[-empyre-] Re: "hooded children of the revolution"

Today is the last (official) day of a low power FM barnraising project at the local Indy Media Center in the town i'm currently located (Champaign-Urbana, or Chambana) being directed by the Prometheus Radio Project. There's more to it, of course, than the actual construction of a radio tower and production room. There have been workshops on the tech, production and organizational aspects of a community radio project as well as a general gathering of neo-hippies, anarcho-punk kids, media reform activists, community media activists, wireless nerds, and other gross generalizations of "types" one might find at most indy media centers across the world.
i marginally participated: went to a few workshops, mulled around, tried to meet a few people, looked around at the amazing facility (the local US Post Office rents space from the IMC here. they have an art space with exhibition and studio facilities, a community computer lab, audio video production labs, a books for prisoners library and more).
it's a pretty amazing thing actually.
The workshops i attended were about the potential for community and localized interests of wireless networks (mostly mesh-based).
There certainly is a lot of strong belief in the ability of these particular technologies to really reform the way communities are able to communicate and collaborate in ways that move away from a commodity-dependent system (to the extent that you still need at least a radio shack and a best buy to get the basic gear, not to mention the backbone infrastructure of a major telcom). there were some people with pretty strong opinions that mesh networks (that operate via nodes that connect from house to house, basically decentralizing communication among themselves - as opposed to a hub and spoke system) are inherently more democratic.
mostly, i share this optimism and desire to make something of this technology beyond a way to play games and buy more stuff.
but it's interesting to think about this in relation to the larger history that Cara brings up (language and commerce).
we're looking to high tech to return us to a more localized form of commerce, basically.
and the interesting thing to me (and where this dovetails oddly into the peak oil comments made earlier), is that this may end up becoming salient, not because of politics, but because of necessity. in which case, the political reality (inequalities) of the body aren't any more likely to be up for discussion. it could actually close down any discussion pretty quickly.
but perhaps that's why it's important that the people driving the localization of networks at this point are working from a "political" subject position as much as anything.
i realize that this may be getting away from the commodification topic a bit, but maybe it's not so far off. how do notions of a "gift economy" follow or deviate from the rules of classical commerce? and does the form necessitate politics? is a mesh network (which is also the military's design for the internet btw) de facto more democratic and less oppressive?
of course, i think we can extrapolate from the networking narrative i'm using here to get at something more closely related to our discussions.

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