Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm was arrested in late August in Cambodia and later extradited to Sweden. Today his supporters are asked to show their support by writing him letters. The move is interesting to reflect upon in regards to the offline and online relation within new activism. By reaching out to the online community the intention is to have them act in the offline world. And relating to Pirate Bay it’s of course always fascinating to see how online mobilization can lead to offline momentum.
But when we talk about mobilization we need to do a short detour. Mobilization or “mobil(e)isation” is something Joss Hands reflcts upon in her work @ Is for Activism : Dissent, Resistance and Rebellion in a Digital Culture. Mobilization is the move “from gathering to acting” or from “demonstration to direct action” (Hands, 2010, p.124). This movement is something Hands, and other scholars on the topic, mean have changed radically with the growth of our digital culture. Today activists can use a myriad of different devices and networks to “coordinate, organize and disrupt at speed and in numbers” (ibid.) This means that mobilization today can be almost instant, but most important of all according to me–global. Which in turn leads us back to the global support of Svartholm and the Pirate Bay. A global online support that also lead to local offline support which lead to political policy impact.
During the Pirate Bay-trial and the demonstrations and protest that surrounded it several of the organizers of the offline protest, that was mobilized mainly online, were a part of the Swedish Pirate party, a political party founded in 2006, who among other issues is known for its fight for increased freedom in sharing online content. After the verdict in the TPB trial was announced the number of members among the Swedish Pirate Party increased rapidly–which can b interpreted as the online and offline activity leading to political mobilization. During the elections to the European Parliament the following year the Party managed to secure a seat and showed that it had become a part of the Swedish and European policy setting political sphere. The online and offline debate hence helped mobilize support to impact current policy.
— Irina Bernebring Journiette