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38degrees.org.uk empowering anti-TTIP activists in the UK

metamars's picture

I just learned about this site, tonight, via a Russel Brand interview. I don't have the time to study it a lot, but it seems like a credible contribution to activists' empowerment.

For one thing, it allows for more than just petitions, which are easy to ignore by US politicians. To some extent or other (I'm hardly knowledgeable about British politics), petitions probably don't carry a lot of weight in the UK, either.

I have previously complemented 350.org as being the best example of an activists empowering website (even if their main issue - one I've studied a lot - is bogus). 38degrees.org.uk seems similarly useful, but is not constrained to any particular issue.

Check it out!

BTW, I tried punching in New York City, NY for locating local campaign, and nothing turned up. Wouldn't be a bad idea if a lot of Americans asked them to start covering the US.....

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metamars's picture
Submitted by metamars on

I just took a closer look at 38 degrees website. Apparently, most of their campaigns are petitions, which generally don't impress me. I can imagine petitions - signed by a lot of people - working if directed at corporations, especially if accompanied with conditional promises of boycotts. Or, if they don't impact really big players in the plutocracy, petitioning government representatives might work - especially at a local level.

(As for proof that nothing has worked against the plutocracy - including petitions - see here. )

What caught my eye the first time I visited their site, and which I've now relocated, is their section on local chapters. Their various local chapters seem to all have well over 100 members, which, if they're largely active and are willing to utilize public spaces, could make a huge difference in educating the public on their various issues. Notice that there are no local chapters at causes.com, which I have derided as merely a petition engine.

Other features available at 38 deg, but not at causes.com:

38 Degrees is member driven. It’s the members who set the agenda, choose campaigns and help pick the tactics we use to win together. Campaigns are chosen and prioritised by members through regular polls.

Also, the management at 38 deg perform some sort of match making with various activist organizations, which (unless I'm mistaken) is not available at causes.com.

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I won't go into detail, but 38 deg has much room for improvement, since:

1) no way to view membership location (a much bigger sin when you have so many members); This is useful to counteract a disempowering sense of isolation.
2) no way to contact local members (even outside of chapters; of course, you'd want to throttle this, so people aren't getting spammed beyond their comfort zone)
3) no purely social interactions available (businessmen make deals on golf courses, or at least lay the foundations for same; man is a "social animal", as a history teacher of mine used to say, and many people simply won't engage in activism unless in a group.)
4) no way to organize credible, overt electoral threats; bringing a petition to a gunfight is just as stupid as bringing a feather duster; My vision of this has been described here at corrente.
5) apparently no efforts to create free (or near free) local services, so as to build social capital, which can be "spent" by requesting people receiving the services to vote consistent with the ideals of those groups providing the services. (Also, no tooling to make such activities easier.)