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Out of the Shadows, Into the Streets!

Out of the Shadows, Into the Streets!: Transmedia Organizing and the Immigrant Rights Movement

Sasha Costanza-Chock
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: MIT Press
Pages: 296
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  • Book Info
    Out of the Shadows, Into the Streets!
    Book Description:

    For decades, social movements have vied for attention from the mainstream mass media -- newspapers, radio, and television. Today, many argue that social media power social movements, from the Egyptian revolution to Occupy Wall Street. Yet, as Sasha Costanza-Chock reports, community organizers know that social media enhance, rather than replace, face-to-face organizing. The revolution will be tweeted, but tweets alone do not the revolution make. InOut of the Shadows, Into the Streets!Costanza-Chock traces a much broader social movement media ecology. Through a richly detailed account of daily media practices in the immigrant rights movement, he argues that there is a new paradigm of social movement media making: transmedia organizing. Despite the current spotlight on digital media, he finds, social movement media practices tend to be cross-platform, participatory, and linked to action. Immigrant rights organizers leverage social media creatively, even as they create media ranging from posters and street theater to Spanish-language radio, print, and television.Drawing on extensive interviews, workshops, and media organizing projects, Costanza-Chock presents case studies of transmedia organizing in the immigrant rights movement over the last decade. Chapters focus on the historic mass protests against the anti-immigrant Sensenbrenner Bill; coverage of police brutality against peaceful activists; efforts to widen access to digital media tools and skills for low-wage immigrant workers; paths to participation in DREAM activism; and the implications of professionalism for transmedia organizing. These cases show us how savvy transmedia organizers work to strengthen movement identity, win political and economic victories, and transform public consciousness forever.

    eISBN: 978-0-262-32280-5
    Subjects: Sociology, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Manuel Castells

    Over the last few years, a wave of social protests has rippled across the world, and in its wake we have witnessed the profile of the social movements of the information age. Yet, because of the novelty of their forms of mobilization and organization, an ideological debate is raging over the interpretation of these movements. Since in most cases they challenge traditional forms of politics and organizations, the political establishment, the media establishment, and the academic establishment have for the most part refused to acknowledge their significance, even after upheavals as important as those represented by the so-called Arab Spring,...

  4. Author’s Note
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xx)
  6. Introduction: ¡Escucha! ¡Escucha! ¡Estamos en la Lucha!
    (pp. 1-19)

    ¡Escucha! ¡Escucha! ¡Estamos en la lucha!” (Listen! Listen! We are in the struggle!) The sound of tens of thousands of voices chanting in unison booms and echoes down the canyon walls formed by office buildings, worn-down hotels, garment sweatshops, and recently renovated lofts along Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. The date is May 1, 2006, and I am marching as an ally along with more than a million people from workingclass immigrant families, mostly Latin@. We are pouring into the streets at the peak of a mobilization wave that began in March and swept rapidly across the United States, grew...

  7. 1 A Day Without an Immigrant: Social Movements and the Media Ecology
    (pp. 20-45)

    The image in figure 1.1 depicts the streets of downtown Los Angeles on May 1, 2006. This scene was mirrored in cities across the country as millions of new immigrants, their families, and their allies joined the largest protest in U.S. history.¹ They left their homes, schools, and workplaces, gathered for rallies and mass marches, and took part in an economic boycott for immigrant rights. This chapter explores the May Day 2006 mobilization, known as A Day Without an Immigrant, through the lens of the changing media ecology.²

    Our media are in the midst of rapid transformation. On the one...

  8. 2 Walkout Warriors: Transmedia Organizing
    (pp. 46-67)

    In the previous chapter, we explored the transformation of the media ecology and the implications for the immigrant rights movement. Despite continued lack of access to English-language mass media, the growing power of the Spanish-language press, together with the rise of social and mobile media, provides a clear opening for organizers. In this chapter I develop the concept oftransmedia organizing. I use this term to talk about how savvy community organizers engage their movement’s social base in participatory media-making practices. Organizers can push participatory media into wider circulation across platforms, creating public narratives that reach and involve diverse audiences....

  9. 3 “MacArthur Park Melee”: From Spokespeople to Amplifiers
    (pp. 68-85)

    Quickly reorganizing after the defeat of the Sensenbrenner bill, anti-immigrant forces launched a new wave of ICE raids across the country during the fall of 2006.¹ Simultaneously, there was an explosion of right-wing information warfare, stretching from the mass base of talk radio up through the national news networks and spearheaded by a parade of racist, antiimmigrant talking heads on Fox News and by Lou Dobbs on CNN.² The renewed attack from the Right generated a baseline of tension for immigrant rights activists in the run-up to May Day 2007. On the anniversary of the historic 2006 May Day marches,...

  10. 4 APPO-LA: Translocal Media Practices
    (pp. 86-101)

    In chapters 1 and 2, I explored how Spanish-language mass media, in particular radio, as well as social media, specifically MySpace, transformed the media ecology in Los Angeles. Changes in the media ecology opened new avenues for the public narrative of the immigrant rights movement. Chapter 3 explored the shift from top-down to participatory media practices by immigrant rights advocates. Movement media-makers are rethinking their roles, with some intentionally making a change from spokespeople to amplifiers. At the same time, the media ecology itself is also undergoing a radical transformation in terms of geographic scale. From a top-down perspective, Latin...

  11. 5 Worker Centers, Popular Education, and Critical Digital Media Literacy
    (pp. 102-127)

    It is June 2010. We’ve been driving for fourteen hours, and our van is starting to feel a bit cramped. Our route from Los Angeles to Detroit has taken us an extra 150 miles out of the way to avoid passing through the northwest corner of Arizona, where we’ve heard there are immigration checkpoints on the I-15. The Popular Communication Team from the Instituto de Educaci ó n Popular del Sur de California (the Institute of Popular Education of Southern California, or IDEPSCA), comprised of day laborers, household workers, and high school students, supported by a community organizer, project coordinator,...

  12. 6 Out of the Closets, Out of the Shadows, and Into the Streets: Pathways to Participation in DREAM Activist Networks
    (pp. 128-153)

    As the 2012 election built up steam, the Obama campaign focused increasing resources on Latin@ voters in key battleground states. Both Democrats and Republicans knew that these voters would be crucial. The Obama campaign was also aware that it would need strong Latin@ support, despite the administration’s systematic increases in border militarization, detentions, and deportations, the controversial Secure Communities program, and the lack of progress on comprehensive immigration reform. While mainstream immigrant rights organizations and Beltway insiders concentrated their efforts on TV advertisements and get-out-the-vote campaigns, undocumented youth (widely known as DREAMers, after the proposed Development, Relief and Education for...

  13. 7 Define American, The Dream is Now, and Professionalization and Accountability in Transmedia Organizing
    (pp. 154-178)

    As President Barack Obama’s second term unfolded, comprehensive immigration reform again took center stage. At the beginning of 2013, a group of U.S. senators known as the “Gang of Eight,” including Republican senators McCain, Graham, Flake, and Rubio and Democrats Schumer, Durbin, Menendez, and Bennet, announced their intentions to develop a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill. Soon after, the Obama administration leaked its own version of an immigration bill, and signaled that it would be introduced to both houses of Congress unless representatives and senators moved quickly to bring their own bills out of committee. Both the Senate framework and...

  14. Conclusions
    (pp. 179-202)

    This book began with an account of the unprecedented mobilizations for immigrant rights that swept the country in the spring of 2006. As I write these conclusions, in the fall of 2013, the movement has launched a new series of actions reminiscent of the moment that the “sleeping giant” awoke. While making final edits to the manuscript, I can’t resist regularly switching tabs to look at my Twitter feed, where I find a steady stream of updates from the October 5 National Day for Dignity and Respect.¹ Immigrant rights supporters, including movement organizations, religious groups, businesses, radio hosts and journalists,...

  15. Appendix A: Research Methodology
    (pp. 205-214)
  16. Appendix B: Interviewees
    (pp. 215-216)
  17. Appendix C: Interview Guide
    (pp. 217-220)
  18. Appendix D: Online Resources for Organizers
    (pp. 221-222)
  19. Notes
    (pp. 223-256)
  20. Index
    (pp. 257-274)