Disruption

Organizing caravans to overcome militarization

Ruta Pacifica, a feminist, pacifist, anti-military organization in existence since 1996 organizes caravans of thousands of women in Colombia to visit regions hardest-hit by conflict. The caravans serve as a way for women from different areas to come together in support against the conflict, exchange ideas, and fight for an end to human rights abuses. As a result of the ongoing civil war in Colombia, different areas of the country have become increasingly isolated from one another, as the roads and borders between them are frequently controlled or blocked by the various armed groups. By traveling these roads, the caravans of women break through not only the physical roadblocks, but the psychological barriers of despair and isolation that allow the war to continue.

For more information on this tactic, read our in-depth case study.

Using a citizen search and seizure operation to pressure the gov­ernment to release public documents

Operation SalAMI used what it called a “Citizen Search and Seizure Operation” to pressure the Canadian gov­ernment to release a secret draft treaty that members believed could undermine human rights. The group was able to generate public condemnation of the secrecy used to shield the government and the treaty from public scrutiny.

For more information on this tactic, read our in-depth case study.

Protecting arrested demonstrators by protesting outside the police stations where they are being detained

The Serbian police made an habitual response to all actions of arresting activists. The arrests threatened to demoralize young activists and intimidate them into giving up. Otpor! (“Resistance!” in Serbo-Croatian) prepared secondary demonstrations — their “Plan B” — outside police stations to respond immediately to arrests during protest events. The police were less likely to beat or detain the activists, knowing that large crowds and a number of journalists were waiting outside for them, while the activists felt less afraid, thanks to the support they knew they were receiving.

For more information on this tactic, read our in-depth case study.

Creating a single mass expression of protest based on a simple activity that citizens can safely carry out in their own homes

The Campaign of Darkness for Light mobilized 30 million people in Turkey to flick their lights on and off as a public demonstration against government corruption. Corruption had been an open secret and yet the public felt apathetic and powerless to end it. With many citizens afraid to participate in political action, organizations needed a tactic of low personal risk that would help overcome the sense of isolation that comes with fear. The Campaign gave people an easy and no-risk action everyone could take — simply turning off their lights at the same time each evening — to show their displeasure with the lack of concerted action against corruption.

For more information on this tactic, read our in-depth case study.

Engaging religious leaders in a conversation about inclusion, and implementing non-violent direct action tactics

Soulforce Inc. uses dialogue and non-violent direct action to make local and national religious institutions more inclusive of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) members. GLBT members carry out this work, attempting to engage religious leaders in a conversation about inclusion, and creating non-violent direct action tactics when negotiations fail.

Using people with direct experience and knowledge to rescue victims of abuse

Senior sex workers play an important role in the sex trade. Most are madams or rent rooms to prostitutes who stay in the brothel. They have more spare time than younger workers and they also have a deeper knowledge of the industry. Their position of economic power within the brothels offers these senior sex workers a unique ability to influence who can be in the brothels and when they rent quarters to younger prostitutes they clarify that no under­age girls are allowed.

Using mobile phones to create a network of communication that can stop violence before it escalates

Interaction Belfast (formerly known as Springfield Inter-Community Development Project) created a mobile phone network to prevent outbreaks of violence between volatile neighborhoods in Belfast. Volunteers in both Catholic and Protestant communities are given mobile phones to communicate with their counterparts across the interface when potentially violent crowds gather or when rumors of violence start to spread.

Settling landless people on unfarmed land to pressure the government to carry out land reforms

Since its creation in 1984, the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement (Movimento Dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra, or MST) has addressed the issue of land reform by organizing large groups of landless farmers to settle and farm unused land belonging to wealthy landowners. After occupying an area MST attempts to gain the land legally through petitioning and legislation, using an article in the Brazilian constitution stating that unproductive land is available for agrarian reform.

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