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THIRD PARTY REVIEW - ONLINE ACTIVISM
Cybersociology is a non-profit multi-disciplinary webzine dedicated to the critical discussion of the internet, cyberspace, cyberculture and life online.
ABSTRACT. The Chiapas uprising Of 1994 rallied an international community of supporters, largely organized through activities on the Internet, that provided an example of the possibilities and limitations of the Net as a tool for social movements. This article models the Internet as a form of rhizome: an intermediate and contested social space composed of flows that transcend boundaries and forge new connections between events and places. The success of Internet organizing in southern Mexico is due to the constant and reciprocal connections between cyberspace and other social spaces, which avoided the restriction of events to a contained space and scale.
ABSTRACT. The use of e-mail by a grassroots activist group that straddles the Estonian-Russian border transcends political boundaries and provides ready connections to people in distant places. Activists create a perceived space of resistance in a supportive network that is stretched across space. This network of concern, defined by the physical space in which these activists work and by the strong communicative connections among them, was created to overcome continued environmental mismanagement and remove cultural barriers to cooperation. E-mail communication has enabled an ongoing influence on environmental policy in Estonia and Russia. This circumstance of a collaborative e-mail network created by grassroots activists to aid political work is a testament to how communication technology has expanded for the purpose of strengthening previously silenced voices in a regional and political context.
Certification of good forest management represents a new approach in the global effort to sustain our diverse forest ecosystems. Sustainability, a central tenet of certification, is a complex concept, best thought of as a goal to be strived for and redefined in the process. Elements of sustainability with which most would agree include: maintenance of ecological functions and biological diversity of the forest ecosystem; assurance that people who inhabit or work in the forest receive a fair share of the income from forest management; and financial returns from forest management and value-added activities that are profitable and competitive with conversion of forestland to alternative uses.
No catalyst for growth in electronic NGO networks has been more important than the 1994 indigenous Zapatista rebellion in the southern state of Chiapas, Mexico. Computer networks supporting the rebellion have evolved from providing channels for the familiar, traditional work of solidarity--material aid and the defense of human rights against the policies of the Salinas and Zedillo administrations--into an electronic fabric of opposition to much wider policies. Whereas the anti-NAFTA coalition was merely North American in scope, the influence of the pro-Zapatista mobilization has reached across at least five continents. Moreover, it has inspired and stimulated a wide variety of grassroots political efforts in dozens of countries.
NGOs have been swift to make full use of the Internet. Increasingly, the mainstream press and broadcasting media are dominated by governments, conglomerates and `moguls' because of the large investments and operating costs involved. In contrast, anyone with a computer and a modern can set up a website at minimum cost: the medium lends itself to `network guerrillas' (Jonquieres 1998). These `guerrillas' have used the Internet first as a source of information but, secondly--and more importantly--as a means of co-ordinating their activities regionally, nationally and internationally.
Activists are using the internet to fight large companies over ethical issues. Yet many major brand-owners lack a clear counter-strategy. Earlier this month a group of environmental activists staged a sit-in at Shell's London offices. Although Shell turned the power off and cut the phone lines, activist Roddy Mansfield broadcast the protest live to the internet and e-mailed the press, using a digital camera, laptop computer and mobile phone. This is just one example of a growing trend, whereby protesters and activists are turning to the internet as quick, cheap and effective way of reaching mill ions of people. Many of the web sites are primitive, but their message is clear and, for some brands, dangerous. 'Boycott' and 'ban' are the two most common phrases used by many of the anti-brand sites.
That's why last year Environmental Defense's online activism effort, Action Network (accessible via a link at the organization's main site, www.environmentaldefense.org), not only described the horrifying practice but also provided visitors the means to fax a prewritten letter of protest to officials. With the help of kahea, the Hawaiian Environmental Alliance, hundreds of messages were sent to Hawaiian authorities, which subsequently barred shark finning in state waters. Buoyed by that victory, Environmental Defense spearheaded a broader campaign for a nationwide ban. Nearly 10,000 faxes were sent to Congress, and in December 2000, a bill outlawing shark finning was signed into law by President Clinton. "It's hard to say definitively what tipped the balance, but [the site] had an impact," says Freedman. The Action Network also made a difference for the Texas sea turtles, which were perishing in shrimp nets.
"It's amazing that the most effective tools have been some of the lowest tech," says Evan Henshaw-Plath, founder of Protest.net. For example, before November 30, networking was done by e-mail only. At the same time, this younger generation of protesters-Henshaw-Plath is 22- also developed the technically sophisticated Indymedia.org, which launched November 28, to broadcast live streaming video and reports via wireless laptops from the streets of Seattle. Indymedia.org went from 0 to more than 1 million visitors in just two weeks.
Scorecard brings together data from over 300 scientific and government databases in a very user-friendly format. Local activists can start using it by either entering a zip code or clicking on a map. Its many uses include researching specific chemicals and polluters, gathering information on how to protect yourself and your community, connecting with other groups working on local issues, and expressing specific concerns to the relevant politicians.
The Heritage Forests Campaign has worked in recent months with U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) and the Technology Project, manager of the campaign's Web site (www.ourforests.org), and several other conservation groups to generate an estimated 200,000 public comments in support of permanently protecting national forest roadless areas. Roughly half of the comments are in the form of postcards to Vice President Gore and Forest Chief Dombeck and half are emails sent directly to Vice President Gore via the Heritage Forests Campaign's website.
More than 300 entertainment industry leaders attended the launch of the Campaign to Defend America's Environment's "Million Voices" project Monday to use the Internet to bring the environmental views of an unprecedented number of Americans to bear on politicians in Washington, DC
But has the nature of protest been changed by the Internet? It seems that it may be adding a new weapon to the protester's armoury, rather than simply replacing existing methods. For example, in the campaign against the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) - an agreement between the OECD nations that would have placed major restrictions on the ability of states to regulate the activities of multinational corporations - there were no significant street protests but a lot of online activity.
wildcanada.net "Raising awareness about these issues is part of the democratic process," says Legault, who expects his e-activist network to grow from 3,000 to 30,000 by the end of 2004. "We want to make it easy for Canadians to tell their elected leaders what they think of their performance."
LINK Working Assets is also one of the most powerful progressive citizen-action groups in the nation. In 1999 alone, customers generated nearly one million calls and letters to Congress
LINK "It takes a $1,000 check to get a politician to listen to your point of view in offline politics," explained Allen, "but on the Internet, it doesn't cost anything for hundreds of thousands of people to participate."
Take Action for the environment. Right from your computer, right now! Take action on any of the critical issues below. Send free faxes and emails to top decision-makers when they need to hear from you. Once you take action, you will receive email action alerts keeping you informed of how you can act online to save the planet.
Five key processes of mobilization emerged...using the Internet as a gateway to activism; using it to raise the proifile of group campaigns; stimulating local activism; mobilizing on-line activism; and attracting participants to existing protests
Opinions on the significance of these citizen networks, however, are divided. Among more optimistic observers, ranging from the Gramscias to liberals across the political spectrum, there is a belief that citizen networks have increasing power and authority in world affairs. Gramscians see in citizen networks a potential source of "counter hegemony" to the unleashing of global market forces and neoliberal ideologies. For liberals, this type of political activism has become a beacon of hope in the quest to create a mode of political participation linking individuals at the local level to issues of global concern. For both, they are seen as largely positive expressions of genuine democratic participation in world arenas that for too long have been monoplized by states and planet-roaming corporations. And it is the Internet that is considered the fuel for such development.
But this power is greatly aided by another much noticed, though scarcely analyzed phenomenon - the mind sharing enhanced through listserve distribution.
GOOGLE - Siskiyou Wild Rivers National Monument
"The World Wildlife Fund recently proclaimed the Klamath-Siskiyou Ecoregion to be one of the world's most biologically diverse temperate forests. It is a distinction Americans need to know about."
This is the proposed Siskiyou Wild Rivers Protected Area, encompassing a little over one million acres of public lands in the Siskiyou National Forest (863,400 acres) and adjacent lands in the Medford District of the Bureau of Land Management (184,800 acres). The goal is to protect, preserve and restore the globally important objects of scientific and historic interest found in Oregon's Siskiyou Mountains.
In 2000, long time conservation activists and some new business partners seized the opportunity to permanently protect the embattled wild lands and wild rivers of the Siskiyou Mountains by mounting a campaign for a one-million acre Siskiyou Wild Rivers National Monument. The campaign was successful in sending 15, 000 grassroots letters to President Clinton urging him to proclaim this new monument before he leaving office.
KS Wild is also involved in several campaigns in collaboration with other groups, including the national Campaign to phase out Commercial Logging on Public Lands. We currently sit on the steering committee of the Oregon Wild Campaign and the Northwest Old-Growth Campaign designed to protect the last roadless areas and mature forests in our region respectively.
Conservation Action Network activists sent more than 7,000 messages urging the forest service chief to reconsider his position.
Simultaneously, in Oregon there are efforts to end the practice of clearcutting on public as well as private lands. In the recent elction (sic) in November The Sustainable Forestry Initiative was defeated. The Initiative known as Measure 64 was outspent 10 to 1 by the forest industry industrialists.
The Seventh Generation Plan is similar to the approach that is used by Working Assets. The difference is that Working Assets is a for profit company which takes 1% of its profits and divides that money among fifteen or more of the larger progressive institutions with large overheads. With The Seventh Generation Plan 100% of your moneys are dedicated to the grassroots forest defense campaigns of the OWF, a nonprofit group.
The Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Nevada Forest Protection Campaign, Noah Greenwald, American Lands, Biodiversity Legal Foundation, Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation, Friends of the Kalmiopsis, Environmental Protection Information Center, Klamath Forest Alliance, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, Natural Resources Defense Council, Northwest Ecosystem Alliance, Oregon Natural Resources Council, Predator Conservation Alliance, Siskiyou Project and Siskiyou Action Project hereby formally petition to list a distinct population segment of the fisher (Martes pennanti)...
Click below to become a Biodiversity Activist and join a highly effective team of dedicated individuals in protecting endangered species and habitats. By joining, you'll periodically receive biodiversity updates and requests to help stop... (i.e. this is a listserv feature)
To accomplish its goals, it will address land-use conflicts in the region such as the water crisis in the Klamath Basin, the disputed process of establishing the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, and the merits of the proposed Siskiyou Wild Rivers National Monument in the Rogue Valley.
The Bush administration will open most of the 1.2 million acres of federal land in southwestern Oregon to mining claims, drawing the ire of environmentalists who say the action threatens salmon and steelhead protected by the Endangered Species Act.
In addition to the Frontiers of Freedom/People for the USA and the BlueRibbon Coalition, other groups involved in the rally included the Alliance for America, American Land Rights, Cave Junction-based Oregonians for Responsible Conservation Alliance, Coos County Board of Commissioners, Diamond Lake Homeowners Association, Oregon Cattlemen's Association, Oregon Citizens for a Sound Economy, Oregon Hunters Association, Oregon State Snowmobile Association, Jackson County Board of Commissioners, Jackson County Cattlemen, Jackson County Farm Bureau, Jackson County Snowmobile Association, Josephine County Board of Commissioners, Oregon Snowmobilers, Siskiyou County Sportsmen, Southern Oregon Timber Industries Association and a host of others.
The news disturbed local conservationists and World Wildlife Fund officials, who had urged the Clinton and Bush administrations to designate a national monument in the area. It has 15 wild rivers tumbling through forested canyons and more than 280 plants unknown anywhere else on Earth.
Clinton has used the Antiquities Act of 1906 to justify his monument proclamations. During his entire time in office, Clinton has created or added to 10 national monuments, covering nearly 4 million western acres in his effort to carve out an environmental legacy. Clinton's top aides have stated the president plans to continue to use his authority in issuing executive orders, presidential decision directives and proclamations right up until the day he leaves office.
In a matter of days, the two of them had managed to build a local chapter of People for the USA and establish weekly meetings attracting up to 500 opponents of the monument plan.
1872 Mining Law Reform
Under the 1872 Mining Law, mining companies extract minerals from publicly owned lands without paying royalties to the federal government. This policy differs from federal policy toward the coal, oil and gas industries, all of which must pay royalties for extracting minerals from public lands. In 2000, mining corporations extracted almost $1 billion worth of minerals from public lands without any royalty payment to taxpayers. Adding insult to injury, the 130-year-old law also allows a mining company to patent, or buy, mineral-rich public land for $5 an acre or less, paying 1872 prices for land worth billions of dollars. The archaic 1872 Mining Law not only distorts the minerals market, it promotes environmental destruction of public lands because it includes no provisions for environmental protection and elevates mining as the best use of the land, regardless of other potential uses.
...launching into a history of the devastating effects of the uranium mining boom in the 1950s on the Indians of New Mexico and Arizona. He reminds the audience that although new mining proposals are defeated from time to time, the more than half-million abandoned mines in the West pose equally great dangers to human health and rural communities.
is a network of individuals from the mining community who recognize the importance of becoming involved in the political process...and provides the tools necessary to easily and quickly communicate with legislators.
Hard-rock mining is concentrated in the West, where much of it takes place on public land and where senators doggedly guard the industry's interests whenever there is talk of changing the General Mining Law of 1872. Virtually every year, reformers in Congress file bills to modernize the law, which allows miners to dig precious metals on public land without sharing the proceeds with the owners -- the U.S. taxpayers. Sometimes those companies go out of business, leaving the public to pay for cleaning up a toxic mess.
National Forest Protection and Restoration Act
Our Communication Team brings you the acclaimed WALL list which is a subscription email list dedicated to the dialogue among forest activists, the OWF/WALL webpage which you are now enjoying, and maintains our growing data base
The Act to Save America's Forests
ONE OF THE MOST significant accomplishments of the Clinton administration was the shift in focus of the U.S. Forest Service from extracting resources from the national forests to managing those lands for broader benefits, including environmental and recreational values. That long-overdue change found its ultimate expression in the "roadless rule," which barred new road-building in 58.5 million acres of untouched national forest land, protecting those wild areas from future incursions.
A bipartisan coalition of 100 Representatives and Senators announced today their support for the Act to Save America's Forests, legislation to reverse what they called "a century of wasteful and destructive logging practices in the Federal forest system." Carl Ross, Executive Director of the Save America's Forests national organization, joined the bill's sponsors, Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) for the event. Said Ross, "This new unprecedented level of support shows that the Act to Save America's Forests can run the gauntlet of logging company lobbyists and become law." The bill would curtail what it deems "destructive logging practices" (such as clearcutting) in the entire national forest system. In a statement, the bill's sponsors claimed that "over 600 leading scientists. have said the act provides the best way to save our national forests."
THE REFUGE AND THE April, 2002 SENATE VOTE
WWF Action link "On April 18, 2002, the U.S. Senate voted 54 to 46 to defeat a proposal to open the crown jewel of the U.S. national wildlife refuge system-the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge-to oil drilling."
Republicans Frank Murkowski and Ted Stevens of Alaska introduced their amendments to the Senate Energy Bill, Tuesday April 16, 2002 to open the Arctic Refuge to drilling. A vote for cloture occurred Thursday morning, April 18th and the motions failed for both amendments.
In a crucial vote, the U.S. Senate defeated a proposal to open the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. Conservation Action Network activists played a key role in the victory, sending more than 50,000 messages to the Senate before the vote. (compared with the 7000 for the Siskiyou issue)
The vote was a victory for the refuge, the many species that live there, and future generations of Americans. It would not have been possible without the steadfast and loyal support of grassroots activists.
According to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, the oil industry is responsible for more than 1,600 spills totaling more than 1.2 million gallons of oil and chemicals around Prudhoe Bay and along the Trans-Alaska Pipeline between 1994 and 1999.
Edit Your Letter to Congressman Tauzin and Senator Bingaman
NEUTRAL (Other resources)
4 dec 2002 - LINK Greenpeace continues to campaign against unsafe oil tankers in the aftermath of the disastrous Prestige spill off the coast of Spain.