What is the one thing that would help the left right now and in the future? Having more resources. The left could do what it does now, just better, if we had more resources. Think of all the things that could grow with more money: Coops, legal aid, alternative media outlets, local chapter activities, social events, squats, organizations, social change schools, but not just that. Think of all the time it would free activists from endless fundraising. It could also give our low-paid professional activist around the world, regardless of the organization, not just a living income, but an increase in income so they can be an activist and still have a fulfilling life. If we were in a resourceful situation like that, then, I believe, we would be on our way to a new society. So, what can be done to make the left resourceful? Crowdfunding!
In 2016 the platform Firefund started with the purpose of being a tool for progressive movements to finance their activities through crowdfunding. The internet is good at reaching a lot of people, which means that more people might donate when we crowdfund. Since 2016 there have been 15 crowdfunding campaigns, and only 4 campaigns didn’t meet the target. That is, I think, an enormous success. In the old times it was much harder to reach so many people, so progressive constituencies relied on heavy donors for success – few rich progressive people who gives a lot. This means that even if nobody of the rich donor complained, their money buys loyalty for who they are and what they do. A media outlet who relies on money from the coordinator class, will not be able to write negative about the coordinator class, because that would mean that the donors might leave. But that is not the only problem with relying on heavy donors. The other is efficiency.
Imagine a person who donates 100 % of their income. And imagine that person earns a lot of money. Let’s say it’s 1 dollar per second. Which is 60 dollars per minute. Which is 3600 dollars per hour. How many people do you know who earns 3600 dollars per hour? Let’s then say that this person never sleeps, doesn’t pay taxes, or rent, or eats food, and never stops working. All the money made gets donated. How long would it take for this person to donate 1 billion dollars?
Answer: A little more than 31 years. 31 years of non-stop working with no expenses whatsoever.
Now imagine 10 million people donating 10 dollars per month. That’s 1 billion dollars in just 10 months.
So it is far more efficient to have a lot of people donating a little, than few people donating a lot.
Right now, Firefund is recruiting activists into what they call a ‘Swarm’. Here is what they write about it: “A 30 day session, aiming to organize and educate a batch of solidarity crowdfunding campaigners.
Swarms are online workshops, running for a month. The idea is not to have activists in FIREFUND doing crowdfunding. It’s to make a swarm-like community of activists, ready and trained, to receive and facilitate the requests of crowdfunding campaigns from activists on the front, fighting those parts of the struggle we all feel strongly about.
Everyone with an interest in direct action, solidarity activism, programming, organizing, encrypted communication, and everything we haven’t thought about already, can join!”
Whether you want to join swarm, or want to donate to a campaign, or if you are just curious, I suggest you take a look at firefund.net