[WSF-Discuss] The Internet Social Forum and Is There a Global Internet Community?

peter waterman peterwaterman1936 at gmail.com
Thu Apr 2 07:44:29 CDT 2015

Good stuff, Mike,

Would it be too much to ask you to combine this item with 1) the Internet
Social Forum matter and 2) the critique signalled by a link at the end of
this item?

Apart from the fact that the Whole (Alternative) World is Waiting for this,
I would like to see it submitted to the Interface J, with which I am
associated (See at one or two of the items below).



   1. 2014. From Coldwar Communism to the Global Justice Movement:
   Itinerary of a Long-Distance Internationalist.

   2. 2014. Interface Journal Special (Co-Editor), December 2014. 'Social
   Movement Internationalisms'. (Free).
* <http://www.interfacejournal.net/current/>*
   3. 2014. 'The Networked Internationalism of Labour's Others', in Jai Sen
   (ed), Peter Waterman (co-ed), The Movement of Movements:
   for Other Worlds  (Part I).
   <http://www.into-ebooks.com/book/the_movements_of_movements/> (10 Euros).
4. 2012. EBook: Recovering Internationalism
   <http://www.into-ebooks.com/book/recovering_internationalism/>.  [A
   compilation of papers from the new millenium. Now free in two download
   5. 2013. EBook (co-editor), February 2013: World Social Forum: Critical
   Explorations http://www.into-ebooks.com/book/world_social_forum/
   6. 2012. Interface Journal Special (co-editor), November 2012: *For the
   Global Emancipation of Labour  <http://www.interfacejournal.net/current/>*
   7. 2005-?
   Ongoing. Blog: http://www.unionbook.org/profile/peterwaterman.???. Needed:
   a Global Labour Charter Movement (2005-Now!)
   8. 2011. Under, Against, Beyond: Labour and Social Movements Confront a
   Globalised, Informatised Capitalism
   <http://www.into-ebooks.com/book/under-against-beyond/>(2011) (c. 1,000
   pages of Working Papers, free, from the 1980's-90's).

On Thu, Apr 2, 2015 at 5:58 AM, Michael Gurstein <gurstein at gmail.com> wrote:

> An initiative towards an Internet Social Forum
> <http://www.internetsocialforum.net/> (ISF) with a close association to
> the World Social Forum <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Social_Forum>  (WSF)
> was launched by a number of Civil Society organization at the WSF in
> Tunis. This specific initiative comes out of a continuing history of
> discussions and initiatives in the area of Global Internet Governance as
> flowing from the World Summit of the Information Society
> <http://www.itu.int/wsis/>.  This World Summit had two major outcomes—one
> a continuing if rather ineffectual set of processes concerned overall with
> the use of Information and Communications Technologies in support of
> Economic and Social Development. This which will reach some sort of
> culmination at a global summit (WSIS + 10
> <http://www.itu.int/wsis/implementation/2014/forum/>) later in 2015.
> A second outcome and a rather more consequential set of activities concern
> s the way in which the global Internet would or would not be subject to
> some form of global “governance” intervention and particularly in support
> of the broad public interest.
> I won’t go into the extremely lengthy and somewhat convoluted history of
> the “governance” outcome of the WSIS except to say that the formal element
> of this outcome by means of what is known as the Internet Governance Forum
> <http://www.intgovforum.org/cms/> has adopted as its compulsory mode of
> operation and as its anchor framing and normative concept the notion of “
> Multi-stakeholderism
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multistakeholder_governance_model>”
> (MSim).  MSism is understood by its proponents as being the necessary mode
> for the on-going “governance” of the Internet in all of its various aspects
> including technical areas (where the notion has very considerable validity)
> but also including public policy areas where there is a clear attempt to
> substitute MSism and the highly determining role of the corporate sector as
> partner “stakeholders” as a substitute for democratic governance.  There is
> also clear evidence to suggest the intention by global elites to build on
> the “success” of MSism in the Internet area as a pilot and model for
> imposing this as the preferred mode of governance in There has been very
> considerable discussion and critique of this approach most particularly
> pointing to its fundamental basis in introducing a neo-liberal governance
> model
> <https://gurstein.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/the-multistakeholder-model-neo-liberalism-and-global-internet-governance/>
> into the very core of the Internet and more particularly the only partially
> disguised attempt to substitute “multistakeholder” governance for
> democratic governance as the fundamental approach to governance in
> broader areas of global governance
> <http://www.aspeninstitute.org/news/2012/04/24/idea-report>.
> A notable and somewhat bizarre feature of the Internet Governance stream
> of activities is the degree to which many self –described Civil Society
> individuals and organizations are active supporters of the multistakeholder
> governance models and the current Internet Governance status quo with its
> dominance by the US and its national and corporate allies.  This has been
> partially explained (and justified) by pointing to the successes that have
> been achieved using the MS model in the inclusion of Human Rights and
> particularly rights of free expression and association as elements in
> broader Internet Governance activities and norm setting.  While to a degree
> this is correct it should also be noted that there is strong support for
> these “Rights” from such well known global defenders of Civil Society
> values as the US State Department for whom support for “Internet Freedom
> <http://www.state.gov/netfreedom/>” (understood as “Freedom of speech on
> the Internet”) is both a strategic and a tactical tool in its quest for
> geo-political, economic and security/surveillance global dominance..
> Equally while there has been considerable success in implanting strong
> support for Rights of free expression and association in various Internet
> Governance normative documents it is worth pointing out that among the
> strongest supporters of these have been various Internet giants such as
> Google and Facebook for whom these rights are central elements of their
> business model.  Notably there has been no similar CS successes resulting
> from “Multistakeholder collaboration” in areas such as making Intellectual
> Property rights or Copyright issues to be more reflective of a broad public
> interest.
> What is equally notable is that these Civil Society supporters of the MS
> governance model have chosen to ignore or even actively suppress other
> areas of Human Rights concerns notably those supportive of Social Equity
> and Social Justice  which of course, and again purely coincidentally are
> not of any particular interest to the other partners in the various
> Multistakeholder collaborative structures which are being actively pursued.  The
> overall consequence of the above is that those from Civil Society who
> have a concern for democracy and social justice
> <http://justnetcoalition.org/> as constituent elements of Internet
> Governance and an Internet Governance global system have had to struggle
> initially and directly with those elements of Civil Society (and their
> supporters for example in certain otherwise pro-CS governments) who have
> chosen to align themselves with the Multistakeholder governance model and
> its corporate and governmental proponents among the currently dominant
> actors in Global Internet Governance. It is perhaps not again purely
> coincidental that among those most actively supportive of the current
> global Internet Governance status quo are those most directly benefiting
> from ubiquitous Internet based surveillance, the full frontal attack on
> privacy, the massive schemes for tax avoidance by the Internet giants and
> the uncontrolled stampede towards zero hour contracting, and the Internet
> enabled acceleration in the concentration of wealth and power in fewer and
> fewer hands.
> A more recent developments in the area of global Internet Governance has
> been NetMundial <http://netmundial.br/> (NM) a global multistakeholder
> event sponsored by the Government of Brazil and ICANN
> <https://www.icann.org/>, a major global player in the technical aspects
> of Internet governance, directly precipitated by the Snowden revelations
> particularly those concerning surveillance of Pres. Rousseff of Brazil herself.
> Strangely the NM event completely avoided addressing even indirectly,
> surveillance issues and perhaps even more notably from a CS (and Brazilian)
> perspective failed to address or include any issues or matters of concern
> for Internet and Social Justice or even ICT for Development.
> An immediate follow-on from the NM event has been a *World Economic Forum*,
> ICANN and Brazil (CGI.br) sponsored NetMundial Initiative
> <https://www.netmundial.org/> which, while still in the process of
> self-definition, is directed towards carrying on and deepening through
> practice and research the Multistakeholder governance legacy of the
> original NM event.  Among the active partners in this with the World
> Economic Forum and ICANN have been the Government of Brazil and the Association
> for Progressive Communications <http://www.apc.org/> (APC) along with a
> limited number of other “civil society” organizations.
> The Coordination Committee of the NetMundial Initiative recently met and
> listening remotely, I was moved to write a blogpost
> <https://gurstein.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/is-there-a-global-internet-community/>
> concerning what appears to be the keystone normative concept behind the NMI
> and  ultimately that of Multistakeholderism overall—the notion of a “Global
> Internet Community”.  The blogpost asks the question *Is there A Global
> Internet Community
> <https://gurstein.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/is-there-a-global-internet-community/>* (and
> what are the implications of a fundamental belief in the existence of this
> entity for the development of the democratic governance of the Internet and
> as a tool supportive of social equity and social justice).
> *Mike Gurstein*
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