Wednesday, January 18, 2012

On the SOPA-protest blackout...

Six or seven years ago, a bunch of Aztlan types held a fairly successful strike, in which they urged all the Chicano day laborers to stay home for one day. They figured that'd show us Anglos how important they were.

It was successful, that is, in that lots of day laborers did stay home that day. Otherwise, not so much. The only noticeable effect was a slightly lighter traffic situation on I-5. Nobody complained.

If a bunch of bloggers I enjoy reading black out their blogs, it seems to me they're really only hurting themselves and the people who agree with them. I mean, think about it. If Joan Peterson decided to show us all by shutting down "commongunsense" for a day, would you care? Would you notice?

Maybe I'm missing the point. If so, please set me straight.


Bear said...

You're not missing any point. It's just a disagreement on the efficacy of a specific tactic.

Unlike the Atzlan example (at least for me personally), participating in the blackout dosn't do me any financial harm, so I don't have that to balance against the desire to make a point. Presumably the money-making sites that are participating have weighed their own economic requirements against potential gain (or loss, depending on how you look at it). Other people and sites think the best thing to do is stay up and talk about the issue; that's cool, too. Some people still write letters to their congress-scumsuckers (sometime I even do that, more for the entertainment value than any ridiculous hope that it will do any good: both of "my" senatorial assholes are co-sponsors of SOPA/PIPA).

Think of it in terms of open carry: some people do it (I do), while others think it is counter-productive. But with certain [ - cough - cramer- ] exceptions, neither side wants to force the other to do it their way.

Besides, with my traffic, I doubt that more than a handful or two of people will even notice if my blog and site are blacked out. [grin]

Tam said...

"If Joan Peterson decided to show us all by shutting down "commongunsense" for a day, would you care? Would you notice?"

Nobody but pro-2A hecklers even would notice. ;)

Me? I had other writing to catch up on, anyway. (And not all of my readers are of a libertarian bent, or gun nuts, or internet savvy, so maybe somebody wrote their elected critters, for all the good it does.)

Claire said...

I had no say in whether my blog shut down or not. It occupies bits on someone else's property and he made the decision to go dark -- which I enthusiastically support.

But of course I'm also perfectly glad that Joel is here to read today. :-)

For me, the blackout isn't so much about "making a difference" (as in getting the attention of congressthings, hahaha). It's an act of non-violent guerrilla warfare. It's an answer to that congressional staffer who complained (of Anonymous) that everybody who doesn't like what government does should "hire a lobbyist." It's an answer to ex-sen/now MPAA head Chris Dodd who pretends to think we can all "come to the table" to meet government on its own terms.

It's challenging a rigged game. It's exerting the only power we really have -- to withdraw consent, even though you're right that in this case we're not hurting those the message is aimed at.

It's also an test-case exercise that I expect may have larger ramifications later on in these "interesting times."

That said, I'm torn between missing the heck out of familiar blogs (including my own) and being in awe of this tiny little shrug.

And we are scaring the bastards. The rats are scurrying away from PIPA. That counts for something.

Borepatch said...

Hey, now I can truthfully say that I've participated in Industrial Action. Come the Revolution, everyone's going to use strong encryption!


Tam said...

Claire is smart. She said the purty words I would have said if I was smart. :o

Craig Cavanaugh said...

I think you're right Joel. I'm going to post IN SPITE of SOPA, probably with some "unauthorized" content to boot. Then again, I've always paddled against the current : )

Anonymous said...

Speaking for myself, it was a wake up call reminding me that one day I may come online and not find my favorite places to read. It was a reminder to make sure that one more freedom wasn't about to be confiscated.

I'm kind of addicted to the internet. And would miss it if big chunks of it disappeared because someone out there decided it "wasn't good for me" or "some company should make more money."

Anonymous said...

My participation was largely unintentional. I had a choice between posting shit on the internet or boarding an airy-plane and flying home from Manila. Looking around I should have stayed in Manila.
Alas it matters little what I did or did not do on the webs. I have no blog and even if I did no one would likely read it.
I, it turns out, am largely irrelevant to much of anyone.

I'm kinda happy about that.