Tactical Advice from an Experienced Political Organizer

Some good ideas to apply to your political organizing, courtesy of Sarah Schulman (an incredibly successful lesbian rights street activist/artist who has spent 30 years dealing with this crap):

1. “One of ACT UP’s most important principles was simultaneity of action. ACT UP never worked by consensus, never demanded the full agreement of all its members for any individual action to go forward. […] As long as the gestures were concrete, members didn’t try to stop one another from addressing the crisis however they felt was right.”

2. “One rule [of the Lesbian Avengers] was “If you have an idea, you have to carry it out.” No one could passively sit back and say, “Someone should . . . ” Second was the principle “If you disagree with something, propose a better solution.” […] Nothing increases panic in the middle of an emergency like theoretical discussion without application — it is both paralyzing and polarizing.”

3. “We operated with the understanding that if a tactic had not worked in the past, we shouldn’t try it again. This precept may sound logical, but it is difficult to obey; there is a tendency to gravitate toward the known even when its problems are apparent.”

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