Direct action, simply put, means cutting out the middleman: solving problems yourself rather than petitioning the authorities or relying on external institutions. Any action that sidesteps regulations and representation to accomplish goals directly is direct action—it includes everything from blockading airports to helping refugees escape to safety and organizing programs to liberate your community from reliance on capitalism. Here we present a step-by-step guide to organizing and carrying out direct action, from the first planning stages to the debrief at the end, including legal support, media strategy, and proper security.
There are countless scenarios in which you might want to employ direct action. Perhaps representatives of despicable multinational corporations are invading your town to hold a meeting, and you want to do more than simply hold a sign; perhaps they’ve been there a long time, operating franchises that exploit workers and ravage the environment, and you want to hinder their misdeeds; perhaps you want to organize a festive, community-oriented event such as a street party. Direct action can plant a public garden in an abandoned lot or defend it by paralyzing bulldozers; it can occupy empty buildings to house the homeless or shut down government offices. Whether you’re acting in secret with a trusted friend or in a mass action with thousands of people, the basic elements are the same.
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