The Toolbox Case

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The case of Indian climate activist Disha Ravi should be ringing alarm bells far and wide. This young climate activist has been criminally charged and is being publicly vilified for the most basic forms of activism imaginable: collaborating with others in a Google Doc and a Whatsapp group on a toolkit for people wanting to demonstrate in solidarity with striking Indian farmers.

If this strikes close to home, it’s because that’s exactly what Beautiful Trouble and its global network of contributors have been doing for the last decade — collaborating on an activism toolkit and then sharing that toolkit with frontline activists. 

And over the past five years, that work has increasingly centred activism in the Global South, as we’ve partnered with and published the contributions of, activists operating under dangerous conditions through our Beautiful Rising project, produced in partnership with ActionAid International. Most recently, this has allowed us to work with partners in Myanmar to quickly produce and circulate a Coup Response edition of Beautiful Trouble, much of it written by Burmese activists themselves. 

If, like us, you feel like we need to push back hard against these attempts to criminalize the essential labour of changemakers, activists, and organizers, then here are a few places you might start:

  • Read Naomi Klein’s account of the toolbox case, which underscores the significance of the struggle for the soul of tech that’s unfolding right now.

  • Make a donation to Ekta Parishad (the Indian landless movement) or the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a powerful force for good in the fight for digital privacy and free speech.

  • Help spread the word about (or apply for!) the job posting for our editorial team.

  • Join us for an upcoming live tour and demonstration of the newly re-launched Beautiful Trouble Toolbox.

  • Kick-in to help get the Beautiful Trouble toolkit into the hands of more frontline activists.

This is, of course, not an exhaustive list, and clicktivism won’t suffice. The current moment demands precisely the kinds of creativity and experimentation this criminalization of dissent seeks to crush -- how will we respond?


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