We were founded in 2011, in the aftermath of the financial crisis by a few young campaigners who believed that the power of community organising, creative communications and digital technology could help transform the progressive movement.
We borrowed our name from Bob Marley’s “Small Axe” because it summed up what we set out to do.
“So if you are the big tree, we are the small axe, ready to cut you down (well sharp)”
We know that with a good strategy, the right tools and the passion to keep on chopping, you can bring down big trees.
In 2014 we incubated a team of technologists in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Three years later, DXDY went fully independent. They specialise in organisational websites, mobile applications, migrations, data warehousing and system integrations. We continue to collaborate.
In the 2015 election, we secured one of the few progressive victories of the campaign working on Caroline Lucas’ unlikely re-election campaign in Brighton Pavilion.
In 2016 we partnered with Dan Firth and Sotez Chowdhury to build on a shared idea: “to find and recruit local leaders to run for office for progressive parties.”
We helped residents win historic victories in the City of London, with an unprecedented five elected Labour councillors. Dan and Sotez went on to build on this vision, setting up the Community Organising Unit at the Labour Party.
In 2017 we helped deliver a hung parliament with the biggest and most effective third-party campaigning operation in the UK.
We delivered campaigns for School Cuts and the Progressive Alliance, reaching 7 and 4 million voters respectively, swinging 750k votes for education and doubling the number of people who voted tactically.
Off the back of that campaign we used distributed mobilisation techniques honed on the campaign trail to organise one of the biggest mass lobbies of parliament against school cuts.
In 2018 we helped start two new organisations: CrossCheck International building a global platform for journalists to collaborate on emerging news stories and combat misinformation, and EveryDoctor, a political home for progressive doctors who want to fight to save their profession from privatisation, discrimination and their colleagues from burnout.
In 2019, we joined forces with the Labour Party to write the Declaration for a Green Industrial Revolution. A pledge to transform our economy and create green unionised jobs and achieve social justice on issues like housing, public transport and unemployment.
We also worked on rebranding the Community Organising Unit of the Labour Party and Labour Unions, putting the voices of working people at the forefront of movements to transform their rights.
During the General Election, we supported Citizens UK, Stop School Cuts and Labour Unions on ambitious campaigns that drove voter turnout and put the concerns of parents, teachers and working people on the national agenda.
In 2020, we kicked off the year helping Compass grow its membership with an integrated podcast available for members only and lots of hard work behind the scenes. We started the year with hope, supporting Stop School Cuts with its campaign to save maintained nursery schools.
As Covid-19 hit and the world suddenly seemed a whole lot scarier, we pivoted to help the National Education Union amplify calls for a safe return to schools and supporting build up EveryDoctor and its vital campaign to #ProtectNHSworkers.
We helped Pembroke House pioneer a neighbourhood response to food insecurity in Walworth, South London. Over the course of the year we worked with organisers from Citizens UK and elsewhere to help them understand how digital could connect their communities and activists in meaningful ways.
We're ten years old!
We deepened our partnership with Pembroke House, taking on the role of "Virtual Head of Comms" as part of a new approach to building capacity with our partners.
We began a partnership with the International Transport Workers Federation to build their digital capacity and grow their capability to be in direct contact with millions of workers through their affiliated unions in over 120 countries.
Together with the National Education Union we started work to give every child the best start in life.
We helped CPRE centre the voices of real people, diverse, complicated and nuanced in their #WeAreTheCountryside campaign.
And we started, slowly and responsibly, to get back to the office, this time south of the river.