The Tactical Tech Collective is working with us to promote their new film, Ten Tactics for Turning Information into Action. The New York premiere is this coming Wednesday, Feb. 17, at 7pm. Get your advance tickets here.
In addition, they sent us copies of their droolworthy toolkits. You can probably get one…. Just comment below explaining why you or your organization deserve a copy and how you might put it to good use. Then come to the film, and you stand a good chance of going home with a toolkit! We have twenty of these suckers, so your chances are not bad.
[Note: we aren’t giving away all of them at this event. The more great requests below, the more we’ll hand out. Just comment below and show up at the film!]
The film, included in half the toolkits, covers 25 examples of grassroots activists doing something nifty online. One of my favorite examples is the story of the pink chaddis in India. (Chaddis = women’s underwear in Hindi.) Feminist activists protesting a violent, right wing group’s efforts to punish women for visiting bars called on supporters to send pink chaddis to the group’s leader. On Valentine’s Day, of course. This Facebook based campaign worked and received international attention.
Other examples cover bloggers in Egypt, text messaging in Kenya, crowdsourcing in Mumbai, fighting corruption in Morocco, capturing human rights abuses on video in Burma and Iran.
Ten Tactics does a great job of laying out precisely how and why activists chose particular tools, what obstacles they faced and overcame, and what the results where on the issue in question. There’s a bias at work – the Tactical Tech Collective wants to make online tools accessible to as many people and organizations as possible. So they chose many examples that rely far more on creativity and courage than on technical skill and equipment. Most of the examples are from developing countries, highlighting the fact that online activism is not some kind of elite strategy only relevant for well resourced groups like MoveOn or the Obama campaign.
Message in a Box is a set of strategic guides to using communications tools for social change, together with a suite of open source tools to get you making your own media. The toolkit is designed for small and medium-sized nonprofits, advocates, and citizen journalists to help them create and distribute content for their advocacy efforts while exploring the constantly evolving world of campaigning and communications.
Recent years have seen a massive shift both in who produces media and how that media is produced. Free software tools and ‘do it yourself’ web applications are opening up new means of content creation and new channels for distribution for NGOs, journalists and individuals.
The Ten Tactics film itself comes in a box with 15 beautifully designed cards illustrating particular tactics, with tools and tips to help you plan your own info-activism.
And that’s not all.
Our film screening will also showcase the work of info-activists here in New York. Daniel Bowman Simon, who helped persuade Michelle Obama to start a food garden in the White House, is now stirring up the pot at City Hall. His petition for a People’s Garden calls on Bloomberg to follow the Obama’s lead by starting food garden, and encouraging New Yorkers to deepen their involvement in food and sustainability issues.
It’s a great example of how a citizen-activist can get the ball rolling without having to work through established, soul crushing and initiative draining official channels.
We don’t know if anyone from Councilman Brad Lander’s office will actually make it, but we’ll be highlighting his recent info-activism. His www.stalleddevelopment.com maps locations where apartment buildings sit empty and unfinished, so that residents can identify the ones that cause the most trouble. Citizens can add buildings not yet on the map and offer specific, actionable information about the hazards for each site.
Personally, I think the city should be rolling out more of this kind of effort. But we live in a city ruled by real estate friendly interests who wouldn’t dream of it. So it falls upon elected officials and nonprofit groups to pick up the slack. Way to go Brad!
Right. So if you’re thinking, gotta get my hands on one of those toolkits, tell us why in a comment below or over on the GrassrootsCamp Meetup site.
And yes, you do have to attend the film screening to be a winner.