Planning an action
There are times when you'll be preparing a one-off action, perhaps as your contribution to someone else's campaign, or as a stand alone event in itself. Other times your action will be part of your wider campaign strategy with each and every action being a step towards your overall campaign aims. Here we provide a check up list to keep in mind while planning an action:
Before the action
- What is the analysis of the situation?
- What structure will the group use? Who makes the decisions and how?
- What is the strategic goal (i.e., who are we trying to influence, and what do we want them to do)?
- What is the political objective (what is the action or event)?
- How does this event communicates its goals before, during and after the event?
- How does the group define its commitment to nonviolence (are there nonviolence guidelines or states principles)?
- What will the scenario be? (including place and time)
- Who will provide overall coordination of the event?
- When and how do you expect the action to end?
- Will the group be trying to work with other groups or communities? If so, who will make the contacts?
- Will the group have a flyer, explaining to the public what it is doing? If so, who will prepare it?
- What publicity will you do? Will you try to reach other people to join you? If so, who will do it?
- What kind of media work will you do? Will you send out a press release ahead of time? Will there be spokespeople during the event, ready to talk to the press? Will there be a Media Kit with "talking points"? Will you need a Media Sub-committee?(check the media section).
- What opportunities do participants in the action have to prepare? Are their orientation sessions? Affinity group development? nonviolence training? skills training? legal briefing?
- Are the participants empowered to make decisions about the scenario? How is that done? Is the group process clear to all?
- Is it clear that there are many roles needed for an effective action, not just those doing the "direct action"?
- Are the logistics regarding the time and place well planned?
- Have all the materials been prepared and is there a distribution plan?
During the action
- Is there a communication system between those in various roles roles such as police liaison, legal observers, media spokesperson, Medical team, people risking arrest, support people and demonstrators?
- Who is documenting the action with photographs and video?
- Is the decision-making process clear?
After the action
- If people were arrested, is there legal and jail support?
- Is follow-up media work being done - spreading info on the action to mainstream and alternative media?
- Has the group doing an evaluation of the action?
- Does the group plan to document the action (creating a case study)?
- What are your next steps? Will this action lead to the development of a campaign? If part of a campaign, how does it change the situation?