About

Dandelion is devoted to amplifying activism and social connectedness in local communities through a loose network of discussion clubs.

We believe meaningful, productive dialogue brings people closer together, and together we can bring about social change. A strong community benefits the individual, the community as well as the greater society. People who feel a sense of belonging tend to live happier and healthier lives, and strong communities create a more stable and supportive society.1

We aim to create safe spaces for:

  • discussing social, economic, political and ecological challenges that local communities face
  • exploring how needs in local communities connect with national and global issues
  • imagining alternatives to current institutions
  • sharing ideas, experiences and perspectives between communities
  • transforming civic knowledge into civic and prosocial actions

@todo

  • Find original source of highlighted text above (widely used)
  • Mention that we aim to broaden the reach of activism and volunteer orgs, and connect them and community media. Possibly include a light form of networked advocacy, though outside of our scope.
  • Mention that groups have to start on their own organically, not coerced by us; they have to speak from their own lived experience (similar philosophy to Abahlali baseMjondolo2)
  • Possibly mention that while there is an online component to this, we focus on IRL dialogue and interaction, and value it more. See reasons below.
  • Possibly mention that we could use participatory culture and play to make civic engagement more fun, draw in more people. Perhaps outside of our scope because the project is a gateway to activism and volunteerism for those not already involved in those. Consider how to implement.

Why

@todo Clean up or incorporate elsewhere on this page. Counter-argument: 5 Really Important Reasons to Stop Dismissing Online Activism - Sian Ferguson

To address problems with activism on the Internet

"Without question, the Internet is a powerful tool for organizing and communication. But as these examples demonstrate, democratic change for Internet policy results from a combination of both public and institutional advocacy. For researchers, these events serve as a reminder that understanding Internet activism requires investigating both visible protests as well as less visible actions targeting decision-making processes. Similarly, civil society seeking change must leverage public engagement to encourage individuals to address decision makers. As long as governmental institutions are architected based on old hierarchies with traditional feedback mechanisms, phone calls and face-to-face meetings will continue to be critical tactics for democratic change."3

  • Marketing and raising awareness of causes:
    • Filter bubbles, especially Facebook. People don't see "information that disagrees with their viewpoints, effectively isolating them in their own cultural or ideological bubbles."4
    • For many, a significant part of Internet use is passive and they might feel less inclined to engage in activism while in consumption mode. They are effectively numbed.
    • People might be overwhelmed by the number of causes to support, and not focus on a specific issue in their local [IRL] community.
  • Discussing issues. Depending on the size, composition and culture of the community, discussion of controversial issues or dissent might be problematic due to:
    • Toxic behaviour
    • Reduced empathy and trust5
    • Self-censorship, e.g. comments that can actually or perceivably damage one's reputation in the community or put one in danger because of authoritarian government
  • Researching issues:
    • State censorship6
    • State monitoring7, backdoors into encrypted communication8, ISPs retaining browsing history, citizen reputation score (in extreme circumstances, allegedly)
  • Action that leads to desired outcomes:

To increase social connectedness

  • Tech disconnects us from each other and our local communities [citation needed]. @todo Expand into demographic argument9, i.e. people that have access to tech and Internet are disconnected from issues relevant to those that don't. Possibly add how that applies to SA context.

To encourage more involvement in community

Principles

Community

@todo

  • Describe how and why we connect with local orgs first, then national orgs.

Decentralisation

@todo

  • "Decisions should be made by those that are affected by them. Only those with a legitimate interest in a decision should have an input. The more local, the more decentralised we can make decisions, and the more control we will each gain over our lives."10
  • Against Decentralization - Friedrich Lindenberg (2015) - alternatives to decentralised tech as only solution

Equality

@todo

  • "In theory, democracy works because each single person has one vote and all those votes are equal in the eyes of the law. But equality is not equity, and that’s an important distinction to understand for anyone working on social change. Equality implies that everyone has an equal chance to participate, but doesn’t recognize that an equal chance may not lead to equal participation. Equity recognizes that playing fields aren’t level, that people may need disproportionate amounts of help to have equitable participation."11

Openness

@todo

  • The Future of Open and How To Stop It - Steve Song (2015) Openness as a means of building trust
  • From open source to open government: A critique of open politics - Nathaniel Tkacz (2012)
  • "People with open networks are more easily able to create atypical combinations."12
  • Possibly add Popper's thoughts on closed vs. open society, and fear of change (The Open Society and Its Enemies13141516)
  • Describe how this aligns with the open movement, cooperation, collaboration
  • We should be allowed to aggregate discussion and pull in practices from events, i.e. events and content should not be under restrictive licenses

Updated: Sat, 2015-12-05 19:55

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