Non-Violent Direct Action Training: Campaign and Strategy

Facilitated by Rosa Lazano and Noor Mir 2/4/15


  1. Noor and Rosa reviewed the Agenda
  2. Intro Activity/Icebreaker – Everyone said their name and a gesture that describes them; subsequently, the entire group said their name and did the gesture.  

Shared Agreements – What are the qualities that would make a space conducive to learning and maximize everyone’s learning experience?

  1. People Speak Up
  2. Speak from your own experiences
  3. Keep in mind you don’t know everyone else’s experiences – open mind/no assumptions
  4. People should participate rather than leaving it all behind
  5. People of color and women being valued
  6. Gender neutral language
  7. Step Back/Step up
  8. Being Safe
  9. Acknowledging that everyone isn’t on the same page of organizing/specific term and jargon (please explain)
  10. No acronyms
  11. For anyone who is working on jump out cars/end deportation campaigns to join a campaign they aren’t part of and let the group decide for itself, and the organic ideas and issues they want to address

Would minimize your experience:

  1. People not checking their privilege and taking up too much space
  2. Profanity
  3. Everyone talking at once
  4. Being able to voice opinion / maximize all the activities planned
  5. Everybody isn’t able to get their personality out there

Scenarios: There are 2 scenarios that facilitators gave us for identifying the pillars of power. The two campaigns were Anti-Deportation and Jump Out Cars.

Scenario: Anti-Deportation Campaign

Rosa provided feedback and stated the context is the no papers and no fear tour. This tour was comprised of undocumented mothers, students, allies, and the purpose of the tour was to bring attention to 2 million people who were deported by the Administration. Further, the goal was to direct attention to Obama as the main Deporter in Chief. 

Neither the Democrats or Republicans were able to talk about the issue. The purpose of the tour was to raise awareness.

Context of Event: It is the lead-up to DNC and those are the Democrats. They are going to hold up during their breakouts, and they are going to address the scenario. They will share what happened.

Pillars of Power – Think about the institutions that hold up the problem.  Once you pick a pillar, then address what holds up the pillar and put it within the institution.

I.                    Pillars of Power Exercise (30 minutes)  

The goal of the pillars of power exercise is to identify the pillars holding up the power structures we seek to knock down. This includes analyzing the pillars with the goal of developing strategies to weaken them. This also includes the ability to identify the vulnerability of power structures.

The exercise includes drawing an upside down triangle with pillars that hold it. Then one writes the name of the main problem in the triangle and incorporates the pillars below.  One example of the problem may include: jumpout cars, deportations, and so forth. Then, one asks the group to identify the pillars that represent the institutions (e.g., LAPD, MPD) and factors (e.g., militarization) that impact it. Identify the underlying principles that are the foundation of the pillars (e.g., sexism, greed, lies).

  1. Pick an issue: Immigration

Pillar Exercise – Pillars include the following: lobbyists/reelection/the weapon industry/donor/PACS/fear/money/weapon industry/the electorate/lack of information/propaganda.

  1. Analyze a pillar, recreate first template

In this exercise, one chooses the pillar that the group wants to knock down or pressure. The pillar is selected based on a consensus process.

  1. Draw another set of pillars, and write the name of the institution from YOUR CHOSEN PILLAR in the triangle. Second, analyze what powers hold it up, and exactly what did Step 1 state on the first page.
  2. Step 3: Analysis (10-15 minutes)
  3. Do we understand the context and the root causes of the problem?
    1. Who benefits and who suffers from it, and how?
    2. Who holds the power, and who has to power to create change? (Who forms part of the structures underpinning the problem? Who opposes it?
    3. Does the problem affect people differently depending on their position in society, based on their gender, age, race, class, and etc.?
    4. What are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for a campaign to change this?
    5. How does our commitment to nonviolence affect our analysis?

II.                  Group Feedback

All of the 4 groups reconvened after they worked in their separate groups. Two groups focused on ending jumpouts and the other two groups focused on immigration.

1)      Ending the Jumpouts

  1. Initial Pillars Part – Neoliberalism, white liberalism, lack of diversity, media, laws, school to prison pipeline, where are the police, income gap, racial profiling, poverty, and the lack of access.

2)      Immigration

  1. Initial Parts Pillar – Economy, the need for cheap labor, the prison profit industrial complex, ICE/DHS, and deportations. Some people who were undocumented would limit them from being a driving force.

3)      The next component included identifying allies. The three groups included: active allies, passive allies, and neutral allies.   

  1. Active Allies/Passive Allies/ Neutral Allies

Identify key issues and in any movement, one will need multiple allies. With the pillar, one has to choose, and contemplate who to bring into the fold.

Identify – who would be a leading ally (they are currently working on the same issues and agree with the positioning); active ally – someone whose actively involved in the issue area but may not focus on that particular piece; passive allies – allies that agree in essence with the problem but can’t be in the forefront; neutral allies - Groups that won’t get in your way.

  1. Passive opponents – Groups that will get in the way and very intentionally will try to divide allies.
  2. Location and Geographic space:  Think about having specific  collaboration; and think about who would be natural allies
  3. Ex of leading allies : Families that are impacted; orgs working to close detention centers; leading allies that are families impacted by deportation; family members that are impacted;
  4. Active allies – They would be part of the movement; putting their bodies on the line. They are contributing with the movement. They are young people and work with young people. This movement grew out of the leading movement. Immigration and ICE – they could be active allies. They are directly affected. Young people/ they can be mutual allies or passive allies.
  5. Example of active ally: The New Sanctuary Movement – A lot of the people who fled Central America are being given sanctuary in churches.
  6. Example of Neutral Allies: NAACP

Possible actions include: Birddogging - Interrupting the president; hard blockades – arresting actions; and use of other direct action.

III.                Activity

Everyone broke into pairs. The goal of the exercise was to brainstorm without any interruptions.

This included the following questions:

-What type of actions (e.g., vigil, rally, or talking outside) would you use for your campaign?

-What type of strategy would you use and why is it useful for your campaign?