mass action handbook
getting your community on the road and into the street

risk & fear

be aware that your perception of risk and your willingness to take it will change constantly during the action.

be aware that police behavior is meant to intimidate you and make you afraid. while they do bite, they do way more barking.

be aware that if we let our fear win, we let this system win.

as hop hopkins says in this is what democracy looks like: "that fear you're feeling is your first taste of freedom."

risk terminology

Green: ‘safe’ activities which are supposed to run no risk of arrest or police attack either because they are strictly legal or because they have state permits.

‘Yellow’ is classic civil disobedience and non-violent direct action which, depending on the situation, could result in arrest or police attack, but which also could end up being safe.

‘Red’ are tactics expected to attract police aggression (this could include property crime, trying to cross police lines, or non-violent direct actions such as a lock-down in a particularly sensitive area). Since planned ‘red’ actions are more secretive and might be organized with a small affinity group, participants might also be more vulnerable simply because fewer people will be around.

excerpts from activist narratives on the issues of risk & fear:

to be posted (and please feel free to send yours)

topics: arrest, chemical weapons, "non-lethal" weapons, freedom, court costs/jail time



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Table of Contents

  1. introduction/home page
  2. get ready! what you need to know to make your participation effective
  3. becoming an affinity group & living the world you want to see
  4. putting on a teach-in
  5. outreach is something that everyone does!
  6. trip logistics
  7. legal
  8. media
  9. at home, while the mass action is happening
  10. when you get to protest-town
  11. back home, after the action

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let us know

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links you need:

international listing of major protests.


Video Activist Network,
Big Noise Films, Whispered Media, Cascadia Media, indymedia videos



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