On November the 3rd, 2009, the future of the internet was changed forever. ACTA(Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) was discovered. This law appears to be an anti-piracy measure, which is terrible in itself, but it is far, far worse than it first appears.
The law will force ISPs to proactively police copyright on user-contributed material. This means that it will be impossible to run websites like Youtube, Blogger, Flickr and Facebook. They will be shut down as a result. The reason this will happen is because the cost of hiring lawyers to ensure that the mountain of material uploaded everyday isn’t infringing will exceed every hope of profitability.
If the ISPs believe you have infringed copyright, they will be forced to cut your off from the internet or face liability. Any website or individual found wanting in terms of copyright, will be cut off.
The whole world will adopt United States “notice-and-takedown” rules. This means that any material accused of breaking copyright by anyone will be immediately removed without evidence or trial.
We have had cyber-democracy for so long; now the ruling capitalist class of the world has decided to give us cyber-fascism. The countries participating are Australia, Canada, the entire European Union, Japan, Jordan, the mongrels in USA-occupied Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, the Unired Arab Emirites and the United States.
In short, this will mean the end of the non-corporate/government owned internet for all of us. After this law, all that will be left of the internet will be government websites, government-approved websites, business websites, etc.
The law is proposed secretly at an international level. This treaty is in no way about preventing lawbreaking or theft. The ruling capitalist class of the world has become greedy and angry at the profits they could get out of the internet that they are missing due to file sharing, torrenting, and generally-speaking, the free flow of information. They also see how the internet is taking profits from their stake in television, music, film and other mediums, and wish to nullify the prominent role the Internet has on entertainment in the modern world. They can smell their precious money slipping through of their fingers and aren’t afraid to spin their webs and pull their strings to get what they want.
Now that you know exactly what the ACTA is, let’s talk about it’s relevance in class struggle. At the moment, there are several groups organizing to resist ACTA. This movement is being orchestrated by hackers and crackers in Anonymous and other internet groups . The group is organizing itself through IRC chats and other internet based means of communication, and is preparing, even though they might not know it, for a war with the ruling class. Once ACTA goes big, the internet will respond to the malicious will of the ruling class by waging a war. Hackers across the internet will strike and take down government websites and hack into bank websites, etc, gaining access to thousands of bank accounts and details. The ruling class has become rooted in their own small part of the internet, and they can be driven out through a cyber guerilla war. This has already taken place in many incidents, most prominently, operation Payback, in which sites against Wikileaks were taken down. The internet provides people with new weapons to disseminate propaganda and resist the bourgeois attempts to control this propaganda.
Organization is taking place, software is being downloaded and readied, and the internet is rallying around the cause of internet freedom.
It reminds one of the many revolutions in the 20th century, and the constant class struggle that continues to this day. While the cyber class war may be fought on different ground and through different means, but it will share core aspects with past revolutions. This is an example of the capitalist class going too far, in this case seeing a free exchange of information, a source of information beyond their control. Even though this free internet hasn’t been exploited by the class conscious proletariat yet, the capitalist class is worried, and they want to kill it in it’s infancy. They don’t care about safety on the internet, they just care that this is a threat to them and their capital, and they will destroy it.
But as the actions of the bourgeoisie often do, this will have the opposite effect. It will radicalize the internet. This has highlighted the intentions of the capitalist class, and created a new extent of class consciousness amoungst the people on the internet. The fight will be fought on the internet, but it will also spill out into real life. The internet is a reflection and extension of the real world, and as such, class struggle is a part of it, as it is a part of everything that exists within the capitalist hegemony. The struggle taking place on the internet can be used to raise class consciousness. It can be used to educate the masses. It can be used to organize, ready and sway the masses, but only if it is in the hands and under the control of the masses, and not in the hands of the bourgeoisie.
This situation damages the imperialist nations of the west on several key issues, such as the Western criticisms of Chinese and Cuban censorship. This situation will contribute to the radicalizing of a new generation, and combined with the global recession that is causing the western world to plummet into the final death throes of capitalism, will lead to revolutionary activity. Organized and out of control of the bourgeoisie, the internet can be used for information, coordination, distribution of knowledge. The internet is within the capitalist’s sphere of control, but there is room for resistance. Open source software and filesharing allow for information and culture to be freely exchanged and distributed. This has and will change society on a level never seen since the printing press.
With DRM, DMCA, ACTA and other methods being put to work by the bourgeoisie on the internet, users will become antagonized, and they will resist.
Class friction leads to revolutionary activity, this case shall be no different.