General Strike USAon Sept. 11, 2008
PLANNING A PROTEST
When planning a protest,
Select Your Target
Sites for a protest must be on public property unless you have written permission to hold your event from the property owner. You can be arrested on any private property. Potential protest sites include:
- Outside State, County, City, Town, or Federal buildings
- State and County election commission offices
- Town Halls, City Halls, State Capitols
- National Media offices and studios (only on nearby public owned and maintained sidewalks, parks, and open spaces)
Protest outside local media. Local media will gladly cover your protest if you target them.
If you have a guest speaker, a PA system, or plan to plug something in get a permit.Schedule Your Protest
Select a date and time when most people in the area can attend:
- If picketing offices, the hour employees arrive and depart provides high visibility for your target audience: weekday mornings, lunch hour, quitin' time.Give yourself enough lead time before the event to sufficiently publicize and prepare your event.
Once, announced, don't change the place, date, or time.
Plan Your Protest
Good planning makes a big difference. A Logistics Coordinator can really help. Here's a partial protest planning checklist:
- Arrange for a permit (if needed) immediately. Many jurisdictions require a two-week notice or longer
- Invite speakers early (local/national politicians, radio and television personalities, political activists, celebraties, and writers). If possible, arrange to meet your event speakers personally beforehand.
- Rent or find someone to volunteer the use of a PA system (make sure you have access to electricity on site)
- Notify the police and fire departments nearest your site the week prior to your event
- Plan for set up, tear down, and clean upPut together a Press Kit for the day of the event. Include:
- A protest press release detailing the facts of the protest and describing the protest's purpose and goals
- A list of guest speakers with short biographies of each
- A list of online links providing background information on election reform, research and evidence of election irregularities, the dangers of digital voting systems, etc.
- A list of upcoming local and national events. Don't forget any follow-on meetups or events you have planned.
- Any protest contact information for follow-up and interviews
- Plan for press interviews during and immediately after your protest. Designate who will be interviewed and what message will be delivered. During the protest, seek out the press and don't let them get away without an interview. Remember to "stay on message" when talking to the press.
- Plan a post-protest "What's Next" meeting.
Publicize Your Protest
Communicating your protest is vital. Define who can get to your event. Research how to get to them. A Communications Coordinator comes in handy for managing your event communications. Here is a partial checklist:
- Email people and organizations you know or who know you. Ask them to spread the word.
- Compose and release a press release to all local media announcing your protest.
- Post electronic protest announcements and requests for volunteers on community message boards, blogs, and usergroup forums
- Make, print and distribute flyers announcing your protest (download our flyer template and modify it to suit your event). Put flyers only in permitted locations. Seek business's permission to post any flyers in or on their premises.
- Call in to local radio and television talk shows.
- Contact local political and activist organizations
- Notify union halls, civic organizations, and college campus student groups and organizationsPost-Protest Planning
Don't leave your protesters hanging. Announce at your protest things people can do after the event . Announce and hold a post-protest "What's Next" meeting. Communicate other activities happening elsewhere and the need for continued action and involvement. Remind everyone to spread the word about the state of our country and the urgent need for effective reform.
LAWFUL BEHAVIOR Return to Top
Citizen protests seeking a redress of grievances from their government are constitutionally guaranteed provided any assembly is peaceful and law-abiding. Permits are not required.
However, public rallies involving PA systems, invited guest speakers, use of electic power, and the need to prepare a public space do require a permit. Without a permit, property can be confiscated and people arrested. So, if you plan music, speakers, and supporting equipment, get a permit. Remember, many jurisdictions require a two-week lead time or more for the issuance of public site use or street march permits.
Do NOT walk in the street unless you have a permit to do so. If gathering on the sidewalks please be sure to keep an aisle open for through foot traffic and under no circumstances step in to the street unless permitted to do so by police officers. We don't want any arrests or property destruction and there are no contingencies for acts of civil disobedience at these events.
Metal poles, wooden sticks and plastic pipes that are more than 1/2" in diameter are not permitted on the Statehouse grounds even as simple sign supports. If you bring signs or banners they must either be hand-held or supported on cardboard tubes or on PVC frames made from piping less than 1/2 inch in diameter. State Troopers will approach you and order you to discard any metal pipes or wooden stakes. This is a rule they are very diligent about enforcing. Please comply with this rule so as to avoid any unnecessary interaction with law enforcement officials.
If you see some one disrupting the protest and violence breaks out, notify a police officer immediately. Do not hope it goes away or try to ignore the disturbance. Aside from the obvious safety concerns, we want the press to report the message of the protesters, not dismiss or mischaracterize the event due to inappropriate and illegal behavior. If police respond inappropriately to a situation, take photos but back off and give them their terain. Do not resist or argue or complain to the police in the moment. Move away and document the incident froma safe distance
If there are no guest speakers are at your state capitol protest, lead chants and songs. If you have a bull horn, ask the protesters to come forward and speak their piece to the assembled crowd. Monitor the language though. It is illegal to incite to riot or other illegal activities. Profanity can also end the protest if broadcast over an amplified device.
Consider composing a local or state petition calling for effective reform. Address the petition to your State Representatives and State Senators.
Before distributing the Petition to State Representatives, provide a copy of the petition document to the Secretary of State. Seek out any State Representatives you think may be supportive of the petition and ask them to accompany you in delivering it to other House and Senate members. If you have a sympathetic federal elected representative, ask them to endorse the petition before delivering it. Be sure you have a designated person to hand carry the signed document before collecting signatures.
Remember, the local press will likely want to cover your protest. Conversely, don't waste a lot of time running after national media. I have reports of national producers being threatened with termination if they cover the general strike stories.
Well ahead of your protest, visit your local newspaper and ask to speak to the local or state news desk editor. Also, try to personally visit the local television stations and ask to speak to a reporter or news producer. If you have a progressive talk radio station, do likewise (This is why a Communications Coordinator would come in handy).
For those of you planning a media blitz for any protest or activity, be advised:
- Do not send attachments. Most media outlets will refuse emails with any attachments
- Place all text in the body of the email, not exceeding 500 words. Many media outlets refuse emails in excess of 500 words.
- Do not send repeated emails with highly repetitious text or the same subject line. Most news outlets filter email for repetitious content or similar Subject Line text. If you plan an email blitz of local media, change the content of multiple emails going to one address by at least 40%. Otherwise, you are likely to just fill up a spam reject folders.
- When emailing newspapers, be cognizant of deadlines. Sunday features deadlines (Living Section, Sunday magazine, etc.) usually occur on Thursday.
- Email to a few email addresses (usually less than 50) at a time to avoid trouble with your ISP
|FLYERS, POSTERS AND SIGNS|
"Make a Sign and Show Up" worked for us and will work for you in your pre-protest promotion.Down load posters & flyers from: http://www.votestrike.comInclude URL, date, time, place & reason for action/reform. Down load maps from Mapquest to insert in flyers. Give easy to follow directions to your protest.