Looking for some training on how to fight a worthy cause? Hadn't crossed your mind? It's a little-known fact that corporate and personal training also cross paths with the other side: activist training. The same infrastructure that teaches, say, customer service techniques, also teaches people to take to the streets.
Go to any Web search engine and plug in "activist training." The resulting list of links is long and diverse. Want to learn how to organize a social justice protest? It's on the list. Interested in attending a conference on environmental campaigns? It's on the list. Or maybe you want to create your own political action Web page. That one's all over the list.
Undercurrents.org, based in the United Kingdom, offers both video and Internet training for ordinary citizens who want to arm themselves with the modern tools of action and investigation. The hand-held camera takes over for the hand-held placard here, where full-day workshops teach video camera technique and the strategies of its use. You might want to "gather evidence of factories polluting our water supply," according to Undercurrents? course description, or produce an empowerment video to get people motivated.
Undercurrents? Internet courses span basic Web skills to advanced html and Web graphics. Students are encouraged to enter the course with background material on a favorite political cause. After a day or two of training, the burgeoning activist can then plug that information straight into a newly designed Web site.
According to the philosophy of Undercurrents and many like-minded training organizations, Web sites are relatively cheap to run, an easy way to collaborate, and the newest means to provide a global forum. So if the next customer service class just doesn't do it for you, maybe changing the world will.
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