A data science company gains access to a huge amount of personal data for certain purposes. Is this really a surprise? By now, every internet user should know that every bit of data which he/she puts out there can get used by someone else. With or without consent. Since many years, governments and companies implement new laws and invent new techniques to spy on everyone 24/7. And many people even applaud their actions because they keep “bad terrorists” away (while keeping the underlying structures that reproduce terrorism intact).
Last week, the Guardian published two video interviews with former employees of Cambridge Analytica: Christopher Wylie and Brittany Kaiser.
Both of them say that they are not in favour of Trump, Bannon, or the pro-Brexit campaign. In fact, the populist right does politics against their own interests. It curbs the rights of women and the LGBTIQ community. However, both kept working for them. What does that mean? Money and power are more important than integrity. Many blame them personally now but I think that their behaviour is not special at all. It is part of a global culture that is the outcome of a capitalistic, patriarchal and racist system. At least, they do not deny their actions. Consequently, this toxic cycle can be stopped by each one of us, as Wylie said:
If you want to change culture you have to first understand what the units of culture are. The people are the units of culture. So, if you wanna change politics you first have to change people to change culture.
Surplus. Shallowness. Speed. They all destroy the happiness of a quiet moment You only become a driven person who is searching for the next kick You do not stand still anymore to watch the stars You do not know when the moon is full When do the cherry trees begin to blossom?
Breathless The world turns around Problems are getting bigger You ignore them until it is too late
Blame? Who is to blame for all of this? He? She? All of us? Who does everything right?
Too complicated. Too big. Too hard to understand. Who shall save the world while all superheroes are in the gym mixing themselves energy drinks?
Much has been said and written about the events in Charlottesville. The documentary “Charlottesville: Race and Terror” (Vice) has left the biggest impression on me. The journalist Elle Reeve was able to interview some neo-Nazis and demonstrate their ridiculous way of thinking. It was shocking to see so many neo-Nazi symbols, and people marching with torches and screaming: “Jews will not replace us.” I really thought that this is something that belongs to the past. Moreover, the demonstrators were allowed to carry heavy weapons. In the end of the video, one neo-Nazi even said that the demonstration was a big success, even though one woman was killed. Continue reading “Behind Charlottesville: Identity and Material Politics”
Some days ago I attended a summer school in peace & conflict studies in the North of Italy. On my way back home, I had to cross the border between Italy and Austria. While I was waiting for my train in Verona’s main station, I noticed two Italian police men. They stood on my track and observed everyone around them. Continue reading “Borders, Refugees, and Africa”
Some days ago, the police in Innsbruck, Austria, started to give away free pocket alarms to women and girls. The media reported about the campaign and focused on the safety of women and girls in public places.
The campaign is not bad, but the way it is advertised gives the impression that women are more vulnerable than men and need more protection. Although the news about crime in Innsbruck show that men are victims of robberies and violent crimes, too.
This example demonstrates how stereotypes about men and women influence our daily lives. And that’s exactly why we still need Feminism.
Some days ago, I saw a very interesting theater play: “Sophie and me”, written by the Austrian author Ursula Kohlerts. The story is about a fictional friendship between the two German women Sophie School and Traudl Junge. Both of them have lived under the Nazi regime, but had never met each other in reality. The play brings them together to ask the audience the important question: What would you do?
The women get to know each other as young girls at a “Bund deutscher Mädchen” (League of the German girls) camp and become best friends. The following scenes show how both characters will develop in very different ways.