Black to Grey to Black: Lessons From Two Decades of Online Activism

Politics & Society
re:publica 2014

Short thesis: 

There's no museum of online activism; its history is told as a series of disconnected events. Without perspective, we are left to guess what will work next, while scrambling to recreate elements of earlier successes. What can we learn from two decades of online protests? What has made these campaigns work where so many others have failed? And how can the bloggers, activists, and others at re:publica take these lessons and apply them to the wild web of today—and tomorrow?

Description: 

There's no museum of online activism; its history is told as a series of disconnected events. Without perspective, we are left to guess what will work next, while scrambling to recreate elements of earlier successes. This talk aims to provide some of that perspective by focusing on three keystone events in the battle for online free speech: 1996's Black World Wide Web protest and the subsequent Blue Ribbon Campaign; 2004's Grey Tuesday to protest censorship by copyright; and 2012's SOPA Blackout protests and ACTA street actions. What can we learn from two decades of online protests? What has made these campaigns work where so many others have failed? And how can the bloggers, activists, and others at re:publica take these lessons and apply them to the wild web of today—and tomorrow?

stage 3
Tuesday, May 6, 2014 -
13:00 to 13:30
English
Talk
Beginner

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