The Blog — Technology and Social Movements
Social movements and campaigns for social change that harness new technologies, like the internet and mobile phones.
Last week, several thousand Green Movement supporters walked along Tehran's Vali-e-Asr Street to reenact the silent protest that followed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's controversial reelection on June 12, 2009. The scene was quite different from two years ago, when the city's daily flow froze as millions of emboldened citizens took to the street, asking "Where is my vote?" in one powerful, collective voice.
From CNN: CNN correspondent Amber Lyon reports from the digital edges of the democratic revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, and Bahrain on the movements spreading through North Africa and the Middle East.
After the unexpected events of 2011 (think: Arab Spring), it's unsurprising that the Personal Democracy Forum conference in New York City, an event the explores the intersection between politics and technology, is focusing a little more on global politics than in years past. Indeed, there's a whole track devoted to "global digital activism."
Coverage of the green movement has more than fallen to the wayside in most media but, rest assured, it still exists. International supporters, as we learned in 2009, can only do so much to keep a movement going and help it to be successful, but what global civil society can do is important and worth highlighting and building on. Here are some ventures I’ve come across recently that seem to be doing cool/important work in this arena.
Remember London? Before we became riveted by uprisings in North Africa and Wisconsin, late last year tens of thousands of high school and university students took to London's streets to protest massive tuition hikes and education cuts. What started as a day of action in November led to occupations on campuses across the country, clashes with police, and marches throughout the winter.
Since late February, Cameroonians have been organizing a protest movement against the government of President Paul Biya, who has been in power since 1982 and is running for re-election later this year. In an effort to further stifle opposition members from organizing demonstrations, the Cameroonian government suspended access to Twitter via SMS for MTN Telecom customers "for security reasons."
State security forces are getting more and more nervous about attempts by citizens to use Facebook to stir up unrest an express dissenting opinions. In the past few weeks, arrests have been made in Azerbaijan, Zimbabwe, and Sudan for activists who have shared messages of solidarity or planned protest activists via the social networking site.
What does this mean for Facebook and activism? For one thing, it only underscores the importance of allowing activists to use the site anonymously. If you agree, then head over to Access Now's petition of Facebook to do just this. And if you have thoughts about the role of anonymity on Facebook, or other ways activists could be staying safer when they use the site, let us know!
Following a number of protests held in the United Kingdom against increases to tuition fees, a group of tech-savvy activists have created a new mobile app to help keep demonstrators informed while on the ground and to avoid kettling. Sukey takes reports fielded through a number of tools, filters out misinformation, and updates what's happening in real time on a map. Smartphone users can check updates on the live map, while feature phone users can receive SMS from Sukey with frequent updates.
Android, the open-source mobile operating system developed by Google, is quickly becoming the smartphone of choice for activists. It’s growing in popularity around the world, recently becoming the number two smartphone in the world behind Nokia’s Symbian operating system and outranks the iPhone in the U.S. Here are 5 reasons why Android should be on any activist's radar.
Over the course of 18 days, Egyptian citizens took to the streets demanding that President Hosni Mubarak step down. Check out our detailed timeline of the day-to-day events that both challenged and inspired Egyptians to rise up against the authoritarian regime, ultimately resulting in Mubarak's resignation.