Since our founding in 2009, Lokashakti has been in varying stages of developing our new web resource, designed to help people realize their inherent power for nonviolent social change. Now available in beta, the idea has taken shape as the brand new Lokashakti Peace & Social Justice Network, a collection of people, places, projects, organizations, and events, all promoting peace and social justice. By making available free of charge extensive educational materials, top-notch organizing tools, and the largest, most effective networking resource to date for activists around the world, we seek to turn Lokashakti.org into an invaluable online destination. Click to learn more.
In addition to the Lokashakti Network, we've also been putting together the Lokashakti Library and Lokashakti Encyclopedia, because nonviolent action works best when people are well informed. Although these are our three main projects, only the Lokashakti Network is currently available in full. We've prioritized this because we realized the sooner the infrastructure for the Network got laid down, the sooner the site could start to grow on its own. Over time we plan on putting more and more effort into the Library and Encyclopedia, which we know will require consistent attention to meet and maintain a standard of being two of the best places online for content related to nonviolence, peace, and social justice.
From the beginning our idea at Lokashakti has been to focus on what we see as the three most important ways the Internet can help activists work more effectively for peace and social justice. These are points that are crucial to building and sustaining any kind of successful nonviolent movement. Every single resource we create therefore falls under one or more of the following three categories:
The single greatest service, in our estimation, that the Internet has been able to provide is that of bringing us all closer together, leaving us more able to effectively communicate with one another. This has happened to such an extent that we tend to no longer look upon nationality, distance, not knowing someone, or even language as the natural barriers to communication that they once were. But what's missing so far is something devoted entirely to making certain that people in the movement for peace and social justice are able to find each other, whether they happen to live right next door, or halfway around the world.
When these issues fail to get adequately championed by politicians or the mainstream media it's easy to think that the only people passionate about them are at the margins of society. We know for a fact this is far from true, and here's where Lokashakti finds its niche: combating the mistaken belief that there aren't as many of us interested in working on these issues as there really are. It's in this capacity that the Internet offers us its entirely unprecedented potential for helping build this movement to such an extent that it can't be ignored any longer - evidence of which has recently come to light.
We firmly believe that the revolutions that took place in Egypt and Tunisia were really just the tip of the iceberg. Without having to wait for others to take the initiative, we can begin to explore this newfound potential entirely on our own, which is the reason we've created the Lokashakti Peace & Social Justice Network. By connecting people and groups, facilitating their interaction, and providing them with a venue to promote their events and reach even more people, we're committed to strengthening the ties which hold this movement together, giving ourselves every chance for our action to become more effective. The more activists and activist groups who are part of this, the more useful the Lokashakti Network becomes, so create an account today, add your own organizations and events, and help build up the power of the people!
What we see as the second main strength of the World Wide Web is its ability to make more information available to more people in more places than ever before. Although to a certain extent this is already being done many places online, we feel that given the interests of the people we hope to reach, our site is a perfect place to assemble as many useful educational resources related to nonviolence, peace, and social justice as possible.
The only way to ensure that nonviolent action will be effective is for it to be based on a realistic and intelligent assessment of the realities at hand, and for past lessons to have already been well absorbed. Since Lokashakti is all about increasing the power of the people, if the old adage holds true that knowledge is power, then it's only natural for the knowledge of the people to become one of our primary goals.
We've therefore been hard at work on two separate but related educational resources: the Lokashakti Library and the Lokashakti Encyclopedia, both designed to enhance our collective awareness of nonviolence, peace, and social justice. Here visitors to the site will be able to learn more about the people, groups, and movements comprising the history of nonviolent action, as well as the concepts, tactics, dynamics, and strategies which come into play. Complemented by an online collection of full-text written works, audio, images, and video, we'll be making available as much quality material as we can - always free of charge - promoting nonviolence, peace, and social justice. Check back from time to time to see how these projects are progressing, and meanwhile feel free to also browse the quote archive we've set up so far.
As a global activist community, once we're all in touch, clear on what it is we're trying to do, and aware of the history of our movements, groups, and techniques, it's left for us to organize ourselves and strategize before we can truly undertake effective nonviolent action. We're just now beginning to understand the potential of new communication technology as we witness tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and text messaging being used in places like Egypt and Tunisia. Previous generations, inspired by things from the Seneca Falls convention, to Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, to Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, have long known how important it is to organize, and the capacity for social change shown by this most recent technological revolution follows in direct succession to the methods used in the past.
By making available resources that make the most of what this new technology has to offer, we hope for Lokashakti.org to play a formative role in the future of social activism. Our aim is not to assume any leadership capacity, but rather serve as a tool so that others can more effectively lead the movement to accomplish all that it can and more. Organizing is the final key to getting things done, and new communication technology allows it to be carried out on a scale large enough to finally make a sustained, substantial difference. When actions are able to be coordinated nationally and even globally, people's potential for nonviolent social change increases on an exponential scale. It's with this that we at Lokashakti are committed to trying to help.
And so we're constantly thinking about ways in which new media technology can help groups organize more efficiently. This has led us so far to develop certain aspects of the Lokashakti Network that are geared specifically towards enhancing our collective organizing potential. Our messaging system, for instance, automatically gives each group its own listserv. We've also developed an innovative way for groups to send text messages out to all their members at once. The very same features exist for event administrators as well, allowing them to directly contact everyone who's signed up to attend an event. We're planning on doing much more in the future - group chat, polls, real-time event maps - whatever organizing tools activists need, we'll do our best to create and make available. Read about all of our site's features here.