Direct Action Workshops

Posted: August 16, 2011

Kim Marks is a grassroots organizer with seventeen years of experience working on environmental and climate justice issues, alongside groups such as Earth First!, the longshoreman, Cascadia Forest Alliance, the steelworkers union, and more. She currently works within the Rising Tide North American Collective, and has or does sit on the board of directors for the Civil Liberties Defense Center, Impact Personal Safety, ASJE, NFPA, and Bark. With a history of work on dozens of direct action campaigns across North America, Kim offers crucial tools to fellow activists through trainings such as Know Your Rights, Strategic Campaigning, Non-Violent Direct Action, False Solutions to Climate Change, Direct Action 101, and more. Organizations such as Greenpeace, Forest Ethics, and Rainforest Action Network have brought Kim in to work on campaigns and/or lead trainings for their groups.

We highly recommend Kim as a trainer for your affinity group, campaign, or organization.  Here is a list of some of the workshops that she facilitates:

Non-Traditional Allies (1.5 hours)
How to build coalitions and work with non-traditional allies. This workshop looks at how to pick the best allies for your group or campaign, how to build and maintain those relationships. We look at case studies from the past and can use your current campaign as a model on how to move forward.

Blockades (2 hours)
This training discusses the use of hard and soft blockades as an action tactic. Learn strategy and techniques used to stop people and vehicles from accessing areas in the wilderness or an urban landscape.  Blocking roads, taking over an intersection or just trying to get out of the authorities’ reaches.  This training is hands on, and will include how to work with the materials such as Ulocks, black bears, and straight boxes, as well as methods of soft blockades using your body.  This training can be adapted to include a thorough training of building and using Tripods, which adds an additional hour to the training.

Know Your Rights: (2 Hours)
The Know Your Rights training covers all of the basic legal information for interactions with police.  The training teaches you what your basic rights are when you are questioned, searched, detained, and/or arrested, and what methods the police use to manipulate these rights on the spot.  The training also takes you through the step by step process from the first interaction with the police, through detainment, arrest, and the court systems.  Other topics discussed: tips on jail solidarity, current federal and state legislation threatening your rights, and what to take with you and leave home during an action.

Security Culture: ( 2 hours)
The first step in recognizing security risks in a community is working towards creating a security culture. Just because we’re non-violent doesn’t meant that the police don’t see us as a threat. It also doesn’t mean that we will not be charged with violent crimes if arrested. Maintaining a tight security culture is essential for creating a cohesive, safe, and effective movement based on the principals of trust and solidarity.  As our direct action movement becomes more effective, government harassment will only increase. Violations of security culture include behavior is inappropriate because it intensifies government harassment, jeopardizes the freedom of other activists, and destroys the trust within the movement.

Action Planning:  (2 hours)
This training is about planning an effective action and how to put it all together.  When is the best time to plan actions?  What tactical knowledge is important to consider?  How and why do you leave room for strategic escalation? Who will you need on your team? This training will explore these questions as well as equipping you with the tools needed to create a plan that strategically accomplishes your goals.  This training is most effective following the NVDA and Blockades training, to ensure the participants have a working knowledge of the tactics discussed.

Organizing 101 (2 hours)
The focus of this training is recruitment and retention.  Learn the basics of starting a group, how to structure and facilitate a meeting, attract new members, as well as keeping members engaged and interested.

False Solutions to Climate Change ( 2 hours)
A critical discussion of carbon trading, carbon offsets, carbon sequestration, biofuels, monoculture tree plantations, and other market based solutions to climate change that are essentially a distraction from the real issue of the continued burning of fossil fuels. The workshop will also look at social movements responses to these false solutions along with case study examples. And, how to create key allies to create change.

Unity Opportunity Action: 3 Laws of Leadership for Youth (2 hours)
This training, designed to train the trainers of youth to become fluent in a model that articulates the fundamentals of leadership to youth in a way that they can understand and apply immediately without adult interference. Through a series of engaging activities, dialogue and role-play, you will learn how to guide youth through: the collective creation of the plan, the delegation of responsibility, and the implementation of a timeline. These fundamental principles they will be able to apply right away as powerful leaders. In addition, the three laws of leadership build character in the individual, no matter the age.

Strategic Campaign Planning and Avoiding Burn Out (2.5 hour)
Looking at the big picture – strategy, tactics, setting goals/objectives, choosing targets etc. This workshop goes over the basics of how to build the campaign you need to create change. It will cover: planning campaigns to be more cohesive, effective and strategic steps needed to implement an effective campaign, identifying your targets, building a network of strategic alliances, and how to coherently evaluate what’s working and not working in existing campaigns. The workshop also explores the concept of burn out in the activist movement, and how to avoid it within your group.  This workshop is a great tool for learning how to grow and strengthen your group, and escalate your campaign, while creating the change you want to see.

Non Violent Direct Action 101 (NVDA) (4 hours)
What is direct action? Where does it happen? This training goes over the basics of how to use direct action effectively and strategically.
Skills covered include: forming affinity groups, de-escalation and conflict management, consensus, legal, strategic action planning. This training will provide an introduction to pulling off direct actions, a history of the direct action movement, how to work as a group in a direct action context, action preparation and roles, and features many interactive role plays based on real life scenarios. This training provides an introduction to the movement, and access points for activists to create working relationships.  This training can be adapted according to the needs and experience of the group.

If you have questions and/or you are interested in hosting a workshop/training, please CONTACT US.