Grassroots autonomous media practices: a diversity of tactics

Sandra Jeppesen, Anna Kruzynski, Aaron Lakoff & Rachel Sarrasind | 2014 | in Journal of Media Practice

A participatory action research study of anti-authoritarian activist media practices in Quebec, Canada, was carried out by the Collectif de Recherche sur l’Autonomie Collective. Analysing interviews from 117 participants in nine activist groups and networks, we have found that grassroots anti-authoritarian and anarchist activists engage in a diversity of media tactics, choosing tools consistent with their desired goals and audiences. These goals can be grouped into four categories: developing affinity, creating social movement spaces, mass mobilizations and global solidarity. These communicative tactics in the activist ‘repertoire of communication’ are informed by several important commitments to alternative content and processes, including collective self-representation, prefigurative politics and accessibility.

We conclude that grassroots autonomous activists sometimes limit the reach of their media to create safer spaces, or to deepen and extend their political analysis, and they sometimes produce media for wider audiences, for local mass mobilizations or to develop global relationships of solidarity. This deepens our understanding of the specific diversity of tactics developed by grassroots autonomous media activists in their repertories of communicative action, challenging received notions that anarchist or antiauthoritarian media only ever reach a limited audience.