Sofa Protest and ‘Clicktivism’ – A New Unity?

Clicktivism used to be a derisory term. That seems to be falling out of fashion.The attacks on Disability Living Allowance and other provisions for disabled people are being made with the implicit acknowledgement that these are the least likely people to take to the streets. And perhaps there is an element of truth in that. But social media has brought with it huge advances for ‘sofa protest’, and many who can’t make the demonstration on the 26th of March demonstration in London will be participating in the ‘virtual march’ of the ‘Armchair Army‘ on the same day. The objective is solidarity, and bombarding the media with public anger. If it gains support, the massive protest will have running parallel to it a constant flurry of angry citizens phoning in to radio stations, writing to newspapers and MPs, blogging, tweeting and staging all kinds of stationary dissent.

But before that, this Sunday, an ingenious idea will take shape. ‘National They Don’t Speak for Us Day‘ will see hundreds of callers phoning in to their radio stations and asking that they play ‘No Surprises’ by Radiohead. Why? It contains the line ‘they don’t speak for us’. Obviously the callers will explain that the government is pushing through the breakup of the NHS – without a mandate. Draconian cuts – without a mandate. And 22 members of the cabinet are millionaires. Representative democracy is only representative by name.

In fact, Facebook and Twitter, for many, has become a vital tool in the fight-back. But even by email – that arcane medium! the organisation 38 Degrees has had huge success, gathering over half a million signatures for its forest anti-sell off campaign and getting ads in national newspapers. Unite Against Fascism recently raised thousands in just a few days through a simple online campaign. Action is now online, alongside some of the largest and most vibrant demonstrations Britain has seen for years.

Hold your MP to account. Use They Work For You to see how they vote. Use Write to Them to express your disgust with what they’re doing.

Organise an action against tax dodging on the UK Uncut website in minutes. You can even vote on what 38 Degrees pick as their next campaign. This is no longer your average top-down organisational structure.

This Sunday the 13th, become a sofa-activist, if you’re not already, and (if you live in Cornwall) call Atlantic FM, BBC Cornwall, Pirate FM, demanding they play ‘No Surprises’. And if you can’t come to the demonstration on the 26th, make sure you bombard our (incredibly pluralistic, eh hem) national media demanding the government u-turn, fast. I’m generally the first one to encourage vociferous street protest – but an era of unity between the march and the mouse-click has arrived. It would be almost as dumb as this government is to ignore either.


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