the good, the bad and the ugly...

IssueSeptember - November 2004
  • Amazingly comprehensive guide to carrying out blockades, with advice on everything from what to wear to building obstruction devices. Also contains useful tips on how to organise your action and liaising with the police and the media. Some of the legal guidance is specific to the UK.
  • A 48-page guide to the arcane practice of lock-picking. Written in a clear and readable style, this guide leads you gently from the theoretical challenges of picking locks, through to practical exercises designed to help you open stuff at will, whilst taking in some of its legal ramifications and, of course, the Zen aspect.
  • “Helping activists stay safe in our oppressive world.” Aimed primarily at those living in Western countries, this is a highly-detailed manual on how to protect yourself and fellow activists from all forms of state intrusion or botherment. Might feel a trifle Orwellian for some, but also contains a lot of useful links.
  • A page containing a vast array of links to: activist groups, animal rights information pages, high-tech spying, web sites of potential allies and enemies, legal advice, and pages with even more links ! Caveat: some of the links on this page are to web sites featuring some fairly extreme tactics such as bomb-making and DIY chemistry.
  • An impassioned call-to-arms to those involved in environmental protests. This primer focuses more on general principles and the reasons for engaging in NVDA (namely, that it “Gets the Goods”!) rather than the nitty-gritty, but nonetheless contains some helpful pointers.
  • “The Melbourne Activists' Cookbook”, recommending “A healthy alternative to a capitalist diet”. This guide is, unsurprisingly, aimed at activists in Australia, with a focus on the Melbourne/Victoria region. The central chapter is arranged into sections headed Organising, Getting your message out there and Action.
  • The Civil Disobedience Index. An indepth guide to protest, covering the history of civil disobedience around the world, as well as suggestions on how to build a campaign and practise nonviolence. Some of the practical issues only apply to the US, and in some instances only to the state of New York.
  • A nonviolence training manual compiled by the US-based War Resisters League. Contains details of Nonviolence trainers throughout the United States, some suggestions for a nonviolence training programme, and an interesting exercise on what constitutes violence and nonviolence. US only.
  • Interesting responses to the phrase “Why we get arrested” from Act Up activists.
  • The Lesbian Avengers organising handbook, centred on demonstrations against the Christian right in America. A large site stuffed with all sorts of information; quite wordy, but with good ideas on creating visuals for demonstrations, recruiting members and easing communication amongst the group.
  • An extensive guide to handling the media from Act-Up. Although it takes the issue of AIDS as its starting point, this guide has much that will be useful to activists of all persuasions when dealing with mainstream radio and television journalists and their employers.
  • A big, colourful and friendly guide to scaffold tripods (“for fun and antiprofit”), courtesy of Reclaim The Streets. With these easy-to-follow instructions and handy diagrams (as well as plenty of musclepower and some very large poles) - you'll have your scaffold up in no time!
  • Somewhat alarming description of methods employed by the FBI in order to neutralise grassroots activism in the US. The information is based on files captured in 1971, but given the current political climate it's probably not unreasonable to assume that much of it is still relevant.
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  • Information for members of activist support teams, with sections on how best to help your intrepid colleagues before, during and after their actions, as well as what to do if they are imprisoned.
  • “Discipline in Ten Easy Steps” - a guide to discipline and strict observance of principles for animal rights activists. Some may find the tone a little too dogmatic and militaristic, but much of the advice is sound. Avoid if you take exception to IMPERATIVES in capital letters.
  • Here you can find excerpts from the Nonviolent Civil Disobedience Handbook, published in the US in 1987. As the author states, despite its age the book still contains some sections - particularly those regarding the processes of discussion and consensus - which every organisation faces. Interesting reading.
  • Activist resources from author and spiritual activist Starhawk. Descriptions of previous actions, resources for trainers, links and bibliographies, and essays a-plenty.
  • Arguably the Godfather of all activist tunnelling websites... 26 chapters telling all you will ever need to know about building tunnels, from the simplest mole hole to the most elaborate concrete-lined, flood-lit subterranean dwelling. Aimed, of course, at environmental protesters. Not for the claustrophobic!
  • A nicely designed site with lots of effective practical recommendations for those engaged in nonviolent action campaigns, including “What to bring to an action!”, advice on staying out of harm's way and exercises in “Street Tactics”.
  • Another page with links to various activism-related websites, aimed primarily at activists from the UK.
  • A collection of how-to guides, arranged under the headings of Protest, Housing, Gardening, Alternative Media, Miscellaneous, Legal, Research, Fun & Games (eg Free parties), Prisoners and Alternative Energy.
  • Our very own toolbox: build your own treehouse or bicycle trailer, and discover numerous workshops and guides to aspects of anti-militarism.
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