I’m moderating a panel on “The Occupy Movement” as part of Adelphi’s 7th Annual United Nations Peace Conference, where the theme this year is Youth, Social Media, and Global Change. The panel will consist of scholars, activists, and scholar-activists.
As the moderator, it’s my job to have some interesting questions in mind. Here’s what I’m thinking:
- Why do some kids, high school or college get involved in activist projects while others do not? With the intermingling of social media and political activism, has the ‘typical’ youth activist changed or broadened?
- There is a concern in our society that our youth are being corrupted in some ways by Facebook, texting, etc. For example, a recent talk here at Adelphi fears that we are raising the “Dumbest generation”. To what degree do you agree with this sentiment, that new modes of communication privilege shallow relationships and understanding over more thoughtful and meaningful actions? Do the roles young people play in Occupy suggest we should rethink or refine how we frame problem?
- How does Occupy try to engage the mainstream media? Do you consider mainstream media a primary or secondary concern for activists? Can you talk about some of your experiences where social media crossed over to mainstream media?
- In many ways, Occupy is a movement to counter corporate power. The second line of theSep. 29 OWS Declaration reads, “We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.” When it comes to Occupy’s onw use of media, though, big corporate/venture capital brands like Google/YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter dominate. Is there a danger here? Should we try to move away from these systems, or work within them to subvert them?
- Can you talk about ways that you have used, or seen social media used, to bridge local movements nationally and globally? For example, interaction between the different Occupy camps and advice and interaction with activists in North Africa/Mideast or other parts of the world?
- Occupy’s media campaigns have some clear successes. For example the language of the 99%/1% is now part of our shared political discourse. Are there other successes that you can point to? Messages that you hope to get out there which haven’t landed yet?
- The openness of social media is a double edged sword. The same affordances that let messages spread quickly and widely, can make it easy for police and political enemies to track and infiltrate activist groups. Has this been a concern in your use of social media? Do you have any advice on how to use social media in a secure way, where it does not put activists at risk?
The event is open, but you need to RSVP.
What would you like to ask?