A Joint Candidacy Calls for a Joint Campaign

Matthaios Tsimitakis from Alexis’ social media campaign team emphasizes: We call upon all comrades who are online to intensify their support for Alexis’ candidacy for the next 25 days. It may prove crucial in the effort to make the Left a stronger force in the next European parliament.

Alexis Tsipras’ joint candidacy of the European Left for the presidency of the European Commission is not only sending the message of solidarity among the sister parties in the continent, but indeed it expresses the necessary unity of forces in the struggle that needs to be given both in the national and the European level this May.
The time is right for a campaign of the Left that will not only continue what the social movements started in our continent during the years of crisis but it will also spread – in the largest scale possible – the message that the European project will either be democratic and social or it will not exist. This is not only a political concept but it is also a guideline on how to transmit the message to the European citizens.
We have chosen the internet to be the main Medium to use in these elections not only due to the limited access we have to the established Media but most importantly for the above mentioned reasons. The New Medium is providing the proper framework for this. Alexis has already visited Italy twice, Portugal and Spain, France, Holland, Belgium, Slovenia, Ireland and he plans to visit as many countries as possible until 25 May. But in reality if we want to be effective, the cooperation between parties cannot end in these trips; on the contrary, we must make them the starting point of a wider interaction.

A Twitter storm campaign

Already, we have a few examples of what that would mean. When Angela Merkel visited Athens we run a twitter storm campaign in Greece and Italy under the hashtag #wearealltroublemakers, which became the fourth topic of discussion on the Italian internet for most of that day and it reached the ten most discussed issues in Greece as well. During Alexis’ tour in Portugal and Galicia we saw a growing interaction (enormously growing) between Italian, Portuguese and Spanish social media accounts, which made a buzz in the Portuguese, Galician and Greek twitter-sphere around his tour. In all these occasions Alexis’ account promoted heavily the official accounts of the parties and politicians he visited. We know by theory that the more interaction there is, the more successful a message is disseminated. The internet can be a mass medium if used in that way, but it’s definitely influential either way.

What web 2.0 can be utilized for

There are extremely interesting examples of how the web 2.0 can be utilized for a cause. Occupy Wall Street relied heavily on the method of hashtag, which allowed people to self-organise not only online, but also create local movements to serve the same cause. Recent examples are the hashtags #myNYPD which is the first truly global protest online against police violence and discrimination (see The Guardian) and #EUdebate2014 (see Euronews) showed how an institution can actually control and manipulate the power of the chaotic network of digital communications.

Call upon our sister parties to follow our hashtags!

In the next 30 days we wish to use Alexis’ website, twitter account and Facebook account as a central node in the wider network of our official social media accounts as much as possible. In this effort we will call upon all social media managers of sister parties to follow our hashtags and ask their comrades and networks to transmit the message. At the same time we will participate in all local social media campaigns aiming to promote them to the wider public as much as possible. We believe that this mechanism, if created, can produce two or three crucial events online before the elections of May 25.

In practice

Practically we’re using a mailing list where social media managers from different parties coordinate and exchange information. The central hashtag for Alexis’ candidacy is #ELchangeEurope (meaning European Left Change Europe). We urge you to use it as much as possible, while at the same time “hack” public hashtags like #EP2014 that create a common ground for these elections. We’re aiming to organize two social media protests, one on the tenth of May when Alexis will visit Berlin and one on the fifteen when the EBU’s debate will take place.
It is a common practice now for debates to accept questions from the public online, so we also need to encourage our members and friends to put the agenda of the Left in these virtual fora.

Finally we’re trying to organize one final virtual event with Alexis, where users will put the questions and a set of Media will moderate the discussion and the answers Alexis will give. Overall we wish that people create and disseminate their own creative material upon our agenda, like #endausterity, #regaindemocracy and so on as this will crowd-source our campaign making it most effective.
An example: when Angela Merkel called Alexis Tsipras a “troublemaker”, the hashtag #wearealltroublemakers made the round: “Madame #Merkel, the people of Europe will #endausterity and fight to #regaindemocracy. In other words, #wearealltroublemakers.