Protest Tips and Tricks for SF/F Creators & Consumers

The magnificent, crucial Uncanny Magazine has given me a column called #Resistance101, to talk about community organizing for science fiction & fantasy creators & consumers, and my first one is out now! Just another reason for you to support, subscribe, and spread the word about their excellence.

For starters, I wanted to keep it super simple, and give some easy & important protest tips I wish someone had told me when I first started going to a ton of actions. Here’s a teaser!

Bring water, and snacks. Don’t go overboard—you gotta carry all this stuff around, after all—but it’s good to have a Go Bag at the ready. Oreos are excellent because you can share.

Talk to people. Make friends. Possibly with Oreos! Protest is less about convincing enemies than about building power and relationships with friends, and bringing new people into the work.

Charge your devices before leaving. Bring an external battery if possible. Turn off your phone when the battery falls to 10 percent, so you save something for emergencies.

Check the weather beforehand. Prepare for temperature extremes.

Also! My so-called credentials:

I’ve been a community organizer for fifteen years. I’ve helped organize hundreds of direct actions, ranging from tame sidewalk rallies to occupations of government office building lobbies to tent cities on vacant bank-owned properties. I’ve gotten arrested in Central Park at a midnight protest; I’ve been illegally barred from public legislative hearings; I was detained by the Secret Service while protesting outside the 2004 Republican National Convention.

Here’s the thing, though. I’m not some badass fearless radical fuck-the-man kinda dude. I am the exact opposite. Abusive cop encounters as a kid scarred me for life. I started out just making signs for protests, because I like to draw. I was scared shitless the first time I stared down a line of police officers. But that only lasted a minute. Because there were a lot of us, and we were fighting something evil. That’s the first lesson: you don’t need to be brave on your own, because you will be brave together.

Posted on: March 9, 2017, by : Sam J. M.