Collective Action & Dissent under COVID
The CCC is crowdsourcing the many forms of collective action and dissent that are occurring worldwide in the context of the global pandemic & the social distancing response. Many movements have been interrupted by this pandemic, but others have found new, innovative, and adaptive techniques.
Explore the data here.
What are we doing?
We are collecting publicly-available data to highlight the ways that people are using or innovating methods of dissent – including protests, symbolic actions, strikes, boycotts, and other forms of noncooperation, information sharing and public communications, cost-raising, nonviolent intervention, the development of alternative institutions, and expressions of solidarity. We are interested in these innovations across the world and across the political spectrum.
Why are we doing this?
Various activists and movements have been interrupted by the arrival of this pandemic and are learning how to adapt and continue their work of organizing (and mobilizing) for mutual aid, community support, and social and political change. Others are resisting attempts to manage the public health crisis through social distancing. To a certain extent we are witnessing the formation of movements and countermovements across the globe, all of which are operating under quite restrictive circumstances that are nevertheless providing opportunities for the innovation of novel methods of dissent. So far, there does not appear to be a source for accumulating collective wisdom and information about these methods.
What are we doing with this information?
This documentation effort is a public interest and a scholarly project, which is in line with the Crowd Counting Consortium’s overall mission. Ultimately, we hope to publicly release the spreadsheet for further crowdsourcing so that we can add new methods as other innovations develop. The ultimate goal is for people who are interested in learning more about these tactical innovations and adaptations have an accessible and reliable source for this information. The more thorough the data we release at the crowdsourcing stage, the more useful the information will be.
How are we finding these new methods?
So far, it’s been a bit scattershot. There’s no real webcrawler or news-scraping service that could produce the kind of detailed examples that we can find on our own. So we’ve been reading the news and looking at publicly-available social media to identify stories that highlight new methods and innovations. With more pairs of eyes, we’ll certainly come across more new methods or additional examples of methods we’ve already identified.
How can we protect the privacy of people who are participating in these methods of dissent?
We only rely on publicly-reported incidents, which have already been published in the news media or on publicly-available social media accounts. Our database therefore only includes links to stories or posts where people have already consented to being identified. However, if we over at CCC receive a request to de-identify a news source for any reason, we immediately comply.
Why are we looking at forms of dissent instead of events of dissent?
Our Crowd Counting Consortium project collects events data in the US (you can learn more about this here). But what we want to do with this project is to identify nonviolent actions that are explicitly in response to the global pandemic and its related crises so that we have a decent archive of the nonviolent actions people took under these circumstances. This includes methods all around the world. And, of course, we are interested in documenting as many examples as possible of how these new methods are being used around the world. However, we think it’s unfeasible to try to collect every single event worldwide, given the problems with underreporting & the fact that many of these methods are difficult to compare as events (e.g. an enduring mask-sewing circle is difficult to compare to a one-off virtual teach-in).
Who is funding this?
No one! We’re all volunteers.
How do I help?
You can help by adding new publicly-reported forms of dissent that you find in news & internet searches, and by adding additional examples of dissent methods that we have already identified.