende is doubtful. At the very least a very large number of protestors will participate in one of the most varied, vocal and interesting political protests in American history. At the most extreme, the massive disturbance will awaken a number of American citizens to what the Bush administration is really up to and set off a sequence of events that will alter our political landscape.

(Links added) Via BoingBoing

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