rabble.ca, the Canadian site devoted to progressive and  social justice issues in Canada is developing an Activist’s Toolkit intended to be a venue for sharing of information.  Its in beta form yet, but is already quite useful, with How-To-Guides, Software Tools, Workshop Outlines and sections for media and research.

I really like this! The concept reminds me of a book that was hugely influential in my middle-youth (when I was a 20-something): Abbie Hoffman’s Steal This Book. Published in 1971,  Steal This Book became a best-seller. It was a how-to for American dissidents who wanted to resist their government.  It was full of  then-radical tips such as how to send a letter for free (put your address on the “To” portion, and the intended address in the “Return” portion; leave the stamp off. The Postal Service would identify insufficient postage and return the letter to sender, AKA the place you wanted it to go to in the first place).  It also had some more problematic info, like how to make a pipe-bomb. Nowadays, we have Google and YouTube for that kind of advice. Likewise, political and corporate policies and procedures, not to mention laws and public attitudes towards dissent and activism, have changed. Steal This Book is now a nostalgic nod to a time when youth activism was prominent on the political landscape, mostly because it is a technological relic.  Which makes the new Activist’s Toolkit so relevant and helpful.  Its a wiki, meaning participants can change and add content over time.  Plus, it is Canadian.  The advice is relevant for our political system.

What do they have in common? The idea that a democracy works best when its citizenry are engaged, know how the system works, and can work in solidarity to make sure that our governments work on our behalf.