Just a few days after the #wecantmarch hashtag took off, a few of us met in London to share thoughts and ideas. This wasn’t an official meeting for “organisers”, and we would love for similar meetings to happen all over (in real life or online!) and for your ideas and contributions to be published/shared with the rest of us too. We would also love to hear thoughts and responses to these ideas!
We talked broadly about the massive impact that #wecantmarch could have on radical movements.
As we attempt make non-frontline activism more visible and accessible, we hope to shift emphasis away from single events such as marches. To build and participate in a radical movement is to keep momentum, which is dependent on the work that is done in between and behind such “bigger” events. This is also part of bringing into the movement the types of activism and labour which is usually invisibilised, relegated, and undervalued. We want for movements to have a greater understanding that things such as childcare and online activism are active political roles, and not merely supporting ones.
We had various ideas about how the blog can move forward.
The blog can be a hub of resources for people seeking to get involved in more accessible forms of activism. Just a few categories of such activism that we came up with were:
- Anti-repression and legal work. This could include: information about legal system/processes and how to support those who are arrested or dealing with the criminal justice system; information and direction on how to write letters to incarcerated people, and how to coordinate letter-writing workshops; and ready-to-use/disseminate bust cards and legal information.
- Propaganda design. This could include: how to go about designing flyers/posters, which programmes to use and how to use them.
- Radical uses of arts/crafts. This could include: how to make banners, book-shields, zines, and all kinds of other stuff, as well as already made ones which can be re-used or re-printed.
- Online activism and media. This could include: how to navigate and manage the likes of twitter accounts, facebook pages, email listservs and blogs most effectively; how to ensure safer spaces in online spaces; how to ensure an effective security culture in online spaces in order to preserve anonymity when desired and avoid doxxing. Doxxing is when someone’s personal information is published or “outed” online or to others.
- Information on radical self-care and mutual aid.
- How to stay safe when we do go on marches. This could include: having ready-made templates of cards with medical information and how to respond in emergencies.
The blog could also be a space for people to continually contribute with more resources and also with their personal experiences, testimonies, thoughts, ideas, and art. There was talk of setting up a Youtube channel, as an option for those who would rather or are more able to contribute and communicate without typing and/or reading.
Aside from the blog, we talked about how we can do outreach and impact different collectives and organisers to ensure that different forms of activism and involvement are available and accessible.
For example, in the run-up to events or marches such as the one planned for June 20th 2015, how can we work towards having an impact? Various suggestions were made:
- Some individuals and collectives have already offered to make placards and hold them for those who cannot be there. We could get in touch with organisers and see how they can get more people involved who won’t be able to attend the march.
- We could coordinate a mentor/buddy system at demonstrations, where people can stay with others, hold their placard, communicate for them if necessary, help them with whatever needs they may have, and take out potential risk zones,
- Radical conferences and events are a good way for some people who can’t march to get involved. People could run workshops at conferences to make more accessible, and we could provide organisers with resources on how to make their conferences more accessible.
In terms of making involvement with #wecantmarch beyond using the hashtag as accessible and inclusive as possible, a number of suggestions were also made:
- Offline meetings should be as accessible as possible. Comments and questions can come from twitter, and we should try our best to meet the various needs of those who attend. For example having a sign language interpreter when necessary, or using an effective sign to speech app.
- We should try to publish things in easy read where possible, if anyone has experience in writing in an easy read style this would be incredibly useful for increasing accessibility.
- It was suggested that we host semi-regular open addresses on the blog. This is an open thread as a blog post, which has a brief blurb with a live, moderated comment section. Different open addresses could have different themes and would be a great chance for people to pool ideas and thoughts.
The meeting was incredibly positive, and so many amazing ideas were brought to the table. But they are just ideas – nothing is set in stone, and nothing will happen over night. We would love to hear any comments, queries and opinions about any of the ideas brought up and hopefully we can make some of them happen! We’d also love for these kinds of posts to continue – there is already talk of other meetings around the country both online and offline, and if you want to email your summaries/feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org we can publish them. Please feel free to contact us regarding the format of this post, and if you found it to be inaccessible, so that we can change it for the future. Always in solidarity!