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R2K 2 D2K : learnings

by a trainer Thursday, Aug. 10, 2000 at 2:21 AM

a few points about things we could have done different in Phila.

Takes about 15 days for me to burn out it seems this time, but I slept a bunch and got over it so in this precious brief moment of clarity, focus, and free time I want to lay out what I think is MOST important for LA activists to get from R2K.

Just so you know I did Monday, T,W,Th,F,Sat,Sunday trainings, 4 hour action basics sometimes twice a day, nonviolence and direct action, legal and jail solidarity, and 3 hour strategy=power (attender). Unity 2000 March Sunday and McCain disruption KWRU march Monday in the hot sun - we were wilting Tuesday action witness Then I did overnights and phones at Legal Jail Support office Sunday night, Monday, Wednesday, Th, Friday - plus lots of meetings, some facilitation, some media and some driving around, basically bonked Saturday night and spent Sunday and Monday sleeping. I've facilitated the PDAG meeting a couple of nights and we're heading into a strategy 1/2 day or all day this week.

BIG PICTURE STUFF - below this is tactical successes and fuckups. 1. Strategy Informs Tactics!: movement strategy loosely consensed (we are doing more of this later this week so this will be clarified) is in no particular order, with of course the over-arch of nonviolence:

(this was a pdag meeting Phila Direct Action Group) build the movement end corporate rule end violent criminal (in)justice institutions

social change is proceeded by cultural change (end of slavery, women's right to own property and to vote, blacks voting, religious tolerance, bill of rights stuff, etc.). this is why puppets are dangerous. (change the culture, develop alternative ways, draw attention, get the masses to see it, do it, parallel institutions)

back to my own stuff:
the 'movement'? my peers: anti-apartheid, anti-gulf war, urban activism (needle exchange, homes not jails, schools not jails, take back the streets, empty the shelters), forest activism (earth first, rain forest action network), anti-nuke (nuke test site, hansford, rocky flats, prairie island, seabrook, tmi, etc), native support by whites (shoshone, dine, traditional hopi, chumash, lakota), prison work, white people working against racism and challenging white supremacy.

other folks above my radar: circle A (more later), people of color communities, labor (I'm just starting with the teachers union in SF), anti-sweatshop (primarily students), SEAC, internationalists

possible allies not yet reached: Religious Communities! (Quakers are on board at least in Phila., which is a great start but WE NEED TO DIALOG AND HEAR THESE PEOPLE! Black church leaders are helping was a little hear, lots of support from black community anti-police-brutality folks cause we're feeling what they feel a lot more often)

- the 'olders' and the 'elders' - we are getting more folks with direct action experience from the 60s, 70s, 80s and we need to HEAR and DIALOG about what they like about us and what scares them about us. We need these folks (mom for instance).

- labor for real, not this Sweeney jump on your bandwagon for a day bullshit but real working class support, especially white working class - we have HUGE culture clash issues coming our way - but WE'VE ALREADY had those and we've dealt so let's deal some more. This is where strong strong facilitation skills and conflict resolution and community building skills are necessary necessary so we should teach them and learn them now.

- who else? what is an ally?

the 'anti-globalization mobalization' really comprises a lot of different issues but I believe we're onto something with the bigger strategy presented.

first, I'm feeling like the 'white vibe' is mellowing and that is demonstrable in Phila - and was worked on very hard in DC, and in fact there was massive community of color support in Seattle. We as white folk need to ALWAYS be thinking of how to make room for people of color - not as tokens but as decision makers. This is working and it is scaring the shit out of the man. When we get tired and stressed we lapse into old habits and 'assuming the dominance paradigm' is one of them - be careful and TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF - YOU NEED TO EAT (WELL) AND SLEEP!

second, eco-activism has come around to attacking corporate rule and corporate $ in politics - we need regulatory agencies that disallow environmental destruction (whether they are our own - or the states)- so it's covered. We are so far past getting people to recycle - we won that (almost- but it's in the culture so we've made lots of progress).

try it and see - are these sufficient strategic goals - where are you at? what sounds good? what's scaring off our allies? is this the eye-on-the-prize or unrealistic - feedback - talk about this stuff - DON'T RELEGATE STRATEGY TO 'IMPORTANT BUT NOT URGENT' - schedule it, do it. it's NOT all about making puppets and jail solidarity.

2. Try to see the world as complex rather than simple - the media is not all bad, the police are not all bad, politics is not all bad, etc. etc. extinguish dualistic fixations.

That Said, tactically....

3. KEEP YOUR PUPPETS IN DIFFERENT PLACES! Huge huge bullshit in the media about 'what was their message' without saying the cops took the puppets. The puppets must have some immense power or they would not be such targets - it's about changing culture and waging a war of ideas. Status Quo knows what's up - they smart - they put out all their jingoism and patriotism to prop up some real myths (columbus discovered america, race difference should scare you, etc.) and we're about knowing what the brainwashing IS (thank you chomsky) and challenging it. Don't let them get the puppets.

4. HAVE A UNIQUE MESSAGE EACH DAY! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU D2K for doing this. You are going to be so great and do so great and blow away the media with this great tactic. love it! do it! we tried but we didn't quite get it (although almost all arrests were on 'criminal injustice' day.

5. COUNTERSPIN! nonviolence, nonviolence, nonviolence, nonviolence, nonviolence, nonviolence, nonviolence, nonviolence, nonviolence, nonviolence, nonviolence, get it? use demo marshals if you have to. short story: MLK needed disciplined nonviolence and a particular Rev. Orange got beat up (hear me) like 18 times or something by this one group of angry men just to prove where he was coming from, and to convince them to not molest the opposition during King's time in Chicago - feel me?

you can obviously see what one 'fracas' has done to the media spin by the corporate state - avoid it. Unfortunately the more I hear about the 'violence' the less I believe there was any except cop attacks - Timoney rode his bike into a crowd. The women charged with felonies were puppy-piling to keep one woman from getting her head smashed by a !@# cop.

6. LISTEN AND DIALOG! not just with each other and with cops but with bystanders and people that would support us if we'd be more clear or not use one tactics or use another tactic or whatever. We need to stop assuming that just because someone isn't for us they're against us - it ain't like that. We got to be open and we got to be nice about it. The vibe I get from lots of Circle A is closed and isolated.

(vent) I am not going to blame circle A for nothing - but I do want to say that IF YOU WANT JAIL SUPPORT - GIVE YOUR INFORMATION. We've got about 30 people in jail and no info 'cause they never came to a meeting, they never came to a training, and they DEMAND the support of this movement even when some part of some of their actions of some of them jeopardize a lot of really really hard work on the part of hundreds of others.

enough about that - you know what to do. 7. JAIL SOLIDARITY IS CONFUSING AND MISUNDERSTOOD by the 'allies', which is OK we're getting to it. explain it, explain it early, explain it often. We are getting painted as 'difficult' and 'stubborn' or worse for 'not giving names' people DONT GET THIS. That does NOT mean I suggest giving names in LA - I have no idea what to do and I'd love to hear what happens. There are lots of other social change movements that have tried this tactic and left it. We are doing it in a new way (possibly). What's new? Well it's lots of people, lots of white middle class people, and I don't know what else. R2K! WE ARE SOLID! (341 today, 9 cited out today 16 tomorrow, the trickle is happening)... One thing that is awesome and powerful is that the 'general population' of the county jail is now creating lists of demands for their own selves!!! (better food, working phone system, end of guard abuse, end to lock downs, etc.)

There is little to fear from the inmates - who in ACTUALITY run the jails (I learned this over time in San Quentin and Folsom and I would expect very few people to get this without lots of background so that's tough). Having radicalized prisoners doesn't exactly make our movement look 'safe' in the eyes of many, but communities of color under police siege understand and let's be clear who we are down for.

8. DO NOT 'REASSEMBLE' IN ONE PLACE at the end of the day of action. Get off the streets. If you are going to 'clump' anywhere plan to get attacked and arrested. There is no 'non arrest able' category anymore - if you are on the street you are a target especially if you a) wear all black b) carry a cell phone c)have long hair d)any hair coloring e)any facial piercings f)person of color etc etc etc Get the picture? We are under attack for real.

9. DO compassionate listening and trauma counseling all the time. Before actions, during actions, especially after actions. Read TRAUMA AND RECOVERY by JUDITH HERMAN, everyone in the movement should know this stuff - we were walking around like zombies after the gas in Seattle and we CAN DO SOMETHING about it - get the skills!

10. Be nice. If you can't deal with anger get out. It's way to hot for a bunch of crap. Communicate, affirm, BUILD community. Build bridges and speak to your boundaries. If you don't want to work with someone find some other way to plug in - there's plenty to do.

11. PARANOIA is working against us. Consider organizing openly. Be proud that you have a name and you can give it to show solidarity. Maybe there's another way to do the noncompliance thing without withholding names I'm not sure. whatever. Keep the masks down, be aware that you can be beaten and murdered for standing with poor and people of color and get over it - what are we hiding from anyway? They are excellent at surveillance and all that stuff, we can't fight them with secrecy.

12. AFFIRM AFFIRM AFFIRM- we are doing something right and scaring the status quo - labor, eco, student, and anti-police brutality folks in solidarity is potent - we have real people power - the new 'out' attack on activists needs to be countered IMMEDIATELY - anyone with juice out there PLEASE contact your elders or congress people and demand a congressional hearing into the federal gommints COINTELPRO style attack on John Sellers, RUCKUS, etc.

Listen people. I do what Sellers did. We train people. He's us and we're him and what happened to him could happen to us and remember the Nazis - help us now or who's gonna help you later?

that's it for now - good luck in Los Angeles. Jodi Dodd and some others of us that are California bound are going to meet and carry more info forward. You rock!

in defense of mother earth

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thank you trainer --- c'mon everyone else loki Thursday, Aug. 10, 2000 at 12:02 PM
Organization with Decentralization TheNewOhioGreen Thursday, Aug. 10, 2000 at 12:04 PM
A few views from Philadelphia Watchdog Friday, Aug. 11, 2000 at 3:56 PM

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