Paddy Hoey
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A republican digital counterculture?
Fourthwrite and the Blanket
in Shinners, Dissos and Dissenters
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In the early 2000s, the Internet, the blogosphere and new online medias were said to have recreated and expanded the countercultural political uprisings of the late 1960s. The radicalism of the underground press, equality, anti-war and anti-colonial movements never quite managed the translate their counter-hegemonic activism into a dynamic restructuring of politics in the West. However, academics and activists saw potential in the Internet to offer a space with which to counter the narratives of political elites, capitalism, globalisation and the domination of western corporations. In Ireland, a group of writers, led by former republican prisoners, developed an activist media space that was critical of Sinn Féin, dissidents and the dominant narratives of the Peace Process. The print magazine Fourthwrite and the online magazine The Blanket, harnessed old and new technology to provide a sustained countercultural critique of their times. That they sustained themselves for much of the 2000s without a specific political vehicle or purpose while producing some of the most compelling and inclusive writing about the times is testament to the opportunities that technology provides for committed modern activists.

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Shinners, Dissos and Dissenters

Irish republican media activism since the Good Friday Agreement


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