Digital Civil Disobedience


Playlists: 'MCH2022' videos starting here / audio

Greenpeace is a direct action organisation. We have been doing physical direct civil disobedience actions for 50 years now. Civil disobedience has always played an important part in evolving democratic society if you look for instance at womens’ voting rights, the civil rights movement in the US and de ‘klimaatspijbelaars’. The digital realm is becoming more and more important in all of our lives. That is why we are working on a research project on what digital civil disobedience can look like. This is something else than mere ‘clicktivism’. What are the differences and similarities of online and offline civil disobedience? How do you 'drop' a digital banner or how do we digitally 'occupy' a building or mine? During this talk we want to tell about this project and give you an insight look on how we prepare disobedient actions at Greenpeace.

Greenpeace is a direct action organisation. We have been doing direct civil disobedient actions for over 40 years now. At Greenpeace we know our strength and our weaknesses when doing actions in physical spaces. We scale buildings and hang banners, we have blocked the petrol harbour in Rotterdam (multiple times) and we stop oil/gas rigs from operating. All these kinds of actions are part of a struggle for a healthy climate and safe planet to live on and so ideologically motivated.

The right to protest is a fundamental European right, a right that is very dear to us and important when chased by the law. At Greenpeace we always look at new ways to do disobedient actions. This is why we started a research on how online actions can contribute to campaigns. The last few months we have been looking into the possibilities of digital civil disobedience actions. We looked at the risks, the actions and the possibilities it will bring. One thing we learned is that everyone we talk to about this topic is super excited.