Friday, April 3, 2009

Internet and New Social Movements

The internet is a liberating and democratic force that directly challenges systems of domination, it has spread consciousness of questionable labour practices occurring in developing nations and has increased human agency (help mobilize new social movements). New technologies have opened up possibilities for activism and resistance against transnational corporations. Nike is a popular example of one of these corporations that has taken part in unfair labour conditions in developing nations. During the early 1990’s consumers became concerned about the labour conditions of workers in developing nations and started to become involved. Concerning elements for activists were: the health and safety of workers, the discrimination against trade unions, forced overtime, unfair wages, high production quotas and unsafe and inadequate onsite living arrangements.
Online activism has the potential to be incredibly powerful...but I think that the physical presence of actually picketing and protesting cannot be matched in an online setting. I think that the two forms of activism: online and offline complement each other. Having an online forum to meet, collaborate and plan actual physical meets and protests make online activism incredibly useful; as a viable means of global communication online activism has allowed groups and individuals from across the world the opportunity to meet and share their opinions and ideas. It is hard to say whether online activism will ever be comparable to traditional forms of activism (protesting/picketing) but one thing is for sure it has helped these traditional forms gain precedence and global recognition.
What do you think the future of activism will look like?

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