A research startup dedicated to studying social movement activity in the United States.
A research startup dedicated to studying social movement activity in the United States. Read more
“These are the times that try men’s souls.” Those are the words of Thomas Paine, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Two days after he published those words in "The Crisis," General George Washington and his army crossed the Delaware River on Christmas Day 1776, where he executed one of the most important military actions in the American Revolutionary War. His words resounded in the hearts of those who yearned for independence because they were true. And they are still true today.
Social movements rise and fall, but the struggle for liberty lives on. During the Cold War, we saw a resurgence of social activism, violent and nonviolent, as well as the growth of radical networks such as neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. Millions of Americans participated in marches, sit-ins, riots, and bombings, some in the name of liberty, others in the name of nationalism.
We are witnessing the same phenomenon today.
GeoMovements is a research initiative that studies the phenomenon of social movements in the United States. The organization is a startup dedicated to tracking and studying these movements and movement organizations that are popping up all over the country. “Alt-right” movements, Antifa (anti-fascist) cells, Black Lives Matter chapters, and so many other products of sociopolitical tension in the US dot the landscape.
But the general public’s understanding of their motives, tactics, and history is less than what it should be. This misunderstanding spawns animosity against social movements, leading men and women to make outrageous claims or assumptions about a cause. But this dynamic is also fueled by the media, unsurprisingly.
That’s where GeoMovements comes in.
I am asking the world to help me build an open source, community friendly website about social movements in the United States. With GeoMovements, we will not only provide unbiased information about these groups to the non-activist, but analyze them as well.
Here is what GeoMovements will offer:
- Daily news briefs about social movement activity in the United States ranging from small-city protests to nationwide campaigns. Every article begins with a detailed description of an incident and ends with an academic analysis of its implications and significance.
- Protest tactics and activist culture are one of the most important components of a social movement. Here at GeoMovements, we strive to give the reader an in-depth look at culture and strategy with detailed graphics and on the ground research.
- True to its name, GeoMovements will take a closer look at the geography and physical aspects of social movements, including terrain, weather, and distance traveled by protesters.
- With hundreds of social movement organizations operating in the United States, GeoMovements will be the only open source database with profiles of movements, networks, and key players in the SM landscape.
Community Friendly Website
Anyone with a computer and Internet access will be able to contribute to GeoMovements through a variety of ways:
- Upload images and videos of protests across the country
- Edit organization profiles
- Provide eyewitness testimony of social movement activity
- Map protests, marches, and other instances on a real-time map for the whole world to see
All of the above will be looked at by an employee of GeoMovements before it goes live on the website.
Costs of GeoMovements
The money I am asking for will cover the following:
- Salary for three part-time writers for six months
- Website creation and maintenance
- Transportation costs (traveling to and from protests and interviews)
- Video equipment and laptops
If this project ends up raising more funds that what is being asked for, the rest of the money will go to leasing a small office space for our workers in Washington, D.C. and/or hiring a new writer.
Risks and challenges
Honesty is the best policy, in my opinion. If you are considering funding this project, please know:
- I am still an undergraduate student at American University. I will not have all the time I would like to dedicate to this project but I will definitely work on it as a part-time job along with full-time classwork.
- As specified above, the money being raised takes into account costs for six months. I intend to continue this project far beyond that time. I will probably create a new Kickstart for "phase two," but if GeoMovements performs well, I will likely ask for funding from American University and other D.C.-based sponsors.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)