The LA Review of books has a fascinating profile of Berlin's Chaos Computer Club (CCC) by Jane Cavalier. The CCC emerged in the divided Berlin of the eighties and then played a prominent role in the radical activism and art scenes in the city throughout the nineties. Today it helps organize conferences and actions against surveillance and the corporatization of the internet.
Since this public debut, the CCC has been central to hacktivism’s transition in Berlin from a little-known subculture into a powerful and highly visible arm of the city’s activist left. The CCC’s origins reveal how Berlin’s not-too-distant culture of surveillance, censorship, and police control served as an incubator for a subterranean hive of hackers with bristling sensitivity to these topics. Although the club was founded in Hamburg in 1981, Berlin became the natural home for its particular brand of activism, due to a combination of the city’s political significance as the German capital, its progressive music and arts scene, and the tension between its dual East-West histories. The CCC’s mission statement describes the organization as “providing information about technical and societal issues, such as surveillance, privacy, freedom of information, hacktivism, [and] data security.” For decades, the CCC has staged public hacks to advocate for political change and call attention to the possible implications of technology, good and bad.
Image: Still from music video for “Revolution Action” by Atari Teenage Riot.