Ten Tactics Film Event and Giveaway

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.

Unfinished developments in Park Slope

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!

The Giveaway

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.


  1. We’ve got a dotNeighborhood initiative underway and need to get the message through to the city council and mayor that neighborhoods belong to the people – hallelujah!

    Something like the city hall gardens effot is perfect.

    Who’s going to help us install it? Does it work with WordPress?

  2. We are mobilizing parents across the city in the fight for educational justice.

    After not knowing much about Org. 2.0 for many years, we have been enlightened. We have twitter and are starting our own blog— we want to take our organizing to the next level.

    Choose us!

  3. 2010 marks the 20th anniversary of the Human Development Report. Since 1990 HDRs have shifted development discourse and provided alternative and innovative analysis on subjects ranging from gender and poverty to globalization, climate change and human mobility.

    We are constantly working to increase our outreach efforts and impacts by expanding our use of online tools and advocacy techniques. Your toolkit could really help us define a new strategy for the new millennium!

  4. Every day New Yorkers are forced to choose between a paycheck and caring for their own health and/or a sick family member. Millions of New Yorkers do not have a single paid day off for illness a year. We are working on a campaign that would guarantee all workers in New York City a minimum number of paid sick days to care for themselves or an immediate family member.

    We have a Facebook Page and a twitter feed, but have not been able to use them to their maximum potential. The toolkit would help us develop a strategy for fully integrating social media into our campaign. At this point we’ve been doing the best that we can with our own resources and experience, but it would be helpful to have professional tools to help navigate this terrain.

  5. In November 2008 Mumbai India was attacked by a tragic terrorist attack. At that time I was sitting in New York and felt helpless. But as soon as I could I decided to travel to the city and travel in taxis with my camera and speak to the people of the city about their thoughts on what happened.

    My guerilla like documentary filmmaking is now moving to a whole new level of getting a larger global dialogue started around terrorism. This toolkit would help me to really harness the strength of Web 2.0 and all it’s resources in allowing greater activism around Modern Terrorism and its evils.

  6. Margaret Segall says:

    If there’s anything I’ve learned about organizations and technology, it’s that “every problem is a people problem” and one size does not fit all.

    I work at a progressive foundation where technical progress, especially with Web 2.0 tools, comes slow. Yet the grassroots organizations we fund could really benefit from inexpensive communications and organizing tools — the toolkit could get staff here excited about the possibilities.

    As an activist, I am involved in a variety of groups and campaigns where again, comfort levels with technology and with sharing information vary. A great toolkit could offer alternatives and ways to work efficiently without leaving anyone out — I hope!

  7. Thanks everyone for your requests! These are inspiring. Folks can continue to ask until 5pm today.

    See you all tonight at the film!

  8. Dave Katzman says:

    I do not want the toolkit for myself, nor for TWU Local 100, the union that employs me. I want the toolkit for the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health.
    In the labor movement, NYCOSH has a status akin to sainthood. From September 11, when NYCOSH challenged the EPA’s lies about the safety of the air at Ground Zero, to the present-day, when NYCOSH is weighing in on the hazardous conditions to which largely immigrant workers are being exposed at non-union construction sites, NYCOSH has set the standard in defending the lives and limbs of working people.
    (Full disclosure: the scores of transit workers-cum-safety reps who inspect every worksite along the subway tracks have all been trained by NYCOSH, which also helped write the new safety rules for transit.)
    NYCOSH does all this without benefit of Web 2.0; Web 0.8 would be more like it.
    I can’t guarantee that this toolkit fits their needs. But giving it a try would be a good start in finding tools that further their mission.

  9. Domestic Worker United is a non profit social justice organization that is promoting dignity, justice and respect for a workforce that too long been exploited and neglected. Founded in 2000, Domestic Workers United [DWU] is an organization of Caribbean, Latina and African nannies, housekeepers, and elderly caregivers in New York, organizing for power, respect, fair labor standards and to help build a movement. We are trying to build a new communication strategy that can help us to expand our membership online. With just 3 months on board as an organizer I need help and tools that can put me on track and DWU on the map! We could use the kit and some volunteers with it too! Any takers?


  1. [...] 10 Tactics for Turning Information Into Action is a film by the Tactical Technology Collective that includes stories from activists around the world who have successfully used digital technologies to change the world. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion. The New York premiere is with their partners, Grassroots Camp. In addition the Tactical Tech Collective is giving away incredible Toolkits. [...]