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[1] a friend of mine is on their way to their first militant street demonstration and here's what i told them. (long thread)

before you go, talk with your friends about what youre comfortable with. its okay if that changes in the streets
[2] it's okay to decide to stick through tougher shit, it's also okay to run, so long as you're not abandoning people who are relying on you). you and the people you’re with should consciously be an affinity group.
[3] if you are the sort who feels most comfortable rolling solo, more power to you, but that is harder and more complicated both in terms of staying safe and of being useful.
[4] be very aware of peer pressure and how it's influencing you. crowds are powerful, which is cool, but it's easy to be swept along in the excitement. sometimes being swept along is beautiful. just stay within your own ethical and strategic bounds.
[5] Don't judge ppl who don't share your idea of what tactics are strategic. Your enemies are the ppl attempting to stop you from exerting power over your lives - the police - not ppl who wish to exert their power in different ways than you. Shit gets too hairy, leave. No shame.
[6] diversity of tactics is wonderful and makes our movement strong but make sure that what you're doing doesn't hurt anyone you don't intend for it to hurt.
[7] do not wear contact lenses. do not wear contact lenses.

Water is what you use to flush your eyes for tear gas and pepper spray. Fuck milk. When you get home take a cool shower with plenty of soap.
[8] keep an eye on exits at all times. this is vital. in any situation be aware of your best bet for getting out of it. personally, i dip when i see that there's only one exit left, because it means police are probably attempting to encircle the crowd.
[9] it's possible to work with a group of people to maintain an exit to help people escape. Police are slow, but they're powerful once they're in place. A crowd is nimble and fast. Play to your strengths, not to the enemy's.
[10] worst case scenario, if you as an individual need to get out, a police line can be broken by bolting through it while it is being drawn. not after (it takes a crowd of people to break through a police line after it is finished being drawn).
[11] while they're still moving, their job is “form the line” not “arrest people.” cops are powerful but simple robots who can only run one program at a time, basically.
[12] wear a mask, obviously double true right now. as for the rest of your outfit, pick between indistinguishably normal (pants, random t-shirt) or indistinguishably black bloc. (all black unmarked clothes. black tshirt as ninja mask. Cover all tattoos at the very least).
[13] you dont want to stand out at a militant demonstration; youre there to provide force, cover, or numbers, not to be seen. if your goals involve breaking laws, up your concealment game. If your goals involve providing cover to those breaking laws, up your concealment game.
[14] so that others don't stand out. note that if your plan is to break laws, you should probably look for a far more in-depth guide than this one about how to evade surveillance and identification.

have a change of clothes, especially if you are in black bloc.
[15] the police are more likely to arrest people in smaller groups or isolated individuals. approaching and leaving a demonstration are times to be particularly on guard. Often, the police wait for the larger crowd to disperse and attack or arrest those who remain.
[16] dont brag on social media until the dust clears. the dust may never clear. probably you just don't get to brag on social media. if you broke any particular law, then you never get to brag about it, not even in person. so it goes.
[17] accept it like a beautiful burden of forced humility. you know you're a badass. don't brag by omission either by being like "oh man the things i could tell you but i can't because they are illegal!"
[18] dont photograph protestors unless you have a DAMN good reason, and a plan to get out with your footage, a plan to blur all faces (and possibly rest of bodies esp if people are breaking laws). video the police, instead.
[19] Videos are used as evidence in court, so only record things that there should be evidence of. Videography at demonstrations without basically being a snitch is a pretty high level skill.
[20] consider leaving your phone in the car or maybe at home. if you do bring it, lock it with a passcode not just a PIN. Do not use fingerprint or face ID lock. At the inauguration protestors in 2017, those with androids had their phones broken into by police.
[21] phones are handy as fuck for maps and communications, so it's a bit of a tossup. If you've got a burner, bring that, without anything stored in it. If you're communicating at a demo, use Signal and set the disappearing messages to some obnoxiously fast time like a minute.
[22] have a plan for if you get arrested. this makes getting arrested less scary and less traumatizing. have someone who is keeping tabs on you, who will assume you are arrested if you do not check in at a pre-arranged time.
[23] if there is a legal support number for the demonstration, write it on your body with sharpie. if you are arrested, the outside person can do things like tell your family, make sure your dog gets walked, or harass the jail to make sure you get your meds.
[24] If you are arrested, shut the fuck up. "I am going to remain silent. I would like to see my lawyer." That's pretty much the only thing you can possibly say to a cop that will make your life better instead of worse.
[25] Many of us who live petty criminal lives are used to trying to charm or reason or polite our way out of tickets and arrests in our day-to-day life, but if this doesn't work at demos. Cops are either in just-following-orders robot mode or fury-and-fear mode.
[26] if you are vulnerable to deportation, or have a medical or teaching license, realize that the consequences for arrest are higher for you than others. if for those or any other reason you wish to take a less direct role, there is plenty of work to do be done behind the scenes
[27] the protest isn't over until everyone is out of jail. As a lawyer friend points out though, jail support isn't an opportunity to cause more disruption; the goal is to observe and monitor the courts to keep those in custody safe and ensure their quick and safe return.
[28/28] The most important thing you can accomplish at a militant street demonstration is helping keep the people around you safe. Protect each other. At the end of it all, we're all we've got.
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