Recent marches, rallies, and other forms of collective action happening around the world show that more people are recognizing their role in resisting, fighting back, and reclaiming democracy. Such actions are mainly a reaction to the recent developments rooted in strengthened populism and right-wing parties.
In the era of social media, digital technology, and political marketing, we easily forget the critical role of leadership, organizing, and collective action in turning resources we have into the power we need. The promise of social media has too often encouraged advocacy to mobilize individuals for momentary action that rarely turns into sustainable sources of power.
Recently, Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics hosted a session “#Democracy on Fire: Twitter, Social Movements, and the Future of Dissent” hosting three amazing speakers: Marshall Ganz, Wael Ghonim, and Zeynep Tufekci, moderated by David Eaves.
In a very lively discussion, speakers brought their opinions, real-life experience, and metaphors that get you engaged in thinking about impact of organizing vs. mobilizing. The main conclusion of the panel could be summarized simply: in order to be able to turn those sparks of collective agency to a capacity for a strategic response, we need to build a power and a “steering wheel” that will enable us to act strategically and adapt our tactics once we face the push back.
Enjoy watching the video and ask yourself? What is the change that you are trying to make? And are you building the capacity on the ground to achieve it?