Friends of Wikileaks was set up in December 2011 and is an independent network of people around the world who support Wikileaks. FoWL describe themselves here and you can sign up here. The Friends of Wikileaks network will help to connect people according to their location and interests so that they can co-ordinate their support together.
In order for the Friends of Wikileaks network to be viable, there needs to be a minimum amount of sign-ups. A preliminary step therefore is to encourage people to sign up. In order to get some momentum going some independent groups have been started.
UKFoWL was initiated on this pretext- one individual got frustrated with waiting and, after posting on the Wikileaks forum had some inspirational advice- ‘if there isn’t a group set up, set one up yourself!’. Well of course….
So that one individual did just that- set up a UKFoWL Twitter account, Facebook page, email account and this here blog. One individual is now linked to several other inspirational beings and, while still finding our feet, UKFoWL is beginning to make some noise.
It’s worth pointing out that the Friends of Wikileaks is independent from Wikileaks and UKFoWL is, in a sense, independent from Friends of Wikileaks. This is an important part of contemporary social movements- the internet is a source freedom and power that we all can engage with. There is scope for us all, as individuals, to arm ourselves with a little tech-know and begin to connect with other people who share our belief that the world can be a better place. An important lesson for me has been that these new freedoms can let us all take the initiative.
An important function of UKFoWL is to create and maintain visibility of support for Wikieaks- this helps keep the organisation and its work safely in the foreground. Courage is contagious but so is fear- the attacks and smear campaigns on Wikileaks have mystified the organisation to the point that some people worry that there is something dangerous in supporting the important work they do. Having a collective voice can counter this and will legitimize the right of individuals to be vocal in their support of Wikileaks. UKFoWL has an explicit focus on helping to gather and make visible support for Wikileaks. Join up at Friends of Wikileaks and lets help build a movement.