Quick reflection. The Pirate Bay trial, which has been called the internet piracy trial of the decade, has just started here in Stockholm. In response, the site and its allies have started a site where they ridicule the trial, posting funny internet videos and live-blogging the inept prosecution. On one allied blog the trial is simultaneously being reimagined as absurdist theatre.
It's at times, I grant, interesting, powerful and funny. But it totally reeks of the counterculture of the sixties, to the extent that you have to wonder whether nothing interesting has happened in the intervening years. The terminology of "spectacle" for the supposed show-trial, the détournement of the plays and films and the frequent mention of the Neue Sloweniche Kunst is taken straight out of the Situationist International handbook. The anti-copyright community used to talk about sampling and diversity, but now they've coalesced into this utopian movement and totally gone back to ideology.
I kind of wonder what to make of it all. At one level you kinda have to hope it's a deliberate send-up of the traditional "new left", before we started caring about post-colonial perspectives, feminism and identity issues, but I'm afraid at least part of it is serious. I'm fairly sure the whole thing is being orchestrated by Rasmus Fleicher, who quite frankly is the only one of the pirate lot with serious academic depth. I quite like his thinking on a lot of issues, and his blog is well worth reading (though alas in Swedish), but he's certainly the type that would ignore newer developments in the left. Academically entrenched. Very orientated towards western thought and history. Pro-Israeli. Likes IDM and electronica.
It's all a bit of a shame because the anti-copyright movement has the potential to be a key part in the struggle against oppression. Today we should be acknowledging the history of free re-use in riddims and cultural exchanges and their potential power, working for the free expression and representation of all oppressed groups, letting kids (not academics!) run free on Youtube. Instead we're stuck with an overwhelmingly white-male-led movement which increasigly creeps towards '68. It's a bit disconcerting.
I would still vote for them in the EP elections, mind, if it wasn't for the worthier FI.
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