Last Minute Action Notes!

Democratic Convention

A convergence center will be open from August 5-13. The center will be a gathering point and will provide orientation, space for art and puppet making, action trainings, and trainings for legal and medical needs. Food will be available. The Convergence Center needs money and volunteer energy. When you’re in LA, help out and see what they need (food prep help, cleaning, security, etc.) The center’s location will be announced soon.

People working on setting up the LA actions have the following requests and tips: Its better to come with an affinity group already formed. Please get action/civil disobedience/non-violence training before you come to LA if possible.

There will be a different theme every day during the Democratic Convention with a range of actions from legal marches to civil disobedience, etc. They’re as follows:

Monday: Human Needs Not Corporate Greed

Tuesday: An injury to one is an injury to all (Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Trans, women, environmental racism and environmental justice).

Wednesday: Stop Police Brutality Day/Fight the Prison Industrial Complex/Criminalization of Youth and Elders

Thursday: Global Justice, Immigrant Rights & Stop Militarism

For info, email:

Global Day Against Capitalism

September 26, 2000 will be the next Global Day of Action Against Capitalism! Many groups around the world are preparing for this event. September 22-28 the IMF and the World Bank are holding their 55th annual summit in Prague. People across Europe and around the world will travel to Prague or hold local solidarity actions. The action has been endorsed by a European grassroots meeting and a number of Latin American movements which met in Nicaragua recently. This action follows on the heels of the May 16, June 18, November 30 and May 1 actions.

As before, the day will be organized in a non-hierarchical way, as a decentralized and informal network of grassroots groups that employ non-authoritarian, grassroots democratic forms of organization. Examples of possible actions are: strikes, demos, bike rides, carnivals, reclaim the streets, occupations, etc.

Everyone reading this should consider organizing a demonstration in your local town or city. Contact to see cities already organizing and to ad your own info to the list.

In Berkeley, an action march is planned to start at the Berkeley BART station at 6 p.m. Email: for organizing meeting times.

Those Eugene Anarchists

As we go to press, we are deeply inspired by the determination of our comrades in Eugene, Oregon, more than 60 of whom were arrested over two nights of action June 17-18 in a police crackdown on protests against capitalism and police brutality there. The police fired shotguns at fleeing demonstrators in the streets of Eugene’s downtown. More than 400 demonstrators smashed a police officer puppet with skateboards and potatoes before the police shot them. The veneer of “tolerance” of free speech in Eugene was once again shattered when people actually started speaking. Expect more of this type of repression as the movement for liberation expands and becomes more effective.

North American Anarchist Conference

The August Collective is organizing the North American Anarchist Conference (NAAC) to take place in Los Angeles on August 11-17. The purpose of the NAAC is to bring together anarchists from all over the continent in order to network, share ideas, and assess the current position of the anarchist movement. The NAAC will also serve as an educational tool to help inform the greater community about anarchism and will attempt to bring many new people and communities into the movement.

The first three days of the NAAC (Aug 11-13) will be the actual conference and the last four days (Aug 14-17) will coincide with the Democratic National Convention. It is envisioned that everyone who attends the NAAC will take part in the massive protests against the Democratic National Convention, as well.

The NAAc will include workshops, speakers, and discussion groups. It will also have films, art displays, and other cultural and artistic elements of the Anarchist movement included in the program. The program for the NAAC is still under construction and input will be gladly accepted.

Please contact the August Collective to learn more about the NAAC and the collective itself. E-mail (and to be added to the mailing list):

August Collective

PO Box 6188

Fullerton, CA 92834


Tips and Tactics for Militant Activists

Hey Kids! With all the massive protests planned this summer for Philadelphia and Los Angeles, and the NAB convention right here in San Francisco to shut down in September, check out these tips for militant demos, some of them updated from the July 1989 Slingshot published for the Anarchist Day of Action of that year, some from a great package sent out by Canadians who recently protested the World Petroleum Congress, and some we just thought of.

What to Bring

Carrying water in a squirt bottle, for drinking and for gas/pepper spray is highly recommended. Use a fanny pack or bag that doesn’t get in the way in case you have to run. A bandanna or cloth to hide your face from photos and teargas is also a good idea. If weather permits, water repellant clothes protect skin from pepper spray. Layers are good because the provide padding and can be used for disguise/escape. Bring some non-black clothes in case you need to “blend in”. If it’s going to be hot and sunny, wear a hat and sun protection so you can stay out longer. Wear good running shoes. Don’t wear contact lenses, jewelry, long hair or anything the cops can grab, or any oil based skin product. Never bring drugs or anything that would get you in trouble if arrested. Never bring address books or sensitive information. Gas masks, goggles and helmets make you a target but can be useful.

Affinity Groups/Decision Making

Affinity groups are small action cells-usually 6-12 people-who share attitudes about tactics and organize themselves for effectiveness and protection. The best affinity groups are people with pre-existing relationships who know and trust each other intimately. Decisions are (hopefully) made democratically, face-to-face and quickly on the spot. There is often division of labor in affinity groups: someone doing an action, others acting as lookout, someone at home as support in case of trouble, etc. Talking about politics, tactics and group process, trust building and practice in advance helps, but organizing a group the night before an action is better than nothing. A few affinity groups can get together in clusters, and clusters or affinity groups can send representatives to spokes councils for democratic decision making in large group situations.

In a chaotic situation, affinity groups make decision making (as opposed to just reacting) possible, and protect individuals. Affinity groups with experience and a vision can take the initiative when people are standing around wondering what to do next.

Lock Downs

There’s too much to write about lockdowns for the scope of this article. They are an important innovation over a sit-in, where cops just arrive and haul people off. Locking down allows people to block an area or intersection longer and more effectively because the police have to cut people out or torture them to make them unlock. Lockdowns use U-locks or steel tubes with locks inside.

Building Barricades

A more controversial but highly effective way of causing disruption is to build barricades in the streets. This doesn’t usually involve property destruction (although it can) and is best done at least a block from any sizeable police presence. Look for alleys with lots of dumpsters. It only takes 2 or 3 people to roll the dumpster to the middle of the street and turn it over. 3 or 4 dumpsters will completely block a large street. Construction sites also have lots of good barricade building stuff. Temporary chain link fences mounted atop steel pipe stands are especially great because you can drag the whole thing at once. Newsboxes, heavy cement trashcans, and other urban debris are also great.

Mobile Tactics

Sometimes blockades and barricades work; other times they play right into the cops hands. The cop’s job is to keep order. The most orderly situation for police commanders is where they know where all the demonstrators are and they have them surrounded. That represents order. The worst situation for the cops is where they aren’t sure where demonstrators will pop up next, or what they’ll do. If the heat is on at a blockade, sometimes the best thing to do is send a mobile group a couple of blocks away and divert police resources away from repressing the blockade. Open a second front. Open new situations lots of places 5 minutes apart, so as soon as cops get to one place , they have to move to another. The confusion will keep cop radio channels tied up and perhaps save or prolong a blockade in a crucial location. The cops are organized centrally, an their central commanders can only deal with so many situations at once before their lines of communications tart to break down.


In chaotic arrest situations where demonstrators vastly outnumber cops, it is often possible to “unarrest” unlucky folks who get grabbed. Each case is different, but consider this option as an alternative to watching friends and family captured. The cops are trained to retreat and abandon a prisoner if things get out of hand.

Tear Gas

Stay calm and focused. If there is wind, the gas may blow away quickly so don’t freak out immediately. Use a bandanna soaked with water, witch hazel, vinegar, or lemon juice over your nose and mouth to help breathe. Keep eyes barely open or closed until gas dissipates. If the gas is heavy, walk calmly to clean air if you have to. In Seattle, many, many blockades held strong after being teargassed, so it isn’t always necessary to run away from gas. Everyone has to decide individually what their body can accept, no questions asked. Throwing gas canisters back is heroic and looks great, but be careful of hitting other demonstrators or burning your hand. The canister might be fairly cool right after it goes off but heats up quickly-a heavy glove helps. Also, watch out about heavily gassing yourself while picking up and throwing the canister. Know where you might throw it before picking it up.

Pepper Spray

If still wet on skin, carefully sponge off. Don’t spread it around. Don’t rub eyes or touch face. It can get in your eyes hours later if you wash your hands or face, even if it didn’t originally hit your eyes. Two treatment ideas: (1) wipe mineral oil on skin. Immediately wipe all off with rubbing alcohol. The oil traps the chemicals, so take it all off. (2) mix 10% vegetable or mineral oil with water and 1 Tbs of liquid dish soap. Wipe solution on skin and rinse off with water or babywipes.