When over a thousand women convened in Worcester, Massachusetts on October 23, 1850, it was the first national convention for women’s rights and the most broadly organized gathering of women activists in history. Attendees were asked to “give an earnest thought and effective effort to… the general question of Woman’s Rights and Relations [including]: Her Education, Literary, Scientific, and Artistic; Her Avocations, Industrial, Commercial, and Professional; Her Interests, Pecuniary, Civil, and Political; in a word Her Rights as an Individual, and her Functions as a Citizen.” The convention resulted in the first coalition of formally organized committees for women’s rights and, some seventy years later, eventuated in US women’s vote and a worldwide women’s movement.
Tag Archives: digital activism
By T.V. Reed
My topic will be the impact of new digital media on visual protest art, but before I take up that subject, let me briefly offer a few comments on digital protest methods in general. It seems to me that there are very few things that have been traditionally done by grassroots organizing that cannot be done also by netroots (online) organizing. And there are some clear advantages for digital activism in terms of speed, geographic reach, and costs of communication. There is also one huge limitation—roughly 70 percent of the world’s populace has no access to the Internet at all, and many millions more have minimal access. That represents some 5 billion people who cannot be reached by digital means of communication alone. That is one reason that no digital activist worth her of his salt would rely exclusively on the Net. Even in this case, however, a variety of digital means are being used to help reach the offline world, including low-cost printing of posters, flyers, banners and alternative newspapers, as well as digital radio broadcasts, and cheap CDs and DVDs containing organizing materials. Continue reading
What’s the Difference Between Mainstream and Activist Journalists? From the IMC at the WTO to the PPL at the DNC
Countless news stories tout how the Internet has transformed this election, but how has political media coverage shifted in the digital age? To help understand this question, it’s useful to recall one of the birthplaces of political movements and Internet reporting.
When I was preparing to go to the recent Democratic National Convention (DNC) to research labor and activist groups, I was intrigued when a friend connected me to The PPL, a blogging space in Charlotte for non-credentialed journalists. It reminded me of the Independent Media Center (IMC) in Seattle during the protests against the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1999. Continue reading
Why do you click “like” on an organization’s page on Facebook? Possibly to show support for the group. But if you’re like me, I also want to get occasional updates in my newsfeed about current activities and actions of the group or cause. However, to boost the chance that subscribers see more of a group’s posts, Facebook is now charging them money for “promoted posts.” This policy change points to the continuing challenge to the utopic idea that costs have been virtually eliminated for virtual activists.
Digital activism is not “flat,” or without hierarchies, when it is dependent on money and stratification, a fancy sociology word for social class divisions based on power relations. As more social movements and organizations become dependent on these types of social media platforms, they are also more and more tethered to corporations with the end goal being profit. Ultimately, rather than leveling the playing field of activism, people with more money will have an advantage of getting their message out – which crowds out the grassroots viral ideal of digital democracy. It doesn’t make it impossible for un-promoted posts to be seen, but your Facebook feed could be jammed with people paying to be in it. Continue reading