Sunday, September 17, 2006
INTERNET ACTIVISM IN CHILE...Final Report
1. A New Kind of Activism
In the past few months, Chile has witnessed several instances of citizens using the internet, particularly blogs, to effect social change. These actions are different from other forms of internet activism, like Amnesty International's Irrepressible campaign or MoveOn.org 's efforts to influence the senatorial campaign in Connecticut. These two actions were realized by large organizations. However, events in Chile mark a new type of internet activism in which individual citizens use the internet as a low-cost mechanism to publicize a message, attract allies, and collaboratively plan and execute actions.
The most noteworthy example of this individual-led internet activism is that of the thousands of Chilean students who went on strike around the country and staged rallies demanding the removal of fees for college entrance exams. Many high schools set up photoblogs to show their affiliation with the campaign and to disseminate information, such as the times and locations of rallies. The work of individual webmasters was key in spreading information in this decentralized campaign, which resulted in the government raising the education budget by $200 million.