Undermining anarchy: Facebook’s influence on anarchist principles of organisation in Occupy Wall Street

2017-04-06T11:18:20Z (GMT) by Thomas Swann E. Husted
This paper contributes to debates around the political potential of social media by examining Occupy Wall Street and activist’s use of Facebook. Drawing on concepts rooted in cybernetics and anarchist political theory, the paper argues that the shift in Occupy Wall Street from being a physical protest camp in late 2011 to an online movement in 2012 coincided with a shift in social media activity. On the one hand, analysis of Facebook activity suggests a move from functional to anatomical hierarchy; on the other, it points towards a move from many-to-many communication to one-to-many communication. In conclusion, we argue that this development has served to undermine the movement’s anarchist principles of organisation.