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Planned Parenthood's Most Radical Response to Critics: To Listen, and Let Their Supporters Lead

BY Melissa Gira Grant | Thursday, May 3 2012

A pro-Planned Parenthood rally in St. Paul, Minn. in April. Photo: Fibonacci Blue

Taken in aggregate, the Planned Parenthood/Komen debacle earlier this year was not just a victory for Planned Parenthood, the beleaguered standard-bearer for pro-choice politics. Owing in large part to the way social media can influence mainstream debate, as well as the work that grassroots reproductive rights activists have done to re-center the fight for reproductive rights on larger questions of economic and social justice, activists were able to put efforts to curtail access to abortion and birth control on the defensive. Read More

AFL-CIO PAC Workers' Voice Gives Activists Keys to the Coffer

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, April 26 2012

The AFL-CIO's new political action committee, Workers' Voice, sent an email to supporters today asking them to sign up for a web platform that promises to reward action with the chance to have a say in how the PAC spends its money.

Right now, the action platform asks for an email address and some survey information — do visitors think they should earn points for canvassing door-to-door, or making phone calls to voters; should the PAC spend money on ads or on voter registration — but digital director Tim Tagaris says it will soon be replaced with the platform proper.

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How YouTube Wants To Make Itself More Nonprofit and Activist Friendly

BY Nick Judd | Monday, April 9 2012

Activists used YouTube to release this breakdown of a Sept. 2011 confrontation with police.

Early Google employee and former YouTube product director Hunter Walk leading is "YouTube for Good," an initiative formalized last year to make the video site more useful to activists, educators and nonprofits. The initiative draws on time contributed from existing teams inside the company, but also relies on a small and growing staff — when I spoke to Walk on Thursday, he was on the hunt for an engineer — to work specifically on products for those groups.

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Ovary Funny: Womens' Rights Project Hopes to Have Members of Congress In Stitches

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, March 30 2012

Calling itself "Government Free VJJ," a group started by three women after a conversation on Twitter is hosting an organizing initiative asking women to knit — or crochet! — a uterus for each man in Congress, so lawmakers will leave the reproductive organs of living, breathing, non-woolen American women alone. Read More

#StopKony: The Simple Viral Demand That Sparked a Broad Debate

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, March 7 2012

Every part of a viral marketing campaign targeted at raising pressure on the U.S. and other governments to work towards the capture of Lord's Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony, called "Kony 2012," is fascinating. (Some supporters also invented the hashtag #stopkony, hence the headline.) The campaign intends to pressure specific American elected officials, using the newfound power of networked public opinion to spur more action. Last year, President Barack Obama ordered 100 military advisors to help the Ugandan military remove Kony. But the campaign's scale and the narrow focus of the advocacy in its centerpiece, a free 30-minute web video with high production values, raised a laundry list of questions about its sponsor organization, their exact goals and their mission. Read More

Amid Social-Media-Fueled Furor, AOL Pulls Ads from Limbaugh's Radio Show

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, March 5 2012

AOL has become the eighth company to pull its advertising from Rush Limbaugh's radio show over his remarks directed to a Georgetown University Law Student over her testimony to Congress in support of coverage of contraception. As with the companies that previously announced removal of their support, AOL has been under pressure through critical social media reactions, and announced its decision using that medium as well. Read More

Things Online Organizers Say

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, February 22 2012

What do you get when you put hundreds of left-leaning, meme-obsessed activists in the same place at the same time?

One is Rootscamp, a weekend gathering of the progressive organizer tribe in Washington, D.C., that wrapped up Sunday. Hundreds of activists convened for an unconference to talk about new tools and tactics for organizing online. The other correct answer is an, um, stuff people say video targeted to their peers and with a series of guest cameos by leading online organizers, including Rebuild the Dream's Natalie Foster, MoveOn's Daniel Mintz and Julia Rosen, Reddit cofounder Aaron Swartz, and others.

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With Pinterest and Twitter, Activists are Out to Punish Komen

BY Nick Judd | Friday, February 3 2012

Susan G. Komen for the Cure's decision Friday to reverse a rules change that would have cut off further funding to Planned Parenthood may not be enough to stem the outpouring of anger against the breast cancer research charity. Komen's grantmaking rules no longer oblige it to issue no new grants to Planned Parenthood, but online activists are hoping to channel continued anger at what they say is the politicization of women's health issues into a sustained campaign. Read More

Komen's Planned Parenthood Decision Raising Eyebrows Online

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, February 1 2012

Online campaigns have begun to organize in response to news that the breast cancer group Susan G. Komen for the Cure would be cutting its financing to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screening and education programs. According to the news reports, Komen says the decision is not in response to pressure from anti-abortion groups, as Planned Parenthood alleges. Rather, a spokesperson told the A.P., the main factor is a new rule adopted by Komen that prohibits grants to organizations being investigated by local, state or federal authorities. Currently, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) is looking in to how Planned Parenthood spends and reports its money. "Susan D. Komen" has been trending on Google since yesterday. Read More

Seven Lessons from SOPA/PIPA/Megaupload and Four Proposals on Where We Go From Here

BY Yochai Benkler | Wednesday, January 25 2012

Yochai Benkler photo by Joichi Ito, CC-BY 2.0

A guest post from Yochai Benkler, who writes: "On Wednesday, January 18, 2012, a new model of politics succeeded in bringing to a halt legislation that had been pushed by some of the most powerful industry lobbies in Washington, which began its life with broad bi-partisan support in both chambers of Congress. The political calculus seems to have changed drastically this week, and we need to understand how to exploit and harness the changing winds to expand and lock in this initial victory." Read More