What a Direct Action Campaign Can Do
Point a Spotlight
Raise public awareness about an institution, program or injustice. Bring hidden wrongs to light. Example: Campaigns against WTO, IMF/World Bank; genetically engineered foods.
Delegitimize Organizations, Institutions and Programs
Withdraw consent from the functioning of unjust bodies, laws, programs. Interfere with their operations.
Raise their social costs
Examples: U.S. Civil Rights Movement, antinuclear activism, etc.
Build a Movement
Provide opportunities for people to engage in action, experience solidarity and support, take greater risks, deepen commitment. Examples: almost any powerful action. Educate and Inform: Both those in the movement and those who hear of actions: Almost every good action.
Strengthen Voices of Reform
It may not be our intention or goal, but when thousands of people are out in the streets, institutions are more likely to listen to “respectable” critics within. Examples: calls for more “transparency” within WTO and World Bank; de facto legalization of needle exchange in SF.
Interfering with the operations of injustice
Examples: WTO blockade, burning draft cards, stopping troop trains, pulling up genetically modified crops
Embodying an alternative
Address a problem legally or illegally: Examples: Squats, Needle Exchange programs, feeding the homeless.
Vision: We embody the world we want to create, we use means consistent with our ends. We engage in imaginative action. We expect to win.
Choices: We do not let structures of force limit our choices. We expand the choices of our opponents. Patterns: We understand the patterns of violence and control so we can make choices about our responses. We learn how to de-escalate tension and potential conflict in order to expand our range of choices in any situation.
Communication: We communicate with each other, with our potential allies and with our opposition, and develop our communication skills.
Energy: We look at situations energetically and learn skills for shifting and directing energy. Inclusiveness: We focus on expanding our movement and increasing opportunities for people of diverse needs and awareness to take part. We resolve our internal conflicts through discussion and negotiation.
Respect for diversity: We respect our own differences, needs, cultures, life circumstances, politics and views as well as differences of gender, race, sexual orientation, age, physical challenges, etc.