Cyberwar and Revolution

March 06, 2020

Nick Dyer-Witheford, Svitlana Matviyenko & Samir Gandesha

Friday, March 6, 6:00PM–9:00PM, Room 1430, SFU Harbour Centre

Co-sponsored by SFU's School of Communication, Digital Democracies Group, and Institute for the Humanities

Register for the event HERE!


The School of Communication’s Book + Speaker Series is a space in which the School engages with recently published books by faculty and other members of the School community. A selected reading will be circulated well in advance to allow for informed discussion between the audience and author. The event is moderated by an invited respondent. The monthly series is conceived as a social event where faculty and students come together regularly to celebrate the achievements of our scholarly community, think critically, pose questions and search for new avenues for research and activism. 

About the Book

Concerns about cyberwar have drastically increased following global surveillance, computational propaganda, online espionage, large-scale data breaches, hacked nuclear centrifuges and power grids. Identifiable occurrences include the alleged Russian hacking of the U.S. presidential election and the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The book Cyberwar and Revolution: Digital Subterfuge in Global Capitalism takes up the task of uncovering the class conflicts, geopolitical dynamics, and aggressive capitalism propelling the militarization of the internet. This book argues that digital warfare is not a bug in the logic of global capitalism but rather a feature of its chaotic, disorderly unconscious. Nick Dyer-Witheford and Svitlana Matviyenko examine the concept of cyberwar through the lens of both Marxist critical theory and psychoanalysis and highlight the critical importance of the emergent resistance to this digital militarism—hacktivism, digital worker dissent, and off-the-grid activism—for effecting different, better futures. The book is a recipient of the Science, Technology, and Art in International Relations (STAIR) Award of 2019 by the International Studies Association (ISA).

Suggested Readings 

Introduction: You May Not Be Interested in Cyberwar
Chapter 3: What Is to Be Done? 

Panel Presentations 

The book will serve as a reference for the topics to be addressed by the panelists including: 

Nick Dyer-Witheford - "Cyberwar and the New Urban Uprisings, Fake News and Cyber-Fascism" 
Svitlana Matviyenko - "There Is No Fake News" 
Samir Gandesha - "Is there a Cyber-Fascism?" 

The discussion will be moderated by Zoe Druick. 

About the Participants 

Nick Dyer-Witheford is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at the University of Western Ontario. He is the author of Cyber-Marx: Cycles and Circuits of Struggle in High Technology Capitalism (Illinois UP, 1999) and Cyber-Proletariat: Global Labour in the Digital Vortex (Pluto Press, 2015), and has also written on the video and computer game industry, the uses of the Internet by social movements and theories of technology. Two recent books are co-authorships: with Svitlana Matviyenko, Cyberwar and Revolution: Digital Subterfuge in Global Capitalism (Minnesota UP, 2019), and, with Atle Mikkola Kjøsen and James Steinhoff, Inhuman Power: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Capitalism (Pluto Press, 2019). 

Svitlana Matviyenko is an Assistant Professor of Critical Media Analysis in the School of Communication. Her research and teaching are focused on political economy of information, social and mobile media, infrastructure studies, history of science, cybernetics and psychoanalysis. She writes about the networking drive and user complicity; practices of resistance and mobilization; legacies of the Soviet techno-politics, including the Chernobyl catastrophe; information and cyberwar. She is a co-editor of The Imaginary App (MIT Press, 2014) and Lacan and the Posthuman (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). With Nick Dyer-Witheford, Svitlana co-authored Cyberwar and Revolution: Digital Subterfuge in Global Capitalism (Minnesota UP, 2019). 

Samir Gandesha is an Associate Professor in the Department of the Humanities and the Director of the Institute for the Humanities at Simon Fraser University. He specializes in modern European thought and culture, with emphasis on the relation between politics, aesthetics, and psychoanalysis. He has contributed chapters to numerous volumes including The Cambridge Companion to Adorno (2003), The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Thought (2014) and The Sage Handbook on Frankfurt School Critical Theory (2018), as well as to a wide range of journals including New German Critique and The American Journal of Psychoanalysis. He is co-editor of Arendt and Adorno: Political and Philosophical Investigations (Stanford UP, 2012) and Spell of Capital: Reification and Spectacle (Amsterdam UP, 2017). 

The event is open to the public. Drinks and snacks will be served.