Tuesday, 4 January 2011

A New Way to Protest

It's seen as forward thinking by a lot of the press these days to talk about the 'revolution' of new media. Social networking in particular is supposed to be changing the way we do things. As yet, this revolution is young, there really isn't much tangible evidence of a really dramatic shift in the way we do things. But there are shoots starting to break through.

The new way to get your voice heard.
It was visible at the student protests, not the ones organised by the NUS, but the ones following it that were spread by word of mouth and networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. They allowed a whole mass of people who shared a view come together despite having no affiliation to a common organisation. The UK Uncut protests use Twitter in particular to arrange spontaneous demonstrations which close down business at Vodafone and Topshop, and other tax-dodging multi-nationals.

But one site in particular is fostering this new way of doing things to bring people together, with no political or other affiliation (though slightly centre-left leaning), to protest on common interests. 38 degrees (Named after the angle at which an avalanche begins) has been gathering supporters in order to have mass participation actions against perceived injustices. They've successfully campaigned for a bankers bonus tax, ensured an inquiry into the Murdoch takeover of BSkyB, delayed plans to renew Trident and lobbied for a rise in Capital Gains Tax, plus much more you can find here.

If successful, places like 38 degrees could be the places where politics is won and lost, not in the major political parties with their ever declining memberships and need to please partisan activists. In the early days of the digital revolution in politics 38 degrees members have performed nearly 1.4 million actions, be it signing a petition or phoning their MP.

You can find them, and their campaigns, here.

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