CNY Solidarity Coalition

United in defense of our community and our neighbors

Session on Principles for Action – Post-it Notes

10/01/2017 Solidarity Coalition Session on Principles for Action – Post-it Notes

Personal Space/Public Protest: Effective and Ineffective

  1. Public protest – As a form of communication indicating support – YES. Invading personal space – as a form of intimidation – NO.
  2. Clarity about objectives should be discussed.
  3. Effective vs ineffective is important, but just as important, as Dorothy Day emphasized, is being faithful to your principles.
  4. Protest subject’s home/family are sacred and shouldn’t be impinged on.
  5. Personal space, like the home of the target, should as a general rule be off limits.
  6. Protests at private homes potentially ineffective, particularly if media captures images that appear to show threatening behavior toward family members.
  7. Peaceful protest in public spaces OK – shouldn’t go into private space – could do harm, i.e., protest at private home could frighten children.
  8. No protests at peoples’ homes.
  9. A march to a legislator’s house invades his family’s privacy/personal space.
  10. Depends on what we want to accomplish.
  11. Demonstrating at Katko’s home (repeatedly) respectfully: message – Katko takes care of his family, harms others.
  12. Specific messaging vs. vague protests – “what are they doing?”
  13. Be respectful of everyone’s personal space.
  14. Violating personal space or privacy of home is counter-productive if it allows the other side to characterize us as thugs.
  15. Clear designated roles: 1) media relations 2) media spokespersons 3) video documentation 4) spokespersons to leadership – congressman, senators.
  16. Public nonviolent protest is more effective than creating the perception of threatening an individual by being in their personal space.
  17. Will this action help or hurt our goal? Will this action hurt someone (i.e., a child) not involved with the issue?
  18. What is the difference between civil disobedience and civil resistance?
  19. Avoid situations that physically interfere with the legislator, their family, their home.
  20. The personal is political.
  21. Effective – notify media for public protests.
  22. Respectful of others’ space.
  23. Continuous and persistent protest march in strategic sites including 1) legislators’ local offices and other places of public contact 2) ICE posts/headquarters or places/sites of detention, apprehension, etc.
  24. It is a matter of responsiveness on the part of the public official. Pushing public away calls for stronger protest.
  25. Not in personal space.
  26. The significance of the number of people involved (in an action).
  27. Personal space requires careful planning, peaceful, no disruption to neighborhood, would need a lot of planning and thought.
  28. No invasion of personal space. Public protest – YES.
  29. Fine with this. Rather error on the side of being a bit too aggressive than error on the side of being too timid.
  30. Personal space invasion (private home) can be scary for official’s wife and kids. It can also be spun as aggression.
  31. Could be effective, but only if the protest is well-documented and supports the group’s larger aims.
  32. Demand compassion, don’t trigger fear. Right wing people are more prone to be scared and be defensive (yes, brain studies show this). Try not to trigger that. Insist on compassion, however long that may take.
  33. Scary… perhaps necessary. Also would bring protesters to a more negative light and dangerous position.
  34. As a group, we need to have high ethical standards to gain trust/respect of people we’re trying to influence.
  35. Yes – variables 1) Publicity? 2) Moving the needle of public support?
  36. Protesting at a person’s home may require more justification, e.g., s/he wants to vote to repeal the personal mortgage deduction, or s/he is hiding out from the electorate.
  37. I would generally prefer to confine direct action to public spaces, and not invade the private spaces of legislators.
  38. If this is about going to Katko’s house, I think there might be a time when that would be useful.
  39. Advise people in advance about the strategy and risk of arrest. Do workshops!
  40. Remain respectful. Rise above.
  41. As a group, I believe we agreed that actions at a person’s house is counter-productive as it acts “as a threat” intended or not to family of person.
  42. Respectful behavior is very important.
  43. Personal space/public protest – I think either is good. But I do think it should be strategic and agreements should be made in the beginning, i.e., getting into someone’s personal space in a way that doesn’t make someone feel personally threatened.
  44. Totally effective! Pushing people out of a solid safe space where they feel in control can show their true nature and who they are.
  45. Public protest/personal space effective if respectful of opposition.
  46. Guidelines – each specific event – what is the goal – how we achieve.
  47. Sidewalks are public spaces (in front of private home) not private spaces – large numbers of resistors.
  48. Only in extreme instances, avoid confusing our message.

Physical or Verbal Confrontation by Coalition Individual Members at Events

  1. What does this accomplish? Does the confronted look like a victim?
  2. Preparation important about possible consequences for each person in terms of immediate reactions.
  3. Demand compassion, don’t trigger fear. Right wing people are more prone to be scared and be defensive (yes, brain studies show this). Try not to trigger that. Insist on compassion, however long that may take.
  4. Physical confrontation in a public venue – only to prevent physical harm – Yes. Verbal confrontation – as communication in public venue – Yes.
  5. Assigned spokespersons – Pts to be covered.
  6. I’m not OK with physical confrontation – peaceful and civil verbal is OK.
  7. Based on principles, before action develop guidelines for what we’re doing and stay within guidelines during the action.
  8. What is violence? How do we define it?
  9. The strong/significant value of both (first) verbal and physical (if verbal ignored) confrontation. Non-violent, calm, firm physical resistance.
  10. Interruption which is clear and direct and not verbally abusive can be useful and effective – no name calling.
  11. No physical confrontation.
  12. Counter-demos are not useful in certain circumstances – e.g., if protest is armed.
  13. Make sure someone is taking video of confrontation. Put on Facebook.
  14. Physical confrontation is politically counter-productive and should be avoided except in self-defense against immediate threat.
  15. Numbers – large numbers are essential.
  16. Firm statements, NOT confrontations.
  17. Formulate ways to check-in with others and keep some level of democratic decision-making on the ground.
  18. Is this action for personal gratification or the group’s goal?
  19. Doesn’t verbal confrontation, anger, harassment constitute a violent action? What really is the definition of non-violence?
  20. Speaking – literally – truth to power is essential.
  21. Non-violence is our base but what about actions you know will provoke violent reaction? Do you avoid provoking violence in others?
  22. Non-violence = no name calling, no physical confrontation.
  23. Verbal confrontation seems very counterproductive. Come up with a better way to protest.
  24. Should be discussed and decided for the group beforehand.
  25. Physical confrontation that could be construed as threatening should be avoided.
  26. Make sure all protesters/demonstrators are given guidelines about how to behave.
  27. We’ll lose the moral high ground if we engage in any physical confrontation.
  28. If we are standing up for oppressed people, we shouldn’t engage in acts that oppress another individual.
  29. Confrontation should always be calling others to something higher without stooping lower.
  30. Important to act with love in respect for others publically and honorably without attacking.
  31. Verbal confrontation should always try to be respectful. Physical confrontations – never okay.
  32. I want to see us confront those in power in more directly and concretely ways: ICE, BP, Katko, Valesky, DeFrancisco!
  33. Those of us who’ve lived through trauma and stress have experienced resilience and post-traumatic growth: we have the ability to see traumatic experience in others (compassionately) and to connect with others as allies in our collective resistance to the injustices that traumatized us.
  34. Yes – variables 1) Publicity? 2) Moving the needle of public support?
  35. Love will drive out hate – opposed to any physical chasing or cornering of target.
  36. Need to clarify what confrontation is (positive, effective?)
  37. Because there have been acts of violent protest (the Scalise shooting in DC, or the violence in Charlottesville) our public servants, including Katko, have a legitimate reason to fear violence. We need to express our views and concerns, but we need to be mindful of how our actions may appear to legislators and the press. It’s not enough to be non-violent, we must clearly express non-violence in our actions.
  38. Use sparingly. Let the event speak for itself – if the optics and messaging of the event is strong, we shouldn’t need to rely on individual encounters/confrontations to make our case.
  39. Confrontation: Be civil. Don’t appear aggressive. Try to spin-proof, so no partial video will make you appear as the aggressor.
  40. How do we change law enforcement in various situations.
  41. Confrontation doesn’t work for me. Nonviolence tries to lead to understanding – listening not defensive response.
  42. They go low, we go high – with facts and integrity.
  43. Need for clarity with group as to what tactics we accept in scenario – avoiding actions that drive away support rather than build support.
  44. Be very aggressive, while respectful.
  45. Physical confrontation – I would not want punching, physically harming, etc. Verbal confrontation fine as long as that is agreed to as part of the action.
  46. In general, we need to be more aggressive on this front. We are currently too tame.
  47. Physical confrontation – never. Verbal confrontation – when needed and must be civil and fact-based.
  48. Verbal confrontation OK. Physical no. Video encounters to document.
  49. See no purpose of yelling and screaming at a person. Talking, chats, songs seem more productive.
  50. Physical confrontation means they’ve won – they’ve hit your trigger.
  51. The incident where Katko was prevented from leaving did a lot to hurt public perception of us. We need to be consistent in the message we “send” to the public.

Engagement in Direct Action

  1. I engage in direct action when I have 1) a clear sense of the specific unjust scenario; 2) consensus with people I’m allied with, that this action represents our human rights; AND 3) that what we’re doing doesn’t harm others’ rights. Therefore, we attract more support.
  2. I hope that our direct actions will correct the injustices we see in Trumpland: the misogyny, racism, militarism, anti-environmentalism, xenophobia, heterosexism, etc., so that more people will act in solidarity against this systemic injustice.
  3. You got to feel very right to do direct action, civil disobedience, etc. What if Trump or pro-lifers did the same action?
  4. Actions are better that have a specific target or point.
  5. We need far more (nonviolent) engagement in direct action. What is holding us back?
  6. Training in how to avoid unwanted harmful reaction.
  7. Direct action at congressional offices – I’m comfortable with this, provided that participants have advance agreement on guidelines.
  8. Engagement in physically harmful direct action – only to prevent a physical consequence involving harm to others.
  9. We still need something to get Katko’s attention. Hard to balance this.
  10. Purpose. Assigned roles. Media. Spokesperson. Video event.
  11. If legislators refuse to do their job – a die-in is perfectly reasonable as is confrontation of personal space.
  12. What is the difference between direct action and radical action?
  13. Practice, practice, practice. Be clear about message and means, and stick to the script usually.
  14. Important to be clear what larger goals are and the actions needed to get there; sometimes incrementally and other times bigger stances.
  15. Engagement in direct action that is peaceful and non-violent is warranted in certain circumstances.
  16. There are many issues Solidarity are involved in – it seems each issue needs to be addressed independently as things arise – and individuals need to assess their own responses and actions to each issue.
  17. All action needs to have clearly stated goals to be at all effective.
  18. Communicate the message to others.
  19. Creativity and an awareness of how action plays in the media is important.
  20. Let’s do it and do it soon.
  21. Engage in positive, not negative, messages.
  22. Direct action can be necessary to force/sway public opinion and serve as the impetus for dialogue, negotiation.
  23. Direct action is necessary to make a point.
  24. Direct action without a problem with an affinity group that has “agreements” for behavior.
  25. I would like to see nonviolent direct action/civil disobedience be part of the Coalition’s toolbox.
  26. YES – Especially in the age of social media, well-executed direct action can help draw attention to your cause and embarrass your opponents.
  27. Direct action – Yes. When you break unjust law calmly and get treated terribly, you call upon everone’s humanity; compassion can expand our base.
  28. Direct action is necessary and powerful.
  29. Be prepared with well-researched positions.
  30. Know the subject well. Be informed.
  31. Direct action vs. civil resistance/disobedience. DA NOT the law you are protesting.
  32. Direct action should include enough people to be effective.
  33. Direct action – YES. Need training in non-violence.
  34. Design actions to show basic principles we are FOR and not just injustices we oppose.
  35. People should be invited to participate at different levels of “intensity” – from family-friendly all the way to risking arrest. Actions should be designed with this in mind.
  36. Thought-out plan. Know consequences. Know risk. Know message.
  37. If negotiations are not working. Direct actions will help towards the direction of change.
  38. After bad behavior of the government, it’s tempting to sink to their level. Being able to deal in facts and ethical behavior is important.
  39. Training in non-violent action is essential.
  40. I think the wheelchairs in McConnell’s office were great! I feel a lot less comfortable when direct action may actually interfere with public safety (e.g., blocking public roads, including ambulances, etc.).
  41. Direct actions: need to be transparent, thought-out, democratic as possible.
  42. How to do more direct direct action at Regional Transportation Center vs. ICE.
  43. Direct action – Sure, as long as it is strategic, nonviolent and people doing it agree on the plan.
  44. People are polite and obedient. If we are to engage in civil disobedience and direct action, people need to understand the legal process and learn how to move it. We take too few risks.
  45. Yes – variables 1) Publicity? 2) Moving the needle of public support?
  46. Yes. I believe seeing this on TV gave a message of the issue (need and who is going without).
  47. Think about how to deal with presence of “diversity of tactics” groups at our actions – what if some engage in physical confrontation?

Productive and Counter-Productive Forms of Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication

  1. Verbal communication needs to be fact-based, civil – not personal attacks.
  2. How to balance access to government officials (to present our issues) with speaking truth to power.
  3. Don’t be rude (e.g., interrupt) but don’t allow yourself to be drowned out/shut down/etc.
  4. Gang (large number) response resistance to disrespectful behavior is essential.
  5. Clear goals, clear boundaries, assigned responsibilities.
  6. Important to try to be persuasive, not by insulting.
  7. Keeping calm; not getting in the speaker’s face.
  8. Angry, nasty personal attacks will be counter-productive no matter how righteous the goals are.
  9. Verbal violence – shouting at someone, screaming – is counter-productive.
  10. Compared to 60’s, protest doesn’t depend on press coverage. Use of phone pictures, videos and audio vastly expands information about protest.
  11. Drums and noise similar to previous protests seems to help hold it together.
  12. Let’s keep our communication civil and respectful, but let’s not be paralyzingly deferential.
  13. Language is critical in framing the argument.
  14. Diane Nash called upon the mayor’s personal moral agency – that was effective.
  15. Counter-productive forms of verbal communication are those which dehumanize others. How can we resist while still affirming the humanity and dignity of those who are taking away others’ rights or even dignity?
  16. As Gandhi made clear, responding levelly and non-violently to another’s violence or disrespect makes it obvious where the injustice lies.
  17. Mutual support among Coalition members can counter legislators’ deflecting or avoidance of a topic.
  18. Talk policies, not personalities.
  19. How do we prepare for the negative focus that power will put on action or words we do or use.
  20. We must act and communicate in ways that are consistent with our vlues. Oppose systematic injustice with well-orchestrated resistance; respond to petty provocation with magnanimity and patience.
  21. Avoid verbal and physical expressions of dismissal, or contempt, etc., that undermine the message and/or the messenger.
  22. Speak up to non-verbal aggression. Observe, clearly articulate and challenge aggression.
  23. I’m never a fan of name-calling or abusive language and generally don’t think yelling is productive – chanting can be good.
  24. Will this action “widen the base” – appeal to people outside this group who may agree with us or disagree with actions of government, business, etc.
  25. Confrontation is when we bring the truth to people in a way that supports social change. Effective communication that brings a clear message of shared humanity is an important factor.
  26. Take back our flag from the right wing nuts. Flags at all marches. Flags behind podiums. Use red, white or blue in signs.
  27. When they go low, we go high – don’t be disrespectful.
  28. We have concerns about having a clear message that is “spin-resistant.” Anticipating and preventing misrepresentation.
  29. Training will be critical for those of us with little experience in direct action.
  30. Non-productive: screaming; make wrong; name-calling; showing disrespect.
  31. This works: remain centered; love the bastard you’re confronting, i.e., remember s/he’s a divine child of God no matter how fucked up her/his thinking and/or behavior is/are.
  32. Verbals and non-verbal – Once again I’m going to say it depends, for example wailing is great in some circumstances and others not, etc.
  33. Violence is always counter-productive.
  34. Need to be respectful at all times (even when disrespected).
  35. Call or email your representative or other party you wish to influence.
  36. Must insist on legislator act with respect.
  37. “When they go low, we go high.” Michelle Obama
  38. No ugly words or behaviors – no violence. Firm repetition of position.
  39. Silent protest can include American flag – don’t let GOP take the flag as theirs.
  40. Identify what will have most chance of success, i.e., one on one confrontation may not have same result as a mass phoning or mailing.
  41. Productive verbal communication: 1) listening, 2) response with respect. Counter-productive: name calling, shouting, not listening.
  42. Productive verbal and non-verbal communication in public demonstration: clear signs, links to FB page or Twitter handle or YouTube account, accessible for public to get involved.
  43. We do need to make sure we’re all “on the same page.” This is one reason we should probably avoid areas where we’re not in agreement among ourselves, such as endorsing particular local candidates.
  44. What forms of verbal and non-verbal communication are the most productive for bringing people who are on the fence about Trump to see the damage he is doing?
  45. Productive communication: knowing where “audience” is coming from/listen; sending message clearly; reinforce verbal message with memorable visuals; consider symbols that resonate.
  46. When they go low, we go high.
  47. Yelling and shouting are viable, even recommended, strategies in by-stander interventions. Why not rely on them in other situations?
  48. Focus on policy, not personality.

One post-it identified as “not 1, 2, 3 OR 4”

Coordinating actions of break-outs and having them look around community for other groups who also support the same goal – and work together. OR have different break-outs work together more.

Download to Print: 100117 Coalition Meeting Action Principles Session Postits

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