Monday, February 13, 2017

F17: A Guide to the Art of the Strike

As I hope many of you have already heard, several groups and nationwide coalitions have called for a General Strike this Friday, February 17. If you haven't heard about it, please read about it on the website,, or on Huffpost, or attn:. The important things to know are the demands, which I have found mentioned in many articles, but not on the Strike4Democracy website (although they do have a different list of demand-like statements posted up). The 5 demands are:

"1. No Ban, No Wall. The Muslim ban is immoral, the wall is expensive and ineffectual. We will build bridges, not walls.

2. Healthcare For All. Healthcare is a human right. Do not repeal the ACA. Improve it or enact Medicare for All.

3. No Pipelines. Rescind approval for DAPL and Keystone XL and adopt meaningful policies to protect our environment. It's the only one we've got.

4. End the Global Gag Rule. We cannot put the medical care of millions of women around the globe at risk.

5. Disclose and Divest. Show us your taxes. Sell your company. Ethics rules exist for a reason and presidents should focus on the country, not their company."

If that doesn't provide a nice summary of things I want to protest, I don't know what does. The linked page for the strike also mentions demands for the ceasing of discrimination against marginalized communities.

It's real, it's happening, and thank goodness. Now, here's a guide to a good ol' strike. I'm not necessarily a pro, but definitely seasoned. My guide here includes guidance from my own experience, coupled with recommendations from the Strike4Democracy website. This is intended for anyone to use both on Friday and in approach to any general strike day. I have a feeling there will be quite a few in the coming months. Here are my tips for the art of strike:

be aware of demands

Do your research on what's being asked for and make sure you agree! If you are going to a protest march, come aware of the issue the march has to do with and with an opinion on the position of the marchers, and on the issue in general. This might seem obvious, but I've met a lot of people who've joined protests "just because". If you happen to run into a march, ask someone what's going on. Get informed and get involved. 

get friends to join you

No matter what type of strike-related action you're participating in, it will be much more fun and more interesting if you have company. March in protests with your friends and family, participate in boycotts with your classmates, talk to your housemate about not spending money. Get other people to get involved with you. It's good for the cause and makes your own involvement more sustainable. 

plan accordingly 
Obviously, whether you're planning to not spend any money, go to a march, or take some other type of action, your strike activity will require that you plan accordingly. This is very easy to do! Please refer to my handy dandy How to Get Things Done Guides 1 and 2 for more help in this area. Just remember to stay organized in your resistance efforts!

(my mom, my aunt, my partner, and me at the Women's March on J21st)

do your research on local actions

Subscribe to local news sources, like local pages on Facebook, and get yourself in the loop about local issues and events happening. If you live in an area where there isn't much in the way of strike activities, organize your own events, or activate from your home using suggestions from above. 

bring appropriate supplies

Yes, supplies. By this, I mean things like signs, water, snacks, and also bandanas, sunglasses, goggles, and helmets if you think things might get messy. Those last few items can be helpful in minor encounters with police brutality in the form of pepper spray or batons. It never hurts to be prepared. In addition to all these things, bring your decently well-informed opinion! And if you are not marching, things like signs or other visual displays can still be useful with the help of some very useful supplies; your camera device and a social media outlet. When in doubt, share your efforts on social media to boost your participation. This is not the only thing you can do, but it is something you can do on top of your other efforts. 

go beyond marching

Contrary to popular belief, strikes are not exclusively march-while-wearing-black-oriented (although if that's what you want to do, please, go ahead!). On Strike4Democracy's How We Strike page, they recommend skipping work or school, but also advocate for not spending any money or purchasing anything. This action in itself can create an impactful economic slowdown, and is an action available to those not able-bodied or otherwise circumstantially equipped to skip work and march in the street. The page also recommends donating money to a cause you believe in, and engaging in community service on this day. To these suggestions, I will also add ideas such as public art demonstrations, public theater, slowing down at work, calling your senators and representatives, and doing healing circles with friends to strengthen your resistance practice. Also, attend a public town hall/city council meeting if there are any around the time of the strike (heads up, Santa Cruz peeps, there's a town hall Tuesday, please come show support for our immigrant community!). These are just some of the many, many ideas out there for how to participate in a strike without marching. I like these sources for further reading. 

I hope that these tips are useful to you all and inspire you to keep resisting. If anyone has any questions about my political action experience or any of the tips I've shared above, just ask. I'll see you out here on the 17th, and in the many days to come. 



photos: 1, 2 is mine :)

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