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How We Make Change is Changing, Part II

Marisa Franco
Jun 22, 2015 · 8 min read

Open Source Campaigns for the 21st Century

By Marisa Franco, B Loewe, Tania Unzueta

Read Part I of this article here

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Ferguson October mobilization, 2014
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Images created by Southerners on New Ground, 2013
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Mari Cruz Ramirez and Tomas Martinez, 5th anniversary of SB1070 in Arizona, April 2015. Photo: Chandra Narcia

Everything ain’t Everything

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During President Obama speech in Chicago, IL, November 2014
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Lady Liberty, created by Cesar Maxit

Why Would it Fail?

There are however, many reasons why this particular approach can fail or fall short. Writing about ‘new power,’ Jeremy Heimanns and Henry Timms observe, “There’s a fine line between democratizing participation and a mob mentality.” These types of structures and models often times are characterized as leaderless, and the perception of hierarchy or centralization can produce mistrust. We unite with the lifting up of ‘leaderful’ not ‘leaderless’ formations. There is a need for delineation of roles, experience, and impact in how we do the work. Open participation and a leaderful approach that doesn’t prop up any one figure do not erase the role of the central hub. A Share Bear may come up with a new messaging hook that gets taken up by the entire campaign. Those innovating on tactics can help illuminate a new direction that shifts the course of the work. Innovation can come from anywhere but there is still a core of co-conspirators in the lead.

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The Way We Make Change is Changing

In our experience, what open source campaigning unlocks and provides an opportunity for is far greater than the risks. But the idea of ‘open source campaigns’ is just one way. Action based, experimental organizing and leadership that’s wiling to shift and adapt is much needed across the board to achieve transformational social and economic change.

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(left) Northwest Detention Center detainee hunger strike, (center) Phoenix Pride 2015, (right) AFL CIO building in Washington DC 2014
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(left) Audre Lorde Project, New York City; (right) Protest in front of Phoenix ICE Field Office 2014; (below-left) Photo taken of detainee inside a bus en route to Operation Streamline, Tucson AZ 2013; (below-right) Cupcake by Organized Communities against Deportations
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