New guides to a smarter activism

Several new guides to help activists be safer, more effective (and just know your stuff) have been released recently, so below is a brief roundup:

Squatting (Britain)

The Advisory Service for Squatters’ new handbook, brought out over the weekend, which is the first new release since the government made squatting empty residential buildings illegal. The guide is already available from Freedom Bookshop (it will be more widely available soon) and includes:

  • Your rights if you’re homeless or a property guardian
  • How to find places
  • Securing your new home
  • Dealing with alarms, owners and the police
  • How to prove a site’s non-residential
  • How to fix a place up to make it safe and habitable, including fixing water and electric
  • Defending your home in court
  • Living in vehicles

plus a great deal more.

Activist Security (everywhere)

The new ASS book comes shortly after the publication of an all-new and comprehensive look at activist security, released by Dresden Anarchist Black Cross and aimed at helping direct action activists keep safe. The guide, which goes into some depth on online and mobile phone security in particular, is practical, understandable, and a must-read for countries with repressive governments. The summary alone is sensible starting advice for dissenters pushing the legal envelope:

  • Do actions with people you trust, be honest with them but don’t gossip and brag and don’t keep more information than necessary
  • Separate your activist and your bourgeois life’s Internet identites as much as possible
  • Have meetings in inconspicuous locations without mobile phones
  • Put Linux on your computer and encrypt your data, learn to use PGP for inter-group email and build a network of Jabber contacts with verified OTR encryption for ad hoc chats
  • Learn to use TOR safely
  • Share skills, teach each other and don’t panic

Knowing your rights (Britain)

The venerable quick rights guides series from Solidarity Federation have been expanded this year, with Stuff Your Boss and Stuff Your Landlord getting updates along with a Manchester-specific update [pdf] of the excellent London Migrant’s Guide. Solfed has also produced a new pamphlet, the Office Workers Health and Safety Guide:

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The guides give quick breakdowns of your basic rights at work, as a renter and as a new incomer to Britain. Web updates are now up and printed copies can be acquired via any of the organisation’s Locals, or from Freedom Bookshop.

While we’re here, other guides which are a bit older but are well worth looking over include:

Dealing with anti-migrant raids (Britain)

The Anti-Raids Network encourages Brits to get involved with observing and disrupting the notorious UKBA’s systemically racist raids against migrant workers up and down the country, as part of the government’s ongoing demonisation of “them foreigners” and pandering to Daily Mail hatemongering. Their guide explains what to do if you see a raid, and another sectin of the site offers a guide to rights for migrants in 26 different languages.

Arrest and imprisonment (Britain, but also anywhere)

Alongside Freedom’s own short writeup on mental health and arrest, The Legal Defence and Monitoring Group offers both comprehensive and short guides to what to do if you happen to fine yourself on the wrong end of police suspicion. Prisonism, meanwhile, caters for that worst-case scenario of conviction and jail. As always, the first and most important rule of dealing with police is “no comment.”

The Libcom guides series (various)

Compiled over several years, the libcom guides cover everything from how to leaflet high-rises with anti-fascist literature while avoiding a potential kicking, to tips on street stalls and how to deal with media types.

Investigating corporations

If you want to find out about the nasty things corporations get up to, Corporate Watch have been doing it for years and really know their stuff. Last year they put all that knowledge in a guide, which they’ve released for free online — but you’re strongly encouraged to sling them a few pennies for the paper copy.

EF! Direct Action Guides

Want to try a bit of direct action? Earth First! has compiled quite the list of experience.

Related campaigning tactics: