Insurgency Online: Web Activism and Global Conflict


173 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-8020-8553-9
DDC 303.48'33




Reviewed by J.L. Granatstein

J.L. Granatstein, Distinguished Research Professor of History Emeritus,
York University, served as Director of the Canadian War Museum from 1998
to 2000. His latest works are Who Killed Canadian History?, Who Killed
the Canadian Military, and Hell’s Cor


The Internet has changed the way people work and think, and it certainly
has become a way of shaping and influencing opinion. Dartnell, a
historian at the University of New Brunswick, Saint John, examines
online activism, the way non-governmental organizations and movements
(not terrorist groups or hackers) develop support for their aims. His
argument is that the Internet shapes perceptions, even though it reaches
a demographic relatively limited in size and by class and education. But
the base is expanding daily, and increasingly it reaches the unemployed
and rootless, the groups most open to radical solutions. That, however,
is not Dartnell’s subject.

To make his case he focuses on three groups who use the Internet as a
media tool: anti-Taliban Afghan women, anti-Fujimori Peruvian
revolutionaries, and Irish “Green” Marxists. The latter group, he
suggests, would simply never have been heard of without the Internet,
but each of these groups could react quickly, use text and images to
make its case, and affect viewers. As Arthur Kroker notes in his
introduction, concepts like the state are no longer enough to explain
present political experience, and Dartnell’s book points to a future
that may not be very comfortable.


Dartnell, Michael Y., “Insurgency Online: Web Activism and Global Conflict,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 28, 2024,