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(en) US, [barricada] Affinity Groups for J20

From "Barricada Collective" <barricadacollective@hotmail.com>
Date Wed, 27 Dec 2000 05:42:54 -0500 (EST)


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Security at j20 will be very high and it is important that we come ready and 
prepared for anything that may happen. The best way to do this is to 
organize and plan before hand with close friends and fellow activists. By 
forming into affinity groups we can look out for each other and be prepared 
for the actions we are stepping into. Below are some suggetions, as well as 
brief descriptions of what affinity groups are and how they typically may 
work. Different things work best for different people and these are mere 
suggestions based on experiences that people have learned from in the past. 
One of the best things we can do is be prepared for the unexpected.

  Affinity Groups

"Affinity Groups" are tightly organized groups of people who know and trust 
each other and agree on similar ideas and plans for what they as individuals 
want to accomplish for a day or often series of actions and agree to work 
together for this time. It is best to organize your group with people who 
share similar feelings on what is appropriate for an action and who have 
similar personal boundaries. For example: are you willing to get arrested? 
What groups and actions do you want to take part in? Are you willing to work 
out side of permits? What is the common feeling amongst your group of how to 
react when/if the cops use force? It is suggested that you discuss and go 
over every possible scenario that could occur at the action with your group,
try to plan for everything that you think you may encounter.
  Some find it helpful to pair up in affinity groups with partners, simply 
so you have someone who you are looking out for and who is looking out for 
you for the duration of your plans. These partners should try their best to 
stick together at all times.
  For the above reason it is helpful to organize your affinity group in even 
numbers and also have even numbers of males and females in the group in case 
of arrest. That way if your group is arrested  there is less of a chance of 
you being jailed alone and split from others you came in with. For instance, 
since women and men are jailed serperatly, if there is only one male in a 
group and the whole group is arrested he will be held seperatly from the 
rest of the group and be jailed alone. There's the chance they could split 
everyone up even members of the same sex, but this makes the chances a 
little better that you won't be alone. It's important to watch out for each 
other in jail of course and to decide as a group what you want to do once in 
jail. Will you act individually? Or make decisions in solidarity with each 
other, as a group? For example: do you carry i.d.? Do you give names? Know 
the
needs, of other members of your group like any medical needs they may have, 
so as a group you can best look out for each other.

Clusters

  A "cluster" is a group of affinity groups, who plan to work together on an 
action. If your affinity group is too big it can make things difficult and 
some what chaotic, but a way to tighten up and secure saftey with larger 
numbers of people together is to form several affinity groups into one 
cluster. This is some times helpful if more people than the amount in one 
affinity group is needed for an action. The cluster can agree to stick 
together as much as possible for the whole action or protest or just stay 
together for a specific plan. These clusters again should only be planned 
with people who are extremly trustworthy and close to you.

Legal

  Have a legal person. It is often suggested to have a legal person who is 
part of your affinity group or to have a legal person for the cluster. This 
often works best if the person stays out of the action that the rest of the 
group takes. Many actions have a legal team constantly working to check up 
on arrested protestors. It helps to have a legal person sepcifically for 
your group to check up on whether you've been arrested and check up on you 
after you have been arrested. This person can also be responsible for 
contacting the larger legal collective once you have been detained and help 
you by working with them on the outside. It helps if this person has all 
your  personal information that you would be booked by if arrested as well 
as have
a list of your medical needs and whoever you would like to be contacted if 
you are arrested. For instance, family, friends or a job that you'll have to 
tell you won't be coming into work. If there is a larger team taking care of 
the large mobilazation, know how to get in touch with them, if you need 
legal. Memorize phone numbers of that legal collective as well as all 
personal info, as it is not good to have any sensitive numbers on you that 
the police could confinscate. (You don't wanna get arrested with a phone 
list of all your activists buddies.)

Medical

Some groups find it helpful to designate a person to be the medic of the 
group. Although it is best if everyone in the group is knowledgable about 
medical and legal issues its a good way to divide up the efforts if each 
person takes on a different task. Large mobilizations often have legal and 
medical collectives working on the action, and it is best if your group can 
plug into the larger legal and medical teams to get more info. At these 
larger mobilizations, trainings for legal and medical often take place, if 
your whole group can't make it to these, it helps if there is a designated 
person to go and gather information.

There is a pretty good first aid list of
what to bring and expect at an action at www.blackcrosscollective.org
It's suggested to divide the list of things you may need amongst your group 
and each person can be responsible for obtaining certain supplies. Also, if 
there is a larger medical team taking care of the large mobilazation, know 
how to get in touch with them, if you need medical help.

Sensitivity

  Discussions and plans amongst your group should stay within the group only 
and not be discussed with out side parties.   What you did or did not engage 
in at in action is no less sensitive after it has taken place then it was 
when the planning was taking place. Your affinity group or cluster should 
discuss whether they feel the existence of the group itself should be made 
public to others or not, it may be best to not disclose who you are involved 
in a group with to anyone outside the group. It is best to avoid discussion 
on telephone or email about even the smallest hints to your plans or 
involvment in any action. You should only discuss those things with the
people you plan to be doing them with. You never know who is listening and 
it is best to be as careful as possible.


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