Direct Action Gets the Goods! But before you do, there are some things you need to know.
1. Ask: What is your goal?
2. Form an Affinity Group (AG) with like-minded folks.
Check out what Starhawk Activism has to say: Affinity Groups
3. Know your rights. Push the limits of political space. Understand your limits and consequences of your action, as well as for those around you.
4. Stay together and watch out for each other.
5. Understand security culture and function with an affinity group.
Crimethinc has some advice for you: Security Culture: The Puppet Show
6. Learn resistance songs!!!
Some examples: Solidarity Forever, Teargas Anthem, I Really Like the Cops, The Day the Nazi Died, Which Side Are You On?
7. Don’t rush your plans! Discuss. But sometimes you WILL have to be quick on your feet.
8. Be creative! Have fun! Push the boundaries when smashing the state.
9. Discuss with your affinity (if possible) after the action the pros and cons experienced.
10. Always prepare yourself in the possibility of getting arrested. Authority will always seek to stall, derail, or break you. Be prepared because we love you and we don’t want you to ever stop.
11. While reading is helpful, just trying things out and learning the boundaries and political space available within your neighborhood, campus, workplace, city street, or our relationship with a certain law can only be tested by actually taking action.
When planning an action…
In an affinity group, alone in a march, or absolutely alone:
- Know who to contact in case of arrest! Write on your arm or leg at least two local phone numbers since your cell phone will most likely be taken away. First number, a person who is prepared to help you get out of jail and who will advocate for you. Hopefully, that person will be prepared with other necessary information such as calling a lawyer (if needed) or the NLG. You might need access to medicine or a psychiatrist. You also might need someone to call family members, your boss, notify a teacher your paper will be late or your pet might need to be fed.
Second number, your source of legal or financial help. The NLG number can be very useful, but are not open 24-7 and work pro bono for a lot of individuals and groups. If you are involved in Occupy Boston, maybe the Legal Working Group for Occupy would be more helpful. Try to figure out such details ahead of time.
- Protests can get rough and you might need a medic. Medic!
Street medics do not participate in all protests. Even in the ones that medics will most likely be present, you might want to discuss the need of a medic within your affinity group or your cluster (of affinity groups). You might even consider going through the necessary training to become a street medic.
Boston Area Liberation Medics (BALM) Squad has helpful info. You can organize a training for your group or download helpful flyers they have available.
Learn about the history of street medics in The Boston Phoenix article, “Anarchistic and self-trained, are street medics the future of first aid?” by Liz Pelly (15 February 2012).