[Air-L] the case for critical commons

Christian Fuchs christian.fuchs at sbg.ac.at
Fri Jan 22 10:56:32 PST 2010

This video 1) first portrays Hitler as anti-technology Luddite ("I want 
all Internet access shut down immediately"), and then 2) in a sudden 
turn shows him as alternative media protagonist in favour of "critical 
commons" for "educating the world for free" and making available "open 
educational resources".

Goebbels considered the radio the most important medium for, as he said, 
"politically education", but one should better say for ideologically 
manipulating the people. "Zeitungswissenschaft" (journalism studies) was 
an important field of Nazi academia. The mass production of 
"Volksempf?nger" radio receivers was the Nazis' attempt to make 
available radio receivers to all families in the "Third Reich" in order 
to expose them to Nazi propaganda. This shows that the Nazis were not at 
all Luddites and anti-technology.

Brecht once wrote that the radio would be the most powerful medium if 
receivers would also be enabled to be senders.
The Volksempf?nger only had one central channel, listening to "enemy 
stations" (Feindsender), as BBC and other stations were called by the 
Nazis, was prohibited and resulted in many cases in severe jail 
sentences or even the death penalty. This shows that the Nazis did not 
share Brecht's vision of open media, but to the contrary only were 
interested in completely centralized mass media that they installed and 
defended with the help of repression and violence. Therefore also the 
analogy of Hitler/the Nazis and open media/creative commons is inadequate.
The mission of "Critical Commons" is: "At the heart of Critical Commons 
is an online tool for viewing, tagging, sharing, annotating and curating 
media within the guidelines established by a given community. Our goal 
is to build open, informed communities around media-based teaching, 
learning and creativity, both inside and outside of formal educational 
environments" (http://criticalcommons.org/about-us)

The video is making two false analogies. The Nazis would today probably 
support Internet censorship, Internet surveillance, etc. And actual Nazi 
groups are trying to use the Internet for their own propaganda, but most 
  of these sites work in a traditional way without much employment of 
"social media" and "web 2.0".

One can argue if this video is funny or distasteful - these are 
unnecessary moral discussions, but one thing is for sure: the clip is 

- - -
Priv.-Doz. Dr. Christian Fuchs
Associate Professor
ICT&S Center
University of Salzburg
Sigmund Haffner Gasse 18
5020 Salzburg
christian.fuchs at sbg.ac.at
Phone +43 662 8044 4823
Personal Website: http://fuchs.uti.at
Editor of
tripleC - Cognition, Communication, Co-Operation | Open Access Journal 
for a Global Sustainable Information Society
Fuchs, Christian. 2008. Internet and Society: Social Theory in the 
Information Age. New York: Routledge.

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