KEY COMPONENTS OF SUCCESSFUL SOCIAL MOVEMENTS

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"For me, the most important lesson
[of the Freedom Movement] is that by respecting the fact that fellow activists could passionately disagree over strategy and tactics—yet remain allies—they strengthened SNCC and the Movement as a whole."
From Bruce Hartford's article in the current issue of Urban Habitat.
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Monday, April 9, 2012

This Saturday -- Nonviolent direct action training -- in the Castro

Below is an email invitation to attend a training session in the Castro. As with MoveOn and other occupy folks, activists are realizing the need for training and, hopefully, discipline in order to make NVR effective.  Please read the articles on this webpage for a thorough understanding of what is meant by the strategic use of nonviolent resistance.
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Q*-CCUPY THE CASTRO with a Direct Action training this
  • Saturday, April 14, 2012
  • at Harvey Milk Plaza (Castro and Market),
  • 1-3 PM.
On September 14, 1989, seven members of ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) chained themselves to the balcony of the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street to demand affordable access to AZT, the only approved AIDS drug at the time. Within a few days, the pharmaceutical sponsor of AZT lowered the price by 20%.

This example of direct action, more than twenty years ago, demonstrates the power of individuals coming together in community to create change. The members of ACT UP faced a willfully deaf system, one more interested in profit than meeting the needs of its people.

Today, politicians remain even more entrenched in partisan politics, allowing and facilitating the mass transfer of wealth to an increasingly smaller class of elites. Banks received trillions of dollars in taxpayer bailout money, while people continue to be kicked out of their homes, public schools are closed and the amount of student debt surpasses credit debt.

Through direct action, we can reclaim the power that has been taken from us by a broken system. Using creativity and imagination, we can create the change we’d like to see in our communities.

On Saturday, we will give a brief history of direct action, discuss issues of 'violence' and 'non-violence', role-play, and discuss safety and de-escalation strategies. Above all, we will be building community!

* Queers against corporate hell.

“Direct Action aims to achieve our goals through our own activity rather than through the actions of others. It is about people taking power for themselves. In this, it is distinguished from most other forms of political action such as voting, lobbying, attempting to exert political pressure through industrial action or through the media. All of these activities…concede our power to existing institutions which work to prevent us from acting ourselves to change the status quo. Direct action repudiates such acceptance of the existing order and suggests that we have both the right and the power to change the world. It demonstrates this by doing it.”

- Rob Sparrow, “Anarchist Politics and Direct Action”

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