The Activist Motivator

Awareness | Debate | Action

Watching the videos below, and exploring the additional materials and links, is a primer for understanding how seemingly powerless activists organize and affect widespread change.  One caveat is understanding elitism and the irony of democracy;  that changing status quo from one ruling class to another does not necessarily improve all conditions or eliminate oppression and corruption [expounded here]. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, regardless of the benevolence in its humble beginnings.

"Activism = self-expression; organizing = movement-building." -Mark Rudd

  • Incredible resources for organizing activism can be found at - from nonviolent strategies and methods, to books, organizations, and even lesson plans.
  • Gene Sharp's book - From Dictatorship to Democracy FDTD.pdf
  • ACLU of Northern California : Know Your Rights - A Guide to Free Speech, Protests, and Demonstrations in California
  • The War Against Activists - How activists are categorized and defeated
  • The End of Activism and the Renaissance of Organizing Al Giordano rant on distinctions of Activism vs. Organizing
  • is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping grassroots activists to build their capacity and make a greater impact on the world.
  • How to Organize a Community LINK
  • NOI the New Organizing Institute at has a lot of support including a Organizers Toolbox with materials and presentations for downloading.
  • The Center For Media Justice - Measuring Impact: An Organizer’s ToolKit to Evaluate Communications... introduces readers to a movement-building approach to communications evaluation. Whether you’re working on access to healthy food, equitable land use and recreation, or any other justice issue, you can use the set of tools in this kit to evaluate the degree of impact your communications work is having, and to improve communications plans. With winning media strategies and ways to track gains and change, organizers can saturate markets with their frames and messages, and become powerful media leaders and sources. CMJ also has strategic communications tools and services with a lot more helpful info.
  • CrowdVoice is a user-powered service that tracks voices of protest from around the world by crowdsourcing information. Instead of checking news, video and social networking sites for updates on the issues that matter to you, get your fix in one place and join the crowd by adding information or approving what others already submitted.
  • Sukey is our name for a set of applications designed to keep you protected and informed during protests. When you see something interesting, you tell us. When we're confident that something has actually happened, we tell you. If you have a smartphone with a good web browser, you can look at a really cool compass-thing we call "Roar". If you don't, you can use our SMS update service we call "Growl". Have a look at our guide to getting involved for more information on how to do this stuff.
  • Crabgrass is a software libre web application designed for social networking, group collaboration and network organizing. Our goal is to create communication tools that are tailored specifically to meet the needs of bottom up grassroots organizing. The internet may herald a deep change in democratic communication, but the internet is simultaneously the most effective tool for mass surveillance ever devised. Crabgrass is a secure alternative to for-profit social networking and organizing platforms.
  • Pidder - Private Social Network. Can be used anonymously. Strongly encrypted communication. Identity-& PWD-manager. Supports right to privacy. Share your data gradually.


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How To Smart Mob

Want to get a point across in a very big way? Organize a smart mob—a group of people who mobilize on short notice to perform a collective action. For more information on social movements, go to


"A Conversation with Gene Sharp"

Dr. Sharp, who has been called "the Clausewitz of nonviolent warfare," founded the Albert Einstein Institution in 1983 to promote research, policy studies, and education on the strategic uses of nonviolent struggle. He maintains that the major unsolved political problems of our time — dictatorship, genocide, war, social oppression, and popular powerlessness — require us to rethink politics in order to develop fresh strategies and programs for their resolution. He is convinced that pragmatic, strategically planned, nonviolent struggle can be made highly effective for application in conflicts to lift oppression and as a substitute for violence. NEW Film 2011 How To Start a Revolution! MORE INFO ON DR. SHARP:

A Force More Powerful: a feature-length documentary film written and directed by Steve York about non-violent resistance movements around the world. It reveals the successful methods activists used to affect sweeping change. Below are a few excerpts from the film.

A Force More Powerful: Gandhi







 is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping grassroots activists to build their capacity and make a greater impact on the world. We match members of our global network with necessary resources from the technology, media, private and public sectors as well as with each other in order to foster peer to peer capacity building. hosts annual summits, regional training events, and on online hub for best practices, lessons learned, discussion and news about the use of new technologies in social movements.


How To Be an Effective Dissident

You've decided to protest an unjust political system or organization. Make the most impact with these tips. For more information on social movements, go to

"If there is no external civil society in which dissidence can exist, then public debate is locked in a paradigm that assumes value of dogma." -Philippe Nemo


Democracy 101 - Effective Protest
by Naomi Wolfe

Author and activist Naomi Wolf discusses the elements of effective protest.
:: produced by Danielle Holke ::

Topics cover; going up against municipal restrictive permits; constitutional 1st amendment rights to freedom of speech and to peaceably assemble; peaceful disruption; effective non-violent protest; agent provocateurs (known-unknowns);

Ten Point Guide

  1. Peaceful disruption of business as usual -sitting, parking cars to block streets, long-term (not short sharp shocks), lifestyle,
  2. Sign up your lawyers -local CLU(, National Lawyers Guild (,  Center for Constitutional Rights (
  3. Make the protest happy -joyful, life affirming, positive. [ActMo Takeaway: Protest in a way that celebrates, or exemplifies, the way you want to live. Protest as you live.]
  4. Don't cover your faces and all members need to use camera and document what is happening. "The whole world is watching."
  5. Reclamation of public space -seated and linking arms. Donate to NLG and use their services to help with court fights.
  6. Use visuals like colors to unify. use flags, dress up
  7. Build infrastruture -build relationships, engage face to face, get started in person, local email list,
  8. Register voters 30-100 minimum, show proof, send agenda to the district offices, Curtis Ellis, congressional elections are critical
  9. Be your own media, blog, send op-eds to op-ed editors at NYT, WSJ, WPost, LATimes, send dramatic video footage, call local producers and send video clips, Who, What, Where, Why, How, send still photos, create your own documentaries on your own websites, send to freelance media editors and producer, build relationships
  10. All successful protest movements have spokespeople. -circular rotating, surrogates who speak on behalf of movement with talking points. Good communicators.




**** And here is a video demonstrating how NOT to organize or protest ***

The Weather Underground

This film documents how violence is not an effective form of protest.

"Hello. I'm going to read a declaration of a state of war... Within the next 14 days we will attack a symbol or institution of American injustice." -- Bernardine Dohrn

Thirty years ago, with these words, a group of young American radicals called The Weathermen announced their intention to overthrow the U.S. government. Fueled by outrage over the Vietnam War and racism in America, they went underground during the 1970s, bombing targets across the country that they felt symbolized "the real violence" that the U.S. government and capitalist power were wreaking throughout the world. From pitched battles with police on Chicago's city streets, to bombing the U.S. Capitol building, to breaking acid-guru Timothy Leary out of prison, this carefully organized clandestine network attempted to incite a national revolution, while successfully evading one of the largest FBI manhunts in history. One of the top documentaries of the year, this award-winning film interweaves extensive archival material with modern-day interviews to explore the incredible story of "The Weather Underground." As former members reflect candidly about the idealistic passion that drove them to "bring the war home," they paint a compelling portrait of troubled and revolutionary times, with unexpected and often striking connections to the current world situation.

<strong><a href="" target="_blank">CrowdVoice</a></strong> - CrowdVoice is a user-powered service that tracks voices of protest
from around the world by crowdsourcing information. Instead of checking news,
video and social networking sites for updates on the issues that matter to you,
get your fix in one place and join the crowd by adding information or approving
what others already submitted.

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