The downloadable document is optimised for online use. The internal navigation links work best in digital PDF readers.
The rapporteurs advise reading and navigating this document in soft copy prior to selective printing in hard copy, due to the size of the document.
You can also download the Methodology document that outline the facilitation of the meeting sessions along with participant input and feedback on the agenda, discussions on how sessions/activities should be run/amended, and general feedback about the meeting.
|It is a record of conversations and quotes from the meeting Making A Feminist Internet: Movement Building In A Digital Age, a four-day meeting which took place in October 2017, Port Dickson, Malaysia. |
The meeting was a collaborative event APC planned with Mama Cash, CREA, FRIDA, UAF, Astraea, and AWID. It was organised in response to the emerging reality of the movement building landscape, characterised by lateral and diffused organising and collective imagination, co-creation and action by multiple nodes in a vast network of agents for change.
|In 2014, the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) organised the first global meeting on Gender, Sexuality, and the Internet in Malaysia, which produced the Feminist Principles of the Internet and contributed tremendously to deepening cross-movement analysis on the intersections of gender and sexuality with internet freedoms. |
In 2015, the conversation continued with the Imagine A Feminist Internet global meeting. One year after the FPI, over 40 scholars, activists, and policy specialists from local, regional, and international organisations and networks around the world discussed furthering their collective work on the FPI.
|The objectives of the meeting were to |
1. Deepen collective understanding of how the digital landscape has affected feminist, women’s rights, sexual rights, and intersectional movement building work
2. Strengthen the capacity of feminist, women’s rights, sexual rights, and digital security activists to respond to emerging challenges and threats
3. Engage in the creation of collaborative ideas and strategising between different actors on how to make a feminist internet and a feminist world that can contribute towards building strong and resilient movements
|The questions brought to the meeting were |
* How is movement building in a digital age expressed in different locations?
* What are the connective junctures of shared concerns, needs, and learnings?
* What must we pay attention to as backlash and attacks occur in the different spaces we occupy?
* How do we strengthen safety and agency in the face of online gender-based violence, censorship, and surveillance?
* How do we engage with the internet through a politics and practice of feminism?
* How can we imagine and make a feminist internet one that is supportive of the resilient and strong movements, and that is both a side of and space for our activism?
|Conversations were drawn out from workshop’s 26 sessions, marked throughout the document . |
* S1: Welcome and Introduction
* S2: Mapping Our Movements
* S3: What Makes a Movement
* S4: Movement Building in a Digital Age
* S5: End of Day Feedback
* S6: Locating Day 1
* S7: Threats and Challenges
* S8: Deepening Stream Locating Ourselves and Our Movements
* S9: Hacking Stream Digital Security in Feminist Movements
* S10: Deepening Stream Connecting Movement Building to Technology
* S11: Hacking Stream Unpacking Digital Security Terminology
* S12: Self-care Session
* S13: End of Day Feedback/ Questions About Feminist Internet and Funders
* S14: Unravelling Day 2
* S15: Feminist Infrastructures for Feminist Organising
* S16: Deepening Stream Timeline of the Internet
* S17: Hacking Stream Problem Tree Analysis: Impact, Causes/Roots
* S18: Deepening Stream Questions on Movement Building Aspects
* S19: Hacking Stream Mapping Strategies
* S20: Streams Recap
* S21: Self-care session
* S22: Deepening Stream Clusters Deep Dive
* S23: Hacking Stream Digital Security in Feminist Movements
* S24: Streams Recap and Feminist Principles of the Internet
* S25: Regional Collective Commitments
* S26: Meeting Closing
|Many of these sessions were done simultaneously in two streams: |
* Deepening Understanding Of Movement Building In A Digital Age Deepening Stream
* Hacking Digital Security For Stronger And More Resilient Movements Hacking Stream
For how the workshops were facilitated, see Methodology.
For workshop materials and output, see Appendix.
|The global meeting discussion was captured verbatim as often as possible. Due to the volume of conversation captured, this document is essentially a collection of quotes and conversations.||The rapporteurs prioritised the participants representing themselves instead of paraphrasing their words for them. This explains the length of the document; the rapporteurs acknowledge that the amount of live quotes directly correlate to a sizeable output in text when captured verbatim.|
|The conversations captured in all sessions of the four-day global meeting are not presented chronologically.||They are instead arranged according to 11 of the 17* themes of the FPI, as listed on https://feministinternet.org as of November 2017. This allows quick reference to global meeting content that is specifically related to and/or extends the conversations about the FPI that already exist. |
(*The themes that were excised from this report were: Anonymity, Children, Consent, Open Source, Pornography, Usage.)
Further clusters were added to capture the specificity of this meeting’s conversations:
* Digital Security (Digisec)
|This document is optimised for online use. The internal navigation links work best in digital PDF readers. |
NOTE: The internal navigation links are marked by underlined text and sometimes coloured and/or bolded text. The footer at the bottom of every page contains links to all major sections.
|The rapporteurs advise reading and navigating this document in soft copy prior to selective printing in hard copy, due to the size of the document.|
The meeting hosted about 80 participants from around the world (with a concentration of those from the Global South) concerned with issues related to internet rights, women’s rights, sexual rights, and digital security. At the end of the meeting, participants identified and formed groups by regions to discuss strategies and opportunities moving forward in their own contexts. This region list went on to guide the report.
|1.||Post-Soviet and Co||Bosnia-Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Russia|
|2.||The African Feminist Union and Collective||Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, South Africa, Uganda|
|3.||Latin America / Caribbean||Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago|
|4.||MENA||Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia|
|5.||North America and Europe||Canada, Catalonia, the Netherlands, Spain, USA|
|6.||Southeast Asia / East Asia||Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam|
|7.||South Asia||Bangladesh, India, Pakistan|
|8.||Oceania||Australia, Fiji Islands|
For the purpose of anonymity, participants are identified by their region when making comments throughout this report. Their comments are attributed by being from:
- East Europe / Central Asia (Participants from Post-Soviet and Co)
- East Africa
- West Africa
- South Africa
- Latin America / Caribbean
- North America
- West Europe
- South Asia
- Southeast Asia
- East Asia
Please note that since many countries were represented by several participants, it is not possible to identify them individually in this document.
|APC||The Association of Progressive Communications, an international network of organisations to provide communications infrastructure to social movements and individuals.|
|Astraea||The Astrea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, the only philanthropic organisation working exclusively to advance LGBTQI human rights around the globe.|
|AWID||Association for Women’s Rights in Development, a global feminist membership organisation.|
|CREA||Creating Resources for Empowerment in Action, an international feminist human rights organisation based in New Delhi, India.|
|FPI||Feminist Principles of the Internet, a set of statements that provide a framework for movements to articulate and explore issues related to technology.|
|FRIDA||A young feminist-led initiative that funds and strengthens the participation and leadership of young feminist activists globally.|
|ICANN||The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a non-profit organisation responsible for coordinating the maintenance and procedures of several databases related to the namespaces of the internet.|
|IFI||Imagine a Feminist Internet, a series of global meetings organised by the Association of Progressive Communications to explore the FPI.|
|IGF||The Internet Governance Forum, a global multi-stakeholder platform that facilitates the discussion of public policy issues pertaining to the internet.|
|JASS||Just Associates, an international organisation that works on feminist movement building.|
|LGBTQI||Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/Queer/Intersex individuals and community|
|Mama Cash||The oldest international women’s fund in the world.|
|UAF||The Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights, a global women’s fund that protects, strengthens, and sustains women’s human rights activists at critical moments.|
- Quotes and notes from participants are arranged thematically instead of chronologically according to fifteen themes
- Conversations and input within each theme are also grouped by headings, which are meant to provide a simple overview of the specific themes discussed. These are listed in the table of contents (on the right hand side of the page).
In each section, quotes and conversations are arranged in the following format:
type of input: definition/expectations/insight/ stories/strategy/question, related keywords
secondary related cluster/subcluster
Participant on summary of quote (Session number): Quote or question presented (verbatim where possible and grammar-corrected for clarity)
Participant reply/quote (Session number if different) follows if related and relevant.
insight, justice, structures, LGBTQI
|Southeast Asia on the way in which digital organising enables access to informal justice (S10): We talked about how the internet and social media have been used for access to informal justice, and how people mobilise and hold corporations accountable. It bypasses traditional NGO gatekeepers and media, creates documentation of human rights violations (especially violence against LGBT people) in more effective and multiple ways (such as video).|
Classification of input/contribution from participants:
|Definition||Explanation or elaboration of a concept|
|Expectations||Participants’ expectations of sessions or the meeting|
|Insight||Shared observations, opinions and thoughts, wherein participants are speaking from a personal point of view|
|Stories||Specific stories from the participants’ personal experience or research that surfaced in the meeting|
|Strategy||Specific or general recommendations of actions to take and sharing past strategies from participants’ field of work|
|Question||Rhetorical/specific questions raised by participants either about concrete and objective matters or more abstract and subjective topics|
Each input/contribution/conversation from participants have been “tagged” with relevant keywords for searching. Standard keywords are place names denoting countries/regions and frequently mentioned websites/online platforms and other companies.
The keywords are not comprehensive, but meant as starting points and references to zoom in on relevant talking points that surfaced during the meeting. The rapporteurs recommend optimising the keywords list as necessary.
While the keywords provide a general sense of the many discussions that happened, an overview of more specific topics covered are outlined in the table of contents (on the right hand of the page).
|Related Keywords (for searching within the document):|
|* accountability |
|* hacking |
* public/private space
|* sex work |
* social media
|Search by region||East Europe / Central Asia, East Africa, West Africa, South Africa, MENA, Latin America / Caribbean, North America, West Europe, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Oceania|
|Search by acronym||See the list of terminology / acronyms|
|Search by related keyword||See the list of keywords|
|Search by input category||Definition / expectations / insight / stories / strategy|
digital security, infrastructure, usage
|Southeast Asia on barriers to access (S10): We talked about how different technology is being used. We don’t have access in all places. It’s not easy for people; factors such as phone compatibility make it difficult for people to use the internet. People may have to get phones that are compatible with different things. Different technologies like SMS, Whatsapp and phones are also being used to organise and share information.|
|expectations, community, digital security|| |
Central Asia/North America on customising resources and training for specific groups (S9): When we talk about methodology of digital security — what are we doing when we’re contextualising and customising the resources and skills training for specific groups? For example, folks who are only using phones because that’s all they have, versus folks who are really turning up and active in online campaigns.
East Africa (S9): Feminists where I am cannot get access to the internet, so we cannot do online digital security.
|strategy, formats, methodology, pleasure, research|| |
Latin America / Caribbean on diverse formats as part of the research methodologies (S23): In research, there’s a gap in formats, sometimes we are writing so much, but not producing research in other formats.
West Europe in response (S23): We discussed that, how the methodology should be framed differently from a feminist perspective. To make research and language that is accessible, where context, power dynamics, pleasure is intact.
insight, strategy, documentation, formats, methodology, research
West Europe on experiential documentation for sharing methodologies (S23): If we are producing technical documentation, it should be in human language and shouldn’t just be text-based — to try other formats that appeal to different communities and processes, like visual audio and kinetic, but that is based on the experiential.
Facilitator Sandra (West Europe) on starting from experience and using that as a guide for how to document (S23): I think regardless of we’re talking about, one important component of how we document is starting first from the experience of what we are talking about. If we’re talking about sharing methodologies, we walk through that and then somehow find a way to document.
|insight, strategy, language, social media, gaps |
digital security, usage
|MENA on language as an aspect of existing digital security training strategies (S19): We need to produce knowledge in local languages (like Spanish and Arabic) so it’s available for a wider group. |
Latin America / Caribbean on translation beyond language into context (S19): It’s also not just about translating, when you translate you’re also translating the culture. People love different things in different places and something what works for the US won’t work with another country. Something that works for us at least, is paying attention to the things we and our communities like and the things we are interested in. If you like memes you can talk through memes.
|insight, stories, apps, disability, intimacy, pleasure |
|Facilitator Jac (Southeast Asia) on how the internet strengthens embodied power for those with limitations in mobility and disabilities (S7): From what I know that work’s been done around internet and disabilities, it’s also helped to overcome some limitations in terms of mobility and being able to reach out. Technology enables intimacy and trust to be to talk about personal things. Tell us about your experience about how you use the internet in your work. |
East Africa (S7): I use Whatsapp and Facebook. In my context you can’t express your sexuality on Facebook, but on Whatsapp, you feel like you’re in your safest place. Maybe on Whatsapp it’s easier to express our feelings, or even send some nudes. But on Facebook? No.
South Asia (S7): We’re organising around larger issues like access to healthcare, but not about what makes life pleasurable like socialising, dating, sex, and intimacy. I think what’s happened with the Skin Stories project. We have women talking for the first time about not just the violence but also in the ways which they are subverting this and reaching out for pleasure. One of our most viral articles is on using Tinder as an amputee in Mumbai.
|insight, disability |
|South Asia on digital security and disability (S7): It is very useful and increases their access to public spaces and the internet as well. In the security conversation though, it becomes difficult. Security isn’t accessible to speech-impaired people, that conversation is detached from people with disabilities. |
Facilitator Jac (Southeast Asia) (S7): Though there is an increase in intimacy for them and intimacy in public spaces, the inaccessibility of the physical space is still present in internet space.
|insight, strategy, disability||East Africa on the need to focus on disability (S8): Disability is a cross-cutting issue but is not covered by many NGOs. This is a wake up call that disability needs to be mainstreamed.|
|insight, conflict, risk, surveillance |
digital security, violence
|Participants on geography and conflict as barriers to digital access (S17): In some contexts, people/women are isolated in houses — access to technology/devices but not necessarily digital security&In context of war, we are blocked &In some contexts, people/women are more targeted online|
|question||Latin America / Caribbean on training in sites of risk (S23): One of the biggest concerns is local capacity. Some places are so at risk that other digital trainers won’t go there, so how do you support those communities to support themselves?|
insight, funding, tool
digital security, economy
|South Asia on access and affordability as two of the biggest barriers to technology (S23): Access and affordability are factors I try to keep in mind, as a digital security trainer. I can’t just say use this tool, or if malware messes up your computer, you have to get a new one. Trainers who come from abroad actually say that to people, and the look on people’s faces is that they’re thinking, “maybe digital security is not for us.”|
digital security, economy
|East Africa on cost and money being a factor of digital security not being prioritised (S17): A first cause we identified is the lack of resources. People don’t really have enough money to invest in technological resources for security.|
insight, funding, power, leadership, structures
|Europe on power and privilege, and the illusion of easy access to leadership (S18): You think that anyone can become a leader, but actually there are tons of people that are still excluded. So many layers of privilege go into having access, bandwidth, internet.|
|insight, corporations, public/private space||West Europe on the illusion of public space when we are really using corporate-owned spaces (S18): We feel like we’re accessing public space when it’s hardly that.|
|insight, public/private space||Latin America / Caribbean on the impact of digital space on the public/private binary (S10): Public and private is not a black and white situation. Privatised space is where public debates are happening - so the digital space is redefining ideas of public/private.|
insight, apps, corporations
economy, governance, infrastructure
|Facilitator Jac (Southeast Asia) on access to spaces with no market viability and the involvement of corporations and government (S15): Access infrastructure is something maybe you’ll see again with the presentation on how the internet works, especially the backbone stuff like optic fibres, which are very expensive. That’s one of the challenges when providing internet access especially to rural spaces, spaces with no market viability, where population is small or spaces that are very far.&One big actor in the whole conversation about access are corporations like Facebook and Google. They have been trying to come into this access problem with a solution. Governments go to the private sector because they need the money. If you talk to access activists, they try to urge you to be as agnostic as possible on one hand, but maybe try not to be as agnostic, be feminist, critical, skeptical, and also aware of all of the different components of it. The problem with zero rated services is that that’s why it’s in this conversation, it makes deals with mobile providers in the country. So the balloons and drones are a second type of technology to get to places with no backbone. &In places where there is mobile infrastructure only, it’s there but we don’t want to serve this community because it’s not viable. Then Facebook comes in and says, let’s make a deal, we pay you money we figure something out, but we give you data from the window of Facebook only. So there’s the cooking gas and the stove.|
|insight, stories, politics||Oceania on how digital organising impacts agenda setting (S10): One of the things we heavily talked about was how political agenda setting has shifted in the digital era - not just in nature and substance, but also the power around who forms the political agenda, and how it is shifted. There are lots of examples from our different contexts. For some of us, the online space provided more access than physical space whereas in other cases, it did not work in terms of setting the agenda. &Another issue tied to political agenda is how some issues grab more social media attention (for example, Black Lives Matter got much more than the Dakota Pipeline). Some issues get traction and get a concrete political agenda while others (the more unpopular ones) don’t.|
|insight, intimacy||East Europe / Central Asia on the experience of hearing other participants’ stories (S2): I felt very warm. I travelled many places in those 30 minutes of sharing stories. Storytelling is a very helpful tool. I get to go deeper into the context. Being face to face means I can ask questions and bring emotions to the stories.|
|insight, intimacy||South Asia (S2): The sense that we got was a sense of expansion and revelation. A metaphor for it would be blossoming. We got to learn about each other, and our idea of our struggles and we were from four different parts of the world. In the process of telling our stories we were also able to see how each one of us relates to our work to each other and also ourselves. So that was my revelation.|
|insight, power, structures |
|Latin America / Caribbean on movement storytelling takeaways (S2): How personal stories parked into global struggles was an illuminating reflection. What does it mean to dismantle a system, any system, gender, capitalism from a feminist perspective, we have intersectional struggles but also intersectional oppressions, and intersectional oppressors in different parts of the world. Saw how power structures work locally and reinforced globally.|
|insight, strategy, |
|Latin America / Caribbean (S2) on what storytelling revealed about movements: We focused on our personal stories which is absolutely great. I learned so many things about others’ contexts — despite all the challenges we are very resilient. Most of our momentous moments highlights how our movements are autonomous, we use different strategies and we’re very diverse. Learned about an amazing campaign by CREA. To build a sustainable feminist movement, we need to suspend judgement.|
|insight, resilience |
|South Asia (S2): This storytelling session serves as a huge pool of inspiration. Stories about bouncing back from difficult situations and what it takes to do that. All of us are very creative in our movements to achieve massive successes. They moved very difficult targets. I’m already feeling more inspired than when I came in here so thank you for this session. |
South Africa: Often when we tell stories, we hear ourselves.
|insight, resilience||Latin America / Caribbean on transmuting energy as resilience (S2): Even though there’s so much sadness and struggle, each one of us has so much capacity and strength to love - can shift and make that anger or terrible sadness into something else. We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t do this. All that energy put us here together now.|
insight, justice, structures,
|Facilitator Srilatha (South Asia) on how movements make injustice visible to its constituents (S3): Everyone who is a victim of gender-based violence feels violated, but don’t necessarily see it as a larger injustice. We experience it as a personal individual offense. Not as part of a systemic problem. So awareness-building is important. Then we look at what are the social economic political structures that perpetuate this discrimination and talk about that. Then we say okay what is the ideology that is keeping all of this in place? The patriarchy? So we have to dismantle the patriarchy.|
insight, question, LGBTQI, sex work
South Asia (S3) on revisiting and unlearning beliefs in activism: Sometimes our own beliefs and ideologies are not so useful to many movements. For example, the feminist movement vis-a-vis the sex worker movement. I see us sitting in feminist movements not necessarily talking about it. I used to think a world without prostitution was good. Now I think sex work is work. The same goes with trans women being part of women’s movements, and that marital rape is rape.
How do we in the room start talking about the changes we went through, our own values? We don’t hear about it. How would we know that it’s fine that you thought that once, but then you learn? Here’s where people are stuck and they don’t want to budge, we have to talk about that, however uncomfortable. To know that it’s okay and our ideology can change.
insight, history, organising, power, LGBTQI
amplify narratives, memory, resistance
Facilitator Jac (Southeast Asia) on discursive power as one of the five layers of power in terms of organising in the digital age (S7): The internet has really helped transform this voice. It’s never been more possible than now in terms of us participating in the discourse. The Internet is the Foucault wet dream. Everything is suddenly very textual, images contain so much meaning. A lot of meaning making is taking place. We’re all participating in creating culture, making meaning. How many here are doing a project on reclaiming history and narratives. A lot. Why? Why is it important?
Latin America / Caribbean: Naming is acknowledging the existence of us.
South Asia: We control how our stories get told. Creating a new discourse, one that contests meaning. It’s important because it’s a form of resistance.
Facilitator Jac (Southeast Asia): The internet allows us to do that. To say “you know what, I am fed up of my history being erased.” Whether it is the history of women innovators who helped make the internet who have been erased/forgotten, or the history of queer people in particular space, or the history of women’s participation in broad based movement that after that has passed, everything they’ve done is been forgotten. There’s something about this that is very important. Putting ourselves on the map and making ourselves count. Transformative power is the most difficult for us to shift.
|insight, support||MENA on how our perception of injustice is dependent on agenda-shaping (S10): There are so many discourses with and against each other in the digital age - what makes one more visible, over others? |
The power of visibility and shaping discourse is linked in terms of technology to infrastructure. We are operating in infrastructure we are not in control of in terms of money, fear around feminist discourse, hosting server and what this means for censorship and surveillance.
Celebrity and social media is all about visibility. If that is our context, how is an agenda shaped?
We identified two models from our lived reality:
1. community-based models from individual nodes on creative media
2. non-designed outreach at the discourse level (not separated from the grassroots itself).
There is a lot of criticism of not being connected to the movement. Discourse is one of the foundations of movement building.
|insight, community||Participants on how to support and strengthen counter-narratives to viralise feminist discourse (S22): Note: the group contested the use of ‘viralise’ |
Is viralise the end? No, the end is to transform collective consciousness. We were saying that shaping social imaginaries contributing to shape is that the actual goal of telling stories, and telling stories of everyday women that are doing great things and contributions will be a way to build counter-narratives.
We were saying not necessarily need to see change in a bigger scale. If that story just arrives to one person and that person is able to change how they love themselves and bodies. The stories do not necessarily change the masses.
On one level, the internet is all the stories we share. And very different stories because feminism is not only one. The importance of having face to face exchange, the internet of people, because it’s about connections. Many of us bring these stories from the digital to life and the internet of people connecting on the ground. So it’s complementing not only online storytelling to make them live in communities. Who do we need to speak to? To women, women are the source of the stories and they can also voice their stories themselves.
|insight, strategy, sustainability||Participants on how to build collaborative feminist media, especially for young feminists (S22): |
1. What platforms, strategies, and safety?:
* Counter the hegemonic discourse
* Disseminate the feminist discourse and practices
* Free access to feminist information and knowledge
— Alternative economies
— Open source
— Internet governance
* Share stories and common struggles to create solidarity and help build a feminist movement.
* Amplified our voices (global) and create mobilisation round common struggles (bridge)
2. Feminist Global Voices media platform
* Monthly subscriptions from feminist organisations
* In kind donations by voluntary work
* Content: feminist organisations/collectives and individual contributions
* Artists and designers
3. Short-term: Brainstorm, build the collaborative network, seed funds, structure.
Medium-term: Design and content creation, launching, crowdfunding.
Long-term: Self sustainability and growing audience.
|definition, support||Digital security, as defined by participants (S11): |
* Technology, curiosity, awareness of how tech works
* “Recipes” or “protocols”, processes and tools to reduce risks to privacy and harm, introduced by organising on the internet, which gives a user control over who sees, uses, and owns their data
* Having the awareness that our information, devices through which we process this into can be compromised and knowing how to deal with it, making informed decisions, knowing risks and threats
* Aids in a holistic sense of security: alongside physical, and psycho-mental security
* Self-defense and integral collective care, a community-based response
* To be and feel safe when using technology
* To have control and autonomy, recognising that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions.
* The right to data
* The ability to detect early warning signs
|definition||Hacking / to be hacked, as defined by participants (S11): |
Latin America / Caribbean: We found three clusters of definitions.
1.- One is about the traditional definition of hacking: cracking something, includes violence, non-consent, taking something by force.
2.- The second cluster of definitions relate to constructing, investigating, curiosity, thinking.
3.- The third cluster is about innovation, something to disrupt, something different. The idea of the new, remaking versions of something.
It’s interesting how definitions of hacking is in two extremes, either something happens to you, or it’s something that you make.
Some of us feel that hacking should actually be called cracking.
|insight, gaps||South Africa on expanding the definition of digital security beyond training (S9): What I’m interested in talking about is that digital security is not just capacity building and training. There are a huge amount of things we need to unpack if we’re gonna talk about feminist movement and safety — maybe it’s not just digital, we need to problematise it much more deeply.|
|insight, safety, gaps||East Europe on what’s lacking from security (S9): When you talk about security what is missing — there’s a lack of autonomy and consent and control. When I am feeling safe, that is embedded, I consented to it and I have control over the situation.|
|insight, risk||Participants on different factors that are starting points of awareness of digital security (S17): |
* Doing illegal stuff online
* Getting attacked online
* Watching out for others
|insight, gaps||Participants on lack of buy-in as a barrier to prioritising digital security (S17): Individually and collectively stubborn to accept this is as a process that involves everyone proactively practicing change turns into a lack of organisational buy-in. Alternatively, there’s still the possibility to just start instead of waiting to convince everyone, on an individual or collective level.|
|strategy,documentation, organising |
access, amplify narratives, movement - building
|West Europe on documentation of both technical and social processes as a gateway to inclusivity and providing entry points for new members (S23): We are not talking only about documenting technical processes but the social technologies and processes happening within our organisations and networks, because we think it’s a gateway to expanding inclusivity for new members and making that easier and also to transfer the knowledge that is produced in that moment for the people who do not have the opportunity or privilege to be with us in the training/event. That’s to try and systematise those entrance points, like manuals, how-tos, FAQs and so on. So for us in our organisation, when new people join and we are making activities and events, we know that we want to produce documentation for a broader audience.|
|insight, safety |
movement building, privacy & data
|Participants on how digital security is not prioritised because it’s not seen as important (S17): |
* It’s seen as boring
* See digital security as without political value; it’s seen as practical not political, depoliticised, not relevant to feminism
* Based on the priority of the movement / group of people
* They were in the movement before the internet
* This can backfire when websites are shut down or private information is used to discredit organisations or people; more work to respond to attacks
|insight, organising||Participants on prioritising real, offline conflicts over digital security (S17): Too busy to address this and everything else (their work) femicide, processes, protests, events, etc, which they see as struggles that are more important. When deadlines arise for urgent actions, digital security is the first thing that drops off|
|insight, social media, leadership||Participants on inertia/mistrust as factors as to why digital security is not prioritised (S17): Generational gap and/or mistrust of tech, for example the debate we saw on day 1 of MFI on social media. Sometimes, the leadership is less tech-savvy/“pre-digital” or willing to change practice, so there is no organisational change.|
|insight, training||Participants on bad past experiences with technology as a reason to not prioritise digital security (S17): People turned off by past training or expectations of quick solutions. Techphobia can then connect with tech delegation and relegation, where people expect others to do it instead of them. “It’s too hard! Let the IT person do this for us!”|
|insight, tools||Participants on how the barriers in using tools and devices as a reason digital security isn’t prioritised (S17): The belief that they can’t operate machine and softwares that are secure. Or the tools / devices they use are hard to secure or are not easy to use. People don’t really want to think about how we’re going to do this, don’t want to invest in security at all.|
|insight, gender||Participants on internalised perceptions of technology as a reason to not prioritise digital security (S17): |
* Tech is intimidating because it is seen as ‘for men.’
* Women internalise that they just can’t do tech, without even trying
* Digital security as a paternalistic process
|insight, gaps, support||Participants on how existing vulnerabilities in networks as a reason digital security isn’t prioritised (S17): Their partners or constituents also do not prioritise digital security. Also the feeling of, if one is only as secure as the least secure person in network, then what is the point of it, since many people are not taking any measures.|
|insight, gaps||Participants on digital security organising not prioritising digital security (S17): There are instances of “not walking the walk” — not prioritising or embodying collective security practices even in digital security organising.|
|insight, capitalism, community, politics, training |
|North America on the impact of not prioritising digital security (S17): Rejecting engaging digital security actually has a weakening force on the politics, our analysis of capitalism and what is actually happening. We may understand the politics involved and help movements to embrace it as well, but without digital security training, their analysis and work is going to be incomplete. We are all in this digital world, in the sense that our comms is being monitored and used to create wealth. You don’t have to be a techie to have your data be taken. And if someone’s not online they’re dealing with the effect of being left behind. |
MENA: People who have access to the internet will discuss them without including them.
North America / Latin America: Also with gender-based violence online, you do not have to be online to be experiencing sharing non-consensual images, and that’s a problem in communities.
|insight, stories, gaps||South Asia on traditional women’s rights activists’ lack of consciousness of digital security (S9): That’s also why I chose the hacking stream. I’m not a techie but I do workshops on online harassment in my country and when we talk about digital security, it’s always activists (and activists is a broad term) who work on internet rights. Traditional women’s rights activists don’t have a sense of it. So my interest is in digital security literacy and consciousness instead of skill-based things. I feel we are not on yet on Step 1 and we’re already talking about Step 5.|
|expectations, question, accountability, gaps |
|Southeast Asia on pushing security consciousness more effectively (S9): After attending so many trainings, I’d like to learn more effective ways to make people security conscious. A lot of people don’t think about security, so what’s an effective way to push that consciousness as well?|
|expectations, insight, gender, structures, training||Southeast Asia on feminist digital security training (S9): A lot of feminists in my country don’t think digital security is very relevant or very feminist at all since it’s so masculine. It’s very important for us to talk about what feminist digital security is. For myself, it not only has to be with the approach, methodology or content, but the objective. If we can find the objective that for us is feminist, then we can talk about the role of the digital security trainer.|
|insight, power, structures, gaps |
|North America / East Africa on male-built power structures and how training isn’t feminist (S9): The internet was created by men who didn’t see power, so they built it in an open way that reinforced power structures. And they still don’t think about the ways these protocols need to be fixed to take away the problem for people. For me, training isn’t very feminist because you’re asking the victim to solve the problem. You’re putting the onus on us to use encryption when really the internet should be more secure.|
|question, training |
|Facilitator Jenny (South Africa) on managing expectations on a digital security trainer within movement building (S9): It’s important to front that when we come back together from the streams — where do we locate ourselves within the feminist movement? We can ask the deepening stream: how do we define ourselves and our role, how are digital security trainers seen? There are so many assumptions that come — that someone who does digital security training we can solve x, y, and z, when it’s not possible.|
|expectations, question, private/public space, strategy, sustainability, tools, gaps |
|MENA on digital security knowledge they want to gain (S9): I want to learn about how to coordinate with other activists through a safe channel where this data can’t be used by the government to prosecute the activists. Which feminist servers might be used, which apps are more risky than the others. Secondly, defense campaign tactics, not in the private but in the public space, when we encounter counter campaigns whether they’re by governments or by sexists, how they continue the campaign and establish defenses when we’re attacked or flooded by thousands of fabricated accounts. |
Cheekay, in response (S9): I think that’s a skill-based thing and it’s a discussion around, “How do we respond to counter campaigns?” and there’s no one solution. No two activists will respond the same way.
MENA, it’s about sustainability (S9): This is why I frame it in defense tactics for campaigns, if we can’t continue campaigns, it’s about the issue of sustainability. We need defense tactics to go with the secure channels that we’re using.
|insight, risk, training |
|Participants on the lack of female digital security trainers as a barrier to engaging with or prioritising digital security (S17): |
* Female trainers may provide safe spaces for women to train
* Some do not have access to female trainers
* Lack of local capacity of feminist tech trainees
* Man trolling the room forgetting their privileges, the few/only women in the room experience “unicorn effect”
* Women who volunteer or work as a digital security trainers may experience “precarious” conditions of work
|insight, story, gender, training||South Asia on their personal experience as a digital security trainer (S23): In my work, there is a lot of male privilege that’s not even visible. I’m the only female trainer I know in my country, where I’ve actually been in a security training that told college students, “You know, men just get bad rep” and I was horrified, the (male) trainer was trying to make a safe space and it’s gone. They get to define that narrative. I want to overcome the paternalistic attitude and the way they alienate people from training.|
|strategy, training||South Asia on including feminist awareness in security trainings (S23): I consciously make it a point to include feminist awareness in digital security trainings. Not just to help with bridging, but also because if I don’t include that, there are often needs that I don’t uncover and address.|
|insight, stories, gender, surveillance |
governance, privacy & data
|Latin America / Caribbean on the intersections of state, security, surveillance, and gender (S9): We are constantly discussing the role of the state of security, with narratives around security are always connected to surveillance. For example having more drones or surveillance doesn’t mean having more security. The concept is tricky because it involves negotiation and money of the state. |
There’s also a gender perspective; we had a really interesting case with a mayor of a county installing surveillance balloons and there were operated by women because women were seen as not as curious as men. From this perspective, it’s interesting to note the role they are assuming women have over managing security or surveillance, the assumption that data is safer when managed by a woman.
Latin America / Caribbean (S9): Regarding using drones to surveil — the discourse of security to fund surveillance activities, this kind of idea is very problematic.
|insight, gender, structures, tools, training |
access, movement building
|West Europe (S17) on the adoption of technology outpacing awareness of digital security: This is a general situation with all the citizens of the world: the conspiracy of the machines. But it’s real, because we increasingly use more technologies for everything, yet we don’t have the time to be properly trained for them. It’s not something specifically feminist. It’s just that feminists are more aware of security than other movements because their movements have been facing security issues since they were smaller. So we put it in the context and begin to see that in this situation, generally people are lacking a background and understanding. Because of our gender and intersectionalities there is power and inclusion playing into it as well. A lot of digisec training doesn’t include or take into account of this. We say all this explains why we are in a situation of lack of awareness. When there is a rising awareness of the situation, there is a new set of bottlenecks that makes it difficult to implement understanding of ideas going into the collective. Then we see which bottlenecks apply to women and feminist in these practices, another set of problematics. And we identify some good practices that work in our different contexts, meaning a feminist can shift into practices. |
South Asia’s response: To elaborate on that, one of the things we discussed was that our movements are more diverse than technology. So where we want to have everyone’s voices represented and we’ve got accessibility as part of our politics, the diversity is built into the feminist movement but it’s not built into technology. So technology frequently puts us in a situation where we’re left with a particular dilemma. To adopt a particular practice or tool and enhance our security, we would be leaving some people behind. And while the other movements, people who do not forefront inclusion and diversity the way feminist movements do, they move ahead and they’re fine with that dilemma. But as feminists, leaving underrepresented voices behind and to move forward is to silence them, and we cannot do that. It’s not in our ethics and we exercise our agency in a way that puts us in a more vulnerable position. How do we understand digital security? It’s not about prioritising digital security but it’s something else at that point, that could lead us to further exclusion and marginalisation in our movements.
|insight, training||Participants on common experiences of digital security training as emergency response (S17): Doesn’t leave space for process, emphasises one-off or parachute training, having to put out fires is very stressful (the digital trainer turns into a fireman, they are only contacted when someone else is under attack) — always in reactive/emergency mode|
|expectations, training||West Europe on moving from the reactive to a productive approach (S9): I want to learn about how we can move from a reactive to a more productive approach. I would like to discuss facilitator training for these kind of things, how we can make moments and spaces of gathering and meeting where we learn to dream and desire other technologies, because we deserve better and we are producing technologies all the time.|
|strategy, research||Participants on using research and evidence building to shift this approach (S23): More research needed on shifting from the reactive to proactive. Exploring again what strategies are already being used and reevaluate.|
|insight, gaps, research||West Europe on foresighting challenges (S23): We need more research on what is coming, to shift from being reactive. People are envisioning new things that will come, but only what’s happening in our sector and not happening in yours. With the Internet of Things and all these things, there will be a lot of challenges. It would be nice to foresight them a little bit.|
|insight, training||Facilitator Jenny (South Africa) on holistic approach for training (S19): I think something that’s interesting in our group discussion is the notion of training as an accompaniment; the issue of a holistic approach was emphasised by many many people.|
|question, resilience |
|West Europe 1 on building resilience for communities (S9): How can we be part of the creation of knowledge for a community that doesn’t depend on us, the community becomes resilient and doesn’t depend on our funds and knowledge. How we can move to something that can happen at a distance?|
|definition, risk||Risk management, as defined by participants (S11): |
Latin America / Caribbean: Working through this definition recalls how risk management is a process that is conscious and unconscious, a set of skills to guide you through chaos.
* Reactive and proactive
* Protecting your data, backups, protecting devices
* Understanding risks in specific situations, and applying strategies to minimise those risks
* Understanding and dealing with the risks that might be out there. Finding best possible solutions.
* Identifying data, devices, and people (assets) and the risks to their integrity, security, and health, and developing protocols and processes that mitigate those risks
* Assessing risks from the person specific context so she and her network feel safe and safety measures she undertakes are sustainable and feasible
* Trust, know and develop our knowledge and capabilities
* To understand what and who we are defending ourselves from
* Self awareness -> Degrees of safety -> Self-defined
* Risk management is putting together some plans and strategies to manage risk, attacks, threats and vulnerability of a system. The system can be online, offline, web based vs. actual software installed on computer
* Process and methodology for analysing your context and figure out its infinite possibilities. What could go wrong? What could go well? What should be changed and or avoided in order to maximise your bodily integrity, emotional and well being? It is in conscious and what guides through life, through the next day, it is bigger than survival, it’s life.
* Regular analysis of our contexts and realities
* Assessing, recording, reporting and analysing the risks
* Clear risk and mitigation strategy
|insight, data, gaps, risk, surveillance||Participants on how some people/movements decide there is no digital security risk in/for their work, so do not prioritise it (S17): |
* Seen as not important or relevant to their work
* “We don’t have anything to hide.”
* “We did fine without the internet and tech before too.”
* “Why do they want my information? I’m not important or it’s already public.”
* They believe their activism should not need to be hidden
* Surveillance so high why bother?
* Contextual considerations; depending on where they live, their countries might not really be strict
|insight, strategy, risk |
|Latin America / Caribbean on the illusion of security (S9): When you talk about security you’re talking about being constantly in danger, you’re never really secure. So it’s not just thinking about security, it’s thinking about your surroundings and the things you can control. |
West Europe 1 on how to counter that illusion with risk management (S9): There is no 100% secure digital world, we can only manage risks and incidents. We would like to ensure that security is 99.999% and then 0.01% we have risk management and a recovery plan in place so that we can see if such a threat of authority exist, we can see if such a thread of vulnerability exists so we have the solution to cover that.
|question, strategy, risk, tools||Latin America / Caribbean on risk management as a tool (S9): We think about digital security because we have secure things to build but I think sometimes what happens is we start doing things because we are surveilled. So how would we have this risk management as a tool of digital security?|
|insight, strategy, risk||West Europe 2 on thinking beyond the individual when assessing risk (S19): Taking situational awareness and the impact of one’s organisation’s security on their constituencies and partners into consideration when doing risk assessment. Not just thinking about yourself but thinking about the larger aspect of it. |
Facilitator Jenny (South Africa) (S19): Risk assessment as a strategy as well.
Latin America / Caribbean (S19): Frequently people don’t respond to their own risk assessment but they realise when they’re affecting others.
|insight, community, impact, risk||Latin America / Caribbean on accurately measuring impact of communities with extreme risk (S23): We’re working with communities with extreme risk, the actors that would like to control these communities we are working with — it’s really hard to assess the impact. Are they safer or how do they feel safer? Even with the basic question of this stream, how will we know there’s been a change? How are women we work with feeling?|
|strategy, training||Participants on alternative approaches to digital security training (S17): |
* Learn differently, focus on creativity and fun to combat the boring aspects/perception of tech and digital security
* On accessibility: everyone has different and unique capabilities, people do what comes naturally
* Trainer vs facilitator
* Do not harm approach
* Prioritising face to face or back channel interaction
|insight, apps, organising, surveillance, sustainability tools |
privacy & data, movement building
|Facilitator Jac (Southeast Asia) on choosing autonomous alternatives for digital organising (S15) There are decisions that you make as an individual and as an organisation. Where are you going to put all of your data and use this? Right now we’re saying we don’t even know where these autonomous tech or infrastructure alternatives are, all we know is the big one which is Google. So we have all of us here, and we think about planning a meeting, and where do we do it? Google. |
Google as a corporation knows 90% of what NGOs are up to, and that’s terrifying. Instead of Google, explore and play. Use collective intelligence to put in place one playground, and this is where we should play — that’s the level. This is a political and economic issue. How are they funded? They cannot be funded if everyone is going to Google. Google is not free, we are the product. This is also creating sustainable alternative feminist economies on technology.
|question, documentation, tools, gaps |
|South Asia on a comprehensive feminist digital security toolkit (S15): There are a lot of guides out there on digital security, is there some single resource or should we create one? Somewhere where I can get the definition and also why should it matter to me as a feminist activist? And what are the alternatives? We need that kind of toolkit, are they out there and where can we access them? If not, is it worth creating something?|
|insight, strategy, training, LGBTQI||West Europe sharing existing training strategies (S19): Trainings are at the very beginning and not the end of the journey. Another strategy is organising specific trainings for women and trans activists in the (Global) South.|
|insight, tools||Latin America / Caribbean on how responses to attacks shift with time (S23): We tried to understand what’s the specific context that triggers the need of using tools and tactics. In some contexts in particular, with certain situations of attack or harassment, how we respond to this shifts with time. Sometimes it triggers an emergency situation or a psychological response.|
information, privacy & data
|Latin America / Caribbean on online “stalking” as an exercise (S19): How much information about somebody can you have about someone without knowing them, as an exercise, I stalk people’s profiles to see.|
|insight||West Europe on finding analogies for digital security discourse (S9): I’m interested to see how we can analogise digital things that look very immaterial but always has an analogy that can be interesting.|
|stories, strategy, gaps, formats, sustainability, training |
|South Asia on bridging the physical and digital gap in training (S23): Giving people hands-on experiences after they’ve been introduced to a concept — in my opinion, that personalises technology which can otherwise seem very depersonalised and people can dissociated from it because it cannot be touched or experienced in the same way. So when I help them bridge that physical and digital gap, then it starts making sense to them in a completely different way. |
West Europe’s response on how hands-on is not always possible in current training formats (S23): I’m not always agreeing that it should come with hands on activity in the way of configuring tools, sometimes it’s not possible because the levels of experience and operating systems are too different, there’s this sensation is that it has to happen now (in training) and then you get in the way of self-learning or management in a collective network. I think this training idea has to be expanded in format, like a feminist hackerspace, having a space, some time, access to the Internet some friends, and some tables.
South Asia (S23): Sustainability as a principle has been included as something we want to underpin because it should last longer, training is not a spot-treatment but a continuous learning process that we hope to start. The other thing about hands on is that it’s not just tools and software, sometimes people don’t even have devices, and sometimes I don’t even want them to use devices. To explain what I mean by hands on, it’s about getting them out of devices and the software to experience what we’re talking about. For example last night, for PGP we didn’t go into the software. We started with the idea of sending letters.
West Europe (S23): So, something participatory.
South Asia (S23): Right, that’s something they can hold. It’s not an icon they have to click. Then there were these keys that I drew and that was to kind of give them an idea of, this is what we mean by public and private. I just want to mention this because it’s really exciting — I was in a training about mobile security. We had our phones, but instead the facilitator handed us these cards with various stages of mobile phones’ data on them. That was a wow moment for me, because here we were learning about mobile security, and we didn’t even need our phones. We could shift through these legends of our devices on paper, that was really physical and awesome.
|insight, training||South Asia on making trainings more flexible (S23): We talked about trying to keep trainings open-ended but there is always something new and you need to adapt to it and reach the same point the people you are training are at.|
|stories, strategy, community, LGBTQI, training||Latin America / Caribbean recapping East Africa sharing on targeting communities for training (S23): Those from East Africa talked about organisations that do digital literacy that include safety and privacy training. They are going to specific populations and working within that community, for example health centers or slum areas, or specifically working with LGBTQI, or approaching specific organisations directly. It’s maybe not a holistic approach to organisational security but it’s being specific about who they’d like to have trained. For example, finance staff, if you look at the context of one of the East African countries, NGO law is very vital. Mentioned in those two examples was the importance of law as part of the context.|
|expectations, stories, apps, rural |
|East Africa sharing about an online security platform for rural feminists (S9): The reason why I am here because we came up with an online security platform where rural feminists can document violations to an online system. We use Signal because it’s safer, for sending videos and photos we try to use secure apps like ObscuraCam. That’s basically the reason I am here, to see how this can relate to specific places.|
|stories, sex work, training||East Africa sharing about an annual space for sex workers to share skills regarding security (S23): We shared about the creative spaces we have annually where sex workers will share their own experiences and how they are coping so others can learn, sharing onground processes we can use so the networks and members can have greater awareness about security but also ensure people are prepared to take up any kind of skills that do come up.|
|stories, gender, methodology, support, training||Latin America / Caribbean explains Cryptoraid (S23): Cryptoraid is a 24-hour digital security event, it’s in its 4th edition in Brazil. There are plenty of activities that happens at the same time; since the first one they had women-specific space and that’s where I learned PGP. This space started to be the hotspot of the event because it had so many people, people would go there and when I said that another participant asked me why. It’s a methodology question. Trainings that happened in there were more active and participatory, it was not just a person talking and explaining things, so I think it’s important. |
It’s an event that’s founded with crowdsourcing and funding. It is a space that at the same time has many layers. There’s space for trainers to get more training but also input for people who don’t know anything about cybersecurity. It’s a very diverse space that aims to call attention to digital security. On the range of the things that are placed there, you have people talking about telephony hearing for example. Not just internet but technology in general.
Latin America / Caribbean: That’s a strategy — having those spaces of people who are concerned about these issues is also vital, maybe a mixed space not just a feminist space. People doing digital security from not a feminist perspective are also very interested in a feminist approach because their approaches aren’t necessarily working. That support for a community interested in safety and privacy issues or circumvention — when you have (something like) Cryptoraid, I think you have a key aspect of it.
|insight, training |
|East Africa on the need for trainers that can provide input continuously and remotely (S23): There needs to be mentoring and coaching, on a continuous basis. And the option of online mentors or someone who can give a bit of information about security and risk assessment and management on a continuous basis that doesn’t require you to physically come to training.|
|question, training||Latin America / Caribbean on what follow-up means in the context of training (S23): Someone brought out the point of messaging — expectations of what follow-up means. If one is having training, is there an expectation that I will now be a trainer after this? What are messages to take and what is the expectation about carrying messages forward?|
|insight, stories, community, funding, gaps |
|East Africa on not wanting to be trained in security by the government (S23): In my context, most of our members don’t want to be trained by government (who are the ones running these processes) for fear of their safety but we are not ready to battle those systems and processes, yet we know they are there. We need to bring the processes closer to the communities we serve so we and they are not reliant on those they fear. |
Latin America / Caribbean (S23): But governments are the ones who have the money and mandate to do this in local community.
Participants’ questions for donors and funders from the end of Day 2 can be found in the appendix.
|insight, funding, structures||Facilitator Srilatha (South Asia) on the connection between funding and delivering results (S3): Donors tend to push results. Results are the easiest to show in formal segment. I do believe that as Jung said, the universal unconscious is to preserve the status quo. This is the kind of work that was really rattling things. Going to the roots of patriarchy or neoliberal capitalism, both pretty much look the same. This work got increasingly defunded because you can’t show results. The term “results” itself is very capitalist. You have to measure things, and if you can’t then change didn’t happen. The change doesn’t exist if you can’t measure it.|
|insight, funding |
|Latin America / Caribbean on the role of donors in prioritising digital security (S23): It was interesting to hear how many have access because of very specific donor initiatives — donors are seeing digital security as a problem, they’re hearing it from grantees and different strategies are being taken up to address it.|
|insight, stories, autonomy, power, structures, capitalism |
|Facilitator Jac (Southeast Asia) on economic power as one of the five layers of power in terms of organising in the digital age (S7): Economic power excites me the most out of the five layers. Thinking about technology and how it has changed, about infrastructure, contributing to shifts in economic power. Maybe less exciting these days, more depressing. But this is why I am an activist. I don’t want to throw the baby away with the bathwater. Just because the idea has morphed and shifted doesn’t mean there wasn’t anything good about them to begin with. A few exciting things that came with internet infrastructure. |
One of it was copyright. Who owns knowledge and intellectual property? Walt Disney for example directs who should own this, in the hands of corporations and intermediary corporations, 25 years after death of author etc.
So there was a whole movement to challenge this notion of a singular author, that knowledge that is collectively created sparked off each other and then create new things but then the legal infrastructure doesn’t allow it. The legal infrastructure now became a hindrance. There’s a whole movement around this. We’re going to change the legal infrastructure as well. Do copyleft instead of copyright. That means you assume, you have the right to copy, but you assume you’ll use the copylefting for creativity for remixing for rehashing. But now corporations are going NO.
So this movement around creative commons, also around GTL licenses and such. These are amazing innovations around how we should share our knowledge. How do we make this applicable in different contexts. But less exciting is how some of the free and open source movements are very male-dominated in some ways, particular groups of people, less exciting.
For example, this relationship between intellectual property and the bridge that still has not been drawn around the struggle around indigenous women’s knowledge. Something is here, but how can we make this conversation broader?
With the internet the platform was created. An interesting innovation about how we put value on particular things and how we are able to transact between ourselves and each other. A lot more of these kind of projects have popped up. For example in Malaysia, there’s Gerai OA, who are a group of people doing work with indigenous communities in the peninsula and then selling their crafts. They’re claiming the narrative of the products but not wanting to go through a middle person.
There’s something about circumventing the middle person in terms of knowledge or access to people. But also we have a new middle person, we circumvented the old but have we created a new? For example, we’ve circumvented an old system, like instead of going to a hotel chain, we can go directly into people’s houses, we’ve created a new middle person which is Airbnb. Who the hell are they? An economy capitalising on trust. We still have a trust issue. This is why we still trust corporations. We believe that Airbnb is who we trust. But why should that be the case? How else do we build relationships of trust?
|story, autonomy, funding||Facilitator Srilatha (South Asia) on self-financed movements (S3): Some of the most long-lived vibrant movements in the world are self-financed. There’s a whole other dimension to the story: resources, how movements are financing themselves. For example, the Narmada Bachao Andolan movement resisting in the Narmada Valley was successful and mass, and never took a penny from any donor, only individual donations. That’s how the movement survived.|
|question, autonomy, funding, sustainability |
|Southeast Asia on funding for feminist servers (S15): I want to talk about money. Who is funding feminist servers, and can we direct our money to that? If there needs to be resources, where might they be coming from? |
West Europe (S15): To address the question of how are the things are funded — for tonight’s evening activity, the idea is to explain what are autonomous servers, what is the landscape of those servers, where are they located, what services they offer, and what are their personality models. Feminist servers are run by feminists and offering services to feminist organisations.The sustainability model — there are people who are committing a lot of time to run the server. When I have time, I do something. It’s also community based work. We cannot explain the limitations about why we don’t have more feminist servers because sometimes it’s not possible for us. Small initiatives are very different, don’t expect everyone now will have feminist servers to process websites.
|insight, capitalism |
|Facilitator Jac (Southeast Asia) on cryptocurrency and the relationship of trust (S7): Who knows cryptocurrency? Bitcoin is a form of cryptocurrency. This mistrust of traditional institutions: state, corporations, banks etc. Look at the global economic crisis look at what banks have done after the 2008 crash. The idea died then and then reemerged, bitcoin. Instead of trusting banks for institution of value, trust instead the labour and time it takes to crunch numbers. It’s based on algorithms basically. |
The same things about value and currency in a different way. There’s no gold in the bank anymore anyway. It’s all an illusion. So this has come up and now capitalism has a way of folding everything into itself, absorbing.
South Asia: When we talk about the economic power of the internet, we discussed knowledge economy, getting rid of the middle person, cryptocurrency, but I also feel like the transformative social economic potential of the internet is something I am really excited about in the freelancer economy, which creates alternative means of income for people who would otherwise be barred from traditional economies.
|insight, stories, funding, gaps |
digital security, infrastructure
|Participants on lack of resources as a barrier to prioritising digital security (S17): |
* Lack of human resources; either people need a person who can lead that process, or it’s not seen as a collective responsibility
* Lack of funding to implement and sustain digital security
* Lack of existing infrastructure
* Trust in commercial infrastructure
* Security paradox: young feminists are at risk but when they demand resources, there is no prioritisation of security (FRIDA research)
* Some people don’t know information security was a need when they started and didn’t know how to use the tools from the start
* Issue of practicality: a lot of security measures are time, connectivity, and cost consuming. To change we need days of practice, and there’s just no time
|strategy, research||West Europe on disseminating and advocating for research in the philanthropic world (S23): When we discuss the research, it doesn’t make sense to have it without dissemination and without using it in many different ways. So we thought about doing advocacy and I was thinking specifically about the philanthropic world — to hopefully ensure that more financial and other resources are in all of our hands.|
|insight, body, embodiment, pleasure, power||Facilitator Jac (Southeast Asia) on embodied power as one of the five layers of power in terms of organising in the digital age (S7): |
Quite a lot of us talked about using the internet for pleasure, actually. Having a pet they can feed (Neopets), even cybersex. It’s really brought about new ways of thinking about embodied pleasure as well. Now there’s all kinds of porn, even feminist porn that looks at consent and labour practices. There’s engagement with technology purely at a pleasure level. We don’t stop thinking about. It’s not just a utility thing. It’s not something that’s just around. Not forget about the body or pleasure.
It’s interesting how something that’s so ‘cold’ like the internet is also about the body. Donna Haraway in 1985 started theorising about situated knowledges and technology and instead of trying to see tech as something outside of us and women are more than mother nature, it’s more of a mashup, she talks about the cyborg as a political subjectivity. Think about technology as not far apart for me but integrated into who I am. Even things like spectacles, that we wear, that’s part of who we are, or other kinds of things, who doesn’t sleep with their phones?
It’s about rather than something that is external to us, it’s also how we enact our embodiment. Who are we, who are we connected to, where are you? An interface, pleasurable, a bit risky, just how we engage in terms of where we are in the world. This is one of the research we did in EROTICS in 2009, when we started to look at the intersection between sexuality and internet. And how internet access for people discriminated because of their bodies and what is inscribed on their bodies in terms of gender and sexuality. Anonymity is a critical moment. To be able to reclaim their dignity and history and narrative and ability to form communities.
There’s something about this that’s strengthening embodied power.
|insight, body, embodiment |
|West Europe on the body (S9): I want to remind people that we are flesh, blood, fluid — wetware — and we interact with software and hardware. The point is we are neither. We need to manage our wetware.|
|insight, body, pleasure, training |
|MENA on the focus on body and pleasure in digital security training (S19): I think what I noticed the most is that there was a concentration on the fun part; many of us think the training should be fun, sexy, pleasure. It also involves the body, not just digital, not just the devices — that our body is also a device.|
|insight, body, resilience |
|Facilitator Sandra (West Europe) on the importance of the body in our activism (S12): How we live the politics of self care. Body is one of the only resources we have in our own activism. We talk about things that are outside of our skin but the resource we always neglect is our body. We are always so hyper-alert because we are always reacting reacting reacting. If you talk about resilience, sustainability, movement building, that very often includes our bodies — our body is a political space also. It’s very important in our activity.|
|question, strategy, structures |
|Participant reflection from movement storytelling (S2): How do we transform our anger into love and more understanding, how do we restrategise in how we challenge patriarchy and capitalism? Sometimes when we have so much anger, our strategies get worse.|
|insight, strategy, training |
|Participants on the role of emotions in prioritising digital security (S17): |
* Atmosphere of fear and isolation
* Surveillance prevents breaking of isolation
* Constant feeling of insecurity and not knowing what to do; imposter syndrome
* Response of going offline because of fear; withdrawal from movement; self-censorship; withdrawal from social media
* Fear of emotion that digital security training brings out
* Trainings should focus on embodiment and not just technology; current form of digital security is very external
* Holistic security should include our emotional realities
* Digital security trainers can get frustrated, tired, and stressed from feeling like nobody’s responding to your work, which can leads them to feel they are taken seriously and deciding not to do it anymore
* Domino effect from feeling tired of holding this weight to stress on the body and mind, being overworked
|insight, support |
|Latin America / Caribbean on the importance of emotions and time to digital security responses (S23): It’s very important to relate things to emotions and time. If somebody calls you in the night with an emergency, the response is particular in terms of time (sensitivity) and emotions, how do you provides support? The connection between the situation and the person who needs support will connect to the tool or tactic.|
|insight, strategy, support |
|Latin America / Caribbean on protecting yourself through changing your emotions (S23): We are not really protected, so the only answer is protect yourself. It comes back to having a network that can give you feedback or another perspective so your emotions can change. It’s also very important to not judge or feel bad because something’s happening to yourself, or not judging your partner because the thing you’re doing is “wrong” — so you can train yourself and find your own tools.|
|insight, documentation, methodology, training, LGBTQI |
digital security, violence
|Central Asia / North America on making space in digital security methodologies and documentation for the situational and the emotional (S23): It’s about not taking the digital out of context, and not jumping in right away to say “This is where we are from the digital perspective” but taking a situational analysis to see what’s happening on the ground, in the office, among people. I also wanted to add something related to the discussion of the emotional and what Sandra (S23) added to that as well, about ensuring that there is a component within the training and methodology talking about giving space to talk about the emotional, the violent nature of technology, how we’re engaging with technology as women and queer people and what does it mean. Contextualising that and making sure that people understand that there is that emotional side of things.|
|insight, policy, power, structures||Southeast Asia on the impact and power of tech corporations offline (S7): I think tech companies and Google and whatever, they have a much larger impact than just the internet, there’s also environmental policies, trade deals, copyrights, all sorts of other things, so it’s not just limited to platforms and internet and the way we use that. |
Facilitator Jac’s response (Southeast Asia): There is a new form of corporate power that is happening in the past ten years. We knew about some of them before, like agriculture, like how all of the seeds of the world belongs to three companies. We’ve known about the oil power. But there’s really a new power, which is tech companies. They have a lot of power. They have power built on our bodies, our labour of engagement and interactions, and the content we put into them.
South Asia (S7): I think the other forms of power they are increasingly acquiring, I don’t know what to call it, they’re becoming parallel enforcement bodies. (Many agree). It’s like a parallel state, extra state, enforcement bodies. I think we have to see the structural power now morphing into enforcement roles as extensions of the state or in collaboration with the state which is very problematic.
Facilitator Jac (Southeast Asia) (S7): Yes there’s issues of jurisdiction. The internet, what’s powerful about it is that you can get outside of your national boundaries. What’s powerful is that you can connect to other countries and organise together around issues that matter to us. But corporations sit outside of jurisdiction yet somehow have to play a jurisdiction role.
South Asia (S7): And we didn’t elect them.
|question, embodiment, organising, public/private space, structures||Facilitator Jac (Southeast Asia) on the notion of public space intersecting with corporate and privatised space (S4): What is public? Public used to be when you think about demonstrations like a march in a square, but now this public is also online. And this public is also something like Twitter. What does it mean when the space of organising in public is actually privatised space? A space owned by a corporation and a space that very deliberately tries to also extract data from you. But at the same time it is a very very important public space where things are being contested? Multiple publics: digital, embodied, physical, there’s a relationship between them. How to distinguish between the three? Embodied is the person. The person is both in digital spaces and is also a digital embodiment and is also the physical space and physical embodiment. There is a flow.|
|stories, insight, language, surveillance |
|Latin America / Caribbean 1 on the linguistic nuance of “security” and its relation to state and surveillance (S9): I’m having a bit of a hard time with the terms. Because in the context of my country I live in, there’s the terrorism of the state using the term “security” as a protectionist measure. |
MENA (S9): When we use the word safety, is it better than security?
Latin America / Caribbean 2 (S9): In Spanish it’s the same word.
Latin America / Caribbean 1 (S9): We talk about safer spaces. It is an important concept, but not the principle.
Central Asia/North America (S9): This is a brilliant moment which brings up a point of contextualising in cultural and linguistic terms.
|insight, colonialism, rural, corporations |
|Latin America / Caribbean on defending radio spectrums (S15): It’s important to remember that a spectrum is a territory to be defended and cared for. Remember that it’s air, and that one of the principal groups that’s trying to defend spectrums is community radio. |
Latin America / Caribbean on movements to reform the division of spectrum (S15): In my country we have this book that discusses how just like the earth has been colonised and divided into property, they did the same thing with the air. Companies rule it and if you want a concession you need a lot of power. So there is a movement which claims to make a whole reform just like the rural movements claim to make a reform on how land is divided, it’s also on how spectrum is divided.
|insight, autonomy, policy |
|North America, from the infrastructure presentation on mobile networks (S15): The relationship between the antenna - we understood the router could only live in one place and she could be outside when she first sends the email. But we weren’t sure where the antenna versus the server comes into place. |
Latin America / Caribbean on local autonomous networks as alternatives for the feminist movement (S15): That’s the issue. The same thing that happened with mobile network is the same thing to happen with radio — it also uses the spectrum and the air. That’s why you need antennas to cover more territory. The air has been colonised and sold to companies, and we are super used to paying for this service. We can think of more local autonomous networks. It’s important to show with this exercise how we can think of mobile autonomous community network, a super important issue for feminist movements as well. So all this commercial infrastructure could be changed.
Latin America / Caribbean on telecommunication policies (S15): The concept of “zero rating” is not true, you’re paying for the service anyway. It’s another important issue for these kind of networks. How can we create an autonomous community network without this commercial element? In many countries it’s a place of political struggle because it’s super related with telecommunication policies.
|insight, stories, funding, policy, research |
|South Asia on feminists not being in the discussions about licensing and regulations and the role of funders (S15): In my country, the Ford Foundation and the government are investing in the spectrum, and then when the issue of licenses and regulations are being discussed there are no feminists there in the discussions. At some point we all think spectrum is a good thing, but I don’t know what’s going to be negotiated. Because we’re having a donor conversation today I think it’s simple to think why donors invest in technology vs how donors are going to be. But what about the issue of, even those funding it (Ford Foundation) are not able to convince the feminists to sit at the policy table. |
Latin America / Caribbean on advancing a feminist point of view for spectrum governance (S15): I also have a lot of thoughts about that, regarding why are donors interested in technology. Because technology is basically everything, right? In my research I’ve gone so far as to see the spectrum as a common good. But as a common good, it’s mediated by technology that has specific issues that we must unpack in order to see how we can create technological issues not any kind of common good but a feminist common good. It’s a need, I think. I’ve been researching and have not seen a lot of feminist approaches to the spectrum and I am here searching, trying to approach peers to do that. I try to go to events where they discuss governance of spectrum to put forward a feminist point of view. I think the movement in my country has a lot of feminist perspectives and the concept itself is a feminist concept.
|insight, question, corporations, gaps, power||Southeast Asia on the space for power structures created by corporations within discourse around the feminist internet (S7): We talked about relationships between corporations and individuals. There are these trade agreements that are also trying to create some sort of power structure, where does that fit into our discourse and what does it mean for us to talk about feminist internet and all this stuff that is happening at a global space? |
North America (S7): We need to unpack secret spaces, where secret trade negotiations happen.
|insight, strategy, power |
privacy & data
|North America / East Africa on higher level accountability and responsibility (S9): I’m interested in figuring out how part of the strategy includes being able to talk to people in power about the way the internet is constructed. It’s a responsibility not on the lower level but the higher level, and users should not ultimately be responsible for keeping themselves safe from people who want to take their privacy away from them.|
|strategy, question, corporations, power||Latin America / Caribbean on occupying internet governance spaces and choosing which actors to speak with (S18): We have to occupy spaces where internet governance is happening. Do we talk to corporations, or to states, or both?|
|insight, corporations, gaps, politics, power, risk||Latin America / Caribbean on the need for context-specific risk analysis at a time where contexts are changing fast (S18): Collusion between governments and corporations increases the power of the latter. Civil society spaces are closing - because the switch is so fast, we can’t understand how technology is a risk to us because political contexts change. We need context-specific risk analysis, both political and economic.|
|insight, question||South Asia on fence-sitters finally being convinced, and also the idea of changing attitudes, actual beliefs and opinions (S3): What’s complicated for me that ignorance is also political. It comes from privilege and not ever having to experience that oppression. There’s this constant conflict for me of when and at which level do you bring people in and speak their language, but at what level do you say ‘No, Your ignorance is oppressive, you’ve built this bubble where my oppression doesn’t exist.’ How do we then navigate the politics of reaching, teaching, and getting people on our side, while also maintaining the integrity of our message and keeping it political in that sense?|
|insight||Europe on the risks of unverified information found online (S18): There are opportunities for increased exposure to new ideas and access to information, but you don’t know if that information is legitimate, valid, or verified.|
|question, strategy, policy||North America on the critical use of information (S18): A lot of online organising is shaped by legislation, but is there critical use of information, and how do we direct this as well? (e.g. by the creative use of petitions and viral demands.)|
|insight, organising||East Africa on the use of pop as part of discourse-making and expression (S18): We chiefly discussed the use of pop in generating but also exploiting discourse for activism - to educate people around the issue, and get them to take action and document these issues. |
There are a number of problems with pop:
* There are alliances for convenience, but with problematic actors, which is such a constriction
* There is a need for alliances with better agreements, but those alliances will drop people who help build critical mass
* A lot of pop is superficial and some is actually traumatic for people (e.g. pop that uses dark humour)
|stories, strategy, social media||East Europe / Central Asia on memes as a wrapper for politics on Facebook (S4): My organisation’s work is really hard to push because we live in a Soviet Country and everyone hates socialists. We now create entertaining content on our personal Facebook profiles, like memes. We wrap our politics and push it through this as a way of recruiting the youth. We gained a lot of followers, mostly young girls who are writing blogs and asking us to publish their stuff on our page.|
|strategy, pleasure, policy, research, support |
access, digital security
|Participants on what research and evidence building brings to making digital security more accessible and engaging (S23): Research contributes to awareness-raising, addressing and understanding specific contexts, deepening our political analysis from a feminist perspective, and changing mindsets about tech from difficult and boring to be fun, pleasurable, and “We can do this!” |
Central Asia/North America on connecting research to policy (S23): There’s so much good research already there, but what’s missing sometimes is what do I do with it, how to connect it to policy?
Oceania (S23): That’s where your support networks and other groups will come in to make the connections.
West Europe on bridging research in different fields and making it more timely (S23): Can I also add that research for policy, activism, academia are all different, and there’s a lack of bridges there. You edit edit edit, then do peer review, and when it’s out, then what? This frustrates me sometimes, I’d like to see more activist research applied in the field for the people, without all those constraints, so it’s more timely.
|insight, strategy, documentation |
digital security, usage
|West Europe on selective sharing of documentation (S19): We talked about selective documenting and sharing — some information we share with others, some we don’t, with awareness of risk. |
West Europe on technopolitics of tools and their effects on selective documentation (S23): What should and should not be documented — there’s no answer to this question, it’s just a strategy to always have this conversation when a documentation process is ongoing, to talk about how we will and will not document. This means talking about the technopolitics of the tools we are going to choose — some tools are more feminist for collective documentation and then there are also those standards like Git, that we feel is complex and quite masculine in the logic.
|insight, strategy, documentation, funding, methodology |
|West Europe on combating competitiveness regarding sharing digital security methodologies (S23): We started with how it takes a lot of time and resources to produce documentation. There’s also an issue of not wanting to share methodologies because we’re in competition for shared resources and the idea that “My way is the best way.” Of course that way is not feminist so one strategy is that funders give value to the production of documentation and documentation that is shareable, because you can make documentation that is not understandable.|
|expectations, stories, methodology, training |
|Latin America / Caribbean (S9): I’d rather put on the table — more than teaching, how to obtain knowledge around digital security? |
South Asia on her expectations for the hacking stream (S9): I’ve been a digital security trainer since January. During that time I’ve already trained around 700 people and after this meeting, I’m going to talk to a hundred more college kids about digital security. My expectations from here are training methods. There are a lot of points from this list I identify that match my expectations, but training methods are extremely important for me.
|insight, strategy, training |
access, digital security, privacy & data
|Participants on lack of knowledge/awareness as a barrier to prioritising digital security (S17): |
* Most risks are not visible and some may not know what the risks and threats are. There are many threats, so being up-to-date is important
* In some groups/organisations, there is a lack of technical skills amongst the members/staff, or there are differing technical skills resulting in unevenness
* No background with privacy or politics of data
* Consultants taking over training instead
Latin America / Caribbean on locating sources of knowledge in our environments (S23): We talked about who tells you these tactics and who gives you tools, how can you make these connections? Deepening the understanding of the environments we walk in, where you can get knowledge.
South Asia on engaging knowledge people already have in trainings (S23): (As a digital security trainer) I also bridge knowledge through taking what people already know, the life skills so far, the other kinds of knowledge they possess whether it’s from working in the fields or from the communities they belong to. Using that to create these links of meaning to concepts I am trying to impart.
Participants’ questions on feminist infrastructure from the end of Day 2 can be found in the appendix.
|definition||Latin America / Caribbean explaining the concept of the spectrum (S15): This is a difficult concept because it is a physical thing. A spectrum is the air. The air has this physical property of carrying radio waves and also other kinds of waves. The road metaphor is not the best metaphor to use it but I’ll use it because it is visual — you have different roads and you have different traffic of information on those roads, you have wider roads and smaller roads. It depends on the frequency and modulation that you do to the data. Regarding radio, an electroacoustic sign (the voice) is transformed into electromagnetic signs because spectrum regards electromagnetic properties. It’s a really physical thing so it’s hard to put it into words.|
|definition, story, corporations||Latin America / Caribbean explaining free basics (S15): Free basics is a Facebook project to give internet to places where there is no internet, either with a balloon and I think drones also. They provide internet services but it is only with what they want, because they are the providers, so they can specify what kind of services they will provide. |
South Asia (S15): When this whole free basics fight was going on in my country, a journalist wrote a good example of what it really is. It’s like cooking gas for your stove. Free basics is: I give you free gas, but you have to use my stove.
|definition, tools||Latin America / Caribbean explaining protocols (S15): Protocols are like an agreement between people on how to settle technical questions or issues, there are different kinds of protocols for internet, mobile. The setting of agreements regarding technological issues — it’s like a language, making sure everybody speaks the same language.|
|definition, apps, tools||Latin America / Caribbean 1 (S15): It would be really helpful if you could please explain the difference between a server and having an email service provider. |
Latin America / Caribbean 2 explains (S15): A server is just a machine set up to provide services like storage and different kinds of things, not just specifically email. Our server provides spreadsheets and other things, but we are not providing email services. That’s the difference. A server is someone else’s computer where you store things, a computer that makes connections with different kinds of services.
North America/East Africa expands (S15): The only difference between servers is the software on it. A server that has messaging software on it can be an email server and it can also be running websites and other platforms.
|question||South Asia (S15): What is a satellite? And examples? What is meant with a burner phone also? |
Facilitator Jac (Southeast Asia) (S15): That is a device level so let’s discuss this infrastructure level first.
|definition, insight, corporations, organising, surveillance |
access, economy, governance, privacy & data
|Facilitator Jac (Southeast Asia) presents a diagram of network connections for radio, mobile and the internet (S15): There’s the backbone aspect, the actual cable that goes to and between countries and continents under the sea. People have done maps and interesting pictures on this, which is especially important to show the continents who have been deprioritised. This aspect is hyper expensive and has to be addressed on policy level. |
Then you have the last mile level. This is where a lot of exciting work around community access is happening. There are multiple types of technology: GSM, mobile, radio, mesh networks, wifi, etc. This you gotta support the hell out of in many ways.
Then we talked about the service level — servers, as someone said before, is basically a computer with software that can do multiple things. You can host your website, you can have your email, you can do sharing documents, you can have online meetings, you can have shared calendars, depending on what the server does.
|question, insight, community, tools||MENA (S15): Is there a list of free and feminist servers out there so we know how to use them? |
Latin America / Caribbean 1 (S15): Of course we want to support feminist servers, there are also independent community driven servers that are not feminist but are great options. so if you could include that in the discussion.
Latin America / Caribbean 2 (S15): There is a list of things and many recommendations we can make in the wiki, even in the discussion in the evening on feminist servers.
|insight, body, embodiment||North America/East Africa on embodying feminism through infrastructure (S23): We asked this question and we were thinking of the physical body as a metaphor for infrastructure, thinking about why it’s important — it leads us easily into thinking about the principles and how they apply. Because the principles for feminism thinks a lot about the body and the way that power works on certain bodies and not others. You think about access, governance, privacy, data, the obvious ones but when you embody infrastructure you come up with other connections to how infrastructure really is an embodiment of feminism because it goes way beyond software and hardware. |
Oceania (S23): I love the idea of the body as metaphor.
MENA (S23): You could look at it from the names of the feminist servers we talked about yesterday. They’re names of bodies, so it’s clear from the names that you’re trying to apply this philosophy.
|insight, autonomy, power, structures||North America/East Africa on how a feminist approach breaks down the hierarchy of infrastructure and the online/offline dichotomy (S23): We’re going beyond changing the internet, we’re trying to change overall power structures. In doing that, there would be necessarily erasing or blurring online offline/onground dichotomy. There’s lots of implicit hierarchy in infrastructure because of technical architecture and knowledge required and a feminist approach breaks that down. It’s much more about process and participation over I have knowledge you need or I have resources you can use, everyone is involved. It’s related to the principle of safe space, and again it’s not a box but it’s a process, not about use but an iterative conversation that exist. |
West Europe with a counterpoint (S23): I don’t agree that always everybody should be involved. I don’t need to know everything, sometimes I like compartmentalisation and specialisation in skills, competencies, and trust. The idea of infrastructure and everyone is involved, I’m unsure.
Latin America / Caribbean 1 in response (S23): I don’t think it’s like that at all! It’s about being involved in understanding how infrastructure works, what is my part in that choice, where I am in this network. To migrate from the misogynist systems to the supercool feminist systems, I need to understand all the processes and if for example my part is only collaborating and hosting work, it’s not to know the same things in every system.
Latin America / Caribbean 2 (S23): To eliminate imposed passivity.
|question, strategy, community, encryption, surveillance, tools |
|MENA on lowering the chances of surveillance (S15): If we use ways of communications without using the free internet and without going through the local network provider, if we use independent antennas, are the chances of getting surveilled lower? |
Latin America / Caribbean (S15): Mobile is a surveilled network even with usage of antennas. Between the antenna and the mobile phone you have the provider of the service, and all the data flow goes to the provider. If it’s not encrypted, the provider knows everything. That’s why we must use Signal, or encryption of the messages because the messages travel through commercial networks. Community networks are safer because you can specify protocols you use to communicate to have safer communication.
|insight, strategy |
|Latin America / Caribbean on feminist infrastructure and evidence collection (S18): Evidence can be a part of our strategies. Feminist infrastructure should also have tools to collect evidence.|
|insight, impact, tools, gaps||Latin America / Caribbean on the need to evaluate the tools we use to measure impact (S18): We need to reexamine the tools we are using to measure impact. Measuring online activism gives us the illusion of impact. There’s also the question of invisible impact: change is happening, but not through channels we are identifying. We need a monitoring and evaluation framework for the Feminist Principles of the Internet, to have a re-examination of impact tools.|
|insight, autonomy, tools||West Europe on technology having evolved to the point that it can’t be taken apart anymore (S16): It’s very powerful that we can publish things without needing to know how they run. Technology has evolved so much that now it’s impossible for us to see how it’s run. It’s part of the design - I can’t take apart my Mac as it’s glued, and no longer screwed together. Now this is a problem. The way we used to adapt things was by writing it ourselves - we can no longer open the hood of the car, just drive the car that was given to us. This is an important thing about how we design content.|
|insight, strategy, organising, gaps |
movement building, resistance
|Latin America / Caribbean on ownership of infrastructure and organising around our opposition’s infrastructure (S18): Our opposition has incredible infrastructure - how are we organising around that? Do we have ownership of infrastructure? Where are our pipelines? They are all falling apart. What kind of infrastructure are we talking about? The challenge that we can see is that we need new forms of accountability.|
|insight, colonialism |
|Facilitator Jan (South Africa) on why the participants are here (S1): We’re very aware that we’re at a moment of such disruption, a blurring of how we live online and offline. There’s external political movement and also an internal functioning of our lives that allow us to do what we do. We’re here to remember and celebrate where we come from. Those of us who live in colonised countries know that the erasure of our memories was a deliberate tactic in order for us to forget. They renamed our mountains and rivers, they even renamed ourselves. This should be a moment of remembering, because memory is resistance, and as long as we can remember, we can resist.|
|insight, history||MENA on undocumented feminist history and erasure (S23): The only point is not only sharing documentation, but if you leave a big part of the feminist movement out of the picture, if you’re not documenting that history, it’s a problem. I feel like we’re not talking about politics. Even if it’s not shared, or practical to apply to other contexts — there might be things not relevant to everyone or every issue — leaving it out and not document them would be leaving something out of feminist history.|
|insight, history||East Africa on the importance of remembering (S18): It is important for us to not lose the benefit of historicising even if it doesn’t have immediately visible goals or ends.|
|definition, strategy, structures||Facilitator Srilatha (South Asia) on JASS’s movement building framework (S3): JASS describes the process of movement building in four phases |
1. Rising up
2. Building up
3. Standing up, which is making yourself heard and visible
4. Shaking up, when you actually start to challenge and dismantle those structures of oppression.
|strategy, power, sustainability||Facilitator Srilatha (South Asia) on how the seed of a movement is from individual to collective action (S3): If you’re experiencing the injustice in isolation, you don’t have a sense of the collective power of change— the sense that you can come together and stand together and challenge that injustice, tear down the oppression. How do you tear down the oppression as an individual? It’s very hard. You have to build collective power. You can come together to talk about the problem for like the next fifteen years. But then what are you going to do about it? What is it that you want to change? What’s our analysis of the problem? What do we think are the root causes? We know how it’s manifesting itself, but what is the structural roots of this injustice, what is enabling it? What is causing it? That is what we call a shared political agenda. The agenda for change. |
And then you say: Let’s do something. You start to feel you’re really strong, and you start to build that collective power and think of actions that begin the change you are seeking. Again, it’s not individual action but collective action. And then we don’t say ‘Okay, we got that law changed, let’s go home.’ If you really have built a political agenda that has analysed the roots of that injustice, you know the change process is more long-term and complicated. We can’t destroy our oppressions that easily, although I wish we could.
|strategy, community, leadership, structures, sustainability||Facilitator Srilatha (South Asia) on key characteristics of movements (S3): |
A movement begins with creating space for questions and reflection: The first and foremost thing that movements do is when they’re beginning— when they’re not yet movements— is that they create some kind of a new space. I call it a non-traditional space. We all have access to different kinds of spaces. We hang out with our friends at the pub, at home, at the village well, or whatever well they were allowed to use because they were Dalit. In those spaces, often the people around us are unwittingly reinforcing or enabling our acceptance of the injustice. So what makes our space a non-traditional space? Here we allow each other to challenge the injustice, to question it, to ask new kinds of questions which in the traditional spaces perhaps we can’t, or if we do, we’re shut down.
It is also a space where we begin to experience solidarity and we hear each other: We reflect particularly on this experience, analyse them, build solidarity. Often it’s also a space where we simply share love and support, sometimes we provide concrete forms of support, sometimes in the spaces we begin to heal. That’s why they are non-traditional spaces. And it’s through these spaces that the membership or constituencies of people who are affected by this injustice start to come together and get organised. I don’t just mean a trade union, but ways of connecting and starting to link with others who are also seeking a change in that situation. That’s how we start getting organised. We start creating mechanisms and structures to stay connected. It could be a village level collective, a Facebook page, but there are spaces through which we start to feel we are organised, communicated regularly, we talk regularly, and start to build our agenda like this and in the online, on ground or both.
A movement has multiple or dispersed sites of leadership: Another characteristics of movements I have studied and this includes some of the online movements I have seen, is that they have multiple sites of leadership and leadership at multiple levels. In fact, the strongest, the most vibrant and most sustainable movements are ones that don’t concentrate leadership on one or two people. Where the leadership is so dispersed, and online organising movement building has really enabled this. It has disabled what has been the bane of many on ground social movements including the very social progressive movements which is very centralised top down patterns of leadership, very patriarchal modes. An example is the feminist movement; it’s very hard for one or two people to claim ownership of the feminist movement, or to claim to speak for the entire movement.
A movement has continuity over time: This is to distinguish between movement building and organising for instance a campaign or a protest. I’m not saying that campaigns protest rallies marches are not part of movements. In fact they are, in fact I have seen many cases where campaigns morphed into movements. They were the beginning, they are the genesis story of many movements. But They are not in and of themselves movements. We have to look for other characteristics. Especially the deepening and advancing political agenda. We start with one level of analysis of that injustice, we act together, we analyse and we go to a deeper political agenda. There’s a momentum, a spiral, in a movement. A single campaign might not need that. Sustaining our agenda over time and movement over time, deepening our analysis, is an important feature of movements.
A movement undertakes collective or joint actions to advance their political agenda, make itself visible, gain political power, challenge power structures—
* “Actual”: rallies, marches, protests, awareness building (public / among their own members), public campaigns, advocacy, legal action, etc
* “Virtual”: online campaigns, online mobilisation for on ground action, sharing stories, hackathons, tweetathons, blogathons
There’s a great diversity of strategies. I think we can build a lot of understanding about the different kind of strategies used by movements. They’re usually combined nowadays. There’s no movement I can think of that doesn’t combine online and offline. I don’t know of any movement that doesn’t use email.
|strategy, definition, impact, leadership||Facilitator Srilatha (South Asia) on the four stages of movement growth and decay (S3) |
1. Stage 1. Movements in the making. Just starting to come together, analyse their issues, starting to build their constituency. Mobilise.
2. Stage 2. Emerging movements. Movements that have done that, a careful agenda, started to do actions, started to become visible.
3. Stage 3. Mature movements have been around for a while. Some impacts. Some gains. Leaders arrested. Movement still goes on. The Iranian women’s movement. It’s brilliant dispersed leadership and so on, a very mature movement. Every attempt of Iranian state to dismantle it has failed.
4. Stage 4. And then there are movements that are dying, which means it’s a good thing and something else will emerge in its place. If you look at movements which are declining, and analyse why, you’ll find interesting insights. One of the key reasons is because they’ve stopped analysing the reality. Their agenda is frozen in time. They are so madly in love with their ideology that all the harsh realities of the world will not make them budge an inch. Just dead analysis, unable to cope with new phase of capitalism so they just completely ossify and then kind of fossilised.
|strategy, stories, leadership, LGBTQI||Facilitator Srilatha (South Asia)’s movement building map (S3): I created this through very deep study of a particular movement of Muslim women in South India. When I began to map their journey I realised it was a universal pathway. Tell me if it’s not. |
1. Perception of injustice. Absolutely the first step. If you don’t think anything is wrong, you won’t build a movement. You’ll build a corporation and sell things.
2. Inspired, determined leadership. Often from the constituency facing the injustice.
3. Creating space for consciousness raising. They create the space with others who have had similar experiences and then build a critical analysis.
4. Building a shared political agenda. Never static, always evolving and deepening.
5. Organising and expanding the “constituency” base. You go ‘wait a minute, there must be people like us in other places, let’s go find them.’ With online organising, this can be done in ways that were much harder 30-40 years ago. If you can reach out and mobilise every person affected by that identity, even if it’s a couple of hundred, you have a ‘mass’ base. For example, in Guatemala, every single trans woman is mobilised in their movement.
6. Identifying action, priorities, and strategies. Then you identify what you want to tackle first. What is the first injustice that really needs to be challenged in some way? The next step is to do something about it.
7. Acting for change. (Points to 8, 9, and 11) You do something about it for the first time as a movement and the identify of the movement.
8. Visibility / backlash. Several things happen. First of all, you get visibility. Then you get trolled! You get backlash. You get people saying who the hell is this, get them, they’re going to start trouble. You get backlash but also visibility. You become visible as a political force.
9. Absorbing gains. Sometimes you get some gains. Someone listens. And then you reanalyse the situation and take it to the next level
10. Analysing the situation. (Points to 12 and 13). But how come they were so ready to change that law? How come they were so ready to put in that clause we asked for? Is anything funny going on here? What larger or deeper or devious interest is being protected by this concession? Our analysis deepens.
11. Expanding participation / membership base. The fence sitters start joining in. And the movement’s base starts expanding and the movement’s support system, its allies start to grow.
12. Refining / advancing the political agenda.
13. Designing new strategies. And then the whole circle begins again.
|Insight, accountability||South Asia on the disruptive impact of technology on strategising (S10): We have to figure out new ways of living our principles, because technology itself is disrupting. We operationalised ethical, feminist principles of accountability and representation, and now we have to figure them out all over again because of the way technology is restructuring things.|
|question, sustainability||South Asia on distinguishing between a peak and a sustained movement (S18): Is it a movement or a moment? How do we sustain our own actions and peaks in movements?|
|insight, organising, structures |
privacy & data, resistance
|East Europe on the registration and formalisation of movements (S3): I wonder if the internet is helping discourse. At first our movements were organised but unregistered. Then there was a push from donors to formalise into organisations. The internet rediscovered the movement, and individuals and collectives (both unregistered) brought the resistance. The internet was like an earthquake for NGOs and feminist movements to say “Hey! We need to be so identified, registered with unique ID numbers, to get back to the movement.”|
|insight, definition, stories |
community, social media
access, amplify narratives
|Facilitator Jac (Southeast Asia) on the constellation of actors who are part of movements (S4): Maybe we don’t see them when we think about movement building. |
* Networked individuals
* Social media feminists
* Free radicals
* Content creators
* Nerd collectives
* Membership networks
* Transnational alliances
The last few are ones we are more used to. How do we connect to each other, and how do we form a network?
Facilitator Jac (Southeast Asia) on the role of free radicals in movements: Free radicals are very important today. They go “You know what, I really reject the formal organising of before, I really don’t want to be part of an NGO but I am a feminist, somehow I am enough of an ally, sometimes I dip into the formal organising space, but sometimes I don’t. But either ways, I really reject being part of being part of a formal organisation.”
Their activism and sites of struggle is online. Social media is a site of their struggle. “This is where I practice my politics every day. I know who my friends are, we’re all connected.” They can help respond to attacks when needed.
This is possibly what happened in the Primera Violeta campaign in Mexico. These free radical people, we must have, we must know. But never try to include them in your organisation and don’t give them membership.
Free radicals are the nodes that interconnect the meshwork, but they are entirely non-sustained and unseen. It’s important to think through how we understand individuals who are between spaces, since they play a critical role.
Facilitator Jac (Southeast Asia) on the role of social media feminists in movements: Social media is also the site of their struggles and everyday activism, and despite criticism that they perform ‘clicktivism’, it’s valid and part of the movement world. Get to know them, where you are, in your own contexts.
Content creators: More and more people are organising content, reclaiming our history, narratives, and perspectives. This is an opportunity that the internet provides - easier access to the control of narratives. It allows a content creator to say, ‘This is my history, and I want to name it.’ This is a critical part of activism if we think about the domains of change presented by Srilatha.
|insight, strategy, |
community, language, gaps
|Latin America / Caribbean on the need to recognise that there are actors within the movement who are not part of it (S8): Our group had a language discussion - another person wasn’t agreeing about using the word ‘influencers’, and me, I wanted to use ‘labour’ because of relationships between labour, support, solidarity and care. These are like overlapping concepts in many ways. What is the movement? Who is part of it? Donors, friends and others are part of the ecosystem. We need to problematise what our movements are - because there are actors who can influence them without being part of them.|
|insight, strategy, colonialism, structures||South Asia on identifying relationships within movement building (S8): It was good and interesting that so many of the actors fell into so many different categories - there were no definitive categories. People who fell under ‘care’ could also fall under ‘knowledge’. |
Oceania on how typical actors within movement building don’t serve all contexts (S8): Depending on where we were based and the nature of our collective, some actors were conducive to our work and some were not. Depending on the context, actors such as the United Nations, and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights didn’t work at all - they were just patriarchal colonial institutions. In other contexts the collective could form allies and use UN agencies to benefit the collective.
|insight, strategy, intimacy, power||North America / MENA on the difference between voluntary and strategic relationships (S8): Some of the relationships we have to have are involuntary, because we’re required to have them, and that’s different and it needs to be acknowledged. In relationships of everyday labour, or resource/knowledge and even support (except probably for care, which are the most chosen relationships we have) we might be called to engage with our oppressors, or people with whom we don’t agree and who annoy the hell out of us. In all of those categories, there are relationships we choose, and relationships that are strategic and required of us.|
|South Asia on locating oneself within the targeted ‘constituency’ of the movement (S18): |
* The main question we ended up with was the relationship between oneself and the people we consider ‘we’ or at the centre of the so-called constituency. When are we separate, and when are we not? When are we part of the constituency, and when are we not? Do we see ourselves as part of our constituency? That is the main conflict we had.
* There are questions of privilege and power within our movement - socioeconomic and class. There are issues of appropriation - who is speaking for whom?
|definition, insight |
data, corporations, power
|Facilitator Jac (Southeast Asia) on the five layers of power in terms of organising around and through the internet (S7): |
1. Structural power (see below)
2. Discursive power (see Amplify Narratives)
3. Economic power (see Economy)
4. Embodied power (see Expression)
5. Network power (see below)
The questions to interrogate each layer are:
1. What does it strengthen?
2. What does it disrupt?
3. What does it change?
|North America on the strengths / advantages of online organising (S10): |
* Campaigns were a prototype of the digital age… there was an ability to make things that had been invisible, visible.
* Governments were holding secret meetings by bringing them into the virtual space - there was a way to hold them accountable.
* We were able to bombard officials with tweets and mobilise volume in a way we wouldn’t have been able to on the ground.
* There is a volume and scale around organising in multiple locations at once - what makes it effective is that it is in conjunction with what’s happening on the ground.
* The campaign shared information across borders, in a short time frame, speedily organising around the issue.
* It is possible to amplify voices and information across countries, and find allies across different movements and coordinate efforts speedily and in a heightened fashion.
risk, power, corporations
|North America on the weaknesses / problems with online organising (S10): |
* Issues of appropriation came up in ways they always have.
* Sometimes digital impact has made us ahistorical around where movements have come from - we have lost some of the memory of the work we have been doing and lessons we have already learned.
* We talked about the vulnerability of not taking safety at hand - there are ways in which we are newly vulnerable in digital spaces.
* The ability to have analytics, which allowed us to iterate much more quickly and dynamically and scale up - but it also means that certain data purposely does not exist, and has invisibilised full swathes of communities.
* We know what laws exist in public space - but the spaces we are claiming online are corporately held and not public, and therefore we can be disappeared easier there than we can on the ground.
* We are participating in the capitalist system and handing over data to them - however we can use the same tactics using data to expose issues like corruption, and know our enemies better.
* A lot of the dilemmas and democratic principles that have challenged our movements for all time still exist here. We have to come up with new tactics on how to democratise the work because we are part of a new public/private space and we are people with issues of privilege and inequality.
data, power, organising
|Southeast Asia reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of online organising (S10): |
* Has created a space for more freedom of expression.
* Has created a platform for marginalised voices.
* It makes mobilisation easy.
* It makes wins easy - but on the other hand, you can see the change quickly on the surface, but it hard for people to take action in real life.
* It creates a digital divide - people with devices can connect and participate easily.
* It gives people the ability to access new ideas and analysis, like research and data collection.
* It gives people access to timely information.
* On the other hand, we are overloaded with too much information because of it.
* In terms of building a shared political agenda, it is a safer space for activism and to share your agenda.
* It creates opportunities for inclusion, for example for people with disabilities, people who want to be anonymous, or for shy people.
* It creates more transparency and less security - people know who you are.
* It creates more diverse ways for communication with partners and donors.
* There is also exclusion. For example, if you have the privilege of speaking English, you have connectivity and you can share your ideas - people listen to you more than if you lived in rural areas, didn’t have WiFi or spoke English.
leadership, organising, risk, gaps
|Southeast Asia on the ways digital organising is both powerful and problematic (S10): |
* It has upended the sequence of the steps we’ve discussed - it goes from 1 to 7, shortcutting all the other steps. The peaks are what brings things together, but the other steps can be left out - and it isn’t able to sustain itself.
* It has allowed different kinds of feminist campaigns/organising strategies to emerge, but sometimes it isn’t strategic, just remedial.
* Transferring it to on the ground organising has been harder in the light of shrinking democratic spaces.
* The digital media cycle - because it is happening everyday and what it highlights is legitimately infuriating - makes us reactionary.
* Everyone can be a leader now. Building large scale campaigns, and a degree of accountability is a huge question - are there mass constituencies vetting the tactics?
* The idea of what a movement looks like and how it operates needs to be figured out - how do we self identify and stay engaged and accountable?
* It upends the leadership ladder that we have been trained to use in organising - increasing the different roles of leadership, how trust and accountability is built, and how our political agenda is built. That’s how relationships are deepened - if we are not doing that, then what does leadership look like now?
* In the context of risk assassination for activists, the online space is sometimes safe to challenge from. We need the creation of a digital infrastructure of opposition. They have call centres and paid trolls, we are outsourced and unstaffed - outstrategised.
community, organising, social media
|South Asia (S3) on a spontaneous movement through social media: There was a movement of Pakistani women, Girls At Dhabas, going to public spaces like roadside cafes and occupying them. It started online in a gentle sort of way, one of the founders didn’t consciously start it. She just sat down and had coffee and started recording. It was strange but more people joined her, friends at first. It was recorded on Facebook and Instagram, and then snowballed into a movement. Initially, it seemed to me to be somewhat restrictive, until suddenly friends of mine who did not identify as left were talking about it. My family talked about it. While there might not be any specific way to track this, it started online and grew there, reaching people who would otherwise have not heard of it.|
corporations, data, gaps
|North America on the role of chaos in organising in the digital age (S4): You have a movement that is predicated on a national injustice, this idea of freedom and liberation. I wonder about chaos in organisation, talking about the digital age. If we’re operating outside corporate spaces, I wonder what happens to freedom and liberation. I wonder what happens to a shared sense of justice and the relationship between chaos and control in those domains. In the case story of Malaysian organising, you said they didn’t use a hashtag. Now this is a domain that requires one, but suddenly we won’t use one. It means you can’t be found, but suddenly the resistance is organised by that. Not to go too far down the radical, but then you have to have a conversation about metadata. Where do we exist and how do we control that narrative? If we can talk about subtext and roots of oppression and in the digital age, we need to unpack metadata.|
|insight, stories, |
community, language, organising, LGBTQI
|Facilitator Jac (Southeast Asia) on domains of change in digital-age movement building (S4): |
1. Discourse. The discursive domain is the most critical domain of change at the moment. We are living in a discourse-crazy age and everything is visual. It’s not so much what you’re saying, but how you present it to me. I want to be able to see your idea and get it straight away, like a fist emoji. Or if I see you use a Spongebob meme I know what you’re saying. This recalls the shorthand visual codes of lesbians organising in the 80’s, earring placements and leather and things like that. It’s very transmittable, very viral, and keeps changing. It gestures whether or not you’re part of a network, part of a shared secret. Technology allows you to access not just a global network, but a global cultural language even the cultural language of feminism. That comes with its own problematics. Sometimes you can talk to a young feminist in Malaysia and they know more about Black Lives Matter than indigenous people. It’s not that they’re less important. That’s the beginning of your process, recognising yourself as a global citizen and then you localise it where it matters to you.
2. Value. This is deeply personal. The locus of change is not about some brand idea out there, it’s about me, what I believe in, what it matters to me, and I will stand with or without you depending or not whether I see me in it. Extracted ideas somehow doesn’t stick so much. It starts almost with a personal narrative. Is my story here? Can I tell my story as a part of this? This is where it actually begins to change in that sense.
3. The idea of ‘we’, belonging in multiple communities. The notion of community that is multiple. So ‘we’ is no longer geographically bound, but bound by interest, value, and beliefs. So I can be a we with you, if you and I geek out together on comic books, manga, and feminism. There’s something about that, and there’s multiple communities. It’s always multiple it’s not singular. I can belong in many places and be part of many ‘we’s. There are multiple sites of engagement and multiple notions of the construction of the sense of self. All of this is contained within multiple and everyday crises that we are part of today. So while you have this, it’s personal. Hypernationalistic projects, increased racism, use of religion, moral panics every single day. All of this is contained within us as we are trying to work on politics of networked solidarity and a strong sense of I in relation to all of us.
|insight, organising||West Europe on the increased pace and larger scale of online organising (S18): All of our strengths and weaknesses that happen on-ground are amplified online - they are more, and quicker, and bigger in scale.|
|insight, justice, structures, LGBTQI |
|Southeast Asia on the way in which digital organising enables access to informal justice (S10): We talked about how the internet and social media have been used for access to informal justice, and how people mobilise and hold corporations accountable. It bypasses traditional NGO gatekeepers and media, creates documentation of human rights violations (especially violence against LGBT people) in more effective and multiple ways (such as video).|
|SEA/North America on the contradictions of the feminist movement online (S10): It (the movement in the digital age) is more accessible and visible but also makes us more vulnerable. It makes things more timely, since everything is in real-time, but there is also superficial engagement. Sometimes it strengthens stereotypes.|
|insight, question, support||North America on being able to distinguish between mass support and virality (S18): There is a decreased co-option of struggles, more people are able to speak for themselves, there is more opportunity to influence public opinion - but do we really have mass support? Or is this disguised by likes and virality?|
|insight, social media, power||Facilitator Jac (Southeast Asia) on social and political capital online (S4): Another interesting thing about the current sphere of organising is a mash-up between social and political capital. The infrastructure we organise on prioritises who you are: social capital, your personality. “I want to be able to wear my politics on a badge.” Your politics is an important part of who you are and how you build your social capital. You can tell who see Twitter as a space for broadcasting and those who see Twitter as a space for augmenting. |
Celebrity culture also influences social media. There’s also a mash-up happening between social capital, celebrity, and politics. We’ve never seen a more powerful unleashing of pop before. But pop is also necessarily quite shallow, even as it’s powerful. How do you think about pop as powerful and complicated, as a doorway?
|insight||Facilitator Jac (Southeast Asia) on how emotions spark movements in a network (S4): It starts from an emotional core, not so much rational or analytical. “I am so outraged, I am angry, I feel you, and I want to do something with you. I can stand with you as long as I share an emotional connection that propels us.”|
|insight, question, |
|Southeast Asia on patterns in activist struggles (S2): We were a very intergenerational group — it was interesting to see similar rites of passage, our families as first sites of struggle. Many of us kicked out of our families to start feminism. I wondered, what’s the movement pipeline that welcomes and catches our folks.|
|insight, community, gaps |
|Participants on the lack of communication within and between movements as a barrier to prioritising digital security (S17): |
* People/feminists are not talking to each other when they should be engaging in cross issue sharing to learn from each other
* Feminists have social relationships. We can impact each other; impact depends on relationships and sharing vulnerability
* There exists a binary that separates techies in women’s movements — techies are activists too!
* Weakens activists’/feminists’ politics to ignore or not include a techno-political-feminist analysis in their work
|Latin America / Caribbean on drawing on community to face digital security problems (S19): It’s very important to say that we’re not alone, we’ve never been alone, but they’re always trying to tell you you’re alone. If you have a problem you don’t always have to face it by yourself, you can find help from someone or people in your community, people that you trust, in a way that you can confront these things with the helps of the other people. Who are your friends who can help you to build this force in your community? The capitalist model of going towards a goal — it’s not working, from our perspective, it shouldn’t be the way. It’s more complex going through all these processes in group because we all have different feelings and receive things in different way but similar interests can be a link that can be stronger where you’re trying to be in a good position with somebody, it is better if it is natural. It’s a very effective link. |
Facilitator Jenny (South Africa) (S19): It cannot be imposed — it’s complicated and intuitive.
|insight, definition |
see also: infrastructure, self-care/care
|Facilitator Jac (Southeast Asia) on the role of networked solidarity in movements (S4): What does networked solidarity mean? That means I can stand with you even if I am not with you. So for example, I can say to someone in Bosnia that “We need you right now on Twitter because something is happening in Malaysia.” And the infrastructure that enables this solidarity is automatically a network. You have a sense of solidarity that is not geographically bound, but is through shared ideas and shared values. The solidarity really depends on this networked relationships that follows this flow.|
|strategy, research||Participants on research and evidence building for capacity building within movements (S23): More research on strategies activists are already using in their local contexts, which would not necessarily for public dissemination but for sharing amongst our own networks for capacity building.|
|insight, data, organising, power||Facilitator Jac (Southeast Asia) on network power in terms of organising around and through the internet (S7): |
* The entire infrastructure of the internet is about facilitating networking and connection from many to many. It is built on the sense of a network and enables networking and uses the metaphor of a network. The metaphor of the network is the tyranny of today. We can’t get out of what else beyond this picture, from neuroscience to life.
* That’s kind of what it is, it facilitates and enables networking, allows us to connect on the basis of interest and passion and mutual hate, all kinds of things we are able to connect. That’s a lot of what it is. The network power is the strongest most effective form of power.
* And again, the three questions: What does it strengthen, disrupt, change? That’s where it matters.
* On what infrastructure are we building it on? And what for? Underneath that, is the whole question of data. If you’re talking about embodied power but more of our bodies are becoming become datasets what does it mean for network power.
autonomy, corporations, community
|Latin America / Caribbean (S7) on expanding understanding of networks beyond platforms: Let’s not equate the internet with just the platforms we use. It’s something we’ve been talking about in Mexico with different collectives; the networks are not platforms, they are people. Let’s talk then about autonomous networks. |
Southeast Asia: I think the design of the internet platforms, both autonomous and corporate/capitalist platforms, they do matter. Like to respond to your question around is FB better than Tinder for example, Tinder is a specific dating app, you have a purpose when you go to Tinder. If you go into Facebook, Facebook is so insidious that you go there and your spheres collect, work and family friend etc. For me that’s the danger of big corporate platforms like Facebook and Google, is that it converges your identities and communities into one account. That is maybe something that needs to be further explored.
|definition, insight, stories, |
leadership, power, structures, LGBTQI
|Facilitator Srilatha (South Asia) on the different levels of density in movements, from specificity to meshworks (S3): I want to introduce this concept of the meshwork. I think it’s very exciting. I look at movements as having different levels of density or tightness. So you can have a kind of movement that is very specific constituency that is organising around a very specific set of issues or agenda change in a particular location. Srilatha points out case studies in AWID’s series Changing The Worlds, Concepts, and Practice of Women’s Movements. |
And then you have a looser layer. A good example of that is national movement against gender based violence. Or a national movement for the right to housing. A land rights movement. The movement to save a river in India. Which had a number of different types of actors, people like me, also affiliated with it, I didn’t live in that region, I wasn’t affected, so here you see mostly it’s affected constituency, then expanding out you start to see allies.
In the outermost circle is what Arturo Escobar a Colombian political scientist called meshworks. Escobar says meshworks is webs of activism. Where social movements can be part of it. Networks can be part of it. Organisations and individuals. And we move in and out of strategic spaces and interactions because we share certain broad socioeconomic or political ideologies. If we look at anti-globalisation or Occupy. If we look at Occupy as a movement for economic justice, it has all these kind of actors in it. It also is a space, meshwork are spaces, where there are lots of different, a core is there, but lots of different circles of looser connections and organising.
So a meshwork has no center, there is no periphery, best of all, the borders are totally open. But that also makes them very vulnerable. Because you don’t say, well, you get to get membership of this only if you are such and such. So this helps us understand why certain movements, let’s say trans people’s movements, can be a member of a meshwork, but I can’t be a member. It’s important for them to maintain those boundaries.
I think of One Billion Rising is a meshwork. A demonstration of the collective power that meshwork does.
Story from Latin America / Caribbean: This reminds me of a protest we organised last year. I had the impression it was an open space, so everyone could present and position their interests. But speaking to my colleagues, we realised that not everyone was entitled to the space and to make their contributions at the same level, even though the common agreement was to open up and listen. Feminists are conceptualised as homogenous but they’re not.
Response from Srilatha: Power has three faces: Visible, hidden, and invisible. Neither organisations nor movements are rational entities, they reflect the values and agendas that they’ve embraced. They’re microcosms or reflections of us, not built by machines but by us: our privileges, our connections and social networks. So we bring into those spaces all our internalisations. What you saw happening in that space is a manifestation of that power, access, connections that certain individuals and groups have had compared to what you have. Hidden power is constantly operating. It’s called a deep structure. The Occupy movement is an excellent case study of that. The bulk of the Occupy movement was women of colour, domestic workers, farm labourers, factory - but leadership was all white male. And how that got challenged and so on.
|definition, strategy, stories, |
organising, policy, power, structures
|Facilitator Srilatha (South Asia) on how movements matter because they interact with key domains for transforming social power (S3): |
Ken Wilbur created something called integral theory and the integral framework. Initially done to help organisations look at their work in a more political way. It creates these four quadrants by having one axis from individual to the systemic, and the other axis from the informal to the formal. This creates four quadrants, domains for transforming social power:
1. Systemic Informal: This is where, in the inexplicable survival of the most unjust, the most violent ideologies of oppressions and discriminations can be explained. Our sociocultural norms, beliefs, practices through which oppression and exclusion are normalised and legitimised. For example, you were born Dalit because of the sins of your past lives. Ideological tools that find their day-to-day expression in this whole range of belief systems.
2. Systemic Formal: This is our policies, laws, resource allocations.
3. Individual Informal: From our childhood, certain ideas of what is normal, right, wrong, deviant, are embedded in us. Our entire consciousness, attitudes, and values. We only understand a fragment of our consciousness, how we think about ourselves and others.
4. Individual Formal: This is the access to our rights, resources, entitlements.
If we look at the process of social transformation through this structure, it’s easy to understand why movement building is so very critical.
1. We know we’re good at affecting change in Formal domains. Good NGO work, advocacy, development work, social justice programs can increase their control over resources, protect women from violence, change laws to recognise marital rape.
2. But what do we do in the Individual domains? What do you do with the belief system that prevents women from reporting marital rape? How do you address the fact that the values that shape masculinity are so deeply patriarchal and so sanctioned?
3. The evidence is that movements have been much more effective in making changes in the Informal domains. Partly because it involves the people most affected by injustices that result informally. Informal structures sustain the lack of access, the injustices embedded in our laws and constitutions. These are the domains that movements have been more effective at changing.
CREA will be making inputs available as online video presentation in the coming months; expect videos on power, patriarchy, feminist movement organisations, movements, sexuality, movement building, among others.
Other recommendations from Srilatha: Look at domestic workers organising in Indonesia and Philippines, the Global Alliance Against Trafficking. Lots of case studies by domestic workers associations, hotlines, plenty of great models out there. Also read IDS Sussex “Bridge” builder packs on gender and social movements.
Latin America / Caribbean: The four key domains for transforming social power really speaks to me about the situation in Mexico. We gained a lot in policy and law, but it was helpless because norms and consciousness and values have not transformed in formal institutions. So the formal space does not materialise in the informal. Movements use social networks to mobilise conversations in gender inequality and sexual harassment, because the formal has failed us.
South Asia / West Europe: These domains are helpful. How can we change beliefs when our platforms are designed to make us see things we already agree with? How do we see people that disagree with us outside of our echo chamber? The Informal quadrants (systemic and individual) are really hard to reach online.
Response from Srilatha: Discourse is partly constructed by/in the formal domains. A big part is discourse in informal spaces. How do we shift popular discourse to build support for certain kinds of causes, for acceptance of certain identities, and expressions that are currently very stigmatised? Beyond mapping who’s in our corner, we have to look at where the other online spaces are, where the discourse is conducted that flames fires of stigma, patriarchy, and fundamentalism. Where do those discourses take place and how do we intervene? They know how to troll us, they know our strategies and analyses.
North America / MENA: Thinking about seeing this quadrant in 3D, and the balance and scale of each of them in relation to power. If we are trying to shift this energetic power, maybe thinking of their relationship to each other rather than distinct spaces. And how the impact of power would circulate.
Response from Srilatha: How do we add time as a dimension? It’s something we’ve thought about before. We didn’t think about it as a starting point, but now we’re focusing more here.
|Facilitator Srilatha (South Asia) on the political agenda of a movement (S3): It’s about power and power structures and how we transform them. The political agenda of a movement is not about winning a local election. It’s about changing the power structures and the power relations that are creating the injustice. It’s a deeply political process because it’s about power. And agenda means a wide variety of things. It means our analysis, our goals for change, who we identify as target for the change, who we identify as opponents, as our supporters and so on.|
|insight, accountability, corporations, data, organising, power |
|Facilitator Jac (Southeast Asia) on the structural power in terms of organising around and through the internet (S7) |
* In Srilatha’s input session on why movements matter, she mentioned that one of the key domains for transforming social power is in formal structures. And that revolves around institutions.
* The initial idea was that somehow the Internet could help democratise power where institutions have failed, to engage more people into public participation because the Internet is seen as a public participatory space, one that is linked to many uprisings.
* Internet technologies have an impact on some of the ways in which we organise and consolidate people to come together to demand for certain things.
* Using the Internet in movement building work can be both troubling and exciting. An ambivalent relationship is a healthy feminist disposition to be in.
Due to the unprecedented level of access we now have to corporations, we are also beginning to hold corporations accountable more than ever before.
* The cumulative previous efforts of gender-based work on the ground is now extended online, eg. different networks of people working around gender-based violence mobilise to hit corporations where it hurts: with their advertisers.
* So what the Internet has helped to do is to give us a different way of engaging with accountability, a different way of saying ‘This is what matters to us, this is what we want to talk about’, and to collect public opinion and apply pressure on corporations. It is effective in some ways, sometimes the impact is much faster than UN processes for example.
* But at the same time, data becomes a key focal point. In the US, Obama’s presidency used data to get a sense of what constituents were interested in.
* The more data we put into the Internet, the more of ourselves we put into these platforms, the more we become datasets, sold in order to then do certain things with our data. This includes personal relationships, political opinions, general sentiments and feelings— all processed as data in order to influence the same demographic.
* Facebook’s recent concerns were that people were not emoting enough on their platform. Emotions are a key instigator of action, so they need to know how you feel.
* Platform usage is experiential and varies based on context. All platforms collect data, so what is worth understanding is how platforms are organised to affect power.
— What kinds of data? How is this data accessed to directly influence the communities you want to influence?
— How accountable are these platforms in terms of transparency and decision-making?
— What else are they doing with our data?
* This is an important conversation because of how Internet access is connected to the ability to shift power, and therefore mechanisms, processes, and accountability to communities. Although many participants here are activists who use the Internet as part of daily practice, it isn’t always the case in terms of the communities they work with; not every community we work with has access to the internet.
* The thing with structural power is that, think about access to the internet and how does it help to strengthen power that already exists. How does it help to do that? How does it disrupt it and change power that already exists? And how does it change power that already exists?
* But how does access to tech also disrupted this? For example the whole discussion around net neutrality in India in 2015. Suddenly everyone was talking about it. Somehow it managed to engage a whole bunch of people to talk about this issue that is deeply technical in order to help protect it. How does it change power? Maybe it has changed from state to corporation. There’s different kinds of relationships now between individual to the states, state to corporation and individual to corporation. How do we unpack this new configuration? Unpacking needs to happen. This is why we’re here, to try to hack that.
|Participant reflecting after movement storytelling (S2): How to understand power in society between the visible and the corporation and our own invisible power? How we can build power within ourselves? Talking about open space is usually about the government closing our civil society spaces but not our own movements and how we work. How is the open space in between our own women’s movements?|
|South Asia on the possibility that technology reinforces power systems within movements (S18): Does technology reinforce certain power systems within our movements? We know it certainly disrupts power, but does it also reinforce it?|
|West Europe on the problems with leadership and increasing social capital (S18): You can have multiple layers of leadership but increasing social capital doesn’t mean it is legitimate. Anyone can become a leader and infiltrate. Increasing social capital means you’re also a bigger target.|
|insight, question, |
|North America on key questions around ways of organising, including infrastructure and tactics (S18): Sharing economies exist, but within boundaries. Key questions: what has discernibly changed in terms of organising infrastructure? How are we not expressing collective power? All organising happens in a security context - how are governments cracking down? (On the safety of women; there is increasing religious fundamentalism, secret forces, direct attacks on activists.) What are our tactics? How do we identify targets? How are we building our shared agenda?|
|insight, strategy, power, structures |
|West Europe on capacity building and the need to go beyond expertise (S18): The current model of capacity building is targeting specific NGOs, and the rest of the world is out. It is a model based on expertise, experts as critical resources are always less than what people need, so we talked about distributing the network so that people have the opportunity to learn.|
|Participants on how to ensure accountability in a diffused, decentralised, multi-sited way in feminist movements in the current context (S22): We want to build accountability mechanisms based on principles of restorative justice but also make it about collective accountability and collective healing and allow for moments of harm where situations compel us to analyse it. |
We need to change practices, not just allowing the justice mechanism to deal with the individual. Taking on the shared responsibility for the damage done and the moving on. Why do we think it’ll build a feminist internet?
The existing accountability mechanisms put a lot of burden on the individual. We want to shift the individual burden to the collective to reflect the dynamics of our movements. Shifting and redistributing powers from the institutions, the NGOs, the larger, more informal collectives don’t have access to all. How can we bring the more messy dynamic movements into that mechanisms. Ensuring that the people who are involved reflect the constellation in its true sense not just the authorities. Not form a new power within the new mechanism, not creating a new monster. Need to keep it participatory.
We’d also need partners and collaborators and healers, therapists, even lawyers.
|insight, strategy, |
|Facilitator Srilatha (South Asia) on movements declaring victory (S3): When can you really declare victory? You think of access to abortion as challenge of patriarchy where someone else controls your reproductive power and body. We thought Roe vs. Wade was a great victory for the US, but now 40 years later it’s being dismantled. Some things you have to look as temporary gains, gains that have to be protected and sometimes re-fought. The things that get contested probably have a very deep root of power. If it’s constantly being contested, it’s likely you’ve hit at a very deep root. If you cut this root then you know the structure is really weakening.|
|insight, questions, |
|Facilitator Jac (Southeast Asia)’s questions on movement visibility and sustainability (S4): Movements have peaks and abeyances. Think about the rhythm and pace of the movement: first wave, second wave, etc. The peaks are when you see a protest, a hashtag, or an attack because of visibility. Things that need to happen in the moments of abeyances are: the organising, the convening, capacity strengthening, analysing, care work. |
So I have some questions for us all to mull about.
1. How do we understand impact? What are the metrics of visibility? How do we think about change? Is it in number of tweets, followers, or advertising metrics? How can we measure change in discursive values?
2. Where is the everyday work of building the movement happening? If it’s not sitting only within organised NGOs, where is the constellation of actors? They require our support and solidarity, but do we actually know where?
3. Who do you see in this work and who do you not? Who is seen as ally and who is not? Where is your public? Is online space only a tool? It’s a messy public. your enemy is keeping an eye on you - how they are defining masculinity and themselves is how they can attack you and your claims for feminism. Where do you see yours? What is included in your analysis of power?
4. Can we create a new pace, rhythm? It feels really fast right now, led by neoliberal capitalism driven technology - how do we actually resist this? One of the ways I feel we can resist is to pause.
5. How do we think about sustainability? NGOs are increasingly under attack or are being rejected - then what’s our space? Facebook is ephemeral and owned by other people, for example. But is our space sustained or ephemeral?
6. How do we sustain labour? What is the everyday labour of activism? We can’t even begin to think about it if we don’t see the labour of activism. We see 10 hours on Twitter as love or narcissism - but it’s actually labour. Who is doing the invisible carework of activism? How do we sustain it?
|definition, justice, sustainability||Applying a feminist approach, as defined by participants (S11): |
* It starts from strength, existing practice, context and knowledge
* Designed, led, conceptualised by feminists
* An inclusive, empathetic, sensitive approach oriented at global justice, intolerant of any discrimination, non-hierarchical
* Includes gender, includes an intersectional perspective, challenges systemised and hierarchical power relations, stimulates inclusiveness and cultural diversity, relies on care dynamics, hacking codes and systems, fosters joy and happiness
* Sustainability as an objective, rather than just being secure
* Approaching issues from a perspective of equality, justice, and horizontality
* Diversity is inclusive, intersectional, accessible, encompasses all kinds of justice
* Takes into account of all our diversities and marginalised groups
* More into strategies than tools, holistic
* An approach from a specific place within the logic of care
* Building a feminist online / digital consciousness of use of online tools and their pros and cons, the ability of choice and making informed decisions
* Analysing the configuration of power and how this impacts some more than others. Starting from the understanding that systems of power are patriarchal and must be dismantled, reconfigured for justice
* Multiple, synergetic strategies that challenge power at all levels and understands the enemy
This definition covers many of the themes in the report
|Sustainability approach, as defined by participants (S11): |
South Asia: We saw several clusters in our definition exercise. Most of them had to do with time everlasting. Also the concept of mobility. The themes of autonomy and independence came up, as well as relevance and adaptability. One person defined that as not depending on external forces, but responding to external forces. Those were two things that were possibly contradictory but very important for defining that.
Facilitator Cheekay (Southeast Asia) in response: Maybe it’s two sides of the same coin— being responsive to external forces but also autonomous from external forces.
Full list of definitions: Long-term, never-ending, affordability in resources and scaling, independent and autonomous, adaptable and relevant, usable, eco-friendly, self-care. Ability to resist, to stay safe and well while doing one’s political work / activism. Being able to function independently without needing minimal external resources and having motivation to carry on. When something does not depend on external forces to exist. More environmental-friendly, uses less paper. Can scale up to use beyond campaign period. Outlasting all of us, a legacy. A never-ending ongoing process of resistance. The ability to survive and let others to survive through space and time.
|Participants in a discussion on research and evidence building on sustainability in movements (S23): Regarding flow-on effects to movements in terms of sustainability, are people dropping out, what kind of collective impact does it have on the feminist movement?|
|insight, documentation, impact, sustainability||West Europe on documentation as a way to provide transparency to internal flow and processes, including task distribution and failures (S23): There was also an interesting discussion on documenting internal process of task management and distribution of tasks amongst us. This provides transparency but also to make invisible tasks visible, and to make sure it’s not the same people doing the crap work. An approach to the documentation of internal flows, and this connects to something that we saw when we were talking about strategy — what we generally don’t document is failures. We think documenting failures is important because it’s a way of building lessons learned and so on.|
|North America/East Africa in a conversation about infrastructure-related strategies re: digital security (S23): When we think about sustainability, we’re not thinking about it in a masculine way, we’re thinking about giving space for this work to be fun and pleasurable, and enjoyable, that we want to do, that doesn’t cause a lot of burnout because it’s very attention and logistics intensive.|
|insight, strategy, community, language, safety, organising, gaps |
|Participants on how to break the binary between online and onground organising and networks to build stronger feminist movements (S22): |
First we discussed what shifts need to happen in movement building - we inverted the question, which was how do you bridge the binary - we changed it to how do you build stronger feminist movements by breaking the binary? Instead of binary at focal point we put movement at the focal point.
We ended up first storytelling and talking about our particular interest in online and offline integration, based on which we developed some shifts to do this. Individually we all developed and identified activities we would do - we could not cluster them as ran out of time.
* Break binary between on and offline but also be fluid in literacy
* Get online activists to think about onground
* Create authentic spaces for exchange
* Very connected to really valuing what people and communities do, including old school technologies
* Way more authentic and deliberate coordination
* Our experiences and needs and building goals
* We need to deepen and broaden our thinking regarding access
* Women with disabilities
* Thinking about people’s organising languages, eg actually centering sign language - a subversive way of talking to each other
* Using digital information and behaviour to really strengthen our organisations and movements on the ground and not just see it as a platform
* Challenge culture of scarcity by online culture - how do we cultivate a culture of abundance?
* Thinking very deliberately about safety and security
|question, definition, apps, encryption, tools |
|MENA (S15): I’m using Gmail and I want to encrypt my email, so how do I do that? Would the replies of my email be encrypted as well? Do they also need to encrypt their response? |
Latin America / Caribbean 1 explains encryption (S15): Reflect on all the dimensions that infrastructure touches on. When you’re talking about encryption, think about it as a pact and agreement. If the other person doesn’t understand or know about the pact, it doesn’t work. Because when we’re talking about encryption, we’re talking about keys. I won’t give someone the keys to my house, but keys to the front gate I might give, and likewise, they do not give me their secret house key.
Latin America / Caribbean 2 expands (S15): In a more technical form, what encryption does is it scrambles the information in such a way that these two keys — they are the only ones that know how to make this message become the original one. When you send a pair of keys, the only people that know how to unpack it are the people carrying those keys to unscramble it.
MENA on sensitive emails (S15): I’m sure all of us have made a lot of mistakes in the past re: sending sensitive emails, what can you do to minimise the risk of those being used against you? Crisis management, so to speak?
Latin America / Caribbean responds (S15): On mobile, you see the typical situation of why so many intimate images go around the world, that’s why. There are other tools like Signal and Telegram that are more secure but that means you have to do again your agenda. The use of encryption for example for journalists and feminist media, it’s also an important way to protect their sources.
North America/East Africa responds (S15): Even if you have encrypted the email, the other person you sent it to has it now, so you have lost control. You have to have an agreement with the other person. This is the point of a lot of cases of non-consensual distribution of images, it’s about the trust being broken and vulnerability and has nothing to do with technology.
South Africa (S15): If I have something zipped or compressed is it a form of encryption?
North America / East Africa (S15): It’s just making it smaller, not scrambling it.
|question, definition, apps, encryption, tools |
|MENA on privacy settings (S15): Are there some privacy settings in popular internet services that are preferable? Is that something we could do as average users? |
Latin America / Caribbean on changing practices (S15): About tools and resources, there are many. Some tools work for Gmail, but some others don’t work for Gmail, so you have to work on Thunderbird or Firefox. It’s about how you change your practices, it’s very important to do that process — for feminists, like Jac says, how do you see that as an opportunity to change those practices. Otherwise you won’t change how things are happening.
North America / East Africa on privacy settings and user-provider relationship (S15): The privacy settings we’re talking about, most email, Google, they use SSL which is the protocol we were talking about. There’s already a layer of encryption when you request the server to bring this email in. It’s happening in this tunnel and you’re trusting the service provider, you have a partnership, you have a pact with that server, which is why trust is really important because we mean trust in a certain way, do we really trust those kinds of transactions? So even though that tunnel is encrypted at the end point where the email is sitting on the server, they can read it. And they did, and they attached an ad to it.
|strategy, power, research |
|Participants on research and evidence building on the politics and ethics of data (S23): |
* Feminist perspectives on the politics of data and data economies, and bringing in the analysis of power and being able to contextualise that. You’ve got your global context and power plays but how does that work regionally and locally, what legislation is there, what differences are there?
* How to use data and research ethically — what happens to it, are we doing more harm? Making that connection is important.
|expectations, stories, |
|MENA on putting pressure on international agencies to implement protection measures for sources and data (S9): We work with international agencies to document human rights violations, like Amnesty. One of my goals or expectations is to make these agencies perfectly aware of the measures they have to take to protect their own digital security because it affects the sources and activists they’re dealing with. Someone else here (North America) said this but on a smaller measure, the people who control the digital campaigns and digital communications and asking activists to report to them, they should take extra measures to protect their sources. I don’t think there’s such pressure or accountability.|
|insight, data |
|Latin America / Caribbean on the vulnerability of data (S18): We were concerned about the safety of data - where it is stored, who has access to it.|
|insight, accountability, risk |
|West Europe on networked risk online (S18): If I leave myself logged into my email at an internet cafe, someone who access information could have others’ information as well. My behaviour puts all of you at direct risk.|
|Latin America / Caribbean (S2): I’m more of an introvert, and I was a bit scared. Then people started telling their stories, and it’s so interesting to be in the room where you can kind of understand or relate, everyone was on the same page. Usually for me I’m on another page. I also work in spaces that are not feminist, usually there’s a lot going on in my head, but here I understand where these people are coming from. It’s nice not to be a weirdo for a while. |
Response from South Asia: You mean not to be the only weirdo (laughter) We’re all weirdos here. Here are some insights that my group had. In each of the movement’s stories we saw personal struggles that were so deeply political. The connection was very strong.
There was a beautiful quote from a member of our group I want to share, that sometimes you have to struggle alone in order to discover that you are not alone. And then bring others to that struggle. I think for me a very personal insight I had from one of the movement’s stories which was a beautiful story of someone’s mother dealing with a certain situation, that gave him the courage to be himself in multiple situations for the rest of his life. I found myself thinking I hope I was that mother.
|Participant on a metaphor for resistance (S2): For me the way we build our resistance from making is like receiving fabric from different parts of the world to show support and make a quilt. And also the way that we transform the things that you need to get funding to make work. So to bring people together and the things that you need for the struggle, for your communities, the way that we work with our friends or family the people that we love, and the way we like to work because we work a lot - how our home is our office, our office is our home, our minds are always thinking and everything. We want to do a lot of things, the way that we move through the people that we love and how can we bring that to our struggles.|
|definition, resilience||Resilience, as defined by participants (S11): |
North America/East Africa: It’s framed as what one does in the face of a threat.
Latin America / Caribbean: It’s about the bouncing, the capability, the flexibility, and being unbreakable.
Full list of answers:
* Preparedness, empowering to resist
* The ability to respond and leverage on opportunities, retreat from threats
* The ability to cope amidst challenges or injustice
* The capacity to stay standing and to thrive in the face of multiple threats and challenges
* Being able to stand up over and over again, stronger each time
* The ability to bounce back and be unbreakable, bounce back from traumatic and stressful situations, emotions, and states
* The ability to be unbroken
* Organic process to incorporate physical, emotional, and psychological health and capacity to re-adapt and transform
* The ability and power we have to overcome critical issues and traumas
* The effect of having support and experience of community
* To be decentralised and adaptable, flexible and having motivation to insist on going on to the goal
|insight, community, organising, public/private space,||Facilitator Jac (Southeast Asia) on expanding the idea of space in resistance beyond binaries (S4): It’s not actually useful to think about this online-offline binary, that you’re only real when you’re in your body and when you’re online you’re not fully there, or not fully organising. There’s something about protesting with your body, but now the body is digital and physical. It is more useful to think about the flow, when is it digital, when is it physical. It’s seamless. There’s an interesting relationship between them. The important fight, the expression of my body online is very important. There’s a publicness in being able to express this but also on Twitter. So what is this flow and relationship? |
Whether you are connected or not, it will affect you. The digital age affects the way we are, the way we organise, our domains. There is no split binary. If feminism is about anything at all, it’s about the rejection of binaries. Recognise that Twitter is also a site of political struggle, and if you decide to, you can extend your solidarity. But you cannot reach everyone, multiple networks exist.
|question, gender, organising, risk |
|Latin America / Caribbean on understanding risk in terms of women (S18): Risks to data, our mental health - how can we understand risk in terms of women? Lots of women stop working, so does our strategy include mitigation? How do we continue our work? How do we maintain our organising to build the power of the movement? How do we build a safety net for the women with whom we are working? The safety net is a question mark regionally, nationally, and globally.|
|insight, disability, LGBTQI, public/private space |
access, amplify narratives
|East Africa on how the online space has enabled queer activists to act even when forced to be closeted (S10): I was just thinking about visibility and backlash. Thinking about disability and the online space has allowed queer people to be activists in the closet, which is the opposite of how it is normally done. Even under aliases, we are able to do the work that I think we are trying to harness, so that’s useful for the movement.|
|strategy, organising||Southeast Asia on the possibility of gaining membership for the movement through digital organising (S10): Where participation in direct action is not safe - (if it is done online) it could also lead to an increase in membership.|
|insight, organising, risk |
|Southeast Asia on the fact that digital organising facilitates transnational mobilisation (S10): We came from very different contexts - the group has people who have experienced working in armed conflict areas. Here, online spaces give opportunity for people to organise and mobilise transnationally and not just in their own borders.|
|stories, strategy, gender, generation, organising, public/private space, religion, social media |
movement building, violence
|Facilitator Jac (Southeast Asia) on a case story of women resistance in Malaysia, 2017 (S4): The women’s march was not organised by the usual suspects. In every country, you probably have women’s rights NGOs who formed in the 80’s, who are very strong and form coalitions. The women’s NGOs were organising stuff of course, but the first time I heard about this march was someone tweeting me about it. It was organised by a socialist party made up of young people, anarchists into labour issues. Another group coalesced around with them, young feminists who mainly do their feminism online. And then the protest happened. Wasn’t a lot of people, but it was staking a claim. They came they stood, groups talking about socialist issues, body issues. And then there were some people who came and documented it, because archival of our history is a form of politics. Tweeted it online. Guessed what happened. |
Trolls. So it got trolled like hell. Specifically because the messages that were being held up, a lot of them were about young women really claiming their rights to their body, occupying the space and being firm about it. One of the placards that got trolled the most was by a teenager who said I want to be a PM but guess why I can’t, it’s because I don’t wear the hijab. It got trolled like crazy. “You don’t get to be a PM not because of hijab, it’s because you’re stupid.” A lot of stuff like this. “All of you feminists who misunderstanding the position of women in Islam. May you get some wisdom from this.”
So yeah it’s really about telling you actually, your place is here. Please don’t imagine your place to be somewhere else. This is how you should look and wear and dress. And then a culture protest happened. We were seeing this happen online and a counter-protest was organised by sandwich nodes. There are many of us sandwich nodes in this room.
We are going to mobilise. Feminists on twitter, we are not going to take this sitting down. And then they came up with a plan of action within three hours. It was distributed. And then people started to take action, flood the timeline, not with hashtags but with an emoji. Pushback flooded Twitter, it was successful.
But what became evident was also that there’s parallel organising. Parallel universes of feminists that don’t speak to each other until shit hits the fan. And then we have to rely on particular networks that exist to be able to fight back.
Every time we occupy any space— whether digital, embodied, or physical— backlash happens. We have to contend with this and move forward.
community, data, organising
|Participants on how to map the enemy and learn their strategies (S22): Thinking strategically about how to do collaboration - we sometimes have to unite on a specific issue and mute the other things about them - because we lose numbers while the enemy is gaining them because they are able to put aside differences. This is about understanding that this is strategic. |
Foresight activities are really useful. Think about what world will look like 50 years from now and then taking thoughtful, strategic action on how to make it look/not look like that.
* Appreciating contribution by non-feminists. We’re going to use the work.
* Short term things like collating existing research on digital organising and movements.
* Thinking about counter campaigns and learning from opposition campaigns.
* Understanding that our resources aren’t always monetary - we will always be under-resourced in terms of money.
* Using data in a strategic way.
autonomy, organising, power
|Facilitator Jac (Southeast Asia) on organising methods that diffuse power by prioritising autonomy and the individual (S4): There is this way of organising that prioritises autonomy. “I want to be able to make decisions about how I participate and how I want to be part of this organising and part of this particular action.” At the same time this autonomy is happening within a collective, because you cannot have a movement on your own, it’d just be a walk. |
There’s a kind of resistance towards NGO-isation. Where this top down hierarchy who decides who directs? This is kind of more lateral. “I want to exercise my own agency and decision making and direct where this goes, and there are multiple sites of this autonomy.” Which presents issues around how are you going to decide where you want to go collectively? You almost have to take a step back and look at the dynamics with lots of different nuclei and it’s moving. It’s not so clear that it’s going up, but sometimes it’s sort of like that.
|expectations, strategy |
autonomy, LGBTQI, resilience, risk, support
|Latin America / Caribbean on alternative ways to see risks online as opportunities (S9): I expect conversation and also the idea of how are we taking charge of problematising the digital environment. To me, these vulnerabilities are the most interesting things of these digital environments, they’re malleable, they can be modified in different ways, but we see this like a risk. The way that me and some of my friends that are working on digital security training for activists and for LGBT people is the idea of building autonomy and how can you handle the fact that if you are selling something on the internet, you will receive attacks. There are some things that will happen to you but they won’t paralyse you, how can you handle this knowing you can be hurt, how can you strengthen with your friends. This is some vision of the solution - the idea that we are not in a medical safe space.|
|insight, strategy, autonomy, body, resilience, intimacy |
|Latin America / Caribbean 1 on self-defense as connected to digital security (S9): Many of the compañeras working on this are working from a point of view of building and generating spaces where it’s possible to live and not just survive, and working with the concept of feminist self-defense. It brings a really different perspective of defense and specifically self-defense — looking at our bodies as technology and imagining those spaces where we can find ourselves not only to organise but also to enjoy, not just to react and not just to protect. |
Latin America / Caribbean 2 on strength as a rejection to protectionist digital security (S9): I have the great fortune of working with Latin America / Caribbean 1 in different workshops, and it’s helped me think about these processes because of their work is to add that layer. I see digital security as defensive and protectionist. I think the position is that it’s not only about autonomy, consent, and control, but STRENGTH. It doesn’t matter what is coming at you — I can stand strong, and that position comes from physical strength and knowledge, that strength and position and feeling, that to me is what we’re talking about, a lot of rejection to the way digital security is approached.
|insight||Southeast Asia on feminists deprioritising themselves (S17): The tendency from my perspective is that feminists always put themselves last in the analysis. We’re not used to thinking about prioritising ourselves, in our perspectives.|
|expectations, body, community |
|Latin America / Caribbean on their expectations from the hacking stream (S9): I’d like us to think more about what we want to care for, thinking about our bodies, and which bodies, integrity rather than a reactive approach.|
|insight, funding, structures, support, gaps||Latin America / Caribbean on care work and emotional labour (S4): A lot of people feel guilt around self-care. In order to be sustainable, we really need to invest in self-care and healing processes. To understand it in a structural sense, and not constantly feel like we’re just surviving. How not to burden others with care work and emotional labour. We need to give it the time, money, and attention it needs.|
|MENA on the need to acknowledge emotional labour (S8): There are so many people who do emotional labour that we do not notice. In the past six months, even if I have a conversation over a drink, I remember the person’s name, because memory is resistance.|
|insight, community, support, sex work, LGBTQI||South Asia on how families can mean a lack of support and care (S8): So many people put family under care, but in our group, it is the one place that’s not supportive, especially with some of the work we do in our movements, with sex workers, trans people, LGBT people.|
|strategy, research||Participants discussing research and evidence building (S23) on the importance of making links between digital security and pleasure, self and collective care.|
digital security, movement building
|West Europe 1 on digital security being a part of individual and collective self-care (S9): Technopolitics, privacy, and digital security are all part of a framework of individual and collective self care and that’s where I think we can bridge with feminist movement building.|
|insight, resilience |
digital security, movement building
|West Europe 2 on self-care being crucial to the sustainability and resilience of movements (s9) To add to what others said — as we will focus on digital security, to bear in mind that it’s part of holistic security - there’s space for reflection to also think about collective self care, organisational well being, individual self care and I think it’s crucial for us to make our movements more resilient and sustainable, so just to keep it in mind.|
|insight, stories, community, disability, gaps |
|South Asia on the need for domestic work to be recognised as carework (S8): We had a debate on the role of domestic workers - we were talking about care and some of the people that came under that category were paid professionals, such as massage therapists and doctors (although I would never list a doctor). We were discussing domestic workers in the Indian context, where as a consequence of the fact that they work in your home, they care for you. |
Lots of domestic work is also carework, especially for upper caste and upper class people with disabilities in India. Workers are not necessarily paid for this care. We need to identify it as a complicated relationship of care - we may not be comfortable with it as care, but it exists as care. We were trying to acknowledge the fact that this care-work is often exploited - domestic workers are not given enough wages and are not part of unions, so payment becomes difficult and dependent on the benevolence of individual employers. As a feminist movement, we need to include this work under care.
|insight, community||South Asia on domestic workers being resources rather than voluntary caregivers (S8): The kind of friction we had on domestic workers was also from the point of view of thinking in terms of care, which has connotations of ‘voluntourism’ and benevolence. For me, putting them under resources hopefully equalises the dynamic - this is what we were trying to deal with.|
|insight, stories, support |
economy, movement building
|MENA on care economies and supporting domestic workers’ movements (S10): In terms of domestic work, in Lebanon’s context it is different. I have some issues that do not allow me to keep my house clean - it’s the space I work from, mostly. It is care economies - the way we see migration happening. For me, my way of giving back is how to co-plot a very strong domestic workers’ movement. I always check what I could possibly do.|
|strategy||Instructions from facilitator Sandra (West Europe)’s Day 2 self-care exercise (S12): |
Participants are asked to lie down on the floor with their arms beside them on the floor. Instructions are given out by Sandra with 5 minutes (more or less) intervals between each instruction.
Sandra: We are doing this to calm down our nervous systems, we are learning how to self regulate our physiology which includes our nervous systems.
* Cross your arms and deeply breathe in and out.
* Put one hand on your forehead and the other on the back of your head. Try to close your eyes.
Sandra: Our body is a container for all our experiences - this posture is to help us to contain ourselves. We were spinning for two days - our anxieties and worries are locked in our head as well. Try to feel what’s happening between your hands - a change of temperature, breath, tingling, anything. Stay there until you feel any kind of shift. Just keep noticing. Our bodies take three minutes minimum to respond to touch.
* Move the hand that’s behind your head and move it to your chest; the other hand stays on your forehead.
Sandra: Observe what is happening in between your hands. Observe what’s happening inside your body until you can notice any shift - breathing, temperature. Anything. It’s all information. The human nervous system responds to touch - this is the quickest way when you feel anxious, nervous, in situations of distress, to calm ourselves down.
* Now slowly move your hand from your forehead to your stomach while your other hand stays where it is.
Sandra: This is one of many exercises that focuses on the shifts within a body and the awareness of your body - just keep noticing what’s happening inside your body and in between your hands, just observe. Anything can be information for you, how your body responds.
* Slowly move your hands from your chest to your lower stomach.
* The resting pose is you wrap your arms around you like you’re hugging yourself
Sandra: If your body is a container of your experiences, this is how you feel the edges of your container, if you feel angry or sad, you know that it can contained. This is also a self-soothing posture. Note how your edges feel.
* Turn to your left side, stay there for a few seconds and whenever you’re ready you can slowly sit. Whenever you’re ready, come back.
|strategy||Instructions from facilitator Sandra’s Day 3 self-care exercise from the hacking stream session (S19): |
Sandra: Let’s start by getting into a circle, get in shoulder to shoulder squeezed in together.
* Turn around and give your partner a massage, ask them what they like and what they need, remember that the shoulders are not the only part of the body
* Then switch
Sandra: This is related to acupressure, waking up the body so you can be relaxed but still be alert and not sleepy.
Now we’re going to tap, starting with your head. Develop your own scale of what you notice within your body — thoughts, feelings, emotions, and whether you can handle it or if it’s too heavy. The scale can be 1 to 5, 1 to 10, whatever you decide.
Participants are then lead through different parts of the body to tap with their fingers:
* The start and the end of your eyebrows
* Under your eyes
* Above your lips and under them
* Your shoulders
* The sides of your ribs
* The center of your chest, between your breasts
Then to awaken the body further from the relaxed state, Sandra instructs participants to pat down their arms from shoulder to wrist over the top and under three times per arm, and then to repeat this process from hip and side to ankle top of leg to behind the leg three times per leg.
Sandra: Perhaps this is something to bring back to your community but do it first for yourself. Try it for yourself and see if it works for you, and prioritise your care.
|strategy||Instructions from facilitator Sandra’s Day 3 self-care exercise (S21): |
Participants get in pairs, with people they don’t know so well. One participant sits while the other one stands. Check for consent. If no objections, the person behind the other person and put hands on shoulder.
Sandra: This is not a massage. Just try to feel the temperature, their breath. Try to put a bit of pressure, squeeze to see if you can feel the tension. This is where we carry all our burdens, it’s usually in the shoulders and sometimes this simple thing of hands on shoulders releases a lot. Just notice and see if anything is changing. As we talked about yesterday, the body just needs 3 minutes to even respond so we do the hand postures for a couple of minutes and see. Sometimes you breathe out deeply after a couple of minutes. This is the breath that is spontaneous and not controlled.
Just follow two things:
* What is happening in front of you, the person. Who is this person under your hands
* What is happening inside of you? Can you be empty of you and try to see the whole person? Just observe them.
Participants are asked to move their hands from the shoulders to having one hand on the forehead and the back of the head, similar to what was done yesterday. And this posture may be more easily executed from the side.
Sandra: This is useful if you are super mentally active. This is kind of elimination of all the distracting concepts we have of ourselves and the world. Usually when you hold another person like this, people can just fall asleep. It calms down the mind very quickly. You don’t have to control the movement. The person feels that you are there for her. Try not to cover the person’s eyes. This can be done without touch, the effect is the same.
Next the participants put their hands on the temples, however they choose.
Sandra: This is the way we affect amygdala and autopilot emotional responses. When we are hyperalert and we don’t know the cause of it, this is how we calm down. Observe what is happening inside of you and the person in front of you. When you do this with other people, someone might start crying or laughing, you are doing nothing wrong, it’s just the release, the reaction of release.
* The next posture is one hand on the chest and the other hand parallel to that hand on the other person’s back.
Sandra: We were working with mental conflicts and emotions. So now we are harmonised.
The next posture is one hand on stomach and the other hand parallel to that hand, on the back of the chair. After a little time, participants are asked to switch places and repeat the process.
|definition||Online violence as defined by participants (S11): |
* Unwanted content, harassment, continuous
* Violence through the use of technology that results in emotional, psychological, or physical harm. It can affect people both online and offline
* Stalking, spam, exclusion, outing, marginalising, denying value of existence or realness of individual, threat of persecution
* Being the subject of hate speech, threats, and/or personal attacks and unwanted intrusions in digital spaces
* Psychologically and emotionally abusing someone in an online space, and could lead to physical threats as well
* A set of actions / attacks developed by third action parties with the intention of harming other persons because of reasons they hold against you.
* Online violence has different shapes, forms, intentions, produces different impacts on the individual / collective they intend to harm. Impact varies according to levels of consent, power relations, intersectionality, context (legal, social, political)
* Damage to integrity, leads to fear and paralysis, real and physical effects on mental health, emotional support is crucial
* The exercise of power to offend a person
* Hostility as the result of different points of view
* Always has a gender component we must bear in mind
* Multiple actors, real harm, no difference between online and offline
|insight, organising, risk, social media |
|Southeast Asia on surveillance and clampdown on human rights defenders (S10): We talked about surveillance and laws against the use of social media and the internet for people to organise/people who want to dissent. There is a crackdown on human rights defenders and groups, which makes it difficult for people to mobilise.|
|insight, hacking |
|Southeast Asia on how violence is defined by state (S4): I think it would be interesting to unpack non-violence and violence. A lot of people see hacking as violent and unethical, and a lot of movements end up distancing themselves from whatever is deemed violent. But the state ends up defining what is violent or non-violent, legal or illegal. But feminists understand violence as visible, structural, and systemic.|
|expectations, insight |
|Central Asia/North America on the direct relationship between online and onground violence (S9): My experience is mostly a bird eye view in what is happening in every country and what people are doing around digital security. What I know is that in almost every case there is a direct relationship between physical violence that occurs on the ground and online violence. As we’re talking about digital security, I encourage us to remember that obviously it cannot be isolated, we’re talking about the physical and everything in between.|
|Participants on the normalisation of violence as barrier to prioritising digital security (S17): Violence is normalised as part of being online but then people get attacked and they don’t know how to respond.|
|insight, gender, public/private space |
|MENA on understanding the normalisation of online violence against women (S9): I think the abuse of activists online is not validated or acknowledged. I see thousands of comments directed to activists in my country and nobody cares. It makes sense to me from someone else’s (North America) comment about feminist approaches — the internet is a public space, when women are hardly present in the physical public space, but in the online space they are perceived as less real and more vulnerable and easier to harm. I think I kind of already understood why attacking women online is more normalised than attacks to male cis men.|
|expectations, insight, support |
|MENA on validating digital harm to activists as real (S9): We need to acknowledge that there is so much harm to activists that is real, just because it’s digital doesn’t mean it’s not real. Acknowledge this harm is valid to begin with. We need to talk about mental health and how to protect that in the public and private.|
|strategy, documentation, impact, research |
|Participants on the role of research and evidence building in validating the realness of online harm (S23): Research and documentation of cases of online violence so it can be used for advocacy and raising awareness to show online harm is real, as well as research on impacts of online harm|
|stories, strategy, data, research, support |
|West Europe on lack of data on gender based online violence (S19): Re: the Digital Rights Foundation helpline. What’s very strange is that in the big data era is that there’s no data on this in the big arena of gender based online violence. We don’t have data, what is the data, so what was interesting is having the strategy of the creation of data besides supporting and counselling, it has an effect of producing data. The helpline’s strategy has data that’s contextual, and it provides legal, technological and psychological support and advice.|
|question, insight, documentation, resilience, support |
|West Europe on whether there is documentation on psychosocial support (S23): There is also a specificity of talking about survivors of online violence. I’m not aware of documentation to understand the psychosocial aspect of support, people who were harassed online, or people who are providing counseling or support, I’m curious to know if there are resources or tools and tactics that you are aware of, and how you build that up? |
South Asia (S23): I know a person who works on our helpline who has actually developed exercises for training people on how to respond to online violence — that is a resource I can plug in.
West Europe (S23): Any kind of violence has a long term impact. How do we make ourselves resilient and how do we respond to this, because it has a long term impact? My experience, what I see, is that we are just reactive, so we don’t have time to build any kind of capacity.
gaps, generation, organising, power, social media
|Oceania on intergenerational feminism and violence online (S4): I want to reflect about intergenerational feminism. We have a lot of older feminists not on Facebook. What happens then for example violence manifesting online: cyberbullying and revenge porn affects younger women. A lot of these issues are not advocated by mainstream women’s movements. Sometimes young women who engage more on social media, you see them retreating because of rape threats and more. Social media spaces are becoming more restrictive, women are being more passive online, merely looking but not engaging. When we talk about engaging online we need to include intergenerational aspect of it otherwise it’s an incomplete conversation. |
Response from facilitator Jac (Southeast Asia): There are a few things to challenge there. One is that only young people understand technology, and technology is their only domain. It is true that there are a lot of younger people whose feminism and activism is on social media. This is a different generation, and this is a way to decentralise power in movements. We recognise movements as organised. We are used to providing resources and support using organised formations, and that’s also how we have increased power within movements. But if you’re outside of formal organising, you fall outside the usual model of support. One without the other, we are weak.
|insight, social media |
|Southeast Asia on the additional burnout caused by social media (S10): We also talked about how human rights defenders and activists in social media spaces face double burn out because they have to face gender-based violence online in addition to other kinds of violence.|
|insight, gender, LGBTQI, religion||Southeast Asia on the violence faced by Muslim women (S10): One other common thing was that there were lots of LGBT issues and gender-based violence in the context of Muslim women’s bodies.|