Cyberprotest: New Media, Citizens, and Social Movements

By Brian D. Loader; Paul G. Nixon et al. | Go to book overview

3

PoliticizingHomo economicus

Analysis of anti-corporate websites

Jacob Rosenkrands

Holding big business democratically accountable-this is the raison d'être of the new anti-corporate movement which has turned the market into a political battleground. This chapter explores the role played by the internet in the targeting of corporations. A number of popular anti-corporate websites are analysed and the following questions addressed: Which kinds of goals are pursued? Which types of organizations and groups run anti-corporate websites? Who are those who are targeted? How are the special functionalities and features of the internet utilized? Which types of organizational strategies do the websites reflect? How are websites linked to other websites?

The research outlined below indicates that anti-corporate websites are basically concerned with politics and societal change. The internet has facilitated the formation of new global alliances, bringing together well-established NGOs, so-called culture jammers, activists, and ordinary citizens. Individual companies are targeted as examples or symbols of general problems. The internet is used to increase the capacity of activists and organizations to disseminate information and mobilize support for their cause. Most of the websites studied link to other anti-corporate websites, which contribute to the notion of their being a significant movement on the internet, which I will outline below using examples of anti-corporate campaigns.

Let us begin with an example of consumer activism taking new forms in the information age as a result of internet use. In 1989, due to an initiative called 'The Barbie Liberation Organization', hundreds of children had a very special toy for Christmas. Families were confused when girls and boys opened their presents, which they expected would contain ordinary Barbie and G.I. Joe dolls. However, the voice boxes of the two types of dolls had been switched. Girls found their Barbies saying: 'Dead men tell no lies'. Boys were just as astonished to hear their G.I. Joes ask: 'Wanna go shopping?' The idea to alter

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