Dispatch 11/27: Data driven advocacy, Rickrolling ISIS and more

In collaboration with Mobilisation Lab, here is a recent roundup of grassroots-powered movement news from around the world. To receive the Mobilisation Lab Dispatch directly each week, please sign up here. If you have ideas for reports that should be in future Dispatches, please contact me here.

Data-driven advocacy is the daily work of two scientists who are leveraging this approach for local environmental protection. Whether the issues are the dangers of fracking or the invasive spread of cane toads, people are crowdsourcing analysis of digital incident reports from open government sources to make stronger, and more visually compelling, cases for policy change.

“A protest goes viral in no time flat,” Tyrone Howard, a Dean at UCLA, told the LA Times in a recent article about what’s different in today’s student activism. Social media has changed the way student protests work, Howard said. This isn’t just a U.S. story. In recent months, students mobilisations in South Africa, Hong Kong, Taiwan and elsewhere have used social networks to quickly connect with global movements and amplify messages.

10 Ways People Power Can Change the World, our latest toolkit, highlights key ways people are fueling social change with today’s tech and proven organising principles. We hope this helps you build your own people-powered campaign with insights from dozens of examples gathered from Greenpeace, allies and other innovative change-makers.

Nothing grows grassroots politics like austerity policies. Just as the European financial crisis gave rise to Podemos in Spain and Syriza in Greece, the IMF’s proposed austerity measures sparked the #A12J civil society protest coalition in Puerto Rico this summer. This time, it’s Ireland’s turn with the Right2Change movement, a political group that rose in opposition to proposed levies on the country’s drinking water, currently working outside traditional party lines.

In an example for corporate campaigners, Mexican journalists have built NarcoData using the Poderopedia platform. El Daily Post explains how NarcoData uncovers and explains relationships between people, companies and organizations (ht to Robin Perkins at Greenpeace Mexico).

The fight to preserve social media as a tool for human rights activism involves ongoing pressure from groups like Access, who pressure Twitter and Facebook to secure the privacy of dissident communications from the prying eyes of repressive regimes.

Five simple rules for systems change. Use metrics that track behaviour change and build on trends by better listening to what’s happening in systems.Srik Gopal and John Kania’s useful insights into systems change for foundations can be picked up by many organisation and campaign leaders looking to create broader social impacts.

People powered platforms. In The Internet Needs a New EconomyNathan Schneider and Trebor Scholz write that venture capital heads primarily to short-term returns for few people and offers little social benefit. Their work, tied to a recent two-day conference on Platform Cooperativism (tweets here), portends efforts to give people more agency in how Internet platforms are created and run.


Anonymous members launch rickroll attack against ISIS Twitter accountsAnyonymous pulled out the most legendary of memes—rickrolling—in its online fight against ISIS last week when it promised to flood all pro-ISIS hashtags with links to Rick Astley’s eponymous (and Internet famous) 1987 video. Dazed has the full story.


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