I don’t know about you, but I feel there is a serious lack of eye catching left wing visual media and as a millennial with a low-key Youtube addiction and an interest in progressive change, I need more of that!
Show Up Media is a project set up for that explicit purpose. We will create informative, beautiful and galvanising content to help bring about meaningful change, so settle in and we’ll get down to it: what the project is, why it is needed and what happens next.
What Is The Project?
First we’ll run through the three key elements that make this project stand out.
On the Informative Content — the channel, we will discuss organising methods, support grassroots causes, and promote action. Partnering with activists and experts to develop these conversations. The videos (and blogs) will be roughly segmented into the categories: organising methods, structural and political change, mass movements, and cooperativism + alternative economics.
It is important to me to not only educate but also to Galvanising Viewers. We want to hyper-charge a network of emerging activists, to share useful skills and knowledge for coming up against powerful states and capitalist tycoons. As well as being an informative platform and somewhere to hear diverse voices, the channel will be a springboard for viewers to engage in meaningful action.
Eye-catching Presentation is vital to my learning process, podcasts and books just don’t cut it — and I’m sure I am not alone in feeling this way. Show Up Media will collaborate with animators and creatives to create eye-catching, memorable and entertaining videos, that you will want to share, and will fill a gap in the online leftwing community. We aspire to the visual quality, recognisability and uniqueness of channels like kurzgesagt, school of life and others.
Our Core Values
I believe in participatory democracy; I believe that citizens should be able to participate and impact social, economic and political decisions.
I oppose structural oppression and embrace diversity; I see it as my duty to show solidarity and support those who are being marginalised.
I are internationalists and cooperators; I see the UK as part of the international community and know that it needs to be an active and progressive part of it.
I value both evidence and lived-experience based and humble; I want to be the best I can, but know that I am still fallible. By evolving my practice iteratively I hope to build on my previous successes and failures to create great content.
So Why Is This All Needed?
The skill development needed to organise and support opposition to establishment politicians and corporations is underfunded and disjointed. Online, open access video education seems like an excellent way to vastly increase our capacity to fight back.
In the UK we live in a predominantly conservative/ right wing society. Out of the last 100 years, roughly 70 of them have seen the right wing Conservative party in power and the majority of our media is owned by the right wing tycoon Rupert Murdock, not to mention how libertarian social media barons like Mark Zuckerberg are unwilling to take responsibility for the disproportionate engagement and promotion by their algorithms of reactionary right wing content.
But What Is There Already?
The internet does have a thriving community of lefty content. There are a few UK left wing current affairs and news operations Red Pepper/ Open Democracy/ Novara Media/ Owen Jones/ Double Down News and more in the making. I was struck that only a few of them have videos and/ or are based on Youtube.
Of the training organisations: Momentum UK, Campaign Bootcamp, Seed for Change etc, none of them have extensive educational, well produced and free video content online. Which I always thought was quite odd. Of the content that is online a lot of it feels inaccessible, as it is hidden away in large PDFs or scattered on various websites or online courses.
And What Is Missing?
It’s difficult to navigate Youtube’s algorithm and find lefty content, as it gets buried by big name channels and other content, but what my research showed is that there is definitely a space in the community for an organisation to be creating and bringing together content on the key topics or categories that I mentioned before. To illustrate this point let me run through what I mean:
Searching for organising methods content
When on Youtube there is a notable lack of relevant practical lefty skills. When you search ‘know your rights — law’ or ‘preparing for a media interview’, ‘designing an effective political campaign’ or ‘how to organise a strike’ you will find slim pickings of videos, none of which are eye catching and they are only partly relevant.
Searching for mass movements content
It seems problematic to me that live campaign organisations like Acorn Renters Union, Black Lives Matter, Sisters Uncut and Extinction Rebellion do not feature much on Youtube and when they do more often than not they are in a negative light. I want to support these groups, by producing supportive video content.
Searching for structural and political change content
This category already has a lot of content being created. As mentioned already Novara Media/ Owen Jones/ Double Down News to mention a few. I have nothing against the interview format of these videos, but I would like to see a little variety. There aren’t many, if any videos out there explaining the jargony politics that these videos tackle in a visual and well laid out way that can be referred back to.
Searching for cooperativism and alternative economic content
There are a handful of videos, and some visually interesting ones tackling some of these issues. Unfortunately a lot of them are generic and dull business style videos, you know the ones I mean. This sector could use a new coat of paint, new energy and creativity.
What Happens Next?
I see Show Up Media complimenting what is already out there, filling in the gaps and doing it with a visual flare. As a leftwing visual media organisation we aim to add to the growing leftwing media landscape and contribute to the push back against the mainstream media empires and problematic social media algorithms. Alongside other leftwing platforms we will offer a unique angle that has been left open. Nobody is educating about organising and activism in a coherent and joined up way, on one of the largest and most influential platforms on the planet — Youtube.
To get this to work I need to build our team. At the moment it is me in my parent’s basement, working alone and calling in favours from friends, but I want this to grow into a real force to be reckoned with. I want to support and grow a team of class writers, animators, activists and academics.
For this reason the first step on our road to completing our goals is to start releasing my idea through the medium of blogs. Through this I hope to further develop the concept, develop content for future videos, garner a following and source funding to use to hire creatives who will help to create the videos.
If any of you know any animators that might be interested in working on a project like this. Please get them to reach out to me.