trip info packet

information that everyone going on the trip should read on the way to the action

We have found the info packet to be one of the most useful tools for our travels. This packet contains a lot of vital information for being prepared for the streets.

Here is a sample table of contents:

0. recommendations from past experience & any group accountability agreements that have been made
1. vital information page
2. affinity groups & direct action: the framework
3. this city
4. this week: trainings, educational events, actions
5. maps
6. legal
7. media talking points
8. an activists' guide to basic first aid

What is:

recommendations from past actions & group accountability agreements that have been made: these include reminders of basics on health, safety, preparation, legal issues, what to bring and not bring, etc. if your group has succeeded in coming to some agreements before leaving, it's good to put them here, particularly since additional people may still be joining the group. here's an example of ours.

vital information: phone numbers and, if relevant, addresses of:

The vital information page is generally something that can be torn out of the packet and put into your pocket for easy access. For this reason you should never use real names on the vital information page-nicknames only.

affinity groups and direct action: the framework: this provides framework information about how an affinity group can function and what the structure of the action might look like. we generally inlcude some information about how the consensus process works, communication tools and some tools about how to deal with personal violence.

this city: you should know something about the history of the place you are going, in terms of race, class, oppression, and protest. often the host organizing groups have put together some information like this. also some groups which do "scouting" write reports intended for outsiders.

this week: includes as much info as possible on planned events during the week such as trainings, educational events, permitted marches, calls-to-action from various groups, etc...

maps: this includes maps about how to get from home to where you are going as well as maps of the city and close-ups of the protest area. a map of the city can be torn out and kept in a pocket with other vital information. at all times, activists should carry a map that can help them get home and a map with all of the streets in the protest area with street names legible so that they can figure out where they were when something happened and how to get out of there quickly.

legal: two types of info:

[1] general information on the legal process. here are some online sources that you can print & put in the packet.

Legal Information on Encounters with Police (includes info on Questioning, Detainment, Searches, Arrest)shorter version from the National Lawyers Guild and here's a comic-style version

Police Misconduct Report form to help with legal and community cases

Just Cause guide to jail solidarity

[2] specific legal information on what is up in the city you are about to protest in. in this section of the info packet we try to include as specific information related to the city as we can, and this info is usually on the organizing websites for the action. for example, are masks legal or illegal? what are the rules concerning how your sign is mounted? can it be a wood pole for your sign? how thick can it be?etc.... remember, however, that once you are in a large group, anything you do may be declared illegal and, at the same time, it's unlikely that police will bother with the mask ordinance.

media talking points: inevitably you will be approached by media, especially if you are not prepared to speak to them. if you have memorized a few "talking points" it will provide the opportunity to take advantage of the media rather than the media taking advantage of you. the longer you speak, the more likely the media is to make you sound stupid. for this reason it's good to stick with soundbite material which comes off the cleanest if it has been pre-written. often you can find talking points on the web or modify the basic logic of talking points to fit this event.

basic first aid: there will likely be street medics at the action, but nonetheless it is useful to know how to deal with repression. the basics are good to have and the black cross health collective has a very useful handbook.