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(en) US, Boston, [dnc2004] Guide to Decentralized Actions

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Fri, 16 Jul 2004 07:56:24 +0200 (CEST)

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During the DNC invasion of Boston, the BTS will be pursuing a 3-pronged
approach (http://www.blackteasociety.org/3-prong.php) of a Really, Really
Democratic Bazaar, a Convergence Center, and a day of Decentralized
Actions. While many of us are familiar with the workings of a decentralized action,
we are also aware that many of the ideas and tactics will be new to
some people. We are therefore doing our best to provide information and
outlines (both from outside sources and our writing) to assist people. Our
resources will cover the role of affinity groups and clusters
(http://www.blackteasociety.org/day_of_action.php) and their place in the
larger context of a convergence such as the DNC. In addition to these
general resources, we also offer the following primer on the specifics of
how groups can plug into the Day of Action during the DNC.

*What are Decentralized Actions?*

- Actions planned and executed by autonomous groups without centralized
command and control.

- In contrast to the "big march" approach, no one will be telling you
where to go, what to do, when to do it, or what political agenda you must
support. Also in contrast, however, decentralized actions require a
greater degree of maturity and responsibility on behalf of the

- Affinity groups will be able to plan and execute actions that appeal to
them, using tactics that they support and believe to be effective,
at a risk level that they can more accurately choose, and that
connects with local issues that are important and meaningful to them and
the community at large. These benefits, however, come with the requirement
of abandoning the passive observer demeanor that is so often found in
large centralized actions and becoming a truly active participant.

*How does this work out in practice?*

- Local organizers provide framework, infrastructure, and support. BTS is
committed to providing any resources possible, to the greatest extent
possible to affinity groups and clusters to facilitate the planning and
successful execution of decentralized actions.
- Affinity groups must provide their own autonomous energy and a plan. We
cannot stress this enough: When you come to Boston at the end of July,
COME WITH A PLAN for decentralized action.
- We are committed to providing any resources we have available from local
reasearch to site selection to housing for pre-event site visits and so
forth, but the initiative must originate from the affinity groups and
autonomous clusters themselves if these actions are to be successful.

*What if I don't have an affinity group?*

So, you came to Boston without an affinity group or without any sort of
plan for the Day of Decentralized Actions. We knew it would happen for
someone, despite our urgings to the contrary. So what do you do now?

Well, first off, stay safe. You should at least have a buddy to look out
for you in protest situations. If no one is looking out for you, how will
we know if you got arrested on bogus charges when all you were doing was
walking down the street, leaving the convergence center?

Spontaneous affinity groups are not the wisest of decisions (it's probably
too late to plan an action, anyway). You should have a level of trust with
the people you do an action with and be on the same page politically and

So perhaps this rules out a lot of the exciting and interesting things you
could do during the day of action, but it does not prevent you from
participating in a supporting role. Medics, indy media, food not bombs,
childcare - a lot of the groups supporting all of us desperately need
an extra hand. So instead of entering the protest pen of a march and doing
the same-old routine, lend a hand to the folks on the ground.

And next time: Be prepared! Cops are prepared for centralized action now,
and our tactics in such situations have grown predictable. If we build up
an expectation that there will be decentralized action and people come
prepared for decentralized action, then it can be an effective strategy
(and surely a lot safer and lower risk than standing in a protest pen
surrounded by cops who know exactly where you came from and where you're
going). But to work, decentralized action requires a much higher level of
commitment and participation from affinity groups. In Boston, we're ready
to make that leap. We hope you are, too.

*What you can do if you don't have an affinity group or a plan...*

- Run water to protestors (Medics will not be able to do this, so we
desperately need volunteers to help keep people hydrated!)
- Help get food for, cook, serve and clean up Food Not Bombs meals - Put
together an event at the Alternative Village or at the Bazaar - Be a legal
observer (Must have attended training previously)
- Help run errands / get supplies for convergence center
- Volunteer to help out with childcare
- Ask groups directly what other things need to get done that they don't
have enough people to do.

From: "Bl(A)ck Tea Society" <nodnc04@hush.com>
email contact: nodnc04@hush.com
on the web: http://blackteasociety.org
email announcement list: http://lists.riseup.net/www/info/dnc2004
donate to the convergence: http://blackteasociety.org/donate.php

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