Cheers to the Revolution: Kiev’s Beautiful Molotov Cocktails
Kiev’s Euromaidan protestors use fire to their advantage. With fire, the protestors were able to defend their barricades, extend their lines, and fortify their positions. They were mobilized throughout the city to collect as many bottles as possible, and thousands of Molotov cocktails were used to set fire to tanks, other armored vehicles, and buses. These little bombs were the only real weapon protestors had against the government’s well-armed forces.
Donald Weber spent this February in Kiev photographing for VICE. Follow our coverage of breaking events in Kiev on VICE News.
All photos by Donald Weber/VII Photo
In this version of the Internet, two big things have changed. First, Netflix is really big. The video streaming site now accounts for about 30 percent of all traffic on the Internet. Second, Verizon acquired the formerly independent backbone provider MCI in 2006, helping to turn itself into a major backbone provider in its own right.
Those changes matter for Cogent’s negotiations with Verizon. In the first chart, Backbone Provider A’s leverage was limited by the fact that Backbone Provider B could always connect directly to the residential ISP, potentially costing A a customer. That gave A a strong incentive to keep its network fast and its interconnection terms reasonable.
The negotiation between Cogent and Verizon is different. Verizon plays the role of both backbone provider and residential ISP. That puts Verizon in a much stronger negotiating position, because Cogent doesn’t have any practical way to route around Verizon. If Cogent wants to reach Verizon’s customers, it needs to cut a deal with Verizon.
He wants to connect these processes to the theory he formulated in 1996: the space of places and the space of flows. In Urbanism 101, Castells notes that the question is: “what is space? Easy, right? You go crazy. Because space doesn’t exist outside of us. Space in nature is not our space. Space in human terms is a dimension of human existence.” Castells argues that space has to be defined in terms of social practices. So, he developed a material theory of space. “I went crazy myself” thinking about what space is, he says. According to Castells, Leibnitz, in 1715, proposed the following definition of space: “something purely relative, like time. Space being an order of coexistences, as time is an order of successions. Space denotes in terms of possibility an order of things which exist at the same time [simultaneity]” Castells quips: “Not being a german philosopher, I simplified it: Space is the material support of simultaneity.” He argues that throughout history, simultaneity depended on contiguity. In other words, cities were the main space for simultaneity. Then came the telegraph: distance communication. A new space emerged, in which simultaneity, or chosen time, would not depend on contiguity, but connectedness. So Castells’ point was, there’s a space of places, where simultaneity is based on contiguity, and a space of flows, where simultaneity is based on communication. Originally, Castells thought the space of places was the location of experience, and the space of flows was the space of power. He thought this because in the 1990s, corporate, financial, and military communication networks were really the spaces of power. In the space of experience, people were holding out. His point was: power was run from the space of flows. People lived in the space of places, but their lives were determined by what happened in the space of flows. He asks the audience “Right?” People nod. He says “wrong!” Laughter. Castells observed that humans started to use the space of flows for their own purposes. For sociality, friendship, family, relationships; social movements, and so on. At the same time, the space of flows began colonizing the space of places. So, he says, it turns out there is power and counterpower in both forms of space. He ends: “To enact social change, any actor has to counteract the power in the space of places with counterpower.” They must construct autonomous structures and counterpower in both the space of places and in the space of flows.
Castells describes the myopia of certain strands of social movement analysis. He says that the movements themselves say “your outcome measures are a short term vision of social change.” The Spanish movement had a slogan, “We are slow because we go far.” If you’re productivistic, the question is the time frame: are you going to be productive in 1 month, 5 months, 2 years? The movements don’t have a deadline for liberation. At the same time, he notes, “all movements disappear.” This may happen through processes of repression, cooptation, institutionalization. They’re always going to die. The interesting thing isn’t whether they die or not, but how they die. And in the process, “What seeds they plant in people’s minds.” Castells maintains that the fundamental battle is in the minds of people, not in the corridors of power. In EU, there’s a crisis of legitimacy, as in the USA. There’s a huge gap between what people believe democracy looks like, and the actual practices. All the empirical data reveals this gap. So, movements can raise hope beyond the existing political institutions.