Now I Know Who My Comrades Are

Now I Know Who My Comrades Are

Voices From the Internet Underground

Book - 2014
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In China, university students use the Internet to save the life of an attempted murder victim. In Cuba, authorities unsuccessfully try to silence an online critic by sowing seeds of distrust in her marriage. And in Russia, a lone blogger rises to become one of the most prominent opposition figures since the fall of the Soviet Union. Authoritarian governments try to isolate individuals from one another, but in the age of social media freedom of speech is impossible to contain. Online, people discover that they are not alone. As one blogger put it, "Now I know who my comrades are."
In her groundbreaking book, Now I Know Who My Comrades Are: Voices from the Internet Underground, Emily Parker, formerly a State Department policy advisor, writer at The Wall Street Journal and editor at The New York Times , provides on-the-ground accounts of how the Internet is transforming lives in China, Cuba, and Russia.
It's a new phenomenon, but one that's already brought about significant political change. In 2011 ordinary Egyptians, many armed with little more than mobile phones, helped topple a thirty-year-old dictatorship. It was an extraordinary moment in modern history--and Now I Know Who My Comrades Are takes us beyond the Middle East to the next major civil rights battles between the Internet and state control.
Star dissidents such as Cuba's Yoani Sánchez and China's Ai Weiwei are profiled. Here you'll also find lesser-known bloggers, as well as the back-stories of Internet activism celebrities. Parker charts the rise of Russia's Alexey Navalny from ordinary blogger to one of the greatest threats to Vladimir Putin's regime.
This book introduces us to an army of bloggers and tweeters--generals and foot soldiers alike. These activists write in code to outsmart censors and launch online campaigns to get their friends out of jail. They refuse to be intimidated by surveillance cameras or citizen informers. Even as they navigate the risks of authoritarian life, they feel free. Now I Know Who My Comrades Are is their story.

Publisher: New York : Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780374176952
Characteristics: ix, 306 pages ; 22 cm


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Aug 28, 2017

A journalist's detailed account of, in actuality, three "internet undergrounds" in three very different information societies - China, Cuba, and Putin's Russia. In Parker's telling, China's government is continuing its long-term effort to isolate citizens within information silos under central control - the internet's Great Firewall, complete news blackouts, state control over internet portals and even intense pressure on Western tech companies to play by, and enforce, Chinese rules as a condition of doing business there. The image of Cuba's repression is of a more traditional police and surveillance state, rife with intimidation, and the voices in Russia must combat a feeling of overwhelming apathy and hopeless despair of any meaningful change in a continuum from Soviet control to Putin, to Medvedev, and back.
Parker's writing is obviously tied to her background: very short snippets of narrative, based largely on personal reflection and the words of her journalistic sources. But what emerges is a strongly human story of bloggers who are charting their own courses in the face of strong odds.


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