[discuss] The relevance of power relationship in Ig was Re: [] NETmundial ...

michael gurstein gurstein at gmail.com
Sun Apr 20 14:45:10 UTC 2014


I have three points to make...
	1. the issue following Snowden is not "passive surveillance" but
something much much more active and sinister as per my reference to the US
intervention in the Copenhagen environment talks pointed to in my reply to

	2. my reference to the matter of power and resources in IG was
toward the basis on which we make our analyses i.e. how do we
examine/compare the various approaches/models of IG... If we ignore issues
of power then we blindly may be accepting models which reinforce existing
power rather than challenge this... (or finding ways of effectively working
with it).  

I've yet to see a useful discussion comparing MSism with other forms of
intervention (e.g. democracy based) where there is a full and realistic
inclusion in the analysis of the very real likelihood of the application of
social and economic power by certain "stakeholder groups" and of associated
overt and covert interventions into those processes.

	3. I really wish there could be a moratorium on folks generalizing
(what is generally a libertarian perspective) from their very particular
experiences with the increasingly dysfunctional political system in the US
onto the range of (in most cases) rather more functional democratic systems
throughout the world (eg. "we don't need to contribute thousands of
currency-units for a seat at a fund raising event in order to talk to ...
leaders").  This is a form of cultural blindness and myopia that is both
irritating and potential dangerous since it tends to misdirect and confuse
discussions away from the realities of the majority of the world's political
systems which are not descending head long into either oligarchy or
plutocracy (or at least on at the same rate...


-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at 1net.org [mailto:discuss-bounces at 1net.org] On Behalf
Of Avri Doria
Sent: Sunday, April 20, 2014 2:26 PM
To: discuss at 1net.org
Subject: [discuss] The relevance of power relationship in Ig was Re: []
NETmundial ...


As requested, subject line is changed as requested. though perhaps I went
for a more neutral expression of the topic.

On 20-Apr-14 07:59, Joseph Alhadeff wrote:
> Perhaps we could rename this aspect of this thread conspiracies and 
> power?  Net mundial documents... as a thread title had a chance of 
> being useful, not shared with this current conversation....  No 
> problem if people want to have it, just under another topic header 
> please.

I think the fact that there are power inequities in Ig, as everywhere else
in society is undeniable. And it is an issue that very much concerns me.  As
does the pervasive monitoring by governments, some more that others, of the
world's peoples.

This is, for me, a critical driving reason for support of the
multistakeholder model in its various forms and instantiations. As something
that allows for greater democratic expression it gives a voice to those with
less power. Because of the multistakeholder model, we don't need to
contribute thousands of currency-units for a seat at a fund raising event in
order to talk to world leaders. Unless the world's people acting and
self-organizing as stakeholders have seats at the table they can do nothing
about the power inequities.  Sure we can stand outside and throw virtual
stones, and I admit that can feel good, but in the long run, stone throwing
usually results in greater power for the strongest and most powerful,
achieving nothing or worse for those without power.  And sometimes, when
there are not seats at the table for all stakeholders, there is no choice in
order to even be noticed.  But that is not the case in this instance.

In Internet governance, we have seats.  We may not have the power and we may
need the alms of the supportive corporations and others in order to
participate, but we can participate and we do have an affect, and mostly we
say what we want, no matter who paid our tickets (at least that is my
perspective).  And when we are organized and not eating-our-own we have
achievements and do move the governmental-corporate coalition in a
progressive direction.  If we want more of the world's people to declare
their stake in this discussion, we need to reach out to them and bring them
in, rather than burn the table.  If we see stakeholders who have not been
"invited to the party," (there are those in all of the communities,
technical, business and civil society who feel they were left out) we need
to find ways to bring them in.

Lets remember when we can't participate because of the absence of the
multistakeholder modalities, the conversation does not stop, but rather it
goes on without us, among the rich and the powerful.  The corporations keep
funding and talking to the politicians, whether we are at the table or not.
The multistakeholder model is the only reason civil society gets a seat at
the table and is the best chance I see for greater democracy in Internet
governance.  Once we all stop fighting among ourselves, we might be able to
give more focus to how we enrich the non-governmental stakeholder pool
involved in Ig.

And now by the grace of an unnamed group of contributors, I better go pack
so I can get to Brazil.


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