Community organising

Information, guides and tips on organising around issues which affect you and other people living in your local area.

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Door knocking guide

Tips for effectively carrying out door-knocking visits and talking to people in your local area.

In community politics, door knocking plays an essential role. From just getting to know your neighbours better, to carrying out a local survey or trying to sign people up to a local campaign or petition talking to people at home is a valuable exercise, due to its face-to-face nature,

However, it can be a daunting task, so we put together a set of tips to help you on your way, with pre-planning and then how to act on people’s doorsteps.

Before you go

  • Never go out on a rainy day, people are put off if you look like a drowned rat or are covered with a hood, hat or umbrella
  • Similarly, avoid going out if you are ill.
  • Dress smartly; not necessarily suited but ironed and clean. Don't look like a burglar or bailiff - people are less likely to answer the door to someone wandering up their drive with a big hood or black hat and scarf...
  • It's best to start organising with your closer neighbours, so you have a basic trust already.
  • The best time to go knocking is during daylight hours. It is best not to go around dinner time. Yes people will be home, but they won’t be happy to talk. Similarly, don't go just after work, people need at least half an hour to relax before doing anything like talking to strangers.
  • It's always good to have a clip board in you hand - even if you don't really need it, take one with some leaflets on.
  • The resident’s first point of eye contact is either your face or the clipboard so always make sure that your group or campaign’s header is present and clearly visible on the board.
  • Depending what sort of thing you're doing it could be useful to have two sets of leaflets, one for people who are out or answer the door and tell you they've got no time and a separate one for people who are more interested.
  • If you have enough time it is worth calling back to houses that didn’t answer the first time. Just make sure that you keep an accurate record of which houses you spoke to people in or else you'll end up calling on the same person several times and they'll get pissed off.....
  • Bring a sheet to note down the contact details of particularly interested people.
  • Some people have put a card through the doors of the areas to be visited announcing the time they'll be along - if people don't want to talk they can just put the card in the window to indicate they're not interested. While time-consuming this can be worthwhile.
  • If you're leafleting for a 'controversial' issue (e.g. anti-fascist) then start at the top of a tower block, otherwise you may have to walk down past hostile people who might have been alerted by your leaflets.

At the door

  • Say the most important thing first. Avoid apologising for bothering them in the first sentence – people prefer you get to the point of why you're calling.
  • The person opening the door won't want to hear too much complicated stuff in the first minute or so leave aside complicated explanations in favour of making a good first impression
  • If you seem confident and relaxed, so will they - if you're nervous and tense then they will also tend to react defensively.
  • Use inclusive gestures, open stance - never cross arms while you speak, or stand like you are about to leave for example.
  • Don't be intimidating, and don't approach the door in a big group. Knocking in pairs is usually the best format, for not overwhelming people, for your security and also so you have some company and can get feedback from each other on how it went.
  • Remember to smile; don't go if you're in a bad mood. People always pick up on it.
  • Look people in the eye, use a strong handshake – it makes you seem more trustworthy.
  • Always be honest about what you know and don't know - don't flannel to sound more informed.
  • Know your script, and answers to frequently asked questions, so you don't fumble your words when asked.
  • It sounds silly, but your knocking style is important. If you sound too official, people may not come to the door.
  • Behave from the moment you touch the gate - people often hear it and will check you through the curtains. Close the gate behind you, and don't walk on the grass. Close the gate behind you when you leave as well.

Finally...

You shouldn't be nervous about knocking on people’s doors. Most people are very nice even if they're not interested in what you have to say. It helps if you have a leaflet to give people because then you can refer to it, point out the date and venue of a meeting etc. Also if what you're trying to organise is local and for the good of the community then you have an immediate advantage over most people who are door-knocking for other reasons.

Once you've knocked on a few doors and got some feedback it's plain sailing usually, although don't be disappointed if all the people who seemed enthusiastic don't actually turn up to a meeting or event.

Last of all, enjoy it! It's a great buzz when you get into it, and a great way to get to know people in your community.

libcom.org
With tips from the users of libcom.org/forums and the Festival of Dissent, 2005

Get Up and Get Going: How to Form a Group

Becoming radicalized in a small town by yourself, seemingly in the “middle of nowhere,” can often be one of the most difficult experiences you may ever encounter. But even harder than the feeling of being adrift can be the desperation of not knowing how to go about attempting to make the leap from being just an individual with a set of ideas to someone that is part of a movement and specifically, a group of people who are organized in a set area, acting in concert, with that movement.

While this column will be written in a way that assumes that the reader is located in a place without other anarchist, anti-authoritarian, or autonomist groups, hopefully it will also have some good advice for anyone that is looking to start a project or group of any sort, regardless of what the overall terrain looks like around you.

In today’s age, where the internet has taken up more and more of what social movements and struggles are based around, the need to have a presence on the streets and in our neighborhoods, is now greater than ever.

Before Getting Started

Before you begin to form a group (in this context, group is going to refer to everything from an organization, a project, a crew, to any sort of collective attempt at doing something), it’s good to keep a few things in mind, and also to look around your general region for different examples of ways to organize, how to intervene, and things that other groups are doing, building, and working on.

First, it’s always good to go back and read and study the history of your region. Who were the original people that lived on the land that you now live on? How did they respond and fight back against colonization? Are their descendants still in the local area? What is the history of past movements, from labor to civil rights to the fight against the war in Vietnam? Are there examples of riots, strikes, and occupations that shaped your town? How have people historically responded to the police, to pollution, environmental racism, and ecological destruction? The results of a few internet searches, calls to local union halls, and trips to the library, may surprise you.

Second, it’s probably worth it to check out the groups that are in your town and also general region. If there’s a university and junior college, see what is happening on campus. Are there groups of people putting on film showings and discussions in town? Are there hold overs from past movements still meeting that before you didn’t know about. This goes for reactionary and far-Right forces as well; as their presence will of course impact your ability to organize. Looking into what is happening in towns around you may also be worth your while. For instance, finding a group of people in a town 45 minutes away might not lead you to find a group of people you might organize with, but it might give you an idea of what people in a somewhat similar context are doing in their own location. The point in doing all of this background research is to see if there are other people out there that like you – are looking for something else.

Third, it's good to have an understanding of your local context and what the primary tensions and contradictions are within daily life of the general area that you inhabit. This can change, neighborhood to neighborhood, but in general you need to know who holds wealth and power in your area and what their interests are, and how they are attempting to shape and control the area around them. You also need to map out how this is causing tensions to arise; and how people, if at all, are responding.

This can mean everything from gentrification and police sweeps of the homeless to the closing of schools and manufacturing plants to pipeline projects and simply generational abject poverty. Reading the local news daily, while understanding its real limits, will also help in this regard. Chances are, you already know that your town has a history of being polluted by the XYZ plant, that the opioid crisis has ravaged the region, or that the biggest issue is lack of affordable housing, etc. The reason that you need to think strategically about these realities is that by doing so this can and will inform how you may be able to respond to them.

A big mistake that some people new to organizing make is that they simply try and jump into what group they most closely associate with; often networks and organizations that are already established across the US. This means that folks often with no experience suddenly set up IWW chapters when they have no history of actual labor organizing, and often times, just sit around in meetings until after 6 months to a year, the project folds. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t start an IWW, Redneck Revolt, Earth First!, or Anarchist Black Cross group, but only to point out that as you find people and begin to get organized, the work you end up doing may be completely different than the original project that you had in mind. Also, there’s nothing stopping you from later on incorporating aspects of these other groups into your organizing: from letter writing nights, to labor organizing, to learning how to use firearms properly.

Final point, the biggest pot hole that many new people get stuck into is that of social media. In short, setting up an account won’t magically make a real life group appear. And while running a Facebook page for “XYZ Town of Anarchists” might be a great way to meet some people, if all you do is share memes and links about things happening elsewhere, as opposed to going out and starting projects and organizing, then what’s the point? If you set up accounts, use them to boost that you are doing and to hopefully find new people, but don’t mistake a page for actually being organized.

Building a Crew

If we are operating from the idea that you are essentially alone in the project of building a group of people you can being to organize with and take action along side of, then you’re going to have to work at finding like minded folks – and trust us, they are out there. For instance, for every mail order IGD ships out to a Portland or Brooklyn, we ship probably twice as much to towns and cities we’ve never heard of. So rest assured, people are out there, and generally they are just as isolated, alienated, and looking to connect with other people as you are.

So then, you’ll need to think of ways of creating opportunities for you and potential comrades to meet. In general, here are some ideas:

*Organize A Low Key Event:

One of the easiest things to pull off in order to ‘test the waters’ of your local area, is to organize an event to see if curious and like minded people show up. One of the simplest events you can organize is to host a film screening, for instance of an episode of Trouble from the folks at Sub.Media. As they have films that cover a wide variety of topics, you should be able to find one that fits your personal context. If you’re looking for a place to hold a screening in order to avoid bad weather, generally places like public libraries are cheap to rent out and easy to set up. If weather permits, you might want to do it outside in a public park, just make sure to figure out a screen, sound, and power before hand. Also, make sure that you put a lot into actually promoting the event. Make flyers and do a social media campaign. Make sure you get the word out in all the different working class neighborhoods in your general area. Put up flyers at schools, corner stores, health food stores, smoke shops, at the library, barbershops, tattoo parlors, coffee shops, etc. You may also want to use this opportunity to set up a social media account to promote your event, such as “AUTONOMY [Name Of Town]” etc.

*Table With Literature:

Tabling is a time tested way to meet other folks face to face. What you’ll need is a table and also literature. Check out our store for a few packs of zines and stickers you can get and hit up groups like CrimethInc. to see what they offer. Look around at different online distros for more stuff to print out and get creative. Choose places to table with high foot traffic such as flea markets, college campuses, music events and shows, farmer’s markets, busy Downtown areas, and beyond. Then there’s also places such as the DMV or the Food Stamps office where large amounts of people are stuck at all day, often looking for something to read. Carry around en email sign up sheet with you and add people as you go to a mailing list.

*Host a Skillshare:

If hosting a film screening or tabling with literature isn’t your idea of a good way to meet potential comrades, you might also consider hosting something less overtly political and more based around sharing a skill, such as learning herbal remedies and learning how to grow your own food. Events like this appeal to a wide variety of people and often are very popular.

*Create A Publication/Broad Sheet/Poster Campaign:

If you’re looking to do something different that may take a while to build, you may want to go the publishing route. Creating a local magazine or broadsheet that presents an anarchist analysis and critique of the local news is one idea. Check out War on Misery from St. Louis to get inspired. You could also do simply a one off broad sheet, (11″ by 17″ double sided print) or even just put up posters that include a contact email. By setting up a network of free boxes you can increase your distribution range, while also dropping off copies at places like the library or at liquor stores.

*Start a Reading Group:

Reading groups offer a way to bring together people both interested in radical ideas with people already well versed in them in a low key environment that lets people get to know each other and build relationships. The idea behind them is fairly simple: to read as a group a text and then discuss it. People may also find it easier to read a text out loud as a group as opposed to reading it at home and then discussing it the week after, but the choice is yours.

With these set of ideas, we think you should be off to a good start. Keep experimenting and applying these suggestions to your own local context. Don’t be afraid to try something new as well.

Organizing, Intervention, Mutual Aid, Infrastructure, and Base Building

So you’ve read about your town and general area’s history. You understand the terrain around you and have also mapped out the key contradictions. You’re up on “local politics” and have your ear to the ground. You’ve also branched out, organized a few events, and against all odds managed to meet a few people that want to do something with you. The next question is: so now what? How you answer that question will depend on the kind of group that you want to build. What follows are some general concepts to help you think about what direction you could go in.

*Base Building:

All good organizers should be engaging in some form of base building – the idea behind it is that you are putting work into the building of relationships with people, neighborhoods, and communities that you want to have a greater connection to. This could mean choosing to table at the local flea or farmer’s market every week, organizing an antifascist patrol of a set area against fascist activity, to simply spending a lot of time in a neighborhood making connections with people who live there.

*Mutual Aid:

Many groups engage in a wide variety of mutual aid projects, from providing community meals like Food Not Bombs, to organizing events like Really (Really) Free Markets, to free brake light clinics, to free grocery programs and free stores. Mutual aid projects can often be an easy thing to engage in within your wider community, as they are a “positive” activity and generally will win you support and respect of those around you. They also are very labor intensive and very quickly you will discover who is actually down to put in work, and who isn’t. At their heart, mutual aid programs can address real needs and problems directly while also creating a project that is easily accessible for new comers.

*Organizing:

Organizing of course is a broad term, but essentially we are referring to initiatives in which people build up a material force which can collectively engage in class combat; to assert working class interests in the face of capital and State authority. Examples of this include tenants unions and associations, fighting pipeline and fossil fuel infrastructure, workplace organizing, and solidarity networks.

*Intervention:

To speak of intervention means the process in which we insert ourselves in wider tensions already happening all around us. This means analyzing and understanding our local context, and then thinking strategically about how one could intervene within it to deeper one’s own position. This could mean everything from poster and banner campaigns in the wake of sweeps against the homeless that seek to gentrify a Downtown corridor, to mobilizing free groceries for striking workers to offer in solidarity.

*Infrastructure:

Lastly, there is the question of how to sustain this activity? The answer lies largely in the creation of autonomous infrastructure. This could mean the building up of land projects and cooperative housing, to the purchasing of copy machines and printing presses; essentially everything that we need to deepen ourselves as a material force.

What Happens Next?

You’ve come a long way. From someone with big ideas to part of a fighting community. The question now is – what’s next? What’s next is that you make connections and relationships with more people in your general region and begin the process of networking and federating together, becoming stronger as a regional force.

Until next time.

This can change, neighborhood to neighborhood, but in general you need to know who holds wealth and power in your area and what their interests are, and how they are attempting to shape and control the area around them.
It's Going Down

How To Set Up An Anti-Raids Group

A zine produced by Haringey Anti-Raids in 2018

About this Zine
Since September 2016, Haringey Antiraids has been organising to challenge immigration raids in our area, as one small step towards a world without borders and prisons, where no one is illegal.

Through weekly street stalls in Seven Sisters, we have built a visible and trusted presence in the area and developed strong links of mutual support with many local migrant groups. We believe not only that this work could be easily replicated across the country, but that it is desperately needed. This is why we have created this zine, to share the lessons we have learned through 18 months of local organising in the hope of seeding similar groups elsewhere.

Of course, an organised local group such as ours is just one part of a much wider fabric of resistance to immigration raids, which takes many different forms. A representative from the Immigration Services Union acknowledged in 2015 that ‘immigration enforcement jobs are disrupted to a greater or lesser extent pretty much every week’. However we do believe that local groups play an important role in building cultures of solidarity, sharing practical advice on resisting raids and providing a visible anti-racist and pro-migrant presence on the streets.

We hope this zine provides a useful insight into our group’s principles and tactics, and aids others to begin organising against raids in their local area.

How to Set Up An Anti-Raids Group

What’s happening locally

One of the first steps is to find out what immigration enforcement is happening in your area. It’s important to get a picture where raids are happening, and who is being targeted. Some strategies we’ve found useful are talking to shopkeepers, placing FOI requests, monitoring online reports of immigration raids (e.g.
@AntiRaids on twitter).

Building a group

First thing you need for an anti-raids group is people to organise with. One option is to put out an open call-out and organise a public meeting. In Haringey Anti-Raids case, this took the form of an open “Raids Resistance Training” – something that was also used to gauge interest in a local anti-raids group. Most established anti-raids groups will help you facilitate a training event.

Another strategy is to organise (initially, at least) via a pre-existing affinity group (e.g. a group of your friends or neighbours or an existing political or social group). This certainly short-cuts some of the initial challenges of forming a group, but can make it harder to grow beyond your initial core.

What do you want to do

Strategies for resisting raids vary dramatically depending on groups. Some groups focus on physically resisting immigration raids, others on spreading information to ensure that people targeted by immigration raids are able to assert their legal rights. Diversity of tactics is good and no-one should feel that wanting to take a less (or more) militant approach makes them wrong.

The key things to consider when discussing approaches are capacities of members of the group as well as the sustainability of any action. If your group stops one raid through direct action and then has to suspend all other activity to spend the next year doing legal support, that might not necessarily be the most effective approach. Sometimes small-scale, replicable, sustainable activity can be more effective than dramatic direct action.

Setting Up A Street Stall

Setting up a street stall is useful to build awareness of immigration raids, to provide information about legal rights and to link up with people who may be willing to help challenge them.
There are a number of resources that we have found very useful in disseminating information and helping people who are the targets of raids. We’ve taken many of these resources directly from the wider Anti Raids Network, while others we’ve made or bought ourselves.

  • A trestle table. Without a table it’s difficult to run a stall.
  • Rights cards. These cards have information on them about how to resist raids, what your rights are when you’re being stopped by immigration enforcement, and how to avoid engaging with them.
  • Leaflets about local raids. These leaflets explain the links between immigration enforcement, police, and gentrification in the local area, and are a good way of starting up a conversation.
  • NO CONSENT notices. These are signs that shopkeepers can put in their shop, withdrawing consent for immigration officers or police to enter the shop without a warrant.
  • Information for other services. People will regularly come to your stall with problems that you cannot directly help them with, but will want to support. It could be anything from the need for an immigration lawyer or advice on their immigration status, to an issue with housing or the police. Perhaps even consider doing a joint stall with another group. We’ve found our regular stalls with Food Not Bombs North London have helped us to speak to people who would otherwise perhaps have been reluctant to stop.

Problems you might encounter

  • Distrust. Remember: they don’t know you from Adam. They live in a country where immigration is endlessly under attack in the media. Why should they trust you? The best thing you can do when you encounter this problem is to be honest about your agenda, and keep at it. It may be that for the first few months you will encounter general distrust, but the longer you work at it, the more likely it is that they will begin to see you’re not just a chancer or a cop, but are there for the long-run, are interested in fighting the same things as them, and can be of help.
  • Hassle. Occasionally you’ll get hassle from over-zealous council officials or even police. One thing worth noting is that you are not selling anything, merely giving out political materials which is theoretically protected under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to freedom of expression) so just be confident and don’t let them distract you from why you are there.
  • Disagreement. This is not a problem - it’s important to have proper discussions with people about borders, xenophobia, capitalism and so on. But be prepared for this - it might be worth thinking about common arguments you hear about borders (‘limits’, the need to abide by the law etc.) and consider discussing these common arguments within your group first, to be better prepared to discuss these issues when you’re on the street.
  • Pessimists. Beware of suggesting that the law is some magical formula that will protect us if only we know it well enough. People are well aware that knowing the law on its own will be no help. It’s important to emphasise the necessity of direct action, solidarity and community resistance. Point to examples of successes of these.
  • Cancellations. An online spreadsheet, simple email ‘cc’ list, messaging app or simply exchanging numbers with people from your group are good communication tools to ensure a couple of people are down to cover the stall each week and that you can cancel at the last minute in the event of bad weather.
  • Complaints. Some people will be very happy to moan at you about ‘illegals’ coming over here, taking our jobs, our benefits etc. The first thing to remember here is that many people in the UK are undocumented, which doesn’t mean they are not entitled to documentation. The line between legal/illegal is a blur. Another argument to put forth is that the government is moving the goal post continuously so one day you might be legal and the next you are not anymore. Solidarity and resistance are the only way to counter that.
    Finally, for all the “good citizens” out there, the government breaks its own law all the time. Charities working with migrants have to constantly appeal unlawful decisions, taken by local authorities, the Home Office, etc.

Workshops

Another thing you can do is offer workshops on raids for local community groups. It is worth taking a bit of time to find out what migrant community groups exist in your area. From our experience, the most fruitful and long-lived links were with self-organised migrant groups with strong political consciousness, Nevertheless, there may be other groups and NGOs with members or users who are interested or could benefit from a meeting or skillshare. Local groups could include community centres, migrant centres, churches, mosques, temples or anything that has a built in group of users who might be impacted by raids.

The best workshops tend to be those that begin with more of a meeting and sharing of experiences and emotions arising from raids, that then evolve into a short explanation of key principles about the law and people’s rights (and we mean short - there is only so much people can retain about the law, especially in a crowded room of 40 people while working through an interpreter), and most importantly, role play. Role play is critical to allow people a forum to practice both their English and their confidence.

Workshops take a bit of thought, as we have to teach ourselves about it first, and also need to make sure there is an interpreter where necessary. But it can be a good way of building links, and spreading knowledge about people’s rights and opportunities to resist raids.

This has been made even easier since the creation of a publicly-accessible slideshow complete with notes. The important thing to note is that the law is not very developed in this field and there are a lot of grey areas. Some people may be looking for easy answers about the law, but there aren’t many. Another thing to emphasise is that it is not enough just to know the law, as immigration officers frequently abuse their powers. The only way we can reduce the prevalence of raids is to come out in force and show solidarity with people when they are being harassed by immigration officers.

Opposing raids when they happen

Opposition to raids can take a number of different forms dependant on lots of variables, including the kind of raid happening and the number and capacities of people willing to oppose. There is no pre-set formula for how to resist a raid, or for the outcome that resistance will produce. It is therefore important to use discretion and forethought when opposing raids, weighing up the consequences that your actions are likely to produce. Here are a few potential actions you could think about taking:

  • Give information to the person being questioned. Most people do not know or understand their rights when confronted with an Immigration Enforcement officer. Officers generally have very few powers to question or detain, and so letting the person being interrupted this information (usefully explained on the Anti-Raids rights cards) can potentially make a massive difference - giving them the confidence to refuse to answer questions or simply walk away.
  • Film the Immigration Enforcement Officers. Filming officers puts extra pressure on them to do their jobs according to the law, and not overstep their powers. It also means you have a useful record of what happened in case the legality of the raid is challenged at a later stage. When doing this it is best to explain to the person being interrupted that you are not going to film them, and that you are on their side.
  • Encourage other people to intervene as well. The more people willing to stand up to the Immigration Enforcement officers, the harder it will be for them to do what they set out to do, and the fewer people are likely to be detained or deported. The knock-on effect is also important: if a raid that was expected to take half an hour takes two hours, then that means fewer hours in the day to harass immigrants for the officers you’re holding up: that’s a success.
  • After the raid. Often the best time to go and talk to local residents, shoppers, and shopkeepers. Inform them that a raid has happened (if they didn’t know already), give them the information cards on their rights during an immigration stop, and encourage them to use an emergency raid alert system, if have one.

What is the Anti-Raids Network

Every day people are resisting immigration raids in their homes, workplaces and neighbourhoods. The aim of the Anti Raids Network (ARN) is solely to gather and spread information which could be used to oppose raids. Information includes alerts about raids, practical and legal resources, and stories and examples of resistance.

This is not the only initiative

ARN does not claim to organise or speak on behalf of those involved in this struggle against raids. Indeed, most of the people resisting raids will never have heard of ARN. ARN welcomes the creation of new initiatives against raids.

Diversity of tactics

People fight raids in many different ways. To give just a few examples: giving out legal information in different languages; running info-stalls to talk about raids in our neighbourhoods; gathering neighbours to challenge raid squads; helping people at risk to get away; physically stopping arrest vans; resisting inside detention centres, and supporting their struggles; organising in workplaces … and much more. ARN stands in solidarity with all those resisting raids, whatever ways they choose to fight. While individuals and groups may have their own different views about what tactics work best, ARN will not put out statements condemning any actions against raids.

Do it yourself

The network strongly supports resistance based on “doing it yourself”. That is, we all are most powerful when we join together in our streets, workplaces, and neighbourhoods, build up solidarity, and take action for ourselves. We do not work with political parties.

Decentralised self-organisation

Individuals or groups involved in ARN can act for themselves without seeking permission or consensus from the whole network. We ask only that those using the ARN name (1) support this and the earlier basic statement of principles (below), and (2) don’t claim to represent the whole network. Within that framework, any one is free to set up their own “Anti Raids” initiative: diversity of views, ideas, materials, etc. is encouraged!

There are a few network-wide resources, for example: the central Anti Raids blog; email; and twitter accounts. The main purpose of these is to act as a general contact point and to spread basic information and alerts about raids. They can also act as platforms to publish ideas and opinions coming from individuals and groups within the network. They are not there to promote one “central” or “consensus” Anti Raids position, and may reflect a diversity of positions (again, so long as they hold to the shared basic principles).

No leaders

We are against hierarchy: that is, we don’t want to have leaders, rather we should all take responsibility to organise ourselves as equals. We are against both formal leadership roles and “informal” hierarchical structures. Anyone who dominates others should be challenged.

Openness

The network is open to anyone who shares the basic principles. The participation of people whose immigration status puts them at most direct risk from immigration raids is encouraged and supported. But migrants should not have to stand alone in this struggle, we are all implicated in this fight. All who participate in the Network should do so as equals, treating each other with respect, directness and honesty.

Who is behind the Anti Raids Network?

The network was set up in spring 2012 by a number of London-based groups, including the Latin American Workers’ Association (LAWAS), No Borders London, South London Anti-Fascists, Precarious Workers Brigade, The Prisma, Stop Deportation, South London SolFed, People’s Republic of Southwark, as well as independent individuals – with and without papers. The network evolved into a decentralised structure of local Anti Raids groups, as well as various individuals producing and disseminating materials for the network.

The information in the ‘know your rights’ cards and the workshops has been thoroughly researched and produced in conjunction with immigration lawyers. Translations have been proof-read at least twice.

Haringey Anti-Raids

Haringey Anti-Raids was formed in September 2016. A month later, we held our first street stall outside Seven Sisters tube station where we hand out rights information and information about how to challenge raids. Since then, we’ve held stalls most weekends, organised workshops and socials and had thousands of conversations about immigration raids, border imperialism, gentrification and a wide array of other topics.

Confronting the Raids

This section of the zine is lifted directly from the Anti-Raids Network's blog

Resources and Links

Anti-Raids Network

The central Anti-Raids site has a wealth of information including bust-cards (translated into 25 languages), as well as posters, leaflets, and a blog documenting testimony of people challenging immigration raids.

Against Borders for Children (Schools ABC)

Schools ABC organises a campaign to boycott the School Census – the government’s collection of country-of-birth and nationality data of school-children as part of a drive to create a hostile environment for migrant children. Visit their website to see how you can help keep immigration checks out of schools.

Homes Not Borders

Homes Not Borders campaigns against racist and discriminatory Right-to-Rent legislation that requires landlords and letting agents to check the immigration status of prospective tenants – turning them into amateur border guards.

Docs Not Cops

Docs Not Cops is a group campaigning against charging migrants who use the NHS and the sharing of patients’ details with the home office.

North East London Migrant Action (NELMA)

NELMA are a grassroots migrant solidarity group in North East London. They run a social centre for migrants (Akwaaba), accompany migrants without recourse to public funds to Section 17 hearings and campaign on a range of issues – from the deportation of rough sleepers to ending NRPF status.

SOAS Detainee Support

SOAS Detainee Support attempts to break the isolation of immigration detention by visiting and offering emotional and practical support to immigration detainees, as part of a campaign against borders and incarceration.

Haringey Migrant Support Centre (HMSC)

HMSC is a drop-in centre helping vulnerable migrants access free legal advice surrounding immigration, welfare and housing. They support over 2,000 migrants a year.

Key ideas for community organising

Some very broad basic ideas for getting started at organising in your local area.

Firstly, remember: If you are going to do community organising, do it in your own area! Don't be a missionary!

Research and preparation
Look around your local area and determine what issues it faces. Talk to your neighbours, what issues do they think are important regarding the area. Determine what kinds of projects you can develop or direct action you can take that meet the area's needs or address the community's issues.

Find out if others are already working on the problems in their area and if they've been effective and what you can learn from them. Determine what kinds of resources you have available and who in your area might be useful allies in accomplishing your goals.

Volunteering or starting your own group
If there is a group doing work in your area and they are effective, it would be a good idea to volunteer with them to gain experience. If there is no group doing work on the issues you are concerned about or existing groups are not effective, start your own group but try to remain on friendly terms with existing groups.

Planning
Set a goal. Devise objectives (or strategies) to achieve the goal. Devise actions to achieve the objectives.

Community-building projects
Plan everything you do in your area with an effort to bring people in the community together and get them involved. Make a special effort to get people in the area who are not politically conscious to work on projects and become active.

In short, gear your work towards not just helping the community but towards actually strengthening a sense of community.

Fight prejudice as you organise
Make a special effort to ensure that your organisation and its projects reflect the racial, ethnic and gender diversity in the community and make sexual equality and anti-racism explicit parts of your organisation's politics and policies.

Get attention
Be visible in your area, make every effort to let people nearby know you exist. Seek press attention when you do an action, gain a victory, or establish a project.

Resources for starting an antifascist group

Resources and advice for starting an antifascist group, compiled from guides by the UK-based Anti-Fascist Network and US-based site It's Going Down.

This guide is compiled from "How to set up an anti-fascist group" and "Resources for anti-fascist action" by the Anti-Fascist Network and "Forming an antifa group: a manual" by It's Going Down.

How to set up an anti-fascist group

Get active:

If you want to do something about the presence of the far-right in your local area or do something in your area about fascism generally, the answer is to start getting active. Don’t worry if you don’t have loads of people, just a few activists can make good decisions, support each other and share any work.

Get organising:

Most anti-fascist groups start from few friends. Look around amongst your mates: who is pissed off about the far-right on the streets and in public life? Who wants to do something about it? Who thinks that petitions and demanding politicians to do something are not the only options? Who has participated in any actions? One local AFN group expanded after a call out to block a fascist meeting in a local pub; another developed from an existing group involved in direct action. Trust between anti-fascists is usually built up over actions.

Discuss together what type of group you want to build. The AFN does not impose any political line on local groups or tell them how to campaign in local areas that have very different political cultures, but you may want to consider how ‘public’ or ‘closed’ you want your group to be. Do you simply want to support AFN street actions? Or might you want to get involved in relevant networks, such as migrant solidarity groups, or even host community meetings? There are AFN groups that do just one, some or all of these things. No AFN group works with the police or is affiliated to a political party. All try to work non-hierarchically.

The basics:

A group needs an email address that can be safely publicised so other anti-fascists can make contact. Most AFN groups use a version of yourtownantifascists@riseup.net.

A group should meet regularly. This helps anti-fascists react more effectively to fascist threats; it keep activists working together and enables the planning of future activities.

It is helpful to have a mix of skills in your group. Not everyone has to be a readymade confident street activist. AFN also relies on people who are willing to send emails and print leaflets.

First moves:

It is important to mark your presence in your area. Promoting anti-fascist ideas is very important because it counters the far-right in a public space and shows people with ideas similar to yours that they are not alone.

One of the easiest ways of doing it is by using stickers. If you lack ideas for your own designs or you don’t have graphic skills, the internet is full of ready to use examples. Write to us and we will help you to organise printing.

Other cheap and good ways of spreading the message are flyposting, spray-painting and stencils.

Self-defence and physical fitness:

Fascists are bullies by their very nature and being active against them means you should have certain knowledge of self defence. Many AFN groups undertake self-defence training together or sign up to martial arts classes. At the very least you should try to work on your physical fitness by running or training with a punch bag. Training together improves the group dynamic as well as helps personal confidence in difficult situations.

Sustaining your group: ideas for on-going actions:

Some groups have regular film nights and discussion nights.
All groups have to consider how to fundraise. Participating in any local social centre helps with booking rooms for fundraising events but monies can be raised by collection boxes in bookshops, stalls at friendly political meetings and cultural events or organising fundraising gigs.

Digital activism:

A group can quickly establish a name through an internet presence and social networking but it needs to put effort into maintaining it. If you have people that write good articles, consider setting up a blog for your group. The WordPress platform is the best for that purpose. A Facebook page is another good way of spreading your ideas in the form of news, graphics, events and short comments, but keep in mind that a FB profile has to be tightly controlled due to security reasons and we would recommend keeping all messages and conversations off it.

Twitter is another excellent way of spreading your message. Educate yourself about basics of internet security as it is really important not to divulge too much information online. Keep your internet presence professional.

Resources for anti-fascist action

Following on from our guide to ‘How to set up an anti-fascist group’, here’s some useful resources for those thinking of taking action against the far-right.

Here’s a PDF download of a useful pack of documents about organising grassroots responses to the far-right: No Right Turn (this PDF is also attached to this guide)

Computer security

- For secure email addresses, email lists and good advice on internet security: riseup.net
- Secure untraceable web browsing: Tor Browser, also available for mobile
- Seeds For Change’s activist computer security pocket sized guide
- Electronic Freedom Foundation’s Surveillance Self-Defence Guide
- Check out a comprehensive guide to using computers for activism at: Tech Tools for Activism
- Sheffield AFN’s basic internet safety for anti-fascists

Legal advice/support for actions and demonstrations

- Green and Black Cross monitor the police and provide legal support to activists on the ground. Lots of resources, including downloadable bustcards, advice for going on protests etc.
- Providing post-arrest support in the police station and in court: Legal Defence and Monitoring Group. Also produce the essential ‘No Comment’ guide and loads of other info about dealing with the police and the criminal justice system. [Note: the LDMG is no longer functioning, but the Activist Court Aid Brigade aims to continue their work.]
- Stop and search advice from ystop.
- Activists Legal Project. This is a bit out of date but still useful.

Running a group

- Seeds For Change advice on running an activist group, meetings etc.

Community organising

- Check out Sostenga’s No Right Turn website which has lots of downloadable resources for educating about the far-right with school groups, youth and community groups.

Planning actions, demonstrations and campaigns

- Seeds for Change
- Earth First! have a “Guide to Public Order situations” on their website. A lot of it doesn’t really apply to anti-fascism, but parts are still useful nonetheless.
- London Anti-Fascists have written a useful list of things to do before a demonstration.
- “The Case for Protest Anonymity” by the Network for Police Monitoring.
- The Occupied Times’ advice on avoiding mass arrest.

Media and publicity

- Seeds for Change guide to dealing with the media.

Security

Very comprehensive (if a few years old now) guide on general security for activists and campaigners from Activist Security, including advice on phones (never send texts!), computers, infiltrators and police attention. Also a useful guide on meeting up in pubs and other public spaces.

Getting the message out

- Lots of anti-fascist groups have sections on their blogs, websites and Facebook pages with resources that can be downloaded and printed off (e.g. Brighton Antifascists)
- There are also many sites like Active Distro, Pozor Distro and SabCat that produce anti-fascist stickers and posters that your group could buy and distribute.
- There are lots of recipes for wheatpaste online, some of the best are on WikiHow. Urban75 have written an “essential guide” on how to flypost once you’ve got the paste ready.
- Once your group is established, it’s always worth getting a Facebook, Twitter and blog going to get the message out online. But remember, keep it secure and professional

An example of inventive flyposting.

How to Raise Money

- Seeds for Change guide on fundraising.
- Some groups make applications to activist funds such as the Edge Fund and XminY.
- If you get a blog up and running, stick a Paypal “donate” button on it, you never know, you might get a few quid!
- Some groups lauch online funding appeals using sites like GoFundMe and IndieGoGo.

Prison (just in case!)

- A survival guide to prison written by a former inmate.
- An LDMG and GBC guide for those potentially facing prison
- An article on ‘Preparing for prison’ written by a long-term prisoner
- ‘Preparing for prison’ from the Activists Legal Project
- The Anarchist Black Cross support anti-fascist prisoners: London ABC / Bristol ABC / Brighton ABC

Forming An Antifa Group: A Manual

Anti-fascist groups, often called “antifa,” are popping up all around the United States, and a number of people have asked us for advice on forming a group. Because antifa work is different from other forms of radical organizing, and because the antifa groups themselves are changing, we have written down some of our suggestions, based on years of experience. However, this article has been written in a very fluid political situation (February 2017), and some of these specifics may or may not be relevant in the coming months and years.

This essay covers a number of points, including: the advantages, disadvantages, and obligations of working under the anti-fascist banner; questions involving anonymity and visibility, both in person and online; self-defense and firearms; working with problematic people and dealing with infiltrators; state repression; and actions to take as anti-fascists.

WHY“ANTIFA”?

The first question is: Why are you forming an “antifa” group? The label has advantages and disadvantages, and you should consider this before adopting it. The antifa name gets you a certain level of brand recognition and built-in credibility, but it also includes certain obligations and distinct disadvantages.

If the purpose of your group is to do public organizing where your members are clearly identifiable—organizing anti-Trump rallies or supporting refugees and immigrants—using the antifa label and the traditional antifa symbols will likely lead to blowback that could be avoided by naming your organization differently. “Las Cruces United Against Racism” will not draw the attention that calling yourself “La Cruces Antifa,” and using traditional antifa symbolism, will.

DISADVANTAGES

The primary disadvantage is that fascists will try to identify members of your group and cause you physical harm. Staying as anonymous as possible is the easiest way to minimize this. Members’ pictures may appear on white power websites with any personal information they can find, and many anti-fascists have been injured, even killed, doing this work. If you are exposed, you will also be remembered by fascists for several years. (Keep in mind that anti-fascists who are not white men have been targeted more heavily by fascists: women garner greater online harassment, and people of color have been singled out in fights.)

OBLIGATIONS

If you form a local antifa group, you will be expected to do a few things:

1) Track white nationalist, Far Right, and fascist activity. Your group will be expected to document fascist groups and organizing in your area. This means gathering information on who is doing what, and knowing the makeup and key players of the various groups that are active. Once information is verified, antifa groups periodically release this information in a publicly available format. It is also crucial to alert any intended targets about specific threats you find while doing research.

2) Oppose public Far Right organizing. If the Klan or the National Socialist Movement hold a public rally, if AltRight speakers come to town, or if the Daily Stormer holds a meet up, you will be expected to organize a counter-demonstration. If they hold postering or sticker campaigns, you should not only take down their materials but also put up your own; public outreach campaigns should likewise be countered.

3) Support other anti-fascists who are targeted by fascists or arrested for antifa-related activities. This could include supporting regional groups, or organizing benefits and fundraisers for prisoners and injured comrades.

4) Build a culture of non-cooperation with law enforcement. If you have any intention of working with the police, FBI, or other agencies; or if you publically condemn anti-fascists who break the law: don’t call yourself an anti-fascist. The cops will be Trump supporters; do not collaborate with them.

VISIBILITY

Both the authorities and fascists will be interested in your group’s membership, so you should consider the question of public visibility carefully before you start. We strongly recommend against antifa groups being organized using the open, public model of most contemporary activism because of the risk of infiltration. If an emergency situation—such as responding to fascist public event—calls for public meetings and a traditional mass organizing activist model, this should be kept separate from the long-term group structure.

In fact, we recommend that you stay anonymous both while forming and until your first action. Anonymity is your best defense, and you should keep it intact as long as you can. Develop your group, get on the same page, and decide what you want to focus on. Also, note that once groups are formed, it’s very difficult to change the type of person who is in the group. Whether this is about gender, age, race, or counterculture—it will be hard to alter later on.

Use a “closed collective” model: this is a membership-based policy with no open meetings. Don’t allow new people to walk in off the street. Instead, develop a process for researching and vetting people who want to be involved.

One extreme option is to function as a group but not give yourself a name, and not tell fellow activists what you are doing. Once you have a name, fascists will try to figure out “who is in the group.” Not having a public face makes your actions even more anonymous. If people are being targeted, for example after a conflict with fascists, a publicly known group will draw attention first. If there is no public presence, or no formalized organization with a name, this will complicate the process of identification and retaliation.

Consider using a cell model whenever possible, in which one member meets with others when required. For example, you might need a public face to talk to other groups, club owners to convince them to cancel Nazi bands, to meet people to receive information they don’t want to share online, orto table at events. To limit exposure, make sure one person is designated as the semi-public face, even if they never admit they are a group member. This limits how many people can be exposed.

ONLINE PRESENCE

As part of staying anonymous, you should carefully manage your online presence. We recommend only using Twitter; it limits the amount of personal information you expose and makes tracking your connections more difficult. Facebook presents numerous, major risks for the security of your members and supporters.A recent doxxing of “antifa” was the result of information bigots culled from people who had interacted with an antifa facebook page. The targets were not even antifa, just sympathizers, but they were identified via facebook.

Websites imply that your group is more legitimate, and should be used especially if you want to doxx local fascists or put up group statements. Again, if you don’t have a group name, you may choose not to have any online presence.

Individual members, when possible, should get off social media, especially facebook, altogether. Where they don’t, they should maintain strictly separate personal and political accounts.

SELF-DEFENSE

Antifa groups engage in self-defense work. While most antifa work does not involve direct confrontation, and the amount of confrontation varies from group to group, sometimes it is necessary. Your group members and the supporters around you should be prepared.

We recommend regular martial arts training for anti-fascists, as well as for the larger radical community. It’s a good place to meet people who are serious about this.

Find out what the laws are in your city and state about a variety of self-defense weapons and make sure to practice with, and carry, everything that is legal— whether that is pepper spray, retractable clubs, or other devices.In some cases, what is legal to carry for self-defense is considered assault with a weapon if used in an offensive capacity. Laws vary community by community and ideally a lawyer should be consulted regarding this.

GUNS

A word about guns. Ask yourself: Can another weapon suffice instead of a gun? If you do choose to own guns, engage in regular practice. A gun can give you a false sense of security and if you’re not in practice, you’re more likely to be injured than if you don’t have one. Keep in mind that gun shops and range owners themselves are often connected to right-wing political groups.

If you choose to engage in firearms training, make sure everyone understands basic gun safety—as well as local laws—when it comes to owning, transporting, and potentially using firearms.

Above all, don’t front with images of guns unless you own and are ready to use them. Which is better: to pretend that you have guns and then have one pulled on you when you are unarmed, or for fascists to try to roll on you without realizing you are armed?

However, if right-wingers have been threatening people in your area with guns, or have already shot people, we recommend you arming yourselves immediately and getting concealed carry permits, where possible. For more information, see “Know Your (Gun) Rights! A Primer for Radicals.

MANIPULATORS, BIG MOUTHS, LOOSE CANNONS, AND PROVOCATEURS

A diversity of people are joining the anti-fascist movement today, which both strengthens it and broadens its base. However, people may float into your circles who put your core goals and membership at risk, and so here are some warnings:

1) Some people use the antifa name as a way to promote their specific political views, especially members of some ideologically driven left-wing groups. If someone is more interested in recruiting people to their own group than doing anti-fascist work, get rid of them.Same with someone who seem to be interested in being publicly identified as antifa so they can gain public acclaim. Real antifa strive to remain anonymous—that’s what the masks are for!

2) Insist on mutual respect. Some people will be more interested in identity politics than others, and some people will be new to all of these discussions. This diversity is a healthy development, but establish a minimum level of respect that must be observed for all group members. Disputes over patriarchal behavior tore antifa groups apart in the 1990s. Work to create a culture of mutual respect and support that can also help bring in new people.

3) Avoid those who insist you must “follow their leadership” because of their identity, or who lay out a preset plan based on experiences from a decade or more ago. The Far Right threatens a broad range of identities. Also, this is a new situation, and nobody knows what the correct course of action is.

4) Be wary of people who just want to fight. Physically confronting and defending against fascists is a necessary part of anti-fascist work, but is not the only or even necessarily the most important part. Macho posturing and an overemphasis on picking fights and physical combat can be reckless, un-strategic, and unnecessarily dangerous for your group.

5) Drop people who have loose lips and openly talk about illegal actions around people they don’t know, or who pressure newer and younger people to engage in illegal activities. Antifa work is intense and potentially dangerous: We face threats from both the state and the fascists. If someone in your group likes to brag and talk about various illegal actions they have done or plan to do, especially when they are in public settings (including meetings or people who aren’t in the core group), quickly remove them.

Be particularly vigilant against anyone who attempts to pressure young or new members to carry out actions that might put them in unnecessary danger. This is a classic provocateur move with the potential to bring a group down.

Make good group dynamics and security culture part of your chapter’s inner dynamics and when people make mistakes, remind them in a good way that they have done so. For those that can’t get with the program, show them the door.

INFILTRATORS

Over the years, we have dealt with a variety of infiltrators. Sometimes they are random contacts. Sometimes they are fence sitters in the punk rock and skinhead scenes who are known to people in both fascist and anti-fascist circles. On one occasion, a black man tried to get involved with antifa groups, but ended up being affiliated with a neo-Nazi party and was feeding them information. AltRight supporters in particular can be from the same social demographic as many left-wing activists, and have infiltrated several meetings and demonstrations, including January 2017 planning meetings in DC before the protests at the inauguration. You will have to screen out and deal with them.

If people contact you and ask to meet, ask yourself: Do you need to meet with them? Vet them first. Consider asking them to show ID or reveal other personal information before any in-person meetings.

STATE REPRESSION

The state sees anti-fascists as an enemy. Activists will be monitored and the state will not hesitate to jail people. Until now, U.S. antifa have been spared the harsh repression that the animal rights and radical environmental direct action groups received, which included terrorism charges, long sentences, and harsh prison conditions. However, because Trump is allied with the AltRight, this has the possibility of changing soon, and antifa may face increased targeting on a federal level.

In the past, police tended to show up in large groups at public demonstrations to prevent clashes between antifa and racists. This may no longer be the case (as happened in Anaheim in February 2016), or police may start openly taking the sides of racists in public conflicts. This happened in Seattle in January 2017 when an AltRight supporter shot an activist at a demonstration; police refused to arrest the shooter.

Prepare legal support ahead of time; make sure you know a lawyer who is willing to represent anyone who is arrested.A trial lawyer, if necessary, can be found later. Get used to doing political prisoner support.Many anti-fascists are in prison around the world, and they would like our support now.Remember: It may be your turn later. Contribute to the International Anti-Fascist Defense Fund, and apply to it if members need financial help with legal, medical, or other expenses.

POLITICAL ORIENTATION

The anti-fascist movement has come from multiple theoretical currents; it is based on an agreement on tactics, not ideological uniformity. In the U.S., most activists are anarchist, although a few are Maoist or anti-state Marxists. (In other countries, the movement is predominately Marxist.) There is a general agreement to live and let live regarding political disagreements that would be divisive in other activist circles.

Other than tracking and countering fascists and white supremacists, it’s your choice what your group wants to focus on. Some antifa groups pay a varying level of attention to other radical right-wing forces, such as the anti-immigrant movement, the Patriot and militia movement, Islamophobes, Men’s Rights Activists, homophobic organizers, etc. Regarding what radical movements you actively support, it’s also your choice who you want to make your ties to. Today, this is commonly to Black Lives Matter and other activism against police oppression of the Black community, immigrant and refugee movements, work with prisoners, and Rojava solidarity work.

Working with other groups can be challenging. It is not uncommon for liberal activists to immediately smear anti-fascists as violent thugs who delegitimize their movement, and others will be willing to inform the authorities if they suspect illegal actions are being taken. However, a few will be sympathetic—and we have run into a number of people who privately have told us they were antifa in the past and understand the need for this approach.

However, in general we have found that, unless there is an existing relationship with a more mainstream organization, they will almost always reject collaboration if you approach them as an antifa group. It’s best to build relationships prior to any request for working together, or if this can’t be done, to approach them under a different name (“Las Cruces United Against Racism”). In general relationships with Black Lives Matter and immigrants rights groups have been positive. However, be sure that any conflicts with fascists are done in a way that does not draw police repression onto these activists: keep a separation in time and space.

On the national level, your group can affiliate with the Torch Network if you are in agreement with their points of unity: www.torchantifa.org.

TAKE ACTION!

Now that you have a group, what do you do?

1) Establish an online presence

If you are a public group, establish an online presence. Again, we recommend limiting this to a webpage and/or twitter. If you make a facebook group for an event, make sure you set the invite list to private: many people have been doxxed based on information from invites. For some more ideas on basic online security, see: https://itsgoingdown.org/time-beef-defense-against-far-right-doxxing.

2) Start monitoring

Find out about your local Far Right groups and collect information about them, including organizations, names, pictures, addresses, and work places. These can include AltRight activists, KKK, Nazi skinheads, neo-Nazi parties, suit-and-tie white nationalists, anti-Semites, Islamophobes, anti-immigration activists, Patriot and militia groups, and others. The SPLC’s Hate Map lists groups by state, although it will be incomplete. You can also look at established national groups such as Identity Evropa and the Traditionalist Worker Party and see if they have local chapters in your area. Also, reading reports by other anti-fascist groups may give insight into who is recruiting in your area.

3) Stickering and wheatpasting

If racist groups are stickering or flyering in neighborhoods, organize patrols to tear them down. Use a scraping tool, as there have been occasional instances of razors being placed behind the stickers. Create anti-fascist stickering, flyering, wheatpasting, and graffiti campaigns of your own.

4) Doxxing

After doing your research, present information about racist organizing in your community. The information you release should present enough information to convince an average reader that the target is clearly a racist. Information should include, if possible: a picture, home address, phone number, social media profiles, and employment information. Be sure to include organizational affiliations and screenshots showing concrete evidence of racist and fascist views. Follow up the doxx with a pressure campaign: call their work and try to get them fired, and inform their neighbors through flyering or door-to-door campaigns.

When you present your intel, you’ll have showed your hand, however, and generally it’s difficult to collect more after that. Also be aware that you will enrage your target by naming them: you might have been ignored as a public group for a year doing antifa stuff, but once you refer to a local racist by name, they will fixate on you.

Make sure your intel is correct. You will lose credibility and create unnecessary enemies if you list a home address or work place that the fascist is no longer associated with. The majority of research can be done online, but some things can only be verified in the real world.

5) Event shutdowns

Pressure venues to cancel racist or fascist events. Make sure you have your dossier on the subject prepared beforehand to present, as the first question will always be “How do you know they are a racist?” Approach venues with a friendly phone call, as often they are not informed about the politics of events at their space. However, if they don’t cancel immediately, they will almost always need to be pressured. Collect phone numbers, emails, and social media contacts and call for a shutdown. (We have found that it is helpful to make easily sharable graphics and short videos.) Threaten a boycott of the venue if they event goes on, and follow through on this. In Montreal, one racist concert was cancelled after antifa physically blocked the entrance.

6) Self-defense trainings

Set up an antifa gym or regular self-defense trainings. Some groups set up two parallel ones: one mixed gender, and one women/trans/gender non-conforming folks. In addition to providing skills, trainings are good ways to increase confidence and meet new people. (An antifa gym network exists in Europe.)

7) Events: benefits and tabling

If your group has a public presence, table at events with anti-fascist literature, stickers, buttons, patches, etc. This is particularly important in cultural scenes where fascists are recruiting, to help organize resistance to them, as well as to reach out to new participants and pressure fence sitters.

If you have a friendly political situation, throw benefits to raise funds. Concerts are a favorite, but be creative! The anti-fascist movement is going to need a lot of money, and it’s better to collect it before rather than after it’s needed. Also get in the habit of having letter writing nights and doing other support work for anti-fascist and related political prisoners. Consider donating to the International Anti-Fascist Defense Fund, which collects funds for prisoners around the world.

8) Demonstrations

If racists are having public rallies, organize mass demonstrations against them with allied groups who are willing to work with you. You can also join other demonstrations, such as Black Lives Matter or for immigrants and refugees, with antifa flags and banners—though he sure to be respectful of the organizers and not get in front of their message. Take photos with antifa banners, blur the faces, and put them on social media.

In general, antifa work should be a certain set of practices within the broader radical movement against white supremacy in particular, but hierarchy and oppression in general. Antifascism is not a stand-alone ideology; it is a piece of a whole, just as prisoner support is. Fascists, after all, don’t just threaten people of color—they also are against Muslims, Jews, LGBTQ people, immigrants and refugees, feminists, leftists, etc. Make sure that antifascism is a part of the other movements in our society towards liberation.

SECURITY CULTURE & INTERNET SAFETY

Especially if you are new to the kinds of activism where police and others may be targeting you, be sure to familiarize yourself and your comrades with security culture protocols, and to implement online security measures, from the start. It’s common for groups to be more open early on and closed in later; try to avoid this dynamic by starting out with your cards close to your chest, and keep playing them that way throughout the game.

It is best that individual members leave social media. This is a double-edged sword, but it will provide more protection if antifa avoid facebook and similar platforms.

Also keep in mind that some security measures are primarily aimed at keeping you anonymous from the fascists, but might not do much to shield you from the deeper resources of the state. The FBI has much greater surveillance resources than the local police, who in turn have more resources than your local white power crew.

Some applications that can help you with security include Signal (text and calls), KeePassX (password manager), TOR (internet browser), Pad.riseup.net (“real time collaboration of text documents”), Jitsi.org (web conferences), PGP (email & document encryption), Mailvelope (encryption for webmail),OwnCloud (alternative to dropbox and googledocs),and PowerBase (database solution). In addition, spend some time removing yourself from search directories.

An extended discussion of security culture and digital security is beyond the scope of this primer, but starting points have been included in the reading list below.

FURTHER READINGS

GENERAL SECURITY CULTURE

Security Culture: A Handbook for Activists

What is Security Culture?

Security Culture for Activists

DIGITAL SECURITY

How to Trump-Proof Your Electronic Communications

Digital Security Tips for Protesters

Security in a Box: Digital security tools and tactics

YOUR PHONE IS A COP: An OpSec/InfoSec Primer for the Dystopian Present

YOUR PHONE IS A COP 2: Getting Arrested with Your Phone

Time to Beef up Defense Against Far-Right Doxxing

Speak Up & Stay Safe(r): A Guide to Protecting Yourself From Online Harassment

How to Remove Yourself From People Search Directories

ANTIFASCIST NEWS AND ANALYSIS

It’s Going Down

Anti-Fascist News

Three Way Fight

Idavox / One People’s Project

ANTIFA PRISONERS

International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund

Global Antifa Prisoner List

ORGANIZING RESOURCES

TORCH Antifascist Network

Affinity Groups: Essential Building Block of Anarchist Organization

#TrumpTheRegime: Resources and Ongoing Resistance to Trump and the Far-Right

Bloc Party: How to Join the Resistance Interview & Zine

Recipes for Disaster: An Anarchist Cookbook

How to set up an anti-fascist group

Resources for anti-fascist action

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no-right-turn-small.pdf2 MB
howtoantifa-revised.pdf3.38 MB
In general, antifa work should be a certain set of practices within the broader radical movement against white supremacy in particular, but hierarchy and oppression in general. Antifascism is not a stand-alone ideology; it is a piece of a whole, just as prisoner support is.
It's Going Down

Things you can do to build resistance to raids and the hostile environment

(For tips on what to do if you see an immigration raid, see here)

We are a loose network and believe that resistance best comes from the grassroots. We also think that the most effective resistance to immigration raids can take place locally, as we usually don’t know in advance where raids will take place. We’re not looking to “bring people in” to us, to become another mass organisation. Instead we’d like to see lots of autonomous groups forming and feeling empowered and confident to take action themselves. We aim to provide materials, advice and information to support this.

There are currently an average 12 of immigration raids per day across London, leading to unknown number of individuals being snatched from their homes or places of work and bundled off to detention centres where they await deportation. Raids, however, can be made unworkable through combined efforts and different tactics. Here we list possible initiatives and ideas based around different interests or skillsets which we would love to see people taking on and developing.

Many of these things are already happening – we just need a lot more of them! Others are long-running ideas that have yet to come to fruition. Feel free to get in touch if you would like any advice or information to support your initiative.

COMMUNICATIONS

We feel it’s essential to develop communications tools to support resistance among people who live or work in areas affected by raids. To this end, you could:

– Develop a small-scale secure communications infrastructure to share alerts (neighbourhood, local businesses, network of friends, a market, a targeted workplace). This could be an instant messaging group, or text alert system, or something else altogether.

– If you’re technically-savvy, why not look into developing an app for people to share raids alerts securely? Some have already been trialed in various countries – we can send you links to these if you get in touch.

IN THE WORKPLACE

If you think that your workplace is at any risk of being targeted by Immigration Enforcement – either looking for staff, service users, clients, or customers – it can be a critical area within which to organise. Discuss the issue with colleagues you trust and come up with a plan.

Depending very much on the nature of the workplace, this could be:

– Agreeing a response plan in the event of a raid, for example, some colleagues helping others leave the premises while others stall at the door.

– Make sure your colleagues know that they can refuse entry to immigration officers, as officers rely heavily on consent alone to raid a property. If they’re in possession of a warrant or an Assistant Director’s letter, they can force entry. Be aware of the risk of “arrests by appointment", particularly if you and your colleagues have a bad relationship with your employer, or if you’re in the middle of an industrial dispute.

– You may want to organise your own messaging group, particularly if you work in a large-scale or mobile work place, or if the work is spread across different sites (such as a courier company).

– You might want to present your bosses with a statement (signed by as many workers as possible), setting out your position on non-collaboration. This might be that you collectively refuse to carry out a specific task being asked of you (such as to check or report the migration status of a person), or that you simply won’t participate in any functions of immigration control.

– If you work in administration and data entry for sectors being pushed into collaborating with the Home Office, you could ‘forget’ to enter certain data, such as addresses, or in the case of GP surgeries, use the practice address instead. See the Doctors of the World Toolkit for more on this.

– If you work in the NHS, check out Doctors of the World’s ‘Safe Surgeries Toolkit’ for ideas on what you can do to prevent information being handed over to Immigration Enforcement, and get involved in the Docs Not Cops campaign.

– If you’re a student, parent, teacher or lecturer, have a look at the Schools Against Borders for Children campaign against the use of the Schools Census for immigration purposes, and check out Unis Resist Border Controls.

SHARING INFORMATION

– We encourage you to get in contact with us via Twitter when you see a raid happening (@antiraids, copy in @LCAPSV), so that we can spread the word. If you don’t have Twitter, consider calling someone who does and ask them to message us. Always include the exact time and location that you spotted the raid.

– If you work for or were recently employed by the Home Office, or you work(ed) for another agency that is required to collaborate with Immigration Enforcement, we would love to hear from you. All communications will be kept confidential, and you can communicate with us securely using our PGP key if you prefer.

– If you know anyone or any businesses directly at risk of being raided, send them our know your rights information.

– If you know anyone working in a sector being brought into the fold of immigration control (NHS, schools, universities, homelessness charities), send them information relevant to those areas (links above). Similarly, if you are active in resisting the extension of controls into these areas and have information on developments that we could share, please get in touch.

– If you feel confident in giving workshops to groups at risk of raids, involving role plays and basic ‘know your rights information’, you can use the following slideshow as a guide (notes included): http://slides.com/antiraids/deck

GRAPHICS & TEXTS

Images are essential! Clear images help communication across barriers of languages and literacy. We have found that while some stall visitors may not want to pick up a wordy leaflet, they’ll happily take an informative poster they can stick on their toilet door. We will share most posters and graphics submitted to us on the site (if in doubt please get in touch first).

– Create & share images, infographics, posters, or stickers against snitching and collaboration with immigration control, encouraging migrant solidarity, and resistance to immigration raids.

– Write up your experience of challenging immigration enforcement so that we can add it to our ‘Confronting the Raids’ series to inspire others.

– Get out into the streets: print out and put up posters (flyposting guide here), stickers, graffiti, stencils etc. Note that some of these things could constitute a minor offence, so be careful. See here for some posters you can download and print.

LANGUAGES

If you have skills in a language spoken by those affected by raids (see the languages our materials already translated on our side for a guide), then you might be particularly well placed to do street-based outreach, workshops and translations. We welcome help in translating and proof-reading the ‘know your rights’ cards into other languages, and are still looking for translators for the Igbo and Tigrinya versions. We are also looking for proof readers for the Yoruba version. Get in touch if you are interested in translating information or posters, as some translations might be more pressing than others.

PRINTING

If you have access to cheap printing so that we can print leaflets, pamphlets, or A3 colour posters, please let us know.

LEGAL SUPPORT

We’re always looking for input from lawyers who are familiar with the powers of immigration officers and the intersections between immigration and public law. Please get in touch if you’d like to help us develop more materials. Note that we consult with multiple legal heads before we publish anything.

STREET-BASED OUTREACH

Whether it’s running a regular stall, leafleting in the street or going round from shop to shop, you can use any of our materials to do so, or develop your own. Get in touch if you would like any of our ‘know your rights’ cards (shown in the pic above) or leaflets.

Over the past couple of years, groups have held weekly stalls in Deptford, Peckham, Haringey and Whitechapel. If you are interested in starting a local stall your own stall or group, we recommend that you check out our principles, as we promote and support groups that agree with these principles. So, for example, we do not promote party-political or other hierarchical groups. If you are still interested after having read this, then the best thing to do is probably to contact your local anti raids group and visit their stalls.

It’s also worth checking out this guide to starting your own Anti Raids group.

RESIST RAIDS!

Fight back against raids when you see them happening. See here for ideas on how.

BE PROACTIVE

We don’t just have to wait for ‘racist vans’ to enter our neighbourhoods, we can also follow them when we see them on the move. Have a look at where your nearest enforcement base is and consider organising protests there.

We encourage you to get in touch before you start working on some of the above projects, as we have been actively working on many of the areas outlined above and are aware of the practicalities involved.

There are currently an average 12 of immigration raids per day across London, leading to... individuals being snatched from their homes or places of work and bundled off to detention centres... Raids, however, can be made unworkable through combined efforts and different tactics.
Anti-Raids Network

Tools for Building Tenant Power: Tactics Vol #1

Chicago-based Autonomous Tenants Union (ATU) presents a booklet on tactics that can be utilized in a variety of struggles.

By necessity, ATU’s work often centers around talking to tenants about their “rights” as given to them by the legal system. In our organizing, these rights are referred to as the shield. A shield can protect you, but it cannot win a fight for you. Your rights often can only protect you if you have access to a lawyer, and can fail you on a judge’s whim. You need something more — you need the sword.

We offer this zine in hopes that the tools within will help folks to go on the offensive and fight back against their landlords. Because even when the law and the courts ultimately work to serve the landlord class, the power of tenants united will prevail.

Contents

call-in campaign…..…..4
delegation…………….. 6
flyering…………………8
press conference….……10
postcards………………12
banner drop…………..13
alderpeople……………14

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ATU Tactics Zine v1 Print English.pdf1.61 MB
ATU Tactics Zine v1 Online English.pdf1.61 MB