I like Avaaz.
A community of global citizens who take action on the major issues facing the world today. The aim of Avaaz.org is to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people shape global decisions. Avaaz.org members act for a more just and peaceful world and a globalisation with a human face.
…that’s how Avaaz put it.
What I would venture to add to that is that for me Avaaz is representative of a form of ‘new politics’ – a movement with a global outlook that justly enjoys its success because it has tapped into the zeitgeist of modern popular politics – the single issue campaign.
But its success is down to more than just that, it also uses new technology combined with traditional offline campaigning methods, clear and appealing branding, speedy responses and updates and a clear demonstration of ‘what happened’ and what did not happen as a result of the individual’s involvement.
I believe that this type of ‘political engagement’ has much to offer party politics in terms of its relevance, style and responsiveness. My main issue would be how to shift the energy of the campaigning process away from being oppositional to supportive and positive. That’s when a more rounded picture could emerge from such activities.
However, the next challenge presented by such success on the campaigning and mobilisation front is how to actively involve citizens in meaningful deliberation that goes deeper into the causes behind issues and policy on a similar scale.