Google for it?

Dear Auntie,As a seasoned internet activist I regularly give my friends a hard time for using Google. Its 'don't be evil' motto doesn't seem to have helped Chinese web users, who now face censored searches, while its CIA links are well-known. Only one problem: I have a secret addiction to Skype. Does this make me a hypocrite?Activista, Gerrard's Cross, Buckinghamshire

June 1, 2007
2 min read

It’s a shame you don’t use Google, because searching the phrase ’tilting at windmills’ could yield some useful advice. Google can even be an anti-hypocrisy tool – in January 2006, googling ‘liar’ took you to Tony Blair’s homepage.

If you’re troubled by your Skype addiction, though, why not justify it as an environmentally-friendly way to plot international revolutions.

And even if the most radical your chats get are long-distance flirtations with anti-globalisation activists, there are worse things than conducting your love life on proprietary software.

To be honest, though, hypocrisy seems the least of your problems. First, you need to lose the tinfoil hat. The google-CIA link amounts to little more than an unproven assertion from ex-CIA man (and leading 9/11 truth-er) Robert Steel, and the fact that it purchased Keyhole Inc, a company that once received venture capital from the CIA’s investment arm. Keyhole technology now powers Google Earth, the best tool yet devised for activists to track the spread of secretive military installations: a pretty good case of ‘You taught me language; and my profit on’t is, I know how to curse.’

Without blowing too hard on the Google trumpet, it has at least blocked US Justice Department requests for access to its search data, and backed demands for ‘net neutrality’ against telecoms companies wanting to develop a two-speed internet favouring corporate websites. ‘Tis true that Google’s complicity in internet censorship is as unprincipled as that of all the corporations sustaining the Great Firewall of China, but boycotting it is hardly the solution.

You’d be better off turning your back on sweatshop produced imports that dominate and searching out some second hand threads on Skype’s parent site, eBay. Or, at least, try googling your way to some less po-faced activist priorities.


✹ Try our new pay-as-you-feel subscription — you choose how much to pay.

Social Workers Without Borders
Jenny Nelson speaks to Lauren Wroe about a group combining activism and social work with refugees

Growing up married
Laura Nicholson interviews Dr Eylem Atakav about her new film, Growing Up Married, which tells the stories of Turkey’s child brides

The Migrant Connections Festival: solidarity needs meaningful relationships
On March 4 & 5 Bethnal Green will host a migrant-led festival fostering community and solidarity for people of all backgrounds, writes Sohail Jannesari

Reclaiming Holloway Homes
The government is closing old, inner-city jails. Rebecca Roberts looks at what happens next

Intensification of state violence in the Kurdish provinces of Turkey
Oppression increases in the run up to Turkey’s constitutional referendum, writes Mehmet Ugur from Academics for Peace

Pass the domestic violence bill
Emma Snaith reports on the significance of the new anti-domestic violence bill

Report from the second Citizen’s Assembly of Podemos
Sol Trumbo Vila says the mandate from the Podemos Assembly is to go forwards in unity and with humility

Protect our public lands
Last summer Indigenous people travelled thousands of miles around the USA to tell their stories and build a movement. Julie Maldonado reports

From the frontlines
Red Pepper’s new race editor, Ashish Ghadiali, introduces a new space for black and minority progressive voices

How can we make the left sexy?
Jenny Nelson reports on a session at The World Transformed

In pictures: designing for change
Sana Iqbal, the designer behind the identity of The World Transformed festival and the accompanying cover of Red Pepper, talks about the importance of good design

Angry about the #MuslimBan? Here are 5 things to do
As well as protesting against Trump we have a lot of work to get on with here in the UK. Here's a list started by Platform

Who owns our land?
Guy Shrubsole gives some tips for finding out

Don’t delay – ditch coal
Take action this month with the Coal Action Network. By Anne Harris

Utopia: Work less play more
A shorter working week would benefit everyone, writes Madeleine Ellis-Petersen

Mum’s Colombian mine protest comes to London
Anne Harris reports on one woman’s fight against a multinational coal giant

Bike courier Maggie Dewhurst takes on the gig economy… and wins
We spoke to Mags about why she’s ‘biting the hand that feeds her’

Utopia: Daring to dream
Imagining a better world is the first step towards creating one. Ruth Potts introduces our special utopian issue

A better Brexit
The left should not tail-end the establishment Bremoaners, argues Michael Calderbank

News from movements around the world
Compiled by James O’Nions

Podemos: In the Name of the People
'The emergence as a potential party of government is testament both to the richness of Spanish radical culture and the inventiveness of activists such as Errejón' - Jacob Mukherjee reviews Errejón and Mouffe's latest release

Survival Shake! – creative ways to resist the system
Social justice campaigner Sakina Sheikh describes a project to embolden young people through the arts

‘We don’t want to be an afterthought’: inside Momentum Kids
If Momentum is going to meet the challenge of being fully inclusive, a space must be provided for parents, mothers, carers, grandparents and children, write Jessie Hoskin and Natasha Josette

The Kurdish revolution – a report from Rojava
Peter Loo is supporting revolutionary social change in Northern Syria.

How to make your own media
Lorna Stephenson and Adam Cantwell-Corn on running a local media co-op

Book Review: The EU: an Obituary
Tim Holmes takes a look at John Gillingham's polemical history of the EU

Book Review: The End of Jewish Modernity
Author Daniel Lazar reviews Enzo Traverso's The End of Jewish Modernity

Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants
Ida-Sofie Picard introduces Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants – as told to Jenny Nelson

Book review: Angry White People: Coming Face to Face With the British Far-Right
Hilary Aked gets close up with the British far right in Hsiao-Hung Pai's latest release

University should not be a debt factory
Sheldon Ridley spoke to students taking part in their first national demonstration.