Dispatch 18/12: Make pills not bombs, geotagged protest 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.

Your online followers really do matter. Social scientists at the University of Pennsylvania describe how the “critical periphery” (online networks reachable by on the ground activists) play a key role in extending reach and impact. Changing your Facebook profile photo may not be marching in the streets but it can have measurable results.

Place-based people focused climate campaigns are not only possible but essential to creating the kind of long-lasting movements that engage and support communities directly impacted by climate change. Farhad Ebrahimi writes for funders and movement builders in Medium about the Chorus Foundation’s insights after a decade of funding climate work.

“When white supremacists attack you with violence, increase the pressure of your nonviolent action,” reads the 1960’s civil rights playbook applied by the Minnesota #Blacklivesmatter movement after the November 22 shootings that left five of their protesters wounded. In Waging Nonviolence, Celia Kutz details the movement’s rapid response organizing and resolve not be silenced by violent attacks.

“Make pills not bombs”, urges civic tech savant Tom Steinberg in a thought-provoking look at which digital innovations lead to more lasting social change. The birth control pill, in his analogy, is an example of a “permanent power shifting” technology, in regards to its enduring impact on the empowerment of women. Most activist tech innovations, Steinberg argues, are like the atom bomb – temporarily empowering one side until the other catches up.

A look at the micro-funding success of groups like Avaaz and SumOfUs on Mashable reveals their capacity to support themselves almost entirely through the small online donations their members provide. The scale and lack of strings attached to these funds can free advocates to more nimbly respond to crisis and new issues. It’s an approach we’re seeing more of as crowdfunding tools and techniques become more accessible to campaigns and users alike.

Thousands use geolocation to spell out massive message across streets of ParisJust the coordinates, please.Thousands of people took to the streets of Paris (and their smartphones) last Saturday to spell out a massive call for climate justice. Participants used geolocation on their phones to know exactly where to go and shared countless photos of the day on their social streams (Friends of the Earth compiled many of them).


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