Whack A Mole Revolution: A guide to Pop Up Occupations
Version 1.0 12/1/11 OccupySF Committee of Correspondence and 101 Tribe Affinity Group
In the past few months, we have seen our Occupations rise and fall in the face of police raids and eviction actions. The political environment has become increasingly hostile to our presence, even as we gain support and new members from the 99%. This generally translates into the removal of our Occupations as a permanent presence, the mass arrest of dozens of Occupiers and the confiscation and destruction of much of our personal property. Setting aside debates and questions on the legality and constitutional backing for our actions, this requires a change in tactics.
Maintaining a presence and offering educational and outreach experiences is extremely vital in this stage of our movement. We in OccupySF, specifically an affinity group known as the “101 Tribe”, have come up with a novel and fun tactic we want to share with Occupiers everywhere. We call this the “Pop Up Occupation”.
The idea of a Pop Up Occupation, is centered around several core concepts: mobility, visibility, novelty, and creativity. Pop Ups are mobile and are a barebones Occupation, with a tiny kitchen (mostly sandwiches and snacks), mobile library, info table and a first aid kit (unless you’re lucky enough to have a street medic in your affinity group). The mobile and small nature of the Pop Up allows you to be present in high traffic areas where it wouldn’t typically be possible to have a presence aside from a few members of your Outreach team or on the occasion of larger protest actions. The final two core concepts go hand in hand: novelty and creativity. The response to the OccupySF Pop Up Occupation has been overwhelmingly positive. People see a bunch of happy, motivated, passionate and informed protesters with fun signs and chalk drawings on the sidewalk and they approach with a smile, buy us coffee, and most importantly, have great conversations that they can take home to their friends and families and coworkers.
Pop Ups present a great face to the world for your Occupation and the movement as a whole, without vilifying or detracting from the main site. They also throw the police departments off balance, especially if there’s more than one Pop Up in action. Generally, we’re expected to have a permanent encampment and settle in an area and start erecting tents and other structures, and then satellite encampments. This throws a monkey wrench into their assumptions and response plans, as it’s just a table, some storage bins, and a bunch of sleeping bags and blankets at night, and we change spaces every few days to a new protest site. Aside from educating the public at large, it also serves to educate Occupiers on the predations and abuses of the various banks and corporations we find in our communities.
The following page is a reproduction of the 101 Tribe’s “Tips on How to Start and Maintain a ‘Pop Up’ Occupation/Affinity Group” sheet that was passed out today at the OccupySF General Assembly. Please read, reproduce and distribute this information to Occupations everywhere! This is part of the #O2 Occupy 2.0 movement. Love and Solidarity!
101 Tribe’s Tips on How to Start and Maintain a “Pop Up” Occupation/Affinity Group
Foster trust between people in your affinity group.
a) Take the time to personally get to know each other and build trust
b) Build trust by proving reliability and communicating with each other
Come together and establish a working set of guidelines that all adhere to and consent upon
a) These guidelines are naturally unspoken rules and ideals that everyone in the affinity group follows on a daily basis, but discussing and writing them down is helpful in maintaining order and welcoming and integrating new Occupiers.
i. for example: the 101 Tribe created and consensed on guidelines in one meeting. The three guidelines are:
1. When present, all Occupiers in this affinity group with participate and engage in a minimum amount of protesting (flying, making signs, manning the info table, engaging the public through think tank discussions, cleaning, etc)
2. maintaining a tolerable level of hygiene (if you can smell yourself, we probably can too!)
3. No drugs or alcohol on site and no sloppy behavior
Know your 1st Amendment Rights to assemble and free speech
a) Groups are allowed a non wooden table for information
b) Signs and sign making materials are freedom of speech
c) Vandalism of property is different than chalk and signs
d) Be aware of site lie law and what police can choose to enforce
a) 101 Tribe recommends being as mobile as possible, which involves keeping belongings in sight and keeping on site storage to a minimum.
b) Different affinity groups may have different goals as far as specific occupation site stability but be aware that if tents are erected, police will most likely commandeer property and area.
Have established daily or nightly meetings with your affinity group
a) set a time that works best for the majority of the group and discuss long term and short term plans.
Establish and set a mission and goals
a) Be realistic about goals when setting concrete long and short term goals
b) Affinity groups should be in line with Occupation goals, but can be focused on a specific mission.
Dealing with violence
a) All affinity groups should declare with redundant accessibility that NON- VIOLENCE is of the primary values of this Occupation movement. Likewise, all and any members of an affinity group displaying any violent temperament or aggressive behavioral patterns, should be reminded by those not exhibiting such characteristics, that violence and aggression are not believed to be the best, or even favorable mode for addressing issues. While also reminding any such individuals displaying such behavior that they hold the ultimate dictate of their current state of able self maintenance as well that groups and people exist who specialize in aiding such self development. Should no responsive progress in their behavioral patterns be apparent, the next suggested action is to remind such people that all who hold contrast to such contexts are fully willing to expose such behavior. The next step is getting peacekeepers involved.
Note: it is 4:16am and i should have gone to bed hours ago. i’ve been at OccupySF all day and most of the night. please forgive any spelling/punctuation/grammar errors. we’re sans scanner, so the second half of this was typed word for word via hard copy.