The #ZUCKUP Dilemma

The battle for the soul of global activism.

Today, without warning and without comment, Facebook deleted the pages of fifty predominantly left and student-run organizations in the United Kingdom. Having forged an uneasy relationship with Facebook, activists, culture jammers and revolutionaries around the world now face a tremendous dilemma.

On the one hand, it is true that Facebook's social networking platform has served revolutionary organizers well in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere. The speed by which a call to protest can snowball into bodies on the streets intent on toppling a regime is awe inspiring and for the foreseeable future, Facebook will continue to play an important role in organizing protests and insurrections. And yet, Facebook is, in its essence, a capitalist business venture whose raison d'ĂȘtre is the commercialization of human relations. It is terrifying, and ultimately self-defeating that a commercially driven enterprise has insinuated itself into the soul of global activism.

On a deeper level, however, beyond all self-recriminations and angry tweets against Facebook's latest #zuckup the question remains: How will we, culture jammers, escape this dilemma? What are activists and revolutionaries to do in a world where a for-profit company has a near monopoly on social networking? Would thousands of us committing Facebook suicide wake Zuckerberg up? Could we jam Facebook into submission? Or must we develop our own non-commercial platform better suited to insurrection? What is the solution to this dilemma? How do we break the Gordian knot?