A visible, organised and informed community group is the best defence against this dirty industry.
Taking advantage of training and skill share days are excellent opportunities to learn more, experience more and to network with people in the same situation across the region or country, and increases the ability of groups UK wide to work together to support each other.
The types of training and skill shares available are on a variety of different areas, from how to keep your group healthy and functioning, how to make decisions within a group, how to organise and function securely, know your rights, legal observer training, how to build treehouses, object to planning applications, how to organise events successfully to build on success, and direct action training.
Whilst we neither approve nor disapprove of direct action tactics, we encourage everyone to learn what they can about it and to remove any stigma from the term in conversation.
Simply chaining yourself to a lorry isn’t going to halt the industry, although it may halt that lorry for a few hours.
As part of an organised campaign there may be times when you feel you have little option to make your voice heard. Everyone has to make their own personal decision on this and be responsible for their own decisions , it helps if you can make an informed choice rather than be swept on by the bravado of others.
One definition of the term ‘direct action’ can be defined as –
- “Taking matters into your own hands instead of asking the rich and powerful to do it for you, and giving up if they say no”
- “Stopping bad stuff and creating alternatives”
Direct action does not necessarily lead to arrest. Actions could range from
- several people locking themselves onto chairs or doors etc for a short time at a public meeting to cause disruption and draw media attention to the outcome of that meeting, which you feel has been detrimental.
- At a protest outside the cbm site in Farndon, Cheshire, one protester took the decision to slow a lorry by walking in front of it.The driver did not stop, but continued down the road, pushing the protester , who was clinging onto the front of the lorry, until another protester took direct action to pull the cab door open, reach in and switch the ignition off, the action there was in order to stop a greater crime being committed, the immediate threat being that if the person in front fell, the driver would not be able to see, and would have driven over them.
We encourage everyone to take advantage of any training that comes available, whether you are currently in a group or not, learn more about as much as you possibly can. If you later join a group, then you could be well versed in how the group could communicate more securely, for instance.
If you find yourself in a situation where direct action is a possibility, and you are not taking part, having attended training could put you in a position to spot that the action would not be an effective way of achieving it’s aim, or that the person involved is at risk of getting hypothermia from not being mobile with poor shelter or if alcohol is involved. It can help you make a confident, informed decision whether you want to be involved or not, or which role you are best suited to –
Direct Actions can need several support roles. For instance if a person is blocking the access road for a convoy, a press release should have been pre written, ready to go. Press contacts need to be at hand to inform when it is taking place, photos need to be taken for the press, the person will need friendly support to keep up morale and to make sure they are kept warm and comfortable, and have access to food and water, the approaching convoy would also need to be slowed down or warned on the approach so that they know there is an incident ahead….
We’ve concentrated here on the aspect of Direct Action, but whatever the topic, we encourage people to take advantage of training sessions and days, if it is not applicable to you right now, getting insight and experience and training in any aspect of community resistance can pay off dividends in the future, it is better to learn about the topic in advance rather than be faced (for example) with having to object to a planning application and not knowing how to…..