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On 24 April 2016, more than 70,000 tweets through multiple hashtags coalesced into the largest street protest across multiple cities in Mexico against gender-based violence. In India, Dalit women are foregrounding their realities on the agenda for change, forging political kinship between movements and distances by deftly employing social media and art in their strategies. In South Africa, university students across the country organised one of the largest post-apartheid movements under the banner #FeesMustFall to tangibly shift the discourse in the privatisation of post-secondary public education and addressing structural and systemic inequality.
In all of the cases, the movement building happened through lateral and diffused organising and collective imagination, co-creation and action by multiple nodes in a vast network of agents for change. What these stories demonstrate is the shifting terrain of our movements, and the fluidity of spaces for our political acts of expression, occupation, re-territorialisation, solidarity and resistance. Internet technologies have become stitched into the landscape of our organising and politics of engagement. However, this landscape is rapidly changing, with new opportunities, horizons, possibilities, and also challenges.
To respond to this emerging reality, the Association for Progressive Communications is collaborating with Mama Cash, CREA, FRIDA, Urgent Action Fund, Astraea and AWID to organise a four-day convening to bring together actors who are differently located within movement building work to reflect, question, imagine and create by asking ourselves and each other:
● How is movement building in a digital age expressed in different locations?
● What are the connective junctures of shared concerns, needs and learnings?
● What must we pay attention to as backlash and attacks occur in the different spaces we occupy?
● How do we strengthen safety and agency in the face of online gender-based violence, censorship and surveillance?
● How do we engage with the internet through a politics and practice of feminism?
● How can we imagine and make a feminist internet one that is supportive of the resilient and strong movements, and that is both a site of, and a space for our activisms?
We are inviting the participation of activists and actors who are differently located in the social justice landscape to bring valuable perspectives, knowledge and experiences to:
● Deepen the understanding of how the digital landscape has affected feminist, women’s rights, sexual rights and intersectional movement building work;
● Strengthen the capacity of feminist, women’s rights, sexual rights and digital security activists to respond to emerging challenges and threats;
● Engage in the creation of collaborative ideas and strategising between different actors on how to make a feminist internet and a feminist world that can contribute towards building strong and resilient movements.
● Are you a feminist, women’s rights, sexual rights or internet rights activist?
● Are you curious about how digital platforms and internet technologies have affected and impacted on how we organise for change? Whether this be new actors, strategies, issues, dynamics, threats, challenges or opportunities?
● Do you have experience in strengthening and building movements? Such as developing community-based strategies, organising cross-movement convenings or campaigns, mobilising resources to support emerging or intersectional issues, or strengthening networks in organising?
● Do you organise or engage in trainings for and support the strengthening of women’s rights, sexual rights or feminist networks and communities on digital security or safety?
● Do you share our vision of locating our activism and work towards creating change through movements? And, do you do this formally or informally through collectives, coalitions, social media, organisations, or as a node that connects between several different issues-based movements?
If you see yourself reflected in most of the questions above, please apply by filling in this application form by 8 September 2017.
Join us in unboxing and re-imagining movement building in the digital age, and to make a feminist internet that is threaded through our collective work for change.