In February the Newsnight economics editor Paul Mason very succinctly laid out the radically different nature of recent popular uprisings across North Africa, the Middle East and Europe compared to earlier political movements, and the economic and sociological reasons behind it. This incisive blogpost rang true for many of those involved in those social movements, articulating, as it did, a new sentiment and new political priorities amongst those populations. The short article sketched out a more cohesive image which the media in general was missing, partly through structural failings, but largely because events were unfolding at speed and trying to drag the chaotic events into an understandable analysis was difficult.
Running alongside the (still unfolding) Arab Spring, informing and shaping and being shaped in turn by those events, was a developing online conflict with major similarities; young, optimistic graduates who saw societies in more generalised terms of “power”, highly networked, informal and decentralised decision making processes and a deep cynicism and mistrust of traditional power elites and political ideologies. In the last month especially we’ve seen a series of events and developments that are changing the game of cyber-war (and cyber-class-war).