Monday, August 29, 2011

Online grassroots organizing with limited budget and resources

From: Mashable
5 Tips for Sparking a Grassroots Movement Online, by  Anne Driscoll

  • “Social action” comes easy to those who understand the value of service, helping others and devoting themselves to making the world a better place despite challenges. The trick is turning that personal motivation into a widespread and impactful movement. Grassroots communities are a way to get actionable success even with limited budgets and resources.
    • 1. Don’t Raise an Issue, Tell a story -- Simply combining facts and emotions into a powerful narrative conveys far more than a 40-page proposal. Through storytelling, you make a human connection between your audience and the cause.
    • 2. Reward Your Supporters -- Enable and reward your biggest evangelists to increase their participation. They will in turn help you create momentum and spread your message.
    • 3. Amplify your Message -- Build a campaign hub where you can broadcast online actions which your supporters can then share on their social graphs.
    • 4. Remove Barriers to Participation -- Creating a central and clear call to action is key to getting folks involved in the next level of support. In addition to participation, make fundraising goals and tools a prominent part of your outreach so people can easily — and safely — contribute to your movement.
    • 5. Empower Your Volunteers -- Set clear expectations on what it means to get involved and what they will receive in return. Keep volunteers in the loop and share how they have played a part in your success.

    The social network technology behind Web 2.0 has reached maturity; and it is still developing, and is growing in the number of users engaged in political activism.  In addition to volunteering/ supporting ongoing large social movements, you have the opportunity to start your own movement from scratch.

    Friday, August 26, 2011

    Several large protests are planned for the next couple of months in the US

    From: Waging Nonviolence
    Why aren’t Americans in the streets? Where is the American Autumn? | Aug 13, 2011

    • Americans may not be out on the streets yet, but they’re planning on it. Just wait—or get involved. People are organizing. The more they prepare, the more likely they are to carry out actions worthy of their goals.
      • Something is happening. Even Al Gore said, earlier this month, that we need an “American Spring.” How about an American Autumn [#AmericanAutumn]?
        • For the past few weeks, we at Waging Nonviolence have been talking with individuals and groups that are involved in one way or another in a variety of powerful new protest efforts. Here are a few of them:
          • Environmental activists—including Bill McKibben, James Hansen, and Wendell Berry— are undertaking sustained civil resistance to fight the proposed pipeline taking oil from the Canadian tar sands to refineries in Texas. They consider this a crucial battleground in the fight to ameliorate climate change. []
          • [Update 8/14/11] Citizens for Legitimate Government is calling for Seize DC, a plan to occupy space in the city, without permits, in protest of “endless, illegal, murderous and bankrupting war abroad; endless, brutal and bankrupting attacks on the vast majority at home.” []
          • After Adbusters called for a takeover of Wall Street on September 17th, a number of websites and organizations have joined in to support the cause—just look at this, this, this, this, and more. An ongoing, open discussion has been taking place about what the movement’s demands will be—including proposals from taxing the rich to ending corporate contributions to political candidates. []
          • On October 6th, the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan, a broad coalition of old- and new-guard activists are planning to begin a sustained occupation of Freedom Plaza in downtown Washington DC, hoping to foster new momentum for a movement that will end American militarism abroad and put resources to use for people at home. []
          • Between September 11th and October 7th, a group called 10 Years and Counting will be using art and performance to galvanize people into action against the ongoing wars. []
          • A global day of action is being planned for October 15, a World Revolution for Real Democracy. In anticipation, Spanish Indignados are marching from Madrid to Brussels, with solidarity actions for September 17th and October 6th along the way.  []

          There has been a flowering of national protests in the United States, in the form of conventions, building of movements and coalitions, and organizing protests.  The flower is now in full display; how do you plan to engage in any of these events?  Are there any more protests/ marches/ sit-ins, etc. being organized?

          Wednesday, August 24, 2011

          For free download or book purchase: "Digital Activism Decoded", edited by Mary Jacobs

          From: The Meta-Activism Project: Book
          Digital Activism Decoded: The New Mechanics of Change, edited by Mary Jacobs

          • Citizens around the world are using digital technologies to push for social and political change. Yet, while stories have been published, discussed, extolled, and derided, the underlying mechanics of digital activism are little understood. This new field, its dynamics, practices, misconceptions, and possible futures are presented together for the first time in Digital Activism Decoded.

          Please go to the Meta-Activism Project post for details and a free download; there is also a link to purchase a paper version from

          Next Sunday, Aug 28 2011 the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial will have a ceremonial dedication

          From: National Constitution Center: Constitution Daily
          With the dedication of a new memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr., “I have a dream” becomes a reality

          Flickr photo by mattlemmon

          • Nearly half a century after he led the March on Washington for civil rights and gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, Martin Luther King, Jr., is receiving the honor he deserves among other great American leaders in Washington, D.C.
            • The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, which opened to the public on Monday in West Potomac Park on the Tidal Basin, will be formally dedicated on Sunday, the 48th anniversary of King’s immortal speech.
              • A Long Time Coming
              • On August 28, 1963, the first integrated protest march, which became known as the March on Washington, was led by Dr. King.  It was during the protest that King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial; the symbolism did not go unnoticed.  Five years later on April 4th, Dr. King was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.  But it took another 28 years before President Bill Clinton signed congressional legislation proposing the establishment of a memorial in honor of Dr. King.  Finally after years of fundraising and construction, the memorial is set to open. 
              • I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
              • A Permanent Symbol of Hope and Peace
              • The Martin Luther King, Jr., memorial is located on the Tidal Basin, creating a visual line of leadership between the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial.  The memorial’s location identifies King as a integral leader in American history. Visually, the memorial also conveys four major themes– democracy, justice, hope, and love.  The memorial will include a 450-foot inscription wall with some of King’s most famous quotes.  It will also feature the “Mountain of Despair” and the “Stone of Hope,” which includes a 30-foot sculpture of King. The ceremonial dedication on Sunday will be accompanied by dinners, concerts, prayer services, and galas.  Tickets are available to the public through the memorial’s website (

              The author of the original article, Rachel Bradshaw served as the Education Assistant at the National Constitution Center for the past three summers. She now begins her graduate work at Lehigh University studying Political Science.

              Tuesday, August 23, 2011

              Our elected officials want to hear from us

              Advocacy Associates
              Advocacy Tips: You Cannot Persuade if You Don't Persist!

              • When an issue that is important to you is down to the wire [and you can't schedule a meeting with your representative], don’t feel bad about contacting your congressional office multiple times. Be tactful (don’t call every five minutes), but keep the momentum going. The truth is they want to hear from their constituents.

              One of the most effective means of citizen engagement with our elected officials is through personal meetings.  And most opportunities to meet our representatives occur when they are back in their districts, away from Washington or the state capitol.  Most have their own district offices-- sometimes more than one; they also may conduct public meetings when they're home.

              Sunday, August 21, 2011

              "Public deliberation" poems

              As we debate in our nation's capital, let us take a moment to reflect on the inherent wisdom of our higher selves.  Life is always a sign of hope; let life sustain us to a just and right solution.

              Public deliberation
              by David Weller

              about doubt!
              no doubt about it!
              we all have it!
              we must move on, though,
              human beings require work...

              in fullness of doubt
              does one turn about
              and remain
              true to

              honesty, without
              eternity to believe,
              means nothing to me

              hearts are one when we
              go each our own way, when we
              never make th' other stay

              breaking the sweetness
              with vapors of great feats, lest
              we grow eliteness

              doubt that you own the
              moon and all of its brightness, and
              you will be right less

              it doesn't matter
              "how" it's done,
              just get "wise"
              in how it's
              never quite won...

              love denies pain and
              glory and foresight and all
              that's left of what's right

              Love hates sinning and
              likes you without winning, so
              that's selfless giving!

              Saturday, August 20, 2011

              Participatory budgeting gives citizens a voice and a vote in how government spends public money

              NCDD- The National Coalition for Dialog & Deliberation: Resource Center
              Government can’t solve budget battles? Let citizens do it.

              • As states and cities across the country confront staggering budget shortfalls, they face a double whammy: Voters are already disillusioned with government, and now elected officials have fewer resources to address citizens’ concerns. Recent polls show that Americans are as disgruntled as ever with Congress and both major parties. Meanwhile, the economic crisis has left federal, state, and city legislators short of funds for public goods like education and health care.
              • Faced with such daunting budget dilemmas, what are politicians to do? Two words: Look south! “Participatory budgeting” (PB), a model popular throughout Latin America, may offer a way to do more with less, and to reconnect citizens with government.
              • PB gives taxpayers a voice and a vote in how government spends public money. Unlike consultations, PB enables ordinary people to directly decide budget spending. Citizens receive training, identify and prioritize local needs, develop spending proposals, and vote on the proposed projects. Then the government carries out the top proposals, participants monitor progress, and the cycle begins anew.
              • First developed in Brazil, PB has spread to over 1,200 municipalities around the world. Throughout the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia, it has brought people into the political process, taught them civic skills, and encouraged them to work together. Where the state provides sufficient support – through training, facilitation, and expert guidance – PB can reverse dissatisfaction with government and increase transparency, accountability, and efficiency.

              Friday, August 19, 2011

              People can overcome propaganda and hate speech with civic engagement

              We are sharing this entire article, as all of its content is vitally important.  Thank you to the NCoC, and the Holocaust Museum for having taken on this very critical political civic engagement issue during NCoC's recent conference.  It is we, the people's responsibility to make the right choices when our society is confronted with any political communication, whether it be anonymously financed or not.

              NCoC-- National Conference on Citizenship
              "Power in the Spoken Word: Propaganda, Hate Speech, and Civic Engagement"

              In a world where violence and sorrow often prevail, how do we create an environment where hate cannot flourish? This was a central question for discussion at a leadership summit titled “What You Do Matters,” a conference hosted by the Holocaust Museum on the weekend of June 28th, 2011. The summit presented new ways of thinking about hate speech, propaganda and civic engagement.

              What is propaganda? The conference introduced the concept of propaganda by providing firsthand accounts of genocide and hate speech in a series of lectures and discussions over the course of the weekend. Carl Wilkins, the only American survivor to remain in Rwanda during the genocide in the early 1990’s, spoke about trust and facilitating peace in times of turmoil. Robert Behr, Holocaust survivor, talked about his experience living in Germany during Hitler’s rule. Bill Adair, editor and the Washington Bureau Chief for the St. Petersburg Times, gave a lecture on the importance of holding people accountable to their words. Amy Lazarus, Executive Director of the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network, joined in the conversation by providing students with the right tools to be able to encourage communication and promote dialogue around the language of hate.

              A common theme throughout the conference was the topic of positive reinforcement and using propaganda as a tool to focus on those individuals willing and ready to ignite change. Is it possible to rid the world of apathy and encourage a more active citizenry? Speakers at the conference emphasized the importance of taking initiative and simply starting somewhere. Personal education and resourcefulness is necessary for a leader to successfully execute their mission to start a movement or unite a community. Hate speech dissipates with knowledge and dialogue; and as agents of propaganda, individuals have the potential to effect change. Samantha Jacobson, student at Wesleyan University, learned how to harness her skills to spark change, “I discovered the power of dialogue as a mechanism for diverting the energy surrounding contentious issues away from biased or partisan beliefs and into a safe and productive space for compromise and progress.”

              How does verbal communication influence the way that people interpret information? Over time people have learned that language greatly influences propaganda and the way that message is received by an audience. Certain connotations associated with words present topics in stereotypical ways or with a slant or bias. People evaluate language based on previous knowledge or experience and the evocation of language greatly effects audience receptivity.

              The summit also presented new ways of thinking about propaganda as a tool to sell ideas and the ways in which information is presented to individuals as consumers. Is it possible to filter the information that we receive? Samantha shared her experience saying, “This summit inspired me to take on the role of a cautious consumer of the information that is readily available throughout the world around me. I now understand the power of my voice and how impacting just one person could be a step towards changing the world. I have learned that silence does not equate to righteous.” If people set aside their own bias and prejudice they will be more open to ideas and willing to facilitate communication and dialogue.

              The exhibit at the Holocaust Museum, State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda, detailed the ways in which individuals have been vulnerable to ideas presented in advertisements plastered on automobiles, buildings, cereal boxes and posters. Tim Kaiser, Director of Education for the Holocaust Museum, explained how propaganda is dependent upon the technique, means of communication, audience receptivity, and the environment and context in which it is presented. Still, as individuals, what we chose to read, who we interact with and the ways in which we filter information are all dependent upon our personal preferences and whether we want to see the world in a broad or limited scope.

              The summit challenged 50 young leaders to assess their personal leadership styles and think about new ways and new ideas to spread the message of peace to their local communities.

              Still questions remain…
              How do we create a world where hate cannot flourish?

              Why does hate perpetuate? How can we break the cycle?

              What steps can be taken in communities to dissipate hate and create conversation surrounding this prevalent issue?

              Tuesday, August 16, 2011

              Conflict within groups and its cures: concerns for the "Super Congress"

              NCDD- National Coalition for Dialog & Deliberation: Community News Blog
              Group Decision Tip: Causes of Conflict, and Cures

              • In principle, the cause of most conflict is misunderstanding. The parties don’t have the same facts, same experience, same perspective, and don’t fully appreciate how someone else could see it differently.
                • A second cause of conflict is fundamental difference of values. This is where the parties understand the facts and each other but they simply have different values. For example, one person believes in Jesus as savior, another does not. Each person’s beliefs are deeply rooted and not easily changed.
                  • Third, parties are in conflict because of some outside issue, something that has nothing to do with the immediate issue at hand. The conflict might be because of some incident between the parties that happened years ago and has never been dealt with or because of a mental disorder, an irrational fear, or an addiction that is influencing someone’s judgment or behavior. An outside issue is preventing one or more key people from seeing or acting clearly.
                    • Practical Tip: When conflicts arise, work first to develop shared understanding. Talk, listen, express truth, learn, be open-minded, let go, ponder, talk some more.
                      • If differing values are the cause, identify the values you have in common. Identify your common goals. See how you believe in similar things but have different ways of acting on them. Document and work on the things you agree on and let go of the rest, for now.
                        • If a debilitating outside issue is at play, peace will only come about if the issue is dealt with. If it is your issue, deal with it, seek help, do the personal work. If the issue is not dealt with by the parties, an outside authority must be invoked to make and enforce a decision.
                          • Group Decision Tips are written by Craig Freshley. At his site,, you can access a complete archive of all his Tips, comment, and view others’ comments.

                          As we follow the deliberations over the national deficit by the "Super Congress" committee of 12 congress members, we can be mindful of the potentiality of conflict within the group, what may cause it, and what may be done to alleviate it.  Of course, we may keep these things in perspective in our own private and public deliberations as well.

                          National democratic movements have taken shape and are building membership, increasing activities

                          There is a political organizing trend of building coalitions of like-minded groups on the internet right now.  In addition, other organizations have developed on their own.

                          On the democracy front, America has seen a budding of many movements independent of the two major parties; nine national organizations are listed below in alphabetical order.  Although they are for the most part non-ideological, they fall somewhere in the center and/or left on the political spectrum, and they all encourage grassroots and netroots activism from their members.

                          In the near future, there will be more numerous progressive conventions and protests.  Some of these organizations will come together at times for a greater presence and show of resolve.

                          • Agenda Project  |  |  The Agenda Project’s goal is to build a powerful, intelligent, well-connected political movement capable of identifying and advancing rational, effective ideas in the public debate and in so doing ensure our country’s enduring success. .. Between out-dated political parties, self-interested multi-national corporations, and ineffectual elected officials, good values and common sense have lost their power in the public debate.  Our goal is to return normal Americans to the center of the policy debate by cultivating an understanding of public policy, facilitating common action, and connecting the best ideas and the strongest leaders with engaged citizens, elected officials, the media, political insiders, and experts through a variety of in-person and on-line platforms.
                          • Americans Elect  |  |  Americans Elect is the first-ever open nominating process. We're using the Internet to give every single voter—Democrat, Republican or independent—the power to nominate a presidential ticket in 2012. The people will choose the issues. The people will choose the candidates. And in a secure, online convention next June, the people will make history by putting their choice on the ballot in every state.
                          • Campaign for Stronger Democracy  |  |  The Campaign for a Stronger Democracy is a new coalition of advocates, scholars, civic organizations, public officials and concerned citizens who are working to create a strong, vibrant democracy, rooted in a belief that our democratic institutions can rise to the challenges facing our nation.
                          • Coffee Party USA  |  |  We are a non-partisan, fact-based, solutions-oriented network determined to have an impact in our nation's deliberative process.  If we abandon our civic duty to multi-national corporations and the ruling elite, the interests of our nation as a whole will be neglected.  Recognizing that many Americans are searching for a way to participate in our political process without adhering to any partisan or ideological framework, our aim is to provide a gathering place and a method for those who might not otherwise have a voice in our democracy.  These are the voices we value most.
                          • Democracy Convention  |  |  If you want to strengthen democracy where it matters most -- in our communities, our schools, our workplaces and local economies, our military, our government, our media, our constitution -- you will find something inspiring in Madison this August. ..  More than one conference, this first Democracy Convention will house at least nine conferences under one roof. As the great progressive reformer Fighting Bob La Follette said, "democracy is a life," and "involves constant struggle" in all sectors of society. With the 2011 Democracy Convention, we recognize the importance of each of these separate democracy struggles, as well as the need to unite them all in a common, deeply rooted, broad based, movement for democracy.
                          • Move to Amend  |  | is a coalition supported by hundreds of organizations and tens of thousands of individuals dedicated to ending the illegitimate legal doctrines that prevent the American people from governing ourselves.
                          • No Labels  |  |  No Labels does not believe we need to search for better values or principles.  The solution is even simpler: we must return to the essence of our beliefs.  Most Americans in the vital center of our still great country
                          • October 2011  |  |  "I pledge that if any U.S. troops, contractors, or mercenaries remain in Afghanistan on Thursday, October 6, 2011, as that occupation goes into its 11th year, I will commit to being in Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., with others on that day or the days immediately following, for as long as I can, with the intention of making it our Tahrir Square, Cairo, our Madison, Wisconsin, where we will NONVIOLENTLY resist the corporate machine by occupying Freedom Plaza to demand that America's resources be invested in human needs and environmental protection instead of war and exploitation. We can do this together. We will be the beginning."
                          • USAction  |  |  USAction builds power by uniting people locally and nationally, on-the-ground and online, to win a more just and progressive America.  We create the nation's leading progressive coalitions, making democracy work by organizing issue and election campaigns to improve people's lives.

                          These offer opportunities for democratic and progressive activism to individuals and smaller groups across the U.S.  You, too, can be a part by checking out and signing up with what interests you the most.

                          Thursday, August 11, 2011

                          Through "constituent instructions," the American voters can fight the Citizens United decision by amending the constitution

                          Common Cause: CommonBlog
                          Voters can fix the court's Citizens United mistake

                          • Instead of adhering to the letter of our Constitution, five members of the current Supreme Court have edited our founding document to give corporations constitutional protections, including freedom of speech. And because they equate money with speech, that allows corporations to spend whatever they want on political advertising, the justices say. Most Americans disagree with this decision. Yet, does the Supreme Court get the final say?
                            • Our challenge is similar to that of citizens a century ago who pushed for direct election of U.S. senators. They needed two-thirds of U.S. senators to change the way they came into power from legislative appointment to direct election. Moreover, they then needed to convince three-quarters of state legislatures to give up their power to appoint U.S. Senators.
                              • One technique that worked then was called Voter Instructions. Voters passed ballot measures instructing state legislators to appoint to the Senate the candidate who had won in a non-binding popular election in that state. Legislators followed these instructions, and the Senators who were thus appointed had nothing to fear from direct election. Those senators became supporters of what ultimately became the 17th Amendment.
                                • While constituent instructions have never been considered legally binding, they have historically carried great force.

                                A mistake of today's conservative, or right wing, movement is the advancing, systematic suppression of American voters who historically have voted for democratic candidates.  We, the people, however, can fight to restore and improve our electoral system; we must be able to select and hold accountable our own representatives.  

                                To read the entire message, with historical analysis, please go to the CommonBlog post.

                                Tuesday, August 9, 2011

                                Read up on the budget deal. Demand transparency. Weigh in. Democracy demands it.

                                The purpose of Activism News is to offer tools to assist citizens in engaging in the democratic process; in addition, we provide the latest news applicable to the average political activist. This means culling the latest from the source-- over 150 different NGO blogs-- and presenting that information with due attribution. An entire post from OMB Watch today deserves our immediate attention-- it reminds us of our civic duty during this time of critical debt deliberations to be both aware of Washington's happenings and to engage with fellow Americans and our federally elected officials. Thanks to OMB Watch for this very timely public participation request.

                                The Biggest Loser in the Debt Ceiling Deal: American Democracy
                                August 9, 2011

                                Like everyone else in the country, at OMB Watch, we are trying to find a sliver of hope in the outcome of the debt ceiling debacle. We are relieved that default was avoided, since the immediate repercussions could have been worse than the volatility we've seen in recent days. But the debt deal effectively steals the instruments government has to try to heal our wounded economy. Financial analysts across the globe have noticed, and anxieties about the effects of sputtering U.S. consumer demand are deepening.

                                As critical as the economic impacts of the deal are, the debt ceiling game of chicken was a political earthquake, and its aftershocks could keep us reeling indefinitely. America’s style of democracy, admired (or sometimes criticized) for its stability, is looking shaky.

                                Effective democracy requires an informed, engaged citizenry; honest debate; and elected representatives working in the public interest. These elements were not in evidence last week.

                                The American people are angry that big banks were rescued but not local businesses or homeowners. Americans told Congress they wanted jobs, but the only proposals under discussion were cuts to Medicare and Social Security. Our debt piled up because we gave huge tax cuts to the wealthy, went to war on borrowed money, and then revenues tanked when the housing bubble burst. The stimulus created or saved up to three and a half million jobs, but it wasn’t big enough to fill the 8 million-job hole created by Wall Street’s meltdown. Corporate taxes are at an all-time low; businesses have trillions to invest but won’t until demand returns.

                                A majority of Americans of both parties believe revenues should be part of the budget deal. The public wants a debate on what the federal government can do to create jobs and right the economy. Instead of addressing these crucial issues, a determined minority is doing its best to undermine the government’s ability to provide assistance to vulnerable Americans in this challenging economy and during future crises.

                                Anti-government ideologues have taken away a frightening lesson: that radical truculence by a small faction is a winning strategy. When elected officials fail to respond to the public’s concerns, faith in government plummets. When unemployment benefits are held hostage to tax cuts for the rich, public cynicism about who our democratic institutions serve grows. When elected officials who vote their conscience or the values of their constituents are threatened with primary challenges financed by outside special interests, the principle of representative democracy erodes. And when public trust in government bleeds out, anti-government forces gain strength.

                                Those of us who believe in democracy and know that public structures play a crucial role in life have to push back on the cynicism. We need more participation, more citizens scrutinizing the process. What’s at stake is too important to give in to cynicism and disillusionment. Twelve people cannot possibly represent the unique needs and diverse interests of the American populace. The potential for special interest pressure on the Committee of Twelve will be enormous. The American people need to be vigilant; they need to make themselves heard.

                                Even if our party structures and congressional rules are stuck in the 19th century, our technology is not. We have digital video and cell phones. We have the Internet. We have the ability to live-stream every hearing of the Committee of Twelve to libraries, college campuses, and school rooms across the country. Reports and documents can be posted online.

                                Every meeting a committee member has with a lobbyist or powerful interest group should be posted online. Financial disclosure statements of the Committee of Twelve and their staff should be posted online. Campaign contributions should be publicly posted within 24 hours of receipt. The committee’s final report should be posted 72 hours before it is voted on. A running public comment should start now. Let’s have a giant civics lesson in public budgets.

                                Government of the people requires an electoral system that produces responsible, rational representatives who care more about people than ideological purity. Government by the people in the modern world mandates modern communication tools that invite people into decision making instead of shutting them out. Government for the people only happens when citizens fiercely defend their right to know and to participate. So read up on the budget deal. Demand transparency. Weigh in.

                                Democracy demands it.

                                Monday, August 8, 2011

                                Make your mobile activism information safe on Facebook

                                Full article: Safer Facebook

                                • Like Twitter, Facebook is a way to get your messages to a potentially large audience. It is not a secure method of communication for sensitive information.
                                  • This article offers advice about how to mitigate risks when using Facebook as a dissemination and organizing tool. In particular, we consider the following risks: 
                                  • The risk that your public activities on Facebook reveal compromising information about you or your networks - for example, revealing the identity of supporters or identifying people who were present at a particular event. 
                                  • The risk of your private information being revealed to a third party without your consent. 
                                  • The risk that your account details (username and password) are discovered, and that someone may impersonate you. 
                                  • The risk of your account being deleted or suspended. 
                                  • The risk that Facebook is blocked or becomes inaccessible.
                                    • In general, you should only use Facebook to share information that you consider public. Public information can be freely distributed by you, your organization, and your supporters, without any risk to individuals or organizational operations. In communicating public information, you can send and receive this information without taking any precautions.

                                    Please go to the post for the details on how you can make your own mobile activism safe on Facebook.

                                    Friday, August 5, 2011

                                    The Handbook of Conflict Resolution

                                    International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (ICCCR) at Teachers College, Columbia University
                                    In the Media

                                    • Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, Volume 7, Issue 1, Pages 263-266, Published Online: 10 Dec 2007, Book Review: Constructive Conflict Resolution, Wendy S. Pachter
                                      • Deutsch, M., Coleman, P.T. & Marcus, E. C. ( Eds. ). The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice . San Francisco , CA : John Wiley & Sons , 2006 .
                                        • It is difficult to imagine a social issue that is more central to human interaction or that offers greater possibilities for creatively constructive or devastatingly destructive outcomes than social conflict. Conflict between individuals in families, schools and communities; ethnic, religious or other groups; organizations such as corporations and labor unions; nations; or across these levels is at the heart of many issues studied by SPSSI members. Professor Deutsch, the senior editor of The Handbook of Conflict Resolution, has devoted approximately 60 years to the study of social processes related to conflict and its resolution, as well as to the education and development of psychologists and others who advance our understanding of, and ability to constructively intervene in, conflicts of many varieties and in many contexts. The second edition of The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice (hereafter, The Handbook) is both a breathtakingly comprehensive application of the resources of psychological (particularly social psychological) science and theory to understanding and managing conflicts, and a tribute to the vast range of theory, research, and applications developed as a result of Professor Deutsch's contributions. The second edition of this book is enriched by the inclusion of some wonderful and stimulating new chapters by experts in fields other than psychology, as well as by revisions of many of the original chapters. The scope and size of The Handbook preclude discussing individual chapters (of which there are 37), so this review focuses on the book overall. Read more...

                                        The entire book review of The Handbook of Conflict Resolution may be accessed online for a fee; or, your local public or academic library may be able to provide you it as well.  Again, the title of the review is "Constructive Conflict Resolution", by Wendy S. Pachter.

                                        The handbook is published by John Wiley and Sons (2006).

                                        Thursday, August 4, 2011

                                        Video: An example of a good petitioner endorsement for a candidate

                                        Source: DemDash Blog
                                        The Power of an Endorsement
                                        • This [post's video clip] is a succinct and powerful reminder of the real power of a well-crafted endorsement. This is the power of deliberative democracy that we're tapping into with the current version of Democracy Dashboard.

                                        Check out the post for a video of a petitioner and his great presentation for a local city candidate.  Democracy Dashboard will show many more presentations from others in the future, including those for San Francisco, CA.

                                        Wednesday, August 3, 2011

                                        The deadline is next Monday for you to nominate a person, org. or company for the annual "Top Ten Who are Changing the World of Internet and Politics" award

                                        Source: e.politics
                                        Top Ten Changing the World of the Internet & Politics: Still Time for Nominations
                                        • Who’s changing internet politics this year? You get to help decide, as long as you do it before next Monday:
                                          • PoliticsOnline and the 12th Worldwide Forum On Electronic Democracy are proud to open the call for nominations of the Top 10 Who Are Changing the World of Internet and Politics. For the twelfth year in a row, PoliticsOnline subscribers and visitors from around the world will help select the top 10 individuals, organizations and companies having the greatest impact on the way the Internet is changing politics.
                                            • This award seeks to recognize the innovators and pioneers – those who blaze new e-political trails everyday, the dreamers and doers who bring democracy online. But we need your help to nominate honorees. If you know of someone or something deserving recognition, send in your nomination by reply email today.
                                              • You can submit a nomination by replying at and now with a brief statement (200 words or less) describing the person and or institution, and why he/she/it/they deserve(s) recognition. Be sure to include all necessary URLs. The deadline for nominations is Monday, August 8, 2011.

                                              There are many deserving people and organizations qualified for this prestigious prize.  I believe that the civic engagement community has had a lot to offer today's politics, for example.  Make your own sentiments count and vote now.

                                              A CMF survey of Congressional staff on citizen advocacy and best approaches

                                              Congressional Management Foundation (CMF)
                                              Perceptions of Citizen Advocacy on Capitol Hill

                                              • This report is based on an online survey of 260 congressional staff on their opinions and practices related to constituent communications, including social media. The survey was conducted between October 12 and December 13, 2010.
                                              Key Findings [please go to the post for brief statistical analysis behind each finding]:
                                              • The Internet, Participation and Accountability
                                                • Citizens Have More Power Than They Realize
                                                  • It's Not the Delivery Method – It's the Content
                                                    • Grassroots Advocacy Campaigns – Staff are Conflicted
                                                      • Social Media Used to Listen and Communicate

                                                      For the constituents-- the citizens within each representative's district-- this is a goldmine of helpful tips on the best ways to reach and communicate with government officials in Washington, DC.  Please go to the post for details, and, download the CMF Report.

                                                      Monday, August 1, 2011

                                                      On Tue-Thu, FOCAS 2011 "Networks and Citizenship" will be webcast live

                                                      The Aspen Institute
                                                      • The 2011 FOCAS, Networks and Citizenship, takes places in Aspen, Colorado from August 1-4, 2011. Leaders and experts from the public, private, and academic sectors will explore the growing impact of network technologies on communities and citizenship
                                                        • Watch the full three days [Tue-Thu] of FOCAS live at
                                                          • The Twitter hashtag for this event is #FOCAS11

                                                          All of the details for this webcasted event is at The Aspen Institute's post.

                                                          A "Know Your Rights" website is available for "Anonymous" activists

                                                          The National Lawyers Guild
                                                          NLG Know Your Rights Website Available for “Anonymous” Activists

                                                          • The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) has launched a website,, with Know Your Rights information tailored to [educate and legally defend] individuals subjected to recent U.S. Department of Justice arrests, searches, seizures, harassment, and grand jury subpoenas as part of the FBI’s “Cyber Crimes” operations. Activists who have already been targeted or are concerned about their safety may call a Guild hotline— 888-NLG-DANK— or access the organization by email at
                                                            • The NLG advises anyone visited by the FBI to assert the right not to answer any questions, to get the agent’s business card and to state clearly and unequivocally that they will have an attorney contact the agent on their behalf.
                                                            • The National Lawyers Guild, founded in 1937, is the oldest and largest public interest/human rights bar organization in the United States. Its headquarters are in New York and it has chapters in every state.

                                                            For the press release details, please go to the NLG post.

                                                            President Obama promised public engagement. How has he done? A survey of civic engagement sites.

                                                            Dec 22, 2008  |  Public Agenda  |  Team Obama, Technology & Public Engagement

                                                            • If you go to the Obama presidential transition web site,, you'll see continuing efforts to include the public. The "Your Seat at the Table" section allows users to see and comment on what outside groups are telling the Obama transition team. "Join the Discussion" features a question from the transition team to start an online discussion by users, followed by a video response from the Obama team. 
                                                            • Just about every section of allows users to comment. Users are allowed to vote up or down on comments, which allows high-rated comments to rise to the top. That voting affects a user's "Reputation Meter," so that the more high-rated comments you make, the higher your reputation becomes. Tools like that show that the Obama team is planning on making this into a long-term tool.
                                                              • The Obama team will have to decide if they're going to just apply new technology to the old goal of building a more powerful political machine, or use it to match their campaign rhetoric by embracing public engagement and changing the way the country is governed.

                                                              Jan 14, 2009  |  Social Capital Blog  |  Watering the Obama grassroots post-election
                                                              • Now that Obama is elected, how will the Obama administration rate in the care and feeding of this tremendous network [campaign followers]?  At our Saguaro conversations back in the late 1990s (in which Barack participated), it became clear that politicians have much more of a natural interest in stoking grassroots networks before elections and tend to neglect them after election victories, when it is often less clear both how to use these networks and “what’s in it for them– the politicians?”

                                                              Feb 25, 2009  |  Public Agenda  |  Viewpoint: Public engagement in the Obama era
                                                              • President Obama, on his second day in office, issued a memorandum to the heads of all executive departments and agencies calling on them to "establish a system of transparency, public participation and collaboration." As the memo said: "Public engagement enhances the government's effectiveness and improves the quality of its decisions. Knowledge is widely dispersed in society, and public officials benefit from having access to that dispersed knowledge."

                                                              May 11, 2009  |  Personal Democracy Forum  |  White House Opens "Office of Public Engagement," Releases Citizen's Briefing Book
                                                              • As one of the new OPE's first official acts, they released the Citizen's Briefing Book, a collaborative document [citizens' policy input] compiled online during the presidential transition.

                                                              Feb 01, 2010  |  |  President Obama Answers Questions on Facebook
                                                              • Earlier today President Obama answered questions submitted through CitizenTube via the White House Live Facebook application.
                                                                • On the whole I think the session was a great move and fits in with my belief in taking your message to the places where people live and hang out (even virtually), and Facebook is certainly one of those places.

                                                                Jul 17, 2011  |  e.politics  |  Obama Unfiltered: An E.pol Quote in CBS News Radio Story on Twitter Town Hall
                                                                • The Twitter forum is a way for the White House to “deliver their message unfiltered.”