Do It Then Defend It

July 26th, 2013

Dear ROPnetters:

Earlier this week we shared a blog post with you about the Reverend Barber and North Carolina’s “Moral Mondays,” a direct action every Monday in the North Carolina legislature. Nearly 1000 have made the moral and ethical decision to be arrested in order to stand against an all out war on basic rights. Study this incredible model for direct action – read the blog post here.

The Southern Freedom Movement is leading the Walk for Dignity as an urgent response from Southern community organizations to address the significance of the verdict in the Trayvon Martin trial and the sentencing of Marissa Alexander. It is a multiday march from Jacksonville to Sanford, holding community assemblies and demanding the resignation of Angela Corey, FL State Attorney and the release of Alexander, sentenced for 20 years for protecting herself without injuring anyone. Read more here.

Every day people all over the country are talking about the value of thoughtful, powerful and sustained direct action.  Our “Do It Then Defend It” session at the Rural Caucus and Strategy Session was our largest session of the day. Over 70 people participated in a conversation about strategies for direct action. A few of the core themes coming out of the “Do It Then Defend It” strategy session include:

When we create campaigns, create infrastructure around them. The Civil Rights Movement utilized movement centers that trained people how to participate in marches and sit ins. What local infrastructure do we need today in order to sustain direct action over time? Supporters are critical. If a family resists moving out of their foreclosed home, can our network bring them food, be ready to respond to a forced eviction or donate to cover bail costs?

Contest over what they want. Bradley Manning released information the government wanted to keep secret. How do we follow his example and take actual assets: foreclosed houses that belong to banks, the pathway for the keystone pipeline, student loan payments? These are what banks and oil companies want; let’s fight to keep them.

Make them look bad when they respond to us.  If our demands and actions are reasonable, the response of Wall Street and the police look unfair. For example, when an Oregon family was forcefully evicted after moving back into their foreclosed home, Sallie Mae paid to post an armed guard outside the house to prevent the family from entering.

Rural Oregon is ready and has something to add. What are our shared opportunities for direct action?  At the Rural Caucus and Strategy Session, many expressed an interest in addressing debt through direct action. Other ideas included addressing climate change and coal terminals, drone testing, post offices and mail processing centers, deportations, immigration reform, and GMOs.

What of the above speaks to you? What would you add?

Over the next few months ROP will be circulating these notes and other resources related to direct action and strategies for resistance and community building. Share your initial reflections back with cara@rop.org and stay tuned for more updates on this theme.

Warmly, Cara

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