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Activism and the internet : a socio-politcal analysis of how the use of electronic mailing lists affects.. Crounauer, Katja 2004

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ACTIVISM AND THE INTERNET: A SOCIO-POLITICAL ANALYSIS OF HOW THE USE OF ELECTRONIC MAILING LISTS AFFECTS MOBILIZATION IN SOCIAL MOVEMENT ORGANIZATIONS. by KATJA CRONAUER Diplom (B.Sc. & M.Sc), Universitat Wiirzburg, Germany, 1994 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Individual Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies Program) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA April 2004 © Katja Cronauer, 2004 Abstract The main research questions in this thesis are whether use of electronic mailing lists by activist groups furthers or hinders the mobilization of list subscribers, and what role lists play in fostering subscribers' involvement with social activist groups. Two public electronic mailing lists were studied over several months for effects of list use on mobilization. The first was created and predominantly used by the student group APEC-Alert to mobilize against the 1997 APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Vancouver, Canada. The second, established by a group in Cologne, Germany, was used by many groups from Cologne and elsewhere who organized against European Union and Great 7 summits in Cologne in 1999. I collected messages posted to these lists, obtained subscribers' responses to questionnaires that I designed, and conducted interviews with subscribers. I used a combination of quantitative and qualitative analyses and drew on concepts from social movement theories. I examined how movement organizers used lists and what effects list messages had on subscribers. I examined whether and how list messages changed subscribers' perceptions of movement organizations and the issues they were concerned with, and whether and how list use prompted movement involvement of inactive subscribers and facilitated continued involvement of already active participants. On both lists, some subscribers were more mobilized to support movement goals, group views, aims and tactics, and to become active. These subscribers had the most personal contact with anti-globalization activists, the most previous experience with activism, and in case of the Cologne list, longer and more recent experiences with activism. Least mobilized subscribers were female and those most deterred by negative movement dynamics. ii I show that effectiveness of list use for mobilization depends on social location of those in the target pool for subscribers, personal contact between subscribers and movement actors, movement dynamics, organizers' framing efforts, presence of collective identities (which seem difficult to develop without face-to-face contact), degree of trust prevalent between subscribers, and availability of resources to movement actors. I recommend that activists increase online framing efforts, explain how subscribers can become active, facilitate personal contact, improve movement dynamics, and broaden access to list content. iii Table of Contents Abstract 11 Table of Contents iv List of Tables X List of Figures x List of Acronyms and Overview of Groups and E-mail Lists Under Study X1 Acknowledgments xm Chapter 1: Introduction 1 Researching Social Movements' Use of the Internet 2 Two Case Studies 3 Overview of Findings 6 Conclusion 8 Chapter 2: Literature Review 12 A Definition of the Term "Social Movement" 13 Social Movements—An Overview of the Four Main Research Perspectives 15 Researching Internet Use by Social Movement Actors 18 S oci al Movement Actors' B eh avi our 21 Relationships between Social Movement Actors 23 Feelings of Mutual Identification and Solidarity 7 Access to Resources 29 Conclusion 34 Chapter 3: Methods 6 Two Case StudiesStudying Social Movements 38 Data Collection and Analysis 40 Collecting the E-mail List Messages 41 Analyzing the E-mail List Messages 42 Collecting the Groups' Websites and Printed Materials 43 Analyzing the Groups' Websites and Printed Materials 44 Designing and Sending the Questionnaires 44 Responses to My Questionnaires 46 Analysis of Questionnaire Responses 49 Designing the Interviews 49 Soliciting Interviews 50 Conducting the Interviews 51 Analysis of Interviews 52 Tools Employed to Facilitate Analysis 52 iv Chapter 4: The Activist Groups and Their E-Mail Lists 54 Activism around the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in 1997 55 Overview 55 APEC-Alert 56 Other Groups 57 APEC-Alert's E-mail Lists 58 Soliciting List Subscribers 59 How Interview Participants Learned about the APEC-Alert E-mail Lists 61 APEC-Alert List Subscribers' Demographics 62 Other Means of Communication 63 Activism around the EU and G7/G8 summits in 1999 64 Overview 65 Groups that Organized Events Concerning the 1999 EU and G7/G8 Summits 66 The EU+ WWG E-mail List 70 Soliciting List Subscribers 71 How Subscribers Learned about the EU + WWG List 72 EU+ WWG List Subscribers' Demographics 73 Other Means of Communication 75 A Comparative Look at the Two E-mail Lists 77 Chapter 5: Consensus Mobilization—Raising Opposition to APEC, the EU and G7/G8, and the Respective Summits 81 Issue Information Contained in the E-mail List Messages 83 Why Organizers Sent Low Numbers of Messages with Issue Information 85 How List Messages Were Lacking Issue Information 7 Barriers to Reading List Messages 88 A Lack of Introductory Comments and Language Barriers 88 High Message Volume 89 Reasons for High Message Volume 93 What Interview Participants Learned through the Lists 96 Details about Globalization 97 Connections between Globalization and Human Rights Abuses 97 Interconnecting a Variety of Issues 99 Differences between APEC-Alert and EU + WWG List Subscribers 100 Printed Materials as Sources of Information about APEC, the EU and G7/G8 100 Printed Materials Compared to Online Issue Information 102 Online Sources of Issue Information (Other than the E-mail Lists under Study) 104 The World Wide Web 105 Newsgroups, E-mail Lists, and Chat Rooms 106 Forwards from Acquaintances 107 Activists as Sources of Information about APEC or the EU and G7/G8 107 Learning through Praxis 108 Personal Interactions Compared to Online Interactions 110 Conclusion 111 V Chapter 6: Consensus Mobilization—Gaining Support for Organizing Groups 114 Information on Organizing Groups on the APEC-Alert and EU+WWG Lists 115 Learning about Groups through Group Messages 117 A Shift in APEC-Alert Organizers' Views 118 Learning about Groups through Debates on the E-mail Lists 120 A Lack of Contextualizing Information 122 Information about Group Tactics 3 The Spectrum of Resistance / The Large Number of People Involved 125 Learning about Mainstream Media through Comparison 126 Other Sources of Information about Group Views, Goals and Tactics 127 Conclusion 130 Chapter 7: Action Mobilization—Facilitating Online Involvement of List Subscribers 132 How Many Subscribers Posted to the Lists 133 Why More EU+WWG than APEC-Alert List Subscribers Posted Messages 134 Posters' Levels of Offline Involvement in Organizing Groups 135 The Tendency to Post More Messages When Involved Offline 7 Why Subscribers Less Involved Offline Sent Fewer Messages 13Limited Offline Involvement and Limited Knowledge of Issues 137 Subscribers Communicate Selectively with Each Other 139 Feelings of Intimidation due to the Nature of Previous Responses to Posts 142 Why Hostile List Messages Alienated Less Involved Subscribers More 143 List Participation 146 Effects of List Dominance by a Few Subscribers 147 Heavy Posters'Views 149 Gender Discrepancies 151 Why Women Posted Few Messages 153 Online and Offline Male DominanceLack of Confidence in Computer Skills 154 Circumventing Negative Offline Gender Dynamics via E-mail 156 Why Subscribers in General Posted Little 157 Unease about Posting to Lists with Largely Anonymous Subscribers 157 E-mail Surveillance 160 Hostile E-mail Exchanges on the Lists 162 A Preference for E-mail Exchanges with Non-Anonymous Others 166 A Preference for Personal Contact over E-mail 168 Other Online Activities Subscribers Engaged in 170 Conclusion 173 vi Chapter 8: Action Mobilization—Facilitating Offline Involvement of List Subscribers 176 E-mail Lists as an Entry Point into Activism 177 List Subscribers' Offline Involvement 179 Messages the Lists Carried to Facilitate Action Mobilization 180 How Already Active Subscribers Used the Lists for Their Involvement 181 Continued Offline Involvement 182 Networking and Coordinating Events 183 Securing Resources 186 How Subscribers Less Involved Offline Were Mobilized 188 Effects of Repeated Announcements of Events 189 The Importance of Personal Contact 190 Messages That Asked Subscribers to Respond to Posters 195 From Attendee to Organizer 197 Attending Protests from Out-of-Town 198 Finding out about Events 198 Making Contact with Local Groups 199 Arranging Rides and Accommodation 200 Exclusive Dynamics 200 Intra- and Intergroup Fights 200 "Too Radical" Tactics 201 Racism 202 Sexism 204 Informal Hierarchies 206 A Tight-Knit Group 207 Supporting the Movement despite Barriers 208 Using the Lists to Mobilize Non-Subscribers 208 Group Organizers' Sources of Information for Mobilizing Materials 209 Using Online Materials for Local Mobilizing Efforts 209 Spreading Online Information through Alternative Media 212 Individual Subscribers' Actions to Mobilize Others 213 Conclusion 215 Chapter 9: Conclusion 217 Synthesizing Social Movement Paradigms 21Previous Studies on Social Movement Actors' Use of the Internet 218 Study of the Two E-mail Lists 219 Which Subscribers Were Mobilized and Which Ones Were Not 220 Consensus Mobilization 221 Action Mobilization 223 Factors that Hindered or Furthered Mobilization through E-mail Lists 225 Social Location of the Target Pool for Subscribers 225 Personal Contact Between Subscribers and Social Movement Actors 228 Movement Dynamics 231 Social Movement Actors' Framing Efforts 233 Collective Identities 235 The Availability of Resources to Social Movement Actors 236 Conclusion 238 Vll Bibliography 241 Appendices 6 Appendix A: The Questionnaire as Sent to the APEC-Alert List 24Appendix BI: The Questionnaire as Sent to the EU+WWG List (in German) 254 Appendix B2: The Questionnaire as Sent to the EU+WWG List (in English) 260 Appendix C: Interview Schedule for Subscribers from the APEC-Alert List 266 Appendix D: Interview Schedule for Subscribers from the EU+WWG List, Translated from German 274 viii List of Tables Table 1: Number and Percentage of List Subscribers Who Completed the Questionnaires 48 Table 2: Messages that Include Information about Group Views and Goals 116 Table 3: APEC-Alert Messages with Information on Human Rights Abuses in Asia and North America, and on Globalization 120 Table 4: Number and Type of Messages Sent by Questionnaire Respondents Compared with Their Level of Involvement Referenced to Number of Respondents 136 Table 5: Subscribers Ranked by Volume of Posts 146 Table 6: Posters Sorted by Gender 151 Table 7: Number of Messages Sorted by Senders' Gender 152 Table 8: Level of Offline Participation of Subscribers Who Returned My Questionnaire 179 Table 9: Level of Offline Participation of Subscribers Who Returned My Questionnaire: Broken Down by Gender 204 Table 10: Profiles of Subscribers Whose Mobilization Was and Was Not Facilitated 221 ix List of Figures Figure 1: Percentage of List Messages Containing References to Issues 84 Figure 2: Number of List Messages Containing References to Issues, Sorted over Time 87 X List of Acronyms and Overview of Groups and E-mail Lists Under Study Organizations Opposed and Events Protested by Groups Under Study APEC Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation AELM APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting (annual meetings of heads of APEC member states) UBC University of British Columbia, Canada (host of the 1997 AELM) EU European Union EU summit meetings of heads of EU member states; these are held twice a year G7 Great 7; a grouping of the world's seven most powerful countries G7 summit annual meetings of heads of G7 member states G7/8 summit the 1999 G7 summit joined by Russia on the last day of the summit WWG Weltwirtschaftsgipfel—this is literally translated as "World Economic Summif and refers to the G7/G8 summit Groups Under Study that Opposed the 1997 AELM in Vancouver, Canada APEC-Alert main group opposing the 1997 AELM on the campus the meeting took place NO! TO APEC one of the two main coalitions opposing the AELM People's Summit the second of the two main coalitions opposing the AELM In addition, many activist groups were involved in NO! TO APEC and the People's Summit and some, such as the East Timor Alert Network and the Canada Tibet Committee, organized their own events. xi Groups Under Study that Opposed the 1999 EU and G7/G8 summit in Cologne, Germany Infoladen Koln Infoshop Cologne; this group took on the role of information provider BK99 Biindnis Koln 99—Alliance Cologne 99; the BK99 was one of the two main organizing coalitions LiRa Linksradikale Anti-EU/WWG Plenum—Left-Radical anti-EUAVWG Plenum; LiRa was the second main organizing coalition Euromarsch European network organizing against the EU ErlaBjahrkampagne Remission Year Alliance; mobilized against the G7/G8 summit for debt remission and funds for credits for poor countries ICC or ICC/PGA Intercontinental Caravan; an international initiative by People's Global Action (PGA) organizing against both summits FrauenLesben Plenum FrauenLesben Plenum Gegen die Gipfel—WomenLesbians Plenum Against the Summits Many other groups organized against the summits; over 101 additional groups posted to the e-mail list created to oppose the Cologne summits. E-mail Lists Under Study APEC-Alert list created by the group APEC-Alert to oppose the 1997 AELM in Vancouver, Canada EU+WWG list created by the Infoladen Koln to facilitate organizing events concerning an EU and a G7/G8 summit in Cologne, Germany in 1999 xii Acknowledgements I want to thank the following for their guidance and assistance: my co-supervisors Robert Ratner and Richard Rosenberg and my supervisory committee members Gillian Creese and Avigail Eisenberg. Further thanks are due to Trudy O'Donaghey, Graham Sheard, Lisa Faingold, Jennifer Donsky, and David Treleaven for invaluable suggestions and proofreading. A first draft of chapter 2, the literature review, was written during the Social Science Research Council's Program on Information Technology, International Cooperation and Global Security in the summer of 2001 at the University of California, Berkeley. Special thanks to the program participants, in particular Guobin Yang, Niall O' Dochartaigh and Sonika Gupta, and the program organizers Robert Latham and Deborah Matzner. Last but not least, I want to thank all study participants for their time and efforts in contributing to my research project. I aim to return their favour by offering copies of a zine I will write and publish in 2004 that makes recommendations for the use of e-mail lists by activists. xiii Chapter 1: Introduction As neo-liberal economic, military and media conglomerates expand, social movements face heightened difficulties in their activities. As a result of cutbacks, less money is made available to social service sectors including progressive community organizations. It is practically impossible for alternative viewpoints to receive fair and adequate coverage in mainstream news. To different degrees, social movements in all countries face repression by police, military and intelligence agencies. Enter the internet, which provides social movements with an opportunity to spread their views in their own words, to activate people, and to network both locally and globally. Many social movement actors indeed use the internet to this end. A well-known example is activists' use of the internet to facilitate mobilizing against the World Trade Organization (WTO) summit in Seattle, Washington, USA, in 1999. Many attribute the success of the 1999 anti-WTO activities to use of the internet. To say that internet use has revolutionized mobilizing, though, is not warranted. Examples of less successful mobilization, despite internet use, include the 1999 mobilization in Cologne, Germany, against summits of the European Union (EU) and the Great 7 (G7), a grouping of the world's seven most powerful countries. The largest of the organized demonstrations in Cologne attracted the relatively low number of 20,000 attendees. Another instance is the 1997 mobilization against a leaders' meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Vancouver, Canada. In early 1997 a group of students set up an electronic mailing list (e-mail list, frequently also referred to as listserve) and a website to facilitate mobilizing against this meeting. This e-mail list had over 400 subscribers. Yet until the week prior to the APEC leaders' meeting, the number of attendees at group actions ranged from a few to about forty. It 1 is therefore crucial to explore under what conditions internet use by social activist groups furthers or hinders mobilization. Researching Social Movements' Use of the Internet The phrase "social movement's use of the internet" describes a broad area of research with many questions to explore. Some researchers focus on examining whether internet use can enhance voter turnouts (Bruce Bimber, 1998). Others examine how it can help influence government actions, such as when internet use by social movements enhanced the visibility of the Zapatistas and helped prevent a quick and bloody crackdown by the Mexican government (Froehling, 1997) or when internet use contributed to the successful lobbying of the U.S. government to ban new corporate investments in Burma (Tiffany Danitz and Warren P. Strobel, 1999). These studies focus on the outcomes of campaigns and pay limited attention to how use of the internet helped achieve those outcomes. This points to a need to examine the specific ways social movement actors use the internet to mobilize. When I began my research in 1998, not much had been published in this area. Since then an increasing number of researchers have examined the effects internet use has on social movement organizations and whether their online mobilization efforts prompted users to become active (examples are Colin A. Beckles, 2001; Larry Elin 2003; Tiger Li, 1990; Sherida Ryan, 2003; Jan E. Thomas and Sarah Young, 1997; Michele Andrisin Wittig and Joseph Schmitz, 1996). However, little attention has been given to examining how internet users are prompted to become active and what internet uses discouraged them from joining a movement. Furthermore, many studies on how social movement actors use the internet are on geographically dispersed groups with group members living in different localities (e.g. Laura J. 2 Gurak, 1997; Hiram Sachs, 1995) or on how the internet is used by groups operating in one locality to reach out and link up with allies that are not in the same locality (e.g. Harry Cleaver, 1998; Gomez, 1997). E-mail lists are, however, frequently used by groups whose members live in the same locality and have face-to-face meetings. Researching how internet use affects such groups has been largely neglected. To fill part of the research gaps, I undertook two case studies as follows. Two Case Studies My study focuses on two e-mail lists used over the course of several months to organize opposition and create alternatives to the above-mentioned globalization summits in Cologne and Vancouver. For both lists, I examine what uses helped educate subscribers.about the issues social activist groups opposed, informed them about the groups themselves, their views, aims and tactics, and motivated them to become more active online and offline. I collected messages posted to the lists and list subscribers' responses to questionnaires I designed. I also conducted interviews with list subscribers. I used a combination of quantitative and qualitative analyses. (For details of processes of data collection and analysis see Chapter 3.) For this study, I draw on Mario Diani's (2000) definition of the term "social movement" that he synthesized from the four main research perspectives on social movements (the Collective Behaviour Perspective, Resource Mobilization Theory, the Political Process Model, and the New Social Movement paradigm—see Chapter 2 for introductions to these). He describes social movements as "networks of informal relationships between a multiplicity of individuals and organizations, who share a distinctive collective identity, and mobilize resources on conflictual issues" (Diani, 2000, p. 387). I then use the term "social movement organization" to 3 refer to "a complex, or formal organization which identifies its goals with the preferences of a social movement [...] and attempts to implement those goals" (John D. McCarthy and Mayer N. Zald, 1977, p. 1218). Diani's definition of social movements appears particularly suitable for this study, as it identifies four dimensions of social movements that may affect, and be affected by, use of the internet by social movement organizations. These dimensions are social movement actors' behaviour (individuals and organizations), the relationship between social movement actors, the feelings of mutual identification and solidarity which bond movement actors together, and access to resources such as money, materials, time, and skilled assistance needed by social movements. I deploy these dimensions to review literature on use of the internet by social movement actors in Chapter 2.1 then use this literature to contextualize the findings of my study which I present in chapters 5 through 8. One of the main differences between the two lists under study is that the Vancouver list was predominantly used by one social movement organization (the student group APEC-Alert) and the Cologne list was used by many social movement organizations with diverse views (including two main coalitions and a variety of leftist groups that collaborated with one or both of the coalitions). In both cases these organizations formed part of the "anti-globalization movement" which is critical of economic globalization. The two lists were set up similarly (for example, both were public and unmoderated) and for similar events (to protest globalization summits). This allows me to compare how mobilization can be affected when used by one social movement organization versus many social movement organizations. 4 A second main difference is that the Cologne list had geographically dispersed subscribers and the Vancouver list had local subscribers. This allows me to examine the different effects on local and non-local subscribers.1 (I indicate further similarities and differences in Chapter 4, where I introduce the e-mail lists, the groups that created and used them, and the organizations and summits they opposed in more detail.) The focus of this study is on examining how effective list use was for mobilizing subscribers. The mobilizing of material resources is not a focus of this study, although I do discuss how social movement actors used the lists to secure material resources through list subscribers. By the term "mobilization" I refer to efforts by social movement organizations to raise support for their views and aims and to facilitate the involvement of subscribers in the movement. I distinguish four stages of mobilization. Two of these are captured under the term "consensus mobilization" which refers to a) the generating of individuals and organizations who believe in movement goals, and b) the generating of individuals and organizations who agree with views, aims and tactics of specific social movement organizations. The remaining two stages of mobilization are described with the term "action mobilization". With this term I refer first to the prompting of subscribers to become involved in the movement through the providing of resources such as time and money to movement organizations. Secondly, it refers to the facilitation of the continued involvement of already active participants that is, their repeated, and ideally increasing, provision of resources. The two stages of action mobilization that I distinguish are the facilitation of online versus offline participation. For each of the four stages and in separate chapters, I examine how social movement organizations used the lists to mobilize. I also examine whether and how list messages helped change subscribers perceptions ' I further compare uses of the lists whenever possible. For instance list uses of out-of-town subscribers to the Vancouver list are compared to those of subscribers to the Cologne list. 5 of these organizations and the issues they were concerned with, and whether and how list use facilitated subscribers' participation in the movement. Overview of Findings Before people get actively involved in social movements, they need to feel aggrieved about the issues social movement organizations are concerned with. In Chapter 5,1 examine how subscribers learned about the issues organizing groups were concerned with and to what extent subscribers' perceptions of these issues changed through messages on the e-mail lists under study. I show that list messages provided subscribers with more details to understand the effects of APEC, or the EU and G7, and thus deepened their support for the movement. Yet many subscribers regretted that the lists did not carry more information on these organizations. I argue that a more strategic use of the lists could have prompted more subscribers to believe in the goals of the movement. I explain how face-to-face interactions provided subscribers with learning opportunities that the lists under study did not provide and why e-mail lists in general are unlikely to provide these. I further argue that internet use created an information gap between movement participants who had internet access and those who did not, although it leveled access to information between those with internet access. I then discuss in Chapter 6 how subscribers learned about group views, aims and tactics. I show that subscribers learned about groups mostly at meetings and events and that the e-mail lists were poorly used for this purpose. Many subscribers were less involved with organizing groups offline and therefore had less access to other activists from whom they could receive further information. I argue that a lack of contextualizing information about groups made list messages less useful to these subscribers. Yet the e-mail lists proved particularly important sources of 6 information about groups to those less involved offline as they often had less access to print materials that would carry such information. I argue that for organizers to mobilize subscribers they need to provide more group information or their e-mail lists will mainly serve to retain already committed activists. Next, I examine to what extent e-mail list use prompted subscribers to take part in online and offline movement activities. In Chapter 7,1 show that many subscribers on both lists were prevented from posting messages to the lists. In particular, female subscribers and subscribers less involved offline posted few messages. Reasons include hostile posts, the anonymity of the e-mail medium, negative online and offline gender dynamics, and a preference for communicating in person or via telephone. On the positive side, one case shows that e-mail can be used to circumvent negative offline gender dynamics. I then argue that the presence of a developed collective identity reduces hostile online interactions. I also explain why e-mail lists might not be the best medium to develop a collective identity. At the end of this chapter I show that, although not posting to the lists, subscribers did support organizing groups through other online actions such as forwarding list messages to acquaintances. In Chapter 8,1 examine whether list use facilitated subscribers' involvement in offline activities. While list use was not particularly successful in the recruitment of new activists, it furthered the offline involvement already committed activists by enabling them to network, secure resources, and coordinate activities. Comparatively, list messages were most successful in furthering the involvement of less committed subscribers when they constituted repeated online announcements or were used in combination with personal outreach. But subscribers from both lists who were less involved offline felt that list messages did not inform them 7 enough about how they could become active offline. Also hindering mobilization were negative online and offline movement dynamics. Still, when exclusive group dynamics led to limited participation of women and people of colour, list use allowed these subscribers to stay marginally involved offline. While internet use resulted in closer ties only in the case of like-minded groups, I argue that it can still help diverse groups coordinate large-scale actions, facilitate the exchange of printed materials, and provide ideas and inspiration. Conclusion In the final chapter, I conclude that the hype surrounding the internet bears qualification. I return to previous studies on online activism and explain how my study adds to this literature by providing a detailed analysis of instances of internet use that furthered and hindered mobilization. I then describe which subscribers from the two lists under study were and were not mobilized. In the case of consensus mobilization, on both lists, subscribers with the most personal contact to other anti-globalization activists were mobilized the most to support movement goals and group views and aims. In contrast, a lack of personal contact led to less or no support. Additionally, subscribers on the Vancouver list who did not become critical of APEC, focused on messages about human rights in Asia or were most deterred from reading list messages due to high list volume. In the case of action mobilization, the typical subscriber on both lists who was less or not mobilized to participate in online and offline actions was female and most deterred by negative movement dynamics. Subscribers whose participation was most facilitated had previous 8 experience with activism, knew other participants from past activities, and in case of the Cologne list, had longer and more recent experiences with activism. I then pull together the various threads of the thesis and relate them back to the social movement literature. I argue that to what extent e-mail list use effectively contributes towards mobilization depends on the following factors: the social location of those in the subscriber target pool, personal contact between social movement actors and subscribers, movement dynamics, framing efforts of social movement actors, presence of collective identities (which as I argue are likely difficult to develop without face-to-face contact), degree of trust prevalent between subscribers, and the availability of resources to social movement actors. I argue that decisions about whether to be involved in an organization may be based on dynamics regarding social location. By the term "social location" I refer to a person's gender, race, class, age, sexuality, ability, education, and the interpersonal networks a person is part of. Internet use is most accessible to young, middle to upper class, educated, able-bodied, white men. I also show that, in the cases under study, list use mostly facilitated the involvement of already committed activists and that discriminatory online and offline dynamics hindered mobilization of women and people of colour. This confirms the importance of social location to mobilization that the New Social Movement paradigm and the Political Process Model have long emphasized. In the cases under study, movement organizers used e-mail lists as they provided them with an additional communication tool that an increasing number of people were using. This study shows that there are good reasons to use e-mail lists for political action. However, it also shows 9 that list use can easily have negative effects on mobilization. My research suggests that a more strategic use of e-mail lists by social movement actors could result in the mobilization of larger numbers of users than it did in the cases under study. The internet may be a new resource to facilitate the rise of social movements, as suggested by Resource Mobilization Theory. It appears for this to occur successfully activists need to commit resources to their use of the internet. For example, resources should be committed to broadening access to online information in order to narrow the gap between those with and without internet access. Committing resources to improving movement dynamics is also recommended. I showed that when negative online dynamics that hindered mobilization occurred, the same kind of dynamics often occurred offline. This suggests that improvements of offline movement dynamics may lead to better online dynamics. My findings also confirm the importance for groups to actively frame their efforts. List subscribers felt they were not informed enough about issues because organizers posted little information about their groups and the very issues they were concerned with, and because they often did not contextualize their messages. While the study confirms that a more inclusive frame mobilizes participants that otherwise would not join (Robert D. Benford and David A. Snow, 2000, p. 619), it also demonstrates the need for movement actors to ensure that the frame is indeed inclusive and that encompassed issues are not discriminatory, thereby excluding potential supporters. 10 This study further confirms the importance of collective identities to social movement actions. I argue that internet use benefits from face-h>face interactions to develop non-anonymous relationships and trust between participants. These interactions also provide a space to negotiate a collective identity. My research findings indicate that online mobilization is most successful if users can develop a collective identity offline previous to or early on in their uses of the internet. When I undertook my study, I realized that the different social movement paradigms (as described in Chapter 2) provided me with complementary concepts to make sense of my data. Had I relied on one paradigm of social movement theories, I would have arrived at a limited picture of the effects of internet uses. Instead, I drew on a combination of concepts from different paradigms; such as resources, framing, networks, and social location. I was then able to describe a wider range of effects in greater depth and examine the interconnectedness of those effects. 11 Chapter 2: Literature Review When examining whether use of e-mail lists facilitates or hinders mobilization of subscribers to become involved with activist groups, it is important to take a close look at online interactions, what they may be shaped by, and what their effects are. As a framework for this analysis, I employ concepts from social movement theories. This chapter begins by presenting a definition of the term "social movement" that Diani (1992) first developed as a result of a discussion about the four main research perspectives of social movements. I define the term "mobilization", a core concept in my analysis. I introduce the four research perspectives of social movements and then, drawing on Diani (2000), explain that his definition of social movements lends itself to analysis of internet uses by social movement actors because it identifies dimensions that influence and are influenced by these uses. I then provide a review of research of online activism to discuss how internet use affects and is affected by these dimensions: In the following chapters, I use these bodies of literature to contextualize and interpret the use of the e-mail lists under study and to discuss how the findings of my study contribute to the discussed theories. 12 A Definition of the Term "Social Movement" To define the term "social movement", I draw on Diani (2000, p. 387) who describes social movements as networks of informal relationships between a multiplicity of individuals and organizations, who share a distinctive collective identity, and mobilize resources on conflictual issues. A "social movement organization is a complex, or formal organization which identifies its goals with the preferences of a social movement [...] and attempts to implement those goals" (McCarthy and Zald, 1977, p. 1218). A social movement organization or a group of social movement organizations has developed a collective identity if participants have agreed on definitions of membership and boundaries, shared goals, views of their social and political environment, and the opportunities and constraints of collective action (Enrique Larafia, Hank Johnston, and Joseph R. Gusfield, 1994, 15; drawing on Melucci, 1995). The focus of this study is on examining how effective list use was for mobilizing subscribers, as stated in the thesis introduction. The mobilizing of material resources is not a focus of this study, although I do discuss how social movement actors used the lists to secure material resources through list subscribers. By the term "mobilization" I refer, elaborating on the definition stated in the thesis introduction, to efforts by social movement organizations to raise support for their views and aims and to facilitate the involvement of subscribers in the movement. I distinguish four stages of mobilization. Two of these are captured under the term "consensus mobilization" which refers to a) the generating of or adherents, described by 13 McCarthy and Zald (1977, p. 1221) as individuals and organizations who believe in movement goals, and b) the generating of individuals and organizations who agree with views, aims and tactics of specific social movement organizations. The remaining two stages of mobilization are described with the term "action mobilization". With this term I refer to the prompting of inactive adherents to become involved in the movement (where involvement refers to the providing of resources such as time and money to movement organizations) and to the facilitation of the continued involvement of already active participants (that is, their repeated, and ideally increasing, provision of resources). With this definition of "action mobilization" I expand on the meaning of the common use of this term which only refers to the activation of inactive adherents (see David A. Snow, Jr. E. Rochford, S. Worden, and R. Benford, 1986, p. 466 for definitions of action and consensus mobilization.) The two stages of action mobilization that I distinguish are the facilitation of online versus offline participation. For each of the four stages and in separate chapters, I examine how social movement organizations used the lists to mobilize. I also examine whether and how list messages helped change subscribers perceptions of these organizations and the issues they were concerned with, and whether and how list use facilitated subscribers' participation in the movement. As mentioned above, Diani (1992) first put forward his definition of social movements as a result of a comparative discussion of the four main research perspectives of social movements. During this discussion he identified points of convergence of the four perspectives and encapsulated them in the definition above. Without repeating Diani's discussion, I now provide an overview of these perspectives and concepts employed by the respective researchers. I subsequently use Diani's definition of social movements and other introduced concepts to discuss the potential of online activism. 14 Social Movements—An Overview of the Four Main Research Perspectives According to the Collective Behaviour perspective, social movements occur due to sudden increases in grievances generated by social change. Prior to 1970 this perspective encompassed the most influential theoretical approaches to social movements. Around 1970 empirical work led to doubts about such a close causal effect between grievances and the rise of social movements (McCarthy and Zald, 1977, p. 1214). Since then, scholars have developed three different paradigms to explain social movements: Resource Mobilization and the Political Process Model in North America, and the New Social Movement paradigm in Europe. Resource Mobilization theorists regard social movement actors as strategizing their behaviour on a rational basis. They argue that grievances are relatively constant, and that "movements form because of long-term changes in group resources, organization, and opportunities for collective action" (J. Craig Jenkins, 1983, p. 530). This approach can be problematic if resources are narrowly defined because the rise of movements would then depend on the contribution of resources by elites. Broader definitions of resources include the time and skills people provide to social movement organizations. Instead of focusing on organizational resources, researchers advocating the Political Process Model saw the success of social movement activities "as largely dependent on opportunities afforded insurgents by the shifting institutional structure and ideological disposition of those in power" (Doug McAdam, 1996, p. 23). While researchers using the Resource Mobilization paradigm and the Political Process Model focus on how people become mobilized, New Social Movement theorists examine the 15 structural conditions and cultural changes that generate deprivations or aspirations that predispose people to partake in social movements. New Social Movement theorists explain the rise of social movements during the last three decades as caused by the development of new grievances and aspirations, and argue that the new movements differ from old movements in values, action forms, and constituency. They describe movements not so much as agencies of common interest, but as new forms of collective identity, which transform people's self-understandings and contest dominant points of view. (William K.Carroll, 1997, p. 8). New Social Movement theorists view the formation of collective identity as a central task of a social movement and as instrumental for successful collective action with participants integrating this new identity in their everyday lives (Klandermans, 1991, p. 34). Rather than being a mere instrument for its goals, a movement in itself is a goal. Movements are regarded as "praxis through which new identities are formed, new ways of life tested, and new forms of community prefigured" (Carroll, 1997, p. 17). The New Social Movement paradigm and the Political Process Model also emphasize the importance of people's social location in regards to mobilization. This includes people's networks of friends and at work, families, and voluntary associations. Alberto Melucci (1985, p. 800) describes movements as a network of small groups that form a system of exchange with persons and information circulating along the network. These networks allow for multiple membership, part-time and short-term involvement and require personal involvement and affective solidarity for participation in many of the groups. 2 See McAdam et al. (1996, p. 143) for an overview of research on how the role of informal structures of everyday life is linked with movement mobilization. 16 Often, participants join movements through already existing groups that have some contact to social movement organizations (McAdam, 1982, p. 44). In addition to members, pre-existing networks provide movements with incentives for group members to join the movement (by for example declaring the group as part of the movement), communication networks, and organizers (McAdam, 1982, pp. 45-46). When deciding whether to join a movement organization, according to Rational Choice Theory, people "reveal preferences or hierarchies of utility (value)" and "seek to maximize these preferences" (Jonathan Turner, 1998, p. 304). Solidarity, defined as "the extent to which members' private resources are contributed to a collective end" can be seen as a "product of dependence, monitoring, and sanctioning" (Turner, 1998, pp. 306-7, drawing on Michael Hechter, 1987 and 1988). A corollary of this is the "free-rider problem": Resource Mobilization Theory adopts Mancur Olson's (1986) argument that people will not contribute to securing collective goods (i.e. non-excludable benefits) without selective incentives (i.e. distinct divisible material or nonmaterial benefits). To analyze not only how people become mobilized but also why, that is to understand and explain people's participation in collective activities, North-American researchers have developed the concepts of consensus mobilization, action mobilization, and framing. I defined the terms "consensus mobilization" and "action mobilization" further above. The term frame is borrowed from Erving Goffman (1974) and "denote[s] 'schemata of interpretations' that enable individuals 'to locate, perceive, identify, and label' occurrences within their life space and the world at large (Benford and Snow, 2000, p. 614; citing Goffman 1974, p. 21). Benford and 17 Snow (2000, p. 614) explain that "[fjrames help to render events or occurrences meaningful and thereby function to organize experience and guide action." Social movement actors frame their beliefs and actions to gain support and attract participants. Whether framing is successful depends on a variety of factors. More participants might join a movement the more inclusive and flexible a frame is (Benford and Snow, 2000, p. 619). How much frames resonate with potential participants may also depend on frame consistency ("the congruency between [a movement organization's] articulated beliefs, claims and actions"), empirical credibility (is there "evidence of the claim embedded in the framing?"), and the perceived credibility of frame articulators ("the status and/or perceived experience of the frame articulators and/or the organization they represent" (Benford and Snow, 2000, pp. 620-621). Researching Internet Use by Social Movement Actors According to Resource Mobilization theory, the availability of a (fairly) new resource such as the internet should facilitate the rise of social movements. Whether this is the case and which movement organizations benefit needs to be examined. Following are some factors that are likely to affect the potential of internet mobilization. Internet use may benefit professional organizations more than grassroots groups as the former have more access to resources including time and money they can invest into using the internet. Mobilization through the internet is also more likely to be successful for movements whose potential participants have access to the internet. For example, to mobilize students (who often have free internet access) through the internet is more likely to be successful than online mobilization of the homeless. 18 Developing and practicing a collective identity online may be more difficult for organizations that mobilize around complex issues or causes that are not widely supported. Diani (2000, p. 397) suggests that organizations that organize around causes which are largely supported in a society seem to have more potential to develop online movements as they require low mutual trust among participants. In contrast, as more is at stake for participants, higher levels of trust and collective identification are required, and the more dependent organizations become on face-to-face interactions (Diani, 2000, p. 397 drawing on Donatella della Porta, 1988). Already established networks, and the mutual trust developed between members of those networks, can then become particularly crucial for participation in online movements. When internet users find a movement online, they may contribute their resources (such as time, skills or money) towards achieving the movement's goals. Internet use may, however, also result in fewer people contributing resources. This could, for example, be the case, if an organization uses e-mail lists as an alternative means of communication (neglecting use of other means of communication and, thus, not reaching a variety of potential supporters and participants), if social movement actors do not use the internet effectively to educate others about their views and aims, or if social movement actors' online behaviour discourages users from becoming actively involved. In addition, internet use may reduce people's dependence on a group for information (whether in the form of flyers or discussions) as they access texts online while maintaining little or no personal contact with the group offline. Monitoring and sanctioning of participants may then become more difficult as, for example, a person may choose only to receive group e-mail while 19 not participating in group activities. Still, internet use may be helpful in mobilizing at times when personal contact is not possible. To further discuss these points through consideration of previous research of online activism, I draw on Diani's (2000, p. 387) definition of social movements. Before explaining why this definition lends itself to the research of internet use by social movement actors, I repeat the definition here for the reader's convenience: Social movements can be regarded as networks of informal relationships between a multiplicity of individuals and organizations, who share a distinctive collective identity, and mobilize resources on conflictual issues. Diani (2000, p. 387) chose this definition of social movements, because it "identifies several dimensions of social movements that [computer-mediated communication] may be expected to shape," and that may be expected to shape or affect computer-mediated communication between social movement actors. These three dimensions are: (1) social movement actors' behaviour (individuals and organizations), and (2) the relationship between social movement actors. (3) the feelings of mutual identification and solidarity which bond movement actors together and secure the persistence of movements even when specific campaigns are not taking place. (Diani, p. 387) 20 I add a fourth dimension that Diani does not specify as a dimension: (4) access to resources such as money, materials, and the time and skills people provide to social movements. I added this dimension since access to resources is crucial to social movement formation and growth and the internet may facilitate the securing of resources. I now discuss how internet access and usage may influence and be influenced by these dimensions. Social Movement Actors' Behaviour Unmoderated public bulletin boards and e-mail lists are by definition open for anybody to post messages, but exclusive and hostile online interactions often prevent subscribers from participating and thereby offset successful online mobilization efforts. While Wittig and Schmitz (1996, p. 67), for example, believe that use of the Public Electronic Network in Santa Monica "enhanced participation of previous non-participants in civic life", they also found that "high levels of rudeness and 'flaming' on [the network] constrained other people's participation (1996, p. 67). Other examinations (Susan C. Herring, 1993; Gurak, 1997; or Ann Travers, 1996) of online discussions via bulletin boards showed that men participated more frequently than women; that women were ignored, silenced, intimidated, and abused; that sexism, misogyny, racism and homophobia which were expressed in several of the men's messages were for the most part not critiqued on fundamental levels and often went completely unchallenged; and that a small group of participants could, through the amount and the manner of participation, gain a quite 21 powerful status online. Rather than leveling the playing field for the participants of the bulletin boards, the examined online discourse was power-based, hierarchical and a continuation of existing patterns of male dominance in society (Herring, 1993, p. 486). Similarly, racist, homophobic or otherwise offensive content creates barriers to people's participation in online activities. Decisions about whether to be involved in an organization may therefore be based on dynamics of gender, race, class, age, sexuality, ability, and education. On the positive side, Geoffrey Aikens (1997) and Travers (1996), in their studies on e-mail lists and bulletin boards, respectively, found that, despite the often observed antagonisms, online communication took place as conversation, and as a process shaping social relations. While not necessarily always apparent, the concern to build social relationships surfaced at one point or another during online discussions. Although those networks were used to pass information on to others, the emphasis was on sharing that information and receiving information from others. Providing hope for a reduction in online hostilities is the asynchronicity of online tools that allows for time to reflect on messages posted by others before responding. Sachs (1995, p. 94), in an examination of public opinion formation on PeaceNet, an international non-profit computer network, accordingly found that some users stressed taking their time to choose how to word online messages. In addition to exchanging hostilities, posting large numbers of messages can constitute problematic behaviour on e-mail lists and bulletin boards. People may not participate in online activities because of the time needed to wade through large numbers of messages or numerous websites. Lewis Friedland (1996, p. 194) found in a study of online networks that local groups 22 did not want to participate: "They could only benefit from specific, selected information, but the necessary investment of time involved in being trained and accessing a general network [...] did not necessarily bring commensurate rewards to small organizations." Friedland documented how, to facilitate groups' online participation, the U.S. American network NCex Change started an initiative in 1990 to provide support to local groups. This included dissemination of information through social and electronic networks and the teaching of network communication skills (Friedland, 1996, p. 194). On e-mail lists and bulletin boards, a reduction in volume can occur through enforced moderation or if participants agree to constrain themselves to, for example, two messages per day. The latter rule has been successfully implemented on at least one electronic mailing list (Aikens, 1997). Frequently, lists are split into two: one moderated low-volume announcement-only list and one unmoderated discussion list. Relationships between Social Movement Actors Piotr Sztompka (1999, pp. 13-14) argues that we increasingly live in a society with anonymous others "on whose actions our existence and well-being depend." Public e-mail lists add to this by connecting us with many potentially anonymous subscribers. Frequently, internet users know few if any of their online discussants beyond their e-mail exchanges. To bridge such an "anonymous gap", Sztompka (1999, p. 14) writes, we have to resort to trust. Ryan (2003) studied the process to accept new members into the Computer-Mediated Social Action Network (CMSAN), a group with closed membership that "provides information and communication resources" to activists. She found that CMSAN members based their decision to accept and initially trust new members on "reputation, particularly for group applicants" and 23 that individual applicants relied on "third party endorsement by a known and trusted colleague" (Ryan, 2003, p. 14). However, many online fora, such as e-mail lists created to mobilize large numbers of participants, do not have closed memberships to avoid deterring potential recruits. Unless all list subscribers are required to disclose information about themselves—which may again discourage internet users from joining—it becomes infeasible to establish trust between all subscribers. Furthermore, developing trust may be difficult through a medium such as the internet that allows for easy surveillance. The threat of surveillance may prevent internet users from participating online or even seeking out online information. When using e-mail lists, options in avoiding surveillance are somewhat limited. Encryption is only adequate if all subscribers know and trust one another. The larger the group, the less safe encryption becomes. Posting anonymous e-mails may be suitable on some occasions, but if it becomes the rule it can change the dynamics of the online interactions. Ellen Balka (1993), in a study of four computer networks used to discuss feminism or facilitate feminist organizing, has shown that allowing users to post anonymous messages resulted in antagonistic behaviour. Posting messages anonymously may also reduce the affiliation subscribers feel towards senders of messages or affect how much subscribers trust messages. Pre-existing networks, through which participants developed trust, can therefore be critical for online interactions. They can also be important for bringing supporters of a cause together online. During a campaign to oppose a law prohibiting the practice of direct entry midwifery in Ohio in 1995, contacts with potential supporters were made through a list of over 1,000 e-mail addresses of then current and former clients of a local midwifery groups (Thomas and Young, 24 1997, p. 20). Furthermore, midwives contacted their own clients. Thomas and Young state that these latter contacts "were particularly effective since the relationships that developed between midwives and clients was built on trust, mutual respect and caring" (1997, p. 20). Internet use can, however, also facilitate the formation of networks. Li (1990, p. 133) found that computer-mediated communication helped transform Chinese students, living on campuses in the United States, "from a grouping to a nationally functional group" in several steps. To begin with, the newsgroup they used provided the students with a medium through which they could interact regularly. It allowed more than 100 local student organizations to establish contacts, to make a decision to establish a national organization, to formulate their common objectives, and to coordinate their actions, such as demonstrations and lobbying campaigns (Li, 1990, p. 133). Many decisions of the national committee were made through the electronic media and "[a]s a result, the local groups considered these decisions their own and took many initiatives in carrying them out" (Li, 1990, p. 134). Before the newsgroup existed, the local student groups "seldom interacted with each other as a whole group, nor did they engage in collective actions aiming at a common goal" (Li, 1990, p. 133). The effects of networking can go beyond the exchange of information and pooled organizing efforts. In his study on perceptions of users of computer-mediated communication (CMC) among non-government organizations in Latin America, Ricardo Gomez (1997) found that networking with others can "provide inspiration and ideas, and a feeling of community with partners in other countries that would not be possible without CMC." 25 However, while users interviewed by Gomez (1997) perceived that internet use enhanced the networking of organizations with common interests, especially across country borders, he found "little evidence of a new understanding of global issues, or of increased communication and relationships with people and organizations working in different areas of intervention." Ricardo Gomez (2000, pp. 76-77) also pointed out that a search for like-minded groups through the internet can hold the danger of "strengthening local factionalism [...] and demobilizing the community from pursuing other priority activities." Internet use may also prevent individuals from working with local groups or from forming continuous ties with other activists. Elin (2003) documents how Zeke Spier (his real name) became mobilized, in part through the internet, to attend large-scale protests in a number of cities in the U.S. What remains unclear is whether Zeke Spier would have, had he not used the internet, instead committed the time he spent protesting in those cities to activist groups in the city he resided in. Moreover, he is quoted as saying, with regards to one of the later protests he attended in Philadelphia, that "if it [was]n't for the internet, [he did]n't know how [he] would have found anybody" upon his arrival in Philadelphia. The question, whether without the internet he would have stayed in contact with activists he met at previous protests via phone, fax, or mail to become informed about future events, was not raised. Contradicting negative findings that internet use results in networking of like-minded groups only, the case of the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico, shows that internet use can help rally support from groups with differing agendas. Froehling (1997) asserts that the internet helped make the Zapatistas' struggle more visible, and helped gain support from outside of the area of struggle from such different groups as churches, human rights groups, and leftist political 26 groups (Froehling, 1997, pp. 301-302). Lee Salter (2003, p. 134) asserts that this support by diverse groups is due to the Zapatistas "incorporating a very wide range of interests, and thus interest, into their movement." Feelings of Mutual Identification and Solidarity Sherry Turkle, in a study on chat room uses, demonstrates how internet use can assist people to become comfortable with new ways of thinking about politics and identity (Turkle, 1995, p. 26). If group organizers post educational information, internet users can change their perspectives about issues and about the groups themselves, their views, aims and tactics. This change of perspective may then prompt them to develop feelings of mutual identification and solidarity and to become involved in a movement. Wittig and Schmitz (1996) showed successful occurrences of changing the perspectives of internet users in their study of the Public Electronic Network in Santa Monica in which participants—including some homeless people who accessed the network through terminals at public locations—discussed homelessness, organized and successfully lobbied for homeless services. While participants also held face-to-face meetings, "users reported that their perceptions regarding a (homeless) outgroup had been positively altered" through the electronic network (Wittig and Schmitz, 1996, p. 53). To what extent perceptions can be changed through online texts alone is unclear. The effect of multiple channels used for mobilization is demonstrated in Elin's (2003) documentation of "the radicalization of Zeke Spier". Zeke Spier's commitment to social justice issues increased over time as he learned about injustices through friends, high school and university classes, the internet and face-to-face activist meetings (Elin, 2003, pp. 100-101). Zeke Spier became further radicalized when he witnessed police brutality at protests he attended (pp. 203 & 104). 27 While the internet can thus help politicize users, it is unclear under what circumstances a group can develop feelings of mutual identification and solidarity or a collective identity online. The above-mentioned online antagonisms and the likelihood of a lack of trust between internet users may make this difficult. While the Chinese students mentioned above (Li, 1990) developed their common objectives online, it is unclear to what extent they shared these objectives prior to their online negotiations and how difficult their online negotiations were. Once they had developed common objectives, and set up a national committee, they used the electronic network to coordinate, organize and report on public activities. For example, reports about visits of Chinese Consuls to schools, and strategies for how to manage them, aided groups at other schools prepare for these visits (Li, 1990, p. 128). Thomas and Young also showed in their case study of a campaign of midwifery groups that, once a group has a shared identity, strategic planning through the internet can be quite effective. In this case, midwifery groups used the internet to report on meetings of a legislative council and "to plan and discuss strategies and tactics" (1997, p. 8). Also through e-mail, a coalition made up of representatives of midwifery organizations selected presenters for a meeting of the legislative council and helped the midwife on this council "focus on what issues might be asked of her by other council members and.. .created and crafted questions for her to ask them in response" (Thomas and Young, 1997, p. 16). 28 Access to Resources To discuss how effective internet use can be for the securing of resources such as money, materials, and the time and skills people provide to social movements, it is crucial to consider who can be reached through the internet. Internet access varies depending on social location, such as gender, race, class, education, age (Alecia Wolf, 1998) and ability. Money, public computers, training of computer skills, and time is most available to young, middle to upper class, educated, able-bodied, white men. Internet access is therefore particularly limited to those who already face barriers to joining social movements. This includes women who work double-shifts (Gillian Creese and Brenda Beagan, 1999, p. 207), poor people who have less access to resources, or people with disabilities who face limited physical access to offline activism. Internet use may therefore mainly further the mobilization of those who already have fewer entry barriers into activism. Differential access can also influence who becomes more informed within groups, thus creating or reinforcing information elites. While many lack physical access to the internet, still others lack the knowledge or confidence to use computers or internet tools. They may feel that they do not have enough linguistic skills or they may simply lack (computer) literacy. Also, the time users spend online may give them a sense of achievement so that they may then feel that it is unnecessary for them to become further involved with activist groups offline. To reduce some of the access costs, various initiatives have been undertaken formally and informally within activist communities. Information retrieved through the internet is passed on 29 to activists without online access. In Indonesia, for example, prior to the collapse of President Suharto's regime in 1998, internet users printed copies of text from a banned magazine and text provided by dissenters that had gone online and then disseminated these materials to acquaintances and sold them for low prices on streets and campuses (Tedjabaya, 1999). In addition, public computer labs are established, and workshops about how to use computers and the internet take place (see Friedland, 1996, on NCex Change above for an example). As for individuals, the internet is more accessible to movement organizations that already have more access to other resources. To broaden social movement organizations' access to the internet, activists put information online about groups that do not have direct access themselves. A case in point is the Zapatistas about whom the majority of information on the internet emanated from the U.S., followed by Italy and Mexico (Froehling, 1997, p. 301). While only a limited part of any population can be reached via the internet, it has been shown that, through the internet, groups can reach people that might not be reached otherwise. Bimber (1998, p. 398) demonstrated in a survey on internet-based mobilization during the 1996 U.S. election season, that mobilizers were able to reach some people who otherwise were not contacted by phone, mail, or in person. It is crucial to examine how many internet users that groups reach participate in online and offline movement activities. Balka (1993, p. 12) finds that in one group she examined only 114 of 639 subscribers participated in the online discussions. As shown above, online discussion fora often are not really open for everybody to participate. Whether such low participation is typical, however, needs to be examined. 30 Many social movement organizations use the internet to encourage user participation. Thomas and Young (1997, p. 17), for example, found attempts to reinforce participation through follow-up online messages that report on and emphasize the positive effects participants' actions had. A report on a website indicated the importance of the internet for the campaign by midwifery groups: The bill was stuck in committee. Thanks to the e-mail, FAX, and phone calls from you all, Senator Maddy was persuaded to vote for the bill, and Senator Mello was persuaded to abstain, and the bill went to the Senate floor. (www.fensende.com/users/swnymph/midwife/sb255.html) Groups can be quite inventive in their attempts to facilitate internet users' participation. This is demonstrated in Sagi Leizerov's (2000) analysis of a website's content set up by privacy advocacy groups to pressure Intel into removing a certain feature of a computer processor they launched in 1999 that compromised users' privacy. The website included flyers and other graphics that could easily be copied, and ready-made letters addressed to CEOs, that only needed to be printed, signed, folded along dotted lines, and posted. It also included encouragements for additional actions. The groups suggested including a line of text in e-mail signatures about Intel's misuse of power, writing letters to leading PC makers (with suggestions about what to write), contacting Intel's founder via e-mail, and learning more about future consequences of the contested feature of Intel's processor. How many internet users participated in this campaign or how many responded to the specific framing effort by the midwifery coalition cited above is, however, unclear. 31 Overall, however, Thomas and Young (1997) found that internet use resulted in a reduction of barriers to participation in the midwifery groups' campaign. This includes the fact that the websites facilitated participation without physical contact with other participants. Similarly, use of e-mail lists may facilitate participation by internet users that are unable or are initially not comfortable to attend offline group activities. In the latter case, ideally, the internet may provide a new entry point into activism. While internet use might facilitate online participation, this is problematic if it results in less commitment toward participation in a campaign. In the case of the midwifery coalition, however, actions involving physical contact did result from internet use as well. For example, to show consumer support of direct entry midwives, 300 people came to a meeting of a legislative study council that was set up to consider the issues at stake. The supporters attended after an initial call to attend via e-mail, followed up by mobilization efforts through the regional coordinators of the Ohio Friends of Midwives and a reminder via a phone tree (Thomas and Young, 1997, p. 18). Another example of physical contact as a result of Internet use are the intercontinental meetings in 1996 in Chiapas, Mexico, and 1997 in Spain. These meetings were called by the Zapatistas to discuss, among other things, neoliberal policies and alternatives to such policies. The meetings were organized through extensive e-mail and a small number of face-to-face meetings. The intercontinental meetings were attended by 3,000 people in 1996 and 4,000 people in 1997 with activists from over forty countries and five continents. Harry Cleaver (1998a, p. 630) argues that without the internet such turnouts would not have been possible. 32 Beckles (2001, p. 320) also reports how participants might not have attended a conference if it weren't for the internet: [T]he AFN [Afrikan Frontline Network] worked with the Ad Hoc Coalition Against Racism to organize a conference in Philadelphia [for] June 1997. [...] The conference had nationwide participants—Black Panther Collective-New York, Anti-Racist Action-Michigan, Free the Move 9-Philadelphia, National Committee to Free Puerto Rican Prisoners of War and Political Prisoners-New York, and Justice for Johnny Gamage Committee-Pittsburgh. All of those listed were members of the Black Power mailing list and reported that if not for the AFN organizing the conference via the Internet, it was unlikely that they would have attended. Whether these groups would have been contacted through other communication channels had they not been on the Black Power e-mail list and whether this could have provided them with as much information as the list may have and prompted their attendance is unclear. Furthermore, through the internet, activists spread information about the Zapatistas' struggle in Chiapas and about support actions for the Zapatistas that otherwise might have remained unknown. Learning how frequent and widespread such actions were, "encouraged local militants who could see their own efforts as part of a larger movement." (Cleaver, 1998, p. 86). 33 Conclusion The above discussion points to the importance of several of the concepts of social movement theories for analyses of social movement actors' use of the internet. This includes the concepts of resources, framing, collective identity and social location. We saw that social location influences who has access to the internet and whose mobilization may be hindered through offensive posts to online fora. To reduce online hostilities social movement actors would need to take advantage of the asynchronicity of the e-mail medium and attempt to reduce user anonymity. Therefore, while the internet provides a new resource to social movements, activists also have to commit resources, such as their time, to ensure internet use is conducive to successful mobilization. They also need to create and further initiatives to reduce access costs. While it is unclear how many internet users responded to movements' online framing efforts, the reviewed cases show that online information can help change users' perspectives. It remains to be shown, though, whether this can occur through internet use alone. The case of Zeke Spier (Elin, 2003) and users of the Public Electronic Network in Santa Monica (Wittig and Schmitz, 1996) show that offline experiences contributed to their change in perspectives. User anonymity and the resulting lack of trust suggest that it may be difficult to develop collective identities online. Indeed, it is unclear under what circumstances a group can develop a collective identity online. This points to the importance of offline meetings and pre-existing networks. 34 Offline meetings of internet users could lessen the degree of anonymity between online discussants. This could also help establish trust between participants. In addition, as the case of CMSAN (Ryan, 2003, p. 14) shows, pre-existing networks can help establish trust. We also saw in case of the midwifery campaign (Thomas and Young, 1997, p. 20) that pre-existing networks can help mobilize supporters. The case of the Zapatistas points to the importance of using inclusive frames to mobilize large numbers of supporters. While the reviewed studies show that internet use can facilitate networking of groups and result in online and offline support actions, Balka's (1993) study shows that the majority of subscribers to a bulletin board did not post any messages. How many internet users accessed online information in other cases without ever becoming active is unclear. I will return to these points in my final chapter where I draw conclusions from the findings of my case studies. 35 Chapter 3: Methods I begin this chapter by introducing the two cases under study and by explaining how they are comparable. Following that I discuss issues of privacy I faced studying social movements and explain my interest in this study. I then turn to the data I used: messages from two public e-mail lists, websites and printed materials of groups who used these e-mail lists, list subscribers' responses to questionnaires, and interviews conducted with subscribers to these lists. I describe processes of data collection and provide an overview of the data I collected. I also describe and provide a rationale for the methods I used to analyze these data. The basis for the analysis is my main research question: whether use of the e-mail lists by activist groups furthered or hindered the mobilization of list subscribers, and what role the e-mail lists played in fostering subscribers' involvement with social activist groups. Two Case Studies I examined use of two public e-mail lists. One is the APEC-Alert public list, set up by the group APEC-Alert to mobilize against the holding of the 1997 APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting (AELM) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, BC. I explain in the next section how I had been involved in APEC-Alert prior to my study and how observations during this time prompted me to begin this study in 1998.1 subsequently looked for a second e-mail list so that I could compare organizers' uses of these lists. I also wanted to compare how list messages and social location, such as gender, friendship networks, and levels of offline group involvement, affected subscribers' online and offline involvement. 36 I was looking for a list that, like the APEC-Alert list, was set up to facilitate large-scale anti-globalization protests. This would allow me to compare how group organizers used the lists to rally support for very similar issues. I also hoped to find an e-mail list that, unlike the APEC-Alert list, was not set up and predominantly used by one group, so that I could examine how the number of groups using a list affects mobilization of subscribers. I chose the EU+WWG list. (EU stands for European Union and WWG stands for Weltwirtschaftsgipfel, which is literally translated as "World Economic Summit". WWG refers to the G7/G8 summit.) The EU+WWG list was established by a group located in Cologne, Germany. This and many other groups from Cologne and elsewhere organized activities protesting two meetings of heads of states scheduled to take place in Cologne in June 1999: a European Union summit and a summit of the G7/G8. EU+WWG list subscribers lived in various cities throughout Germany and neighbouring countries. This allowed me to examine many out-of-town EU+WWG subscribers' list use for their involvement in EU+WWG activities. While most APEC-Alert list subscribers lived in Vancouver, some lived outside of Vancouver. This enabled me to compare their list uses to those of out-of-town EU+WWG list subscribers. APEC-Alert and many groups that used the EU+WWG list also maintained group-internal or group organizers' e-mail lists. While I have the list messages that were sent through the APEC-Alert organizers' list, I do not have messages from EU+WWG group-internal lists. I did, however, ask interview participants about such lists so that I could discuss their uses and compare them to uses of the public lists and face-to-face situations. 37 Many subscribers from the APEC-Alert list volunteered for interviews. Consequently, I was able to interview a cross-section of APEC-Alert list subscribers and could examine in-depth how use of the APEC-Alert list affected their involvement in online and offline group activities. While lacking a cross-section of EU+WWG list subscribers due to reasons explained further below, I compared experiences of interview participants from the APEC-Alert list to those from the EU+WWG list whenever possible. This includes experiences of group organizers and female, out-of-town, and less involved subscribers. Before describing processes of data collection and analysis, I discuss issues of privacy I faced studying social movements and explain my interest in this study. Studying Social Movements Studying social movements brings with it the issue of privacy. As a researcher I have the obligation to ensure that my study does not result in any negative consequences for list subscribers and respondents who participated in interviews and completed questionnaires. Consequently, I do not use the real names of any of those involved nor do I mention where they live or work or which activist group they worked with if that reveals their identity. I am keeping the gathered data in safe spaces only accessible to myself and upon completing publications I will destroy the data. The names of interview participants were coded at the time of transcription. I also coded names of subscribers who responded to my questionnaires and senders of the messages that went through the APEC-Alert and EU+WWG e-mail lists. 38 I want to be candid that as a social activist myself, I am not detached from the issues under study. In fact, I became interested in this study due to my own involvement in one of the groups studied. In January 1997,1 was one of the founding members of APEC-Alert, a group started to oppose both the holding of that years' AELM and the APEC agenda itself. Throughout the existence of the group, I was one of the three people who maintained the group's public e-mail list and dealt with the messages the group received through its e-mail account. I stayed heavily involved with APEC-Alert and in related actions until shortly after the AELM. During this time period, I started to wonder what the effects of internet use are for a group, not only for mobilizing non-members to get involved, but also internally, for motivating members of the group to become more active participants. To me this became a crucial question as from its inception in March 1997 until November that year, APEC-Alert's public e-mail list had a total of over 400 subscribers. Yet, up until the week prior to the AELM in late November 1997, the number of attendees at group actions only ranged from a few to about forty. Once I began my research in 1998, APEC-Alert as such did not exist any more nor was I at the time involved in any of the groups that formed after the AELM. My relationship to the EU+WWG list was different. Other than messages about my research and my questionnaires, I did not post any messages to the EU+WWG list nor was I involved in any of the groups using the EU+WWG list. Not being active in those groups while doing my research allowed to me to maintain a distance from the groups' activities and to reflect on the uses of the e-mail list. In an attempt to get an overview of groups organizing for Cologne, I attended, in the summer of 1999, some protest activities concerning the EU and G7/G8 summits. As numerous groups 39 were involved, I also asked interview participants to provide me with further information about the different organizing coalitions and groups. With regards to APEC-Alert, it was crucial for me to stand back from my experiences with this group. APEC-Alert went through conflicts regarding gender dynamics and informal hierarchies. As a female organizer I needed to step back from these issues as much as possible. Two years had passed between my involvement in APEC-Alert and the beginning of my study. I felt fairly detached from the problems encountered in APEC-Alert and viewed it as a learning experience. To further minimize effects of my previous involvement I attempted to apply systematic guidelines to my data collection and analysis as explained below. Still, my previous involvement in APEC-Alert had benefits that facilitated my access to data. I had saved most of the messages that were sent through the APEC-Alert e-mail list and more APEC-Alert than EU+WWG list subscribers volunteered to take part in my study (see below). Furthermore, my background in social activism enables me to relay the results of this study to social activists who I hope find them useful to evaluate and improve their use of e-mail lists. Data Collection and Analysis In the following sections, I describe how I collected and analyzed messages posted to the two e-mail lists under study as well as the printed materials and websites of involved social movement actors. I explain how I designed questionnaires and solicited responses and how I designed and conducted interviews. I also describe the responses I received and how I analyzed them. 40 Collecting the E-mail List Messages While I was subscribed to the public and the organizers' APEC-Alert e-mail lists, I saved most of the messages that went through them. Once I decided to undertake this study, I approached four other APEC-Alert organizers, who also had saved most messages that went through these lists, and asked whether they could share the messages with me so I could use them for my research. Having developed mutual trust during our organizing efforts, these organizers sent me all the messages they had. I believe that by combining these messages I have close to all messages—a total of 381—that went through the list in nine months, from its inception in March 1997 to November 24, 1997, the day before the AELM. One indicator for this is that there was significant overlap of e-mail messages in the files I received from other organizers and my own files. For the time period after the AELM, I have most of the messages posted in December and January, but fewer messages for the months thereafter. While this does not allow for a detailed analysis of post-AELM messages, it enables me to compare list use prior to and after the AELM. With the exception of messages sent between January 23-31, 1999, when I lost some of my electronic files, I have all the messages that went through the EU+WWG list from the day I subscribed to the list on October 17, 1998, until I stopped receiving messages on October 24, 1999, about four months after the EU and G7/G8 summits.3 Of these 1001 messages, 734 were 3 Shortly thereafter, I tried to re-subscribe to the list to confirm that it had really ceased to exist or whether, due to some technical problem, I had been removed from the list of subscribers (I suspected this because this had occasionally happened to subscribers of the APEC-Alert list). Since I still did not receive any messages, I assumed the list was discontinued but later came across it again in late November 2003.1 have since received a total of six messages with social justice issue information and announcements of protest activities. 41 sent between October 17 and June 18h, 1999, the day before the last large mobilization against the summits in Cologne. The EU+WWG list was set up in the late summer of 1998. To make up for not having messages of the first few months, I asked some interview participants about the content of the messages sent through the list prior to my subscription. Analyzing the E-mail List Messages To examine how the e-mail lists were used for consensus mobilization (to rally support for groups' views, goals and tactics), list messages were coded as to whether they address APEC, the EU or the G7/G8, globalization in general and other globalization mechanisms such as the WTO, and other social justice issues. They were also coded as to whether they laid out group views and aims or explained group tactics. Using these codes I derived statistics about list messages including how many messages educated about APEC, the EU, G7/G8, globalization and other social justice issues, or explained groups' views, goals, and tactics. I also considered the lengths of such messages in my analysis. I then undertook the following steps to examine how effective the lists were used for action mobilization (whether list use prompted subscribers to become active online and offline). As a first step, I calculated the total and percentage of messages sent by each subscriber who contributed to the lists. Then I coded messages regarding senders' gender. This was done based on senders' names and information provided by senders in their e-mails. The reason why I think this an appropriate method is that everybody I came to know who was involved in APEC-Alert used their real name to subscribe to the APEC-Alert list. Due to my personal involvement 42 in APEC-Alert, I was also able to code APEC-Alert list messages based on senders' offline group involvement. These codes enabled me to provide the total and percentage of messages sent by women and men and, in the case of APEC-Alert, by subscribers with differing degrees of involvement. Based on the outcomes of interviews with subscribers (see below), I also conducted an in-depth analysis of threads of messages (i.e. sequences of messages in which the senders address a specific issue, generally by replying to each other's messages) on each of the e-mail lists. I examined these messages to discuss who communicated with whom and in what manner. In addition, I examined e-mails as to whether they included announcements of group activities and information telling subscribers how they can become active. The results from this examination were then used for the discussion on whether list use contributed to subscribers' offline participation in organizing groups. Collecting the Groups' Websites and Printed Materials I saved APEC-Alert's website at the time I decided to undertake my study. While some materials had been added to this site after the AELM, the parts it included prior to the AELM were still available on the site, and due to my previous involvement in APEC-Alert I knew which parts these were. When I was subscribed to the EU+WWG list, I saved websites of groups that used the EU+WWG list. I found out about these through posts to the list and through searches on the web. 43 During my involvement in APEC-Alert, I kept copies of most printed materials and during my stay in Cologne in the summer of 1999 I collected many printed materials. I also obtained a post-summit publication, Der Kolner Reader, in which members from several organizing groups wrote articles to evaluate the protest activities in Cologne. Analyzing the Groups' Websites and Printed Materials While I did not analyze websites and printed materials in-depth, I provide general descriptions of the information groups provided and indicate how interview participants used them and how useful they perceived them to be. Designing and Sending the Questionnaires As a first step to reach participants of both e-mail lists I sent via e-mail a questionnaire with quantitative, mostly multiple-choice questions. The purpose of the questionnaire was to find out over which time periods participants were subscribed to the lists, what their behaviour on the lists was (such as how many and what kind of messages they read and posted), to what extent they were available to engage in activism and involved in groups, their demographic information such as age, gender and place of residence, and whether they would agree to an interview. (See appendices A and B for these questionnaires.) In the case of the EU+WWG e-mail list, I sent the questionnaire through the list in German and in English4 on June 22, after both the EU and G7/G8 summits were over. While I did not reach 4 As some of the messages on the EU+WWG list were in languages other than German (mostly English, some in Spanish, Italian, French, Dutch, and Scandinavian Languages) and since some groups that organized against the EU and G7/G8 summits were located outside of Germany, I sent an English translation of my (German) question naire to this list. Nearly all responses, however, were in German, and all interview participants spoke German 44 people who at some point over the previous year were temporarily subscribed to the EU+WWG list, those I did reach were still using the list and seemed to remember their behaviour on the list fairly well. Ten days after my initial message, on July 2,1 posted a follow-up e-mail to the list, asking subscribers again to participate in the study. As this was followed by a discussion about my study that lasted until July 14,1 did not send out any further reminders. EU+WWG list subscribers were asked to send the completed questionnaire back via electronic or postal mail. They could also request a printed questionnaire with a stamped return envelope. In addition, I sent out instructions on how to send questionnaires back via anonymous e-mail and provided subscribers with a means to encrypt their response before e-mailing it back to me. (One subscriber suggested publicly that I provide these two options, after some subscribers expressed concerns about their privacy.) I sent the questionnaire to the APEC-Alert e-mail list in the fall of 1999. In this questionnaire, and in the ensuing interviews, I questioned subscribers about their use of the group's lists in 1997. This lapse of time may have made it difficult for participants to remember their use of the lists. It may also have made it difficult to reach APEC-Alert list subscribers. Fortunately, I had most subscribers' names and e-mail addresses so that I could still reach many of them. On October 22, 1999,1 sent APEC-Alert list subscribers personal e-mails with a questionnaire that differed slightly from the one sent to the EU+WWG e-mail list to take into account differences in the lists' uses and the contexts they were used in. I also moved questions regarding subscribers' demographics to the end of the questionnaire since I feared that their fluently. As the majority of the messages that went through the EU+WWG list were in German, it is probably likely that all subscribers spoke or at least could read German. 45 positioning at the beginning of the questionnaire to the EU+WWG list may in part have been responsible for the low response rate on that list.5 (I discuss further reasons for the low response rate on the EU+WWG list below). APEC-Alert list subscribers who did not return the questionnaire after my first mail-out, received a personal reminder on November 16, and then again on December 10, 1999.1 sent each of these reminders after completed questionnaires stopped trickling into my mailbox. While some subscribers complained about the duplicate messages, I would have received considerably fewer answers had I not asked people a second and third time to fill out the questionnaire. To return the completed questionnaire, I provided APEC-Alert list subscribers the same options as EU+WWG list subscribers. Responses to My Questionnaires The questionnaire for the APEC-Alert e-mail list was sent to 407 e-mail addresses including one e-mail list that had been subscribed to the APEC-Alert list. Not all of these subscribers were on the APEC-Alert e-mail list at the same time. The maximum number of subscribers at one point in time was about 300.1 knew that most of the 407 e-mail addresses were subscribed to the APEC-Alert list prior to the AELM. For a few I was not sure of their time of subscription. It turned out that 128 of these e-mail addresses no longer existed. So the questionnaire effectively went to 279 subscribers. After my initial message, 42 participants returned the questionnaire and 7 indicated that they could not participate in this study. After sending the first reminder to 231 subscribers, I received 24 completed questionnaires and 6 people indicated that they could not participate in the study. After my second reminder to 202 subscribers, another 19 people returned the questionnaire. Of these, 4 indicated they could not participate and 5 more e-mail addresses had ceased to exist. Thus, a total of 85 (out of 274 valid 5 While the order of questions was not the only reason for EU+WWG subscribers to not participate in the study, some subscribers complained about these questions or did not respond to them. 46 e-mail addresses), or roughly6 31% of list subscribers returned the questionnaire. Five of these questionnaires were returned by regular mail, and one through an e-mail account with an alias name (with which the person had been subscribed to the list). Of the 407 subscribers to the public APEC-Alert list, 16 (and myself) had been subscribed to the APEC-Alert organizers' list prior to the AELM. When I sent out my questionnaire, the e-mail addresses of 7 of these had ceased to exist and 5 of the remaining 9 returned completed questionnaires to me. When I posted my questionnaire to the EU+WWG I reached 200-3007 subscribers. Of these, 13 subscribers returned the questionnaire after my initial message. After a reminder message, a discussion on the gathering of data from activists ensued. Throughout and after this discussion I received 16 additional completed questionnaires. Thus, a total of 29 of between 200 and 300 list subscribers returned the questionnaire. Five study participants returned the questionnaire via postal mail, one encrypted his response with the method I had provided, and one subscriber returned it via anonymous e-mail. Table 1 provides an overview of how many completed questionnaires I received from subscribers on the APEC-Alert and EU+WWG list. 6 "Roughly" because one of the subscribed e-mail addresses was itself an e-mail list. I am not sure how many of the people who were subscribed to this list, when I sent the questionnaire, had been subscribed to the APEC-Alert e-mail list in 1997.1 did receive two completed questionnaires from this list. 7 The exact number of list subscribers is not known to me. The list maintainer informed me that 450 e-mail addresses were subscribed to the list over time. Of these 350 were subscribed over a longer time period. He also provided me with some specific numbers around the dates I sent out the questionnaires: 291 addresses were subscribed to the list on June 16, 232 on July 5, and 204 on July 21. 47 Table 1: Number and Percentage of List Subscribers Who Completed the Questionnaires Total no. of subscribers over time No. of subscribers questionnaires were sent to No. of subscribers who returned questionnaires % of solicited subscribers who returned questionnaires APEC-Alert public list 407 275 85 30.9% Of these were on the APEC-Alert organizers' e-mail list 17 17 5 29.4% EU+WWG list 450 200-300 29 9.7-14.5% Table 1 shows that I received a significantly lower response rate on the EU+WWG than on the APEC-Alert list. EU+WWG list subscribers expressed, in a discussion that ensued on the list after I posted my questionnaire for the second time, why they did not take part in my study. They felt that the e-mail list was monitored and questioned who would be able to get hold of the data I was gathering. Some also expressed distrust towards me as an outsider of their communities. Several interview participants felt that subscribers' responses to my study was characteristic of how German activists react to the threat of surveillance. At least some of the groups that organized for Cologne, such as refugee and (im)migrant groups, were probably likely to come under stronger surveillance than the student group APEC-Alert. One reason for a higher response rate from APEC-Alert list subscribers is that many of them knew me personally, through working together in the group or by name from the messages I sent to the e-mail list. With many of them I developed mutual trust during my involvement in APEC-Alert. 48 Only one respondent from the APEC-Alert list did not answer any questions regarding demographic information. She included a note in her response indicating that she was rather upset that I asked such questions as a social activist. An explanation in the questionnaire for why I asked for personal data would have probably been useful, but may not have reduced the concerns my study caused for some subscribers on the EU+WWG list. Analysis of Questionnaire Responses I used the data obtained through the questionnaires to discuss the demographics of those who mobilizers reached through the APEC-Alert and EU+WWG lists. I also discuss how many and what type of list messages subscribers read, explore whether differences in online and offline behaviour reflect subscribers' social location, and examine whether subscribers' degrees of online involvement reflect their offline involvement. Designing the Interviews The interviews were designed to be open-ended but focused on a particular line of inquiry as indicated below. The major task of open-ended questions, as Irving Seidman (1998) points out, "is to build upon and explore [the] participants' responses to those questions. The goal is to have the participant reconstruct his or her experience with the topic under study." I designed interview questions beforehand, but did not stick to them rigidly. I often asked follow-up questions, changed the order of questions depending on the responses and, of course, if a question was already answered in responses to other questions, I did not restate that question. I asked questions in the following areas (see appendix C and D for the prepared interview questions): participants' expectations, their degrees and lengths of online and offline involve-49 ment, consensus and action mobilization, collective identity, the contexts within which the lists were used, the relationship of online and offline activities, uses of other online spaces including e-mail lists and the web, and experiences with other activist groups, whether these use e-mail lists or not. The interview schedule was pre-tested with one APEC-Alert participant who I knew would be unavailable during the time I would conduct interviews with APEC-Alert list subscribers. Soliciting Interviews To find out who would be available for interviews, I asked list subscribers at the end of the questionnaires whether they would agree to an interview with further questions about their experience with the e-mail lists and group activities concerning the summits. I pointed out that their participation was entirely voluntary, and that they could refuse to participate or withdraw from the study at any time without any negative repercussions. I indicated that the interview would take approximately ninety minutes. The multiple-choice answers I provided for this question were "yes," "maybe; I would like to ask some questions, prior to deciding" and "no." If respondents said "yes" or "maybe, " I asked them for a name and phone number so that I could call them to arrange a time and location for the interview and to respond to any questions they had about the interviews and the study as a whole. Most study participants that I called who had initially said "maybe" did agree to an interview, though some from the APEC-Alert list did not return my calls. 50 Of the 85 respondents from the APEC-Alert e-mail list, 39 responded "yes," 11 said "maybe," and 35 said "no." Of the 29 respondents from the EU+WWG list, 11 responded "yes," 4 "maybe," and 14 said "no." Due to a large number of APEC-Alert subscribers volunteering for interviews, I was able to select interview participants from a wide range of social locations, such as extent of group involvement, ethnicity, and gender. For the EU+WWG-list, I interviewed everybody who volunteered to take part in the study. As a result of this self-selection, EU+WWG interviewees were mostly people actively involved in organizing groups or who otherwise had experiences organizing with groups. Conducting the Interviews I conducted interviews with subscribers to the APEC-Alert and the EU+WWG list. When I met interview participants, I first presented them with a consent form in English or German. We began the interview after they signed it. I did not encounter any language barriers during the interviews as I speak both German and English fluently. The length of interviews ranged from approximately 60 to 120 minutes. From the APEC-Alert list I interviewed 12 female and 12 male subscribers of varying levels of online and offline involvement. Their ages ranged from 20 to 36. (While eight subscribers between the age of 37 and 60 completed my questionnaire, I could not interview them as they either did not agree to an interview in their questionnaire response or were not available for an interview when I tried to contact them.) 51 From the EU+WWG list, 2 female and 13 male subscribers volunteered for interviews. Of these, only one did not attend any events, three attended but did not get involved in organizing groups (although one of these attended as a speaker) and eleven were involved in organizing groups to different degrees. I interviewed all 15 as well as one person from the group in Cologne who set up the EU+WWG list. The interview with the latter was about the e-mail list (its setup, maintenance, and posting behavior of the group that set up the list) rather than about the interview participant's personal use of the list. I therefore do not include this interview participant in the breakdown with regards to social location. The age of the 15 interview participants from the EU+WWG list ranges from 21 to 62. Analysis of Interviews The interviews served to clarify the meaning people made of their experiences with the e-mail lists and to show how these experiences compared to experiences in face-to-face situations. They also served to explain list subscribers' reasons for online behaviours and to explore what roles the examined e-mail lists played for participants regarding their (non-)involvement in the online and offline activities of organizing groups. I organized and coded interview passages into categories to then study for thematic connections that help explain subscribers' degree of involvement in online and offline activities. Tools Employed to Facilitate Analysis To facilitate my analysis, I used the programs SPSS and QSR NUD*IST. SPSS is a program that allows me to easily assess the quantitative data received through the questionnaires as well as quantitative data about the e-mail lists. QSR NUD*IST is a program designed to assist 52 researchers in handling qualitative data by supporting coding, searching and theorizing processes. These programs helped me to automate some of the analysis described above and enabled me to keep my data well organized. In the next chapter, I introduce in-depth the studied e-mail lists and groups and discuss how list use was affected by and affected access to online and offline group information. 53 Chapter 4: The Activist Groups and Their E-mail Lists For the purpose of this thesis, I chose two e-mail lists, both of which were used to organize opposition and create alternatives to the globalization agenda pursued and represented by meetings of heads of states. One is the APEC-Alert e-mail list established to oppose an APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, in 1997. The other is the EU+WWG e-mail list set up to facilitate organizing events concerning an EU and a G7/G8 summit in Cologne, Germany in 1999. In this chapter, I introduce these trade fora and summits, the activist groups that organized events concerning the summits, and the above-named e-mail lists, and relay what other means of communication organizing groups used. I will discuss the following issues concerning access to the e-mail lists and to offline group information. In order for the use of e-mail lists to contribute to mobilization, people needed to know that the lists existed. I therefore discuss how the lists were publicized and how interview participants first learned of them. I also examine whom the mobilizers reached with the e-mail lists and whether list use reduced use of other means of communication and thus hindered mobilization of non-list subscribers. In the final section of this chapter, I take a comparative look at the APEC-Alert and EU+WWG e-mail lists. I describe differences and similarities in list use and indicate how these list uses affected mobilization of list subscribers, referring the reader to a more detailed analysis in the following chapters. 54 Activism around the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in 1997 The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) at this time was a grouping of 18 economies: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United States of America. APEC aims to establish a "free trade" zone, or to reduce barriers to the movement of capital, goods and services, between its member countries. This group holds annual meetings of its heads of states referred to as the APEC Economic Leaders' Meetings. In 1997, the annual meeting took place in Vancouver, Canada, at the University of British Columbia (UBC). The following information about the groups organizing against this summit and about e-mail lists set up to facilitate mobilization is taken from the e-mail lists, interviews I conducted with e-mail list subscribers, informational materials I gathered in 1997, and from my own knowledge as an anti-APEC organizer at the time. Overview When Vancouver was announced as the venue for the 1997 APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting (AELM), several anti-APEC groups formed. These and previously existing groups organized three larger demonstrations, many smaller actions and numerous conferences, panels, workshops, concerts and film showings. The groups' standpoints towards APEC ranged from reformist to complete rejections of APEC. One of these groups, APEC-Alert, established and maintained a public e-mail list, which was used predominantly by members of APEC-Alert. This group was the only anti-APEC group 55 that set up a public e-mail list. In addition, APEC-Alert and other organizing groups used group-internal e-mail lists, personal e-mail, faxes, phone calls, meetings and print media as means of communication. APEC-Alert In January 1997, an article appeared in the local newspaper The Vancouver Sun in which David Strangway, then president of UBC, announced the scheduling of the AELM at UBC on November 25 of that year. Upon learning this news, a handful of students started the group APEC-Alert. APEC-Alert was the only group that formed at UBC. This group opposed holding the APEC summit at UBC and rejected APEC completely. The number of APEC-Alert activities increased from few in the spring and summer to many in the fall. These included public meetings, information tables, panels, film showings, and civil disobedience actions that resulted in 51 arrests prior to the day of the AELM. Closer to the AELM, the group organized a week-long tent city, a day-long series of panels and speak-outs dubbed Free University, and on November 25 a rally and street blockades. The group membership grew from about a dozen participants in the spring to about fifty in the late fall. About 400 people attended Free University, and about 3000 came for the rally on November 25, with several hundred participating in the street blockades. On the day of the AELM, 17 protestors were arrested at UBC. APEC-Alert organized four more activities after the AELM including a meeting, a civil disobedience action and workshops, and then ceased to exist. A group called "The November 56 25 Movement" then met for several months until it dissolved. Many APEC-Alert participants also formed and joined other activist groups including Democracy Street (a group involved in the Public Complaints Commission investigation of police brutality on the day of the AELM), WO-PIG! (Women Opposed to Political Intimidation Group!—a women's group that organized an action to protest that women only were strip-searched during the APEC-related arrests), an anti-MAI group at UBC, the Social Justice Centre (a revival of the resource group Global Development Centre at UBC), and an informal group of students that organized a second Free University (a one-day event at the Harbour Centre of Simon Fraser University). Other Groups In this case study I focus on examining the mobilization efforts of APEC-Alert and therefore will only briefly introduce other groups involved in organizing against the AELM. Two coalitions that organized educational events and rallies against APEC were NO! TO APEC which took an anti-APEC stance and the People's Summit which mostly called for Q reforms within APEC. Other, newly formed groups included the Feminist Networking Group (called together by the Vancouver Status of Women) and Artists Against APEC. These groups liaised and took part in each others' activities to different degrees. APEC-Alert was formally a member of NO! TO APEC, but did not actively work with the coalition except to invite NO! TO APEC to present workshops at UBC and to coordinate events during the day of the AELM. One dissenting voice within the People's Summit was the Women's Conference Against APEC which took an anti-APEC stance. 57 In addition to the above-mentioned groups that formed specifically to organize events concerning APEC, many other activist groups were involved in NO! TO APEC and the People's Summit and some, such as the East Timor Alert Network and the Canada Tibet Committee, organized their own events including panels and smaller rallies. APEC-Alert's E-mail Lists For the first weeks of APEC-Alert's existence, group participants sent e-mails about their activities and background information on APEC and globalization through the Culture Jammers e-mail list—a low-volume list with postings related to corporatization, culture jamming activities at UBC and elsewhere, and some activist events in Vancouver. The UBC-based group Culture Jammers, and its list, had been in existence for a couple of years prior to the forming of APEC-Alert and many early APEC-Alert members had been involved in Culture Jammers. In early March, APEC-Alert started its own e-mail list. This list at first used a system of sending all messages to a specific APEC-Alert participant's e-mail address from where each message was forwarded to all subscribers. On November 5, the list found a home at envirolink.org, a group that provides free internet services to non-profit organizations. From then on, the subscribe and unsubscribe processes were also automated. From its inception to the AELM, the public APEC-Alert e-mail list was used by just over 400 subscribers. The maximum of subscribers for any one day was about 300 in November. There were 381 messages sent through the APEC-Alert list from early March 1997 to November 24 1997, the day before the AELM. The list mostly featured announcements of APEC-Alert activities and informational background materials about APEC, globalization, or issues within APEC countries, and also some announcements of other anti-APEC and Vancouver-based 58 activist groups. After the AELM, the number of subscribers, and posted messages, gradually decreased and the focus changed to organizing activities in response to the police brutality during the AELM, e-mails regarding activist groups in Vancouver and elsewhere, and related debates. Only a few messages were sent by APEC-Alert which disbanded soon after the AELM. With the end of the Public Complaints Commission investigation into police conduct during the AELM protest in 2000 and with the establishment of an e-mail list for activist events in Vancouver by the Organisation for Autonomous Telecommunication (tao) in 1998, a large part of the function of the APEC-Alert e-mail list became defunct. In addition to using the public APEC-Alert e-mail list, APEC-Alert organizers e-mailed each other individually and in small groups depending on who was involved in organizing which events or which aspects of events. From this, there evolved a non-public unmoderated e-mail list that started with four organizers, and by the AELM on November 25, 17 organizers subscribed to it. This list featured logistical details such as strategy, organization of materials for events, and liaisons with other activists groups, pro-APEC bodies or authorities. This second list was used until late January 1998, when APEC-Alert, as such, ceased organizing activities. Soliciting List Subscribers To increase the number of subscribers to APEC-Alert's first e-mail list, the list was public, and to encourage online participation it was not moderated. According to a welcome message that people received upon subscription after November 5, the list was "intended to be a place where 59 anti-APEC information [could] be posted, ideas and opinions [could] be expressed, and where general discussion about APEC-Alert and APEC [could] happen." (As I discuss in Chapter 7, prior to November 5 the welcome message was less clear about who could post to the list.) To sign group members up to the public e-mail list, APEC-Alert organizers circulated sign-up sheets during meetings. To develop a broader public e-mail list APEC-Alert routinely asked people to volunteer their e-mail addresses via sign-up sheets that the group displayed at events. In addition, APEC-Alert's website included instructions on how people could subscribe themselves to the group's public e-mail list. Most of the 24 interviewed APEC-Alert subscribers signed up for the public e-mail list either at the group's information tables or during meetings. Four signed up via e-mail after learning about both the group and the list through fellow activists. Most had no problem subscribing to the list, but some did encounter difficulties. Interviewee-08 put her name and e-mail address on sign-up sheets during several meetings, but was not subscribed to the list until she verbally requested it of one of the organizers. She suspected the sign-up sheets were not always returned to the organizers. APEC-Alert's second, non-public, e-mail list (from now on referred to as their organizers' list) was announced a few times during group meetings and on the public e-mail list. For the most part, however, new participants were personally invited to join the internal list as they became more involved with the group. 60 How Interview Participants Learned about the APEC-Alert E-mail Lists Of the 24 interview participants, a total of 16 first heard about APEC-Alert and its public e-mail list through co-activists at UBC (10) or elsewhere (6), five through on-campus APEC-Alert information tables, and three via posters on campus. Four interview participants had joined the organizers' list after invitations from others and one had been on the list from its inception. The remaining interview participants were not on the organizers' list. Responses to my questionnaire reveal that most list subscribers had been social activists prior to subscribing to the APEC-Alert list. Out of 85 subscribers, 78 had previous experience with social activist groups, and many interview participants said that they had known many APEC-Alert activists from past political activities. Furthermore, at the time 40 respondents lived or worked in a politically active environment, 20 did not but had done so before, and 22 never had lived or worked in a politically active environment (three respondents did not answer this question). Thus, the majority of interview participants learned about APEC-Alert and its e-mail lists via activists they worked with or were acquainted with and most subscribers had previous experience with activist groups. This echoes a concern Interviewee-17 from the APEC-Alert list expressed: It's really hard to know what mailing lists exist unless you're already in one of them, or some of them, or you're already involved. So, I think, people who are outside the 61 activist community—and by that I mean they don't know anyone who's an activist, or they don't know where most activist organizing happens and [...] they don't live on Commercial Drive [a street which constitutes a centre for political organizing in Vancouver, B.C.], so they don't see the posters for events, or that kind of thing—they have no way of knowing that these mailing lists exist. I therefore now discuss whom mobilizers reached with the APEC-Alert list. APEC-Alert List Subscribers' Demographics Most APEC-Alert organizing occurred at UBC, and the group rarely distributed print information off-campus. Therefore interview participants from the APEC-Alert list who learned about the group through posters or information tables rather than connections to other activists had to be on-campus to encounter the posters and information tables. Not surprisingly then, as indicated above, 18 of the 24 interview participants first heard about APEC-Alert on campus. APEC-Alert was mainly comprised of UBC students and most of these were white and able-bodied. Of the 407 addresses of list subscribers available to me, 298 used UBC e-mail accounts. Of the 85 subscribers who completed my questionnaire, 71 were students with only eleven non-student workers and three unemployed. Of the 85 people from the APEC-Alert e-mail list who returned the questionnaire: 46 (54.1 %) were men and 39 (45.9%) women. Based on first names, 147 of the 407 subscribers (36.1%) were male, 181 (44.5%) female, and 79 of unidentified gender. The age range of study 62 participants who returned the questionnaire and specified their age (83 out of 85) ranged from 20 to "60+". Out of 83 respondents, 61 (or 73.49%) were under 30 years and one (or 1.20%) was over 50. Of the 24 interview participants, 14 had e-mail access both at university (internet access is free for students) and at home, 8 only at their university, 1 only at home, and 1 only at work. 16 interview participants checked their e-mail daily (at least during weekdays), six at least every other day, and two checked about twice a week. With the exception of gender and perhaps class (I do not have data to determine subscribers' class background other than that most subscribers were students), the profile of an APEC-Alert list subscriber was close to that of a typical internet user: young, educated, able-bodied, and white. Other Means of Communication On May 31, 1997, an APEC-Alert participant set up a website for APEC-Alert. This website initially only announced the group's e-mail list and featured a few articles on APEC, globalization, and issues in APEC countries. Later, a schedule of local anti-APEC activities, a gallery of APEC-Alert posters, and links to other anti-APEC groups were added. Post-AELM further information was added with a focus on the Public Complaints Commission investigation. Of course, e-mail and the world wide web were not the only means of communication for members of APEC-Alert. For internal communication, meetings and phone calls were most 63 common. To reach supporters and group participants, a phone tree was also in effect. Unlike the APEC-Alert list, however, this phone tree was not used to announce all APEC-Alert meetings and events. To mobilize non-members, the group distributed posters, flyers, newsletters, and printed articles and organized frequent educational events. APEC-Alert members wrote many letters that were published in the UBC student newspapers and some articles on and by APEC-Alert appeared in off-campus weekly publications. Mainstream press coverage was limited. Phone, fax and e-mail were used to reach the media and other activist groups. Thus, use of the internet reduced the number of times APEC-Alert invoked its phone tree but did not seem to reduce APEC-Alert's use of other means communication for mobilization. Other activist groups had their own websites and internal e-mail lists but no other public e-mail list for organizing against the 1997 AELM existed. Activism around the EU and G7/G8 summits in 1999 The European Union (EU) is a grouping of 15 European countries for economic and political purposes. These countries are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. The Great 7 (G7) was a grouping of the seven most powerful countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, and the United States of America. It became the Great 8 (G8) when Russia was formally included in 1998. The EU holds summits (meetings of heads of states) twice a year, and the G7/G8 does so yearly. 64 In June 1999, two summits were held in Cologne, Germany: A summit of the EU on June 3 and 4, and a summit of the G7 from June 18-20. Due to Russia's informal inclusion on June 20, the summit of the G7 was also referred to as the G7/G8 summit. In German, it was also called the Weltwirschaftsgipfel (WWG), which is literally translated as "World Economic Summit". I now introduce groups that organized activities concerning these two summits and an e-mail list created to facilitate this organizing. The following information is taken from this e-mail list, organizing groups' websites, interviews conducted with list subscribers, and informational materials produced by the groups that I gathered while spending time in Cologne and other cities in the summer of 1999. Considering the large number of groups that took part in organizing events surrounding the summits and a necessarily limited number of interview participants, my descriptions are incomplete. However, thanks to the help of many organizers whom I interviewed, including one from the group that set up the e-mail list under study, I am confident that a fairly accurate picture is provided. Overview Two coalitions and other groups organized marches, caravans, camps, conferences, panels, workshops, concerts, and civil disobedience actions. The standpoints of the groups involved ranged from reformist pro-EU and pro-G7/G8 to a complete rejection of these two groupings. Beyond the varying opposition to the summits' politics, groups involved agreed to protest against the war on the Balkans and tied their opposition to the war into organizing against the summits. 65 One e-mail list was established by one group, the Infoladen Koln (Infoshop Cologne), and used by many of the organizing groups. In addition, group-internal e-mail lists, personal e-mail, mail, fax, phone calls, meetings, and print media were important means of communication. Groups that Organized Events Concerning the 1999 EU and G7/G8 Summits Ranging from reformist non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with state or EU-financed positions to volunteer-run grassroots groups, many groups organized events concerning the EU and the G7/G8 summit, including two coalitions of groups, human rights groups, refugee and (im)migrant groups, environmental groups, student and youth groups, anti-MAI groups, anti fascist groups, solidarity groups, and autonomous groups. I now describe larger-scale actions and the groups that organized them. Coalitions that formed specifically to organize activities concerning the 1999 EU and the G7/G8 summits in Cologne are the Bundnis Koln 99 (Alliance Cologne 99) hereafter referred to as the BK 99 and the Linksradikale Anti-EU/WWG Plenum (Left-Radical Anti-EU/WWG Plenum), or LiRa. Other organizing groups include the FrauenLesben-Plenum Gegen die Gipfel (WomenLesbians Plenum Against the Summits) from now on referred to as the FrauenLesben Plenum, and the Intercontinental Caravan (ICC), an international initiative that took place in the framework of People's Global Action (PGA). I now describe these and other groups and the protest activities they organized. The BK 99—in its early stages known as the Antoniterkirchenbiindnis (Antoniter Church Coalition, named after the church in which their meetings took place)—had its first small 66 meetings with three or four organizations in February, 1998, and a larger one in May, 1998. The coalition then grew to include about sixty groups ranging from supporters of the German government to left radicals. This coalition consisted of three working groups: one to discuss positions the coalition should take, one to prepare alternative summits that coincided with the EU and G7/G8 summits, and one that had a co-ordinating function in the coalition. Meetings of the first of these were attended by 60 to 80 people, and this number decreased over time. Considerably fewer people joined the other two working groups. The BK 99 organized the EU-Alternativgipfel (EU Alternative Summit) from May 28 to June 2 with 400 attendants and the Alternativer Weltwirtschaftsgipfel (Alternative World Economic Summit) on June 17 and 18 with 600 to 800 attendants. Both of these alternative summits featured perspectives ranging from radical to reformist. Two large demonstrations were organized by the BK 99 to coincide with each of the alternative summits. The first and largest of these took place on May 29 with about 30,000 participants. This demonstration was mainly organized by the group Euromarsche (Euro-marches) a European network that works against unemployment, unprotected employment, and discrimination. The second BK 99 demonstration occurred on June 19 with about 10,000 taking part. Another demonstration on June 19 was the Menschenkette (human chain) organized by the group ErlaBjahrkampagne (Remission-Year Alliance). Founded in September 1997, this group's focus was debt remission and new funds for credits for poor countries. The human chain's objective was to form a closed circle around the venue of the G7/G8 summit. 67 Approximately 20,000 people took part in this human chain, with participants flowing from the human chain to the demonstration organized by the BK 99, and vice versa. In April 1998, a second coalition, LiRa, formed. This was a coalition of left-radical, autonomous, anti-fascist, and internationalist groups, that was explicitly non-reformist and rejected the EU and G7/G8 completely. The coalition had about 60 active participants in the beginning, declining to 20 closer to the summits. LiRa focused on the EU summit. They organized an anti-EU demonstration on June 3 with about 3,000 attendants, an EU GegenkongreB (Oppositional EU Congress) on June 4 and 5 with around 200 attendants, and a camp where protest attendees could stay from May 28 to June 7. The two coalitions split up early due to political disagreements. (Groups in the BK 99 sought a minimal agreement which the LiRa viewed as too reformist.) From this point on their cooperation was limited to some publicity and attendance of each other's events, joint negotiation of demonstration routes with police and the city of Cologne, and one joint discussion forum on June 2 1999. How this split and fights within coalitions and between other groups affected mobilization negatively is explained in the following chapters. Another group that formed in Cologne was the FrauenLesben Plenum. This group did not post to the EU+WWG list, but their activities were included in posted event schedules. They organized WomenLesbian camps as part of the larger anti-summit camps and several smaller demonstrations. They also co-organized an event with speakers and music on June 3 together with the Intercontinental Caravan (ICC). 68 The ICC was a group of small farmers and landless people (400 from India and 50 people from other parts of the world, joined by 50 European organizers) who visited many European cities from May 22 to June 20. A German chapter of the ICC organized the Resistance Camp from June 15-20 against the G7/G8 summit. The ICC also attempted to organize a Laugh Parade, an event that was thwarted by police and that several interview participants did or would have liked to attend—the plan was to "make a laughing stock of the leaders" to protest the "Gang of Seven" in Cologne on June 18, the International Action Day. In addition to working with the above-mentioned coalitions, taking part in their congresses, panels, workshops and demonstrations to varying degrees, many other groups organized their own activities including occupations, squats, street parties, film showings, concerts, conferences, street theatre, and rallies. This included several caravans and marches that traveled to the summits in Cologne while holding many actions in villages and cities along the way. They were organized by the groups Euromarsche (see above), Fahrradkarawane Geld oder Leben (Bicycle Caravan Money or Life) and Karawane ftir die Rechte der Fliichtlinge und Migrantlnnen (Caravan for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants). Moreover, local groups in a number of cities mobilized people to protest the summits in Cologne, working alone or with one or several of the above-mentioned groups. To my knowledge all groups that formed specifically to organize events concerning the summits ceased to exist after the summits. One group that had existed for ten years, the Infoladen Koln (Infoshop Cologne), took on the role of an information provider rather than putting on their own events. 69 The EU+WWG E-mail List In late summer of 1998, the Infoladen Koln set up a public e-mail list, the EU+WWG list, for activist organizing concerning the EU and the G7/G8 summits. The e-mail list was set up and maintained by a provider at linklev, a leftist internet service provider in Germany attached to the comlink.net. At no time did the Infoladen Koln moderate the list. The idea was to use the list to distribute information about activities concerning the 1999 EU and G7/G8 summits in Cologne, and also to provide a discussion forum. According to an accompanying website, the list was "a public mailing list where dates of events, information, minutes of meetings, and discussions could be looked up and sent to." List messages by the Infoladen Koln were restricted to a small number of press releases and to sending out regularly updated announcements of activities that they collected and posted online and on the blackboard in the infoshop. Unlike in the case of the APEC-Alert list, many groups used the e-mail list to announce activities in Cologne and elsewhere or to post information they thought of interest to subscribers, including information on the EU, G7/G8, the war in the Balkans, and other social justice issues. Approximately 450 e-mail addresses were subscribed in total to the EU+WWG list. Of these, about 350 remained on the list for extended periods of time. There were 734 messages sent through the EU+WWG list from October 17, 1998 (the day I subscribed to the list) to June 18h, 1999, the day before the last large mobilization against the summits in Cologne. 70 As in the use of the APEC-Alert list, the number of subscribers decreased after the summits and the focus of the list changed. Several press releases as well as some evaluations of the protest activities were then sent through the list. Announcements of events with no particular focus were also posted, including several concerning the forthcoming EXPO in Germany and the next EU summit in Finland. In addition, a discussion occurred about how the list should be used in the future. As before the summits, the Infoladen Koln again decided not to steer the discussion. They had obtained permission from the list provider to keep the list running and hoped that list participants would eventually come to a decision about the future of the list. By late October 1999, consensus was not achieved, however, and I did not receive any further list messages. I assumed that the list was discontinued only to come across it again in November 2003, at which point the list carried one to two posts per month (see also the section "Collecting the E-mail List Messages" in Chapter 3). Soliciting List Subscribers The Infoladen Koln publicized the EU+WWG e-mail list on their website, through a notice on a blackboard in the infoshop and by inviting other organizing groups to announce its existence in meetings and publications. German leftist periodicals also included the EU+WWG e-mail list under group listings and schedules of events. The Infoladen Koln did not publicize the list internationally. They hoped that groups and people connected to the international activist community would hear about the list eventually. Thus, the Infoladen Koln's outreach about the EU+WWG list was mainly aimed at activists and people who had access to German leftist periodicals and organizing groups' publications. 71 This suggests that knowledge about the examined e-mail lists was likely limited. That this was the case even among activists is illustrated by the following case. EU+WWG Interviewee-E only learned about the list through print material he picked up from information tables at the EU-Alternativgipfel (EU Alternative Summit) even though he previously had access to leftist periodicals and was in touch with organizers of two Alternative Summit workshops at which he was a presenter. Internal group e-mail lists were not made public. How Subscribers Learned about the EU+WWG List Of the 15 interviewed EU+WWG list subscribers, five were involved in activist groups that upon learning about the summits decided to organize events concerning the summits. Other interview participants heard about organizing groups predominantly through co-activists, and to a lesser extent through leftist periodicals and e-mails that the groups they worked with received. They learned about the EU+WWG e-mail list through9: • friends involved with organizing groups • group meetings • magazines or flyers • using a group e-mail account that was already subscribed to the list • receiving an EU+WWG list announcement on their group e-mail account. I am not providing a breakdown in numbers here as many interview participants pointed to several sources for information about the list but were unsure through which they heard of the list originally. 72 This shows that EU+WWG interview participants learned about organizing groups and the e-mail lists predominantly through activists they worked with or were acquainted with and also from leftist periodicals. Out of 29 subscribers who completed my questionnaire, 26 had previous experience with activist groups, only two did not, and one respondent did not answer this question. Moreover, 25 lived or worked in a politically active environment, two did not but had done so before, and only two had never lived or worked in a politically active environment. Many interview participants said that they had known many EU+WWG activists from past political activities. For example, Interviewee-F, "met many people again that [she] already knew from [her past] ten years of [activism]" in a coalition meeting. While she and other interview participants from both lists said there were many people attending meetings that they had not known before, several EU+WWG interview participants commented on the increased problem of the Left in Germany to mobilize new participants. EU+WWG List Subscribers' Demographics Unlike for APEC-Alert list subscribers, I do not have any demographics about EU+WWG list subscribers at large. However, the low number of women who posted to the EU+WWG list (see Chapter 7) and who participated in my study (see below) is an indicator that less women were subscribed to the EU+WWG list than men. Two EU+WWG interview participants also observed in groups they worked with that more men than women used computers: Interviewee-F stated that in one group she worked with, more men than women used the internet even though the group had computers for all members to use in their offices. 73 Interviewee-K observed that if a group was made up of women and men, it was the men who tended to use the computers. Of the 29 people from the EU+WWG e-mail list who returned the questionnaire, 23 were men and seven women. Of the 29, 10 were students, three unemployed, three were free-lancers, one was self-employed, and 11 specified that they worked in the following professions: three worked for NGOs, two were scientists, two teachers, one a psychologist, one a nurse, one worked in an office, and one at home as househusband. One respondent did not specify his employment status. Their ages ranged from 18 to 62. Of 27 respondents (two did not specify their age), ten (37.04%) were under thirty and two (7.41%)were over fifty. Thus, compared to APEC-Alert's 73.49%, a lesser percentage of study participants from the EU+WWG list were under thirty. However, 20 (74.07%) EU+WWG list subscribers were still under forty. All interview participants from the EU+WWG list were white and able-bodied, and the profile of EU+WWG list subscribers was thus likely close to that of the typical internet users: young, middle to upper class, educated, able-bodied, white men. (With the exception of information about study participants' professions, I do not have data to determine subscribers class background.) Of the 14 interview participants (two women and 12 men), five had access at work (two of which had paid positions in organizing groups where one also had access at home), five had access at activist group offices (three of these also had access at their own or a relative's home), 74 two had e-mail access at universities (one of these also had access at home), and two had access only at home. Interviewee-L pointed out the problem of using her office computer for non-work related e-mail during her private time and of the potential for surveillance by employers. Interviewee-A, Interviewee-F, and a volunteer at the Infoladen Koln who had internet access at group offices pointed out that they only occasionally visited those offices and consequently would not get to see everything that arrived in the group e-mail account. In addition, other office responsibilities did not always leave them time to use the computers. Interviewee-A and Interviewee-F who had internet access at home only had acquired this access just a few months prior to the summits in Cologne. Interviewee-J and the volunteer at the Infoladen Koln noted that many activists of their acquaintance were only slowly beginning to obtain access to the internet. Twelve interview participants checked e-mail daily (at least on weekdays), one every other day, and one weekly. Other Means of Communication The infoshop had a website on which it provided an overview of some of the groups mobilizing for Cologne and introduced the EU+WWG list. Other groups, such as the Bundnis Koln 99, the Linksradikale Anti-EU/WWG Plenum, the Intercontinental Caravan and the Fahrradkarawane also maintained websites. On these, they introduced their groups, announced group activities, posted information about the EU, the G7/G8, the summits, and other social justice issues, and provided links to other websites. 75 The EU+WWG list was the only public e-mail list set up to facilitate organizing activities concerning the Cologne summits. Groups did, of course, use personal e-mail to contact other groups and had group-internal e-mail exchanges. As well, personal communication via the phone, in meetings, and fax were common. Phone trees and mail were used for internal communication by many groups. For outreach and to distribute minutes of meetings, phone, fax, and mail were used. Interviewee-A explains that his group reached out to members via multiple communication channels: [We did] everything one can do. We made lists of who was present [at meetings], and in these we asked for all the information, as long as people [were] willing to share it, through which they [could] be reached: postal address, telephone number, fax, e-mail. a Interviewee-F, however, said that in one group (that did not organize for Cologne) "the sign-up sheets sometimes only said 'last name, first name, e-mail address [...] and the minutes were only sent via e-mail," and that led to some people not participating any more because they did not use e-mail. In addition, groups organizing activities that concerned the summits in Cologne publicized information (in leftist periodicals, newsletters, and flyers), sent letters and faxes, and organized educational events (including presentations in other towns) to encourage other groups to join the mobilization for Cologne. Mainstream press coverage of activities and the issues at hand was limited. 76 Moreover, during activities concerning the summits, the Infoladen Koln organized between four and six Infopoints in Cologne (at the infoshop, an activist centre, in cafes, pubs, squats, and at anti-summit camps). These were meant as meeting points, sources of cheap food and drink, and places where up-to-date information of events in Cologne would be collected and distributed. This shows that use of the EU+WWG list did not seem to reduce the use of print materials and other means of communication to spread information. One interviewee, however, noted that a group (that did not organize for Cologne) only sent minutes of meetings via e-mail which led some people to not participate in the group. A Comparative Look at the Two E-mail Lists I studied the use of the APEC-Alert list set up to mobilize against the 1997 APEC summit in Vancouver, Canada, and the EU+WWG e-mail list set up to mobilize against the 1999 EU and G7/G8 summits in Cologne. Both of these lists were used over the course of several months while the groups using the lists organized activities protesting the respective summits. To broaden the e-mail lists, they were made public. Yet they only reached a specific segment of each of the groups' target pools for mobilization. Most subscribers from both lists were already social activists before being involved in these movements. Their profile was fairly close to that of typical internet Users: young, middle to upper class, educated, able-bodied, white, and male. Exceptions were that APEC-Alert had more female than male subscribers and that EU+WWG subscribers had a broader range of ages and longer experience with activism. 77 While I discussed in Chapter 2 that, to increase internet access, various initiatives have been undertaken informally and formally within activist communities, formal initiatives were limited in the cases under study. APEC-Alert undertook none, and in case of the EU+WWG list, only one such initiative by the Infoladen Koln10 is known to me. In Chapter 7, however, I show that many list subscribers undertook informal initiatives to broaden access to the lists. In both cases, meetings, phone, fax, and (in organizing against the EU and G7/G8 summits) postal mail, constituted common means of communication. Additionally, educational events and printed materials were used for mobilizing purposes. While use of the internet did not seem to reduce use of most other means of communication, it did reduce the number of times APEC-Alert invoked its phone tree. I show in Chapter 8 that this hindered the mobilization of APEC-Alert list subscribers. To encourage list participation, both e-mail lists were unmoderated and open for discussions, information exchange and event announcements. As I show in Chapter 7, however, a number of other factors hindered subscribers' participation on the e-mail lists. APEC-Alert and some of the organizing coalitions and groups on the EU+WWG list formed specifically to protest the respective meetings, expecting to exist only temporarily. In both 10 The Infoladen Koln provided public internet access to the world wide web and offered its e-mail address to other groups to send and receive e-mail. They also allowed people to read messages on any e-mail lists the group account was subscribed to and specifically subscribed to lists for this purpose. However, they had an e-mail program operating under the DOS system that was difficult to use. Only half of the six to eight volunteers that the Infoshop had on average over the year leading up to the summits knew how to use this program. This, and perhaps limited outreach as one volunteer at the infoshop suggested, contributed to a low use of the e-mail lists that the Infoshop account subscribed to. 78 cases, several other existing groups, that would continue to exist after the summits ended, also took part in the organized activities or organized activities themselves. In Chapter 7,1 discuss how a lack of post-summit plans and limited common goals shared by EU+WWG groups negatively affected mobilization. The two lists also differed in a number of other respects. The APEC-Alert list was created and predominantly used by one student group in Vancouver that organized many smaller actions over several months and one larger rally during the AELM. The EU+WWG list, established by one group located in Cologne, Germany, was used by a variety of leftist groups from Cologne and elsewhere who protested summits of the European Union and the Great 7 in Cologne in 1999. They organized many events including three larger rallies which, while organized by one group or coalition each, was divided into blocs." This enabled EU+WWG list subscribers to choose to join events and blocs of some groups over others. APEC-Alert list subscribers did not have this option (unless they joined other groups' protests which were not held near the site of the AELM, nor were those groups introduced on the APEC-Alert list). Another difference was that most APEC-Alert list subscribers lived in Vancouver and frequented UBC whereas EU+WWG list subscribers were geographically dispersed. Many APEC-Alert list subscribers did meet face-to-face and developed a collective identity while many EU+WWG list subscribers did not. As a result, online discussions were more hostile on the EU+WWG list (see Chapter 7). German demonstrations are usually divided into blocs and each bloc is led by one or several groups. Examples would be an anti-fascist bloc, a FrauenLesben (WomenLesbians) bloc, or an anarcho-syndicalist bloc. There usually is also a bloc for those who do not want to join any of the ideological oriented blocs. 79 Furthermore, APEC-Alert and EU+WWG organizers had differing views of the lists. EU+WWG organizers regarded the list as a tool for activist groups to exchange information about their activities, but not to mobilize subscribers. APEC-Alert organizers on the other hand did view the list as a tool for mobilizing subscribers to become active. Yet, as I will show in chapters 5 and 6, both lists carried equally little information to inform subscribers about group views, aims and tactics, the issues groups were concerned with, or how to become active. In the next two chapters, I discuss how list use affected consensus mobilization. I then turn to action mobilization in chapters 7 and 8. 80 Chapter 5: Consensus Mobilization—Raising Opposition to APEC, the EU and G7/G8, and the Respective Summits Consensus mobilization (Snow et al., 1986, p. 466) refers to group efforts to raise support for their views and aims or to the process of generating adherents to the goals of the movement. In this and the following chapter, I discuss to what extent use of the APEC-Alert and EU+WWG e-mail lists contributed to consensus mobilization. Before people get involved in social movements, they need to feel aggrieved about the issues social movement organizations are concerned with and to agree with organizations' views of these issues and their goals and tactics. In this chapter, I therefore examine how subscribers learned about APEC, the EU, G7/G8, globalization in general, and other social justice issues organizing groups were concerned with, and to what extent subscribers' perceptions of these issues changed through e-mail list messages. In the next chapter, I focus on how subscribers learned about organizing groups' views, goals and tactics. In the questionnaire I sent to APEC-Alert and EU+WWG list subscribers, I asked whether they read messages with information on APEC or the EU and G7/G8. Of 85 respondents on the APEC-Alert list, 75 stated that they did read such messages, as did 27 of 29 respondents on the EU+WWG list. This shows there was a large interest in reading about these organizations. In the following section, I examine how many list messages carried information about APEC, the EU, G7/G8, globalization, and other social justice issues. I find that on both lists only 10% of the messages contained information on APEC, the EU, G7/G8, or globalization, and only 30% contained information about any social justice issues. To explore why group organizers did not 81 post more information on APEC or the EU and G7/G8,1 discuss organizers' views of the lists and the lists' statement of purposes. Following that, I examine why subscribers felt that list messages did not provide sufficient information about APEC, the EU and G7/G8.1 explain that frequently the provided information was rather short and that the complexity of the issues warrants more extensive information. I also show that high list volume and other factors led to subscribers reading fewer messages than they would have otherwise. I then show that, despite barriers to reading list messages, posted information provided subscribers with more details to understand the effects of APEC, or the EU and G7 and thus deepened their support for the movement. I also show that while some organizers did not learn anything new from list messages, it did provide many subscribers with new information. Internet use thus partially leveled access to information between movement organizers and less involved participants who have internet access. Next, I discuss what effect broadening the issues groups rallied around had on mobilization. I show that organizers failed to connect social justice issues, such as human rights, to globalization. As a result subscribers who focused on specific social justice issues did not learn about globalization. Making this connection between globalization and other social justice issues may have increased subscribers' support for the movement. I also show that keeping lists open to varied information did, at least in the case of APEC-Alert, widen some subscribers' understanding of social justice issues and their interconnectedness. 82 Finally, I discuss other sources subscribers drew on to learn about APEC, the EU and G7/G8. These sources include activists, online materials (from the web, e-mail lists and forwarded messages from acquaintances), printed materials (organizing groups' publications, periodicals, books and news media) and, less so, television. Television was only mentioned by one participant from the APEC-Alert list, but by no interview participant from the EU+WWG list. I therefore focus on the three remaining sources: activists, online sources (other than the APEC-Alert and EU+WWG list), and printed materials. I find that the interview participants considered face-to-face interactions (including personal conversations with co-activists as well as public talks, panels, workshops and speaking experiences) and writing for groups as better, or preferred, methods of learning about issues than reading online. However, interview participants believed that, in two respects, the internet had an advantage over printed materials: speed and costs. I then argue that internet use created an information gap between movement participants who had internet access and those who did not. I also show that printed materials and to a lesser extent online sources other than the e-mail lists under study were important sources for information about APEC, the EU and G7/G8 and examine how they interconnected with the e-mail lists. Issue Information Contained in the E-mail List Messages To discuss the effects of list use on consensus mobilization, I first examined how many messages on the APEC-Alert and EU+WWG list prior to the summits contained information on APEC or the EU and G7/G8, globalization in general, and other social justice issues. (As explained further below, both lists carried "irrelevant" messages that did not add relevant or new content to the lists. These messages are not included in the figure below. Had they been 83 included, the shown percentages of messages containing issues information would have been even lower.) Figure 1: Percentage of List Messages Containing References to Issues EU+WWG list APEC-Alert list Globalization Other Issues EU, G7/8 4.7% 9.5% 14.2% 69.0% No Issue Info. Note: Messages under "EU, G7/8" or "APEC" contain information about these issues and often other background information. Messages in the segment labelled "Globalization" contain information about globalization (e.g. about the MAI or IMF) and sometimes additional information about other social justice issues, but no information about the EU, G7/8, or APEC. Messages under "Other Issues" do contain information about social justice issues but no information about globalization. Messages under "No Issue Info." include no information about any social justice issues. Figure 1 shows that, on both lists, only 10% of the e-mails contained information on APEC or the EU and G7/G8 and only 30% contained information more generally on social justice issues Not surprisingly, interview participants from both lists complained that there was not enough information about APEC or the EU and G7/G8 on the lists. Interviewee-13 from the APEC-Alert list even felt that "the mailing list basically assumed that you were already informed." I now discuss why group organizers did not post more messages with issue information. 84 Why Organizers Sent Low Numbers of Messages with Issue Information One explanation for why the amount of background information on the EU+WWG list was so limited is that many organizers saw this list as a tool for activist groups to exchange information about their activities but not as a tool to mobilize list subscribers to become active. EU+WWG organizer Interviewee-A said that he assumed that people on the EU+WWG list had interests similar to his, and because he wanted to be informed about groups' activities he accordingly focused on sending announcements of events. He did not view the list as a tool to mobilize subscribers to become active: The main tools for mobilization were printed materials and newspapers because the list reaches a limited pool of people, [...] and the main tools to get activities off the ground are still the telephone, and [personal] e-mail rather than the list. When I mentioned to EU+WWG organizer Interviewee-B that less active subscribers had looked to the EU+WWG list as a source of information about the EU, G7/G8 and globalization, he was surprised and said that he might have sent more issue information through the list had he known this at the time. Since they did not view the list as a mobilizing tool, EU+WWG organizers did not use the lists to gain support by framing their beliefs and actions. In contrast, APEC-Alert organizers saw the group's list as a tool to activate list subscribers and they therefore thought the list should feature announcements and issue information. Yet, as Figure 1 above shows, the APEC-Alert list carried as little information on APEC as the EU+WWG list did on the EU and G7/G8, the very organizations that the activist groups protested against. 85 The relatively high number of messages about social justice issues and the comparatively low number of messages concerning globalization can perhaps in part be attributed to the lists' protocols. The Infoladen Koln's12 website stated that the EU+WWG list was for "dates of events, info, minutes of meetings, and discussions." While it was clear that the list was set up in connection with organizing opposition to the Cologne summits, the website did not limit the issues people could post about. List messages then concerned such varied issues as unemployment, labour issues, (im)migration, human rights, and debt relief. In most messages, these issues were not explicitly connected to globalization. The welcome message received upon subscription to the APEC Alert list stated that the list was "a place where anti-APEC information [could] be posted." It did not, however, state that no other information could be sent to the list. List messages frequently included information on human rights abuses in APEC member countries—an online and offline focus of APEC-Alert—usually without connecting these to APEC policies or globalization more generally. APEC-Alert organizer Interviewee-04 frequently posted to the group's e-mail list. While he also sent messages on globalization, he felt that "people in APEC-Alert were not receptive to the bigger message," that "the narrower message about human rights abuses was always the easier argument to make." 12 The Infoladen Koln is the group that created the EU+WWG e-mail list. 86 One could presume that for the purpose of educating subscribers about APEC or the EU and G7/G8, it may be sufficient if one out of ten messages contains information about these organizations. I now explain why this was not the case. How List Messages Were Lacking Issue Information As Figure 2 shows, for most of the lists' existence, few messages per month contained information about APEC or the EU and the G7/G8. Figure 2: Number of List Messages Containing References to Issues, Sorted over Time 120 103 80 60 40 20 E UJ 10 21 26 23 9 35 51 131 59 17 80 14 18 63 10 Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun EU+WWG list 160 143 123 103 80 60 | 40 § E w q_ 18 13 an 12 18 "8 50 23 118 24 TS Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov APEC-Alert list Note: Grey areas indicate messages contained issue information. From bottom to top the gray areas represent the number of messages about: APEC, or the EU and G7/G8, globalization more generally, and other social justice issues. White areas indicate that messages did not contain any issue information. Another reason why interview participants may have felt that the lists did not provide enough information on APEC or the EU and G7/G8, is that a complex topic such as globalization requires a fair amount of education about how it affects society. Many of the posts that 87 contained issue information were, however, rather short with some only containing a couple of sentences about APEC, the EU or globalization. (A count of only messages with more extensive issue information would thus show even lower percentages and numbers of messages than those in Figures 1 and 2.) In contrast, it is much easier to explain the immediate human suffering that a war against Iraq, for example, causes or why human rights abuses should be opposed. In addition, interview participants encountered a number of barriers to reading messages. Barriers to Reading List Messages Interview participants from both lists, due to a number of barriers to reading list messages, felt they might have missed posts that they would have wanted to read. For example, due to time constraints, most interview participants decided which messages to read based on subject headings. Several said that they were likely to delete messages with unclear subject headings, an occurrence not uncommon on the lists. Other barriers include a lack of introductory comments to messages, language barriers, and high message volume. I discuss the first two briefly, and the last in more detail since it was the most frequently given reason by interview participants for why they read fewer messages than they might have otherwise. A Lack of Introductory Comments and Language Barriers While many interview participants considered longer articles sent through the lists a source of learning, some simply deleted them. Interviewee-06 from the APEC-Alert list said that "after a while [she] started deleting anything about the actual politics of APEC [because she] didn't feel the need to sit there and read 45 more minutes of why globalization was bad because [she] 88 already knew it [was] bad." Interviewee-F, who found the EU+WWG list too chaotic to learn from, said that she read more on an anti-MAI list where the moderator sometimes shortened articles, often wrote a few lines commenting on the article, and, if it was lengthy explained why he still sent it. In addition, Interviewee-F said that reading English texts took her longer so she would often not read them. Again, she found that introductory comments in German on the anti-MAI list helped her decide whether to read such articles. Some other interview participants from the EU+WWG list could also only read English with difficulty and no other languages. Interviewee-N thus said that he would "occasionally skim an English message, but in general [he] found it too demanding." Many groups mobilized for Cologne in countries other than Germany. Yet most messages on the EU+WWG email list were in German. Only some messages were in multiple languages and a few were posted in non-German languages only. On the APEC-Alert list, all messages were in English. This certainly excluded people who did not speak or at least read the respective language fluently. High Message Volume Another factor that resulted in interview participants from both lists reading fewer messages than they might have otherwise was high message volume. With 744 messages on the EU+WWG list over a seven month period and 384 messages on the APEC-Alert list over eight months, volume on both lists was fairly high, especially closer to the summits. During a post-summit discussion on the future of the EU+WWG list, Subscriber Z therefore posted the following: 89 I think the continuation of this list useful. The question is to which topic [...]. We will probably only participate passively again (i.e. we will occasionally look at the e-mails— we often don't have time to read everything because we don't have access to the internet on a regular basis and anyway we have better things to do than sitting in front of the computer every day). The amount of e-mail that people can handle differs of course. Interview participants' processing limits ranged from as low as a few e-mails per day to as high as one hundred per day. But for many subscribers, the number of messages they read depended on how many they received. This was, for example, the case for Interviewee-22 from the APEC-Alert list: If there was a lot of messages I would read less, if there was less messages I would read more. APEC-Alert list Interviewee-12, who chose not to read online debates due to time availability, thought that separate lists would have saved her the time of opening and deleting such messages and left her with more time to read other list messages. However, she added that she found an MAI list that included background information, but no event postings, not very inspiring. Interviewee-23 compared the APEC-Alert list to an announcement-only list he was on at the time: I'd read most of [the messages on the announcement-only list] and I might not read them carefully but at least I'd open them up and just scan them, whereas with the 90 APEC-Alert [list] there was just so much that I'd often just skip over, not even look through them. Interviewee-13 also felt that eventually there were so many messages on the APEC-Alert list that "it was hard to process all of them," and Interviewee-05 thought that there were too many messages on this list for it "to be effective any longer and getting out key points": [0]ne of the hard things [...] was checking e-mail and having 100 messages [...] and then often you can't give the time [...] to the ones that maybe are more important. Similarly, Interviewee-L thought that due to high list volume "[issue] information or petitions [...] became submerged" on the EU+WWG and other lists. These findings answer Myers' (1998) question of whether information overload hinders internet users from digesting online information. Had list volume been lower, subscribers might have read more messages with issue information than they did. For many, high message volume even resulted in their unsubscribing from the lists. Interviewee-K describes his experience with the EU+WWG list: In the beginning I read everything, but I was soon disappointed, there was very little [of relevance to me on the EU+WWG list]. Sometimes I did not even look at it any more, and then I unsubscribed at some point, because I thought, that I couldn't possibly read 91 all that anyway. [...] I didn't have previous experience with unmoderated lists and will be more hesitant about subscribing to them in the future. Other people unsubscribed as well. Interviewee-B explains: My colleague unsubscribed relatively quickly because it was simply too much. [....] Information overload can occur quickly. Especially when one uses several lists. But especially the [EU+WWG] list was extreme. Sometimes—when one did other things in parallel—one couldn't follow the list completely. Interviewee-07 and Interviewee-12 from the APEC-Alert list unsubscribed soon after the AELM because they did not read messages any more due to the high volume. APEC-Alert list Interviewee-11 had told some acquaintances to join the list but said that most unsubscribed quickly after the AELM because of high list volume. Many others unsubscribed from both lists just prior to and after the summits when the volume increased. Several of these posted their unsubscribe requests to the lists and, in these same messages, complained about high list volume. While other interview participants remained on the lists despite high volume, they mentioned having removed themselves from lists with even higher volumes. Interviewee-24, for example, said that, while he was interested in the issues and went to the WTO protest in Seattle, he unsubscribed before the protest because he was unable to devote so much time to going through the messages that came through that list. This shows that the internet does not necessarily make information readily available. Having to navigate through large numbers of messages or numerous websites prevented interview 92 participants from both lists from seeking out online information. Similarly, Friedland found in a study of online networks that local groups did not want to participate: "They could only benefit from specific, selected information, but the necessary investment of time involved in being trained and accessing a general network [...] did not necessarily bring commensurate rewards to small organisations" (1996, p. 194). To find out how the number of list messages could have been reduced—which could have furthered mobilization by allowing subscribers to read more messages—I now discuss why list volume was high. Reasons for High Message Volume When I examined list messages to find out why the volume was so high, I found that many messages were sent to the lists unnecessarily and that repeated forwards from other lists significantly added to the volume. Of the 734 e-mail messages13 that were sent through the EU+WWG list from October 17, 1998 (the day I subscribed to the list) to June 18, 1999 (the day before the second summit in Cologne), 221 messages (close to 30%) were "irrelevant". They were deemed "irrelevant" because they did not add new and relevant content to the lists. Of the 381 messages sent through the APEC-Alert list since its inception in early March 1997 until November 24, the day before the AELM, at least 29 (over 7%) were "irrelevant". There might, however, have been more. As explained in Chapter 3,1 collected list messages as they were sent, and not knowing that I would later use them for research purposes, I may have deleted "irrelevant" messages. 13 A few e-mail messages from January 23-31, 1999, may be missing due to a hardware failure on my computer. 93 Messages categorized as "irrelevant" include: a) subscribe and unsubscribe requests (77 on the EU+WWG and 20 on the APEC-Alert list), b) "doubles", i.e. messages already sent through the list (63 and 0), c) messages about "misuse" of the lists (39 and 3), d) personal responses to messages that need not have gone through the list (22 and 4), e) empty e-mails (11 and 2), and f) messages concerning virus hoaxes (6 and 0). This made for a total of 218 "irrelevant" messages on the EU+WWG list and (at least) 29 on the APEC-Alert list.14 14 Following are descriptions for some types of "unnecessary" messages and explanations for why they did not add any new and relevant content to the e-mail lists. a) Unsubscribe and subscribe requests should be sent to designated e-mail addresses. One possible reason that explains the high number of these requests to the EU+WWG list is that wrong instructions regarding subscriptions were given by an organizing group in an English text on their website. This mistake, however, was discovered and fixed on January 15, 1999. Yet, the average number of (un)subscribe messages sent to the list remained about the same afterwards. In the midst of running the APEC-Alert list in the fall of 1997, a domain name for UBC e-mail accounts changed. Consequently many subscribers who signed up prior to the domain name change could not unsubscribe themselves because an e-mail address with which an unsubscribe request was sent needed to be identical to the address used for subscribing. Many then sent unsubscribe requests to the whole list even after list maintainers requested direct e-mail regarding such issues. b) "Doubles" are messages that were already sent through a list once and were then posted a second time. Of 63 doubles on the EU+WWG list, 44 were sent a second time by the original sender, and 19 were sent by a different sender. Some "doubles" on the EU+WWG list were identical to the message first sent. I realized that this might have been a technical problem when one of my own messages came through the list twice despite sending it only once. However, many "doubles" differed slightly from their originals, and thus did not stem from a technical problem. Many messages were re-sent because the initial message was poorly formatted, had the wrong subject line (due to using the reply-function instead of composing a new e-mail), or because the message was missing some information such as a website address. In addition, one subscriber repeatedly forwarded messages from the EU+WWG list back to the same list. In some rare cases, people also sent out 94 In addition to "irrelevant" messages, forwards from other e-mail lists also significantly increased list volume. Some interview participants from the APEC-Alert list appreciated information that was already sent that same day by another subscriber—a sometimes unavoidable situation such as when two people send the same information around the same time or when composed messages are sent with the next dial-up before new messages are received and read. c) Messages advising subscribers about the use of the lists were sent in response to unnecessary messages of type a) and b), and, in the case of the EU+WWG list, the inclusion of large attachments. Large attachments increased download time resulting in higher telephone bills for subscribers to the EU+WWG list who paid by the minute (unless they had free access at work or school). According to the EU+WWG list manager, they also resulted in many error messages bouncing back because many e-mail providers had a size limit of 256 KB. They took up list provider's data storage space and increased the list provider's telephone costs. Furthermore, many people did not necessarily have the software to open the attachments (such as bin hex, MS word or html). Attachments are also one of the main ways to distribute viruses. The tone of many responses to messages with attachments on the EU+WWG list reveals that subscribers were upset about the repeated sending of attachments. On October 21, 1999, the list maintainer therefore enforced a size limit of 60 KB. Not all messages about the use of the lists were "unnecessary." Regular reminders about "do's and don'ts" by list maintainers are useful, and one discussion on the EU+WWG list regarded the (in)appropriateness of announcing local events in many cities. However, many posts regarding use of the lists would not have been necessary if list participants had been more thoughtful. d) "Personal responses" refers to responses to messages sent through a list that should have gone to the composer of the original message only. Examples from the EU+WWG list were orders of magazines whose publication had been announced on the list or the signing of online petitions that had been sent to the list. Perhaps as a result of this, petitions sent closer to the summits asked for direct responses at the beginning of the posts. Yet, some subscribers still sent responses to the list. This may in part be due to the list setting where the "sender"-field showed the e-mail address of the subscriber who sent the message, but the "reply-to"-field was set to the whole list. Several EU+WWG interview participants indeed remarked that they could not distinguish which list an e-mail came from or which were personal e-mails to them. On the APEC-Alert list, both fields were set to the list. At least once, an APEC-Alert list subscriber still mistakenly sent a personal response to the list and apologized for it in her next message. Only few APEC-Alert subscribers, however, reported difficulties determining which list they received an e-mail from or if it was a personal e-mail to them. Of course, other messages may also be considered "unnecessary" or inappropriate for posting to a list. This may include discussions or messages about personal issues a group member may be experiencing. Such a situation actually occurred on the APEC-Alert list following the AELM and some interview participants found this inappropriate. 95 forwards from other e-mail lists because, as Interviewee-18 put it, that way he "didn't get all the heavy traffic but [...] some highlights." Other subscribers from both lists, however, were annoyed that many messages were forwards from other lists, especially if they also were subscribed to those other lists. Interviewee-16 even unsubscribed from another list because "just about everything that was on [that list] would come up through the APEC-Alert list." The volunteer at the Infoshop Cologne suggested that rather than posting repeated forwards, people be given information about other lists so that they could choose to subscribe to them if they wanted. Several subscribers from both lists felt that welcome messages on other lists with instructions on posting behavior helped reduce list volume. Alternatively, a reduction in volume can occur through enforced moderation of the list, or if participants agree to constrain themselves to, for example, two messages per day. This latter rule has been successfully implemented on at least one electronic mailing list (Aikens, 1997). I now discuss to what extent list messages aided in educating subscribers about APEC or the EU and G7/G8, globalization, and other social justice issues despite the discussed reading barriers. What Interview Participants Learned through the Lists Some interview participants from the APEC-Alert list and from from the EU+WWG list who were highly involved offline said the lists did not provide them with any information about APEC or the EU and G7/G8 that they had not come across previously. They explained that they had already received this information, in the case of APEC-Alert mostly through other e-mail lists and in the case of the EU+WWG list mostly through magazines and newsletters. 96 Furthermore, list messages did not help change any interview participants' fundamental opinion on APEC or the EU and G7/G8. Details about Globalization Many interview participants from both lists did, however, learn more details about the issues through the e-mail lists. Interview participants from the APEC-Alert list, whose knowledge about APEC and globalization was rather limited, said that those details confirmed their "initial suspicions" or "gut feeling" about the issues and made it possible for them to understand the effects of globalization better. This was more so the case for subscribers who took the time to read all or most messages that came through the list and were not deterred by its high volume. Internet use therefore partially leveled access to information between movement organizers and less involved participants who have internet access. Connections between Globalization and Human Rights Abuses In addition to raising opposition to APEC itself, APEC-Alert also mobilized against human rights abuses committed within APEC countries. Interviewee-04 recognized that people have different "frames of reference" and was aware of different audiences on the e-mail lists, and thus sent reports from Amnesty International that "many find to be a respectable organization," though he did not think highly of it himself. This points to Benford and Snow's (2000, p. 619) argument that when social movement actors frame their beliefs and actions in inclusive and flexible terms, then more participants tend to join the movement. APEC-Alert's human rights focus indeed, as I will now show, resulted in mobilizing people that otherwise might not have joined. However, as I will show in Chapter 8 it also hindered others from joining the group. 97 Interviewee-23 was attracted to APEC-Alert due to the group's human rights focus. She was "not really sure what APEC [was] about, it sound[ed] wrong, but definitely [...] that [Canada] rolling out the red carpet for Suharto [then president of Indonesia] is wrong" and went to the demonstration on the day of the AELM for that reason. Interviewee-14 said that she first saw APEC-Alert posters that addressed human rights. This piqued her interest: "I grew up without much of the social justice education but [...] I knew that human rights were a good thing and I think that the posters triggered that." As a result, she approached volunteers at an APEC-Alert information table, became involved with the group, and learned more about APEC and globalization. Not everybody who was drawn to APEC-Alert by human rights arguments, however, learned about globalization. Interviewee-15, throughout the time of her subscription to the APEC-Alert list, chose to focus on e-mails with texts that originated from human rights groups: I was interested in [the issue] from a human rights perspective. [...] For me it wasn't so much [about APEC] but more [about] these [...] people coming to our campus [who] have done horrible things. Having focused on messages about human rights abuses, she explained that she "still [did]n't know all that much about [globalization]." To facilitate learning about APEC or globalization, sent information could have been linked to these issues. However, as Figure 1 above shows, most messages with information about social justice issues other than globalization, did not include information on APEC, the EU, G7/G8, or 98 globalization more generally. As a result some subscribers focused on specific kinds of messages (such as those about human rights abuses) without learning about globalization and how it interconnects with many social problems. Interconnecting a Variety of Issues Yet, other interview participants from the APEC-Alert list said that they learned about a variety of issues. The following was perhaps the most extraordinary example. APEC-Alert Interviewee-10 said that as time went on his opinions started to change and he found himself reading and storing messages with information "that [he] had absolutely no exposure to before, and probably not that much interest in as well." He said that "[his] interests changed over the year [of anti-APEC organizing]. At the beginning, they were very very narrow and focused on a small range of issues." He learned more about "numerous things", including capitalism and sexism, of which when he became first involved in APEC-Alert he said "[he] may have [only] had a rudimentary understanding." He explained how it took him "a little time [...] to get more and more learned about them" and to draw links between different issues such as "globalization [and] capitalism[,] racism [and] sexism[, or] environmentalism [and] consumption of animal products". While he said that interaction with group members was crucial to this learning, he also relied on the APEC-Alert e-mail list for many reading materials, and later, after the AELM, on reading materials provided in a university course he took on Gender. His case and the cases of subscribers above who were drawn into the group through messages addressing human rights speak against limiting list content to one issue such as APEC. 99 In case of the EU+WWG list, organizing groups had a variety of views on issues. I will show in Chapter 8 that this allowed people to join protests even if they disagreed with some of the participating groups. Differences between APEC-Alert and EU+WWG List Subscribers Interview participants from the APEC-Alert list considered the list a major source for issue information. EU+WWG list subscribers, on the contrary, viewed it more as an additional means to obtain information—some of them even repeatedly stressed this during the interviews. One reason for this is that interview participants from the APEC-Alert list said that their knowledge about APEC and globalization was limited (to different degrees) before they became involved with APEC-Alert or subscribed to the group's e-mail list. Interview participants from the EU+WWG list on the other hand were moderately to very well informed about the EU, the G7/G8 and globalization in general prior to subscribing to the list. Another explanation for why APEC-Alert list subscribers considered the list a major source of background information and EU+WWG list subscribers did not, is that the latter drew on more sources about globalization than the former, in particular printed materials. Printed Materials as Sources of Information about APEC, the EU and G7/G8 When I asked interview participants from the EU+WWG list what their sources of information on globalization, the EU, and the G7/G8 were, printed materials were a major source for all of them. These were for the most part leftist periodicals and various groups' printed materials. EU+WWG interview participants also, to a lesser extent, read mainstream news to learn about issues. In addition, Interviewee-02 drew from EU publications and Interviewee-05 drew from 100 "pro-EU and neoliberal [...] but very informative" newspapers and magazines. Three of the four interview participants from the EU+WWG list, who were least involved with groups' organizing activities in Cologne (Interviewee-C, Interviewee-H, and Interviewee-N), relied more on flyers for background information than other interview participants who could obtain information through activists in groups they worked with (see further below). The fourth of the least involved interview participants (Interviewee-L) had a friend who worked with an organizing group and through whom she obtained information. Interviewee-C was the only EU+WWG interview participant who did not draw on leftist periodicals to learn about the EU and G7/G8 (because he could not afford them). For interview participants from the APEC-Alert list, APEC-Alert flyers, newsletters and articles were major sources of information about APEC. Some said they checked mainstream news although they found that to be uninformative about globalization or APEC. Only five interview participants drew on leftist periodicals and four on materials from groups other than APEC-Alert. Thus, leftist periodicals were a major source of information for most interview participants from the EU+WWG list, but only for a few from the APEC-Alert list. Moreover, while interview participants from the EU+WWG list read printed material written by various groups', those from the APEC-Alert list mostly relied on printed material provided only by APEC-Alert. These differences can be explained as follows by several factors. EU+WWG interview participants frequently had access to periodicals that the activist groups they worked with subscribed to and kept in their offices for members to read. APEC-Alert did not have an office. 101 In addition, while APEC-Alert's print materials were posted to the list in full, leftist periodicals and materials by other organizing groups were neither introduced nor posted to the list. This was different from EU+WWG list messages that included introductions to and subscription information for periodicals and groups' publications. Interviewee-N noted that he might not have come across this information otherwise. (Yet, Interviewee-E found that the EU+WWG list did not provide him with enough information about alternative publications, which was why he unsubscribed within two months after subscribing.) Printed Materials Compared to Online Issue Information Many interview participants preferred to read from paper hardcopies if they could, but believed that, in two respects, the internet had an advantage over printed materials: speed and costs. Several organizers from both lists found that e-mail lists saved them time by not having to search for sources of information about issues they worked on. EU+WWG Interviewee-G explains the role annotated information played for him in this regard: What was really helpful were annotated references to background information. Like "for this topic check out this and this and you can receive it by..." That was an important function [of the e-mail list ...] so that one does not have to research oneself, but that [people do this collectively], that is useful for me. Organizers from both lists also found the e-mail medium useful as a faster way of sending letters and for publishing. They valued that articles could now be sent faster and edits quickly 102 confirmed via e-mail, whereas before they had to send disks via postal mail that were often damaged in the process. In addition, interview participants said that through the internet they could find more up-to-date information on issues than prior to having internet access. Interviewee-J explains: During the war in the Balkans, for example, people tried to put out opposing voices [...]. Not only in the periodicals of the left. They appear only monthly which was too long a period of time. People wanted to exchange information more quickly and therefore used e-mail. Such up-to-date information can put people with internet access at an advantage over others. Interviewee-M from the EU+WWG e-mail list always found that he "was ahead of others with regards to knowledge" because of the list. This included up-to-date information and discussions between groups that was not available in print media. He then printed this information or brought it up in discussions to share it with his group. The APEC-Alert list also provided subscribers with information not available otherwise. Interviewee-09 recalls: [Without the e-mail list] I might have learned less. [Interviewee-03], for example, posted stuff [from] the Asia list. I don't know how I would have read that otherwise, unless he photocopied and gave them all out. 103 Photocopying all those articles, however, was out of the group's financial reach. List use therefore created an information gap between those who had internet access and those who did not. Of course, e-mail access is not the only cause for information divides in groups. It depends how active participants are in groups and who they are acquainted with. The following statement by an APEC-Alert participant brings this issue up: There were established networks that you gained your access to information according to how long you've been with the project and what your level of commitment was, and then maybe who you were sleeping with as well. While some informal hierarchies may be difficult to avoid, they were a source of frustration for at least some participants and, as I will show in Chapter 7, led some subscribers to not get involved. I now examine how useful subscribers found online spaces, other than the e-mail lists under study, to learn about APEC or the EU and G7/G8. Online Sources of Issue Information (Other than the E-mail Lists under Study) Online sources that subscribers extracted issue information from included websites, e-mail lists, and e-mail messages forwarded to them by acquaintances. 104 Some interview participants from both lists did not have web access but most used the web occasionally to learn background information. They did, however, use it less than other sources due to experiencing slow down-load times, finding it strenuous to read longer pieces on the screen and having difficulty finding information on the web. The World Wide Web While Interviewee-24 from the APEC-Alert list and EU+WWG Interviewee-J, for example, thought it easier to obtain government documents through the web than having to call and wait for them in postal mail, they qualified this with "given that you find it [on the web]." Some interview participants from both lists occasionally used search engines, but most preferred to follow up on links they received via e-mail or to go to specific servers that they suspected of having or providing links to the information they wanted. Many interview participants thus appreciated list messages with annotated links to websites. Often subscribers included links to group websites and background information in the body of their e-mail message and, more frequently, in their signature at the end of the message. However, prior to the summits only 11 messages on the EU+WWG list and 14 on the APEC-Alert list included annotated links to websites. APEC-Alert Interviewee-09, when comparing the web to the APEC-Alert e-mail list, said: "The mailing list was probably a little more useful because it was there all the time. [...] I'd have to go on the web and search specifically so it would be more of an extension of learning." 105 Newsgroups, E-mail Lists, and Chat Rooms For the same reason, several interview participants from both lists preferred e-mail lists to newsgroups because list messages would be there when they logged onto their e-mail account whereas they had to make an effort to go to a newsgroup. No interview participant from either list accessed newsgroups as a source of information about APEC, the EU or G7/G8. Some used newsgroups occasionally for other purposes but most found they carried too many messages to read them on a regular basis. E-mail lists other than the APEC-Alert and EU+WWG lists were only used by some interview participants from either list under study. No interview participants used chat rooms to obtain background information. Subscribers' reasons for not subscribing to any further lists and not using chat rooms included not wanting to receive more messages than they already did and not knowing about them. On both lists, forwarded messages from other lists often included subscription information, usually at the bottom of the message, but few posts specifically introduced other e-mail lists. Only one e-mail list—APECForum, a list with global postings concerning APEC—and two APEC-related chat rooms were specifically introduced on the APEC-Alert list. Three e-mail lists were introduced on the EU+WWG list: one with posts about J18 Global Action Day (on June 18, 1999), one to facilitate organizing activities concerning the next EU summit in Finland, and one about economic issues. An e-mail newsletter by an environmental group was also introduced on the EU+WWG list. 106 Relevant lists that were not specifically introduced on the EU+WWG list included a Germany-based anti-MAI list. Consequently, while some EU+WWG interview participants were subscribed to this anti-MAI list, others did not know about it. E-mail lists by the European group Euromarsche that organized activities for Cologne were also not introduced. Euromarsche had a general e-mail list in France (with postings in French) and at least one country-specific e-mail list in Italy. While group members of Euromarsche posted to the EU+WWG list, they did not mention these lists to EU+WWG list subscribers until after the summits were over. The volunteer at the Infoladen Koln (the group that created the EU+WWG list), in our interview, then expressed his disappointment about not having heard about that list before. Apparently, these lists were also not made known to all group members. Interviewee-M, who was quite involved in Euromarsche on a local level and had contacts to some group members in other cities and countries, did not know of the lists. Forwards from Acquaintances Additional online sources for background information that many subscribers mentioned were messages forwarded to them by acquaintances. Interviewee-24 from the APEC-Alert list, for example, found these more valuable than listserves because "friends knew what [he] was interested in" and, thus, sent him selected information. Another source of information for subscribers from both lists were co-activists. Activists as Sources of Information about APEC or the EU and G7/G8 All interview participants from both lists pointed to co-activists as major sources for background information, clarifications of details, or where to find information about the issues organizing groups were concerned with. This included personal conversations with activists, 107 public talks, panels and workshops. A few interviewees from the APEC-Alert list also mentioned classroom discussions as a source of information about globalization. Group meetings were found less useful to find out more about globalization. EU+WWG Interviewee-G regretted that the group meetings he attended fell short of discussions about the EU and G7/G8. Interviewee-14 from the APEC-Alert list also found that meetings were mostly planning sessions without enough discussion about APEC. While she attended APEC-Alert's "weekly gatherings" that were meant to inform and recruit new participants, as time went by, the focus of these meetings shifted to discussing and planning events. Other forms of group involvement, however, did facilitate learning about globalization. Learning through Praxis lnterviewee-10 from the APEC-Alert list found that "a lot of the opinions he [formed] and a lot of [his] ability to talk to students at an information table" stemmed from the many informal discussions he had with APEC-Alert participants. Additionally, several interview participants from the APEC-Alert list found that speaking publicly at information tables or on panels prompted them to learn more about APEC both before and after their talks. APEC-Alert Interviewee-09 relays his experience: One way of learning that was very useful, that I think is underestimated, is when people ask you questions and you don't know, like manning information tables or trying to pass out leaflets, and people would ask you questions, and you'd be like: "I don't know. 108 I guess I got to find that out." [...] Or another one is getting into arguments with people and then either losing them or not doing well and wanting to go and find more information either through [asking] people or through reading, but I think it was mostly people. APEC-Alert organizer Interviewee-01 found that she learned the most about APEC through designing pamphlets. One day a co-organizer insisted she write an information sheet about APEC with him: I think I learned most that weekend because I had to deal with all the facts and put it in a way that I was happy with. Several organizers from the EU+WWG list also mentioned doing research for the purpose of writing informational materials for group publications. Joining writing efforts or taking on public speaking for activist groups was thus one way to learn more about the issues the organizing revolved around. These findings shows that study participants partially formed their views through praxis. This points to New Social Movement theorists' view of movements as "praxis through which new identities are formed, new ways of life tested, and new forms of community prefigured" (Carroll, 1997, p. 17). 109 Personal Interactions Compared to Online Interactions In my case studies, use of the e-mail lists did not facilitate learning experiences similar to these offline speaking and writing experiences. An exception could have been online debates. However, no one from the EU+WWG list and only one interview participant from the APEC-Alert list mentioned online debates as a source of learning and many interview participants expressed little interest in even reading them because they found them hostile (see Chapter 7) and impersonal. Interview participants across the board, from both lists, often stressed that they found e-mail impersonal and—despite the occurrence of online debates—not interactive enough. The following statement by Interviewee-09 from the APEC-Alert list expresses many interview participants' experiences: [M]ost of that information was learned [...] through interaction with fellow activists or with people who I was arguing against. [...] the problem with email and with the web is that there's no interaction, there's no discussion, there's no agreement or disagreement immediately. [...] So most of my knowledge I would say I learned through that. [The email list and the web] I think more supplemented it. Also pointing to the importance of interactivity for learning about issues is the experience of Interview-23 from the APEC-Alert list. He was not involved with any anti-APEC groups and did not read many e-mails that he received through the APEC-Alert list. He said that he did not find time to read them, but that sometime after the AELM was over he took a course on globalization "because [he] wasn't reading any of the e-mails and [he] didn't understand any of 110 the issues any better than [before]." A large motivation for him to take the course was that it was more interactive than the e-mail list. It needs to be examined whether a strategic use of e-mail lists to encourage participation in online debates could make list use more interactive than it did in the studied cases. Even if this were the case, online debates might still seem too impersonal to subscribers. One could presume that offline contact may make online debates less impersonal in that subscribers know each other personally. However, APEC-Alert list subscribers who had personal contact with one another in group meetings found online discussions as impersonal as list subscribers from either list who did not know other subscribers. While I will show in Chapter 7 that subscribers posted more often to e-mail lists on which they knew all or most subscribers, for the most part they did not engage in debates on these lists either. Conclusion I examined how the APEC-Alert and EU+WWG lists were used for consensus mobilization and showed that list use can help deepen subscribers' support for a movement. However, a lack of information on APEC, or the EU and G7/G8 and barriers to reading list messages (such as high list volume) resulted in subscribers learning less about the issues than they might have otherwise. This points to a need for social movement actors to actively frame their efforts in posted messages, to develop strategies on posting issue information, and to reduce barriers to reading list messages. While list volume can pose problems, restricting posts on a list to narrowly defined issues may not be the best course for social movement actors to take. I showed that keeping lists open to 111 varied information did, at least in the case of APEC-Alert, allow subscribers to widen their understanding of social justice issues and their interconnectedness. I also showed that the inclusion of other social justice issues can mobilize subscribers that may not be interested in the very issues organizing groups rally against. However, the fact that message senders rarely connected social justice issues to globalization, also left subscribers to focus on specific social justice issues without learning more about the long reach of globalization. To further consensus mobilization, social movement actors should therefore ensure that social justice issues are connected to the issues they rally against. The discussion in this chapter also shows that internet use creates an information gap between movement participants who have internet access and those who do not, although it partially levels access to information between those with access. However, the findings suggest that for the leveling of access to information to occur most successfully, social movement actors need to inform subscribers in list messages about additional sources of information such as printed materials and websites and to facilitate face-to-face meetings whenever possible. This is because, for the most part, interview participants considered print materials, face-to-face interactions, public speaking and writing experiences as better or preferred methods of learning about social justice issues than e-mail lists. Myers (1998) opines that "The announcements, conversations, and reactions in computer conferences certainly facilitate awareness of movement issues and often are designed to elicit appropriately sympathetic attitudes, thereby moving the individual reader into the pool of potential activists." However, use of the e-mail lists under study shows that for this to be the 112 case social movement actors need to commit resources (such as their own time to develop strategies for informing list subscribers about issues) to the use of these lists. Before I examine the effects list use had on subscribers' online and offline participation, I discuss in the next chapter how useful the APEC-Alert and EU+WWG lists were to subscribers in learning about the views, aims and tactics of organizing groups. 113 Chapter 6: Consensus Mobilization—Gaining Support for Organizing Groups Consensus mobilization (Snow et al., 1986, p. 466) refers to a group's efforts to drum up support for its views and aims or the process of generating adherents to the goals of the movement. In the previous chapter I discussed how successfully the APEC-Alert and EU+WWG lists informed about APEC, the EU, the G7/G8, and globalization. While I found that offline involvement provided subscribers with learning opportunities that the lists could not offer, posted messages did help deepen subscribers' support of the movement as a whole. Support such as this can lead subscribers to want to participate in organizing groups. In this chapter, I examine how subscribers obtained information about organizing groups, their views, goals and tactics and what role the APEC-Alert and EU+WWG list played in this regard. I begin by examining the messages organizing groups posted to the e-mail lists under study. I find that most of the posted messages did not address groups' views and goals, including those of the main organizing groups, and that many groups contributed little to the lists. I also show that a shift of focus in APEC-Alert organizers' views was not reflected in the content of APEC-Alert list messages. As a result, list subscribers, especially those less involved offline, knew little about the views and goals of organizing groups. 114 While online debates partially informed subscribers about group politics and debates within the movement, many subscribers still felt uninformed. Few activists participated in these debates and senders of messages frequently did not provide contextualizing information. I then show that group tactics were explained even less often on the APEC-Alert and EU+WWG lists than views and goals. List messages did, however, result in subscribers' support for APEC-Alert's civil disobedience actions. They also conveyed that a large number of people were involved in the anti-APEC protest activities and that a large spectrum of groups participated in anti-EU+WWG activities. List messages also had the side-effect of educating subscribers about mainstream news agencies' biases. Information on Organizing Groups on the APEC-Alert and EU+WWG Lists Both e-mail lists carried few messages that specifically stated groups' views and aims. Of the 513 relevant messages on the EU+WWG list (see the previous chapter for the definition of "relevant messages"), 314 were messages by activist groups.15 Of these, only 82 messages contained information about groups' views or aims. Of the 352 relevant messages on the APEC-Alert list, 229 were messages by activist groups and only 59 of these contained information about groups' views or aims. While some groups (see Table 2) included their views more frequently than others, in most cases they only expressed those in the space of one to a few sentences added to announcements or reports of activities. 15 Group messages did not always originate from group e-mail accounts, but also from many group members' personal accounts. Under 'messages by activist groups' I include all messages that announce or report group activities or contain texts from group publications. Messages not captured under this category include individual subscribers' questions, suggestions, contributions to debates, and posted news articles. 115 Table 2: Messages that Include Information about Group Views and Goals Groups on No. Msgs. Groups on the No. Msgs. the APEC- of with EU+WWG list of with Alert list msgs. group msgs. group info. info. APEC-Alert 126 39 BK99 41 7 NO! TO 21 2 LiRa 20 6 APEC People's 3 0 ICC/PGA 16 10 Summit 51 Other 118 18 Euromarsche 53 22 Groups 103 Other Groups 189 41 All Groups 229 59 All Groups 314 82 The table shows separate rows for the main organizing coalitions and groups . The ICC/PGA and Euromarsche were added to the table because of a high frequency of mention by interview participants. Groups under "Other Groups" posted less messages than separately listed groups (with the exception of the People's Summit). On both lists, the majority of groups under "Other Groups" only posted one message. Note that there are a total of 82 messages with groups' views or aims on the EU+WWG list, but since some of these messages contain views or aims by several groups, the numbers in the last column of the table for the EU+WWG list adds up to 86. Considering the small amount of information about groups' views and aims on the lists, it is not surprising that interview participants viewed neither list as a source of information about groups' views and aims. In addition, as some interview participants noted and Table 2 shows, many groups did not contribute any, or sent only few, messages to the APEC-Alert and EU+WWG lists. This includes some of the main organizing groups. Excluding schedules of events, only 21 messages on the APEC-Alert list (or 7% of the total number of relevant list messages) contained any 116 information about NO! TO APEC and only three referred to the People's Summit. On the EU+WWG list, only twenty messages were posted by LiRa, one of the two main coalitions. The FrauenLesben Gruppe that formed specifically to organize against the summits in Cologne did not post any messages. Learning about Groups through Group Messages As the following case shows, a high number of messages by one group does not necessarily lead to subscribers knowing more about that particular group. In case of the EU+WWG list, the group Euromarsche posted more messages that included information about their views than any other group. They also posted more messages in total than any other group. However, the two subscribers who sent most of these messages posted many additional messages not about Euromarsche. This led subscriber V to eventually stop reading any of their messages. Consequently subscriber V learned little about Euromarsche through the EU+WWG list: Nothing against the Euromarsche, I don't know them enough (incidentally, I really liked their demonstration on the 29th—because so many people came from different places and movements), but there were too many e-mails from this group so we eventually stopped reading those. High list volume and other barriers to reading list messages also led to subscribers reading fewer messages in general than they might have otherwise (see previous chapter). Therefore subscribers may have missed some of the messages containing information about groups. As a consequence list information on groups may have seemed lower to subscribers than it was. 117 As a consequence of limited information about groups on the e-mail lists, Interviewee-12 from the APEC-Alert list did not know about the existence of NO! TO APEC—one of the three main groups that organized against APEC in Vancouver—until after the AELM ended. Subscribers who were not involved offline in APEC-Alert or NO! TO APEC were not sure about the relationship between the two groups. Interviewee-24 said that "it wasn't immediately clear to [him]" that there were two groups, that "APEC-Alert [was] actually different from NO! TO APEC." Interviewee-17 did not know until our interview that APEC-Alert was a member of the NO! TO APEC coalition and regretted that this was not made clear on the list as it would have changed her impression of the group. Many other interview participants from both lists knew little about views and goals of groups, except for those groups they worked with offline. Interviewee-J and Interviewee-N from the EU+WWG list wished not only that more groups had participated online, but also that groups had introduced themselves, and exchanged their positions. (E-mails introducing the different groups and their positions were never sent through the APEC-Alert or EU+WWG list.) That organizing groups did not use the lists successfully to convey their views is also demonstrated by the fact that a shift in the views of APEC-Alert organizers did not show in list content. A Shift in APEC-Alert Organizers' Views APEC-Alert started with a focus on human rights abuses in Asia, in particular China and Indonesia (member countries of APEC). As a result, 53 list messages contain information on human rights abuses in Asia, making this the most referenced subject on the list whereas 34 contained information on human rights abuses in North America (also part of APEC), 42 on 118 globalization (36 of these contained specific information on APEC), and 11 contained information about other social justice issues. The focus on Asia was due to organizers knowing more, at least initially, about human rights abuses there than about APEC, globalization, or human rights abuses in North America. It was also a strategic move, since organizers felt it was easier to mobilize people that way (see previous chapter). It was only closer to the AELM that this focus shifted in APEC-Alert offline activities. Interviewee-09 remembers: I remember [our focus] did consciously shift, from human rights, and especially focusing on Suharto and Jiang Zemin. We tried to focus more on Canada and the U.S. The shift became apparent in some of the events the group organized closer to the AELM. Interviewee-04 refers to an event on the day prior to the AELM: For example our teach-in had a good cross-section of speakers. [Presenters] talked about Gustafsen Lake16 [and] talked about human rights issues in the States. We had a panel on local issues; poverty [which was] local and poverty [as] human rights abuse. The shift was, however, not apparent in list content. As the next table shows, messages with information about issues in North America and about globalization increased closer to the AELM, but so did messages with information about issues in Asia. 16 At Gustafsen Lake, British Columbia, a group of native sovereigntists came under siege by the RCMP and the Canadian military in 1995. 119 Table 3: APEC-Alert Messages with Information on Human Rights Abuses in Asia and North America, and on Globalization Info, on Asia Info, on North America Info, on globalization Mar 2 1 3 Apr 2 1 2 May 3 3 3 Jun 3 0 0 Jul 7 1 3 Aug 2 0 0 Sep 7 2 8 Oct 12 15 7 Nov 15 11 16 Reflecting on the number of messages about human rights abuses in different countries and globalization, organizer Interviewee-04 said: It would have been good, in hindsight, to have [had] a clear idea of what was appropriate for the list and [what was] not. Since organizing groups did not send out much information about themselves, some list subscribers pieced information together from the little that groups did send, from offline sources (see further below), and from online debates. Learning about Groups through Debates on the E-mail Lists Out-of-town subscriber Interviewee-18 from the APEC-Alert list found online debates somewhat useful to learn about APEC-Alert: 120 Sometimes [...] dialogues [...] on the [APEC-Alert] mailing list were focusing on the decision-making process that APEC-Alert was using and the struggle over how to use consensus effectively in an activist group format, and also issues of exclusion for women in the group. [... Seeing] all these issues coming up was one way that I could see that the kind of politics that you all [in APEC-Alert] had were close to my own. Such issues were mostly brought up after the AELM but there were also brief mentions of them before. Interviewee-F and Interviewee-G, who worked with organizing groups, said that if they had not been subscribed to the EU+WWG list they would have learned less about fights between groups, why some left or threatened to leave coalitions, or what certain groups were criticized for and how they reacted to that. This did, however, also have a negative effect. Many interview participants thought that people were too competitive about their views and found online debates unproductive. They often stressed that they did not have anything against differences in views, but disliked the debasement of other groups' positions and personal attacks, which occurred on both e-mail lists. The online arguments as well as observing groups' offline behaviour also left long-term activist EU+WWG Interviewee-16 with the impression that not much has changed over the years regarding groups' inclination to set themselves apart from each other. (He described it as typical for Cologne that "for every [issue] a separate group forms that makes sure that they set themselves apart from other groups.") Similarly EU+WWG Interviewee-B thought that the 121 same debates that occurred online could be read in leftist periodicals and thought that they were "the same as one could have heard at an EU summit five years earlier." While he thought there were some debates within the movement that were able to move beyond this, he did not find that on the EU+WWG list. Moreover, debates within the movement that occurred online were difficult to follow for subscribers less familiar with them through other sources. Interviewee-C and Interviewee-N from the EU+WWG list were not involved in any organizing groups and had less access to leftist periodicals. They felt that not enough people posted for them to get a good grasp of the debates occurring within the movement. Additionally, group members did not explain their group's viewpoints, neither in messages in general (as shown above) nor during online debates (see next chapter). As I show in the next section debates were not the only type of online messages that did not provide enough context for subscribers with less access to other sources of information to fully understand what was going on. A Lack of Contextualizing Information EU+WWG organizer Interviewee-B found that a posting about the murder of a Kurdish activist in Cologne provided a lot of information not made available in mainstream news. However, less involved Interviewee-N, felt that the postings were not informative enough to allow him to grasp the context of the murder. (Neither of these interview participants lived in Cologne.) Interviewee-N also found many other posts devoid of explanatory information: 122 For example, the Indian peasants who had come. [... 0]n the mailing list, it was only reported what they were doing at the moment, always assuming that readers know why they came here, what they already had done here and what else they were going to do. This mirrors a sentiment expressed by Interviewee-12 whose involvement in APEC-Alert was low: It almost seems [...] you already have to know what's going on to be able to appreciate what's on [lists]. Several interview participants from both lists said that they often turned to co-activists for details or clarification of posted messages, an option less available to, or less used by, subscribers less involved in organizing groups. Information about Group Tactics Groups' tactics were addressed to an even lesser degree on the e-mail lists than groups' views and aims. On the EU+WWG list, chosen tactics were not explained and most articles that discussed strategies were sent only after both summits were over. (After the first summit, only two such messages were sent out, and only one prior to that.) On the APEC-Alert list, there was one discussion about tactics prior to the AELM. This discussion focused on whether activism should be fun, but did not go into detail regarding other tactical choices. Group organizers from both lists discussed their tactics during formal and informal meetings. As a result minutes of meetings can be a source of information for group tactics. Yet minutes 123 were sent through the EU+WWG list only six times. No protocols were sent through the APEC-Alert list, in fact APEC-Alert did not take minutes of their meetings. Most interview participants learned about group tactics in meetings and through activists. In addition, EU+WWG list subscribers drew on minutes of meetings (received via postal or electronic mail) both from groups they worked with and frequently from other groups. The lack of list information on groups' tactics left subscribers, who were less involved offline, uninformed of the reasons for choosing particular tactics. As a result, Interviewee-06, in retrospect, considered her volunteering to get arrested prior to the AELM "the stupidest thing [she]'d ever done in [her] life" and saw "no political purpose" to that action. However, list messages about APEC-Alert's civil disobedience actions resulted in subscribers viewing them positively. Interviewee-22 who only attended the protest on the day of the AELM said that the list gave him the impression that APEC-Alert was "a pretty cool group, really funny [and] imaginative." Interviewee-23 who also only attended on the day of the AELM, thought that "the civil disobedience actions were cool but not stupid." He did not agree with all civil disobedience,.but in this case it seemed to him the group's actions were "very intelligently done." He recalled one "cool action" where the group was using glass-chalk to write slogans on windows and thought that "the [UBC] administration [...] completely overreacted." The e-mail lists successfully conveyed two more issues. The first is the large number of people involved in the anti-APEC protest activities and the large spectrum of groups involved in anti-EU+WWG activities. The second is how mainstream news media cover protests. I discuss these in the next two sections. 124 The Spectrum of Resistance / The Large Number of People Involved The EU+WWG and, to a lesser extent, the APEC-Alert list carried messages about activities initiated by a large number of groups. On the APEC-Alert list, unlike on the EU+WWG list, many of these messages were forwarded by APEC-Alert participants rather than sent directly by the groups. One reason APEC-Alert organizer Interviewee-04 gave for forwarding such messages was "[to] creat[e] this sense that there is a resistance, that there is an alternative, that we're not alone, that there's a movement." Many interview participants from both lists indeed appreciated news about other groups' activities, and often viewed them as "moral support". Furthermore, Interviewee-22, who only attended protest activities on the day of the AELM, said that reading messages on the APEC-Alert list and seeing "all these people posting" allowed him to realize that many people were involved and increased his confidence that protests against the AELM would occur. Similarly, Interviewee-L said that "[she] did not know about this very large spectrum of resistance against certain developments" prior to being on the EU+WWG list. Interviewee-B describes the impression he gained through EU+WWG list messages: The abundance of people that posted to the list elucidated the size of the movement behind the EU [protest activities]. The list thus had a motivational effect itself through the wealth of e-mails, along with the exhausting effect that many messages came through the list. [...] Although the protest activities did not quite do justice to this impression. 125 The lists therefore conveyed that, in the case of APEC-Alert, a large number of people and, in the case of the EU+WWG list, a large spectrum of groups organized activities concerning the summits, which in turn had motivational effects on subscribers. This confirms Myers (1998) suggestion that use of the internet "can facilitate an 'artificial' density of an aggrieved population". Density of a population, according to many social movement theorists, facilitates collective action (Myers, 1998). Learning about Mainstream Media through Comparison Interview participants from both lists said that the lists were particularly useful for obtaining information not available through the mainstream press. Interviewee-24 from the APEC-Alert list recalled how protestors' "violence" during the WTO protests in Seattle was a focus for mainstream news while the communique of Black Bloc was only available via internet initially and later in leftist publications. An example of news on the EU+WWG list with limited coverage in the mainstream press was the post about the murder of a Kurdish activist in Cologne. Another would be the coverage of protest activities in other countries and even locally: Both after the EU and the G7/G8 demonstration, some list subscribers in their posts complained about the near-to-nothing media coverage. Mainstream news coverage of APEC-Alert would often focus on arrests during civil disobedience actions and on the group's human rights focus even when other reasons to oppose APEC were mentioned as well. Interviewee-14 and Interviewee-16 said that the APEC-Alert e-mail list facilitated learning about the mainstream media through comparisons of mainstream press articles to what was sent over the lists. 126 Interviewee-16 compared mainstream news coverage with messages sent over e-mail lists during the protests of the AELM in Vancouver and the WTO in Seattle and found the former "appalling." He has since become convinced that "it's a calculated move to change headlines from protest to riot [which] helps the powers that be to keep the message positive about an actual event [such as the AELM]." Comparing group information on the lists to that in mainstream news thus helped subscribers learn about mainstream news agencies' biases. This can then lead to subscribers' turning to social movement organizations for news and thus keep them connected to social movements. An example for this is given in the documentation of the radicalization of Zeke Spier (Elin, 2003). Zeke Spier heard about the 1997 WTO demonstration in Seattle through the mainstream media, but "did not think it was the full picture of what happened." He had just been to a demonstration against the School of the Americas17 and was dissatisfied with mainstream media coverage of that protest. As a result, he searched the web and came to rely on the Independent Media Center's website. Other Sources of Information about Group Views, Goals and Tactics Interview participants from both lists felt the amount of list information on groups was too limited. Generally, however, they preferred, if they could, to obtain information about groups views and aims through personal contact with activists rather than through the lists. (I discuss interview participants reasons for their preference of face-to-face over e-mail interactions in the previous chapter.) They said that information about groups' views, goals and tactics they were 17 The School of the Americas, according to School of the Americas Watch, "trains Latin American soldiers in combat, counter-insurgency, and counter-narcotics" (http://www.soaw.org/new/). It is located in the United States of America and since 2001 has been renamed to Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. 127 involved in mainly came from attending group meetings and events and from talking to other group participants. Several mentioned asking other activists for information about groups they were not involved in. For example, Interviewee-J, upon reading about activities of a group in Munich, contacted an acquaintance in Munich to find out more about the group's positions: There was relatively little [...] with regards to general information about the groups. They did post about events [...]. But one does not know all the groups in other cities. Then there are also groups that formed specifically for [protesting the Cologne summits] and one does at first not know who they are. [...] When I then read something from a group in Munich, for example, and they announce an event with refugees, then I ask somebody from Kein Mensch ist Illegal [No One Is Illegal] in Munich: "What kind of people are these? What kind of event do they organize?" This happens via [personal] e-mail, not via the list. This points to the importance of trust. Rather than ask for a response from anonymous EU+WWG list subscribers, Interviewee-J sought information from social movement actors he knew and trusted. This echoes the findings of Ryan's (2003) study of the process to accept new members into the Computer-Mediated Social Action Network (CMSAN), a group with closed membership that "provides information and communication resources" to activists. Here, CMSAN members based their decision to accept and initially trust new members on "reputation, particularly for group applicants" and for individual applicants, they relied on "third party endorsement by a known and trusted colleague" (Ryan, 2003, p. 14). 128 Interview participants from both lists also frequently used groups' printed materials, and EU+WWG list subscribers additionally used minutes of meetings as sources for information about groups. Interview participants with less access to activists and groups' printed materials, did turn to the web for information about groups. Out-of-town APEC-Alert list subscriber Interviewee-18 was one of them. While he found that he could "us[e] the [APEC-Alert] website [to get] a sense of what APEC was and [...] what the plans were for the protests during the summit," he said he did not learn much from the website about APEC-Alert itself. The website only contained a few lines about APEC-Alert views and goals. EU+WWG subscribers had more luck with the web. Organizing groups' websites had varying amounts of information about groups' views and goals. Consequently EU+WWG interview participants occasionally drew on websites to learn about groups. This was particularly useful for subscribers not involved in organizing groups, such as Interviewee-L. When I asked her what her sources for information about groups were, she said: That was exclusively the e-mail list and links posted to the e-mail lists to [sites] on the internet. For example, about the [Intercontinental] Caravan one could read on a Dutch website. [...] but aside from that I had little. There was some information in the monthly periodical [Analyse & Kritik], or in Freitag [a weekly paper published in Cologne] [...] but not very much. 129 While in both the anti-EU+WWG and the anti-APEC case some listings of groups were put on the web, thorough overviews of organizing groups and their views, aims and activities were lacking, a fact that several interview participants regretted. Conclusion While subscribers looked to the lists for information about organizing groups' views, aims and tactics, I showed that the lists were poorly used in this respect. Messages containing information about groups' views, aims and tactics were rather limited. Therefore, use of the e-mail lists under study did not result in subscribers coming to support specific group views and aims. List messages also did not help subscribers understand reasons for groups' choice of tactics or the relationships between groups. To further consensus mobilization, social movement actors should make a point of informing subscribers about their group's beliefs and tactical choices. That e-mail lists can be used to raise support for groups is demonstrated by the support subscribers developed through list messages for APEC-Alert's civil disobedience actions. Subscribers showed a preference for obtaining information about groups through personal contact (due to previously developed trust and other reasons as explained in the previous chapter). This suggests that social movement actors should explicitly inform subscribers in their posts at which offline occasions and through whom they can find out more about groups. While online debates did help inform subscribers about groups' views, the discussion above shows a need for social movement actors to move towards constructive debates in which attacks are avoided. Further, the inclusion of many voices from within the movement needs to 130 be facilitated and groups' viewpoints need to be explained on the lists. Otherwise, as demonstrated in this study, many subscribers find it difficult to understand the online debates and do not feel they can get a grasp of the debates within the larger movement. The e-mail lists were particularly important sources of information to those less involved with organizing groups as they also often had less access to print materials and co-activists. Thus, contextualizing information is crucial to further mobilization of subscribers who are less involved offline. Even though many organizing groups did not participate on the lists under study, the lists conveyed that a large number of social movement actors took part in the summit protests. This had motivational effects that could have been increased if more groups' online participation were be facilitated. Lastly, the study shows that not only did interview participants find list messages useful for obtaining information not available through the mainstream news, they also, through comparison, learned more about mainstream news agencies' biases. As a consequence, subscribers became aggrieved about mainstream news reporters' coverage of social movement activities. 131 Chapter 7: Action Mobilization—Facilitating Online Involvement of List Subscribers In this and the following chapter, I examine which uses of the APEC-Alert and EU+WWG e-mail lists promoted action mobilization, or, in other words, how they contributed to the "activation of people or organizations who already support movement goals and activities" (Snow et al., 1986, p. 466). As a new resource, use of e-mail lists provides new opportunities for mobilization. It may provide an entry point into activism and it could result in an increase of subscribers' involvement in movement online and offline activities. In this chapter, I examine subscribers' online participation and discuss interview participants' reasons for their online behaviour. In the next chapter, I focus on subscribers' offline participation. To determine how effective list use was in prompting subscribers to become active online, I first examine how many people sent messages to the APEC-Alert and EU+WWG e-mail lists. Finding that participation was low on both lists, I then discuss interview participants' reasons for not posting messages. Within this discussion I present further quantitative and qualitative data from the e-mail lists, interviews, and questionnaires which illustrate and explain why female subscribers and subscribers less involved offline posted fewer messages, and why all subscribers had little trust in other subscribers' online behaviour. As a result, most subscribers posted few messages to the APEC-Alert and EU+WWG lists. Subscribers who wanted to support organizing groups did so through other online actions. 132 How Many Subscribers Posted to the Lists The number of subscribers to the APEC-Alert list ranged from a few in the spring of 1997 to about 300 just prior to the AELM in November, 1997. During this time, at least 407 people were, at one point or another, subscribed to the list. Of these, only 61 (or 14.99%) posted messages. (21 other subscribers sent empty messages, (un)subscribe requests, and personal responses to the list. I do not include these in my analysis of posted messages.) Approximately 450 e-mail addresses were subscribed in total to the EU+WWG list. Of these, about 350 remained on the list for extended periods of time. 178 subscribers (or 39.56%) posted messages. (37 additional subscribers sent empty messages, (un)subscribe requests and personal responses to the list. I do not include these or duplicate messages in my analysis of posted messages. I do, however, include messages that were sent to the list by one person and were posted again by another since these constitute a deliberate effort to contribute something new to the list. In contrast, messages sent twice by the same person were either due to a technical problem or the correcting of mistakes contained within the original message (see Chapter 5).) Participation on the lists was therefore rather low with only 14.99% of APEC-Alert list subscribers and 39.56% of EU+WWG list subscribers posting messages. This is similar to Balka's (1993) finding regarding participation on a bulletin board set up in 1986 for organizing and information-sharing purposes between women's groups. During the time she collected her data, 639 people signed on to the bulletin board. Of these, only 114 or 17.84% left messages. 133 That most subscribers from both lists chose not to post any messages shows that groups' list use was not successful in mobilizing people to become active on the lists. EU+WWG list use, however, was more successful in mobilizing subscribers to post messages than use of the APEC-Alert list. I now examine reasons for the difference in percentage of subscribers who posted to the two lists. Why More EU+WWG than APEC-Alert List Subscribers Posted Messages That the percentage of subscribers who posted to the EU+WWG list was higher reflects that many interview participants from the EU+WWG list viewed it as an information exchange tool that was introduced as such on the web. APEC-Alert sign-up sheets, on the other hand, asked people to provide e-mail addresses and phone numbers if they wanted information about APEC and APEC-Alert. Five interview participants from the APEC-Alert list therefore initially expected only to receive information from this list, and thought that they could not send messages to the list themselves. Once they were subscribed to the list, it became clear to them that in fact every subscriber could post messages. One of these (Interviewee-01) however, said that even once she was on the list it was not clear to her whether messages were read and edited by list maintainers before they were posted. She suggested that a short explanation about this would have been useful and may have prompted her to post more. The e-mail addresses provided on the APEC-Alert sign-up sheets were added to the APEC-Alert e-mail list. The subscription welcome-message only indicated, up until November 4, how to send a messages to the "whole group" but did not explicitly state that the list was a place to exchange information. Only after November 4, did the welcome-message state that the list was "intended to be a place where anti-APEC information can be posted, ideas and opinions can be 134 expressed, and where general discussion about APEC-ALERT and APEC can happen." The EU+WWG list, on the contrary, was always clearly introduced as a tool to exchange information and for discussion. Furthermore, the APEC-Alert list was set up by APEC-Alert organizers to disseminate information about APEC and APEC-Alert; consequently, most posts originated from APEC-Alert organizers. While the APEC-Alert list featured some messages about other groups' activities, many of these were posted by APEC-Alert organizers who were involved in those groups or posted them to share inspiring actions from groups in other cities and countries. The EU+WWG list, on the other hand, was set up by one group for all groups to post about their activities concerning the Cologne summits and as a discussion forum. Consequently, 107 groups contributed to the EU+WWG list. Posts for each of these groups originated from one to a few organizers. This resulted in a higher number of posters on the EU+WWG list than on the APEC-Alert list. Nevertheless, many subscribers on both lists were inactive. I now show that subscribers who were more actively involved offline were also more active online, and that less involved subscribers posted few or no messages. I then discuss subscribers' reasons for this online behaviour. Posters' Levels of Offline Involvement in Organizing Groups The following table shows the number and type of messages questionnaire respondents posted compared to their level of offline involvement in organizing groups. For each level of respondents' offline involvement, the table shows how many of them sent messages to the 135 e-mail lists and how many sent "personal responses", that is how many replied to list messages by sending an e-mail to message senders rather than to the whole list. (Interview participants sent personal responses when they needed clarifications, wanted more information, or wanted to express support or critique posts and felt this did not need to go through the whole list. They also volunteered to take on tasks and sometimes responded with humorous comments to posters they knew well.) Table 4: Number and Type of Messages Sent by Questionnaire Respondents Compared with Their Level of Involvement Referenced to Number of Respondents No. of APEC-Alert No. of EU+WWG respondents who sent respondents who sent Total List Personal No Total List Personal No no. msgs. responses msgs. no. msgs. responses msgs. Group 7 5 7 0 3 2 3 0 organizers Group 26 8 18 2 11 7 6 2 member Attended 11 2 3 6 events prior to summits Only 16 2 6 9 9 4 2 3 attended events around summits No offline 25 2 3 18 6 2 3 3 participation Note that the following questionnaire respondents did not indicate whether they sent any messages: three APEC-Alert group members, two APEC-Alert list subscribers who attended events prior to the summits, two APEC-Alert list subscribers who did not participate in offline activities, and one EU+WWG list subscriber who only attended events around the summits. 136 Table 4 shows that questionnaire respondents with higher levels of offline involvement posted more messages. Additionally, in the case of the APEC-Alert list, more respondents replied personally to list messages than posted to the list. The Tendency to Post More Messages When Involved Offline List messages revealed that three subscribers marginally involved in offline APEC-Alert activities only posted messages that regarded activities they organized (with groups other than APEC-Alert). Furthermore, interview participants less involved offline in APEC-Alert or EU+WWG activities who did not post very often or at all to the APEC-Alert and EU+WWG list, frequently posted messages to e-mail lists of groups in which they were more involved. Three EU+WWG and one APEC-Alert list subscriber said they did not participate in online debates that were not directly related to their activist work because it would be too time-consuming to get involved in them. Why Subscribers Less Involved Offline Sent Fewer Messages Reasons given by interview participants less involved offline for not posting included a feeling of having less of a "right" to comment due to limited offline involvement, limited knowledge about the issues the organizing revolved around, observations that subscribers communicate selectively with each other, and intimidation and alienation through hostile e-mail exchanges. I discuss these in the next sections. Limited Offline Involvement and Limited Knowledge of Issues Several interview participants from the APEC-Alert list who were less involved offline did not post much because they did not consider themselves authoritative sources of information 137 regarding the issues at hand. Interviewee-08 and Interviewee-10 from the APEC-Alert list, at first, felt that they did not know enough about APEC and about activities at UBC that concerned APEC. They began posting more when they became more involved in offline APEC-Alert activities and felt more knowledgeable about the issues the group was concerned with. Interviewee-09 also said that after he had been on the list and involved in the group offline for a while, he "realized [he] was in the position where [he] could offer information that only a few of [the subscribers] could offer" and consequently posted more often. Furthermore, interview participants less involved offline felt insecure about posting to the list. Interviewee-05 was uncertain what "the value of [her] contribution would be in comparison to other people." She felt that she was "not well read or as well thought out" as others. Interviewee-21 from the APEC-Alert list was "not certain that [people active in APEC-Alert] would necessarily listen to what [she] ha[d] to say." She felt that her "right to comment on what [organizers] do is limited in the sense that [she] ha[d] not invested as much time as them." She described this as "an abstract concern" rather than one attained through reading list messages. Interviewee-16 voiced similar concerns, but also saw the limitations of such behaviour: Part of the reason I edited myself, I think, was [that] I didn't feel like I was involved enough for my opinion to really count and I felt that people who were more involved perhaps deserved to be controlling the direction. And to a certain extent that's true, but on the other hand that's a vicious cycle, because without contributing I'm not likely to become more involved. 138 EU+WWG interview participants did not bring up a lack of knowledge about the issues the organizing revolved around or having less rights to comment due to limited offline involvement as barriers to posting. Unlike APEC-Alert list subscribers, EU+WWG interview participants generally were fairly knowledgeable about the EU and G7/G8 and most of them were involved in local groups or in a coalition As on the APEC-Alert list, however, interview participants less involved offline also posted less to the EU+WWG list. One reason—and this one they share with less involved APEC-Alert list subscribers—included feeling that their opinions were already represented in existing postings so that, consequently, they rarely saw a need to contribute to the list. Even if they did, on both lists chances were lower that they received a public response. Subscribers Communicate Selectively with Each Other Interviewee-H and Interviewee-N from the EU+WWG and Interviewee-16 from the APEC-Alert list, pointed out that subscribers communicated rather selectively with each other. EU+WWG Interviewee-N rarely received responses to his posts on any lists. As a consequence he became reluctant to post. While he acknowledged that some topics are more likely to get responses than others, he also felt that subscribers who were "more well-known or had more of a reputation [and] sent incredibly many e-mails" received more responses. I therefore now examine threads (i.e. sequences of messages in which the senders address a specific issue, generally by replying to each others' messages) on the APEC-Alert and EU+WWG list. Nearly all threads on both lists consisted of only two to three and a few of four to six e-mails. Prior to the summits there were 18 threads on the APEC-Alert and 36 threads on the 139 EU+WWG list. (In addition to the 36 threads there were 10 short threads regarding the use of the list.) The initial messages of 10 of the 18 threads on the APEC-Alert list were by the four main posters. On the EU+WWG list 14 of 36 initial messages were by the four main posters. These four posters sent 62.53% of the APEC-Alert list messages and 28.89% of the EU+WWG list messages. On both lists, the four main posters thus received proportionally more responses than other subscribers. There was one longer thread consisting of 25 e-mails on the APEC-Alert list prior to the AELM and several afterwards. On the EU+WWG list there was one thread of 31 e-mails after the summits. The three longest threads prior to the summits consist of one that was initiated by a pro-Pinochet posting that ensued in ten messages disagreeing with the initial post, requests to disallow such posts, and an explanation that the list was not moderated. The second thread regarded the limited coverage of the anti-EU protests in the news. Subscribers sent a total of nine messages to the list, complaining about the lack of coverage, posting information on where some coverage was provided and a challenging question of why subscribers would expect coverage. A debate did not ensue. The third thread began with a request for the internet address of an activist group and seven follow-up e-mails with suggestions of where one could possibly find that address. Since neither of these three threads constituted a debate I do not examine them in detail. 140 The discussion on the APEC-Alert list before the AELM revolved around protest tactics. The thread on the EU+WWG list concerned the future of that list. The following observations can be made of these discussions: • Only 17 subscribers took part in the discussion on the APEC-Alert list, and 14 in the 1 Q discussion on the EU+WWG list. In both cases this is a small percentage of subscribers. • Out of the 17 and 14 discussants, in both cases only 6 received responses to their posts. • On both lists, two of the discussants that ranked highest among the lists' posters19 received the most responses. • On both lists, the discussions focused on two opposite viewpoints represented by the two posters each who received the most responses. • Posters who criticized others received responses by those they criticized and others. Subscribers who took a middle ground or supported one side but did not attack the other tended to not receive responses. Thus subscribers on both lists received more responses to their posts if they previously had posted more messages. Posts criticizing others also received more responses. Few subscribers took part in the discussions. Accordingly, one subscriber, toward the end of the discussion on the EU+WWG list, said: "It's a pity so few take part in the discussion about the future of this list. (General disinterest or various summer activities...?)." This was followed by five more messages, three of which were announcements of other e-mail lists. Then this thread ended. No one on the APEC-Alert list publicly noted that few subscribers took part in the discussion. 19 On the APEC-Alert list, they ranked 5* and 7* and on the EU+WWG list 2nd and 5th. 20 These two discussants on the APEC-Alert list received seven and eight messages in the discussion while four other discussants only received one to two each. The top two discussants on the EU+WWG list received six responses each. A third and fourth discussant received three and five responses each, but only after their second messages in which the latter remarked: "even though our suggestion [...] did not receive a direct reaction, we are posting again." The 5th and 6th discussants who received responses on the EU+WWG list only received one each. 141 I now show that online hostilities alienated less involved subscribers more than more involved subscribers. Feelings of Intimidation due to the Nature of Previous Responses to Posts Several interview participants from both lists mentioned that they unsubscribed from other lists due to too much arguing, usually between men (see more below on gender dynamics). EU+WWG Interviewee-F said that upon observing "very personal attacks" on an e-mail list two years prior to the Cologne summits, she did not use e-mail again for a year. While many interview participants agreed that there were fewer fights on the APEC-Alert or EU+WWG list than on other lists, they would rather not see them on the lists. For some, antagonistic messages were a reason to participate less or not at all. Some subscribers even sent public unsubscribe requests to the lists during hostile e-mail exchanges. Interview participants less involved offline generally reacted more strongly to online fights. Interviewee-H who in years prior to the Cologne summits had not worked with groups said that "as an unorganized person" he was "particularly sensitive" to statements that debase other groups. Interviewee-23 who was not involved offline with APEC-Alert said that "people quibbling with each other" on the list after the AELM was what pushed him to unsubscribe. Furthermore, online hostilities prevented two subscribers less involved offline, Interviewee-16 and Interviewee-07, from sending messages, even when they felt provoked to respond to a message. Interviewee-16 said: 142 Sometimes I think there was a certain amount of intimidation. It was, perhaps, not particularly easy to post. [...] I know that there are many e-mails that I started in my head or even [...], a few times, started writing and then just decided, nah, it's just not worth it. [...] Some people got shot down pretty brutally and that was sometimes nasty and subjecting yourself to that can be intimidating. EU+WWG Interviewee-N was also worried about posting to the EU+WWG list because his name is attached to the e-mail and he wondered who would form an impression about him and whether he would meet them face-to-face one day and be confronted with what he posted to the list. He did not consider it a "safe space for discussions." (I discuss below what venues interview participants considered safer spaces for discussion.) I now examine why it is that subscribers less involved offline were more put off by hostile messages than those more actively involved offline. Why Hostile List Messages Alienated Less Involved Subscribers More On both lists subscribers less involved offline frequently could not understand why people were fighting. During the discussion about the future of the EU+WWG list, an argument ensued around two different viewpoints. Two of the main discussants knew each other and showed mutual knowledge of each other's politics. Their focus on each other resulted in messages that left it unclear to other subscribers how the two views differed. This led subscriber Y to publicly ask "if each side has a sound opinion on the topic [...] and could write it out or if this was simply a mutual dislike." Subscriber Z was annoyed by the argument and posted the following: 143 "[...] I don't quite understand what's going on and I'm somehow also fed up with the fighting within the Left in Germany. I don't have an overview of who's fighting with who or why—and to be honest, I don't want to know the details either. And I also don't want to join these fights... [...] I don't think it makes much sense to fight in this manner via e-mail. I find it exciting to have a debate on political differences, but please in a way so that it is clear who says what why and not so that I feel like an involuntary spectator of a "cock fight" [...] Interviewee-18, who was not involved in APEC-Alert, found "online confrontations, that were taking place on the list [in which] people were either defending themselves or criticizing other people [...] not relevant to [him] at all." The arguments led him to wonder if subscribers thought that only APEC-Alert members were on the list. Similarly, Interviewee-11 thought that discussants sometimes "thought they had reached just one person" rather than the whole list. Such e-mails were often clearly intended for the whole list, though message authors did not always provide enough context for subscribers who were not involved offline to understand the issues. Interviewee-08 said he could understand it if people signed off the APEC-Alert list when internal fights were brought up on the list after the AELM. He once was on an e-mail list of a group he was not active in, and on this list a lot of infighting occurred. As a subscriber not involved offline, he found that the arguments "ma[de] no sense" to him. Sometimes, however, subscribers more involved offline also had difficulties following online arguments. Interviewee-J from the EU+WWG list explains: 144 I find a discussion in which arguments are directly quoted to then be rebutted annoying. With ten layers of quotes one does after the third paragraph not know anymore who says what. Layered quotes could be found in some of the arguments on the lists. Not only are they confusing to non-discussants, they also can result in more hostilities. Balka (1993) studied a bulletin board that had a built-in mechanism that prompted discussants to include parts of messages they were responding to in their e-mail. Balka found that "[p]artly as a consequence of this [...] feature, [...] messages tendfed] to read like 'he-said-she said ... but you didn't understand' argument." As a result messages became more antagonistic. Online infighting made less sense to subscribers less involved offline because they did not know much about offline dynamics within or between groups. Subscribers' reactions to the online fights show that those involved in arguing need to clarify their views and contextualize their messages so that outsiders can follow the discussion. To further mobilization of subscribers, online debates should involve larger numbers of participants, not be hostile, and discussants should not communicate selectively. Even then, the usefulness of such debates apropos mobilization would need to be explored. So far, I have discussed why subscribers less involved offline posted fewer messages. It was, however, not only subscribers less involved offline who posted few or no messages. Rather, on both lists a very small number of subscribers was responsible for a large number of messages. 145 List Participation The following table shows how many messages different subscribers sent through the examined lists. Table 5: Subscribers Ranked by Volume of Posts Subscribers who posted # of msgs. sent Subscribers who posted # of msgs. sent to the APEC-Alert list per person to the EU+WWG list per person 1st subscriber 102 1st subscriber # 86 2nd subscriber 54 2nd subscriber 31 3rd subscriber 33 * 3rdsubscriber 26 4th subscriber 26 * 4th subscriber 24 5th-7th subscriber 6-20 5th- 17th subscriber 6-20 8th-24th subscriber 2-5 18th-68m subscriber 2-5 25m-61nd subscriber 1 69th-178m subscriber 1 * These two organizers also used a group e-mail account from which they sent a further six unsigned messages. # This subscriber re-posted 13 messages that others had already sent to the list. Even if these messages are not taken into account, he still posted 73 messages. Only five other EU+WWG list subscribers re-posted other subscribers' messages once or twice each. The total number of messages, excluding empty messages, (un)subscribe requests, personal responses to the list, and an error message, was 578 on the EU+WWG list and 355 on the APEC-Alert list. These numbers also exclude messages sent more than once by the same subscriber. On both lists one person stood out as sending significantly more messages than other subscribers: 102 messages or 28.73% on the APEC-Alert list, and 86 messages or 14.88% on the EU+WWG list. Furthermore, the top four e-mail posters on both lists account for rather high percentages of list messages. On the APEC-Alert list, the top four e-mail posters sent 222 messages or 62.53%. On the EU+WWG list, top four subscribers sent 167 messages or 28.89%. 146 Many of these messages were announcements of groups' activities and warranted posting. However, many of these messages included background information, some of which was more and some less relevant to the organized activities. Regardless of their degrees of relevance, through the number of messages they sent, four posters decided on each list which issues to grant more space, especially on the APEC-Alert list where the four main posters sent more than half of all messages. Effects of List Dominance by a Few Subscribers One concern several interview participants from both lists shared regarding the dominance of the lists by a few is here expressed by Interviewee-09: [Initially,] because I didn't know much about APEC, [...] it wasn't a problem that some people posted a lot because I was interested in all of it. After a while it was a problem, partly because I knew that there were a lot more people involved in [APEC-Alert] than just the people who were posting. Some interview participants on the APEC-Alert list focused on e-mails by specific senders because they knew them or had come to appreciate their messages. (EU+WWG interview participants did not.) Interviewee-05 read all the messages by one main poster, because she admired him, and Interviewee-16 said that: a lot of the times [...] I would look at who had written the message and if it was somebody that I respected than I would probably read it. [...] often it was people I 147 knew, [...] or people I knew of, and respected their opinion and had heard them speak at rallies [...] and knew that they knew what they were talking about and also knew that they were [...] most committed to the organization of the actions. And those people's opinions but also those people's announcements of what would be happening were obviously more important than people I knew to be on the periphery or didn't know at all. Since neither Interviewee-05 nor Interviewee-16 read all messages, this left them with less time to read other subscribers' posts, many of whom were also actively involved offline in APEC-Alert, but did not take on as prominent roles in public venues (offline and on the list). Therefore, through becoming public figures or informal leaders (according to an organizers' list message APEC-Alert was non-hierarchical), some group participants withdrew subscribers' attention from other participants' posts, effectively silencing their voices. Consequently, Interviewee-17 did not post any messages: I was curious [what people I knew and knew of] were saying [and] agreed with a lot of [it, but] had a problem with their process [the fact that they dominated], so I would still read it, but [not] respond. List dominance by a few people therefore prevented at least one APEC-Alert interview participant from posting, and disconcerted several other subscribers. Additionally, some APEC-Alert list subscribers focused on e-mails by heavy posters or APEC-Alert spokespersons whose choice to become prominent figures within the group thus silenced other voices on the e-mail list. 148 The EU+WWG list presented a different story. Subscriber Z, due to the large amount of messages by two of the main posters (who both posted messages about Group N) stopped reading their posts and opposed the merging of the EU+WWG list with Group N's list in a discussion after the summits: I [...] don't want to merge this list with [Group N's] list. [...] I think [merging the lists would result] in too many e-mails, and besides the e-mails from [two of the main posters who both sent messages about Group N] were really too many and at some point we did not even read those any more... Two top posters thus effectively silenced themselves indirectly through sending large numbers of messages. Heavy Posters' Views I asked two of the four heaviest posters on the APEC-Alert list if posting so many messages was ever a concern to them. They both acknowledged that they posted a lot of messages and tended to talk a lot during meetings. However, when I showed Interviewee-03 the number of messages he sent out, he was quite surprised about just how many e-mails he had posted. Yet when I told him that other interview participants had a problem with the fact that a few people dominated the list, he said 149 From my perspective, it wasn't a problem. But other people [...] obviously were concerned; but I'm not sure why. What were people's reasons for being upset about, say, [Interviewee-04, me, Brad] always e-mailing? Interviewee-04 acknowledged that "it shouldn't be that everything emanates from one source" and pointed out the importance of a larger number of people posting. He therefore sometimes asked other people to post announcements and thought that the group should have sent announcements from a group account with no names attached. The latter he could not do because he did not have access to the group's account, so he continued to post messages frequently. Sending unsigned messages from a group account would, however, not have changed the fact that a few posters would have decided which topics should receive more space. None of the heavy posters on the EU+WWG list took part in my study. However, when subscriber Z expressed her dismay with the large number of messages by two top posters, who both posted messages about Group N, one of them, subscriber W, responded publicly to disagree with the accusation. There was no response to this message and twenty-one days later, subscriber W posted the following: Since nobody contradicted the complaints about too many messages from [Group N ...] I will not post them anymore here. If you want to continue to receive them, please subscribe to [Group N's] e-mail list or occasionally check my website. 150 The second accused did not respond to the complaint but only posted one further e-mail thereafter. Thus heavy posters from both lists did not realize how many messages they sent to the list and did not see a problem with it. EU+WWG top posters sent significantly less messages after a public complaint on the list even though at least one of them thought that the complaint was unjustified. APEC-Alert top posters who realized that they sent a lot of messages did not change their posting behaviour significantly. In addition to complaints about list dominance in general, several interview participants from both lists were concerned that, on the examined lists and otherwise, it was usually men who posted the most. Gender Discrepancies On both lists the subscriber who posted the most messages was male. In the case of the APEC-Alert list, 3 of the 4 people who posted the majority of list messages were men. I now examine how many message senders were female or male, and how many messages were posted by women or men. The following table provides a breakdown of gender. Table 6: Posters Sorted by Gender APEC-Alert list EU+WWG list Women who posted 20 25 Men who posted 37 80 Senders of unknown gender 3 Some e-mail accounts were used by several persons who did not always sign their names to the sent messages. To obtain the number 77,1 counted the number of e-mail addresses from which unsigned messages and messages signed with gender-ambiguous names were posted. It is therefore only approximate that there were 77 senders of unknown gender. 151 Table 6 shows that on the APEC-Alert list, nearly twice as many men as women posted messages. On the EU+WWG list, more than three times as many men as women sent messages. I argued in Chapter 4 that the majority of EU+WWG list subscribers were likely male. Therefore, this finding for the EU+WWG list is not surprising. The APEC-Alert list, however, had more female than male subscribers. Yet, nearly twice as many men as women posted to the list. Furthermore, most of the 355 and 578 messages on the APEC-Alert list or the EU+WWG list respectively, were sent by men. Table 7: Number of Messages Sorted by Senders' Gender APEC-Alert list EU+WWG list Messages sent by women 72 67 Messages sent by men 266 291 Messages by sender of unknown gender 17 220 Table 7 shows that men sent more than three and four times as many messages as women to the APEC-Alert and EU+WWG lists respectively. Such a finding is not new. Other examinations of electronic mailing lists and bulletin boards (Herrings, 1993; Gurak, 1997; Travers, 1996; Balka, 1993) show that men participate proportionally more than women and that women were ignored, silenced, intimidated and abused. Unlike in some of these cases, there were no sexist attacks against women on the APEC-Alert or EU+WWG list. 152 Why Women Posted Few Messages One reason why women sent few or no messages is online and offline male dominance. Some female subscribers also posted little because they did not feel confident in their computer skills. I discuss these reasons in the next two sections. Online and Offline Male Dominance As explained in Chapter 3,1 was only able to interview two female EU+WWG list subscribers. While they complained about male dominance, this did not prevent them from posting to the EU+WWG list. As mentioned above, EU+WWG Interviewee-F, however, did not use e-mail for a year after she saw male subscribers argue aggressively online. Male dominance on the APEC-Alert list and during offline group activities did turn female subscribers off and prevented them from participating online (and offline as discussed in the next chapter). Interviewee-17 from the APEC-Alert list did not participate online because she saw that the list was "really male-dominated" and because she knew about the "power struggles" in the group and "didn't want to get involved in that." Her impressions came from "seeing the same people post over and over again." Other female subscribers from the APEC-Alert list, also expressed their discontentment with male dominance on the list, and thought that this dynamic at least partially prevented them from posting. Interviewee-01 from the APEC-Alert list thought that the involvement of one female participant in the computer networking made the list more tolerable, but it still upset her that it was so male dominated. When I asked her what would inspire her to contribute more online, she said: Gender parity. In fact you'd want to even push it so there's more girls [...] 153 This ideal is not easy to undertake. Herring (1993, p. 481) describes men's reactions when women increasingly participated on two academic bulletin boards: During the period of this investigation, women participated actively three times: [...] In all three discussions, women's rate of posting increased gradually to where it equaled 50% of the contributions for a period of one or two days. The reaction to this increase was virtually identical in all three cases: a handful of men wrote in to decry the discussion, and several threatened to cancel their subscription to the list. [...] at no other time during the period of observation did women participate as much as men, and at no other time did any subscriber, male or female, threaten publicly to unsubscribe from either list. Herring goes on to say that these reactions are consistent with Spender's (1979) finding "that women cannot contribute half of the talk in a discussion without making men feel uncomfortable or threatened." (Herring, 1993, p. 481) Lack of Confidence in Computer Skills For some APEC-Alert list subscribers, not knowing how to use e-mail was a barrier to list participation. Interviewee-06 from the APEC-Alert list explained that, at first, she did not send any messages to the list, because she had just obtained e-mail access and did not know how to use it. She and Interviewee-12 from the APEC-Alert list expressed that they were initially apprehensive about using technology and thus rarely posted. Like most other interview participants, they eventually learned how to use e-mail and used it more frequently to communicate. Interviewee-01, however, had continuous problems using e-mail. I inquired why 154 she asked a friend to post a message for her to the APEC-Alert list after she already posted one herself successfully. She thought that was a good example of "how [she] work[s] with computers." She could never remember how to use them and mentioned other difficulties she had, such as having to ask friends or list maintainers to subscribe and unsubscribe her to and from lists as she did not know how to do this herself. She considered herself "not an electronically oriented person at all" and "computer-illiterate," and did not understand how e-mail lists work. She said that this was one of the reasons she did not post to the APEC-Alert list very often. These three were the only interview participants who expressed having had difficulties and apprehensions using the technology, even though other interview participants, including men, had as little experience with computers as they did. Similarly, Herring (1993, p. 488) found that of participants on two bulletin boards, "Female respondents overwhelmingly indicated less confidence in their ability to use computers, despite the fact that they had had the same number of years of computer experience as male respondents." Interviewee-01 also remembered how, by chance, she joined a discussion between three organizers (one female, two males) who maintained the group e-mail account and the APEC-Alert public list. At the time, she expressed that she "had no idea" how the other three did this. While one of them responded that she'd have to learn how, this was not followed through by a session to pass on the skills she needed. APEC-Alert generally did not facilitate the learning of computer skills. Neither, to my knowledge, did any EU+WWG groups offer such skill sharing sessions. While various initiatives have informally and formally begun within activist communities to reduce some of the access costs—Friedland, for example, documented how one network (NCex Change) in 1990 in the U.S. started an initiative to provide support to local groups which included both dissemination of information through social and electronic 155 networks and the teaching of network communication skills (1996, p. 194)—such skill-sharing still appears limited to groups who make the use of computers and the teaching of computer skills a main goal. While female subscribers posted fewer messages due to negative gender dynamics (and a lack of confidence in their computer skills), in one case an e-mail list was used to circumvent negative offline gender dynamics. Circumventing Negative Offline Gender Dynamics via E-mail One week prior to the AELM, Interviewee-02 sent an e-mail to the APEC-Alert internal list criticizing a male co-organizer. Interviewee-02 preferred raising the issue via e-mail on the internal list to bringing it up in a meeting, because in writing it was easier to be concise and clear and not rude and not have the [...] personal personality clash between me and [Interviewee-04]. And I could say my piece and say it well in writing, and have less chance of him just shutting it down. Like, if I say it exactly right giving him no things to pick on, to side-track; that was the way to communicate with him. Although Interviewee-02 felt that Interviewee-04's e-mail response indicated his agreement with her, neither found the exchange satisfactory. Interviewee-02 was not happy about the shortness of his response and that she did not know how other group participants felt about the issue. Interviewee-04 felt personally attacked. Interviewee-02's dissatisfaction with the exchange would likely not have occurred had she raised the issue in a meeting. However, 156 Interviewee-04 might then, as she feared, have silenced her. Interviewee-04's grudge with her approach could only have been avoided in a personal discussion, but since the issue concerned the whole group, Interviewee-02 wanted to bring it up with group participants. Thus in a difficult situation, e-mail was perhaps the best way to raise a controversial issue, whereas in all other cases interview participants preferred face-to-face communication (see further below). Why Subscribers in General Posted Little I have discussed above why female subscribers and subscribers less involved offline posted few or no messages to the list. However, many male subscribers and subscribers who were highly involved offline also contributed little or nothing to the lists. I discuss reasons for this behaviour in the next sections. Unease about Posting to Lists with Largely Anonymous Subscribers Unease about communicating with anonymous subscribers was demonstrated during a discussion on the EU+WWG list, when a subscriber addressed two discussants (one of whom used a pseudonym and one who did not sign her message) as "nameless." In the interviews, several EU+WWG and some APEC-Alert list subscribers brought up the problem of sending messages to a list with largely anonymous subscribers. APEC-Alert organizer Interviewee-04 and EU+WWG Interviewee-G described it as posting or communicating "into a vacuum" where "you have no idea who's on [the list]." The APEC-Alert organizer therefore inquired with list maintainers who was subscribed to the list to find out how many were subscribed, where they were from (based on their e-mail addresses), and whether anybody from the UBC administration was subscribed. Less involved APEC-Alert subscribers and EU+WWG subscribers of all levels did not have access to such data. 157 Unlike the APEC-Alert list, the EU+WWG list had several group accounts subscribed to it. Posts from such accounts often left it unclear whether sent messages represented views held by one or several persons, which explains why EU+WWG interview participants saw the anonymity of list subscribers as more of a problem than interview participants from the APEC-Alert list. Two EU+WWG interview participants regretted that it was unclear whether the posts signed with a pseudonym represented the opinion of one person or a group. Interviewee-G said: I don't know who sits at the other end. I have no idea how many are subscribed to the list. It doesn't help me to know that [pseudonym X] writes many e-mails. If it is only one person [...] and all the rest are trade unionists who don't send any e-mails, then [...] that's a problem. In addition, EU+WWG interview participants remarked that not only did they not know who and how many people their messages reached, they also did not know how many people actually read their messages. EU+WWG Interviewee-N assumed that people who received flyers read at least the first one or two paragraphs and looked at the pictures, but was unsure how much was read of posted e-mails. He also pointed out that unlike for flyers or presentations "one does not know for what kind of audience one writes." As mentioned in Chapter 5, EU+WWG organizer Interviewee-B would have posted more background information had he known that less involved subscribers were looking for that. Assumptions about the anonymous audience therefore resulted in some subscribers posting fewer messages than they would have otherwise. To reduce the degree of anonymity, some EU+WWG 158 interview participants wished that from time to time updated lists with subscribers' names and e-mail addresses, or at least those of all groups subscribed to the list, had been sent out. While APEC-Alert Interviewee-07 found it difficult to post to the APEC-Alert list because she knew people in APEC-Alert personally (she had a close friendship with one organizer and was worried how posts would affect these relationships), this was an exception. Many posted fewer messages precisely because they did not know many other subscribers. APEC-Alert Interviewee-10 said that when he first subscribed to the e-mail list "the only thing that [stopped him from posting] was the fact that [he] didn't really know too many people in the group." He posted more often once he knew people in APEC-Alert through attending meetings and events. Other subscribers also posted more when they knew list subscribers (see the section "Safer Spaces for Discussions" below). Overall, list anonymity was more of a concern to EU+WWG than APEC-Alert list subscribers. One reason for this was that unlike the APEC-Alert list, the EU+WWG list had several group accounts and pseudonyms subscribed to it—posts from such accounts often left it unclear whether sent messages represented views held by one or several persons. A second reason was that many APEC-Alert list subscribers met during meetings or APEC-Alert events whereas many EU+WWG list subscribers did not meet face-to-face. Sztompka (1999, p.13-14) explains how we increasingly live in a society with anonymous others "on whose actions our existence and well-being depend." Public e-mail lists add to this by connecting us with many more or less anonymous subscribers. Iriterviewee-A explains: 159 After a while you have a rough idea, if an e-mail comes from subscriber x what the e-mail might be about [...] but you still don't know these people. To bridge this "anonymous gap", Sztompka (1999, p. 14) writes, we have to resort to trust. EU+WWG and APEC-Alert list subscribers, as we have seen, were not ready to extend trust to anonymous subscribers. Perhaps justifiably so, considering the amount of hostilities on the lists and the threat of online surveillance. E-mail Surveillance While e-mail allows for mass communication, it also allows for easy surveillance. That subscribers worried about list infiltration became increasingly clear during some of the online discussions. On the APEC-Alert list, subscribers not involved in APEC-Alert offline activities accused an ex-organizer of being a provocateur after he sent out a humorous e-mail calling for several over-the-top actions. On the EU+WWG list, posting my questionnaire resulted in a debate about who might access the data I collected and whether subscribers should participate in my study. When I asked interview participants if police surveillance of the lists was a concern for them, most said that they were aware that the lists might have been monitored. All interview participants said that this did not prevent them from posting, although several added that they would not send e-mails regarding very personal issues or that would implicate them in anything illegal. Many assumed that their names were already on police lists from past activities. Several stressed that, with the exception of certain details, their group activities were conducted openly and with the intent to mobilize attendees, so that it made sense to announce them on the lists. 160 Only a few subscribers on the EU+WWG list, but none on the APEC-Alert list, used anonymous re-mailers22 and pseudonyms to post messages. Since most subscribers thought that the lists might have been monitored, there is a possibility that subscribers had reservations posting messages due to the risk guilt by association with groups engaging in illegal activities. Interview participants from neither list, however, had any reservations for this reason. Two interview participants from the APEC-Alert list became more concerned about online security once they learned more about it. Interviewee-19 read about it on a website months after the AELM and said that he "didn't realize before how much e-mail traffic is under surveillance and then how easily it can be watched." Interviewee-09 became more conscious of security issues when it became known after the AELM, through documents released during the Public Complaints Commission investigation ensuing police brutality on the day of the AELM, that the public APEC-Alert list had been infiltrated. Both said that this did not change their behaviour on e-mail lists. A third subscriber, Interviewee-15 realized during our interview that I saved the APEC-Alert list messages and that others might do this too. Until then, she had considered e-mail non-permanent. Similarly, heightened surveillance after September 11th, 2001, and criticisms thereof might have resulted in higher awareness about online security and changed activists' online behaviour since, though this requires further research beyond the scope of my thesis. Anonymous re-mailers are tools on the internet that enable internet users to send anonymous messages by stripping the message header off identifying information. 161 However, as mentioned above, the threat of surveillance and possible interference of provocateurs resulted in hostilities on both lists. These were, however, not the only reasons for antagonistic messages. I explore further reasons in the next section. Hostile E-mail Exchanges on the Lists One hostile debate on the APEC-Alert list was about a pie-in that Interviewee-06 took part in after the AELM. During the debate, which he described as "fairly heated", he used a pseudonym. After an "initial five or six argumentative [messages] on the e-mail list" it turned into personal discussions between him and several other subscribers which, according to Interviewee-06 "were usually in a fairly decent tone." By that time the discussants opposed to the pie-in had learned who the pie-thrower and the defender of the pie-thrower (Interviewee-10) were: they were their friends. Previously established trust then resulted in a friendlier personal e-mail exchange. A further explanation for online hostilities was expressed by several interview participants from both lists who felt that something written in an e-mail can come across as harsher than if said in person. In the words of Interviewee-G: sometimes things seemed way more vehement [...] on e-mail than if you said them in person, particularly when you're criticizing someone, because essentially you're writing it down. And you can't take it back as easy. Posts with critiques of other subscribers then often received hostile responses in return. 23 The term "pie-in" refers to the throwing of a pie into the face of a politician or corporate executive in public as a political statement. 162 Interviewee-05 wrote several e-mails that she did not post to the list, because "the e-mails that [she] drafted for that list were a lot harsher than anything [she] would normally say in real life and that continues to be true for [her]." She did not want to contribute to the list in that way. Several other interview participants from both lists also said that on e-mail they might write harsher things than they would say to somebody in person. This harshness was predominantly one of tone and did not translate to a constructive candour with more things being said. Interviewee-10 differed from other interview participants views of themselves in that he thought he was more rude in person than on e-mail lists. When I asked him about a hostile e-mail exchange he participated in after the AELM, he thought that he would have been even more aggressive had the discussion occurred in a meeting: In a meeting situation I probably would have had my hand up, shouting and doing whatever, and I [...] sent something out on e-mail but really in a meeting I would have tried to dominate it [...] because I knew people wouldn't read it as much. [...] in a meeting situation you can say whatever you want and people basically have to listen because they're present. On e-mail, people see your name and if they're sick of what you're writing, they just delete it. His assumption that subscribers who are not interested in the online arguments simply delete them explains, however, why he, and perhaps other subscribers as well, had no hesitations to post antagonistic messages. 163 Other hostile messages can be attributed to limited knowledge about e-mail use. APEC-Alert lnterviewee-09 explained: "[T]hat mode of communication [...] was unfamiliar to me." He said that he had to learn how to communicate via e-mail, "how you come across," what the purpose of a list is, who the audience is, or what is off-topic and so forth. He mentioned another list where new subscribers receive some basic conduct rules. From these rules, experience, and people bringing up such issues on lists or with him personally, he learned various conventions such as that writing in capital letters is considered shouting. A subscriber once posted an e-mail with capitalized text to the EU+WWG list. In response, another subscriber sent an antagonistic message in which he accused him of shouting at list subscribers. The first replied that he "was not shouting," but "simply had written an e-mail." Apparently, he was unaware that caps are often interpreted as shouting. Prior to the AELM, arguments on the APEC-Alert list were rare and well laid out, so that subscribers not involved offline could follow them; in fact, subscribers not involved offline took part in the few arguments that did occur online. After the AELM, however, online infighting occurred and aggressive e-mail exchanges increased. In contrast, on the EU+WWG list hostile e-mail exchanges occurred throughout the list's existence. This difference may be due to two reasons. The first is subscriber anonymity. Many APEC-Alert list subscribers, but few EU+WWG list subscribers, knew each other personally from attendance at events and meetings. Another indicator that anonymity results in hostilities is the above-mentioned online debate about a pie-in during which discussants were hostile until they discovered that it was a mutual friend who had posted to the debate using a pseudonym. Balka (1993), in a study of four computer networks used to discuss feminism or facilitate feminist organizing, also has shown that allowing users to post anonymous messages resulted in antagonistic behaviour. A 164 second reason for the difference of the two lists may be that a sense of unity prevailed on the APEC-Alert list prior to the AELM, while a lack thereof, afterwards and throughout, existed on the EU+WWG list. Prior to the AELM, a large number of APEC-Alert subscribers either worked with APEC-Alert or planned to take part in protests against the AELM at UBC, which were for the most part organized by APEC-Alert. Later the APEC-Alert list was used by members from different groups that formed after the AELM. Interviewee-10 describes how he experienced this change: It seemed like there was a bit more unity on the e-mail list [before the AELM] because people's efforts were focused, but afterwards certainly people would make a glib statement and then someone would pick-up on it and go off, kind of tangentially, questioning people's commitment to certain ideals or whatever when the person was only being off-hand. In contrast to the APEC-Alert list, the EU+WWG list, both prior to and after the summits was used by a number of different groups, whose only common goal was to organize activities concerning the Cologne summits. They had no common vision, nor had the coalitions themselves plans for after the summits, a fact that several EU+WWG interview participants regretted. While APEC-Alert participants did not have any plans for after the AELM either, group participants shared a view of globalization and anti-corporate and anti-authoritarian sentiments, and several referred to the activist scene at UBC as a community. EU+WWG groups had differing views on many issues including globalization and many of the groups did not work together. 165 Feelings of mutual identification and shared views and goals, or a collective identity, thus resulted in less hostile interactions on the APEC-Alert list prior to the AELM. This identity, however, was not developed on the APEC-Alert public list. (There was no attempt on the EU+WWG or APEC-Alert list to negotiate a common goal or opinion.) Due to the online hostilities and for other reasons, subscribers preferred face-to-face contact and e-mail exchanges with non-anonymous others over interactions on larger public e-mail lists. I discuss reasons for these preferences in the next two sections. A Preference for E-mail Exchanges with Non-Anonymous Others Subscribers felt that posts to the APEC-Alert and EU+WWG lists came under more scrutiny than comments made at group meetings or posts to smaller e-mail lists. EU+WWG Interviewee-J describes his experience with making statements in meetings vs. on public e-mail lists: You discuss things as a group, but to speak to the public you have delegates or spokespersons [...]. That could be me sometimes, but it wasn't that everybody was always required to speak as an intellectual. This is a phenomenon with e-mail lists, that everybody is at the moment they appear in public required to state well-rounded opinions to be less open for attack. [To post] ideas one has not yet thought through completely, one needs to know [the other subscribers] better, so that statements can't be used against one. 166 Many interview participants from both lists preferred communicating in face-to-face situations and via smaller e-mail lists, where they knew most or all subscribers, worked on a project with them or where the e-mail addresses of all subscribers are shown in the e-mail header. Interview participants expressed higher levels of trust in subscribers of such lists in their expectations of subscribers' behaviour. APEC-Alert organizer Interviewee-02 felt that by posting to the APEC-Alert public list she "would open [herjself up for examination or critique." As a consequence she preferred to post to smaller lists such as the APEC-Alert internal e-mail list. EU+WWG Interviewee-A said that when he sent something to a small group-internal list, "then you know exactly who's on it and how they react [to posts]." Interviewee-09 who was subscribed to the internal APEC-Alert e-mail list echoed this: "You don't have to explain that somebody isn't there to sabotage", in reference to an incidence that occurred on the public list. He preferred the "intimate appeal" of the internal list which, in his opinion, the public list lost as the number of subscribers increased. Furthermore, as shown above, APEC-Alert subscribers, especially those actively involved in offline activities, engaged in personal e-mail exchanges more often than they posted to the list. They frequently did so with subscribers they knew but also sent specific questions to posters. EU+WWG study participants, on the other hand, did not engage in personal e-mail exchanges more often than they posted to the list. They sometimes e-mailed questions to other subscribers, but with one exception they did not have discussions via personal e-mail with message posters. Unlike APEC-Alert members many EU+WWG subscribers did not know each other personally. EU+WWG organizers did, however, have personal e-mail exchanges with other organizers they worked with. Subscribers from both lists predominantly engaged in personal e-mail exchanges with people they knew. 167 That subscribers' e-mail activity increased when they knew other subscribers personally points to the importance of trust. Subscribers' hesitancy to post to the public lists, confirms Sztompka's (1999, p. 13) point that "raised vulnerability [...] requires an enlarged pool of trust." Even if no online hostilities occurred, the trust that subscribers might be willing to invest in large lists would likely remain limited due to the anonymity of other subscribers (see above). A preference for face-to-face contact prevailed among all subscribers. A Preference for Personal Contact over E-mail Many interview participants from both lists expressed their preference to talk to someone in person or via the phone over e-mail because they felt it was easier to be misunderstood on e-mail due to an absence of body language and difficulty expressing emotion, irony and sarcasm. EU+WWG Interviewee-J preferred phone calls over e-mail to work with activists abroad, because he felt that in e-mail he needed to give a more detailed explanation than is necessary in a personal phone conversation, where one can hope for agreement through some signs. Whereas during unidirectional communication through e-mail, there won't be any reactions that tell me she or he has understood or not understood what I want. Unless the argument exchange was useful for a text he was working on, he found this annoying, but sometimes still preferred the use of e-mail due to lower costs—especially if the information needed to reach several people or groups. 168 He and other interview participants from both lists preferred the immediate reactions that personal conversations allowed for so that possible misunderstandings could be avoided or cleared up more easily and quickly. Interviewee-B mentioned the frequent need of phone calls for clarification of information received via e-mail. APEC-Alert Interviewee-07 explained how she wrote an e-mail in response to a provocative list message, but then decided to approach the message's author directly since she knew her personally. EU+WWG Interviewee-L mentioned an online discussion with a colleague in another city. They realized that they could not work out their differences via e-mail and had to meet to resolve the dispute. Other interview participants also thought that arguments could be sorted our more quickly in person. An exception to this view was held by APEC-Alert lnterviewee-02 who through use of the APEC-Alert internal list was able to circumvent negative offline gender dynamics (see further above). Unlike Interviewee-07 and the person she critiqued, lnterviewee-02 and the co-organizer she approached were not friends. Further indicators of the importance of face-to-face interactions to group participants are that several EU+WWG organizers commuted hours to Cologne to become better acquainted with other organizers and frequently used the phone to communicate. Similarly, one interviewee from the APEC-Alert list said that in addition to using e-mail lists to plan activities for anti-WTO in Seattle, 1999, organizers on these lists met alternately in two cities and used conference calls. APEC-Alert, most of whose participants lived in Vancouver, had a high frequency of group meetings: several per week in the fall and at least one per day in the last 169 days leading up to the AELM. The lists did not seem to reduce a need for personal contact or telephone for subscribers from both lists. During personal contact trust can develop more easily, but in one case where trust could not be established through face-to-face contact, e-mail became the communication medium of choice. Interviewee-02 feared that in a meeting situation it would be easier for Interviewee-04 to silence her, and therefore chose to bring the issue up via e-mail. Furthermore, a lack of offline contact prevented EU+WWG Interviewee-H from participating online. He usually discussed politics with friends and did not participate in the online discussion about the future of the list because he did not know anybody he could talk to about this issue. He mentioned posting more often to a smaller e-mail list because he knew all its subscribers and because they had regular meetings during which they could talk about the posted e-mails. What can subscribers do when they face so many barriers to list participation? APEC-Alert and EU+WWG list subscribers did find other ways to support the movement: they engaged in less public modes of participation. Other Online Activities Subscribers Engaged in Sending e-mail messages to the list or in response to list messages is not the only way for subscribers to be active online. Of 80 study participants from the APEC-Alert list, • 52 forwarded APEC-Alert list messages to individuals, • 30 forwarded APEC-Alert list messages to other e-mail lists, and • 7 contributed materials to websites. 170 Only 17 study participants from the APEC-Alert list did not engage in any of these activities. In addition to subscribers forwarding list messages, APEC-Alert organizers also forwarded selected messages to individuals, groups and e-mail lists at UBC and elsewhere. They also said that posted requests for materials or names of potential speakers for panels usually resulted in a number of offers and suggestions by subscribers. I do not know these statistics for EU+WWG list participants since the questionnaire I sent to them did not include questions about subscribers' online activities other than on the e-mail list. When I interviewed EU+WWG list subscribers, most said that they forwarded list messages to people they knew and some also forwarded them to other lists. Following that, I incorporated these questions into the questionnaire for APEC-Alert list subscribers. Interview participants from both lists said that their motivation for forwarding list messages was to share information and to mobilize others. Some found that, subsequent to forwarding messages, acquaintances subscribed to the e-mail list and attended events. APEC-Alert organizer Interviewee-03 described the extent of how much was forwarded that he knew of: Knowing that people who were on [the APEC-Alert list] from other universities and were forwarding our emails [... a]nd seeing our emails put up on other web pages [...] makes you feel like there's a world out there that's in touch with what's going on. [A] lot of this I learned after APEC, but, for example, someone would be always forwarding [e-mails] to the Green College list and I think that had a big impact on [the protests that] 171 happened there. [...] A lot of them got forwarded to New Zealand and now are part of that record there [...], there'd be someone [...] on the list [who] would forward it to the SFU group24 [...] I think [...] one of the most important things about it is that you can be in touch with a whole variety of different groups who could then [...] send an email back or just send our email out. This feeling of being connected to a larger movement was also expressed by other subscribers from both lists who saw announcements for events elsewhere as moral support or felt that through the e-mail lists they learned that the movement was larger or more diverse than they had thought (see Chapter 6). In a study on perceptions of users of computer-mediated communication among non-government organizations in Latin America, Gomez (1997) also found that networking with others can "provide [...] a feeling of community with partners in other countries that would not be possible without [computer-mediated communication]." Furthermore, list messages had an inspirational effect on subscribers. APEC-Alert Interviewee-22 said that the e-mails he received from the list inspired him to put APEC-related links onto a website he maintained and that up until then he had not used the web for activist purposes. Another APEC-Alert list subscriber, in response to a post on another list, wrote a letter to a politician. The EU+WWG list carried many sign-on letters25 and some subscribers publicly posted their sign-ons. Cleaver (1998, p. 86) also describes how information from the 24 In fact, an e-mail list of Simon Fraser University (SFU) students was temporarily subscribed to the APEC-Alert list. 25 The term sign-on letters refers to petitions and group statements that subscribers were asked to support by signing their name to them. 172 internet "encouraged local militants who could see their own efforts as part of a larger movement." Messages forwarded and materials put on the web by list subscribers and group organizers increased the reach of the e-mail lists. The less public activities subscribers engaged in did not require much effort and may be all that some are willing or able to do in support of a movement. However, I showed above that several subscribers would have participated more on the e-mail lists if the lists had been used differently. These less public activities were a way for subscribers to offer support to the movement without getting involved directly, and they suggest that better list use may result in higher list participation. Conclusion While the majority of subscribers did not post to the lists, organizing groups' list use was effective in mobilizing subscribers to become active in less public ways, such as responding to list messages by e-mailing message authors directly and forwarding list messages to acquaintances and other e-mail lists. These less public actions widened the reach of the lists and prompted recipients of forwarded e-mails to sign up to the lists and to attend events. Group organizers forwarded list messages to activists, groups and other e-mail lists further widening the reach of the lists. The fact that many subscribers from both lists chose less public ways of participating online shows their interest in actively supporting the movement despite the barriers to participation they faced. This points to the need for social movement actors to reduce barriers to online participation. The barriers subscribers encountered on the e-mail lists under study are the 173 negative dynamics between social movement actors and subscriber anonymity. Negative dynamics that acted as barriers include list domination by a few, subscribers communicating selectively, negative online and offline gender dynamics, and the exchange of online hostilities. Social movement actors need to commit resources (such as their time and energy) to reducing these barriers. One resource that might prove useful for this are e-mail lists themselves. This study shows that e-mail can be used to circumvent negative offline gender dynamics. In one case, a female organizer used e-mail to raise a controversial issue on a group-internal list because she felt that e-mail allowed her to argue her case against a male organizer more effectively than in a meeting. How useful list use generally is to circumvent and rectify negative dynamics and under what circumstances warrants further research. The discussion in this chapter shows that a developed collective identity resulted in fewer hostile interactions. However, there was no attempt on the EU+WWG or APEC-Alert list to negotiate a common goal or opinion. Subscribers preferred communicating in person and via telephone over e-mail because they felt it was easier to be misunderstood on e-mail due to an absence of body language, and they preferred the immediate reactions that personal conversations allowed. When subscribers on either list discussed views, interactions were confrontational, which only alienated subscribers, and thus resulted in a move away from mutual support and the development of a collective identity. Online discussions undertaken with mutual intent to develop consensus, on the other hand, might have brought subscribers closer to developing a collective identity. Such candid discussions of views require that subscribers trust each other. 174 In the cases under study, interview participants tended not to trust subscribers' reactions to messages they wanted to post. This brings us back to online hostilities. I argued that subscribers' anonymity contributes to online hostilities. It is therefore advisable that social movement actors aim to reduce online anonymity. This could be partially achieved through limiting the use of pseudonyms and anonymous re-mailers and through online introductions of at least all groups subscribed to the lists. However, in the case of APEC-Alert, many subscribers knew each other through group meetings yet they still felt unease posting to a list that included anonymous others. Subscribers had more trust in activists in offline meetings or on smaller lists where they knew all or most subscribers. This suggests two courses of actions social movement actors can take to increase online participation. The most effective course, although this is not as possible when users are widely dispersed, is for users to meet face-to-face to develop non-anonymous relationships and to negotiate a collective identity offline, prior to or early on in their use of the internet. The second course is that smaller sublists are created on which subscribers can introduce themselves and develop trust. It is possible that these sublists could help overcome the problems associated with geographical dispersal of subscribers by grouping people regionally. In this arrangement, a spokesperson could be appointed for each sublist. Spokespersons would then be the only ones to contribute to the larger list (while continuously consulting with the subscribers on the sublists), but all subscribers could read messages (to facilitate their trust in the process). 175 Chapter 8: Action Mobilization—Facilitating Offline Involvement of List Subscribers In this chapter, I examine how effective list use was in facilitating subscribers' offline involvement. I first discuss whether use of e-mail lists provided subscribers with a new entry point into offline activism and then examine how actively subscribers were involved in offline group activities. Finding that, on both lists, less than half of the subscribers who responded to my questionnaire were involved in offline organizing activities of groups and that 20-27% did not attend any offline activities, I discuss what kind of messages were posted to facilitate subscribers' offline involvement and how subscribers learned about group activities. I show how already active subscribers used the lists to network, secure resources, and coordinate activities. Then, I discuss whether list messages mobilized less involved subscribers. While I focus on the effects of e-mail list use, I also take other factors into account that affected mobilization of subscribers.26 In this discussion, I show that repeated online announcements, personal contact, and organizers' posts requesting responses, enhanced mobilization of subscribers. While many list subscribers thought list messages did not provide enough information to activate them, I show that they transformed one APEC-Alert subscriber from an attendee to an organizer. I then show that out-of-town subscribers used the lists to find out about events, make contact with local groups, and to arrange rides and accommodation, but that the lists could have been used more successfully in this respect. I further show that when 26 This includes subscribers' social location, groups' offline mobilizing efforts, and intra- and intergroup dynamics. Not all of interview participants' reasons for their non-involvement had connections to e-mail list use. Of these reasons, the most frequently mentioned were schedule conflicts, location of events, whether participants expected activities to be fun, and feeling too busy with school, work or other activist groups. Such reasons are not discussed in this dissertation. 176 exclusive dynamics led to limited participation (in particular, of women and people of colour) then list use allowed alienated subscribers to stay marginally involved offline and to support the movement through non-group activities. Finally, I discuss how online materials were used to mobilize non-list subscribers. E-mail Lists as an Entry Point into Activism Of the 23 EU+WWG list subscribers who returned my questionnaire and took part in EU+WWG activities, 14 had been in contact with all the groups they worked with before they signed onto the EU+WWG e-mail list, 5 made contact with some of the groups they worked with after they subscribed to the e-mail list, and 4 study participants were unsure when they first contacted groups, or did not complete this question. Of the 60 APEC-Alert list subscribers who responded to my questionnaire and took part in APEC-Alert activities, 45 contacted the APEC-Alert group before they subscribed to the e-mail list, 5 made contact with the group after they subscribed, and 10 were unsure when they first contacted APEC-Alert, or did not answer this question. This shows that in some cases list use led to subscribers' contact with groups. Responses to my questionnaire, however, also reveal that with the exception of one APEC-Alert list subscriber, the ten subscribers who contacted groups after subscribing to the lists had previous or concurrent experience with activism. Further, many interview participants said that they knew many APEC-Alert or EU+WWG activists from past political activities. Interviewee-F, for example, in a coalition meeting "met many people again that [she] already knew from [her past] ten years of [activism]." While she and other interview participants from both lists said there were many people attending meetings that they had not known before, several 177 EU+WWG interview participants commented on the increased problem of the Left in Germany in general to mobilize new participants. While list use was not particularly successful in the recruitment of new activists, it did, as mentioned above facilitate contact between already active subscribers and activist groups they had not worked with previously. These activists subsequently attended these groups' meetings or events, supported the groups through offline activities otherwise (such as distributing printed materials for them), or networked with them. Two of these study participants from the APEC-Alert list and one from the EU+WWG even became involved offline in the contacted groups. One of these subscribers was Interviewee-F. Early in 1999, she "looked on the internet to see what groups [were] active [organizing against the Cologne summits], and e-mailed several." She found information about the EU+WWG list, subscribed to it and subsequently attended a meeting of the BK 99 coalition. Another interviewee who had heard of a group before subscribing to the list but only made contact with the group long after subscribing to the list was Interviewee-03. He was briefly involved in anti-APEC offline activities in the winter of 1996/7. When APEC-Alert formed early in 1997, he decided not to get involved in APEC-Alert until the summer of 1997 because of his studies. He found being subscribed to the e-mail list "was a way of gauging the direction things were going in" and after becoming involved offline in the summer, remained involved offline until the AELM and in follow-up groups afterwards. I now examine how active list subscribers were in organizing groups. Following this, I discuss how successful list use was in mobilizing subscribers to become active offline whether they contacted groups before signing up to the e-mail lists or after. 178 List Subscribers' Offline Involvement The following table shows that, for both lists, more than half of the respondents were not involved in the offline organizing of groups and 20-27% did not attend any of the organized offline activities including the larger demonstrations against the summits. Table 8: Level of Offline Participation of Subscribers Who Returned My Questionnaire Involved in an organizing group Attended events prior to the summits Only attended events around summits No Offline Participation Out of 29 EU+WWG respondents 14 N/A 9 6 Out of 85 APEC-Alert list respondents 33 11 18 23 I now discuss what roles the e-mail lists played for subscribers' offline involvement. Firstly, since as shown in the previous chapter, lists were not used very well for consensus mobilization, that is to help rally support for groups' views and aims, the contribution of list use towards action mobilization is likely to be limited. Some APEC-Alert list subscribers did not become active precisely because they did not feel informed enough about the issues at hand. Interviewee-12 was one example: Initially when I was on the APEC-Alert list I thought that it would tell me a lot more about APEC itself. And [...] if I'm going to show up to an event or protest [...] I really want to be educated to what I'm actually protesting against rather than like having a 179 vague idea of what, say, the WTO is [...] and show up and really not know what I'm talking about at all. Not feeling knowledgeable about APEC, Interviewee-12 did not participate in many anti-APEC activities. EU+WWG subscribers knew more about the issues at hand than APEC-Alert subscribers prior to list subscription so that limited information about the issues on the e-mail list was less of a factor in their decisions to attend group activities. To examine whether list use prompted more informed subscribers to become active offline, I first describe what kind of messages the lists carried to facilitate action mobilization and then discuss how useful interview participants found these messages. Messages the Lists Carried to Facilitate Action Mobilization Both lists carried many messages with announcements of single groups' events as well as a number of schedules of events by all or many of the organizing groups. The APEC-Alert list also carried announcements of all APEC-Alert meetings. The EU+WWG list carried meeting announcements of organizing coalitions, regional networks and even some local groups, although some EU+WWG interview participants due to the lists' (inter)national character did not consider the list a venue to announce local group meetings. Further, many local groups posted announcements of their events but not of their meetings. While EU+WWG list subscribers were geographically dispersed, most APEC-Alert list subscribers frequented UBC 180 and lived in Vancouver, as is evident in their e-mail addresses and as they indicate in their responses to my questionnaire. In addition to posting announcements of group events and meetings, APEC-Alert organizers used the public e-mail list to ask subscribers to take on tasks such as staffing information tables, to donate materials or for suggestions of where to obtain needed resources. EU+WWG organizers, on the contrary, did not post messages asking subscribers to take on tasks. Interview participants from both lists learned about groups' activities and tasks that needed to get done through co-activists, printed materials, and the e-mail lists. Organizers and non-organizers used online schedules of events to get an overview of what activities were organized, and found it useful that unlike printed materials and websites the lists contained frequent and updated schedules of events which could incorporate changes of dates or venues quickly. Beginning with subscribers who were already active offline, I now discuss how useful list subscribers found the online announcements for their offline involvement. How Already Active Subscribers Used the Lists for Their Involvement Interview participants who were already involved offline did not view the lists as main sources about activities of the groups they worked with. While EU+WWG subscribers did not use the list for this purpose at all, APEC-Alert members, to some extent, did. Interviewee-11 learned about upcoming events at meetings or through friends he had in APEC-Alert. He did not read many list messages because he found there were too many messages posted. Other interview participants involved in APEC-Alert offline activities also found out about events at meetings or through co-activists, but used the list to double-check on times or locations of events. APEC-181 Alert members also checked list messages to find out about activities of subgroups they were not involved in, especially closer to the AELM, when so many meetings were scheduled that nobody could attend all of them. Continued Offline Involvement As indicated above, list messages furthered APEC-Alert members' continued involvement by providing them with a means to double-check times and location of events and with information about subgroups they were not involved in. Furthermore, the APEC-Alert e-mail list helped facilitate the continued offline involvement of group participants who temporarily left town. Interviewee-09 was involved with APEC-Alert offline in the spring of 1997, left town for the summer and returned to UBC again for the fall semester: I remember coming back [...] knowing [through the list] that it was bigger, [that] more people [were] involved [...], but I didn't expect it to be as big as it seemed to be. When I got here the campus was covered in posters and I was totally surprised. [...] While he said that "the main reason [he] was excited to get involved [again was that] it seemed like such a big deal now; it seemed to just take over the campus", he found that the list made his renewed offline involvement in the fall easier for him: If I wasn't on the mailing list all summer, I would have been a lot more surprised and probably fe[lt] more out of it coming back. I wouldn't have fe[lt] as much a part of it. [...] kn[owing] what went on in the summer, [...] helped, for sure. 182 Contrary to interview participants from the APEC-Alert list, EU+WWG interview participants viewed the list to find out about other groups' activities only. Organizers from both groups used the lists to network. Networking and Coordinating Events While organizers tapped into pre-existing networks, made contact at face-to-face meetings and via personal e-mail, fax and telephone, several interview participants from both lists said that the lists were helpful to establish contact with groups. Many EU+WWG interview participants found that the e-mail list made it easier to get information about activities of groups they were not involved in, especially if these groups were from other cities or countries or formed part of social movements they were not involved in, although Interviewee-F who had been on another list with information on activities in other countries found the EU+WWG list disappointing in this respect. In fact, only 32 out of 734 messages on the EU+WWG list, and 10 out of 381 APEC-Alert list messages were about activities of groups from other countries. More such messages would have provided subscribers with contact information and thereby additional opportunities to network. They also might have increased subscribers' impressions that many social movement actors organized against globalization, which may have increased the motivational effects these impressions had on subscribers (see Chapter 6). Interviewee-B also said that through the EU+WWG list he not only got to know people from the BK 99 coalition quickly, but received important information not available on the EU+WWG list as well: 183 Through the list I relatively quickly got to know people [who worked with the BK 99 coalition] and through personal contacts I received very relevant information [such as] is it important for me [to attend a specific meeting]? What will be discussed? Furthermore, Interviewee-B and Interviewee-18 entered new relationships with like-minded groups. Interviewee-B, who worked for an environmental group, through the EU+WWG list, made new contacts with two environmental organizations who were involved in organizing for Cologne and since then worked more closely.with them. Out-of-town Interviewee-18's group also established contact with APEC-Alert via the e-mail list. They then came to Vancouver for the AELM (see below how the list aided them in this respect), stayed in contact with APEC-Alert beyond the AELM, and invited APEC-Alert organizers to give a workshop in their town in the spring of 1998. Interviewee-18 found that the "politics that you all [in APEC-Alert] had were close to [his] own." The lists did not otherwise result in the collaboration of groups as list subscribers felt they did not have the time to read about issues beyond their immediate concern and that it might be difficult to establish trust with subscribers on public e-mail lists. Interviewee-A explains: I see the possibility to begin working with other groups [through the list] as limited [...]. Because in the political areas [...] in which I feel somewhat at home politically, [...] I know the course of events, I know the people and I know the groups. [... EU+WWG list subscribers are] regionally dispersed and it would require a lot of work to establish relations and to establish a level of trust on both sides. This could be 184 different with a local, more restricted list, but with such a [nation-wide] list I cannot conceive using it for new activities. Gomez (1997), in his study on perceptions of users of computer-mediated communication among non-government organizations in Latin America, reveals similar findings. While users perceived that internet use enhanced the networking of organizations with common interests, especially across country borders, Gomez found "little evidence of a new understanding of global issues, or of increased communication and relationships with people and organizations working in different areas of intervention" (Gomez 1997). Contradicting this is the case of the Zapatistas which shows that internet use can also help rally support from groups with differing agendas. Froehling (1997) shows that the internet helped make the Zapatistas' struggle more visible, and helped gain support from outside of the area of struggle from such diverse groups as churches, human rights groups, and leftist political groups, (Froehling, 1997, pp. 301-302). As discussed in Chapter 6, however, the Zapatistas frame their struggle in very inclusive terms. Below, I will show that APEC-Alert and EU+WWG groups (as a whole) did not, due to a number of exclusive dynamics, succeed in framing their struggle in an inclusive way. While list use resulted in the close ties of like-minded groups only, posts provided organizers with information about other groups' activities which, indirectly, facilitated networking between groups and coordination of activities. Interviewee-17 from Vancouver, for example, first through the APEC-Alert list and later through a local activist list, learned more about Vancouver activism and found the lists useful for her organizing efforts: 185 It's definitely much easier to find out what's going on and keep updated and have a sense of the different things that are happening in Vancouver and contacts and who people are that are active [...] and how to find them. I remember being at a point where I had no idea how to find any of this kind of stuff, and now I definitely feel like I have an avenue and also if I'm organizing something, or if I want to know about something, I know how to, who to contact or where to post, and if I organize an event, I know who to send that information out to. Interviewee-B said that he subscribed to the EU+WWG list "to coordinate events, for which [he] had to know what other events were planned parallel to the one [he] was organizing [and] which topics would be discussed in [them]." The actual coordination of events and the above-mentioned development of closer ties with groups, however, occurred off the lists through personal e-mail, phone, mail and face-to-face contact. Securing Resources Use of the APEC-Alert list helped organizers secure resources. Interviewee-04, for example, received suggestions from subscribers about choosing professors as speakers for an anti-APEC panel the group organized after posting a request for input to the list. Interviewee-03 recalls how the groups obtained material for the tent-city they erected: Since I was doing a lot of stuff around the tent city, there was a lot of email that I would send out saying "these are the things we need, we need a big tent, we need walkie-talkies" and that sort of thing, and people would reply to me individually. So I was 186 using [the list] for that and that was very useful. [...] that's how we got most of our equipment [...]. The EU+WWG list did not carry calls for materials, but was useful otherwise to secure resources. Many EU+WWG interview participants said that without the list they would not have had access to many of the announcements of events in other cities. Interviewee-J then used these announcements to invite speakers from those events to come to his city, or to let other groups know about speakers his group invited and inquire if they would like them to come to their city. Beyond the event announcements, however, the inquiries about speakers did not occur on the e-mail list, and the availability of speakers was not announced publicly online. Interviewee-N might have been interested in inviting participants from the International Caravan but did not know he could: There were, for example, the Indian peasants [...]! wish [the e-mails] would have been more activating, [...]. I don't know, maybe we could have invited them [to come to our city], but such information was relatively sparse on the list. Thus while some subscribers, such as Interviewee-J above, took initiative to invite speakers, others like Interviewee-N did not take this step because list messages did not encourage him to. I show in the next section that a lack of announcements about speaker availability was not the only case where list messages did not provide subscribers with enough information to become active. 187 How Subscribers Less Involved Offline Were Mobilized Interviewee-22 was not involved in APEC-Alert offline organizing and did not frequent the UBC campus where APEC-Alert participants distributed nearly all of their printed materials. While he learned of some of the group's activities through APEC-Alert participants he worked with in another activist group, he found out details of an all-day teach-in the group organized "based on the mailing list entirely." Thus the list put information crucial for attendance more readily into his hands. Learning about events solely through one e-mail, however, generally did not prompt interview participants' attendance. Interviewee-N remembers hearing about an event on the EU+WWG list: I once heard of an action I would have liked to participate in. One day before [the G7/G8] demonstration there was the Laugh Parade, and I considered going a day earlier. [...] But what I heard via the e-mail list [...] was not enough for me to drive down for that event. Two weeks prior to the G7/G8 demonstration, Interviewee-N had gone to Cologne for the demonstration against the EU summit organized by the group Euromarsche under the umbrella of the BK 99 coalition. A second demonstration against the EU summit was organized by the LiRa (LeftRadical) coalition a few days after the one he attended. When I asked him why he had decided to attend the former rather than the latter he explained: People had already mobilized for the demonstration organized by the group Euromarsche. That makes a big difference. People had hardly mobilized for the left-188 radical demonstration. [... For the Euromarsche demonstration, a local anti-fascist group] had produced a flyer, a week prior [to this demonstration] there was a preparatory event, and [the BK 99 coalition's newspaper] had quite a bit of information about this demonstration, because [Euromarsche] was part of this coalition while [...] they had quarreled with the left-radicals, at any rate they were only mentioned in passing. Interviewee-22's and Interviewee-N's experiences suggest that two factors contributed to their attendance: personal contact and repeated mobilization efforts for the same event. Drawing on other interview participants' experiences, I discuss each of these in the next two sections. Effects of Repeated Announcements of Events Interviewee-N explained above how multiple mobilization efforts for one event prompted him to attend that event over another. Similarly repeated announcements of some events on the APEC-Alert list prompted Interviewee-14 to attend such events: Events' postings are really key. [...] it depends sometimes on who posts it, also how many times it's posted and [...] psychologically, the more people that post an event, the more important that event becomes in my mind. Even though that may not be true at all. Repeated posts also seem to reflect the importance organizers attach to events. On both lists the summit protests were posted more often than any other events. While this practice increased the list volume, it may also have resulted in more subscribers attending, not only because of the 189 positive effect of repeated announcements on subscribers' attendance as described above, but also because subscribers had different preferences for the timing of announcements. The following two examples represent opposite preferences. Interviewee-13 preferred early notification because she had limited access to e-mail: I didn't have email at home so I would miss things [...]. The earlier you give the notification the better. Interviewee-02 on the contrary said that: [e-mails] saying "We're postering tonight, come down" [...] probably would have encouraged me even more because I would have gone: "Yeah, okay I can do this. That's more important [than] what I was going to do." [...] Whereas [...] when I knew [about an activity] a week or two days before [it] was going to happen I'd just be like, "No, I've got other things to do." However, too many reminders would increase the volume, which, in turn, as shown in Chapter 5, can prompt people not to read messages or to unsubscribe. The Importance of Personal Contact The example of Interviewee-N above shows that personal contact can make a difference for offline mobilization. Interviewee-L knew about the mobilization for Cologne and even a local 190 group that organized against them. She felt strongly about the issues, but did not get involved in groups: I knew where they met. But I would have liked to go together with [a friend]. Sometimes it is nice if you're there together with several older people who already know each other. She wanted to attend an event in Cologne but decided for similar reasons that she would not, even if she were available: I would have liked to go on the 18th, but on the 18th I was in Berlin, [...] so I couldn't go. Mind you, I would not have wanted to go by myself. [...] I prefer to go [to protests here in town] because I know [...] in general how the police react. They sometimes encircle protesters here as well, but there are always people that I know. Several APEC-Alert interview participants said that they frequently attended events with friends or stressed that having made friends within APEC-Alert or knowing participants from previous activities made a difference for their offline involvement. APEC-Alert list subscriber Interviewee-15 did not attend events because she did not know other attendees. So you look at [the e-mails] and you go, okay well, no one I know will be there, I don't feel totally comfortable going to it. If someone I knew was going with me then maybe I'd be okay, but if there'd been that kind of personal, "Hey, I'm going to this event too, do you want to come?", then I probably would have gone to more. 191 Interviewee-12 reflects the sentiments of many who found that personal contact and follow-ups prompted their attendance: If you're only on a listserve and don't actually show up for any meetings and [...] are not in contact with any of the other people who were involved then you feel really distant. [...]. One-on-one messages probably would have made a bit of a difference. I mean, every once in a while [an APEC-Alert participant I knew] would actually email me alone and not the entire listserve. [...] That actually did make a difference. Interviewee-13 echoes this. She took on tasks, such as putting up posters "a couple of times maybe" after "people asking [her] personally." She added: If people had asked me to do more I would have done more. While many APEC-Alert interview participants said that telephone calls from the group about events inspired them more to attend than e-mails, APEC-Alert did not invoke its phone tree for all events and used it mainly if they wanted high turnouts. Furthermore, the following shows that leaving a phone message with roommates or on the answering machine is less effective than talking to people personally. Interviewee-15, Interviewee-06, and Interviewee-11 often were not at home. The latter checked phone messages infrequently and as a result received telephone messages too late. Interviewee-15 explains that because roommates frequently took telephone messages for her, an APEC-Alert announcement via the telephone "then [...] was 192 more just a written message" which was less likely to prompt her to attend than if she talked to group participants personally. Interviewee-05 thought that had she come to know more group participants and had the group "make [her] feel more welcome", she would have "fe[lt] more a part of everything" and become more involved offline than she was. Interviewee-17 who worked with another student group across town to educate about APEC, also felt that the group generally did not welcome new participants enough: I knew who a lot of people in APEC-Alert were, and they knew who I was, but they didn't really acknowledge that they knew who I was or really made an effort to reach out to new people who were organizing in different places or to support that or welcome them. Furthermore, Interviewee-20 thought that the group in general was not organized well enough to let people know what tasks needed to get done: a lot of people [...] either didn't have a lot of time or weren't very present in the [group's] office when things were going on. [People] just came there with energy and then went away without having a specific manageable task to do because there wasn't somebody saying "here are ten things that need to get done" [...]. I think papers went around at meetings saying "here are different sub-sets of issues and who's interested in what aspect", and people signed-up names but then I didn't find there was a lot of 193 follow-through in a lot of cases. The people who [...] had come up with what the groups [did] ended up doing all the work as far as I could see. In the interviews, organizers from both lists indeed said that they spent many hours working for the groups, in particular closer to the summits; hours that perhaps could have been reduced if people who were less involved offline would have been encouraged more to take on tasks. Several interview participants thought the APEC-Alert e-mail list could have been used better for this purpose. Interviewee-13 was one of them: Yeah. [...] Somehow I didn't feel really invited [...]. I know [...] everyone is really tense and there's all this stuff going on, but if the language was somehow more like, we want people to come out and join us kind of thing. [...] It became less like that sort of. They were sending emails but it was more like what people were doing. [...] Just remembering to encourage other people to come out, [...] I think I would have responded to that more. Thus, several APEC-Alert list subscribers felt that APEC-Alert participants offline and online did not make enough effort to encourage people's involvement and to let them know what tasks needed to get done. This lead one list subscriber to believe that her offline involvement was not needed. Interviewee-21 had been on the APEC-Alert list since the spring of 1997. Soon after subscribing to the list, she left town until after the AELM was over, but did not get involved offline with the actual post-AELM organizing, because "with the APEC group, I already felt 194 that the central players were in place and that what I could do was to give them support and correct people's impressions." Instead she worked with another group where she knew some of the people involved and where the "one main person [...] needed people in a very short length of time to do very specific tasks." Through personal conversations with post-AELM organizers, I know that they too needed help. The messages on the e-mail list had left Interviewee-21 with a wrong impression, an impression she would likely not have had, had she had personal contact with group organizers. While on both lists most messages included brief or no encouragement to become involved, in some messages on the APEC-Alert list subscribers were asked to respond to posters. Messages That Asked Subscribers to Respond to Posters Interviewee-04 twice announced events asking subscribers to let him know whether they could attend an event, in one case simply to know how many would come and in another to coordinate multiple actions over the day. He recalled receiving a number of responses to these messages and so did Interviewee-03 when he posted a message letting subscribers know what materials APEC-Alert needed for the tent city the group set up during the week prior to the AELM (see further above). Interviewee-04, however, did not receive many responses to messages in which he asked subscribers to take on tasks such as setting up information tables for the group, adding: "you usually deal with that person-to-person." As we saw above, interview participants were more likely to take on tasks when contacted personally. 195 Although list use generally did not prompt subscribers to take on tasks, it did facilitate the taking on of tasks by at least one subscriber during the last days prior to the AELM. Out-of-town Interviewee-18 found it best to ask APEC-Alert participants at the tent city what he could do. Without having been on the e-mail list, however, he might not have done so: We showed up on Friday evening, the summit was the following week, and you all were just not sleeping, running all over the place. So it was difficult for me to form any kind of an impression [of the group]. In fact, if anything, my experience with the email list made me more comfortable. I don't know how to explain it, but I think if I had just shown up in Vancouver and I hadn't been on the APEC-Alert e-mailing list at all, [...] I would've had no idea what APEC-Alert was or who they were or anything like that. But since I had that background with it, I was able to show up, realize that you all had lots of work you were doing and that you were all really stressed out and busy, and I was still able to figure out what I wanted to do and how I could best help. Just as an example, when we rolled into town on that Friday evening, and we had a really difficult time finding where we were supposed to be on the UBC campus and we finally found the tent city, but [...] there were just a few people who were kind of having like a little meeting or something but none of them knew anything. So we were just sort of wandering around, but because we [...] had previous contact through the email list as well as talking to people on the phone, we sort of knew what we should be doing and how we might go about finding people, and we were able to seek people out because we had a few names of people that we knew were working with APEC-Alert who we could look for and try and make contact with. [...] I made contact with Interviewee-01 early on, and so [...] whenever I saw her I would say "Okay, what's going on? What do you 196 need help with?" and, for example, she was the one who said "Really what we need right now is for you to spend a long time posting up these flyers all over campus." APEC-Alert list messages, in this case, informed an out-of-town subscriber about who was involved in APEC-Alert and how busy organizers were. When he came to Vancouver for a few days prior to the AELM, this information enabled him to seek out organizers and to help out with tasks. From Attendee to Organizer Out-of-town subscriber Interviewee-19 from the APEC-Alert list found that list use transformed him from a mere attendee at the AELM protests to a local organizer who mobilized others to also attend the protests. He describes the difference the list made for him as follows: I think for me it was the difference between starting out as someone who would have been interested and probably would've come [to Vancouver] anyways, to someone who was informing other people and was a source of information of dates and times and places, and probably an organizer [where I live]. So that was probably the difference. If I hadn't had that source of information I wouldn't have been able to do that stuff. While EU+WWG interview participants shared online information with local co-activists who were not subscribed to the list, it did not affect their organizing to the same extent as that of out-of-town APEC-Alert list subscribers. However, we saw above that it could have affected their activities more if list messages had contained more information on how to become active. 197 Attending Protests from Out-of-Town Out-of-town list subscribers used the lists to find out about events, make contact with local groups, and arrange rides and accommodation. Finding out about Events For out-of-town interview participants from both e-mail lists, the lists were main sources for event announcements. Out-of-town Interviewee-18 from the APEC-Alert list said that the group he came to Vancouver with decided on some of the activities they would participate in based on schedules received through the list. Out-of-town EU+WWG interview participants also decided in part through the e-mail list which events to attend. Several EU+WWG interview participants, however, wished groups had sent more detailed information about their activities, such as who was speaking at what time during events, what was covered in panels or workshops, or what blocs27 were formed during a demonstration. Further, despite posted schedules of events, several EU+WWG interview participants found it difficult to sort out who was involved in what and regretted that no overviews in this regard were provided on the list or on the web. Interviewee-C said that reports sent out after the summits clarified for some groups what offline activities they were involved in, but prior to the summits such posts were limited to a small number of minutes of group meetings on the EU+WWG list and to a few short reports on the APEC-Alert list. As explained in Chapter 4, German demonstrations are usually divided into blocs, which are each led by one or several groups. 198 Out-of-town Interviewee-18's statement expresses the sentiment of many interview participants from both lists: The APEC-Alert list in a lot of ways was very chaotic and haphazard in that people would just kind of send in their own messages or forward stuff from other sources, but there was rarely anything that was coherent about "this is what's happening right now", or "this is what is going to be happening", or "this is what APEC-Alert is organizing". Making Contact with Local Groups I discussed above that EU+WWG list subscribers used group information on the list to contact other groups. The APEC-Alert list also introduced out-of-town APEC-Alert list subscribers Interviewee-18 and Interviewee-19 to APEC-Alert organizers, whom they subsequently emailed and phoned based on contact information provided on the list. Interviewee-18 explained that through this personal contact his group obtained specific information regarding their visit to Vancouver that was not available on the e-mail list: There was information that I got through those kinds of personal contacts that was specific to our organizing efforts, trying to educate in our own community and then in our efforts preparing to go up to Vancouver, because we were dealing with a lot of concerns about crossing the border and being arrested as US citizens and so those were things that were not addressed at all until really close to the summit on the email list. And we were able to get some of those answers beforehand through personal contact. 199 Arranging Rides and Accommodation EU+WWG out-of-town subscribers used the list to organize rides and both lists were used to arrange accommodation. While most out-of-town interview participants organized rides to Cologne and Vancouver locally, some subscribers posted messages to the EU+WWG list to coordinate rides to Cologne. Posters also encouraged subscribers to join caravans that toured through a number of cities to the Cologne summit protests. Furthermore, subscribers were invited to stay overnight in anti-summit camps in Cologne and Vancouver and one subscriber posted to the EU+WWG list to ask if anybody could offer accommodation. She received at least one positive response (which was posted publicly to the list) and may have received others via personal email. (While APEC-Alert interview participants stayed at APEC-Alert's camp, EU+WWG interview participants only stayed for the day, for time reasons, or arranged to stay with acquaintances in Cologne.) Exclusive Dynamics Interview participants from both lists were hesitant to criticize both co-activists in groups they participated in and other groups. They showed respect for the work activists did, viewed the problems they raised as not restricted to the groups or activists they criticized in the interviews, and frequently mentioned how they have seen the same problems arise in many other activist groups. They were critical of fights within and between groups, "too radical" tactics, racism, sexism, informal hierarchies, and perceived APEC-Alert as tight-knit. Intra- and Intergroup Fights Many interview participants from both lists complained about fights within and, in case of the EU+WWG, also between groups. EU+WWG interview participants mentioned difficulties of 200 keeping the BK 99 coalition together and articles in the post-summit publication "Der Kolner Reader" criticize group dynamics in the BK 99 and LiRa coalitions. While EU+WWG interview participants generally found that public accusations and arguments between groups were limited, they regretted the limited cooperation between groups and thought that fights on the EU+WWG list only hindered cooperation further. Interviewee-J suggested that it would have been better "to agree to disagree and to say 'we will see each other at this event to continue the discussion.'" Several organizers had witnessed the same problem in large-scale organizing in past years. Interviewee-J recalls how reformist groups in the past disassociated themselves from more radical groups, which in his opinion "equals an invitation to police to intervene." Articles in "Der Kolner Reader", for example, accuse reformist groups of tolerating a police attack on the left-radical bloc at one of the larger rallies in Cologne. The expected high police presence at such blocs and at the left-radical anti-EU demonstration hindered people such as Interviewee-H and Interviewee-N from attending these events. "Too Radical" Tactics A further reason for EU+WWG Interviewee-H not to join the left-radicals was that he found them "too radical". Similarly, APEC-Alert Interviewee-15 was "not comfortable" with how "radical" APEC-Alert was and consequently did not attend any civil disobedience actions. Rather than not get involved at all, however, both interview participants were able to attend other offline activities. Interviewee-H joined blocs of other groups at demonstrations in Cologne and Interviewee-15 attended some of APEC-Alert's events that did not involve civil disobedience. However, Interviewee-15 decided not to become involved with the group offline 201 beyond attending some events because she "felt uncomfortable" with a "I'm more radical than you kind of [attitude]" of group organizers "which was rather intimidating to [her] because it sort of pushed you to go further and further and further and [she] didn't want to feel like being pushed further." Interviewee-17 described APEC-Alert as elitist owing to their use of civil disobedience and her belief that few people have the privilege to risk arrest. Lacking personal contact with APEC-Alert, her impression was in large part formed through the e-mail list to which APEC-Alert posted many messages about their frequent civil disobedience actions. Aside from criticism of APEC-Alert's choice to engage in civil disobedience actions, the group at the time received criticism, via e-mail and otherwise, for using profanity on posters and for their rejection of the corporatization of campus instead of focusing on human rights and APEC. Had group members more often explained reasons for their choice of tactics on the e-mail list and otherwise (I show in Chapter 6 that both lists carried little information about tactics), perceptions of the groups might have changed. Racism APEC-Alert was also criticized for focusing on human rights in Asia. While organizer Interviewee-04 occasionally sent out posts about Mumia, Leonard Peltier, or Gustafsen28, not receiving any reactions to them, he felt the larger group was not receptive to them. I also showed in Chapter 6 that when group organizers changed their focus from Asia to North America, this shift did not show in e-mail list content. Mumia is a black activist on death-row on dubious murder charges in the United States of America.— Peltier is a native activist sentenced to life on questionable murder charges in the United States.—Gustafsen defenders refers to a group of native sovereigntists who in 1995 came under siege by the RCMP and the military in Canada. 202 Interviewee-09 became more critical of the focus on Asia overtime. He recalls "one story" relayed to him by an APEC-Alert participant who had been alone at the group's tent city one day: So he was the only one there and somebody was walking by, I think it was a guy, and he said, "Yeah, I support you. I think those Asian people have too much power", and [Tom] was like, "I think you have the wrong idea, buddy." But he told me this, and that made me think about [...] people saying that we're focusing too much on just Asian dictators [...], the focus seemed to be [...] anti-Asian in a sense. He also recalled how three women of colour at a post-AELM APEC-Alert meeting complained about the group's focus on Asia: I think what they said was that [...] because there w[ere] so few people of colour participating and [because] the most publicized criticisms were against Suharto and Jiang Zemin it comes off as very [...] anti-Asian or anti-people of colour. Yeah, definitely. I remember that distinctly [...] partly because of that story of [Tom], I mean, [...] that's [...] proof there, right. Some racist guy actually thinks that. It's not just a theory; someone actually thought that. While Interviewee-09 and a few other people of colour at the time still worked with APEC-Alert as the main anti-APEC group on-campus, others did not, or limited their offline involvement. 203 Sexism Another group whose offline participation was low was women. Evaluating responses to my questionnaire, the following table shows that female list subscribers participated less offline than male subscribers. Table 9: Level of Offline Participation of Subscribers Who Returned My Questionnaire Broken Down by Gender Level of Participation Involved in an organizing group Attending events prior to the summits Only attended events around summits Not involved Out of 46 male APEC-Alert list respondents 19 8 10 9 Out of 39 female APEC-Alert list respondents 14 3 8 14 Out of 23 male EU+WWG respondents 12 N/A 8 3 Out of 6 female EU+WWG respondents 2 N/A 1 3 Many female interview participants, including those who were highly active in APEC-Alert, were critical of the online and offline male-dominance within APEC-Alert. Interviewee-07, unhappy with the group dynamics, decided to act on her own. Rather than join the group, she altered APEC-Alert posters slightly (without making them anti-APEC-Alert or contradicting the group's views) and then put them up anonymously on her own. Interviewee-08 said that "the amount of women" and how "vocal" they are and whether men dominate meetings, affects how involved she becomes in groups, including in APEC-Alert, where she mostly attended smaller group meetings for the following reason: 204 In the larger group meetings, it seemed more men participating or holding the floor more, even though it seemed like people were really trying to not have it dominated by men. [...] And if I think of who I see most on TV and who my parents talk about when they talk to me [about APEC-Alert], it's none of the women. [... In the smaller group meetings] it was probably still more guys but [...] I knew the guys in the smaller group better. [...] It seemed like in the larger group meetings, sort of anyone could show up so you'd have to spend time even sometimes explaining to certain people [...] that the way they were talking was [...] not in sync with how the group was operating. I remember one specific guy who [...] called someone a girl and was just being really loud and constantly asking questions [...] not following turns on the speakers lists, and so there was a sense in the smaller group that we all knew each other and so it seemed like you didn't have to go over that stuff. While female organizers who were more highly involved offline did complain about negative gender dynamics in smaller meetings, they also were more comfortable in those meetings since, unlike in the larger meetings, they knew the participants and found that gender dynamics were better than in the larger meetings. Observing negative gender dynamics in APEC-Alert and other groups prompted Interviewee-17 to take workshops to learn: how to recognize certain dynamics and [get] trained in facilitation and consensus decision making and process and stuff like that, so [now] I can bring a lot that aids me. 205 But it's still a problem and definitely I think it [...] acted as a deterrent for me getting involved [at the time]. [...] I think I probably would have taken part in the discussion more, and I probably would have felt more confident challenging some of the process stuff that was going on, at least just on the list, and I would have spoken more at the events I was at. Intertwined with the negative gender dynamics were power struggles and informal hierarchies. Informal Hierarchies Interviewee-13 as a result of negative gender dynamics and "power struggles" became less involved in the APEC-Alert's offline activities: There w[ere] a lot of power struggles in the group and I didn't want to become a part of that power struggle. [...] there were fights during the meetings, and [...] I thought there was kind of a male-female thing going on too. [...] I was kind of turned off the group really when it started getting like that. I don't like people who shut out women's voices, which I felt happened a lot and I had this real sense that [there] was a real strong hierarchy [...] going on. It really kind of soured me a little bit. Other interview participants also complained about an informal hierarchy in the group and some suggested that list use contributed to this. Interviewee-02 said that through feedback and observation she noticed that on the APEC-Alert and other e-mail lists people who posted a lot came to be seen as "leaders": 206 [P]eople who post a lot [...] are established as a definite member of the group, as in an active member of the group, and people will go up and talk to them personally. They recognize them as an official member of the group who has power [...] or who's [...] a leader. A Tight-Knit Group Many female and some male interview participants described APEC-Alert as a "tight group". As a result Interviewee-14 felt that when she came to information tables the group set up she was not needed and therefore did not help out. Several interview participants, including lnterviewee-01 who was highly involved offline thought that when they joined the group other participants had known each other for a long time or really well. Interviewee-12 explains how list messages contributed to this perception: I just really felt alienated from what seemed to me, at the time—and I realize now that [...] I guess the thirty people who were really hardcore APEC-Alert [...] didn't necessarily all know each other in advance, but I felt like I was [...] walking into a very very tight-knit network, that they were already friends, they already knew each other. One time I got a posting for somebody's party29 [...] and I had no idea who any of them were. They all seemed to know each other. Perceptions of APEC-Alert as a "tight group" thus caused some subscribers, especially women, to limit their offline involvement. Online invitations to parties at activists' houses contributed to this perception. 29 APEC-Alert and the Student Environment Centre posted announcements of several parties at private homes inviting participants of several student activist groups to attend. 207 Supporting the Movement despite Barriers Subscribers from both lists thus supported the movement through non-public offline activities. Reasons for the lack of more public actions are lack of personal contact, not enough inviting messages informing subscribers how to become active, and negative group dynamics. That list use facilitated offline actions of subscribers in the face of exclusive dynamics is exemplified by Interviewee-13 from the APEC-Alert list, who explains that "even after [she] felt estranged from the group because of [...] personal politics [she] could still have the e-mail access to what was going on and participate" in some events and cover APEC-Alert activities as a journalist. However, some interview participants from both lists felt being subscribed to the lists made it easier for them not to attend offline activities since the lists provided them with information they otherwise could only obtain through face-to-face contact with groups. Interviewee-13, for example, wondered if without the list she would have stayed involved at all, or gone to meetings and brought up the problems she had with the group. Two other less involved APEC-Alert list subscribers, Interviewee-08 and Interviewee-15, who saw problems with group dynamics and tactics respectively, also said that through list messages and talking to co-activists they were able to stay informed about APEC-related activities without getting involved in all the offline activities. Using the Lists to Mobilize Non-Subscribers During the interviews, it became clear that both the APEC-Alert and EU+WWG lists provided information to subscribers that facilitated their efforts to mobilize non-subscribers. I begin by describing where organizers obtained information for their offline mobilizing materials and then discuss how individual subscribers were able to use online information to mobilize others. 208 Group Organizers' Sources of Information for Mobilizing Materials EU+WWG organizers obtained much of the information they used to mobilize through printed materials, but also drew on websites and e-mail lists. APEC-Alert organizers mainly used information they received through websites and e-mail lists including a global anti-APEC list. Organizers from both lists then posted this information to the e-mail lists, put it up on the web, and used it for their printed materials. APEC-Alert organizers and some EU+WWG organizers then also posted the printed materials to the e-mail lists and on the web. These online materials were used for mobilization purposes by other group organizers. Using Online Materials for Local Mobilizing Efforts Internet use allowed activists to easily obtain materials produced by other groups to then distribute these. For example, out-of-town list subscriber Interviewee-18 found APEC-Alert's online materials useful for local mobilizing efforts: [The APEC-Alert e-mail list] was actually a really critical organizing tool for us in Olympia, because all of us who were focused on APEC subscribed to the mailing list and then we would discuss it, not always in any kind of organized fashion, but it was something that would come up in our conversations like "oh did you see [the] email about this thing that's happening". It was inspirational to us to see what APEC-Alert was doing, so I think it fueled our own efforts in that we were seeing some of the nuts and bolts of what you all were doing up there, and we could take that with us for our own campus and community. 209 On their campus they organized educational events. They passed out copies of a flyer they obtained from the APEC-Alert website and, like APEC-Alert, made class visits to educate students about APEC. Actions undertaken by UBC students in the spring of 1997 were also inspired through hearing about other groups' activities on the internet. Interviewee-03 mentioned how an occupation at UBC was inspired by hearing about other occupations through e-mail lists: The initial ideas basically came about from getting emails about other occupations which was not in the mass media at all, so I don't think I would have had any idea about [them] through other means. APEC-Alert online materials were also used by groups after the 1997 AELM. (It is not known to me whether this is the case for EU+WWG online materials.) Interviewee-03 recalls that they were used by groups organizing against the 1999 AELM in New Zealand as well as groups or individuals in Canada outside of Vancouver: Some of the really neat things that have happened has been [that activists] in New Zealand [did a] Halloween trick-or-treat . [...] I think that's really important, that kind of resource-sharing: they took our webpage, used the articles initially, downloaded our posters and stuck them up everywhere, and did the Halloween stuff [...] and had their group putting hexes on things and I even emailed them our hex sheet [for that]. [I]t 30 In 1997, APEC-Alert organized a Halloween trick-or-treat tour of UBC to expose the corporatization of campus and to educate bypassers about APEC. 210 would have been so great when we basically started, we didn't start from scratch at all, we relied on what happened in the Philippines and groups like that, but I mean, it could save you a lot of research, if that's all there. And it's also great to hear from other people [...] that the same shit is happening somewhere else. [...] Oh, and I saw apparently a lot of the posters were up [...] around Canada as well. When after the whole scandal31, people would download all those "APEC sucks" [posters]. I remember someone saying they saw tons of them like, where? It was some really strange place, like.... Oh, yeah! I saw tons of "APEC Kills" with the Nike on it, and it's like, wow! That's kind of bizarre! Thus, internet use enabled activists to put on actions similar to the ones organized by APEC-Alert and to put up APEC-Alert posters which they otherwise might not have had access to. Similarly, the internet spread information about the Zapatistas' struggle in Chiapas and about support actions that otherwise might have gone unknown. The above finding replicates Cleaver's finding that learning how frequent and widespread actions in support of the Zapatistas were, "encouraged local militants who could see their own efforts as part of a larger movement" (Cleaver, 1998, p. 86). Feelings of being connected to a larger movement were also expressed by study participants from both the EU+WWG and APEC-Alert list who saw announcements for events elsewhere as "moral support" or felt that through the e-mail lists they learned that the movement was larger or more diverse than they thought, which then inspired them to attend offline activities (see Chapter 6). 31 Police mistreatment of AELM protestors resulted in a public complaints commission investigation and wide spread media coverage. 211 This confirms Gomez' (1997) finding in his study on perceptions of users of computer-mediated communication (CMC) among non-government organizations in Latin America. He concludes that networking with others can "provide inspiration and ideas, and a feeling of community with partners in other countries that would not be possible without CMC." Furthermore, through the e-mail lists, information about anti-summit activities came to be covered in alternative media. Spreading Online Information through Alternative Media Without the lists, interview participants say it would have been more difficult to obtain the printed information. Interviewee-F used information from the EU+WWG list for a newsletter: I used the e-mail list to obtain dates for events. [The list] was valuable to me just before the [newsletter] was published, because, even though we were an editorial team, as the layout person who deals with it all at the end, I was in the position to have to fill extra space and [through the list] I then had information from different corners of the country. That was great. Interviewee-K printed information about organizing groups he received through the list in a magazine he worked for. Through the EU+WWG list, he also made contact with people from the bicycle caravan. He subsequently included information about the caravan in the magazine and published an article he had asked one of the caravan organizers to write. 212 Student journalists at UBC used the list to spread the online information about APEC-Alert's events and meetings. Interviewee-13 broadcasted information about APEC-Alert events and meeting times on UBC's student radio: If I did an event listing and then I [...] just printfed something from] the email list and then we read it out [...]. So that was a big help that way. APEC-Alert list Interviewee-16 used the list for his writing and editing of one of the campus student newspapers: [The list] informed my work as a journalist [...]. It was important because some of the people who did the majority of the reporting on APEC-Alert actions and APEC itself weren't on the list and [...] I edited all their work so [...] I think I had an important role because I knew the spirit of APEC-Alert, I think, better than most people in the [...] newsroom and so [...] when I was editing, if I found something which I thought maybe misrepresented APEC-Alert, I could raise that as an issue. In addition to online information contributing to groups' local mobilizing efforts and getting spread through publications and student radio, individual subscribers used list information to mobilize acquaintances. Individual Subscribers' Actions to Mobilize Others Several interview participants from both lists recommended the lists to co-activists, friends and acquaintances, and many of them told acquaintances about events announced online. For 213 example, APEC-Alert list messages not only prompted Interviewee-22 to attend events, but also to encourage others to do the same: [The list] certainly influenced my actions with APEC. [...] I took two days off work to go for the teach-in and to go for the [AELM] protest, and I might not have done that otherwise. And I think that's part of [...] why you got so many more people than anyone anticipated. Because it wasn't just me, it was [my partner], it was everyone; people coming to the people's summit. [I told them] "oh the APEC-Alert people, they're really great, you should come out there on Tuesday, it'll be great." APEC-Alert list Interviewee-21 did not live in Vancouver in 1997, but followed the events online. She moved to Vancouver after the AELM, and then used information she received through the list to explain to other people what happened during the AELM protest: I like to be a bit of a mediator between the people who would like to believe that this is not important and the people who are courageous enough to be very involved. And so, I listen, I listen and I assess and I try to inform people who are very passive out there. Further, while Interviewee-24 was the only APEC-Alert interviewee who printed list messages to pass them on, many EU+WWG interview participants printed online information to pass it on personally, via postal mail or fax to people without e-mail access. For example, Interviewee-K, in addition to printing list information in the magazine he worked on (as explained above), passed on group statements he received through the e-mail list via fax, and distributed the BK 99 coalition's newspaper in his city. 214 Conclusion This chapter shows that list use furthered already committed activists' offline involvement by providing a means to double-check times and location of events, facilitating contacts with other groups and helping to secure resources. Subscribers from both lists who were less involved offline felt that list messages did not inform them enough as to how they could become active offline. In addition, APEC-Alert list subscribers thought that the group APEC-Alert, on its list and otherwise, did not make enough effort to encourage offline involvement. Subscribers to the lists under study did, for example, respond to messages that asked for resources. This indicated that an increase of such messages may activate more subscribers and help groups secure more resources. I showed that many times when negative online dynamics that hindered mobilization occurred, the same kind of dynamics occurred offline. Improvements of offline movement dynamics may therefore also improve online dynamics. While the negative dynamics prevented subscribers from offline involvement, list use allowed these subscribers to stay informed about, and attend some offline activities. Repeated mobilizing efforts for events and personal contact were important elements in the mobilization of subscribers. This suggests that the level of effectiveness of mobilization through e-mail lists is increased when subscribers live closer together so that they can meet face-to-face. Furthermore, repeated messages about more than a selected few events would increase list volume (which as we saw in Chapter 5 has negative effects on mobilization). 215 Therefore, and due to the importance of personal contact for study participants' activation, additional mobilization efforts through printed materials and personal contact are also recommended. Despite the importance of face-to-face contact, internet use had some positive effects for social movement actors who lived further apart. While internet use resulted in closer ties of like-minded groups only, it enabled organizers to contact groups through contact information provided on the lists. Through these contacts they then obtained specific information for organizing purposes that was not available on the e-mail lists. Furthermore, organizers from both lists found the lists useful to obtain ideas for actions, arrange rides and accommodation, invite speakers they otherwise might not have known about, and share printed materials for local mobilization efforts and reproduction in alternative media. In the cases under study, social movement actors frequently did not actively facilitate list use for these purposes. Rather, some subscribers took it upon themselves to use the lists as indicated. That they could do this, however, was not clear to all subscribers. It is therefore recommended that social movement actors facilitate such list use. 216 Chapter 9: Conclusion Many attribute the successful mobilizations of the anti-globalization movement to use of the internet. The internet provides social movements with an opportunity to spread their views in their own words, to activate people and to network, both locally and globally. This opportunity comes at a time when neo-liberal economic, military and media conglomerates expand and social movements face heightened difficulties in their activities. The hype surrounding the internet, however, bears qualification. My study shows that use of the internet can both further and hinder social movement activities. Before I discuss my study findings, I review concepts of the social movement paradigms that I introduced in Chapter 2 and explain how my study adds to previous studies of social movement actors' use of the internet. Then I use dimensions of social movements to describe which subscribers from the two lists under study were and were not mobilized. Finally, I discuss the factors that hindered and furthered mobilization of list subscribers and make recommendations for social movement actors' use of e-mail lists. Synthesizing Social Movement Paradigms Before I undertook my study, I reviewed social movement paradigms and familiarized myself with concepts that social movement theorists had developed. I drew on this when designing my questionnaire and interview schedule, and used it to make sense of the data I collected and to interpret my findings. I expected to find some concepts more useful than others and that my findings might support one paradigm over another. Instead, I found that the different social movement paradigms provided me with complementary concepts for my analysis. Had I solely relied on one paradigm of social movement theories, I would have arrived at a limited picture 217 of the effects of internet uses. Instead, I drew on a combination of concepts from different paradigms. I was then able to describe a wider range of effects in greater depth and examine the interconnectedness of those effects. "Social location" and "networks" are two of the concepts I used. They have long been emphasized as important by the New Social Movement paradigm and the Political Process Model. A third concept, "resources" is a core concept of the Resource Mobilization Paradigm. North American authors such as Benford and Snow (2000) discussed the significance of the concept of "framing" and the need for social movement actors to actively frame their beliefs and actions. The concept of "collective identity" was brought to the fore by New Social Movement theorists. Study findings confirm the importance of these concepts for mobilization. Before undertaking my data analysis, I used these concepts to review previous studies on social movement actors' use of the internet. Previous Studies on Social Movement Actors' Use of the Internet Most research on use of the internet by social movement actors has focused on how it furthers movement activities. I showed in Chapter 2 that studies point to the importance of pre-existing networks and collective identity for mobilization through the internet (e.g. Thomas and Young, 1997). The reviewed studies also show that online information can help change users' perspectives, usually in combination with offline experiences (e.g. Elin, 2003). My study confirms these findings and explains in more detail how online framing efforts can help change perspectives and the role of offline experiences, in particular the importance of personal contact with social movement actors (as outlined below). 218 While previous studies show that internet use can result in offline activities (e.g. Cleaver, 1998a), they often do not explain how internet use helped prompt offline participation. They also do not address who was not mobilized and why. In contrast to these studies, I examined what furthered and hindered internet users' online and offline participation and why, for many users, participation was limited. While some researchers (Froehling 1997, Gomez 1997 and 2000) have pointed out negative effects of internet use, thorough examinations of these effects and whether they are reducible by social movement actors are, for the most part, lacking. Exceptions are studies of negative dynamics in online discussions (e.g. Balka, 1993; Wittig and Schmitz, 1996) and of difficulties of online trust formation (Ryan, 2003). These studies point to the importance of offline meetings, pre-existing networks, and social location. This is consistent with my study. My study expands on these findings when, for example, I show how internet use mainly served to retain already committed activists and resulted in limited participation of those internet users less involved offline. In addition, I show the effects of a lack of online framing and provide an example of framing that hindered mobilization. I conclude that activists have to commit resources to ensure internet use is conducive to successful mobilization. These findings inform the recommendations I provide. Study of the Two E-mail Lists I examined how effective use of the APEC-Alert and EU+WWG e-mail lists was for the consensus and action mobilization of list subscribers. The term "consensus mobilization" refers to the generating of adherents to movement goals and the generating of individuals and organizations who agree with views, aims and tactics of social movement organizations. With 219 the term "action mobilization" I refer to the prompting of inactive adherents to become involved in the movement and to the facilitation of continued involvement of already active participants. I found that movement organizers used the APEC-Alert and EU+WWG lists poorly for consensus mobilization. Yet list messages deepened many subscribers' support for the movement and provided some subscribers with social issue information they might not have encountered otherwise. I also showed that list subscribers encountered a number of barriers to reading messages and becoming active, both online and offline. List use facilitated the involvement of committed activists, transformed one subscriber from attendee to organizer, and prompted many subscribers to actively, albeit in limited ways, support the movement. In total, list use did result in the consensus and action mobilization of some subscribers and not others. Which Subscribers Were Mobilized and Which Ones Were Not I now describe which subscribers from the two lists under study were mobilized and to what degree. In this discussion, I come back to the four dimensions of social movements (as discussed in Chapter 2) and show how they affected the mobilization of list subscribers. These dimensions are social movement actors' behaviour (individuals and organizations), the relationship between social movement actors, the feelings of mutual identification and solidarity which bond movement actors together, and access to resources such as money, materials, time, and skilled assistance needed by social movements. An overview is provided in Table 10 of who was mobilized and who was not. 220 Table 10: Profiles of Subscribers Whose Mobilization Was and Was Not Facilitated Consensus Mobilization Action Mobilization Not facilitated Facilitated Not facilitated Facilitated EU+WWG List Subscribers Did not actively seek to learn about the negative effects of globalization. Most alienated by negative movement dynamics. Already critical of globalization prior to list subscription. More contact to anti-globalization activists. Most deterred by negative dynamics. Female. Felt uninformed about how to become active. Longer and more recent experiences with activism. More personal contact with other subscribers. Feelings of belonging to the Left. APEC-Alert List Subscribers Focused on reading about human rights in Asia or deterred from reading list messages due to high list volume. Read most list messages. Became involved in anti-APEC groups and then learned through personal interactions with activists. Most deterred by negative dynamics. Female. Person of Colour. * Felt uninformed about how to become active. Previous experience with activism. More personal contact with other subscribers. Mutual identification with APEC-Alert members. * Note: As explained in Chapter 3, all EU+WWG interview participants were white. Also, it is not known to me whether any subscribers to this list were people of colour. Therefore, it was only in the case of the APEC-Alert list that I was able to make an observation regarding reduced mobilization of people of colour. Consensus Mobilization EU+WWG interview participants were critical of globalization before their subscription to the list. While some highly active subscribers did not learn anything new about globalization through the e-mail lists, less involved subscribers did. Their support for the movement was deepened through articles that were posted or for which annotated references were provided, and through attendance at educational events that were announced on the list. There was one exception. Interviewee-H was not critical of globalization prior to his subscription to the 221 EU+WWG list and despite reading most messages remained unsure where he stood on globalization. Unlike other EU+WWG interview participants he did not actively seek to learn about the negative effects of globalization, had the least contact to anti-globalization activists, and was the most alienated by negative dynamics within the movement. Unlike EU+WWG list subscribers, many APEC-Alert list subscribers knew little about globalization prior to their subscription. Subscribers who did not come to be critical of APEC were those who focused on reading about human rights in Asia or were deterred from reading list messages due to high list volume. Other APEC-Alert list subscribers learned more about APEC and came to oppose it. These successfully mobilized subscribers read most list messages. They also became involved in APEC-Alert or other anti-APEC groups and then learned through personal interactions with activists during this involvement. Neither list carried much information about group views, aims and tactics. This left all subscribers unclear about the views, aims, and reasons for the tactics of groups they were not involved in offline. This was slightly more the case for APEC-Alert than EU+WWG list subscribers because some EU+WWG groups placed information about themselves on their websites. Even in this case, few annotated weblinks were posted to the list and subscribers preferred e-mail over the web. The lack of information about groups on both lists also left those subscribers less involved offline unclear about relationships between groups. In the case of APEC-Alert, it left some subscribers who were less involved offline in APEC-Alert uninformed about reasons for APEC-Alert's tactics. These subscribers attended few or no meetings and felt the most put off by negative group dynamics. 222 In summary, in the case of consensus mobilization, APEC-Alert and EU+WWG list subscribers with the most personal contact to other anti-globalization activists were the most mobilized to support movement goals and group views, aims and tactics. In contrast, a lack of personal contact led to less or no support. This points to the relationship between subscribers and social movement actors being an important factor for consensus mobilization. Furthermore, online behaviour, such as the posting of many messages and a focus on human rights in Asia without connecting the issues to globalization, prevented some APEC-Alert list subscribers from learning about globalization. Action Mobilization In both cases under study, more than half of the study participants were not involved in the offline organizing of groups and many attended few or none of the events groups organized. On both lists the typical subscriber who was less or not involved online and offline was female. She was alienated by the fact that the lists and, in the case of APEC-Alert, offline meetings were male-dominated. They had the least personal contact with other subscribers, were most deterred by online and offline fights between movement actors, and felt that organizers did not inform them enough about how to become involved. Additionally, those EU+WWG list subscribers who were less mobilized had limited overall or less recent experiences with activism. In the case of APEC-Alert, persons of colour were less mobilized than other APEC-Alert list subscribers due to alarm over racist framing. (As explained above, it was only in the case of the APEC-Alert list that I could make observations regarding mobilization of people of colour.) 223 The typical subscriber whose action mobilization was facilitated, especially on the EU+WWG list, was male. He had previous and, in case of the EU+WWG list, longer and more recent experiences with activism. In both cases he often knew involved activists from past political activities. These subscribers perpetuated or tolerated the negative movement dynamics and did not view them as problematic or, more often, saw negative dynamics as problems in need of solving but did not let this stop them from being involved. They referred to the UBC activist scene or APEC-Alert as a community with shared views and goals. In the case of the EU+WWG, they expressed feelings of belonging to the Left in Germany and to those movements they worked within. Such feelings of mutual identification motivated them to remain active despite their criticisms of negative dynamics. In summary, the typical subscriber on both lists whose online and offline participation was least facilitated was female, was most alienated by negative movement dynamics, and had the least personal contact with other subscribers. Subscribers whose action mobilization was most facilitated had previous experience with activism, knew other participants from past activities, and in case of the EU+WWG list, had longer and more recent experiences with activism. As for consensus mobilization, this description of the typical subscriber who was most and least mobilized points to the importance of the relationships between subscribers and social movement actors. It also points to the importance of mutual identification, or collective identities, and social movement actors' behaviour, the latter of which resulted in negative movement dynamics. I show further below that by committing resources to internet use (thereby addressing the fourth dimension of social movements), social movement actors could increase mobilization through the internet. Before that, I discuss in more detail the factors that hindered or furthered mobilization. 224 Factors that Hindered or Furthered Mobilization through E-mail Lists My study shows that the effectiveness of an e-mail list's contribution towards mobilization depends on the social location of those in the target pool for subscribers, personal contact between subscribers and social movement actors, movement dynamics, social movement actors' framing efforts, the presence of collective identities (which as I argue are likely difficult to develop without face-to-face contact), and the availability of resources to social movement actors. An additional factor that affected mobilization is intertwined with several of these factors: trust. Rather than devote an extra section to describing how trust affected mobilization, I therefore discuss the role of trust throughout the sections devoted to the above-named factors. Social Location of the Target Pool for Subscribers I suggested in Chapter 2 that internet use may further the mobilization mainly of those who already have fewer entry barriers into activism. These are the same people to whom internet use is most accessible: young, middle to upper class, educated, able-bodied, white men. I showed in Chapter 4 that the profile of most subscribers to the e-mail lists under study indeed fell under these categories.32 Moreover, most subscribers from both lists had experience as social activists prior to their list subscription. These findings show that movement organizers only reached a specific segment of the groups' target pool for mobilization through the e-mail lists. In addition, pre-existing networks influenced who was mobilized. Most study participants learned about the two lists through activists they knew, and several knew involved co-activists from previous experiences with activism. The exception was that the APEC-Alert list had more female than male subscribers and that EU+WWG subscribers had a broader range of ages. I did not have enough data to determine subscribers' class backgrounds. 225 While use of the e-mail list reduced the number of times APEC-Alert invoked its phone tree, it did not seem to reduce use of other means of communication. In both cases, meetings, phone, fax, and (in organizing against the EU/WWG summits) postal mail constituted common means of communication. In addition, educational events and printed materials were used for mobilizing purposes. Organizing groups, therefore, still directed their mobilizing efforts at a larger pool than just internet users. I showed that while some organizers did not find issue information on the lists they had not come across previously, many subscribers found that list messages provided them with new information. Internet use thus partially leveled access to information between movement organizers and participants less involved offline who use the internet. However, an information gap was created between those movement participants who had internet access and those who did not or chose not to make use of available access. The APEC-Alert list carried articles with social issue information that would have been too costly for the group to distribute to group members in printed versions. EU+WWG list subscribers often shared online information with group members that did not have internet access and the Infoladen Koln (the group that created the EU+WWG list) posted printouts of some list messages on a blackboard in their infoshop. The amount of information shared in this way was, by necessity, limited. The resulting differential access to information can influence who becomes more informed within groups, thereby creating or reinforcing information elites. How significant an information gap is created between group members who had and did not have internet access needs to be explored further through comparison of experiences of internet users and non-users within groups. 226 Within the scope of participants who were able to access online information, mobilization was hindered by posting behaviour and content hostile or offensive to subscribers, especially with regard to their social location. In the cases under study, racialized and gendered online and offline dynamics hindered mobilization of women and, at least in the case of APEC-Alert, people of colour. Similarly, homophobic or otherwise offensive content can create barriers to people's participation in online activities. Decisions about whether to be involved in an organization can be based on dynamics of gender, race, class, age, sexuality, ability, and education. Moreover, most posted messages on the EU+WWG list were in German and all posts on the APEC-Alert list were in English. This limited use of the lists to people who spoke or could read the respective language. Greater mobilization was further hindered by a lack of contextualizing information, which made list messages more difficult to understand for those subscribers less involved offline. Subscribers such as these often had less access to other sources of information, such as printed materials and co-activists—sources which were used by subscribers more involved offline to gain additional information. Moreover, subscribers less involved offline felt that list messages did not adequately inform them as to how they could become active offline. As a result, list use mostly furthered mobilization of already committed activists whom list messages provided with supplemental information. On the positive side, list use allowed those subscribers who were alienated by group dynamics or tactics to stay informed and support the movement without getting involved in organizing groups. 227 Personal Contact Between Subscribers and Social Movement Actors Use of the e-mail lists did not seem to reduce a need for personal contact. Sometimes list use prompted personal contact and, more often, subscribers simply preferred talking to someone face-to-face or by phone to using e-mail. I found that personal contact enhanced mobilization of subscribers. This was the case for both consensus and action mobilization. These findings pose main challenges to social movement organization. Subscribers of e-mail lists are often geographically dispersed which makes face-to-face contact difficult. Yet face-to-face contact enhances mobilization. I make suggestions at the end of this sections for how social movement actors can increase the amount of personal contact and face-to-face meetings even when subscribers are geographically dispersed. List messages often left subscribers with a need to turn to co-activists for clarifications of details and for sources of additional information about the issues organizing groups were concerned with. For the most part, interview participants considered printed materials, face-to-face interactions, public speaking and writing experiences as better or preferred methods of learning about social justice issues than e-mail lists. This included personal conversations with activists, public talks, panels and workshops. (Some also hoped to learn about social justice issues at group meetings but then regretted the lack of discussion with respect to this.) Subscribers often stressed that they found e-mail impersonal and—despite the occurrence of online debates—not interactive enough. They felt it was easier to be misunderstood in e-mail and preferred the immediate reactions that personal conversations allowed. Subscribers also showed a preference for obtaining information about groups through personal contact with group members or, if this was not possible, through activists whom they knew and trusted. 228 Since subscribers less involved offline had less access to printed materials and co-activists, it is recommended that social movement actors explicitly frame their messages to inform readers about those specific people and offline occasions that they can learn more from regarding the issues that concern them. Online and offline involvement of list subscribers was also furthered by personal contact. Many subscribers posted few or no messages to the lists, but communicated personally with other subscribers. Often, these were people they knew, but subscribers also responded personally to message senders when asking for suggestions or materials. However, while list subscribers responded by personal e-mail to organizers' posted requests for resources, they did not reply to requests to assume tasks. Generally, study participants were more likely to become active when organizers approached them in person, by phone, or through personal e-mail, than through public list messages. They also preferred to attend events if they knew other attendees. One reason subscribers were hesitant posting to the lists was that they felt uneasy about communicating with anonymous others. List anonymity was more of a concern to EU+WWG than APEC-Alert list subscribers because, unlike the APEC-Alert list, several accounts were used by multiple users or under pseudonyms. Posts from such accounts often left it unclear whether represented views were held by one or several persons. Also, many APEC-Alert list subscribers met during meetings or events, whereas many EU+WWG list subscribers did not meet face-to-face. 229 It is therefore advisable that social movement actors aim to reduce online anonymity. This could be partially achieved through limiting the use of pseudonyms and anonymous re-mailers and through providing descriptive online information about those groups subscribed to the list. However, in the case of APEC-Alert, many subscribers knew each other through group meetings yet still felt uneasy about posting to the list that included anonymous others. Subscribers had more trust in activists during offline meetings or on smaller lists where they knew all or most subscribers. I also showed that repeated mobilizing efforts for events furthered subscribers' attendance. However, repeated messages about more than a few events would increase list volume which, as shown in Chapter 5, leads to subscribers reading fewer messages and unsubscribing from lists. Therefore, additional mobilization efforts through printed materials and personal contact are recommended. Internet use had positive effects for social movement actors who lived further apart. It enabled organizers to approach other groups via contact information provided on the lists. Through these contacts, they obtained specific information for organizing purposes that was not available on the e-mail lists. Group organizers also used previously posted event information to coordinate events and developed close ties with like-minded groups. The actual coordination of events and the development of closer ties with groups, however, occurred through personal e-mail, phone, mail and in person. This suggests two courses of actions social movement actors can take to increase online participation. The most effective course, although limited for users who are widely dispersed, is 230 to increase the amount of face-to-face meetings to develop non-anonymous relationships and to negotiate a collective identity offline, with these meetings taking place prior to or early on in their use of the internet. The second course is for smaller sublists to be created on which subscribers can introduce themselves and develop trust. The issues of how the larger list can then be best used needs to be explored. They could, for example, choose a spokesperson from each sub-list so that only these spokespersons contribute to the larger list (while continuously consulting with their respective sub-groups) but all subscribers can read messages (to facilitate trust in the process). It is possible that these sublists could help overcome the problem associated with the wide dispersal of subscribers in that they could be used to group people regionally. Movement Dynamics I showed in Chapter 8 that negative movement dynamics hindered mobilization of list subscribers. These dynamics included domination by a few, racist framing, sexist behaviour, intra- and intergroup fights, selective communication, and a lack of letting subscribers know that involvement was needed and wanted, in addition to a failure to inform subscribers about how to become active. These dynamics were apparent in list content. An example of this was APEC-Alert's offline focus on human rights in Asia which resulted in a higher number of posted articles about human rights abuses in Asia than about globalization and human rights abuses in North America. Online invitations contributed to the impression of some APEC-Alert list subscribers that APEC-Alert was a tight-knit group. On neither list did posts contain much information about how subscribers could become active. 231 Other negative dynamics were shown in subscribers' posting behaviour. A small number of people dominated the lists with their posts, men posted more often than women, and subscribers communicated selectively and exchanged hostilities. As a result of these dynamics, women and subscribers less involved offline posted fewer messages to the lists or unsubscribed and limited their offline involvement. In addition, some APEC-Alert list subscribers focused on e-mails by heavy posters or a few APEC-Alert spokespersons whose actions to become prominent figures within the group thus silenced other voices on the e-mail list. On the other hand, it was the large volume of messages sent by two top posters that led at least one EU+WWG list subscriber to stop reading these posters' messages who thus indirectly silenced themselves. Regardless, the list content was effectively determined by the main posters. Heavy posters were also seen as leaders by some, and received more responses than other discussants in online debates. I showed that often when negative online dynamics that hindered mobilization occurred, the same kind of dynamics occurred offline. An improvement of offline dynamics should then be expected to lead to an improvement of online dynamics. However, online hostilities might still occur as they are partially caused by inherent features of the medium. The e-mail medium allows subscriber anonymity and easy surveillance. This resulted in distrust and hostilities. Additionally, at least one APEC-Alert list subscriber did not hesitate to send antagonistic messages because he believed that subscribers could simply delete them without reading them, and several interview participants from both lists felt that they might write harsher things in an e-mail than they would say in person. Subscribers also felt that a message sent via e-mail can 232 be interpreted as more hostile than a message relayed in a personal conversation. These, then, frequently resulted in hostile responses, as did a post written in capitalized letters by a subscriber who was unaware that this can be interpreted as shouting. Lastly, subscribers felt that posts to public e-mail lists were scrutinized more than posts to smaller lists or comments made in person at meetings. Social Movement Actors' Framing Efforts This study shows that group organizers made poor use of the lists to frame their beliefs and actions, even while it indicates that lists can be used successfully for this framing. For example, list messages did not carry much information about APEC, the EU, G7/G8, or globalization in general. The importance of this framing information is shown by two points. Many subscribers wished that the lists had carried more messages with issue information. Support for the movement was deepened even by the limited amount of issue information that was posted. This deeper support can lead subscribers to want to participate in organizing groups. However, most list messages, including posts by main organizing groups, did not address groups' views, aims, and tactics. As a result, group views and reasons for tactical choices were unclear to subscribers and this hindered their participation. That e-mail lists can be used to raise support for groups is demonstrated by the support subscribers developed through list messages for APEC-Alert's civil disobedience actions. Organizers on both lists failed to connect social justice issues, such as human rights, to globalization. As a result, some subscribers who focused on specific social justice issues did not learn anything about globalization. Making this connection between globalization and other 233 social justice issues may have increased subscribers' support for the movement. Globalization is a complex issue that requires a fair amount of education about how it affects society. It is unclear to what extent, through list messages alone, subscribers can effectively learn about such a complex issue. However, for some APEC-Alert list subscribers, list messages played an important role in learning about the complex interconnectedness of social justice issues. This was facilitated by keeping the list open to varied issue information. Benford and Snow (2000, p. 619) argue that when social movement actors frame their beliefs and actions in inclusive and flexible terms, more participants tend to join the movement. In the case of APEC-Alert, the mobilization against APEC and the holding of the AELM on their campus was broadened to include other social justice issues. Action on these issues was represented in the form of mobilization against the presence of heads of states responsible for human rights abuses, with a focus on Asia. I showed that the inclusion of this additional issue attracted participants who were initially disinterested in the mobilization to protest APEC. However, the focus on Asia had a countervailing tendency to alienate other potential subscribers who perceived a neglect of issues regarding North American human rights abuses and globalization. This demonstrates the need for movement actors to ensure that their mobilizing frame is indeed inclusive and that encompassed issues are not discriminatory. For the most part, list messages facilitated higher levels of participation by committed activists and prompted only limited involvement of other subscribers. The transformation of one subscriber from attendee to organizer, however, shows that list use can effectively increase mobilization. The limited mobilizing effect of messages on the lists under study was, in part, a result of organizers failing to adequately inform subscribers about ways to become active. 234 Subscribers also thought that organizers did not make enough effort to reach out to new people and make them feel welcome. At least one subscriber thought that her participation was not needed, even at a time when organizers were looking for participants. List messages conveyed that a large number of people were involved in the anti-APEC protest activities and that a large spectrum of groups participated in anti-EU+WWG activities. This had motivational effects that could have been increased if more groups' online participation were facilitated and overviews of organizing groups were provided. (Of the lists under study, many groups did not participate on the lists nor were online overviews of organizing groups provided.) Collective Identities There was no attempt on the EU+WWG or APEC-Alert list to negotiate a collective identity. When subscribers on either list discussed views this was not done with the intent to come to consensus on any of the debated issues. The online debates were confrontational, which only alienated subscribers, and resulted in a move away from mutual support and the development of a collective identity. Online discussions undertaken with mutual intent to develop consensus, on the other hand, might have brought subscribers closer to developing a collective identity. Such candid discussions of views require that subscribers trust each other. Trust, however, remained limited due to online anonymity, negative dynamics, and the threat of surveillance. This brings us back to the two courses of action recommended above of meeting face-to-face or otherwise creating sublists on which subscribers can establish trust. Personal contact of these types can help establish trust through sustained interaction. Ideally this occurs over a long span 235 of time since processes of trust development are largely history-dependent (Roderick M. Kramer, 1999, pp. 596-598). Comparison of the two lists show that the presence of a collective identity results in fewer hostile interactions. (APEC-Alert members had developed a collective identity offline.) This suggests that prior to or early in their use of the internet, whenever possible, users should meet in person to negotiate a collective identity. The Availability of Resources to Social Movement Actors According to Resource Mobilization theory, the availability of a (fairly) new resource such as the internet should facilitate the rise of social movements. My study indicates that this is not a straightforward causal relation. I showed that internet use indeed provides social movement actors with resources they might otherwise not obtain. However, I also show that social movement actors need to commit resources to their internet uses to prompt users to become active. Through the e-mail lists, social movement actors obtained materials (such as flyers and tents for anti-summit camps), speakers, and contact information for groups. They obtained ideas for actions and easy access to issue information and information about other groups' activities. They also used the lists to arrange rides and accommodation. Frequently, organizers did not actively facilitate list use for these purposes. This only happened because some subscribers took it upon themselves to use the lists as indicated. However, this was not an option that was clear to all subscribers. It is recommended that social movement actors facilitate such list use. More posts to the lists asking for resources as well as announcing their availability could have 236 resulted in the securing of more resources and activation of more subscribers (for example, subscribers might have invited a group to their town had they known they could). Findings of this study further suggest that social movement actors deal with negative movement dynamics and posting behaviours. One resource that might prove useful in this effort are e-mail lists themselves. This study shows that e-mail can be used to circumvent negative offline gender dynamics. In one case, a female organizer used e-mail to raise a controversial issue on a group-internal list because she felt that e-mail allowed her to argue her case against a male organizer more effectively than in a meeting. The extent to which list use can help circumvent and rectify negative dynamics and under what circumstances this occurs, warrants further research. I also show that social movement actors can further mobilization through list messages by explaining group beliefs and actions, providing contextualizing information, pointing to additional sources of information, and informing subscribers as to how they can become active. Without this range of information, use of e-mail lists will mainly serve to retain already committed activists. Finally, to reach a broader audience I recommend that social movement actors undertake initiatives to increase internet access and make online materials available offline. Subscribers to the lists under study provided examples of such initiatives. Many forwarded list messages to acquaintances and other lists and some printed online information to pass it on to non-list subscribers. An increase of such initiatives and the facilitating of physical access to the internet can widen the reach of e-mail lists. 237 Conclusion The main research questions in this thesis were whether use of e-mail lists by activist groups furthers or hinders the mobilization of list subscribers, and what role e-mail lists play in fostering subscribers' involvement with social activist groups. To find answers to these questions, I examined the use of two e-mail lists over the course of several months for anti-globalization activities. The APEC-Alert list was created and predominantly used by one group in Vancouver that organized many smaller actions over several months and one larger rally during the AELM. Group organizers regarded the list as a tool to mobilize subscribers. Many subscribers did indeed join the group or attend group events. Other subscribers felt alienated by group dynamics. Persons of colour, for example, were alienated by occasional racist framings. Such subscribers then attended no or few APEC-Alert events. As the list carried little information about other anti-APEC groups, they did not join those either. Since APEC-Alert was the only group organizing at the site of the AELM, several felt compelled to remain marginally involved despite feeling alienated. In this the e-mail list assisted them as they could remain informed without joining the group. In contrast the EU+WWG list, established by one group located in Cologne, Germany, was used by a variety of leftist groups from Cologne and elsewhere. For a few weeks prior to and during the EU and G7/G8 summits these groups held many events including three larger rallies which, while organized by one group or coalition each, was divided into blocs. This enabled EU+WWG list subscribers to choose to join events and blocs of some groups over others. 238 Unlike APEC-Alert organizers, EU+WWG organizers viewed the list as a tool for activist groups to exchange information about their activities, but not as a tool to mobilize list subscribers. This left subscribers with less experience and less access to other sources of information uninformed about groups, the issues they were concerned with, and about how to become active. As a result, EU+WWG list subscribers who were mobilized the most were those who had longer and more recent experiences with activism. Despite the different view of e-mail lists, APEC-Alert organizers' posts also left many subscribers uninformed about groups, the issues they were concerned with, and about how to become active. Yet several APEC-Alert list subscribers whose initial involvement was limited did become more involved over time. An important factor in their mobilization was face-to-face contact, an option less possible for EU+WWG list subscribers who were geographically dispersed. What both lists had in common was that list use furthered mobilization mostly of those with the most personal contact with anti-globalization activists and previous experience with activism. On both lists, the typical subscriber whose online and offline participation was least facilitated was female. These effects were due to negative online and offline dynamics but also to movement organizers not using the lists strategically. I therefore made specific recommendations for social movement actors' to enhance internet use for mobilization purposes. What remains to be seen, and studied is to what extent changes in internet access and usage result in increased mobilization (as is suggested by my findings) and what other changes might be warranted to increase the benefits that social movement actors can reap from internet use. 239 Lastly, I must acknowledge that internet use occurs in a rapidly changing environment. The political climate and the internet technologies have changed since the time periods in which I studied the use of the APEC-Alert and EU+WWG lists. For example, online surveillance has increased post-September 11, 2001, computers are faster and new internet tools have been developed. These changes might have implications for the use of the internet by social movements. While an examination of the effects of changes in the political and technological landscape is beyond the scope of this thesis, this needs to be explored in future studies. 240 Bibliography Aikens, Geoffrey S. (1997). 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Exposing the great equalizer: demythologizing internet equity. In Bosah Ebo (Ed.), Cyberghetto or Cybertopia? Race Class, and Gender on the Internet (pp. 15-32). Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers. 245 pgp-key at the bottom of this message. (For more info about pgp see e.g. http://www.pgpi.com/ or http://www.google.com/search?q=pretty+good+privacy.) You are, of course, also welcome to print out this questionnaire or request a printed questionnaire (which I will then send to you together with a self-addressed stamped return envelope). Please mail the completed questionnaire to Katja Cronauer, c/o Computer Science Department, 2366 Main Mall, UBC, Vancouver, B.C., V6T 1Z4, Canada. If you have any further questions regarding this study, I will gladly answer them. Thank you very much for participating in this study. Katja QUESTIONNAIRE For the multiple choice questions please put an X into each box [ ] that applies. As you may or may not know, there also existed an "internal mailing list" that was used by some of the more active APEC Alert members. Questions 5 to 7 concern this internal mailing list. Questions 1-4 are about the "public APEC Alert mailing list". 1. Please indicate the time period(s) you were subscribed to the *public* APEC Alert mailing list. Be as precise as you can. (FYI: The list started in March 1997, and was active until the APEC summit in November that year and beyond.) [ ] don't remember at all The following questions regard your use of the APEC Alert mailing lists leading up to the APEC summit and shortly after (i.e. till the end of 1997). Please try to recall your use of e-mail and these mailing lists that year. 247 2. a) While subscribed to the *public* APEC Alert mailing list, how many of the messages posted to this list did you read on average? [ ] all or nearly all [ ] more than half [ ] roughly half [ ] less than half [ ] very few [ ] none b) What kind of messages did you tend read? (Please mark all answers that apply) [ ] messages with information about APEC and/or APEC countries [ ] announcements of anti-APEC activities/events [ ] reports about anti-APEC activities/events [ ] discussions between list participants [ ] others: [ ] all messages [ ] none 3. a) Please indicate approximately the number of messages you posted to this public mailing list and how frequently. [ ] per week (no.) messages [ ] per month [ ] in total [ ] none b) If you posted messages to this public mailing list, what kind of messages did you post? (Please mark all answers that apply to you.) [ ] messages with information about APEC and/or APEC countries [ ] announcements of anti-APEC activities/events [ ] reports about anti-APEC activities/events [ ] discussions with other list participants [ ] questions to list participants [ ] responses to questions of other list participants [ ] other: [ ] inapplicable 4. Please indicate approximately how often you have replied personally (i.e. not via the mailing list but to the sender) to messages that you received through this public mailing list? [ ] per week times [ ] per month 248 [ ] in total [ ] never If you were not on the "internal mailing list", please skip to question 8. 5. Please indicate the time period(s) you were subscribed to the *internal* APEC Alert mailing list. Be as precise as you can. (FYI: The list started in July 1997, and was active until the APEC summit in November that year and beyond.) [ ] don't remember at all 6. a) Please indicate approximately how many messages you posted to the internal mailing list and how frequently. [ ] per week (no.) messages [ ] per month [ ] in total [ ]none b) If you posted messages to this internal mailing list, what kind of messages did you post? (Please mark all answers that apply to you.) [ ] messages with information about APEC and/or APEC countries [ ] announcements of activities against APEC [ ] reports about activities against APEC [ ] discussions with other list participants [ ] questions to list participants [ ] responses to questions of other list participants [ ] other: [ ] inapplicable 7. Please indicate approximately how often you have replied personally (i.e. not via the mailing list but to the sender) to messages that you received through this internal mailing list? [ ] per week times [ ] per month [ ] in total [ ] none 249 8. Please indicate additional online anti-APEC activities you engaged in. (Please mark all answers that apply to you.) [ ] forwarding messages I received from the public list to other mailing lists [ ] forwarding messages I received from the public list to individuals [ ] contributing to anti-APEC web pages [ ] subscribed to other anti-APEC/anti-globalization mailing lists [ ] others: [ ] none If you did not participate in any APEC Alert activities or events please skip to question 12. 9. a) Please indicate the time period(s) you participated in APEC Alert meetings or events. Be as precise as you can. (E.g. mid-Sept, to early Dec, or Nov. 24 and 25) [ ] don't remember at all b) Did you contact the APEC Alert group before or after you subscribed to the "public APEC Alert mailing list"? [] before [ ] after [ ] not sure 10.a) How many APEC Alert meetings did you attend? [ ] most [ ] more than half [ ] roughly half [ ] less than half [ ] a few [ ]none b) How many APEC Alert events did you attend? [ ] most [ ] more than half [ ] roughly half [ ] less than half [ ] a few [ ] none 250 c) Please indicate what else you did for the group other than attending meetings and events: 11. On average how much time did you spend working with APEC Alert? • day hours per [ ] week [ ] month 12. Please list other anti-APEC groups you worked with, if any: 13. Previous to being subscribed to this mailing list, you already had experience with (please mark all answers that apply to you) [ ] e-mail [ ] electronic mailing lists [ ] newsgroups (also known as bulletin boards) [ ] social activist groups 14. At the time of anti-APEC activities at UBC in 1997, which city or area of Vancouver did you live in? Personal information 15. Your age: 16. Your sex: [ ] female [ ] male 17. At the time, did you have a partner? [ ] yes []no 16. How many children did you have, if any? 251 17. At the time, were you [ ] a highschool student [ ] a university or college student in the following department/program: [ ] unemployed [ ] working as a: [ ] other: 18. About how much time did your everyday life responsibilities leave you to get involved in social activism? • day hours per [ ] week [ ] month 19. At the time, did you live or work in a politically active environment? [ ] yes [ ] no, but I have before [ ] no, and I never have 20. Would you agree to an interview with further questions about your experience with APEC Alert's activities and its mailing lists. (Please note that your participation is entirely voluntary. You may refuse to participate or withdraw from the study at any time without any negative repercussions.) [ ] yes [ ] maybe; I would like to ask some questions, prior to deciding []no If you agree or are thinking about agreeing to participate in an interview, please leave your name and phone number. I will then get in touch with you as soon as possible. Your name: Your phone number: Thank you very much for your participation! If you have any comments about this study or would like to share anything else, you are more than welcome to do so here: Please send the questionnaire back to cronauer@cs.ubc.ca or to the addresses as indicated above. 252 my pgp-key: Type Bits/KeylD Date User ID pub 1024/41B2D1F9 1999/10/23 cronauer@cs.ubc.ca -—-BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-— Version: 2.6.3i mQCNAzgRACwAAAEEANR+jI4M2uCwMz4Udy771rarchcK3/FV/FOsSWyB+xLiYjCH p/qyU0qBK170zmWjUDnJuXXlXQ8+wsTxDNMLvLwmnBx3HcwjkxWT5goR2ckHlLl vCAS9IgO3qY24R0TgHOLqg3pWL3z88fo8gkdesZgQMAx36ukNlWblhNBstH5AAUR tBJjcm9uYXVlcldBjcy51YmMuY2GJAJUDBRA4EQAsVZuWE0Gy0fkBAdVNA/91BXZR 7AcyMr9t0AIz6oDHRBUruOsGVLbxD3tb3Qklf/8VjXP2QCiJJe63MYt5btYfdZxu HLLocUgSQA68ZgQQcW178KjXQ0yn4XdFvPaUGTwOhlmBXpNdlKR194OiiuhBlE8C +abnn9HiBAplbc+lHgriM5ePX37Yzs701Q62mg== =D3I5 —-END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK—-253 FRAGEBOGEN Bei Fragen mit vorgegebenen Antwortmoglichkeiten markieren Sie bitte fur jede zutreffende Antwort das entsprechende Kastchen [ ] mit einem X. 1. In welcher Stadt leben Sie? Falls Sie nicht in Koln leben: Sind Sie im Rahmen der Aktivitaten gegen den EU und den WWG Gipfel nach Koln gekommen? [ ] nein []ja Falls ja, geben Sie bitte an wann und fur wie lange: 2. Ihr Alter: 3. Ihr Geschlecht: [ ] weiblich [ ] mannlich 4. Haben Sie eine Partnerin / einen Partner? []ja [ ] nein 5. Wieviele Kinder haben Sie? ... Kinder. 6. Sie sind [ ] SchulerIN [ ] StudentIN imFach: ... [ ] arbeitslos [ ] in folgendem Beruf tatig: ... [ ] sonstiges: ... 7. Wieviel Zeit bleibt Ihnen nach Erledigung Ihrer taglichen Verpflichtungen, um sich als BasisaktivistIN zu engagieren? (Bitte geben Sie die Stunden pro Tag, Woche oder Monat an, indem Sie die Stundenanzahl eintragen und das entsprechende Kastchen fiir Tag, Woche oder Monat markieren.) • Tag 255 ... Stunden pro [ ] Woche [ ] Monat 8. Leben oder arbeiten Sie mit Leuten zusammen, die politisch aktiv sind? []ja [ ] nein, momentan nicht, aber in der Vergangenheit habe ich mit politisch aktiven Leuten gelebt oder gearbeitet [ ] nein, ich habe nie mit politisch aktiven Leuten gelebt oder gearbeitet 9. a) Seit wann sind Sie in dieser Mailing Liste eingetragen? b) Falls Sie sich jemals aus dieser Mailing Liste ausgetragen haben, geben Sie nun bitte die entsprechenden Zeitraume an: 10. a) Wieviel E-mails, die Sie durch diese Mailing Liste erhalten haben, haben Sie gelesen? [ ] alle oder fast alle [ ] mehr als die Halfte [ ] etwa die Halfte [ ] weniger als die Halfte [ ] sehr wenige b) Welche Art von E-mails haben Sie gelesen? (Bitte kreuzen Sie alle Antworten an, die fiir Sie zutreffen.) [ ] E-mails mit Informationen iiber die EU oder das G7/G8 [ ] Ankiindigungen von Aktivitaten gegen die EU oder das G7/G8 [ ] Berichte iiber Aktivitaten gegen die EU oder das G7/G8 [ ] alle E-mails von und iiber folgende Gruppen oder Organisationen: ... [ ] Diskussionen zwischen ListenteilnehmerlNNEn [ ] sonstige: ... [ ] alle E-mails 11. a) Geben Sie nun bitte an, wieviele E-mails Sie iiber diese Mailing Liste verschickt haben: [ ] pro Woche ... E-mails [ ] pro Monat [ ] insgesamt b) Falls Sie E-mails iiber diese Mailing Liste verschickt haben, welcher Art waren diese? (Bitte kreuzen Sie alle Antworten an, die fiir Sie zutreffen.) [ ] E-mails mit Informationen iiber die EU oder das G7/G8 [ ] Ankiindigungen von Aktivitaten gegen die EU oder das G7/G8 [ ] Berichte iiber Aktivitaten gegen die EU oder das G7/G8 [ ] Diskussionen mit anderen ListenteilnehmerlNNEn [ ] Fragen an andere ListenteilnehmerlNNEN [ ] Antworten auf Fragen anderer ListenteilnehmerlNNEN [ ] sonstige: ... 256 12. Bitte geben Sie nun an, wie haufig Sie Leuten, die eine E-mail iiber diese Liste verschickt haben, personlich (also nicht iiber die Liste) geantwortet haben? [ ] pro Woche ... -mal [ ] pro Monat [ ] insgesamt 13. Welchen Gruppen, die gegen die EU und das G7/G8 organisiert haben, haben Sie sich angeschlossen? (Bitte geben Sie Gruppen und Koalitionen getrennt an.) a) Namen der Gruppen: 1. 2. 3. b) Zeitraume, in denen Sie mit diesen Gruppen gearbeitet haben: 1. Gruppe: 2. Gruppe: 3. Gruppe: c) Haben Sie mit diesen Gruppen Kontakt aufgenommen bevor oder nachdem Sie sich auf dieser Mailing Liste eingetragen haben? vorher danach ich bin mir nicht sicher 1. Gruppe [] [] [] 2. Gruppe [] [] [] 3. Gruppe [] [] [] d) Geben Sie nun bitte fiir jede Gruppe an, an wievielen Treffen und Aktionen (welche Aktivitaten gegen den EU und/oder den G7/G8 Gipfel betrafen) Sie teilgenommen haben. i) Treffen: an alien oder fast alien an mehr als der Halfte an etwa der Halfte an weniger als der Halfte an keinen 1. Gruppe 2. Gruppe 3. Gruppe ii) Aktionen: an alien oder fast alien an mehr als der Halfte an etwa der Halfte an weniger als der Halfte an keinen 1. Gruppe 2. Gruppe 3. Gruppe 257 e) Bitte geben Sie fur jede dieser Gruppen Ihr Engagement, welches liber eine Teilnahme an Treffen und Aktionen hinausging, an: 1 . Gruppe: 2 . Gruppe: 3 . Gruppe: f) Wieviel Zeit haben Sie fur das 1. Gruppe [ ] pro Tag ... Stunden [ ] pro Woche [ ] pro Monat 3. Gruppe [ ] pro Tag ... Stunden [ ] pro Woche [ ] pro Monat 14. Sie hatten, bevor Sie in dieser Mailing Liste eingetragen waren, Erfahrung mit (bitte kreuzen Sie alle Antworten an, die fur Sie zutreffen) [ ] E-mail [ ] elektronischen Mailing Listen [ ] Newsgroups (auch Bulletin Boards genannt) [ ] Basisgruppen 15. Wiirden Sie sich zu einem personlichen Interview mit weiteren Fragen iiber Ihre Erfahrungen mit dieser Mailing Liste und Aktivitaten gegen den EU und den G7 Gipfel bereit erklaren? (Bitte beachten Sie, daG Ihre Teilnahme vollkommen freiwillig ist und Sie Ihre Zusage zur Teilnahme jederzeit ohne weitere Konsequenzen fur Sie zuriickziehen konnen.) []ja [ ] eventuell; ich hatte erst noch ein paar Fragen [ ] nein Falls Sie (evtl.) bereit sind an einem Interview teilzunehmen, geben Sie bitte hier Ihren Namen und Ihre Telefonnummer an. Ich werde mich dann baldmoglichst bei Dinen melden. Ihr Name: Ihre Telefonnummer: Vielen Dank ftir Ihre Teilnahme! Arbeiten mit jeder dieser Gruppen aufgebracht? 2. Gruppe [ ] pro Tag ... Stunden [ ] pro Woche [ ] pro Monat 258 Sollten Sie noch einen Kommentar zu dieser Umfrage haben oder mir noch etwas anderes mitteilen wollen, konnen Sie dies im folgenden gerne tun: Bitte senden Sie den ausgefiillten Fragebogen an: Katja Cronauer, Kaesenstr. 20,50677 Koln 259 QUESTIONNAIRE For the multiple choice questions, please put, for each answer applies to you, an X into the according box [ ]. 1. In which city do you live? If you do not live in Cologne: Did you come to Cologne to participate in activities against the EU or G8 summits? []no [ ] yes If yes, please indicate when and for how long: 2. Your age: 3. Your sex: [ ] female [ ] male 4. Do you have a partner? [ ] yes []no 5. How many children do you have? ... children. 6. You are [ ] a highschool student [ ] a university or college student in the following department/program: [ ] unemployed [ ] working as a: [ ] other: 261 7. How much time do your everyday life responsibilities leave you to get involved in social activism? (Please indicate the number of hours per day, week, or month by filling in the number of hours and by marking the box for 'day', 'week', or 'month'.) • day ... hours per [ ] week [ ] month 8. Do you live or work in a politically active environment? [ ] yes [ ] no, but I have in the past [ ] no, never have 9. a) When did you subscribe to this mailing list? b) If you ever unsubscribed from this mailing list, please let me know when and for how long: 10. a) About how many of the messages posted on this mailing list did you read? [ ] all or nearly all [ ] more than half [ ] roughly half [ ] less than half [ ] very few b) What kind of messages did you read? (Please mark all answers that apply to you.) [ ] messages with information about the EU or the G7/G8 [ ] announcements of activities against the EU or G7/G8 [ ] reports about activities against the EU or G7/G8 [ ] all messages from and about the following groups or organizations: ... [ ] discussions between list participants [ ] others: ... [ ] all messages 11. a) Please indicate how many messages you posted to this mailing list. [ ] per week ... messages [ ] per month [ ] in total 262 b) If you posted messages to this mailing list, what kind of messages were these? (Please mark all answers that apply to you.) [ ] messages with information about the EU or the G7/G8 [ ] announcements of activities against the EU or G7/G8 [ ] reports about activities against the EU or G7/G8 [ ] discussions with other list participants [ ] questions to list participants [ ] responses to questions of other list participants [ ] other: ... 12. Please indicate how often you have replied personally (i.e. not via the mailing list but to the sender) to messages that you received through this mailing list? [ ] per week ... times [ ] per month [ ] in total 13. Which of the groups that organized against the EU and the G7/G8 did you get involved with? (Please treat individual groups and coalitions separately.) a) Group names: b) Periods of time you worked with each group: 1. group: 2. group: 3. group: c) Did you contact these groups before or after you subscribed to this mailing list? 1. 2. 3. 1. group 2. group 3. group before after not sure [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] 263 d) Please indicate, for each of these groups, how many meetings and events (that involved organizing against the EU summit and/or the G7/G8 summit) you attended. i) meetings: all or nearly all more than half roughly half less than half none 1. group 2. group 3. group ii) events: all or nearly all more than half roughly half less than half none 1. group 2. group 3. group e) Please indicate, for each of these groups, your involvement other than attending meetings and events: 1. group: 2. group: 3. group: f) How much time did you spend working with each of these groups 1. group: 2. group: [ ] day [ ] day ...hours per [ ] week ...hours per [ ] week [ ] month [ ] month 3. group: • day ...hours per [ ] week [ ] month 14. Previous to being subscribed to this mailing list, you had experience with. (please mark all answers that apply to you) [ ] e-mail [ ] electronic mailing lists [ ] newsgroups (also known as bulletin boards) [ ] social activist groups 264 Appendix C: Interview Schedule for Subscribers from the APEC-Alert List I asked interview participants the following questions, often posed follow-up questions based on their answers, and if necessary asked questions to clarify answers they provided in the questionnaire they had returned to me. Question regarding participants' access to e-mail. 1. Since when do you have experience with e-mail? 2. How often did you check your e-mail in 1997? 3. Was that pretty consistent over time? Questions about participants' first contact with APEC-Alert and its e-mail lists. 4. When and how did you first hear about APEC-Alert? 5. When and how did you first get in contact with APEC-Alert? 6. When and how did you first find out about APEC-Alert's public e-mail list? 7. If interview participant was not on the APEC-Alert internal e-mail list: Did you know that there was another e-mail list used for internal communications between the more committed group members? If vyes' or if interview participant was subscribed to the internal list: When and how did you find out about this e-mail list? Were you asked if you wanted to be on that e-mail list? If "yes': Did you agree to be on that e-mail list? Why (not)? 266 Question about interview participants' reading behaviour on the list[s]. If applicable, ask the following question for both APEC-Alert's public and internal e-mail list. 8. About how many of the messages posted on the APEC-Alert e-mail list[s] did you read over what period of time? If applicable: What kind of messages were those? Why did you choose to read these and not others? Questions regarding consensus mobilization of interview participants. 9. What was your main source of information about APEC? 10. Did you have an opinion about APEC before you were on the APEC-Alert list? 11. Do you think that by being on the list you learned more about APEC? 12. Would you say that being on the list helped you clarify or changed your opinions about APEC? If vyes': In what way? 13. Do you think that by being on the list you learned more about APEC-Alert? 14. Would you say that being on the APEC-Alert list[s] helped you clarify or changed your perception of APEC-Alert and its actions? If "yes': In what way? Questions regarding online action mobilization of interview participants. If applicable, ask the following questions for both APEC-Alert's public and internal e-mail list. 15. If interview participants posted list messages: How many did you post over what period of time? What kind of messages were those? 267 What motivated you to send them? What kind of responses, if any, did you receive to your posts? Why did you not post any/more messages? 16. If interview participants sent personal replies to list messages: How many did you send over what period of time? What kind of messages did you reply to? What kind of replies did you send? What motivated you to send them? Why did you not send any/more personal replies to list messages? 17. Did you otherwise communicate via personal e-mail with APEC-Alert participants For what purpose and how often? / Why not? 18. What concerns, if any, did you have about communicating via e-mail? Questions regarding offline action mobilization of interview participants. 19. If interview participants did not attend APEC-Alert meetings: Why not? If interview participants did attend APEC-Alert meetings: When did you start attending APEC-Alert meetings? Which meetings were those? Why did you attend these and not others? How often did you attend? Did your attendance at meetings change over time? iryes': How? How did you learn about them? If more than one answer: how did you predominantly learn about them? 268 Was there a time when you stopped attending? IF yes': When? Why? 20. If interview participants did not attend APEC-Alert events: Why not? If interview participants did attend APEC-Alert events: When did you start attending APEC-Alert events? Which events were those? Why did you attend these events and not others? How often did you attend? Did your attendance of events change over time? IF yes': How? How did you learn about the events? If more than one answer: how did you predominantly learn about them? Was there a time when you stopped attending? Ifvyes': When? Why? 21. To what extent where you involved with the APEC-Alert other than attending events or meetings? What were your motivations to work with APEC-Alert? 22. What role did the APEC-Alert e-mail list(s) play in your involvement? 269 Questions regarding overlap of time in involvement with APEC-Alert and subscription to the APEC-Alert list. If applicable and unclear, ask: 23. Were you subscribed to the APEC-Alert e-mail list before or after you started to attend events or meetings? 24. Did you unsubscribe from [any of] the e-mail list[s] while still attending meetings or events? IT yes': Why? 25. Did you stay subscribed to [any of] the e-mail list[s] after you stopped attending events and meetings? If" yes': For how long? Why? Questions regarding participants' expectations of the e-mail lists and questions about online and offline intersections and perceived usefulness of the lists. 26. What expectations did you have about [each of] the APEC-Alert e-mail list[s]? 27. To what extent were your expectations fulfilled? 28. Did you find that the APEC-Alert offline activities had impacts on the online activities? If" yes': In what ways ? 29. Do you think that the use of APEC-Alert e-mail list[s] contributed to the formation of a collective identity? If "yes': In what ways? 30. Do you think that the e-mail list[s] could have been used more fruitfully? If "yes': In what ways? 270 31. Can you see any shortcomings to using e-mail lists? 32. What, if any, advantages do you see to using e-mail lists? 33. Did being on the APEC-Alert e-mail list inspire you? If vyes': In what way? 34. How do you think the e-mail list[s] could have been used to prompt you to become more active online and/or offline? 35. Depending on whether interview participants signed off [any of] the APEC-Alert's e-mail list[s] (as indicated in the questionnaire): Why did you unsubscribe? / Why are you still subscribed? Questions regarding websites and e-mail lists other than the APEC-Alert list. 36. Did you sign on to other relevant e-mail lists? If 'yes': Which ones? What information did they provide you with? If 'no': Why not? Did you use websites, chat rooms, or newsgroups? If 'yes': Which ones? How did you learn about them? What information did they provide you with? If 'no': Why not? 271 Questions about previous experiences with activism and e-mail lists. 37. If interview participant worked with other anti-APEC groups in 1997 (as indicated in questionnaire): How useful did you find the APEC-Alert e-mail list for this? If interview participant did not work with other anti-APEC groups in 1997: Why not? 38. Have you worked with other activist groups? IT yes': Was that before, during, or after your subscription to the APEC-Alert list? What kind of groups were those? How long were you involved with each of them? Which of these groups had e-mail lists? If any groups had e-mail lists: Which of these e-mail lists were open for participants to contribute? How long were you subscribed to them? If a group did not have an e-mail list: Do you think that had the group used an e-mail you may have been more active? 39. Do you have other experiences with e-mail lists? If syes': Was that before, during, or after your subscription to the APEC-Alert list? Which of these e-mail lists were open for participants to contribute? What were these e-mail lists about? How long were you subscribed to each of them? 272 40. How did these e-mail lists compare to the APEC-Alert list? Probe by asking questions regarding reading behaviour, consensus mobilization, action mobilization, participants' expectations, online and offline intersections, and perceived usefulness of the lists. 41. I'm through with my questions. Is there anything you would like to add? 273 Appendix D: Interview Schedule for Subscribers from the EU+WWG List, Translated from German I asked interview participants the following questions, often posed follow-up questions based on their answers, and if necessary asked questions to clarify answers they provided in the questionnaire they had returned to me. Question regarding participants' access to e-mail. 1. Since when do you have experience with e-mail? 2. How often do you check your e-mail? 3. Was that consistent over time? Questions about participants' first contact with EU+WWG groups and the EU+WWG list. 4. When and how did you first find out about the EU+WWG e-mail list? Ask the following questions about each group that the interview participants worked with (as indicated in their questionnaire response). 5. When and how did you first hear about [group-name]? 6. When and how did you first get in contact with [group-name]? Question about interview participants' reading behaviour on the EU+WWG list. 7. About how many of the messages posted on the e-mail list did you read over what period of time? If applicable: What kind of messages were those? Why did you choose to read these and not others? 274 Questions regarding consensus mobilization of interview participants. 8. What was your main source of information about the EU and the G7/G8? 9. Did you have an opinion about the EU and the G7/G8 before you were on the EU+WWG list? 10. Do you think that by being on the list you learned more about the EU or the G7/G8? 11. Would you say that being on the list helped you clarify or changed your opinions about the EU or the G7/G8? If" yes': In what way? 12. Do you think that by being on the list you learned more about organizing groups? If 'yes': Which ones? 13. Would you say that being on the EU+WWG list helped you clarify or changed your perception of organizing groups and their actions? If "yes': Which groups? In what way did the list help you clarify or change your perception? Questions regarding online action mobilization of interview participants. 14. If interview participants posted list messages: How many did you post over what period of time? What kind of messages were those? What motivated you to send them? What kind of responses, if any, did you receive to your posts? Why did you not post any/more messages? 275 15. If interview participants sent personal replies to list messages: How many did you send over what period of time? What kind of messages did you reply to? What kind of replies did you send? What motivated you to send them? Why did you not send any/more personal replies to list messages? 16. Did you otherwise communicate via personal e-mail with organizers or list subscribers? For what purpose and how often? / Why not? 17. What concerns, if any, did you have about communicating via e-mail? Questions regarding offline action mobilization of interview participants. Ask the following questions about each group that the interview participants worked with. 18. If interview participants did not attend any group meetings: Why not? If interview participants did attend group meetings: When did you start attending meetings? How often did the group meet? Were there different types of group meetings? If applicable: Which of these meetings did you attend? Why did you attend these and not others? How often did you attend? Did your attendance at meetings change over time? IT yes': How? How did you learn about the meetings? If more than one answer: how did you predominantly learn about them? 276 Was there a time when you stopped attending? IT yes': When? Why? 19. If interview participants did not attend events: Why not? If interview participants did attend events: When did you start attending events? Which events were those? Why did you attend these events and not others? How often did you attend? Did your attendance of events change over time? Ifv yes': How? How did you learn about the events? If more than one answer: how did you predominantly learn about them? Was there a time when you stopped attending? IT yes': When? Why? 20. To what extent where you involved with the groups other than attending events or meetings? What were your motivations to work with these groups? Why did you not work with other groups that organized against the summits? 21. What role did the EU+WWG e-mail list play in your involvement? 277 Questions regarding overlap of time in involvement with EU+WWG groups and subscription to the EU+WWG list. If applicable and unclear, ask: 22. Were you subscribed to the EU+WWG e-mail list before or after you started to attend events or meetings? 23. Did you unsubscribe from the e-mail list while still attending meetings or events? If "yes': Why? 24. Did you stay subscribed to the EU+WWG e-mail list after you stopped attending events and meetings? If"yes': For how long? Why? Questions regarding participants' expectations of the e-mail list and questions about online and offline intersections and perceived usefulness of the lists. 25. What expectations did you have about the EU+WWG e-mail list? 26. To what extent were your expectations fulfilled? 27. Did you find that group offline activities had impacts on the online activities? If "yes': In what ways? 28. Do you think that the use of EU+WWG e-mail list contributed to the formation of a collective identity? If "yes': In what ways? 29. Do you think that the e-mail list could have been used more fruitfully? If "yes': In what ways? 30. Can you see any shortcomings to using e-mail lists? 278 31. What, if any, advantages do you see to using e-mail lists? 32. Did being on the EU+WWG e-mail list inspire you? If" yes': In what way? 33. How do you think the e-mail list could have been used to prompt you to become more active online and/or offline? 34. Depending on whether interview participants signed off the EU+WWG e-mail list (as indicated in the questionnaire): Why did you unsubscribe? / Why are you still subscribed? Questions about group-internal e-mail lists. Ask the following questions about each group that the interview participants worked with (as indicated in their questionnaire response). 35. Did [group-name] have an e-mail list for internal communication between group members? If "yes': When and how did you find out about this e-mail list? Were you asked if you wanted to be on this e-mail list? If "yes': Did you agree to be on the e-mail list? Why (not)? Are you still subscribed to this list? Why (not)? 36. How did this e-mail lists compare to the EU+WWG list? Probe by asking questions regarding reading behaviour, consensus mobilization, action mobilization, participants' expectations, online and offline intersections, and perceived usefulness of the lists. 279 Questions regarding websites and e-mail lists other than the EU+WWG e-mail list. 37. Did you sign on to other relevant e-mail lists? If'yes': Which ones? What information did they provide you with? If'no': Why not? Did you use websites, chat rooms, or newsgroups? If 'yes': Which ones? How did you learn about them? What information did they provide you with? If'no': Why not? Questions about other experiences with activism and e-mail lists. 38. Have you worked with other activist groups? If vyes': Was that before, during, or after your subscription to the EU+WWG list? What kind of groups were those? How long were you involved with each of them? Which of these groups had e-mail lists? If any groups had e-mail lists: Which of these e-mail lists were open for participants to contribute? How long were you subscribed to them? If a group did not have an e-mail list: Do you think that had the group used an e-mail list you may have been more active? 280 39. Do you have other experiences with e-mail lists? If "yes': Was that before, during, or after your subscription to the EU+WWG list? Which of these e-mail lists were open for participants to contribute? What were these e-mail lists about? How long were you subscribed to each of them? 40. How did these e-mail lists compare to the EU+WWG list? Probe by asking questions regarding reading behaviour, consensus mobilization, action mobilization, participants' expectations, online and offline intersections, and perceived usefulness of the lists. 41. I'm through with my questions. Is there anything you would like to add? 281 

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