Networks conduct netwar protests as opposed to institutions. Netwar protests are shaped by decentralized command and control structures; are resistant to "decapitation" attacks targeting leaders, and are amorphous enough to weld together coalitions with significantly different agendas while concentrating forces on a single symbolic target.
The diffuse communications network of netwar protests allows protesters to continuously adapt to changing conditions. The consultative form of decision-making enhances the ability to coordinate large-scale actions, rendering attempts to arrest "ringleaders" fruitless, since leadership is widely shared throughout the network of protest groups. The communications network is continuously expanded and modified.
Netwar protest is inherently less violent than other forms of protest, particularly when it involves non-governmental organizations dedicated to human rights and peace causes. One of the first full-blown manifestations of netwar protest was the Zapatista conflict in Chiapas. The networked intervention of international groups placed very real limits on the use of violence by the Mexican government in supressing the insurrection.
Independent Media Centers were established in Seattle during the WTO protests and in Washington, D.C. during the IMF protests. They focus on the protest marches, rallies and what they perceived as police misconduct and brutality. Information indicated that members of the IMC conducted counter surveillance of law enforcement. They also monitored broadcasts of police radio communications and provided real ttme broadcasts of same over the Internet. The IMC provided communications between groups of demonstrators and orchestrated their movements.
2. The netwar spectrum includes a new generation of revolutionaries, radicals, and activists who are just beginning to create information-age ideologies, in which identities and loyalties may shift from the nation-state to the transnational level of "global civil society."