Anyone can be an Activist

Today’s activists have a new set of tools at their disposal.

Mobile phones with cameras, Blogs, Twitter, Youtube….The video link below explores the use of technology in the context of human rights violations. – Spotlighting Human Rights: Digital Photography and Video

It raises issues of mobilization, the use of communities of practice and the application and use of social media.

Stakeholder Managers will have to do their homework about these trends and application of technologies, so that they can adequately protect their organization’s hard-earned reputation.

Here is what I tell clients as part of preparing to deal with activists.

First thing to do is learn all you can about Saul Alinksky – protesters study his tactics, so YOUR tactics must be to study that so you can anticipate them. For those interested in the late Saul Alinsky’s approach, here’s a summary of his rules, from his book, “Rules for Radicals”.

13 RULES ON TACTICS for Organizers and Interest Groups from Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky.

  1. Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.
  2. Never go outside the experience of your own people.
  3. Whenever possible go outside of the experience of the enemy.
  4. Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.
  5. Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.
  6. A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.
  7. A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.
  8. Keep the pressure on.
  9. The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
  10. The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. {The pressure produces the reaction, and constant pressure sustains action.}
  11. If you push a negative hard enough and deep enough, it will break through into its counter side; this is based on the principle that every positive has a negative.
  12. The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
  13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

Thus to expound on this:

Item 4 – Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. Anyone can now be an investigative journalist and like an investigative journalist can take a company’s policies and procedures manual or value statement and then apply it to a situation, showing up the company for not complying with international, local and company best practice, they can now do the same.

With technology it now becomes easier to show up empty words versus action and behavior.

The real action is the enemy’s reaction. The enemy properly goaded and guided in his reaction will be your major strength.

Tactics, like organization, like life, require that you move with the action. The 13th Rule is the Most Important.

Key Learning: Now study Social Media and how to use the Internet -Facebook, Twitter and blogging and you will understand how activists can now rally for causes around the world.


Reporters without Borders have published a “Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-dissidents,” with technical instructions and advice for people who want to use the internet as a means of expression in repressive societies.

“Bloggers are often the only real journalists in countries where the mainstream media is censored or under pressure,” they state. “Only they provide independent news, at the risk of displeasing the government and sometimes courting arrest.” The handbook provides tips on how to remain anonymous while blogging; explains how to publicize a weblog, and offers basic advice on ethical and journalistic principles.SOURCE: Reporters without Borders