Wednesday, August 22, 2012

European Internet revolutionaries and Pussy Riot

If I had to define my complex political position only in a few words, I think the most appropriate description would be a (Western) World centrist. Which in practical terms means that an average US citizen would label me as radically left, while an average Scandinavian would label me as incorrigibly conservative. But as I live in Europe, I am primarily interested in European portals, so I am predominantly put into the situation that the majority of semi-anonymous comments seem to be aggressively left. This is not surprising as most Internet users and therefore commentators are young Europeans, and the youth is known for its radicalism leaning to the left. Nevertheless, calling those young revolutionaries leftist would mean a bad favor for left-wing ideals, as their ideology is often hopelessly inconsistent.

At first blink, standpoints of European Internet revolutionaries go along well. They seem to be all socially left and anti-establishment. But even more importantly, they are all characterised by stark hatred of USA. Even if I might not share their social ideals, I can understand the latter: I do myself despise USA economic and military hegemony. However, I also despise economic and military hegemonies of Russia and China, which most of Internet revolutionaries don't.

So it is no big surprise that Julian Assange became their idol. He's against USA, after all. But I still find it difficult to understand the extend of Assange euphoria. Yes, he revealed a few spicy American diplomatic dispatches. But they just put the real words for the things we've been always aware of; To find them shocking and revealing one must be extremely naive or ignorant. Diplomacy was never a gentleman fair play but a ruthless calculated "realpolitik" - especially when interests of a "superior" power meet interests of an "inferior" state. It is equally unclear why would liberal and leftist Sweden extradite Assange more likely than the US "poodle" in Europe. (Nota bene, Sweden wants Assange for sexual crimes which a sincere leftist should never have excuse for.) But the final nail in the coffin of Assange's reputation as a fighter for the freedom of information was getting Ecuador's president Correa's asylum. Namely, his unlikely saviour is himself in a intense war with independent media in his own country.

But nowhere are those inconsistencies more obvious than in the case of the Russian punk-rock band Pussy Riot. When dozen of ordinary anonymous wives and mothers are prepared to risk their lives and the lives of their families for their ideals and when authorities rush into a harsh punishment, there must be something wrong with that country. Surprisingly, most Internet revolutionaries sided with Mr. Putin. He's the US main nemesis, after all. Even if Pussy Riot fight for the ideals, which are genuinely leftist and anti-establishment.

But there is another important reason for the European Internet revolutionaries feud with young Russian activists: Their actions tell them an inconvenient truth. While an average European Internet revolutionary's activism stops at writing few comments in the end of the newspaper article and even signing a real paper petition presents an unbearable effort, those women put their lives and fortune on the line. Most young Europeans take already achieved freedom and liberties for granted and are indolent to fight for them; Which is worrying, not only because of relentless expansion of conscienceless capitalism, but also of the rampant growth of the European Islam that has radically different view on a broad specter of issues, from religious freedom to women's rights.

There are many things I don't agree on with Niall Ferguson in his documentary "Civilization: Is the West History?", but the main message is still intriguing: West is doomed because we no longer believe in basic principles that made our "civilization" great. Well, Mr. Ferguson, if judged by the aggressive tone of European Internet revolutionaries, we not only stopped believing in the Western values, we even started to hate them.