In Review :: Rules for Online Radicals

Taking on the System: Rules for Radical Change in a Digital Era
by Markos Moulitsas Zúniga

Celebra, 2008, 275 pages, $23.95

Go to your local bookstore or buy online.

A new book by Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, founder of Daily Kos, is essential reading for anyone who wants to use new media to organize political activism. The author may rankle some progressives with his contention that today’s media landscape has often rendered mass street protests irrelevant. Yet it’s impossible to argue with the long list of achievements he attributes, at least in part, to “netroots” activism.

Many examples are partisan: For instance, an online progressive campaign in Virginia used citizen pressure to draft a strong and ultimately successful opponent, Jim Webb, to challenge Republican incumbent George Allen for his Senate seat. But internet communities were also indispensable in rallying support for the Jena Six—black students in Louisiana who faced charges for fighting with a white student, weeks after nooses were hung from a tree on school grounds.

For Zúniga, such achievements emerge from a more inclusive political environment ushered in by internet technology. While elite editors and producers once served as gatekeepers, he argues, today there is nothing to stop the average citizen from setting up a blog, speaking out, and being judged on the merits of his or her arguments.

James Trimarco wrote this article as part of The New Economy, the Summer 2009 issue of YES! Magazine. James is a consulting editor at YES! Photo of James Trimarco
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