The sub.Media Collective: Propagating Tactical Media in Anarchist Movement Cultures

  • Kimberly Croswell Independent


In online communities driven by social media, ‘sharing,’ ‘liking,’ and ‘following’ are the nomenclature used to describe the shaping of opinions, popularity, and even identity. However, within a media ecosystem dominated by profitability algorithms, where can activists find politically critical resources online? In answering this question, I demonstrate how the sub.Media anarchist video collective successfully propagates radical video content, independently distributed across multiple online platforms, to foster communities of resistance and transformation. 


The explosion of anarchist media began in the anti-globalisation era (mid 1990s) with the rise of support for the revolutionary Zapatista Movement. Organising under the slogan ‘The Revolution Will be Digitised,’ anarchists and activists across the globe took direct inspiration from the Zapatistas. Media is not something that is ‘out there;’ rather, it produces effects on its viewers so as to literally move them to action. Today, over 25 years later, with instantaneous access available by computer, tablet, and cell phone, we are faced with a variety of new media and digital technologies that have led to the proliferation and fragmentation of information networks and possibilities for social exchange.


In this article, I discuss the working methods, activist content, and aesthetic subversions of the anarchist video collective sub.Media. Media activism, exemplified by sub.Media’s video and podcast feeds, is rooted in discourse networks that influence creators and viewers alike in culturally meaningful ways. Sub.Media’s activities proceed tactically as a simultaneous disengagement from and attack on the edifices of hegemonic dominant culture. In this manner, they cultivate relationships with communities in resistance, and gain trust for sharing accurate knowledge and analysis with viewers sympathetic to their calls to action.


Not satisfied with the limitations of capitalist monomedia social media platforms, sub.Media actively participates in developing alternative communications portals. They are closely affiliated with the Kolektiva.Social Mastadon server and Kolektiva.Media independent video streaming service, which they use to spread dissident information. Although they simultaneously maximise content on mainstream platforms, sub.Media is part of a growing movement of socially conscious, anarchist, and radical individuals transferring their collective discourses into the Mastadon Fediverse. sub.Media’s participation in this virtual discursive environment propagates engagement as part of a digital movement culture of resistance and transformation.

Author Biography

Kimberly Croswell, Independent

Kimberly Croswell, Ph.D. (Leadership, Adult Education, and Community Studies) is an activist-scholar living in Victoria, Canada, on unceded Lekwungen Territories. She recently completed her dissertation ‘Collective Leadership: Non-Hierarchical Organising in Activist Art Practices.’ She has published on the radical history of South Asian music and dance traditions in the journal Modernism/Modernity, and in the Routledge Encyclopedia of Dance. Her research interests revolve around movement strategy, shared leadership, and the arts.