Rebalance the Internet Economy: GATHER

GATHER is the third of our four-part event series for our community-based research project on Rebalancing the Internet Economy. The focus of this event is on activists, organisers, community leaders and groups who use the internet to carry out their work. 

Movement building and political organising is taking place all over digital platforms. From community building on Discord and group chats on WhatsApp, to protest event pages on Facebook, calls to action on Instagram tiles and hacktivism coordinated on Tiktok—you’d be hard-pressed to find a digital platform that isn’t being used for activism.

The protests that marked the Arab Spring were touted for being a shining example of how the free and open internet can be used to empower individuals into community action, and support democracies as they grow!

It can seem like a lifetime ago because a LOT has changed since then. What are the experiences of activists and community leaders when organising online? When activists are among the most surveilled in the country, what measures are activists having to take to protect themselves and their communities online?

Social media doesn’t create movements, people do. However, social media has demonstrated its immense power to amplify messages, grow movements, and capture global attention. Meanwhile, criticisms of ‘clicktivism’ are widespread, with many calling out the rise of performative activism. 

What does the internet mean for modern-day movement building, and how might digital platforms better serve community builders and activists?


  • Scott Ludlam – Activist, writer and former Senator for the Australian Greens 
  • Hunter Lee – Director of the Progressive Tech Network 
  • Bre Macpherson-Rice – Leader in the Sunrise Movement