Sociology Index

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Computerized Activism

Computerized Activism, or internet activism or computer activism is non-violent direct action and civil disobedience and similar to trespass and blockade as in social movements. Unlike typical civil disobedience tactic, Electronic Civil Disobedience is ”sit-in‘ in which groups of people physically blockade, virtual blockades and virtual sit-ins mark computerized activism.

Again unlike the participant in a civil disobedience action, in computerized activism the actor can participate in virtual blockades and sit-ins from home, university, or from any other place with net access. Internet communication is central to the international struggle and the working of international solidarity networks. Computer-mediated communication gained importance in the 1980s.

Ethical Hacktivism is used to penetrate and test systems for security-improvement purposes only, while hacktivism could mean using computers to bring about social or political change. Downing points to PeaceNet's establishment of international links in 1987.

The early adopters of these means of communication were people in the 1980s anti-nuclear and Central American solidarity movements. The international role of email communication was highlighted in both the struggles of pro-democracy Chinese students and in broader trans-national movements that lead to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. 

Computer-mediated communication in extraparliamentarian or grassroots politics is highlighted by Downing in "Computers for Political Change." Computerized activism is now used by grassroots groups in countries all over the world.