Outside the Circle

Cindy Milstein

This Is What Community Self-Defense and Solidarity Looks Like, or Should!


This work-in-progress list is intended as counter to the rising fascism, and hopefully as an anecdote to the spineless liberalism that wants to somehow merely love fascism away. It’s one attempt to kick off a resource guide of ideas for how to practice revolutionary solidarity and community self-defense projects and counter-institutions. I’m pulling those projects and proposals I’ve seen offered by savvy accomplices across Turtle Island. Share your ideas in the comments below, and I’ll add them to this list — and then we can increasingly share, promote, and practice such strategies of survival and brave spaces. Feel free to critique or add to the ideas I’ve already shared; this isn’t meant to be a list of answers so much as, Zapatista-like, walking together while we ask and experiment.

Once there are a bunch of ideas and links to examples, maybe some graphic designer accomplices of mine can turn this into a downloadable PDF zine.

* * *

1. Organize and offer free self-defense classes, especially to folks who can’t afford them and/or are the most targeted at this historical moment

See, for one example, “FREE Self-Defense Classes for Muslims, POC, LGBTQ Folks +”:https://www.facebook.com/events/1598270597146013/

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2. Plant a garden of medicinal herbs that can be used for abortions, gender transitions, and other health/wellness (do your research or find a mentor first); use the garden for conversations, gatherings, and further self-education

(Can anyone offer a good link or two to share here on doing this, for starters?)

* * *

3. Learn how to do menstrual extractions — a simple and safe procedure for abortions — and set up collectives to offer them to those in need

See, for explanation, “Menstrual Extraction”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menstrual_extraction

(Can anyone provide me with a better, feminist link for this?)

* * *

4. Take over empty and abandoned buildings, turning them into refugee houses, homes for those without homes, social centers for organizing and agitating, DIY health clinics, freedom schools and places of popular education, or whatever your community needs and desires

See, for one example, “Refugee Squats in Athens”: http://moving-europe.org/24-06-2016-refugee-squats-in-athens/

(Other thoughts on good examples and links to share here?)

* * *

5. Never, ever call the cops, or cooperate with them, or snitch on your friends, neighbors, community, and strangers. Learn and practice other ways to deal with conflicts; learn and practice how to defend your friends and neighbors from, say, stalkers

See, for a bunch of examples, “What to Do Instead of Calling the Police”: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_Y0LwX0uOz-P63FVhV0OFkDObbBXcy16YPOcsqnBqto/edit

* * *

6. Stockpile things people might and will need when the state steals away more of our lives, and share freely, voluntarily, in your community and neighborhood

* * *

7. Provide sanctuary in your home, schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods against deportation; consider organizing toward a solidarity city

See, for one good example, “What Is a Solidarity City?”: http://www.solidarityacrossborders.org/en/solidarity-city/solidarity-city-journal/what-is-a-solidarity-city

* * *

8. Decarcerate, whenever and whenever you can, toward the abolition of prisons and the incarceral state

See, for one example, Decarcerate PA: http://www.decarceratepa.info/

See, also, one of several “No New Jails” Campaigns: https://programsnotjails.wordpress.com/

* * *

9. Set up needle exchanges and safe, clean, accessible places for people who need to use those needles; set up other DIY harm reduction projects

See, for one example People’s Harm Reduction Alliance: http://www.peoplesharmreductionalliance.org/

(Does anyone have other good examples and links here?)

* * *

10. Plan together! Gather together often in places of your own choosing and making, and plan, share, strategize

See, for one example, “Let’s Plan Together”: https://www.facebook.com/events/600973753419410/

See, for another illustration, “Only a Beginning: Informal Meet-up about Anti-Fascist Organizing”: https://www.facebook.com/events/1599976530307546/

11. Develop and build a rapid response network

See, for one example, the ongoing series titled Rapid Response Network: https://www.facebook.com/events/1826783650900082/

* * *

12. Learn to be a medic; in fact, everyone should learn and share medic skills widely within their communities; set up free clinics

See, for one good example, Rustbelt Medics

* * *

13. Offer skill shares in protecting yourself and others as much as possible from surveillance. Get and use the Signal app; get friends to get and use Signal; share other encryption and security culture aids.

See, for example, “Surveillance Self-Defense”: https://ssd.eff.org/

See also “Whisper Systems” and Signal: https://whispersystems.org/

* * *

14. Stand our ground and mutually protect our lives, earth, water, like people are doing now in Standing Rock

See, for this example, Sacred Stone Camp

* * *

15. Make, share, and post (wheatpaste, stickers, banners, graffiti, etc.) the art of resistance so as to visibilize our resistance, visions, politics, and solidarity

(Link to come, with downloadable PDFs)

* * *

16. Start, support, or join in anti-repression crews, projects, and collectives

See, for one example, Bay Area Anti-Repression Committee: https://antirepressionbayarea.com/

* * *

17. Start or join in “solidarity not charity” organizing to do varied forms of collective direct action to stop eviction or water shutoffs, or deal with extra-awful workplaces and bosses

See, for three examples, Eviction Free San Francisco, Detroit Eviction Defense, and Seattle Solidarity

* * *

18. Create, sustain, and use our own peer-to-peer and person-to-person networks for keeping each other safe, physically and mentally, so no one is alone

See, for one good example, the Icarus Project’s “You Are Not Alone; Find a Buddy”: https://goo.gl/forms/FGlKA4PhgMGs0oQD2

* * *

19. Grow food with your community, collect rainwater for all, reappropriate housing, take back and common the land, share resources and skill, start study groups, write and distro zines, set up mutual aid networks — in other words, freely share all we know how to make and do with each other, striving toward “everything for everyone, and what’s more for free!”

* * *

20. Other great ideas and links?!

* * *

#AntiFascistAction #Resistance #MakeFascistsAfraid
#CommunitySelfDefense #RevolutionarySolidarity #SideBySide

* * *

(Photo by Cindy Milstein, antifascist and anticop neighborhood in Athens, Greece, autumn 2015 — not mere street art, but strategic organizing and collective solidarity efforts.)

If you want to get word when I put out new musings, sign up at cbmilstein.wordpress.com. Enjoy, share, reprint, post, tweet any of my writings as long as it’s free as in “free water” and “freedom.”

3 comments on “This Is What Community Self-Defense and Solidarity Looks Like, or Should!

  1. maimonides13
    November 12, 2016

    Reblogged this on maldichos and commented:
    some good suggestions from comrade Milstein.

  2. Pingback: Bloc Party: How to Join the Resistance Interview & Zine | MB3-org.com

  3. Pingback: #AntifaGameJam | Matajuegos

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This entry was posted on November 12, 2016 by in Dispatches from Rebellious Spaces.
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