By Any Media Necessary: Mapping Youth and Participatory Politics


Are there limits to what activists can or should do in the service of their cause? Does greater power come with greater responsibility? These issues surface most often in discussions around 4Chan and the Anonymous movement, where there is a thin line between actions designed to provoke social change and thus which look much more like online trolling designed to simply provoke a reaction or generate LOLS. Yet, all activist groups have to struggle with what forms of action might be more destructive than beneficial to them, their cause, and society at large.

Real World Example
Building on the "coming out" tactics of the DREAMer movement, Jonathan Perez and Isaac Berrera (two undocumented youth), "walked into the Border Patrol office in Alabama to ask a few questions" on November 10, 2010. They used their phone cameras to document encounter. Both young men were detained as a consequence of their action. A campaign for their release was initiated by their allies and supporters. While both Perez and Berrera were eventually temporarily released, their strategy continues to raise questions about the balance between risk and benefit of their action. Was their action worth the risk? How did their documentation of the event help tip the balance of their civic action?

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