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MASS DIRECT ACTION:
OPTIONS TO CONSIDER IN DEVELOPING THE MOVEMENT FURTHER
A draft article by by George Lakey*
Seattle, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Los Angeles: each of them
experiments in mass direct action for justice and environmental sanity.
Each has drawn thousands of committed people who care deeply about a
better world, for their own back yard and for the planet. Each has
involved risk, pain, and suffering, as well as moments of profound
connection, creativity, and community.
Each city's action has also invited controversy and debate about
actics and strategy. In the "morning after" period in which people lick
their wounds and organize legal defense against continued state
repression, it's easy for resentments to flare and defensiveness to
flourish. The challenge is: how to be honest about differences of
views, how to allow the authentic debates to happen, and still not lose
ourselves in divisiveness?
However much we may need to disagree as we dialogue about our
future, two points of unity stand out:
In that spirit, I write about some options we have for future mass
direct action scenarios. We can fully appreciate the hard work and
sacrifice that has gone into each of these recent experiments (and others,
such as Windsor, Eugene, Minneapolis) and still act on our freedom to make
different choices for next time as we learn more about how to make social
change in the twenty-first century.
- the System needs major change, and compared with those who consciously
fight us to preserve the unjust status quo, we objectively are allies of
- we will all benefit from a rapid growth curve, in which we learn the
most possible from each round of struggle and stay flexible and ready to
&give up what doesn't seem to be working.
Option One: Create "dilemma demonstrations."
This form of direct action puts the powerholders in a dilemma: if
they allow us to go ahead and do what we intend to do, we accomplish
something worthwhile related to our issue. If they repress us, they put
themselves in a bad light, and the public is educated about our message.
Many examples that can inspire our creativity. Some campaigns to
save old-growth trees have set up these dilemmas. If, for example, the
protesters are allowed to sit in the trees, for example, the trees are
saved. If the protesters are stopped violently, the public is educated
and new allies can be won. African American students in the South were
very creative with such tactics, for example sitting at the lunch counter
asking for coffee. If they were served, racism took a hit. If they were
either attacked by civilians or arrested, racism also took a hit. The
sit-inners didn't even need the signs they brought in order to make their
point. The powerholders were repeatedly put in a dilemma: whatever they
did resulted in lost ground for the status quo.
I wouldn't say that it is always easy to create such tactics, and
there are times when stopping traffic may be the best we can think of.
The difference, however, is very clear if we take the point of view of the
bystander or the television camera. When the police drag away protesters
who are blocking a city intersection, what is the message of the
protesters? The World Bank has policies that hurt people? Maybe, if the
bystander or television viewer is willing to make several logical steps or
leaps of imagination. There's no reason to expect that bystanders and TV
viewers will work hard to make those connections, especially when the
excitement is in the physical conflict itself between arresting officers
One way to spur our creativity, so more of our tactics actually put
the powerholders in a dilemma, is to picture to ourselves what the actual
point of confrontation will look like to curious bystanders who are not
already on our side. The scenarios we then develop will have more power
and clarity of message.
One place to look for dilemma demonstration ideas is the community
work that activists are already doing. Community gardens, for example,
might be planted in places which need reclaiming.
Option Two: Decide who we're trying to influence
Using a term like "the public" is way too simple a way to think
about strategy (even though I just referred to the public in Option One).
"The public" includes many subgroups, some of whom are critical to the
success of a campaign, some less important, and some not important at all.
If we create a map of the political territory and decide who we most need
to influence in what ways, we will create tactics that more frequently
have the force that's needed.
For example, a small group once threw a monkey wrench into a U.S.
foreign policy objective by correctly figuring out who to influence
hrough direct action. The U.S. was supporting, as it often does, a
military dictatorship that was killing thousands of people. In fact, in
Pakistani dictator Yayah Khan was killing hundreds of thousands of people
in East Bengal who wanted independence. The U.S. government lied about
its support, but the activists learned that Pakistani ships were on their
way to U.S. ports to pick up military supplies for the continuing
massacre. The group also realized that if longshoremen refused to load
the ships, the U.S. government would be foiled.
The problem was, the East Coast longshoremen were, if anything,
politically inclined to support the government, and wanted to feed their
families. The activists repeatedly tried to persuade the longshoremen to
act in solidarity with the East Bangeais, without success. It was time
for direct action. The group announced a blockade of the port which was
expecting the next Pakistani freighter, and began practicing "naval
maneuvers" with sailboats, rowboats and the rest of its motley fleet. The
media gave ongoing coverage, and longshoremen witnessed on television as
well as in person the strange antics of protesters who seemed to believe
they could stop a big freighter with tiny boats. The tactic raised the
ongshoremen's motivation to listen and discuss, and they agreed that, if
the activists created a picket line, the longshoremen would refuse to
When the campaign succeeded in that city, the activists took it to
other port cities and finally the International Longshoremen's union
agreed workers would not load Pakistan-bound weapons anywhere in the U.S.!
>The blockade, initiated by a small group, succeeded because the group
crafted direct action tactics specifically geared toward the part of the
public that most needed to be influenced.
So we have the option as we design a campaign focussed on the WTO
or capital punishment, for example, of creating a
political/cultural/economic map of "the public" and deciding who we want
to influence in what ways. Part of our power is in fact through making
Option Three: Become proactive rather than reactive through creating
Sometimes a strong reaction to a move of the powerholders can be
very powerful, as it was in Seattle. By mobilizing around the WTO meeting
and disrupting it, tremendous gains were made. The negative side of
globalization was put on the public agenda for the first time, something
which all the organizing against the North American Free Trade Agreement
failed to do. New ongoing alliances became tantalizing possibilities.
The very unleashing of rebel energy itself was positive.
Occasionally reacting is one thing; staying in a posture of
reaction is something else. A good word would be: "disempowerment."
Mohandas K. Gandhi's first principle of strategy was to stay on the
offensive. Having our action agenda dictated by where and when the
powerholders want to have their meetings is not staying on the offensive.
A different option is to design campaigns. A campaign is a
focussed mobilization of energy with a clear objective, over a time period
that can realistically be sustained by our constituency. Often the
objective is in the form of a demand which a targetted entity can make a
The Students Against Sweatshops movement mostly works through
campaigns, which is one reason why it is meeting with success. The
victories of the civil rights movement that are now part of our common
lore were won through campaigns -- the Montgomery bus boycott, for
example, or the Birmingham struggle of 1963 in which a major industrial
city was dislocated in order to force the federal government to pass an
equal accomodations bill.
I have yet to meet a young activist in the current movement who
knows about the successful fight against nuclear power in this country.
It's a well-kept secret, for obvious reasons. That struggle of grassroots
groups was against an amazing array of power: the federal government (both
civilian and military), the banks which were making major profits from
loans to utilities, the utilities themselves, the huge companies like
General Electric and Westinghouse which made the nuclear plants, the
construction companies, and the building trades unions. The struggle was
also against "conventional wisdom," which believed that nuclear energy was
safe and cheap.
Grassroots activists beat the combined powerholders! There's not
room here to describe the struggle, which often used mass direct action in
brilliant ways to stop utilities from ordering any new nuclear power
plants by the late '70s. My main point is that they were successful by
mobilizing power through campaigns.
Option Four: Shift our understanding of the role of mass media
The mass media have certain patterns of behavior which are fairly
predictable, and our movement could choose to use those patterns to our
We need to understand that the mass media have always reflected the
biases of their owners. This is not a new phenomenon. The white-owned
media have historically been biased against people of color,
straight-owned media against sexual minorities, and so on. I find it
difficult for many middle class activists to empathize with working class
people and their unions -- why? Middle class activists have been
conditioned by the systematic bias of media owned by the wealthy.
We free up our creative energy when we simply acknowledge that
these biases exist, rather than go into righteous indignation every time
we read or see a new piece that puts us in an unfavorable light. Once we
acknowledge the reality, we can decide: for the next campaign we design,
do we need favorable media coverage, or not?
If we don't need it because, for example, the group we want to
influence through direct action can get our message in other ways, then we
can save ourselves some aggravation.
If we do need some positive media coverage, we can learn how to get
it. There's a whole art to this and some allied media professionals
willing to lead workshops on it, but I'll state a few principles here.
We can learn how to do that if we choose to.
- Media usually show what is most dramatic. If a thousand people
sit in lockdown and three people smash a window, the campaign will be
presented as smashing windows. Organizers need to handle that reality;
avoidance of that reality just leads to confusion and demoralization in
the movement. (More on this later.)
- Liberal media pundits, who might be expected to be "on our side,"
usually start out confused. Early liberal commentators on the civil
rights movement were often full of advice on how nonviolent action was a
bad idea and sweet reason would be better. The first women to picket the
White House for the right to vote were criticized harshly by liberals in
the media. Let's face it. To many people of goodwill, an uproar is
upsetting. A ruckus is confusing. Most middle and upper class people
dislike conflict, however liberal or even radical their political views.
If they are media commentators, they will find fault with our direct
- Mass media generally prefer to ignore direct action if they can.
The struggle against the School of the Americas, for example, has often
found its increasingly large direct actions to be all but ignored. Media
will sometimes make exceptions if the action is particularly novel,
creative, or includes humor. For example, the campaign against military
aid to Pakistan got television coverage in Philadelphia 27 days out of 30,
because the organizers found creative and photogenic ways of dramatizing
the blockade, and there was such a strong local tie-in.
- Because the reporting side of mass media often ignores or
downplays, and the liberal pundits usually start out confused and
critical, a movement that needs the media needs to use sustained campaigns
rather than episodic uproars. The organizers in Dr. King's Southern
Christian Leadership Conference practically had this down to a science:
they could predict how many weeks of a campaign before coverage would
appear in local papers, how many weeks until regional papers started
covering, how many weeks until national media paid attention, and how long
until the liberal columnists changed their minds and saw merit in the
protests. These campaigns were often successful in achieving concrete
victories, with media coverage as one ingredient of their success.
People of color, working against white-owned media bias, successfully used
the media as an ally in their struggle.
Option Five: Heighten the contrast between protesters and police behavior
One of the great things about our movement is that it understands
the importance of drama in the social change process. The confrontations
of Seattle and since assume what every playwright knows: the heart of
drama is conflict. Drama in the streets is, however, different from an
off-Broadway play. A sophisticated theater audience might prefer
characters to be multifaceted, without a clearly-defined "good guy" and
"bad guy." The social change drama of the streets cannot be so subtle:
it really does come down to "the goodies" vs. "the baddies."
Of course political radicals already know who are the goodies in
this play, but when we plan we can forget that most people don't make our
assumptions! The mainstream audience watching the drama in the streets is
fairly open-minded about who are the goodies and who are the baddies.
Maybe the goodies will turn out to be the protesters, and then again,
maybe the police. Since drama motivates, some in the audience are curious
to see who will turn out to be who.
The protests at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia
provide a clear example of this. Some widely-publicized police violence
prior to the convention damaged the police image. Those of us organizing
the Convergence training in the week just before the Convention did
effective media outreach, receiving highly favorable publicity. The
result was, going into the Convention, that the burden of proof was on the
police to re-establish their credentials as responsible and controlled,
and the protesters occupied the moral high ground. A succession of three
clearly peaceable marches in three days sustained this, Act I in the
drama, even though the marchers on the third day had been promised arrest.
The police felt they had to back off the arrest threat on the third day,
lest they confirm their image as "the baddies."
Act II reversed the roles. The police did not have to be lambs; in
the context of public fears and expectations, they only needed to show
restraint, flexibility, and control. This they did, avoiding tear gas,
major pepper spray, rubber bullets, charges with or without horses.
Protesters were caught without a style that would put them in stark
contrast with the public behavior of the police. The protesters looked .
. . well . . . disruptive. (Which we'd said over and over was our goal!)
And the police were helping the public by getting traffic moving again.
The police chief, who had on national television been on the defensive,
became a folk hero. The Philly mainstream could breathe a sigh of relief
that "our" hometown police are much better than those brutal,
out-of-control Seattle police, and where did these protesters come from,
The great lesson to be learned here is that the drama of the
streets is not about subtle points that get argued late into the night in
working class taverns (if the activists were there to argue them), but
about the simplicity of contrast between the protesters' behavior and that
of the police.
The symbols used to heighten contrast depend on the situation.
Black student sit-inners wore dresses and coats and ties, and remained
calmly seated at the counters while hysterical white racists hit them.
Gandhi designed a raid on a salt works in which demonstrators calmly
walked across the boundary where they were beaten down by soldiers.
Vietnamese monks sat in meditative positions in the streets of Hue, in
front of tanks, to help bring down the dictatorship in 1963. Phillippino
participants in "people power" mass action overthrew a government partly
with flower necklaces for the dictator's soldiers.
Again, our power lies in our choices. We can choose to design our
confrontations using appropriate symbology so that the part of the public
we most want to influence will see us as the "goodies." It's our choice.
Sometimes the opponents wise up to this dynamic. The Albany,
Georgia, police chief defeated the African American 1962 campaign by
carefully restraining his police and reducing the contrast. He astutely
used his police to prevent KKK and other forces from beating up
demonstrators, again to hinder black people from gaining the moral high
This police tactic is just one more challenge to our creativity.
The British Empire tried a similar tactic during the mass direct action
campaign in India called the Salt Satyagraha. Tired of beating and
jailing demonstrators, they massed their police in the road in front of
the marchers and did a nonviolent sit-down blockade! The marchers stopped
and a stalemate ensued. After hours of uncertainty, night fell and allies
of the marchers went off in search of food and blankets. When they
returned, the marchers took the food and blankets and passed them over to
the police. This proved too much for the police, who abandoned the
street, and the marchers proceeded to a midnight victory celebration. It
was another example of Gandhi's emphasis on staying on the offensive; when
confronted with nonviolent resistance, the marchers escalated their
Option Six: We could take a powerful attitude toward the prospect of
Obviously, the purpose of repression is to induce fear, so people
wil give up fighting injustice. The powerholders want us to play what I
call the Fear Game; one example is setting million dollar bail on
Philadelphia protesters charged only with misdemeanors. They are counting
on the feeling inside us -- our fear -- to change our behavior so as to
make us less effective.
That's why one of the most fundamental choices any social movement
makes is what kind of attitude to have toward repression. In our
workshops we found that many didn't know that there was a choice. They
believed that all movements have the same attitude toward repression,
which is far from true.
For example, during the Montgomery bus boycott the powerholders
decided to play the Fear Game by leaking the word that they had a list of
black leaders who were going to be arrested. The leaders decided to take
a powerful, proactive attitude; they went to City Hall as a group and
demanded to be arrested at once. They carefully expanded their numbers so
that, more than likely, some individuals would not be on the list and
could indignantly demand to be arrested rather than be insulted by not
being considered a leader. More recently labor unions in Decatur,
Illinois, made a similar move: hundreds of workers filled City Hall and
refused to leave until the intended arrests were actually made.
Consider the difficulty this puts the powerholders in. If the
people refuse to fear them, the powerholders have lost one of their most
powerful weapons! Another example comes from Poland, where after many
years of Communist dictatorship a radical group of workers and
intellectuals decided to depart from their activist tradition and openly
create an organization for human rights. The move was a breakthrough
which supported the growth of the mass Solidarity movement, resulting in
the nonviolent overthrow of the dictatorship.
The choice to adopt a kind of "security culture" in which activists
work may at some times and places be useful, but it is a choice that needs
careful thought, especially when we consider that it is often not
necessary even in full-blown police states. In the U.S., playing the Fear
Game seems to be hurting the movement.
One consequence is the witholding of trust. To win, movements
need to expand. To expand, activists need to trust -- themselves, each
other, and people they reach out to. Think of the last time someone
succeeded in persuading you to act. Did you pick up a vibe that they
didn't trust you? You probably picked up the opposite energy, that of
optimism and confidence that, once you got the information, you'd want to
A major dynamic I've personally seen in our movement is
trustlessness. The Fear Game operates in worries about who might be an
agent, who might betray us, who cannot be relied on. People don't tell
their names, censor their interaction, hold back. The wariness is toxic
because activists feed each other's fear. I've seen a black man who was
on his way out of the movement in disgust because of what he perceived as
white racism; the hostile vibe he perceived might instead have been
because "He might be an agent!"
A woman of color cried as she told me about the refusal of a
meeting of people of color to proceed until each new person, including
her, had been vouched for by two others -- an institutionalization of
trustlessness. When fear turns into socially normed behavior, a movement
is very easy to contain because it can't recruit outside the circles of
those who define themselves as victims. Since many talented and effective
people don't find it useful to define themselves as victims, they are
unlikely to stuff themselves into the confining circles of conspirators
however radical their views.
The Fear Game also reduces the ability of direct actionists to
develop and sustain alliances. Successful direct action movements develop
an ability to attract allies. The role of ally is different from the role
of campaigner. In the U.S. we find a lot of activists who simultaneously
are campaigning on one issue and are allies to other campaigns around
other issues. This flexibility works well.
Because the Fear Game generates trustlessness, protesters have a
hard time trusting allies, even less than they can trust each other.
Where all this comes crashing down is at the moment of state repression,
which is when allies are often most needed and also when there is most
confusion in the air. That's when activists, who refuse to trust the
allies, say to the allies: "Trust us and do X, Y, and Z!" Then the
protesters become disappointed and even furious when the allies don't
immediately come to attention and salute!
If playing the Fear Game initiated by the state reduces the
internal morale of the movement, reduces its growth potential, and hurts
relationships with allies, what's the point of the secrecy and stealth?
For one thing, it makes possible certain direct action tactics that rely
on surprise. For another, it strengthens the boundary between Insider and
Unfortunately, the security agencies also know this, and work it to
their advantage. They start out with abundant resources to put into spies
and electronic surveillance, and the more covert we are, the more
resources they can demand (thereby increasing the already obscene size of
the security state). Not only is it an advantage to them in terms of
increasing the power and affluence of their apparatus, but it also
justifies their putting more people in our ranks, who help make decisions
and sometimes exercise leadership. And the more aware we are of this, the
more scared we become and the less we can trust each other, which is
wonderful from their point of view. The basic reason they like the Fear
Game so much is that they know they are sure to win it.
Fortunately, we can make other choices. We can draw inspiration
from the choice of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in
1963-64 to organize openly in Mississippi, perhaps the most violently
racist state in the U.S. at the time. The largely-black SNCC workers
dealt with men who were police by day and KKK by night; SNCC often lived
in Freedom Houses that were unprotected in the countryside; they had no
guns and everyone knew it; the feds refused to protect them; the
Mississippi media were against them as were most clergy. SNCC knew they
would be hurt, jailed, tortured, and some would die; they were not naive
in choosing their attitude toward repression. SNCC's choice built
extraordinary internal coherence, expanded the movement dramatically both
in Missippi and nationally, won powerful allies, and broke the political
stranglehold of racism in that state. I would challenge anyone in
today's movement to study SNCC's attitude toward repression in Mississippi
in the summer of 1964 and then explain why our movement should play the
Fear Game. An alternative option is openness.
Option Seven: We could fully commit to strategic nonviolent action
The vast majority of protesters in this current wave of mass direct
action want to be nonviolent and see no reason to do anything else. The
dilemma facing the designers of a campaign is: do we fully commit and be
explicit about that, or do we soft-pedal the nonviolence? Choosing for a
campaign is more important than for these short actions we've seen in
Seattle, etc., because the stakes are greater in the course of a campaign
of months or years. Before his Chicago campaign, for example, Dr. King
and his organizers spent months negotiating with forces in the community
to get agreement on nonviolence. King's liaison to the gangs was
personally beaten up many times by gang members to test his fidelity to
nonviolence before they would seriously discuss and finally make an
It is tempting not to take a stand on nonviolence. There may be
moralistic pacifists around, mired in the past and more interested in
preaching than acting; their obnoxiousness encourages organizers to just
want to move on to the next agenda item. Taking a stand may alienate some
friends of ours who are radical and brave. And what about tolerance --
who are we to lay down the law? Isn't the movement to proceed by
consensus, and there isn't consensus on this issue!
It may help to remember that this discussion is not about pacifism,
but about strategic nonviolent action. Many pacifists don't do direct
action because they want to avoid conflict, and most people who do
nonviolent action aren't pacifists. So the question is not on a
philosophical level but on a strategic level: what makes sense for making
Alienating our more militant friends is a tough issue, but dialogue
would help. I've heard the Black Bloc, for example, referred to by
protesters as if it is a rigid monolith which will always believe the same
thing and must be deferred to. Another possibility is that Black Bloc
wants as much as anyone to be more effective, can evaluate what's working
and what isn't, and has internal diversity of opinion. The approach in
the African American community during the civil rights movement was that,
if consensus wasn't reached, people agreed to disagree, and respected each
other's right to conduct their own operation with its own integrity. This
is another diversity challenge that faces our movement. If some of our
more militant friends still decide to do confrontive tactics that endanger
others without their consent, then the issue is no longer about strategy
and tactics, it is about respect and needs to be tackled on that level.
Doubt about our legitimacy in setting policy needs to be addressed
inside ourselves, first of all. Is it OK for me to take initiative in
working for change? Initiative is a kind of leadership. In the process I
do set a tone, and my words and actions attract some people and turn off
others. I can't actually take initiative without finding that I have some
responsibility for consequences. So if I'm willing to empower myself to
act for change, then I might as well be mindful of the results of what I
do and don't do. If I do (with friends and comrades) create a policy of
strategic nonviolence, that has one set of results. If I don't, it has
another set of results. I can't duck this one in the name of "tolerance."
I want to leave aside the question of armed struggle for another
time, even though I find it fascinating and sometimes work in situations
where it is a very live option. Here the pressing issue is, "If most of
us want to be nonviolent anyway, how can we make the most of it?"
The option to make a fuller and more explicit commitment to
nonviolence has several advantages. For one thing, it takes the wind out
of the sails of the state, which wants us to be violent and, if we're not
willing to do violence ourselves, will pay people to do it in our name.
There are too many sad stories of groups that learned this the hard way.
In Philadelphia, for example, a group of youthful activists believed
itself set up by the police because of its growing effectiveness. The
police raided the house where the leaders lived communally; while the
activists were being handcuffed in the living room the police "discovered"
dynamite in the kitchen. The activists complained later, "We have never
advocated violence." But the group had been unwilling to take a credible
stand for nonviolence, for reasons similar to those advanced today.
Mississippi police didn't even try to set up SNCC in 1964 because,
as SNCC's Mississippi coordinator Robert Moses told me, "We don't have
guns in our freedom houses and everyone knows it."
It may be, as some of today's Philadelphia activists believe, that
police agents were responsible for the property destruction which handed
the moral high ground over to the police during the Republican Convention.
Again, the movement was fairly defenseless against this kind of tactic
because it could not achieve consensus on a stand against property
destruction. As much as we'd like to blame police, in all honesty we have
to look at how we helped to set ourselves up.
Leaving the issues of nonviolence and property destruction
ambiguous may not matter too much for the kind of event organized in
Philadelphia or L.A., where most people fairly quickly return to the rest
of their lives. People doing a campaign over time which is working to
accomplish an objective, however, may have too much at stake to be
wishy-washy about something that could undo all their hard work.
The biggest advantage of all to adding depth to our commitment to
nonviolence is related to the flexible and decentralized character of the
action style which worked so brilliantly in Seattle and replayed again in
Washington, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. The flexibility and
decentralization can bring added power to mass direct action; it also
brings chaos. The new physics teaches us that chaos can accompany system
change. Easy for them to say; they are theorists and not personally one
of the atomic particles buzzing around! We protesters are the particles;
we are the ones in motion and are faced with the challenge of how to stay
centered in the midst of chaos.
If we do manage to stay centered, we'll make better choices and
stay more loving; when we're disconnected we easily get upset or scared or
stuck in attitudes of hostility. An advantage of nonviolent action is
that it is easier to stay centered while doing it. There are no
guarantees: chaos is still chaos. But going into chaos with a nonviolent
commitment increases the chance of being centered, which ultimately
Solving problems builds the movement
Social movements grow through solving problems. As the movements
grow, the problems grow, hopelly along with our capacity to solve them.
If we continue to solve the problems that face us we will get to catalyze
transformational change, making freedom and justice a possibility for all.
The "new activism" that is expressing itself in the U.S. through
mass direct action has, fortunately, some problems to solve. Here I'm
suggesting some options that might work: creating dilemma demonstrations
instead of relying on "disruption" (although they may sometimes be just as
disruptive), making conscious decisions about who in the public we're most
eager to influence, designing and implementing campaigns rather than
simply showing up where the powerholders decide, working more
realistically with mass media, increasing the contrast between protesters
and police behavior, taking the powerful attitude of openness toward state
repression, and committing with more depth and explicitness to strategic
These options focus on direct action itself, and leave out many
other questions of strategy and organization, for example, the importance
of creating a vision of just alternatives. I look forward to
participating in more dialogue on all these questions; we have much to
learn from each other.
*First arrested in a civil rights campaign, George Lakey
co-authored a basic handbook for the civil rights movement, A Manual for
Direct Action, and then five other books on social change including
Strategy for a Living Revolution. In over forty years of activism he has
led workshops for London anarchists, New York Act Up, West Virginia coal
miners, Mohawks in Canada, African National Congress in Johannesburg,
lesbians and gays in Russia, revolutionary student soldiers in a guerrilla
encampment inside Burma, and many other movements and groups.
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