Global Digital Mobilization Project (GDMP)


The Global Digital Mobilization Project will organize hundreds of groups and individuals around the world who are planning events to coincide with the next COP16 to live video cast their projects to a single web site. Through international organizing, extending existing software to hand-held devices, training, and outreach, GDMP will help redefine the meaning of "global convergence": from a central, geographically defined event open to a small percentage of the population to a geographically diverse event accessible to everyone. After COP16, our experiences, software, and materials will be made available for future global convergences as part of an effort to redefine how we collaborate internationally.


Over the last ten years, mass global gatherings have brought together people on a scale and with a frequency previously unimaginable. Ranging from IMF/WTO protests to world and regional social forums to climate related forums, these gatherings have demonstrated our ability to collaborate internationally in a way that transcends national boundaries and corporate interests, providing hope for a new type of movement for change in the world.

Now, in 2010, we have become victims of our success. With World Social Forums bringing together over 150,000 people, we are reaching the limits of face-to-face gatherings. Furthermore, as attention is turning to issues of climate change, the environmental side effects of air travel and temporary concentrations of large numbers of people are impossible to ignore. And lastly, even bringing together 150,000 people in one place on represents a tiny fraction of both the world and the number of people with access to the Internet.

The Internet has been instrumental in making the logistics and communications needed to organize these events possible. Now, we must further develop the Internet to change how we think about global convergences.

The role of video

The combination of video and the Internet used during the World Trade Organization protests in Seattle in 1999 radically changed the potential for global organizing.

Since then, video on demand has become a staple of global convergences and we've started experimenting with live video, however, our thinking and organizing strategies have not changed in any meaningful way since 1999.

There are several reasons:

  • Corporate interests have seized on the potential for video on demand, creating easy to use tools like those found on YouTube for uploading video in proprietary formats. These tools have both captured the attention of the world while at the same time excluding collaborative-thinking techies via proprietary protocols, proprietary software, and corporate controlled data
  • The technical and bandwidth restrictions of live video streaming have been insurmountable until recently. The major advances made so far, via web sites like Ustream, are, like YouTube, pursuing proprietary and restrictive formats and software

Now is a critical time. Over the last year, a number of important developments are providing a unique opportunity for developing the potential of video in a free and open way:

  • Firefox now supports streaming of the free ogg/theora video format and codec, meaning millions of people can now watch video saved in a free format without any additional software installations
  • Google recently released a previously proprietary video format and codec under a free software license, which is likely to be adopted widely and could replace the proprietary flash format as the format of choice on the Internet
  • Free and open source video software such as gstreamer, flumotion, icecast and others are reaching high levels of maturity and functionality
  • Groups like May First/People Link, Engage Media,, Foundation, and others have made a big impact on the global consciousness about the need for free and open video formats and strategies
  • The video capabilities of cell phones are rapidly reaching a point of maturity allowing for advanced uses such as video streaming

The role of mass convergences

Unlike the social splintering affects of individualized approaches to video, such as YouTube, linking Internet video to mass global convergences has the opposite effect. It demonstrates the power of video to unify people and foster collaboration. As such, mass global convergences are a critical component to launching a new video platform.

The COP16 event in Cancun, Mexico in November/December 2010 provides a unique opportunity for this project.

Based on the failure of COP15 in Copenhagan, Evo Morales and Hugo Chavez called for a Global Conference on Climate Change and Mother Earth for April 2010 in Cochambamba, Bolivia. With upwards of 20,000 people in attendance, it has built tremendous grassroots momentum for COP16. We expect a huge global demand not only for information about the event, but for some method to particpate and experience the event for people unable to go. Furthermore, based on global activities organized around the 2009 COP15, we expect a similarly large number of events around the world for COP16.


We propose organizing an international campaign to capture video related to the COP16 conference that will provide a means for displaying simultaneous live video feeds from cities all around the globe. The objectives of the campaign will include not only multiple live video streams, but full archiving of all contributed video, and a means for easily finding and playing video on demand. All software developed will be free and open source, including server-based software.

Project components

  • Software
    • Develop Icecast video streaming client for Android
    • Develop Icecast video streaming client for iPhone
    • Create installers and customize existing icecast video streaming software for linux, Mac, and Windows to enable one click streaming
    • Develop web-based graphical user interface for displaying thumbnails of all available icecast streams from a set of icecast servers, with controls for choosing which to play
  • Documentation
    • Develop extensive web-based documentation on the installation and use of the icecast clients
    • Develop documentation for integrating the web-base graphical components into other web sites
  • Outreach: using our international Techie Congress network, membership in the Alliance for Progressive Communications, participation in the Communications working group of the World Social Forum, participation in the Cochabamba World Conference on Climate Change we will publicize to a global audience the existence of the streams. In addition, we will use the trainings as an opportunity recruit more people to help with national and local outreach.
  • Training
    • Conduct 8 weekly, online trainings prior to the event
    • Conduct 3 on location trainings in Cancun in the week leading up to and during the event
  • Reporting: produce a written report of our experiences via a web site providing access to the video produced


$10,000Software development
$5,000Documentation development
$5,000Outreach and training
$3,000server/bandwidth costs
$3,000cell phone/data costs
Last modified 11 years ago Last modified on Jul 28, 2010, 7:34:16 PM