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Avaaz 2013: Poll and discussion


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Join the global brainstorm on the right and take the poll to decide where our people-powered movement goes in 2013! There are three discussions to engage with on this page:

1. General thoughts, insights and messages - could be encouragement, analysis, anything!
2. Specific campaign suggestions and strategies - try to be concrete!
3. Ways to improve Avaaz - what we can do better, new ideas

The Avaaz team will read all comments and provide highlights in the blog below. Don't forget to take the poll, and then take a look at the poll results so far!

Highlights of the Discussion

12:47 PM EST, January 15

Really liking some of the tactical discussions popping up here. Javier in Belgium says Avaaz should consider organizing more "timely boycott campaigns targeted at certain companies strategically," and Jack in Ireland suggesting a "progressive development fund where members can make a small donation to a progressive initiative they value, such as funding people powered alternative media." Vania in Mexico's idea is really provocative: "A lot of us have heard about the ecological footprint concept. Well, I think it would be great to create a body count footprint, based on the same idea, a system that allows people to know how many people have to suffer or even die in order for them to keep the lifestyle they have, based on what this person consumes." Wondering how or where this could be showcased .. or too dark?
- Kya, Avaaz campaigner

9:55 AM EST, January 15

Check out this cool new story in the The Guardian about this global poll and how creative online campaigning has changed politics around the world. The writer asks, "How do you run an organisation with 17 million bosses?" At least one answer to that: All the fantastic ideas and advice pouring out on this page from members everywhere. Take a moment, it's a great read.
- Diego, Avaaz campaigner

7:10 PM EST, January 13

Guillermo in Spain raises an interesting and innovative idea that could benefit a multitude of issues that our current political systems seem unable to address: "Would it not be better to struggle to get real popular participatory democracy, where citizens can vote laws from our computer and so get to politicians that we are voting work really for us? The same way we pay taxes electronically with security systems, we can veto what we don't like... I believe that in this way we will act on the root of the many problems confronting us." Will this help or hurt participation? - Oliver, Avaaz Campaign Director

6:39 PM EST, January 13

Louise in France writes: "Browsing through the comments I see the same thing as so often with Avaaz: this movement is profoundly utopian − which, I grant you, is sometimes good − and quite naive...", but then many of the other comments urge us to focus together on big problems and big solutions: climate change, end of violence worldwide, the creation of a people-powered global democracy. Perhaps there is power in striving for big goals, at least it seems it is working so far. - Emma, Avaaz campaign director

11:46 PM EST, January 12

This idea from Joakim in Sweden gives me chills imagining the possibilities: "Form Avaaz political parties in every country that uses direct democracy, but is non−political. All political decisions/ideas in the party shall come directly from polls. All members can come up with suggestions/ideas for a poll. The suggestions that gets the most votes will result in a poll. [...] When the party increases its members and becomes the biggest party in every country we can finally change the system to get an open and free democracy, without political parties." What do others think? Could it work? - Christoph, Avaaz Campaigner

1:47 PM EST, January 12

Tom in Canada, thanks for these words of hope and advice for the future. It plays off the theme of an open internet that we've seen throughout this discussion. "The most important thing for us to do now is to preserve this process. We have the potential for a truly democratic process. One that is not controlled by corporations, governments or religion...Maintaining an open and free internet is essential in this process." - Maria Paz, Avaaz campaigner

11:35 AM EST, January 12

I've just seen both Bartosz in Poland and Pauline in Ireland bring up the issue of a Free Tibet, which reminds me how some seemingly "local" campaigns become iconic world struggles. What are other examples of this? - Emma, Avaaz campaign director

7:19 PM EST, January 11

Keep the ideas coming! "Sex trafficking is bigger than arms and drugs. May we succeed in breaking sex cartels and restoring respect, dignity and equality to women." (Ushka, South Africa). "A campaign pushing the US to stop drone attacks which kill innocent people, even children!" (Fernando, Chile) "Free Abdulhadi Al−khawaja from life sentence jail in Bahrain. He is a human Rights activist and former chairman of Center for Human Rights for Bahrain" (Dorte, Netherlands). -- Morgan, Avaaz campaigner

6:42 PM EST, January 11

There are no limits to what this community can achieve. Pete in the UK proposing a really big idea, something we've definitely never tried before: "I have a very simple way to massively improve Avaaz. Start ‘Avaaz Projects’… this facility uses the immense reach of Avaaz to present projects by its members so that other like−minded people and organisations can perhaps help. It’s that simple. Imagine the benefit of connecting people and organisations doing good things across the globe … Imagine if ‘Avaaz Projects’ vetted the work and then presented it to like−minded members and/or other organisations that could help with funding or resource or just to share information?" -- Rewan, Avaaz campaigner

12:41 PM EST, January 11

Wow. Patricia from Peru, so moving: "In the history of humanity there have always been inspiring movements, because what they want is equal treatment, respect for others, respect for God's creation. Man's pride leads him to believe that things can only be achieved by ourselves, or that he alone deserves the best, regardless of the destructive effect it has on the environment, his brothers and sisters, finally, to everybody around him. Our humility has led us to come together and strengthen each other, as this Avaaz community. Notwithstanding all the above, we will only be useful when those ideals of ours come true. We still have hard work to do…" - Laura, Avaaz campaigner

3.41 PM GMT, January 11

Charlton in Botswana tells us how his government uses public funds to drown out the opposition, making free and fair elections impossible, and Fabiano in Brazil agrees -- his hope for the future is a world where governments tolerate dissenting voices. That means fighting graft, protecting free media and speech and developing new leaders. One step closer to, "...a fairer world without corruption and with possibilities for all inhabitants." (thx Sidin in Spain). - Alex, Avaaz Campaign Director

1.18 PM GMT, January 11

"Informing the public of criminality in high places is only half of the picture. Informing the public of effectiveness in high places, and how to achieve it, is the other half. We must learn to do both if we want to save this planet...." writes Larry from the US. Totally. And that's about strategy and effective activism -- things that really inspire me about the kind of campaigns we have all created together. - Alaphia, Avaaz Campaigner

12.28 AM GMT, January 11

Jarrod from Australia writes, "The battle against big agra, i.e., Monsanto, to label Genetically Modified Food is something I see as being one of the most important battles we as citizens of world face in this age. I think it would be great if we could get some nation specific petitions going for those countries that don't have GMO labeling laws in place yet". This plays off two awesome conversations, one about GMOs and Monsanto and another about distributed organizing -- petitions in more than one country, town or city on the same issue to create a wave of change! - Luis, Avaaz Campaign Director

10:51 AM GMT, January 11

There are lots of comments about the Amazon (and deforestation threats in Bolivia and Brazil), the Great Barrier Reef, and the Arctic -- all iconic world sites that represent the battle against climate disasters. What role do these kinds of places play in building effective campaigns? What are some others that could play a key role in future fights? - Iain, Avaaz Senior Campaigner

08:40 AM GMT, January 11

I'm seeing a lot of comments about how our ability to communicate through the internet has created a powerful global force. But it also makes it clear how important a free internet is to people power -- What are some of the greatest threats to the free internet today?.
- Emma, Avaaz Campaign Director

06:13 AM GMT, January 11

There's a tension in this global conversation between individual liberty and focusing on each of us as part of a larger collective. Rafael in Spain writes, "I think the real change has to come from... a global community facing the challenge of survival as a species, that needs to find new ways of solidarity, to agree on the basic necessity of safeguarding the common good..." But then Gladys in Brazil calls for individual freedom to be the top priority for all of us. We can pursue both, I think. At least that's what we've seen with our Avaaz campaigns so far."
- Emma, Avaaz Campaign Director

10:46 PM EST, January 10

Ok, this is a truly amazing comment, and definitely a huge inspirational goal -- and it does seem possible, doesn't it? Thanks so much for this Itamar in Israel:
"Can we get a seat in the United Nations? In many ways, we are a nation. We use the same technology and roam the same cyber places. we share morals and values, and we have our own culture. It's true that we have no territory of our own. we are scattered among the nations. It's true that we come from a tremendous variety of ancestries and background cultures. but in recent decades we have been using the internet to communicate, cooperate and create real businesses, real art and real heroes − just like any other nation. Through the internet, we have also leaned to know one another, and found out how much we have in common in terms of fears, hopes, faith and dreams. We have made a real difference in the world in all fields from politics to commerce, from science to sport. our contribution to the human race is indisputable. We have created all this with no territory. we need no territory. we would never claim a piece of land to be our own. all we need as a nation is a global communication system that is safe, secure, fast and free − we'll take it from there. I believe that our goal should be the declaration of an internet state. we will have our own passports, a government, supreme court and everything. Does that sound like a dream? it can be a reality."
- Emma, Avaaz Campaign Director

5:43 PM EST, January 10

To what Guilherme from Brazil says, on wanting to get more Avaaz campaign updates, "which would help us feel more connected, want to do more, and get other supporters involved because of this feeling of being part of these big changes in the world." The team sends out big updates every few months or so by email, and we post all the time on our Facebook page (and of course there's our Daily Briefing, check it out if you haven't yet: www.en.avaaz.org). Other good ways to let each other know when we tip the scales and we get a big win? Members have eyes and ears in every corner of the planet, so let's definitely keep each other posted as much as possible on our victories together! - Joseph, Avaaz senior campaigner

4:31 PM EST, January 10

Salkoff in France writes that "Change always comes through women..." and that we need to "give tools to women and men in order to shift the [existing] balance of power." This is echoed throughout all three discussions: the understanding that women are the key to development. We're seeing this now in India with the massive uprising opposing violence against women and promoting equality. - Jeremy, Avaaz campaign director

2:58 PM EST, January 10

A truly inspirational message from Jean Louis in France: "Facing the world alone makes us feel very small, but in a global community like Avaaz we can take hope in the potential of human beings with a sense of justice and peace, to fight against the selfishness of the power of finance and all those who think only of themselves, regardless of the consequences that this has on all the species that occupy the planet." - Emma, Avaaz campaign director

1:48 EST, January 10

Just now Roger in the UK has suggested sensible taxation, Alexandre in Brazil has called for a sane global drug policy and AD Smulders in the Netherlands has demanded an end to the drone war in Pakistan. These are big, big goals: generosity, justice and peace. We can achieve these things together. It may take some time, but we can. - Nick, Avaaz campaigner

1:30 PM GMT, January 10

Maria from the Netherlands challenges political parties to listen more carefully to their members. She wrote to the party she supports suggesting they introduce Avaaz-style Internet polling, but ironically got no reply! Maybe we can campaign together to get such parties to change their practices (seems like Anton would concur). - Alex, Avaaz Campaign Director

7:52 AM GMT, January 10

Seeing a bunch of posts on how money is corrupting our politics (Brian and John in the US, Sally in the UK, and others). And that’s why members say we should be tackling the power of transnational companies and staying fully independent of governments and other institutions (thanks Bengt in Sweden and Abbie in New Zealand). Staying free of outside influences is all down to Avaaz's amazing members.
- Alex, Avaaz Campaign Director

1:22 AM GMT, January 10

"Stop the Drone War in Pakistan," (Gary, UK). And in Yemen. And in North Africa. End drones period!
- Mia, Avaaz Senior Campaigner, Avaaz

8:57 PM GMT, January 9

Juliet from the UK writes, "If threats to the environment are not solved, then all the remaining issues will be superfluous... the current ills of democracy, economic inequality, oppression, low educational standards, rape, genocide.... none of it will count if we destroy the planet." and I agree, climate change is only going to supercharge many of the other problems we face worldwide. And it's a truly global crisis that needs a global solution -- there's sometimes a hopelessness about climate change, and we haven't seen the government cooperation we need yet, but there a lot of us here who are ready for our community to tackle real global climate solutions and win! (thx also to boris from the Netherlands and Sherry from the US) - Emma, Avaaz Campaign Director

5:41 PM GMT, January 9

I'm seeing some interesting big picture thoughts questioning our paradigms on sustainable growth and development. Also some really useful feedback on improving Avaaz, like having 'agree' and 'disagree' buttons on each of these comments (thx to Swati from India) We'll try to build that for next time.
- Joseph, Avaaz Senior Campaigner

4:46 PM GMT, January 9

Wow, I'm blown away by the quality of the ideas already. From insightful organizational strategy like focusing on our nimbleness (David from Portugal), to impassioned campaign suggestions like backing a group blocking 50 new dams in Sarawak (D. Noah Pikes from Switzerland), to big picture vision...keep it coming!
- Ricken, Avaaz Executive Director

3:12 PM GMT, January 9

Excited to get this discussion started! 17.4 million of us - imagine what a wealth of ideas we all have, matched with our potential to actually make them happen. When you dream of a better world, what does it look like? What are the fastest and best ways to get there together this year? Excited to see what our community proposes and discusses, we'll be reading everything and summarize the discussion in this blog. Happy 2013!
- Ricken, Avaaz Executive Director

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