ABSTRACT

Over the past decade, there has been considerable interest in the apparent upsurge of protest activity, especially as traditional representative organisations such as parties and trade unions appear to be in decline in many liberal democracies. A number of accounts have highlighted the importance of the Internet and other new media in the mobilisation of several mass protests and in the activity of campaigning organisations generally (Cisler, 1999; Jordan, 2001; Scott and Street, 2000).1 There has been considerable speculation as to whether new information and communication technologies (ICTs) can provide a catalyst for political participation and a more active citizenry and, if so, what types of political organisation are likely to benefit (Diani, 2000; Bimber, 1998). However, whilst there has been a growing amount of evidence examining the online strategies of political organisations from a top-down perspective, there has been little evidence emerging from the grass roots about the role of ICTs in participation.