Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Second Front

Have people heard of this thing Second Life? It's a virtual world where people go online and, well, make a second life for themselves. One where they are, presumably, not friendless computer geeks.

The novel thing about this game is that it is completely open ended so, unlike many other games that have clear objectives, points systems, winners, losers, etc, the pleasure of playing is the aim of the game. In fact in the last two months over 1.3 million people have been participating in an alternative life.

Players get jobs as DJs to play real music at other people's online parties, become clothes designers or just wander about chatting to people. Suzanne Vega even performed live there. The game has millions of players and the online currency even has an exchange rate into the real world which makes it big business with millions of dollars exchanging hands.

However, if you thought you could escape political activism by going into the virtual realm, think again. The Second Life Liberation Army is waging a war for democratic change and demanding that players have a real say over where the game-world is going. According to the Metro The SLLA "is detonating computer versions of atomic bombs in a campaign to establish universal suffrage in the world, which is inhabited by more than four million people from across the world. According to its website, the SLLA is the 'military wing of a national liberation movement within second life' dedicated to establish democracy, handing residents a vote in the direction of the world."

Equally, the far-right has set up the first party headquarters in the realm with the French FN setting up shop. Of course this has met with a vitriolic response from "Second Life Left Unity" who are picketing the headquarters and are determined to wage a campaign until the fascists are driven from the virtual world. A world without borders. SLLU, whose headquarters are on the "Scotland sim" have also produced anti-war T-Shorts (pictured), demonstrated at "Capitol Hill" and appear to be connected to the SSP in some way, good on them.

If I had time or the energy I'd join in. But I don't. On the one hand you can see how it's impossible to escape the real world and its concerns and on the other I'd have real worries if someone spent all day and night trying to save the cyber-environment as the cold water rose ever higher around their ankles.

Also see here for more on similar theme


Second Life Left Unity said...

Maybe when you have the time you will join in... but I want to correct one part of this article - the SLLU was not set up in reaction to the FN's presence. The SLLU had already been running for a number of months, with an HQ on Scotland sim. It now has, as well as continued the fight against fn on sl, raised the issue of the US attitude towards Iraq and has staged protests on "Capitol Hill" sim. This takes the issues to gamers - somewhere politics has been elswhere reduced to shoot'em ups and pimp mobiles...

Jim Jepps said...

Thanks for the correction - I've altered the text slightly to correct and add some info (and a nice pic of one of your TShirts)

Anonymous said...

Yes, who has the time to do all this. I love your pics. thanks for alerting me to your post.

Anonymous said...

Sorry - doing a tacking of articles related to SLLU.

SLLA was disbanded as it was "outed" as an online "tracker" organisation - ie. one that was sponsored by corporations to keep an eye on people who may cause trouble. It was also being used to promote real life business sites on Second life (by "bombing" them, they were getting extra publicity).

SLLU, however, continues as a Left Unity group on Secojnd Life, helping bring people together with diverse interests on the left of politics, from sexism through to anti-fascism, anti-war, anti-G8, real life Union issues etc.

Jim Jepps said...

Thanks for this Plot Tracer!