Shutting Things Down to Open Things Up.


Structure of Work

  • Critical Thinking – space, frameworks for actions
  • Case Studies -  of mass blockades, direct action campaigns, solidarity actions
  • Skills – scouting, mapping,
  • Tools  - hand outs


Political Space – physical, emotional, intellectual/mental, spiritual


Our relationship to space as a process of social change is about knowing when we can reclaim it.  Shutting things down, which opens up the space for other things to happen. 


In this workshop I want to look as what I call the Fundamentals of Organizing: Power, Interest, Strategy, Campaigns (corporate, direct action etc), Actions and Tactics.   In each of these I will keep an anti-oppression and leadership lens.  I also hope to train people on how to think about the physical spaces of our subjects- offices, homes, etc.



Goals of this Workshop

Offer inspiration, vision and ideas for what is possible

Share lesson about how change happens

Provide hands on tools and skills for shutting things down



Draft  Agenda


5              Welcome – Who I am and a bit of what we will be doing.


10              Introductions – who is in the room, who is not?


5              Review Plan for Our Time Together


20              Grounding – anger, fear, moving through space.  (snatch???)    Reclaiming and redefining political space and gaining the courage and inspiration to do and keep doing  the work we do – collective 



25              Labor History Video – 30’s and 40’s,


40              Fundamentals for Organizing:  Key Concepts / Building Blocks   (mix in some exercises)  


Case Study: Justice for Janitors  (dc and houston) slides and video?


My basic theory of social changes is dual strategy of dismantling structures of oppression while creating structures of liberation.  – every choice we makes either oppresses or liberates..


                                Power  - hassle line?



                                Campaign – corporate, direct actions, civil disobedience

                                Actions – tactics



60              `What Do You What To Shut Down?


  1. Go Round of Your Targets 

10              Case Study:  DNC and RNC – provide maps of the areas, bridge, roads, etc

              45              Scouting Exercise             

5              Brainstorm:              Build List, What Do We Want to be looking for?

  1. Exercise:  Scout and map hotel.  Come up with a basic vision for action

10              Report Backs


  1. Blockade Techniques


20              Case Study:  Global Justice Slideshow – maps, formations, evolutions Seattle, Germany G8 and a few things in - between


  1. Begin with exercises: 
  • Body blockades – hands, linked arms, sitting, carpets, blocs, clusters, gaggles, five finger
  • Devices – u-locks, handcuffs, chains, cables, sleeping dragons, tripods,
  • Things – tires, cars, trees, desks, buses, bridge chains, fences – things already in the area of your actions, construction cones, barricades etc can be helpful



40              Working Across Cultural Lines – Solidarity, Agreements, Accountability and Strategic Use of Privilege


  1. Case Studies: Short Slideshow
  • Palestine – cultural orientation/norms, stopping tanks, getting out of the way.
  • New Orleans – anti-racist /oppression training, programs,
  • Cancun  (indigenous, women, Koreans, compesinos – women’s action to open fence, buses of students, permaculture contribution
  • DC IMF-World Bank


20   Discussion Groups: who do you want to be in alliance with?   What would solidarity look

like.  Are their agreements you could imagine that would help?



10              Strategies/ Principles for Dealing with Police and Security


We often have more time than we think

They respond to Authority

There is a web of restraint we can work


Ignorance, Intelligence and Information – rights



10              Evaluation and Close