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Poland: The ‘Web Kids’ Manifesto’

Originally written by the Polish photographer and poet Piotr Czerski [pl] (see Wikipedia for his biography in Polish), the ‘Web Kids’ Manifesto‘ is now appearing on the web in many other languages since its publication on February 11, 2012, in the Polish regional newspaper, Dziennik Baltycki.

The manifesto expresses the sense of community of a whole generation born alongside the arrival of the networks and Internet. It also proclaims the affinity of young people around the world with the emergence of an original global culture and the desire to participate in the circulation of cultural goods, beyond the legal or geographical frontiers arbitrarily imposed.

According to Czerski, the manifesto is evidence of this generation’s desire to distance itself from the power relations inherited from the established authorities [pl]:

Piotr Czerski, author of 'Web Kids" Manifesto'. Photo from his blog, under licence CC 3.

Piotr Czerski, author of 'Web Kids" Manifesto'. Photo from his blog, under licence CC 3.

Nie ma w nas tej wynikającej z onieśmielenia pokornej akceptacji, jaka cechowała naszych rodziców – przekonanych o nadzwyczajnej wadze spraw urzędowych i odświętnym charakterze interakcji z państwem. Nie czujemy tego respektu, który brał się z odległości między samotnym obywatelem, a majestatycznymi szczytami „władzy”, majaczącymi gdzieś pośród mgieł.

There is not a trace in us of that humble acceptance displayed by our parents, who were convinced that administrative issues were of utmost importance and who considered interaction with the state as something to be celebrated. We do not feel that respect, rooted in the distance between the lonely citizen and the majestic heights where the ruling class reside, barely visible through the clouds.

This generation opposes private interest groups’ institutional regulations and the control these groups exert over personal information and common cultural goods. It also expresses its need for transparency, freedom, and a “true and real democracy” [pl]:

Być może nie nazwaliśmy tego dotąd, być może jeszcze sami nie zdajemy sobie z tego sprawy – ale tym, czego chcemy, jest chyba po prostu prawdziwa, realna demokracja. Demokracja, o której być może nie śniło się nawet waszym publicystom.

Perhaps we have not yet given it a name, perhaps we are not yet fully aware of it, but I guess what we want is real, genuine democracy. Democracy that, perhaps, is more than is dreamt of in your journalism.

It is a demand more current than ever within the context of the opposition to the ACTA agreement, where the risk of curtailing freedoms is intensely perceived, especially in Eastern Europe [fr].

This manifesto and the reactions it has sparked off everywhere in the world in such a short time, are proof of the desire for freedom, democracy, and transparency that deeply questions our societies. This desire is expressed by those who, from now on, are the willing protagonists of globalization, and who will be the critical citizens of the web over the next decades. The tide has turned, no doubt about it.

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