From the defeat of Hollywood-sponsored Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) to the flop of International Telecommunication Union’s crafty treaty, 2012 frustrated many government and company attempts to meddle with the internet. In its first 2013 edition, The Economist presents an interesting balance of what it calls “a big year for online activists”. The British magazine poses a thought-provoking question: are we witnessing the rise of a new organic political power like environmentalism in the 1960s and 1970s?
The analogy is compelling. In its dawn, the environmental movement was an umbrella term for heterogeneous groups: people concerned about nuclear plants, citizens interested in cleaning a particular river, anti-pesticide activists, and so on. Gradually, such different strands came together and eventually formed a complete political platform with a comprehensive discourse that went on to wield legislative and executive power – the green parties in Europe and elsewhere.