Here’s a quick guide to taking action at your local Occupy, written by Janet Weil from Occupy SF and CODEPINK!
WHAT TO BRING TO THE ACTION CHECKLIST:
- Banner(s) – make sure they are relevant to the action
- Stickers – very popular and a way to publicize our website as well as make messaging visible in photos, and/or flyer(s), sometimes song sheets
- Press releases on the action (also give flyers to reporters)
- Props as appropriate, such as pink tent on a pole, large puppet figure, etc.
- Camera/smart phone/flip cam for recording action
- Items for individual needs: important phone numbers, water, snacks, cash, transit card, ID (especially important if risking arrest), other comfort items if it’s an all-day or all-night action
TIPS FOR MEDIA INTERVIEWS (Do’s and Don’ts):
- Remember that this is YOUR interview, the reporter/livestreamer needs you for the story.
- Speak slowly and clearly, and from the heart.
- Use talking points and say YOUR most important point first, or early in the interview.
- Ask the reporter to repeat the question if you did not hear/understand it.
- Know where to look: at the interviewer, usually NOT at the camera. When in doubt, ASK where to look, and look at the same place throughout the interview.
- Know how to hold yourself: stand or sit with strong posture and a quiet body presence.
- Repeat your key talking points if you have time/opportunity.
- Follow up with a thank you email to the reporter and add comments, press release, links to video/photos.
- Use pause words (‘um’ ‘like’ ‘uh,‘y’know what I mean’’) – practice helps!
- Fidget, use many hand motions, or touch/scratch your face (these will be magnified and distracting on video/livestream).
- Feel that you HAVE to answer the question(s); you can respond tactfully with your talking points.
- Ramble; keep your points concise.
- Argue with the reporter/interviewer – if the interview becomes hostile, simply conclude with dignity and walk away.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS:
You do NOT need a permit to leaflet, circulate petitions, pass out information, hold signs, request donations, or otherwise express political or other opinions, peacefully and without obstructing traffic, in public spaces such as sidewalks or parks. By doing so, you are affirming your (and everyone’s) rights to free speech and assembly.
If approached/confronted by a police officer or security guard, explain that your rights are protected by the US Constitution, and that you are not interfering with others’ rights (freedom of movement, etc.). You do NOT have to answer their questions. If the harassment continues, call an attorney or other support people, and document the incident with still photos, video, audio and/or written accounts.
Never touch a police officer or his/her equipment. If arrested, do not physically resist arrest, although you may decide to call out your protest of the arrest, especially if it happens for no apparent or good reason. For more info and support, contact the National Lawyers Guild http://www.nlg.org/ or the ACLU http://www.aclu.org/.
Take a self-defense course to learn/relearn/practice skills in situational awareness, focus and clear thinking in confrontational and/or dangerous encounters, and physical presence and movement.
Especially in high-intensity actions, but in general, team up with one or more action buddies. It’s safer, and more fun. Show up and leave together – or make a plan if one of you needs to leave before the other. Make sure you have each other’s cell phone numbers and that your own cellphone is charged and where you can easily access it (in a pocket rather than somewhere in a big backpack, for example).
Attend a nonviolent direct action training. You’ll be able to role play, discuss issues and meet others in your community acting in resistance to injustice.