Friday, August 19, 2016

How the Internet helped stop a coup, in 1991!

"The coup attempt collapsed on Aug. 21. Overall, during the three days, Relcom transmitted 46,000 “news units” throughout the Soviet Union and around the world. Regime No. 1 was a revolutionary idea, although not everyone realized it. Radio transmitters spread information in one direction, outward. But Relcom worked in both directions, spreading and collecting information. It was a horizontal structure, a network, a powerful new concept in a country that had been ruled by a rigid, controlling clique. In the 1950s, the first Soviet photocopy machine had been wrecked because it threatened to spread information beyond the control of those who ruled. Now the power of those rulers was being smashed—by a network they could not control.
Another principle was also demonstrated during the coup: The programmers did what they thought was right and did not ask permission. They acted because the free flow of information was threatened. They also knew that they had the support of thousands of subscribers, making the network stronger. The very first time the internet had a role in Russian politics was during the three days in August 1991, and back then it helped to crush the security services’ operation by undermining Kremlin’s monopoly on spreading and sharing information."

I got on the Internet in 1993.  Usenet became my home.  I still love the free communication of the Internet and have seen the power it has to help people organize.

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