When the Bush Administration held what has now been declared illegal auctions for gas and oil development, Tim DeChristopher was there to protest. DeChristopher, however, felt that just standing outside wasn’t enough. He went into the auction, got the Bidder 70 number and began bidding. Initially, he thought he would just inflate the prices. That was until he won an auction.
DeChristopher was prosecuted and sentenced to two years in prison. The judge stated that the two years were not for the disruption of what by that point had been declared illegal auctions but for the fact that DeChristopher was unrepentant. It was during the trial that a group of Utahns formed Peaceful Uprising in 2009.
According to the Wayback Machine, peacefuluprising.org was started sometime between March 14, 2009 and July 26, 2009. The group started out raising awareness and funds for the defense in the Dechristopher trial. The website was part of a portal called ManyOne that was an offshoot of Media Wall.
The website changes dramatically between July 26, 2009 and Feb. 12, 2010. It looks like they got a professional web developer who added color and graphics. It changes again between Jan. 29, 2011 and May 10, 2011. The graphics are reduced, but the content looks sleeker. This appears to be the last website redesign.
Peaceful Uprising is a grassroots organization that has ties all over the country. They focus on climate justice and have partnered with environmental groups and actions like Moccasins on the Ground, the Utah Tar Sands Resistance and Canyon Country Rising Tide.
Because of their ties, they use social media extensively. Peaceful Uprising’s Facebook page has over 15,000 likes and the Twitter account has over 6,700 followers. Peaceful Uprising’s strength in social media comes from their relatively youthful membership. They have a couple of people who actually specialize in the use of social media.
The only weakness may be that they are over reliant on social media to accomplish their goals. Mainstream media is a little hesitant to cover anything that does not directly involve DeChristopher. The regular media outlets have also not figured out how to harness the power of the Internet when it comes to web savvy groups. With the web power that Peaceful Uprising can harness, mainstream media would do well to figure out how to get the hits that would come from covering Peace Up.
Peace Up uses Twitter most frequently with Facebook a distant second. Both feeds are tied to their web page. Facebook had two updates on Oct.11, 2013 and one update on Oct. 14 while Twitter had about 20 updates on Oct. 11 and two on Oct. 14. The Blog was last updated on Sep. 24 and the YouTube channel had its last upload about two months ago.
The website, Facebook and Twitter are linked to several sources including allies, news stories and editorials.
Peace Up uses a consensus form of government, so that while one person may do a majority of the work in an area, there are many people who are responsible for the content of the actions that they take. I know that in the past, Jake Hanson has been a big part of the social media presence that Peace Up has forged, but I also know that they have had trainings for others in the organization. Hanson moved to Colorado for a season to learn at the Transition Lab.
Unfortunately, the important work that Peace Up is doing often gets overshadowed by those things that are popular, cheap and easy to cover. Media conglomerates who could afford to cover events and actions taken by Peaceful Uprising would rather save their money and report on the latest Miley Cyrus scandal or Kardashian calamity.
The only real failing comes on both sides. Peace Up has not been able to convey its messages in such a way that it draws interest from the media, especially in a red state like Utah, and the media has not been able to see a way to make covering stories about Peaceful Uprising profitable.