Author Archives: meganboler

Social Movement Watch: Indigenous Women Lead in #IdleNoMore

Hello world!

Averie from the Boler Research Team 2012-13 here, with an update on a fascinating social movement taking Canada by storm today. This is especially relevant given our current research into the role of women and feminist organizing in the Occupy movement.

The Globe and Mail has just reported that more than 1,000 protesters marched through the streets of Ottawa today in support of Chief Teresa Spence of the Attawapiskat First Nation, and the Idle No More movement.

**It’s important to note that many feel the media has been slow to catch up on this movement, as it really began taking place with First Nations protests over the last few months, or even the last year.**

From what I can glean from Twitter and other news sources, protests also took place today in:

Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto, Edmonton, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, the Yukon, and the NorthWest Territories.

There was also a flash mob in Sault Ste Marie, and solidarity action taking place in the US and the UK.

The movement: 

Idle No More is a fairly recent, primarily Canadian movement, which snowballed from the activism of one group of First Nations women in Saskatchewan earlier this month.

According to the

“The focus is on grassroots voices, treaty and sovereignty, it began in the early part of October when discussing Bill C 45.  All 4 women knew that this was a time to act, as this bill and other proposed legislation would affect not only Indigenous people but also the lands, water and the rest of Canada.
With the focus on the most urgent bill knowing it would initiate attention to all other legislation, the 4 ladies held rallies and teach-ins to generate discussion and provide information.”

According to the Globe and Mail today (Friday):

“Highways have been closed, Christmas music has been drowned out by native drummers at shopping malls, and the hunger strikes by an Ontario chief and others who support her have become a rallying cry for native people from one coast to the other.”

Chief Teresa Spence is now in the 12th day of a hunger strike she started to force Prime Minister Stephen Harper to meet with her. Though Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan has offered to meet with Spence, she is holding out for a meeting with Canada’s leader.

Women in the Idle No More movement: 

While the movement is still taking shape, the buzz around Idle No More has included a lot of feminist messages. Below is a curation of some such content I’ve found while trolling the net this afternoon.

The galvanizing poster from, featuring women:








 These pictures of “women warriors” protesting went viral on Twitter this afternoon the second is from Ottawa, not sure where the first is from:









 This video compiling First Nations leaders speaking to #IdleNoMore crowds features a few women with strong messages about respect for Indigenous women and grandmothers. Listen near the middle for the quote

“It takes warrior women with strong minds and strong hards to bring our people together”

The Globe & Mail quoted National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Shawn Atleo saying that a crucial part of this movement was demanding action around the cases of “hundreds or potentially thousands” of missing and murdered First Nations girls and women in Canada.

Here were some women-centred tweets circulating on Twitter about the protests today:

[<a href=”//” target=”_blank”>View the story “#Women and #IdleNoMore” on Storify</a>]

Celebrating Armchair Activism

It was recent email from that inspired today’s post.

For those you unfamiliar with Avaaz, they are an internet advocacy organization. Tackling issues from climate change to human rights, Avaaz targets some of the world’s biggest problems with a creative and democratic approach to advocacy. Following the speculation that factory farming may have been linked with the H1N1 virus, Avaaz brought a herd of 225 cardboard pigs to the World Health Organization to represent the 225, 000 signatures on a petition encouraging this research (Avaaz, 2011). They have created a three-mile long human chain of handshakes from the Dalai Lama to the front doors of the Chinese embassy requesting talks between the two parties (Bentley, 2011). During the 2008 Canadian elections, they contributed to preventing a conservative majority with the “You Have a Choice” campaign using a music video, uniting Canadian artists.

It was following their email sent out this week, that I was particularly struck by the magnitude of their impact. As per the Avaaz member update email titled “Look at this crazy, beautiful thing we’ve created together” (2012) see the following:

  • 17.2 million of us are getting this email today, and that number is skyrocketing — almost doubling in the last several months!
  • We’ve come together from all 194 nations, 1.7 million of us in Brazil, 1.6M in France, 773,000 in India.
  • We’ve taken more than 100 million actions, online and offline, and told over 250 million friends about important campaigns
  • Our voices have brought awareness to critical issues, with coverage in at least 15,000 news reports this year alone
  • 400,000 of us have donated, giving almost $7 million through Avaaz to other humanitarian and democracy organisations
  • 20,000 of us have already started, and started winning, campaigns using our new community petition tool

To truly visualize the scale of participation, take a look at their MAP showing all countries involved and member concentration.

The numbers are interesting too. Canada, current at 34.4 million has half a million members compared to the US, with a population of 311 million, with close to one million members; approximately 2% of Canadians support Avaaz versus less than half a percentage point of Americans. Well done Canada! What’s even more interesting is looking at other countries. Brazil, for example, has more members than Canada and the US combined at 1.7 million. With a population of close to 200 million however, this places engagement at approximately 1 percent of the population.

Avaaz is changing the world with a click and growing stronger. So how do they do it? Through member suggestion to member polls, Avaaz selects their initiatives on their user base. Regarding funding, according to (2012)

“Our member funded model keeps us independent and accountable.”
(Avaaz, 2012)

Avaaz is wholly member-funded which grants them the freedom to stay true to the deeper underlying morals of humanitarianism and pursue their own objectives instead of those of others. When it comes to action, Avaaz takes action mainly through “signing petitions, funding media campaigns and direct actions, emailing, calling and lobbying governments, and organizing “offline” protests and events” (Avaaz, 2012).

As we approach the new year, and change is at the forefront of our minds, it is time to reflect on organizations that make change possible. Like the many occupations we support around the world, Avaaz is yet another organization that is doing great things and deserves promotion. If you’re looking for yet another avenue to feed your appetite to create change, or perhaps you’re a member already, Avaaz serves as an excellent outlet for doing so. Sometimes… change, can start with a signature.

To learn more about Avaaz, the issues they’re currently addressing, or to get involved – visit their website:

Written by Jennie Phillips | @drchangelove

Holiday Celebration Tips from Occupy Christmas

T’is the season for gift giving, yet the folks engaged in Occupy Christmas strive to promote a different message.

As the Occupy movement continues to grow, it has taken many shapes and forms since the original Occupy Wallstreet protests. From Occupy  Walmart to Occupy Sandy to OccupySMS, Occupy Christmas is another movement under the occupy umbrella that aims to create awareness of the level of consumerism associated with the holiday season and encourage alternate methods of celebration.

In tandem with the Adbusters “Buy Nothing Day / Xmas”, Occupy Christmas launched on Black Friday, November 2011, post protests. Their message is to  boycott holiday gift shopping and, according to Kalle Lasn (Adbusters Co-founder) in an interview with the CBC, encourage people to take a harder look at what the holidays represent. They are not anti-gift, they just suggest a shift in mindset… a more  socially conscious approach to the season. See a good description of their mission here

Unfortunately, according to the Occupy Christmas Facebook page they have racked up little support to date. In a survey by the CBC asking “Do you plan to Occupy Christmas this holiday season” last year, of close to 2700 people who voted only 7.4% of voters said they would participate, with 91.6% stating they would not, and 1% stating they were undecided. Today, according to the Occupy Christmas Facebook page, they have 3500 supports – a number still relatively small compared to the other forms of occupy.

With less than two weeks of “shopping days” remaining, instead of hitting the malls and wracking up your credit card bill, why not take a few lessons from the Occupy Christmas movement! The community offers a plethora of excellent suggestions on how to give and how to celebrate the season. Here are a few suggestions:

Give to the Hurricane Sandy Gift Registry

Make your own snow globe

Pinterest – Homemade Christmas Gifts

57 Homemade Christmas Tutorials! Lots of creative ideas here for gifts, decorations, activities, cards, ect…

Some good ideas to Occupy Christmas

Making the Holidays more meaningful

Alternative gift ideas! 

More great ideas! 

Written by
Jennie Phillips | @drchangelove



A peek at some of our net scavenging!

Hello and Season’s Greetings to all our readers!

It’s Averie of the 2012-13 research team here, with an update on some really cool stuff we’ve been finding as we scour the internet for content relevant to our research.

As Dr. Boler heads out to sunny California over the holidays, we’ve been searching for some contacts and info on Occupy on the West Coast.

Here are a few websites we found particularly interesting!



Linda Lemaster

Becky Johnson

… And some more interesting web results!

Searching For Occupy

GenderPressing (WordPress)

We’ve also found some fantastic video resources.

Occupy Santa Cruz — 2012 Outlook

Occupy LA Bank March — Lauren Steiner

Occupy Wall Street One Year — Lauren Windsor

There are also many docs being made on Occupy in various places — this is just one of the trailers we’ve discovered.

Occupy the Bay

We’ve also stumbled across a lot of interesting articles/interviews about our research themes:

Robin Morgan talks about Feminism and Occupying Patriarchy

Occupy 2.0 Won’t be a Repeat

Occupy Protests’ Ironic Legacy: More Restrictions on Protesters (LA Times)

One Year Later: People of Color Leave Occupy but Continue Work

… And of Course, we’re always trolling around on Twitter! Follow us on @socmediamoves! These tweets certainly piqued our interest!

[View the story “tweet tweet!” on Storify]

Hello from the 2012-13 Research Team! and a look at #OccupyWalmart on #BlackFriday

Hello world!

This blog is now being dedicated to the work of Dr. Megan Boler’s 2012-2013 research team. You can find out more about us here.

Speaking broadly, we’re studying in social media, social movements, and where online and offline networking intersect. Our current three-year SSHRC funded research project investigates uses of social media in social movements, the recent resurgence of feminist organizing, and the networked, horizontal leadership of the (still alive and well) Occupy movement.

Most recently, team member Averie MacDonald closely followed social media news about planned #OccupyWalmart protests and strikes early last week as #BlackFriday rolled around.

Scroll through this Storify to see what she found out!


recent and forthcoming pubs

Megan Boler, Occupy Women: Will Feminism’s Fourth Wave Be a Swell or a Ripple?” ( Wednesday, 16 May 2012)

perm link:

Matt Ratto and Megan Boler, eds, DIY Citizenship: Critical Making and Social Media,  MIT Press (fall 2013)

Megan Boler and Selena Nemorin, “Truthiness and War: New Media Landscapes of 21st Century Propaganda,” Oxford University Handbook on Propaganda, eds. R Casstronovo and J. Auerbach (Oxford University Press, 2012)

Ian Reilly and Megan Boler, “The Rally to Restore Sanity, Pre-politicization, and the Future of Politics”, under review, Communication, Culture and Critique

Megan Boler,”Women Make Vlogs,” (submitting to First Monday)

early 2012 media glut; & forthcoming pubs below…

January started with media frenzy in the wake of Occupy ‘media spectacle.’  The public interest in social media practices and digital activism is exciting. After a decade of researching “digital dissent” and the power of “micro-blogging” practices it is amazing to see my passion about digital activism so alive.

In January, media focus was of course still on “Arab Spring” and Occupy Movement using social media so centrally:

Megan Boler, Occupy 2012 and Beyond

How the Web Spurs Political Change
Here are 10 instances where people combined activism and social networking to spark change
By Ian Paul | PC World | 25 January 12

January 20, live interview “Occupy Protests,” KCBS News, San Francisco
CBS Radio News Desk KCBS AM & FM Radio

Megan Boler
Year in Ideas: Twelve months of protest and a new lexicon
National Post, December 29, 2011

Megan Boler
‘Occupy’ instigator laments lack of spirit in Canada
CTV News, November 26, 2011

Megan Boler
Occupy’s alternative social, political model not ‘self-sustainable’
National Post, November 25, 2011

Megan Boler
Can protest survive un-Occupied?
London Free Press, November 15, 2011

Megan Boler
Interview: Anonymous hacker group threat to launch cyber-attack against City of Toronto
Global News, November 13, 2011

Costa Concordia: Italian cruise disaster satire speaks to rapid pace of comedy about tragedy, Vinay Menon
January 27, 2012–costa-concordia-italian-cruise-disaster-satire-speaks-to-rapid-pace-of-comedy-about-tragedy


Forthcoming Publications:
Matt Ratto and Megan Boler, eds, “DIY Citizenship: Critical Making and Social Media, ” MIT Press all 2012.

Megan Boler, “New Landscapes of 21st Century Propaganda,” Propaganda Handbook, eds R Casstronovo and J. Auerbach, Oxford University Press, 2012.

Megan Boler, “Women Occupy: Mediated Horizontal Consensus Meets Old-Fashioned Consciousness Raising” PDF

Megan Boler,”Women Make Vlogs,” (submitting to First Monday)


…upcoming talks and panels

some of the upcoming public talks i will be giving:

January 31, 2012
Bridging the Gender Gap in the News: Public Talk & Panel Discussion Panelists: Shari Graydon, Informed Opinions; Megan Boler, Professor, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education; Kathy English, Public Editor, Toronto Star; Esme Fuller-Thompson, Professor, Sandra Rotman Chair in Social Work

February 9, Teacher’s College, Columbia, New York, invited talk

April 13, Invited Panelist, Arts and Activism Conference, SUNY Buffalo

Keynote, “Fostering Civic Engagement: Revisiting the Role of the University and Aesthetics as a Language of Possibility,”  May 20-21,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, hosted by Saint Joseph’s University and Barnes Foundation.


change in the global october air!

it’s been a busy month around the globe…here are, first, the professional updates from Toronto and NYC on dr. boler’s recent  live TV news appearances  (from NASDAQ hdqtrs in Times Square and the ABC studios in NYC, where I was for MobilityShifts conference)–fortunately enough, the conference corresponded with a lively week in October in Liberty Plaza with #OWS–more in that in posts to come.  Meanwhile, in Toronto, the new research team for my 3-year funded SSHRC project “Sociable Media in the Hands of Young Citizens” was attending GA meetings and the occupy toronto events.

Here’s some of the media appearances, and below, an intro to those who will also be updating our research on Youth Engaging Social Media & Social Movements (funded by SSHRC for 2010-2013).

Megan Boler
Occupy Canada protests: Media braces for the worst, while protesters show kinder, gentler, Canadian version
Huffington Post, October 18, 2011 Boler

‘Wall Street is ook onze straat’
De Standaard, October 17, 2011 Boler

Interview as protesters arrested in Liberty Park at Occupy Wall Street protests
CTV Sunday October 16 Boler

CTV BNN October 14, Interview on Occupy Wall Street movement


…and the research teamwill commence posting here the notes we’ve been sending via various communications as our new team assembled this Fall 2011 and events unfolded over the last month.  Welcome Brad Evoy, Rhon Teruelle, and Jamila Park!

What’s New and Upcoming!

Upcoming Talks:

  • “Children, youth and media”. Panel Discussion with Bronwen Low, Krys Verrall, and Sara Grimes, and Megan Boler, Center for Media and Culture in Education, OISE/UT.   Friday September 30, 4 to 6 pm
  • Mobility Shifts Conference, New School University, New York, October 15, 2011

Boler in the Media:
Megan Boler
Media displays social media double standard (Audio Interview)
CBC Radio – Airplay, August 17, 2011

Megan Boler
UK Social Networks boomerang
All Africa, August 13, 2011

Megan Boler
U.K. riots reveal social media double standard
CBC News, August 10, 2011

Research and Publications: This summer we have been making headway designing our survey to commence my 3-year funded SSHRC Research Project, “Social Media in the Hands of Young Citizens: evolving forms of participatory democracy.”  Dr. Ian Reilly and I are just finishing an essay for publication titled “Satire and Social Change: The Rally to Restore Sanity and the Future of Politics”, and Kelly Ladd and I are finishing up a paper intended for First Monday on “Women Make Vlogs”, summarizing our research into the gender politics and experience of women vloggers on YouTube.