New Rules for Radicals?
Since my last posting on the blog, I’ve been in the office putting together the skeleton for the organising handbook which will accompany our Diploma in Organising course next year. I’m finishing that all up to start to make amendments to our courses next week. Today is my literature review where I’m reading and re-reading journal articles, chapters, and books that not only fit alongside our programme, but also make you think.
One such book is Taking on the System: Rules for Radical Change in a Digital Era by Markos Moulitsas, founder of the Daily Kos.
It’s been described as a Rules for Radicals for the 21st Century, helping activists get to grips with what activism is in the digital world and I bought the book a few years, originally thinking it was a ‘how to’ on clicktivism, but instead, it was a series of stories that showed how online activism could work. Markos describes this book in a posting and the quote that’s been pulled out by others jumped at me too –
‘It’s no secret that I have little love for the old-school street protest model of activism – not because I’m opposed to street theater, but because it’s simply not effective in today’s world. So how do you change the world in today’s world, with its fragmented media landscape, with democratizing technologies, with dramatic changes in how we interact with each other, and with a culture evolving at neck-breaking speeds?’
This year we saw 500,000 people march for an alternative to the austerity measures that are being taken by this Government. Would Markos say that the march was and would be ineffective? And by what measure are we gauging effectiveness?
I think it’s a question of what your overall goals are. For me as an organiser, it’s not so simple as winning on an issue, there and then; it’s about creating a sustainable activism culture that continues to grow and develop. Clicktivism is great for the short hit of doing something but to really organise people around issues takes some of the ‘old-school’ methods that Markos eschews. Activism is a buffet, you pick what you need, when you need it.
Be interesting to hear your thoughts on the book. Even though you have to get it sent from the States it’s worth a read.