Duck! and Gather

... for the money has gone too far.

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Foot Soldiers in the Coming War

Today, the New York Times Magazine featured a story about young "Word-of-Mouth agents". These are young people who volunteer to serve as foot soldiers on behalf of duplicitous, desperate Corporations. As the Times story notes, these agents are akin to an "open source" movement. A critical difference, of course, is that open source developers volunteer to challenge Corporate hegemony (e.g. the dominance of Microsoft), whereas the former volunteer promote it. An even more stark difference is between the Word-of-Mouth volunteer agents and the Black Bloc. The latter volunteers gather at Corporate property to (c'mon, this is America here -- you get only one guess ... good guess) vandalize it. Interestingly, World-of-Mouth agents, open source developers, and the Black Bloc are all volunteers, most of whom tend to be relatively young, and all of whom volunteer in a service that relates to Corporations with a stark valence -- positive in the case of Word-of-mouth agents, and negative in the case of the other two. While the FBI is surely working to infiltrate the Black Bloc, I'm predicting that the surprise unmasking of Word-of-Mouth agents will result in some acts of violence. Whatever the case, it seems worthwhile to keep an eye on these various foot soldiers in the coming People vs. Corporations war.

[posted: 12/05/04]

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