Communicating Strategically

Communicating Strategically

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June 4, 2012
 
When I proposed establishing a national learning center in San Francisco six years ago — for the purpose of immersing pro-democracy researchers, educators and organizers in the fundamentals of investigative research, analysis and communication relevant to social conflict — my intent was to expose them to insights gained by my colleagues in these fields over the last half century. With the failure to establish a working relationship with Bay Area academic institutions that might have hosted such a center, I resolved to make these insights available online.
Now that Occupy and indigenous networks are holding educational fora, it might be a good time to again propose focused learning on these essential topics. While they are oriented toward an advanced student with some fluency in communication concepts, the basics of such things as psychological warfare could in turn be taught by graduates of this immersion to a beginner or intermediate level class. Immersion could include both online and face to face interaction, but I think an initial orientation in person would be best.

At any rate, I see little discussion online about communicating strategically, and that concerns me. I’d hate to see so much energy wasted because activists failed to take into account such things as the principles of psywar.

My thinking is that this might be best discussed in small groups by people oriented toward communication as a specialized field of study, rather than large groups of activists who generally view communications as a form of advocacy or public diplomacy. While activists have a role to play, I am more interested in working with researchers, analysts and organizers, since they are the ones who largely determine what activists think and do.
I think if you search IC with key words like psywar and netwar, you might come up with some good introductory readings and ideas for an online discussion group to delve into. Since this is probably a voluntary activity, I would prefer to be a resource for guidance and interviews–happy to correspond, but not to assume a formal teaching role.

I have done a little guest instructing, but it pays poorly, and mostly involves inspiring people and steering them toward resources they can access online or in the library. I’ve tried to do some of that already on IC.

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