zeligConf - European digital counter-cultures meeting
In Seattle, on November 1999, while the OMC conference was taking place, the global mobilization of a multitude of struggles, local or single-issue movements from the whole planet succeeded in defeating one of the major institution of the New World Order. In this unexpected scenario, once more, the ability of the actors to use the communication weapon, and in particular the Internet, played a determining role. And the Seattle police forces were not mistaken when, once their amazement went by, they surrounded the Independent Media Center premises, in an attempt to deprive the protest of its weapon of coordination and cooperation.
Around networks practices, and on networks, during the last years many collective subjects, actors of practices, initiatives and confrontations has formed, which mark communication territories with a strong alternative presence. Whether it is a matter of experiences linked to struggles or social movements (illegal immigrants, unemployed and precarious workers, occupied social centers, etc.), of embryonic alternative networks (Nodo 50, Sindimonio, ECN, Sherwood, Samizdat), of theoretical and cultural aggregations around virtual spaces of development and reflection (Nettime, Syndicate), of on-line publishing initiatives (Sherwood-Tribune, Agenzia di comminicazione territorial, Agencia in permanent construccion, Hacktivist news service), or the effervescence around free software, a real richness has emerged from practices, contents and analysis which we want to consider as a common and collective inheritance.
In the meantime, we have no choice but to notice that the gathering which have taken place here and there (HIP and Next Five Minutes in Amsterdam, ZPK in various central european cities, Hack It in Florence and Milan), as well as the informal circuits of contact and cooperation which have formed themselves progressively, in spite of the fact they play a determining role of circulation, reproduce geographical and cultural splittings between different areas of the Old Continent, and also between various sympathies. The cognitive richness and the collective intelligence which form themselves around these gatherings, as an extension of the ones which run along the networks, are in a certain sense restrained by the borders of the old nation-states, even though the boundless territories of the Cyberspace are opened to us, even though the Internet provides for us the means to form ourselves at a continental and transnational scale, even though the struggles and movements are becoming increasingly all-inclusive facing th e power of the Empire.
In these times precisely, where the Net in general, and the Web in particular, are in accelerated way of "amazonisation", submitted to the increasing appetites of financials predators, the managers of the spectacle society and the oligarchies of information industry, the stake of the construction of wide levels of co-operation between the multitudes forming the counter-network becomes determining. We believe that it's today possible, and necessary, to confront our experiences, and especially to consider the formalization of effective levels of common initiative, of exchange of knwoledges and competences, of theoretical debates and production. In other words, to conquer the means to be actors of our own communication, the capacity to be free productors of information services, to echo the richness of the initiatives of civil society against the neoliberalism.
For all these reasons, we want to set up, in december 2000 in Paris, an european meeting of digital counter-cultures. A space/time of convergences - beyond national, subjective or practical separations - which suggests new possibilities of collective actions between the various hearts of the cultures of the networks. We want to build a temporary autonomous zone of productive co-operation where can converge and combine cultures of activism and hacking, practices of counter-information and the productive engineering of the free software, creativity of the actors of the social movements and that of the communities of the networks.
Padua-Paris, March 26, 2000
samizdat.net and sherwood.it
English translation by Le Barde & Germinal
English | Index