Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Activism 4.0?

Activism 4.what?
Ever since the term Activism 4.0 was coined, I suppose around the Prop 8 Protests, I've been trying to figure out, for the life of me, what the term means?

But I think I'm finally getting close.

Lately I've been totally consumed with the idea of access and global access. The Internet and the speed to which it builds upon itself allows people to communicate and access information with ease at an almost instantaneous speed. The Prop 8 Protests are a perfect example of this: An idea gets created, the bloggers link it out and social networking event pages are created. Suddenly, in a matter of a few hours, the entire nation knows about it and by lunch you're already thinking what snappy-sarcastic slogan you're going to have on your sign at the next rally. I think this is more so the idea of Activism 4.0 rather than the concept that the Marriage Equality fight is the 4th major bullet-point in the canvas of Gay History.

Granted, I still use AOL Mail (I know, ok? Don't hold it against me!) but I think by blogging or reading blogs I've been able to upgrade to Activism 4.0. I think we all are upgrading just by simply being a part or a participant in the construction of the ongoign Internet. Information, education and the sharing of ideas is now on a global scale. It's limitless!

On sale now are these ipod sized digital video cameras which can record up to an hour of footage and have built-in USB/Firewire plugs allowing for immediate upload. This simple tool is a revolution in media relay and global exposure. The cameras sell quite cheaply for around $150 bucks. Now from anywhere in the world (granted you have Internet connection) any citizen with this camera in their pocket can record footage and in a few moments have their video uploaded and accessible by whomever, whenever. It's mind boggling. Think about taking these cameras to local actions or capturing a scenario of injustice - the power now truly lies within the citizen. That's Activism 4.0!

Put it this way: In 1978 Harvey Milk said in his famous speech, "two days after I was elected I got a phone call. The voice was quite young. It was from Altoona, Pennsylvania and the person said 'Thanks."

40 years later, Activism 4.0 and this rapid global access, Milk's "thanks" from Altoona, Pennsylvania can now come from somewhere as far off as Shanghai, China and elsewhere.

Is this hitting the nail on the head or do I have to email Rex Wockner myself?


Mark said...

I understand the spontaneity portion of this, and I think it's incredible that we were able to mobilize such large demonstrations on such short notice. Technology is indeed a wonderful thing.

I don't think I like the Activism 4.0 tag much. Mr. Wockner clearly enumerates 1.0, 2.0, etc.

It's all very well and good, but it denies that anything of value happened between Stonewall(1.0) and ACT-UP (2.0), which kinda devalues the work that the Gay Activists Alliance, Gay Liberation Front and a host of in-yer-face activists like Marty Robinson, Jean O'Leary, Arthur Evans and even our beloved Harvey Milk have contributed, so that we can continue to be who we are!

After the past few "post-gay" years, I like to think of this simply as Activism Reborn.

rptrcub said...

My personal preference is to stop using version numbers. On a sarcastic, snarky note, it simply gets confusing after a while, but on a realistic note, activism is ongoing.

Yeah, it might have phases, but I'd rather see it as a fever chart that always stays above 0, but peaks upward and plateaus high from time to time.

As much as the Internet has been a valuable and lauded tool for activism, my worry is that after the initial rush, will people still remain engaged? Will people continue to go from the comfort of their homes and into the streets, and to confront bigotry and oppression face-to-face?

Or will people decide to sit at home, satisfied that they've done their bit, but not continue to fight the war?

evilganome said...

I tend to avoid using terms like, Gen X, Gen Y, etc. so I can't say I've given the idea of "activism 4.0 much thought.

AOL! Really? I feel so much less like a Ludite now.

Huw said...

Howdy (found your blog via Buffawhat, btw)

I like the Access idea as linking into this idea of Activism. But I think we (GLBT) need to draw bigger circles. Even with all of our networked stuff, we still (mostly) stay within our own circles. 4.0 needs to start reaching out across lines.

It'd be cool if we're not just getting mail from queers oppressed in other countries, but also from oppressed fill-in-the-blank who suddenly realise there's more to life, etc. It's not really "progressive" activism. There's something else here we're still missing.

Buffawhat said...

rptrcub hit it on the head...

"my worry is that after the initial rush, will people still remain engaged? Will people continue to go from the comfort of their homes and into the streets, and to confront bigotry and oppression face-to-face?"

The web, the blogosphere, and most things (snap bracelets, laser discs), are based on an initial OMGTHISISAWESOME! followed by a plateau, and then we move on to the next big thing.

The problem with this current form of activism is that it seems like the term for activism has to be reinvented after every attempt in order to control and move it.

Gosh, I just fell into it (LGBT Activism) last week, and its already changing again.

Jay said...

I could never do what you do so i'm glad you're out there. But really?! AOL mail? lol

RG said...

I remember when cameras had film and phones had cords. Sigh....