Library Juice 1:11 - for March 25, 1998

1. Request for Bioinformatics resources 
2. Links from the Progressive Librarians Guild homepage 
4. Mary Parker Follett's "The New State" 
5. Free Course, "Privacy in Cyberspace" 
6. Two Occupational Resources From BLS 
7. Boris Nemtsov's Information Server 
8. Scout Report for Science & Engineering 
9. REFORMA Resolution on the Unz Initiative 
10. Q's and A's on Libraries and Infoshops (Responses to a query on Librarians[at] 
11. On Electronic Civil Disobedience; Paper for Socialist Scholars Conf. (Long) 
1.  Request for Bioinformatics resources 
A reader has sent me a request for bioinformatics resources on the web.  She has 
a limited internet connection and apparently has difficulty doing research for  
sites via the web.   
If you are strong in the area of bioinformatics, send me some information to  
pass on.  I will include it in a future Library Juice.  The reader did not  
elaborate on the type of information on bioinformatics she is seeking.  Some  
cursory browsing led me to: 
The National Center for Biotechnology Information 
Weizmann Institute Genome and Bioinformatics Page 
Bioplanet.  An introductory-type resource covering the intellectual and industrial (job related) aspects. 
SYQUA - directory of bioinformatics people, information, products and companies 
2.  Links from the Progressive Librarians Guild homepage 
Street Librarian 
Progressive Librarians Around the World 
Daniel Tsang's Alternative Research Page 
Anarchist Librarians 
MSRRT Newsletter 
3.  SDGateway - Sustainable Development Institutes 
Greetings All 
We've just launched a new 'no frames' version of SDGateway. 
This site has integrated information from a network of some of the 
world's leading sustainable development institutes. 
I'd be interested in any feedback you may have. 
Stacy Matwick 
Information for Sustainable Development Project 
International Institute for Sustainable Development 
161 Portage Ave., E 6th floor 
Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada  R3B 0Y4 
Voice: (204)958-7755  Fax: (204)958-7710 
E-mail: smatwick[at] 
WWW home page: 
To unsubscribe from NetInLib-Announce,  
4.  Mary Parker Follett's "The New State" 
From: Vigdor Schreibman - FINS <fins[at]> 
Subject:      The New State - now online! 
Special new addition to Fins Information Age Library! 
Mary Parker Follett (1868-1933), was one of the most unique 
women of the early 20th-century, a timeless leader for global 
citizens of the 21st-century and the next millennium. 
More insightful than the most progressive American founders. 
Follett also offered scientific understanding of the practical 
problems and opportunities of group organization, community life 
and the social process affecting law, workers and capital.  She 
was, perhaps, the most brilliant philosopher of democracy ever. 
Follett's classic work on democracy and many of her other 
works pertaining to management science, were celebrated by 
the Harvard Business School Press Classic, edition of 1996, 
"Mary Parker Follett: Prophet of Management" (P. Graham ed.). 
The sage management authority, Peter Drucker observed in an 
introduction to that volume, "[Follett is] the brightest 
star in the management firmament." 
Now, Fins Information Age Library, is bringing online, Follett's 
classic work, "THE NEW STATE: Group Organization The Solution of 
Popular Government" (1918).  This work explains the organizing 
principles of democracy, as no other publication in world history. 
Part I: The Group Principle, can now be browsed online--free of 
charge.  URL: 
5.  Free Course, "Privacy in Cyberspace" 
Link at: 
--> Internet Resources 
--> Special Announcements (time sensitive)  
A new course at Harvard Law School, entitled "Privacy in Cyberspace" 
is a first for the nation's most famous law school: a free, non-credit 
law course open to the public that exists completely online. 
You'll have to move quickly on this one. Course is limited to the first 
500 applicants. 
Excerpt from CSS Internet News (tm)  ,-~~-.____ 
For subscription details email      / |  '     \ 
jwalker[at] with         (   )        0 
SUBINFO CSSINEWS in the             \_/-, ,----' 
subject line.                          ====           // 
                                       /  \-'~;    /~~~(O) 
"On the Internet no one               /  __/~|   /       | 
knows you're a dog"                 =(  _____| (_________| 
To unsubscribe from NetInLib-Announce,  
6. Two Occupational Resources From BLS 
Occupational Employment Statistics 
_1998-9 Occupational Outlook Handbook_ 
US occupations are featured in these two information-rich resources from 
the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The first is highlighted by the 1996 
Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, which differs from previous 
surveys in that it includes wage data by occupation for the first time. The 
site contains a description of the survey and complete national and state 
data for 760 occupations in seven major areas. Included are occupation 
title, number of employees, hourly mean and median wage, and an OES code 
number that provides information about the occupation and its employment 
distribution by wage range where surveyed (distribution is for the national 
survey only). An occupational search engine is forthcoming. The site also 
contains information about previous OES surveys back to 1988. The _1998-9 
Occupational Outlook Handbook_ provides the latest edition of a guide to 
250 occupations from able seaman to zoologist. Users can browse an 
alphabetical index or any of eleven occupational clusters, or search the 
resource by keyword. Each occupation contains a thumbnail sketch of 
important features as well as information about the nature of the work, 
working conditions, employment, training, the job outlook, earnings, and 
related occupations. This is an excellent source of relevant, condensed 
occupational information. [JS] 
Internet Scout Project: 
7. Boris Nemtsov's Information Server 
In a development that would have been unimaginable even ten years ago, the 
First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, Boris Nemtsov, has opened a web 
site. He claims to be the first incumbent Russian state official with a 
frequently updated site. The site content, available only in Russian at 
present (English translation of selected site content is forthcoming), 
includes news from Nemtsov's press service, his political positions, and 
selected statements and activities. There is also a link to what appears to 
be a site with more personal information. [JS] 
Internet Scout Project: 
8.  Scout Report for Science & Engineering 
Vol. 1, Number 13 of the Scout Report for Science & Engineering is 
available. It annotates over twenty new and newly discovered Internet 
resources in the physical & life sciences and engineering. The In the News 
section annotates nine resources related to _Pfiesteria piscicida_. [JS] 
Internet Scout Project: 
9.  REFORMA Resolution on the Unz Initiative 
WHEREAS, REFORMA's stated purpose is "to promote library services 
to the Spanish-speaking";  and 
WHEREAS, bilingual education is a beneficial transitional program from 
Spanish-language ability to English-language learning skills; and 
WHEREAS, we believe the anti-bilingual education initiative is lacking 
well researched rationale and/or reasonable alternatives for this 
beneficial program for language minorities, particularly Hispanics; and 
WHEREAS, the American Library Association supports linguistic 
pluralism and "opposes all language laws, legislation, and regulations 
which restrict the rights of citizens who speak and read languages other 
than English, and those language laws, legislation, and regulations which 
abridge pluralism and diversity in library collections and services" Library 
Bill of Rights 53 .3.1); and 
WHEREAS, REFORMA  believes that all students are entitled to equal 
access to all educational opportunities; and 
WHEREAS, REFORMA believes that students without English 
proficiencey are denied equal access unless appropriate educational 
support is provided: 
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that REFORMA actively opposes 
Proposition 227, the Bilingual Initiative, ( Unz Initiative); and 
BE IT RESOLVED, that REFORMA actively opposes all laws and 
regulations that restrict the language (or languages) of instruction 
as they are contrary to the educational well-being of all students; 
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that REFORMA supports publicizing its 
opposition and providing financial support to defeat the Initiative. 
Approved by the National REFORMA Executive Committee 
March 11, 1998.  (4 yeas, and 1 no response) 
Thank you to the drafters of the resolution. 
10.  Q's and A's on Libraries and Infoshops 
Friends: _American Libraries_ is running my infoshops article ("Street  
Libraries") in their May issue. I need some feedback from as many of you  
as possible (and right away) on these questions: 
1) Does the existence of infoshops indicate a failure on the part of  
libraries, and, if yes, how so? 
2) What might libraries learn from infoshops? 
Short responses would be greatly appreciated ASAP (by the end of the week  
at the latest) for possible quotation in the article.  All replies earn  
500 Brownie Points (redeemable at participating infoshops). 
CMUNSON replies: 
1) Does the existence of infoshops indicate a failure on the part of  
libraries, and, if yes, how so? 
     Yes, for a variety of reasons. Public libraries these days are very  
     much like newspapers: they cater to an older middle-class clientele.  
     Anybody who goes into a public library and heads for the periodicals  
     section to find zines is going to be disappointed. You might find Utne  
     Reader, but are you going to find Punk Planet, Factsheet Five,  
     Alternative Press Review, or any one of the hundreds of zines that  
     have published for over 5 years? You also won't find very many  
     political zines of an narchist, leftist, radical, or even  
     environmental persuasion? Can you find Earth First? Most infoshops  
     have zine libraries that are amazing in their scope and they have  
     mostly titles ignored by the local public library. 
     Then there are the books. Does the library have books from AK Press,  
     Loompanics, RE/Search, or any of the presses whose books you'll find  
     at the local Tower Records? Infoshops don't always have book  
     collections, but when they do they often have titles ignored by public  
     There are two other ways that infoshops indicate a failure of public  
     libraries. One is the fact that folks often have problems distributing  
     free literature at public libraries. Either the literature gets lost  
     in the piles of capitalist crap or the library has restrictions on  
     what can be left by the front door. 
     Last, but definitely not least, public libraries fail as a community  
     space. Activist groups have a very difficult time these days finding  
     meeting rooms to meet. Libraries used to be an alternative but they  
     have implemented new restrictions on content of meetings, they charge  
     for registration for meetings, or they provide a chill reception for  
     the activist looking for meeting space. The biggest factor causing  
     this problem is simply the fact that many public libraries close early  
     in the evening, if they are open at all. Activists have found that  
     infoshops are more responsive to their needs for metting space and  
     organizing space. Infoshops have community bulletin boards that aren't  
     filled with commercial crap. 
2) What might libraries learn from infoshops? 
     The list of things that they could learn is long, since libraries are  
     in real need of some revolutionary changes. Some of the lesson I have  
     detailed above, but libraries need to be more aware how they DON'T  
     serve all members of their community, in fact their service is  
     oriented towards middle-class individuals and families. Their fines  
     policies discriminate against the poor and the working class. The  
     hours that they are typically open discriminate against the working  
     class. Their collections are uninviting to young people and people  
     from alternative communities. Libraries also function to much as  
     agents of the state, enforcing laws and acting as morals police,  
     instead of acting as a community institution. Why isn't there any porn  
     in libraries? Who decided this? Why do public libraries cater their  
     collections and services to the businessman and not to the activist or  
     the local punk collective? 
Charles Willett, founding board member of the Civic Media Center and 
Library, Inc. in Gainesville, Florida, replies: 
1)  Infoshops demonstrate the deep intellectual and political bias of most 
public and academic libraries, which just "follow the money," turning a tin 
ear and a jaundiced eye to whatever ideas and publications appear outside 
America's narrow commercial mainstream.   
2) Learn to work with us!  The Civic Media Center and Library, Inc. was 
founded largely in reaction against the uncaring corporate values of the 
University of Florida.  Although we have existed practically next door to UF 
for almost five years, its librarians have never sought us out.  But the 
headquarters staff of the Alachua County Library District downtown have 
welcomed us.  Indeed, the county library and the CMC have just completed a 
two-year contract adding 1100 CMC titles to the library's online database 
for a reasonable fee, thus giving the people of Gainesville and the 
surrounding rural area access to the holdings records of what amounts to a 
self-run, circulating, alternative branch library. 
Jean Heriot replies: 
> 1) Does the existence of infoshops indicate a failure on the part of  
> libraries, and, if yes, how so? 
It's librarians not libraries that fail and learn.  Thinking of ourselves 
that way (sort of like the institutional 'we' instead of the royal 'we')  
is I personally think a dangerous habit and I'm begging you don't do that 
in your essay! But on to your question:  
There's a slight streak of megalomania or something in librarians, the way 
we want to lay claim to or 'own' all the info processes!  I don't think 
the infoshop that I staffed in in Portland was concerned about libraries 
very much - they were more concerned about the failure of mainstream big 
media machine.  If anything libraries were seen as a symptom more than a 
> 2) What might libraries learn from infoshops? 
One thing I noticed at 223 was the excitement of some of the staffers in 
reinventing things like subject "classifications" and collection 
"policies" - I had to really bite my tongue at times to avoid spoiling it 
with my 'expertise' Whatever librarians might learn from infoshops, I 
don't think we could ever duplicate them in their full authenticity, 
unless we were ready for a revolution in our ideas about professionalism, 
preservation of materials, bibliographic control, the whole shooting 
Julie Herrada replies: 
I'd just like to add that for many years librarians fought to be treated 
as "professionals."  One result is that we are often under pressure to BE 
"professionals," and this necessarily has an effect on how we conduct 
themselves, how we think, and what we collect.  If library administrators 
were willing to encourage a sense of creativity and freedom among their 
library staff (particularly in the area of collection development and 
community outreach) librarians might be better able to serve their 
communities. (And shouldn't that be the case will ALL administrators?)  
Another point I want to make is that people CAN change the way their local 
branch libraries collect, by making it clear what they want.  If the only 
people who request new materials from libraries are families and older 
"mainstream"  patrons, that's what the library is going to collect.  It 
might take more than a solitary voice, but if people want a voice in the 
collection development process, they should start by asking libraries to 
carry the materials they want to see.  
Libraries should not have to be the only sources of knowledge and 
information for the people in their communities.  Infoshops have a 
valuable role not the least of which is to bring like-minded people 
together to develop a sense of social unity, especially in larger cities, 
where feelings of isolation can run deep.  People who run infoshops do so 
not only because they see a need for it, but they also have the desire to 
contribute something significant to their community.  Public libraries are 
good venues for some of that, but they are generally too understaffed and 
underfunded to be the local community center for everyone. 
11.  On Electronic Civil Disobedience; Paper for Socialist Scholars Conf. (Long) 
Date: Sat, 21 Mar 1998 20:39:32 +0200 
From: Ilan Shalif <gshalif[at]> 
Subject: (en)On Electronic Civil Disobedience; Paper for Socialist Scholars Conf. 
      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E 
From: Stefan Wray  aut-op-sy[at]jefferson.village.Virginia.EDU 
"As hackers become politicized and as activists become computerized, we are 
going to see an increase in the number of cyber-activists who engage in 
what will become more widely known as Electronic Civil Disobedience." - On 
Electronic Civil Disobedience. 
1998 Socialist Scholars Conference 
Borough of Manhattan Community College 
199 Chambers Street, New York City 
Panel on Electronic Civil Disobedience 
Sunday, March 20, 10:00 a.m., Room N-406 
Sponsor: Z-TV (aka Zapatista TV) 
Chair: Stefan Wray - New York Zapatistas 
       L.A. Kauffman - Lower East Side Collective 
       Ricardo Dominguez - 
We are considering the possibilility of producing a pamphlet (or small 
book?) based on this panel on Electronic Civil Disobedience. The text below 
might serve as an introductory section, as might text from the other two 
presenters. Ricardo Dominguez will speak on Digital Zapatismo, discussing 
existing and emerging computer-based tactics of resistance. L.A. Kauffman 
will share concrete experience of the Mighty Email Army, a project of the 
Lower East Side Collective. 
If you can contribute a section, please get in touch. It seems that, 
increasingly, on-line activists are becoming interested in doing more with 
their computers than merely sending email messages and creating web sites. 
If you are a computer whiz full of all sorts of tricks that push the 
envelope of contemporary on-line activism, please share those ideas with 
us. Most interesting are ideas that merge the strategies and tactics of 
mass civil disobedience - like trespass and blockade - with computer 
technology. Also interesting to us would be conceptual pieces that deal 
more with the theory of electronic civil disobedience. Contact Stefan Wray 
at sjw210[at] 
TEXT -> 
On Electronic Civil Disobedience 
by Stefan Wray 
Paper presented to the 1998 Socialist Scholars Conference 
Panel on Electronic Civil Disobedience 
March 20, 21, and 22 
New York, NY 
I heartily accept the motto, -- "That government is best which governs 
least;" and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and 
systematically. Carried out it finally amounts to this, which I also 
believe, -- "That government is best which governs not at all;" 
                                     - Civil Disobedience, Henry David 
Civil disobedience has been part of the American political experience since 
the inception of this country. But today, as we enter the next century, we 
are faced with the possibilities and realities of different, hybrid, 
electronic forms of civil disobedience. A fusion of computer technology 
with the more traditional forms of American civil disobedience has created 
new electronic and digital varieties of CD that take place in cyberspace, 
on the Net, or in the matrix. 
The term electronic civil disobedience is borrowed from a book by that same 
name. The Critical Art Ensemble's (1996) Electronic Civil Disobedience 
provides us with a useful benchmark or launch pad from where we can travel 
back to the historical practice of civil disobedience in the United States 
and travel forward to the imagined practice of civil disobedience in the 
near future. One thing is certain, we have only begun to realize the full 
potential of how computers will change political activism. Another thing is 
also clear; electronic civil disobedience will be part of this trajectory. 
One hundred and fifty years ago, in 1848, the same year that the Communist 
Manifesto was published in Europe, Henry David Thoreau delivered a lecture 
titled "Resistance to Civil Government," which was later published as an 
essay called "Civil Disobedience." Thoreau's essay on civil disobedience 
emerged from his own personal refusal to pay a poll tax as an expression of 
his opposition to the United States' war against Mexico. (Thoreau 1968) 
Since Thoreau's time the tactics of civil disobedience have become woven 
into the fabric of dissent in this country, as individuals at the 
grassroots have continually attempted to participate in civil society. 
Thirty years ago, in 1968, evolving out of the experience of activists in 
the Civil Rights movement, civil disobedience became an important and 
widespread tactic used by the opposition to yet another imperialist war, 
the United States' war against Vietnam. In 1971, as historian Howard Zinn 
describes, "twenty thousand people came to Washington to commit civil 
disobedience, trying to tie up Washington traffic to express their 
revulsion against the killing still going on in Vietnam. Fourteen thousand 
of them were arrested, the largest mass arrest in American history." (Zinn 
1995, 477) 
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the tactics of civil disobedience and 
direct action were taken up by a number of social movements. The 
anti-nuclear movement began to engage in mass civil disobedience starting 
in the mid 1970s - with large arrests at the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant 
in New Hampshire - and continued using this tactic through to the end of 
the 1980s - with mass arrests at the Nuclear Test Site near Las Vegas, Nevada. 
In the 1980s, the radical wing of the environmental movement, represented 
by groups like Earth First!, reinterpreted notions of civil disobedience in 
order to apply these tactics to rural and isolated settings where old 
growth forests were being devastated. Thoreau's ideas were brought to life 
again by authors like Edward Abbey, who paid him homage in an essay called 
Down The River with Henry Thoreau. (Abbey 1981) 
Other radical groups, like ACT-UP, made sure that civil disobedience 
maintained an urban presence. Using shock tactics, such as forcing ones way 
onto the set of a live national news broadcast, ACT-UP activists pushed 
civil disobedience more in the direction of in-your-face politics as a way 
to emphasize the urgency of the AIDS crisis. 
In an odd twist of irony, by the late 1980s and more so in the early 1990s, 
even groups on the right began to adopt tactics of trespass and blockade. 
The so-called "pro-life" movement started to physically block abortion 
At the beginning of the 1990s, the Gulf War - or more appropriately the 
U.S. war against Iraq - was yet another moment in which opposition was 
expressed in acts of individual, small group, and mass civil disobedience. 
In the fall of 1990, a small group of 14 anti-Gulf War activists, mostly 
students from U.C. Berkeley and San Francisco State, occupied and held for 
several hours an Army Recruiting Center in San Francisco before being 
arrested. Also that fall, an adhoc coalition opposed to the war, called the 
Bay Area Direct Action Network, began to strategize about different ways to 
block building entranceways and highways. When the United States started to 
drop its "smart bombs" on Baghdad tens of thousands of people poured into 
the streets of San Francisco. 
One notable action at this time was the occupation and blockage of the Bay 
Bridge that connects San Francisco to Oakland and Berkeley. Following a 
physical blockade that delayed the opening of the U.S. Federal Building in 
San Francisco, thousands of protesters started to march downtown toward the 
financial district. At the last minute, these protesters turned, took 
another route, and easily pushed pass the dozen or so Highway Patrol 
attempting to protect the bridge. This throng of people made it nearly all 
the way to Treasure Island, the mid-way point on the bridge, before being 
met with a massive show of force by the Oakland Police Department. While 
unreported by the mainstream media, similar acts of blocking government 
buildings and major highways occurred all up and down the west coast. 
So, over the course of the last 150 years, since the publication of 
Thoreau's Civil Disobedience, we have seen the tactics of individual, 
group, and mass civil disobedience applied to varying degrees by a quite a 
number of social movements in the United States. In the second half of the 
twentieth century, civil disobedience has been practiced in every decade. 
Sometimes it has been successful. Other times it has failed. Given that the 
objective realities of U.S. society are not likely to alter radically any 
time soon, we can safely assume that radical social movements, in one form 
or another, will continue to adopt the strategies and tactics of civil 
disobedience into the 21st century. 
But, in the next century, most of us will witness, and some of us will 
perhaps directly experience, a striking difference in the form and manner 
of civil disobedience. Unlike in Thoreau's time, when the telegraph had 
barely gotten off the ground, and even unlike during the tumultuous 1960s, 
when the Vietnam War was televised - but when computers were still 
monster-sized machines off limits to most people - we, today, live in the 
age of the personal computer. We live in a computer-based information age. 
As hackers become politicized and as activists become computerized, we are 
going to see an increase in the number of cyber-activists who engage in 
what will become more widely known as Electronic Civil Disobedience. The 
same principals of traditional civil disobedience, like trespass and 
blockage, will still be applied, but more and more these acts will take 
place in electronic or digital form. The primary site for Electronic Civil 
Disobedience will be in cyberspace. 
In the next century, for example, we on the left will witness or be part of 
an increasing number of virtual sit-ins in which government and corporate 
web sites are blocked, preventing so-called legitimate usage. Just as the 
Vietnam War and the Gulf War brought thousands into the streets to disrupt 
the flow of normal business and governance - acting upon the physical 
infrastructure - future interventionist wars will be protested by the 
clogging or actual rupture of fiber optic cables and ISDN lines - acting 
upon the electronic and communications infrastructure. Just as massive 
non-violent civil disobedience has been used to shutdown or suspend 
governmental or corporate operations, massive non-violent email assaults 
will shutdown government or corporate computer servers. Given the expected 
continued rapid growth and development of computer technology, and given 
the increasing knowledge, sophistication, and expertise of a growing body 
of cyber-activists, there is no telling exactly how electronic civil 
disobedience will play itself out in the future. But we can be certain that 
electronic civil disobedience will undoubtedly become an important element 
in the emergence of new radical social movements in the years ahead. 
There are already examples now in existence of the theory and the practice 
of electronic civil disobedience, as well as evidence of government and 
corporate awareness of the potential threat posed by sophisticated 
To gain some understanding of emerging theory on Electronic Civil 
Disobedience it is probably best to first look at several short pieces by 
the Critical Art Ensemble. In 1994 the Critical Art Ensemble produced a 
work called The Electronic Disturbance and in 1996 they produced a sequel 
called, not surprisingly, Electronic Civil Disobedience. Both works argue 
that capitalism has become increasingly nomadic, mobile, liquid, dispersed, 
and electronic. Moreover, they argue that resistance needs to take on these 
very same attributes. Instead of physically blocking a building 
entranceway, or occupying a CEO's office, Critical Art Ensemble argues that 
we need to think about how we can blockade and trespass in digital and 
electronic forms. 
Not only do these works by the Critical Art Ensemble begin to establish a 
language with which we can develop ideas about and continue to practice 
electronic civil disobedience, they also make a case that practicing 
electronic civil disobedience has become imperative because increasingly 
traditional forms of CD have become less and less effective. They argue 
that the streets have become the location of dead capital and that to 
seriously confront capital in its current mobile electronic form, then 
resistance must take place in the same location where capital now exists in 
greatest concentrations, namely in cyberspace. While the second part of the 
Critical Art Ensemble's argument makes sense, the statement that the 
streets are completely useless needs to be qualified. For example, we can 
not discount the role that street protest played in the collapse of the 
Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. This adds credence to 
the notion that rather than pure electronic civil disobedience, we are 
likely to see a proliferation of hybridized actions that involve a 
multiplicity of tactics, combining actions on the street and actions in 
The intellectual roots of the Critical Art Ensemble's work, especially in 
relation to their nomadic conceptions of capital and resistance, can be 
first traced to Hakim Bey's (1991) T. A. Z. The Temporary Autonomous Zone, 
Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism, who in turn borrows ideas about 
nomadology from Gilles Deleuze's and Felix Guattari's (1987) A Thousand 
Plateaus. Bey's temporary - and nomadic -  autonomous zones, existing in 
cyberspace, become the launch pads from where electronic civil disobedience 
is activated. The influence of A Thousand Plateaus, especially the chapter 
called "Treatise on Nomadology and the War Machine," can be seen running 
throughout the Critical Art Ensemble's work. All of these works just 
mentioned should be required reading for the serious student and 
practitioner of electronic civil disobedience. 
Besides examining hypothetical ideas in these theoretical works, we can 
actually see that incipient electronic civil disobedience has started to be 
practiced. One site for discovering such practice is within the global 
pro-Zapatista movement that has come into being since the January 1, 1994 
Zapatista uprising in Chiapas, Mexico. Since just days after the emergence 
of the EZLN onto the global political scene, computers, and more 
specifically, computer-based communication over the Internet, primarily and 
originally in the form of email, have become key and central to the 
existence of this global Zapatista inspired movement against neoliberalism 
and for humanity. With each passing year, since 1994, the level of computer 
sophistication has increased. What began as mere transmission of EZLN 
communiques and other information via email became also a network of 
hypertext linked web sites. In borrowing another term from Deleuze and 
Guattari's A Thousand Plateaus - in addition to nomadic - the movement of 
information through these various cyber-nets of resistance has been said to 
have occurred rhizomatically, moving horizontally, non-linearly, and 
Rhizome is word that comes from botany and is used to describe certain 
types of tubers, that as a system of roots expands horizontally and 
underground. The adjective rhizomatic have been used in a political context 
as a way to describe the distribution, spread, and dispersion of 
information on the Net about the Zapatistas. Rather than operating through 
a central command structure in which information filters down from the top 
in a vertical and linear manner - the model of radio and television 
broadcasting - information about the Zapatistas on the Net has been said to 
be moving from node to node, horizontally and non-linearly. This is 
relevant in that the method of announcing and distributing information 
about electronic civil disobedience actions has occurred in this rhizomatic 
For example, arising out of this increased cyber-activism around the 
Zapatistas, and following the recent Acteal Massacre that took place in 
Chiapas just this past December, a group calling themselves the Anonymous 
Digital Coalition, which we believe originated in Italy, began to post 
messages onto the Net calling for cyber attacks against five Mexico City 
based financial institution's web sites. The intent of their plan, which 
was promulgated far and wide via this rhizomatic system of distribution, 
was for thousands of people around the world to simultaneously load these 
web sites on to their Internet browsers. The idea was that repeated 
reloading of the web sites on to numerous people's browsers would in effect 
block those web sites from so called legitimate use. The only evidence 
available to me that this action worked is an email message I received from 
someone who said that they made repeated attempts to access these sites 
during the aforementioned time, but could not do so. 
Another example is even more recent. Last month, when it looked as if the 
United States was going to launch another bombing campaign against Iraq, a 
national news story appeared describing how the Pentagon had allegedly 
noticed an increase in the number of hacking attempts into Department of 
Defense computers. Whether these cyber assaults are real or a figment of 
the Pentagon's imagination is irrelevant. The point is that this level of 
cyber-activism directed against a government institution is yet another 
potential scenario that we will in the future either be witnesses to or 
participants in. 
As is to be expected, the roots of future government crackdowns against 
electronic civil disobedience already exist in the present. Since as early 
as 1993 there were warnings coming from RAND of impending netwar (Arquilla 
and Ronfeldt 1993). Soon thereafter, the U.S. military establishment began 
to worry about netwar or its more universal term, information warfare. In 
1996, The Nation published an article describing a report produced by the 
Pentagon's office on Special Operations Forces in which they make 
recommendations to counter or contain possible netwar or information warfare. 
But as attempts to prevent people from engaging in traditional civil 
disobedience have failed before or have at least not been universally 
successful, we can expect that whatever net the government creates in 
attempts to capture future cyber-activists will be strewn with holes and 
ways of evasion will be possible. One possible technical solution that will 
enable cyber-activists to flood government or corporate email servers - 
potentially to the point of these servers crashing - is the off-shore spam 
engine, a web-site form-based means of directing multiple email messages to 
targeted email addresses, anonymously. 
To conclude. While it may be partially true, as the Critical Art Ensemble 
claims, that participation in street actions has become increasingly 
meaningless and futile and that future resistance must become primarily 
nomadic, electronic, and cyberspacial, it is doubtful that physical street 
actions, involving real people on the ground, will end any time soon. What 
is more likely is that we will see electronic civil disobedience continue 
to be phased in as a component of or as a complement to traditional civil 
disobedience. In the near future, we can expect to see hybrid civil 
disobedience actions that will involve people taking part in electronic 
civil disobedience from behind their computer screens while simultaneously 
people are engaging in more traditional forms of civil disobedience out in 
the streets. 
As we consider the trajectory of resistance in the United States and as we 
envision the possibilities of resistance increasingly taking place in 
cyberspace, it is important to remember that civil disobedience has been an 
important part of the history of political growth and change in this 
country. Thoreau's contribution, by example and by word, influenced 
generations that followed. But today, we stand at a new crossroads, one in 
which these older forms of resistance and protest are being transformed. 
While it is useful to consider the path that civil disobedience has taken 
up until now, we also need to be aware that our political terrain is 
changing dramatically. In the 21st century, electronic civil disobedience 
will occur. 
                                - End - 
Word Count: 2,830 
(Stefan Wray is a doctoral student in the Dept. of Culture and 
Communication at NYU. His dissertation research focuses on international 
grassroots political communication on the Internet. He received an M.A. in 
Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. His masters thesis, "The 
Drug War and Information Warfare in Mexico" is available at You can send email to him at: 
Abbey, Edward. 1991. Down The River. New York: Plume. 
Arquilla, John and David Ronfeldt. 1993. "Cyberwar is Coming!" Comparative 
Strategy 12: 141-65. 
Bey, Hakim. 1991. T. A. Z. The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological 
Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism. Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia. 
Corn, David. 1996. "Pentagon Trolls the Net." The Nation, 4 March. 
Critical Art Ensemble. 1994. The Electronic Disturbance. Brooklyn, NY: 
Critical Art Ensemble. 1996. Electronic Civil Disobedience and Other 
Unpopular Ideas. Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia. 
Deleuze, Gilles and Felix Guattari. 1987. A Thousand Plateaus. Capitalism 
and Schizophrenia. Trans. by Brain Massumi. Minneapolis: The University of 
Minnesota Press. 
Thoreau, Henry David. 1968. The variorum Walden and the variorum Civil 
disobedience. New York: Washington Square Press. 
Zinn, Howard. 1995. A People's History of the United States. 1492- Present. 
New York: Harper Perennial. 
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