Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

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All dressed up an nowhere to go
When I was in Switzerland, I met someone who was protesting the Davos meeting I attended in January. He gave me one of the hooded sweatshirts that they wore. At first glance, it looked like a normal hooded sweatshirt, but when you zip it up, it quite conveniently covers most of your face. Best looking "protest wear" I've seen. My theory is that most protesters protest to get stuff like this and because it's fun.

Update: etoy.ROCK gave me the sweatshirt. Thanks ROCK!



You are probably the only GLOT who looks on both sides of the fence. Cool.

The same goes for Japan and the United States.

We need more people like you.


superb. i want mine. give us a URL, or an email then:-)

and yes, i agree with Roger: it's good when your perspective is capable of pervading and integrating diametrically opposite worldviews.

My theory is IMF and World-Bank types screw over 3rd world nations to get stuff and because its fun ;)

I like the sweatshirt. From marketing point of view, I think protesters might consider this form of political pressure and source of funding more seriously. Even if the wearer doesn't agree with their views, they are more likely to look closer at the issues.

Protesters were them coz they is ugly and are embarresed to be seen in public.

Beats a paper bag and keeps out the cold..


I think protesters protest because they think there's something wrong with the way things are being done, and there isn't a viable forum for expressing beliefs that run contrary to the mainstream.

I agree with hm...; so much of the world is based around greed (i.e., "multilateral trade agreements"). To brush off the content of the protests, instead focusing on market-based "4ct1v5t-w4r3z" is *not* "integrative" or reflective of "looking on both sides of the fence".

But I look meaner in my custom fashion :)

Joi: "My theory is that most protesters protest to get stuff like this and because it's fun."

Protesting can be fun, but my hunch is that for most of us, its fun comes from a sort of catharsis. We feel joy because we are expressing something that we need to express, something that has long been repressed.

Some (a very small number) of the people on this planet have little of importance to say, but have a voice. They have always had a voice. For a very long time, they had the only voice there was.

There are a very lot of people on this planet who have something to say, but who until recently, have never had a voice. Now they are beginning to have a voice through the Internet. (to the great consternation of some, predictably) Cool!

One of the reasons I got involved with the Internet is because I see it as a medium where the voiceless can find their voice. Lets hope it remains that way.

I agree that protest is often just for fun. I experienced this when I passed some neo-nazis in eastern Germany. They were merely kids standing before a railway station, and apparently enjoyed their discussions with the police.

It seemed to me to be a glimpse of adventure in a boring world for these kids,...

now you wont have ploblems to go to the protesters next time. and i know you will go.
thanks for your open mind!

like roger said: we need more people like you.
and if you blog a pic you wearing this shirt inside the conference you gonna be a king!


... My theory is that most protesters protest to get stuff like this and because it's fun. ...

i like the fact that you wear this sweater and post the image here, but the last sentence of your image caption has put me off quite a bit, i must say. i think protesting the WEF is much more serious than just fun & cool sweaters. i realise, that you have probably been ironic here, but this is sort of an insult to lots of people's clairity of motive and intention. the WEF protests have been happening for years now, and i know they are not only a fad.

Just some info re. fun:
We have been blocked on the way to the protest, encircled by international police forces for the hole day around a train station.
When tensions got higher, we consumed a lot of teargas and collected hundreds of rubber bullets.
If you like it call it fun, otherwise better keep away!

My apologies to the "serious" protestors. I agree that for some people it is a serious business and I'm not trying to downplay the importance of the protests. I still believe that most protests are triggered by a few people who have clear understanding of the issues. Many protestors participate as part of a community, rather than a deep understanding of the issues. This is a personal opinion after discussing with a number of random protestors about what exactly they wanted to happen. I also heard a similar story with someone who was trying to write a story about the protestors. I think protesting the war is easier to understand, but protesting "globalization" is a fairly complex issue.

For protests to be successful, you need to recruit people. To recruit people you need to make it fun. I know "fun" may not be the right word, but you need to make it interesting. I've participated in protests myself and have participated in citizen movements. Recruiting people is key.

So, I apologize for making it sound "trivial". I know rubber bullets hurt and tear gas is not fun. But it IS exciting and memorable.

Also, I do think the protests have had an impact on WEF's positioning and operations.

your pictures (& statements) landed on indymedia. i'm glad these guys read your blog! ;-)

i also was irritated about your last statement for a second. it can be interpreted in a simple way. but i like and support this kind of irony. in the core you say somthing that a lot of protesters have to learn if they want to have impact: entertainment value matters in our -and their- world. and we dont fight a terrible nazi system here. globalization is a bit more complicated and we are all part of the mess. sure: some profit much more than others.

without irony, fun and contradictions we are fucked anyhow...on "both" sides of the fence. the problem with certain politicians and power players is that they dont allow too much contradiction and control the armed forces. they are more than happy that most protesters are not able to express their doubts.

the fact that they have this sweat shirts is a good sign! as long as they design and distribute such things they are still thinking ;-)

one thing remains: the doubts of many people - even if they can not express it very well.

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Our friend, advisor, and World Economic Forum particpant Joi Ito, is all dressed up with nowhere to go.. having just blogged the masked anti-davos sweater that etoy.AGENT-ROCK gave him at the OTHER exclusive mountain meeting. Joi represents Japan at... Read More

Did you know you can buy riot gear? So here is the question, what is stopping anti-Globalization protestors from arming themselves just as well as the cops are armored? I mean the Davos sweatshirts are cool, but the don't provide... Read More