Now I Know Who My Comrades Are Voices from the Internet Underground

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2015-02-03
  • Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books
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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.

Author Biography

Emily Parker is the digital diplomacy advisor and a senior fellow at the New America Foundation. Previously, she was a member of Secretary Clinton’s Policy Planning staff at the State Department, where she covered twenty-first-century statecraft, innovation, and technology. Before joining the State Department, she was an op-ed editor at The New York Times and an editorial writer and op-ed editor at The Wall Street Journal.

Table of Contents

Part I: China (Isolation)
"Now I know who my comrades are"
"Chinese people don't read personal stories"
"I support the Party . . . but what about other people?"
"My world was so small"
"I thought, I can really control the world"
"Put any good guy in a bad system, and he will act very bad"
"Nothing is impossible to a willing heart"
"The people won't forget you, history won't forget you!"
"Who are our enemies? Who are our friends?"
"I tried to organize"
"I speak in complicated sentences that my comrades can understand"
"I express what they want to say but cannot write down"
"I've been scared all my life"
"Just like in jailbreak, there's a hole in the wall"
"We are like plants without roots"
"I caused a lot of fights on the Internet"
"They wany to know they are not so lonely on this planet"
"This is how I imagine the feelings of the guards"
"You have to play by certain rules"
"I'm a journalist and I know not to call for action"
"Twitter is everything about me:
"If I don't stand up for Zhu Ling, who will stand up for me?"
"Nobody knows the whole picture"
Part II: Cuba (Fear)
"You never know who is who"
"Resignation became my only comrade"
"The world knows the name and face of dissidence"
"You see agents or informers everywhere"
"I comport myself like a free man"
"I knew everything was bad, but I had to write that everything was good"
"The fear of those who learn their lessons through the trauma of others"
"People have to search for their own voice because they never had one"
"I want my lawer, and nada mas!"
"When someone is detained, everyone knows about it"
Part III: Russia (Apathy)
"People were silent and kept the constitution over their heads"
"You have to propose to people the comfortable way of struggle"
"We have our own words"
"The problem is that people don't search for it"
"In Russia, change never comes from the bottom"
"You can keep silent, you can emigrate, or you can stay here and fight"
"We didn't apply to the authorities, we appealed to the people"
"Rights are not given, they are taken"
"Bloggers have nothing to fear from publicity"
"No one, including me, believed this was possible in Russia"
"You cannot be a hero for a long time on the Internet"
"My country and my life are dependent on what I do"
"I want to thank you for considering yourself citizens!"
"So, is it you who is organizing this revolution in Russia?"
"We exist!"

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