Strategic direct action and civil disobedience such as strikes, sit-ins and occupations can expose injustice, slow down or stop harmful practices and win specific demands. Below are some direct action groups and campaigns you can join or support. All of them are independent from corporate political parties and use nonviolent tactics and democratic decision-making. We also provide some excellent tools and resources for organizing creative and effective protests and direct actions.

Featured Video: The video to the right is a ten minute documentary by Mutual Aid Media on the Tar Sands Blockade, a group of activists and landowners in Texas who have built a campaign to stop the Keystone XL pipeline.

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Time To Focus On Stopping Tar Sands, Not Just KXL

Tar sands plant in Alberta

Thanks to the courageous and indefatigable efforts of pipeline fighters everywhere, the tide has finally turned on Keystone XL. As it becomes increasingly clear that Keystone XL’s northern leg is not going through, it is time to set our sights on ending all tar sands exploitation. The Obama administration’s latest election year delay on Keystone North is not a victory, but the dominoes continue to fall. Earlier this year, a citizen lawsuit denied TransCanada a route through Nebraska. Last month, it lost its permit through South Dakota. Now it faces a gauntlet of “Cowboys & Indians” vowing to stop it in its tracks. . . .We need to heed the indictment of the tar sands industry issued by Ponca Nation matriarch and grandmother Casey Camp-Horinek of Oklahoma: “We’re suffering from environmental genocide from this extractive industry.”

The Time For Burning Coal Has Passed

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“People have gathered here to tell their politicians that the way in which we used energy and our environment in the 19th and 20th centuries is now over,” says Radek Gawlik, one of Poland’s most experienced environmental activists. “The time for burning coal has passed and the sooner we understand this, the better it is for us.” Gawlik was one of over 7,500 people who joined an 8-kilometre-long human chain at the weekend linking the German village of Kerkwitz with the Polish village of Grabice to oppose plans to expand lignite mining on both sides of the German-Polish border. “It’s high time to plan the coal phase-out now and show the people in the region a future beyond the inevitable end of dirty fossil fuels” – Anike Peters, Greenpeace Germany They were inhabitants of local villages whose houses would be destroyed if the plans go ahead, activists from Poland and Germany, and even visitors from other countries who wanted to lend a hand to the anti-coal cause. The human chain – which was organised by Greenpeace and other European environmental NGOs – passed through the Niesse river which marks the border between the two countries, and included people of all ages, from young children to local elders who brought along folding chairs. At least 6,000 people in the German part of Lusatia region and another 3,000 across the border in south-western Poland stand to be relocated if the expansion plans in the two areas go ahead.

Petition Of 90,000 Signatures To Be Delivered To Detroit Mayor

Water is a human right

A press conference will be held on Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 11:00am in front of the Spirit of Detroit located outside of the CAYMC, where we plan to deliver over 90,000 signatures to Mayor Duggan, and Governor Snyder via Emergency Manager Orr. In an attempt to preserve the moratorium on water shut-offs, a group of Detroit residents and civil rights attorneys filed court documents over the weekend asking a judge to immediately block the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) from terminating water service to any occupied residence, and to require the restoration of service to occupied residences without water. The ACLU of Michigan and NAACP Legal Defense fund are serving as expert consultants in the ongoing litigation. Instead, the moratorium ended on Monday, August 25, 2014 and a hearing linking the shutoffs to the policies of the Emergency Manager and the rulings of the bankruptcy judge will be held at the bankruptcy court on September 2, 2014 at 8:30am. “Without a continued moratorium on water shutoffs, thousands more Detroiters, mostly low income children, seniors, and disabled, will immediately be at risk for shutoff,” says Alice Jennings of Edwards & Jennings, P.C., counsel in the lawsuit, “A comprehensive water affordability plan, a viable bill dispute process, specific polices for landlord- tenant bills and a sustainable mechanism for evaluating the number of families in shutoff status or at risk for shutoff, is necessary prior to lifting the DWSD water shutoff moratorium.”

Beyond The March: Direct Action Planned For UN Climate Summit

People participating in a 'flashmob' ahead of the U.N.climate change conference in Copenhagen.

The People’s Climate March on September 21st is not the only activity going in NYC around the UN climate meeting. A website is being developed, Beyond the March, that will be a hub for direct action being planned during the week of the UN Climate Summit. We’re pleased to see this aspect of planning because direct action, especially on the days of the summit, is an essential ingredient for the movement combating the UN’s sell-out to corporate interests on climate. Below is information on how this is developing and how you can get involved. The website will grow as plans develop. Also planned during the UN meetings is the Global Climate Convergence which seeks to bring people together on September 19-20 to continue to build a united movement for action on climate change as well as an agenda for which the movement should advocate. The direct action support hub connects working groups in the areas of media, medical, legal, research, art, outreach, and tactical coordination to action groups performing direct actions during the week of action around the UN Climate Summit in NYC. This allows for action groups, from both in and out of town, to plug into a larger structure to get support for their actions—allowing them to be coordinated in a way that makes the subsequent actions bigger than the sum of them individually.

Protesters March On West Side After Fatal Police-Involved Shooting

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About 500 people marched on the West Side this evening to protest a police-involved shooting that claimed the life of an 18-year-old man on Sunday. Roshad McIntosh, 18, was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai Hospital after being shot by police at about 6:30 p.m. on the 2800 block of West Polk Street in the Lawndale neighborhood, officials said. Tonight, a crowd of people marched to the Harrison District headquarters, 3151 W. Harrison St. and then ended their journey through the neighborhood in a vacant lot right next to the two-story apartment building where McIntosh was shot. Police said he was armed. Organizers rallied the crowd from one of the back porches with chants through loudspeakers like “WHO ARE WE! WE’RE CHICAGO!” Tio Hardiman, the former head of the anti-violence group CeaseFire Illinois, was one of the speakers.

Judge Denies Cove Point Permit, Will Feds Step In?


An August 6 court decision handed down by Calvert County Circuit Court Judge James Salmon could put Dominion Resources’ timeline for its proposed Cove Point liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility in jeopardy. Salmon ruled that an ordinance exempting the Lusby, Md.-based LNGproject from local zoning laws — Ordinance 46-13 — violated both a section of a state Land Use law, as well as Maryland’s constitution. The facility will be fueled by gas obtained via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”). In the ruling, Judge Salmon described the zoning exemption as “a very unusual situation.” In 2013, the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners and the Calvert County Planning Commission carved out both LNG export and import facilities from zoning laws. “To my knowledge no other municipality or county in Maryland has attempted to do what the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners has attempted to do, i.e. completely exempt two uses from being covered by zoning regulations while requiring everyone else in the County to abide by those regulations,” wrote Salmon.

Profiles Of War Tax Resisters

Mideast Palestinians-Living Under Blockade

Cathy Depp (August, 2013) had her first run-in with the IRS as a direct result of refusing the federal excise tax on telephone service, which was increased by President Lyndon Johnson to help pay for the war in Vietnam. Although LBJ said we could have guns and butter too, we would have to pay for both. My husband and I were University of Illinois graduate students, living on next to nothing anyway but both determined our tax dollars should fight a different kind of war — the “war on poverty” Johnson had promised to wage. As conscientious objectors, we were part of a growing movement to resist the war through refusal to fight for it and refusal to pay for it. [read more] Aanya Adler Friess (June, 2013) has been resisting war taxes since the 1960s. At age 86, she no longer attends meetings on a regular basis, though she lives below the taxable income level. She discusses war tax resistance with activists from the organizations that make up Albuquerque’s Peace and Justice Organizations Linking Arms (PAJOLA), of which she is a founding member. [read more] Andrea Ayvazian (February, 2013). When asked about who I am, how to introduce myself, I fumble around and use some or all of these words — I am the proud mother of Sasha Klare-Ayvazian (now 24); I am a woman of faith, a long-time activist for peace, social justice, environmental sanity, and an anti-racist world; I am an ordained pastor in the United Church of Christ, a former Quaker, a singer, songwriter and poet. [read more]

People In Los Angeles Demand Information On In-Custody Deaths

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Community activists continue to push the Los Angeles Police Department for transparency after two unarmed men died within days of each other as a result of violent stops by LAPD officers. But to date, no information has been given. Ezell Ford, 25, and Omar Abrego, 37, died on August 11 and August 2, respectively. Police placed a “security hold” on the autopsy reports of both men on August 15, meaning neither report will be released to the public until the hold is lifted. As of now, the LAPD has not released the names of the officers involved. The deaths happened within blocks of each other, and community outrage coincided with civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri after police there shot unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown to death on August 9. Anger in Los Angeles has taken the form of peaceful marches and rallies seeking legal action against the officers involved. Keyanna Celina and community members rally in front of LA District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s office on Thursday, August 21, demanding criminal charges for LAPD officers that killed unarmed Ezell Ford and Omar Abrego. (Photo: Bethania Palma Markus)Keyanna Celina and community members rally in front of LA District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s office on Thursday, August 21, demanding criminal charges for LAPD officers that killed unarmed Ezell Ford and Omar Abrego. (Photo: Bethania Palma Markus)”It’s an outrage and a disgrace; they’re abusing their power,” said Keyanna Celina from the Coalition for Community Control Over the Police. “There’s nothing democratic about a family being denied the autopsy report and the officers’ names.”

Americans Protesting The Use Of Drones By Police

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Community activists Thursday held a rally at City Hall against the recent acquisition of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – or drones – by the Los Angeles Police Department. According to the LAPD, these small aircrafts can only stay in the air for about 20 minutes and would have limited use in certain circumstances, such as hostage situations. KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reports about a dozen protesters with the Drone-Free LAPD/No Drones, LA! campaign staged a demonstration across from LAPD Headquarters downtown. The group first called for limits on the use of drone technology by the LAPD in an Aug. 20 letter (PDF) addressed to Mayor Eric Garcetti. “We believe the acquisition of drones signify a giant step forward in the militarization of local law enforcement that is normalizing continued surveillance and violations of human rights of our communities,” said coalition spokesman Hamid Kahn. The letter addressed to Garcetti referred to potential “mission creep” in using drone surveillance technology in partnership with programs such as the Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) program, which the group claims “has resulted in the openings of thousands of secret files on people engaging in perfectly innocent behavior.”

Block The Boat Campaign Continues In Washington State

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At 6:30 a.m. bright and early on Saturday morning we joined hundreds in solidarity with Palestine in a community picket to stop the Zim Chicago ship from unloading its cargo at the Port of Tacoma. This action came in the wake of a recent victory, when 2,500 Oakland activists blocked another Zim ship for four days with help from the ILWU longshore men. “This is actually a call that came from Palestine Civil Society to boycott Israeli companies that are funding the Israeli occupation and war crimes in Gaza and Palestine,” said Amin Odeh from Voices for Palestine. Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. is the biggest cargo shipping company in Israel, and 10th largest in the world with total revenue of $3.7 billion in 2013. Friday night the Zim boat was delayed from coming to port in Tacoma, costing the company approximately $500,000. Blocking the boat puts a dent in the profits being sent to power Israel. After three weeks of heavy shelling and bombing in Gaza by Israeli forces, people around the world can no longer stay quiet and complacent. More than 5000 homes were destroyed, and the death toll has reached over 2,000 Palestinians, including 450 children killed and almost 10,000 wounded. UNICEF estimates that 373,000 Palestinian children have had direct traumatic experiences from the attack and will require psycho-social support.

Minneapolis UPS Workers Protest Shipments To Missouri Police

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A dozen part-time UPS workers took protest action after discovering ties between Missouri law enforcement and a company whose shipments they handle each day. Some of us removed the company’s packages from trucks that would deliver them to law enforcement. Others, in solidarity, refused to ferry these packages to their intended trailers. Others posed with a sign reading “#handsupdontship.” The phrase “hands up, don’t shoot” has come to symbolize protest over the police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed, black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri. We decided we could not be silent while our work was contributing to the militarized violence that police are directing at Ferguson residents in the aftermath of Brown’s death. ‘Urban Street Violence’ Law Enforcement Targets is based in Blaine, Minnesota. The company produces cardboard, steel, and plastic shooting-range targets. Some feature photos of people for police to practice shooting at.

Rally At DOJ For Mike Brown & Against Police Brutality

Ferguson protest DC 8-23-14

On Wednesday, August 27 at 4pm, activists will rally outside the Justice Department to call on the Attorney General to help secure justice for Michael Brown and the people of Ferguson, Missouri, as well as an overhaul of US law enforcement tactics in order to stop police brutality and the militarization of our police forces. The rally speakers will feature the following legal experts and community organizers: Institute of the Black World President Ron Daniels, No FEAR Coalition leader Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, No FEAR Coalition Director of Communications Kevin Berends, Nathan Sheard of CODEPINK, Matthew Fog of Bigots With Badges, Veterans For Peace National President Patrick McCann, Reverend George Gilbert, Attorney Nkechi Taifa, and Ayanna Gregory. After the rally, the group will march to Busboys and Poets on 5th & K St NW to attend “Ferguson and Beyond – The Way Forward,” a town hall meeting on police killings of black men which begins at 6:30 PM.

Protests Intensify Over Police Shooting Death Of Michael Brown

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The Chinatown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. reverberated chants and cries Saturday night as over a thousand protested the police shooting of Michael Brown. Brown an unarmed Black youth, was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. It marked the forth-major local protest in the District since the shooting death two weeks ago. The National Black United Front and the Answer Coalition were among the groups organizing the march. Among their demands were the prosecution of Darren Wilson, an end to police brutality, a stop to racial profiling, and a review of the demilitarization of local police forces across the country. The protestors’ objective was to shut down the major economic center and to force Chinatown businesses to focus on injustices of police brutality against minorities. “We need to change our spending habits,” said Kymone Freeman of We Act Radio. Freeman cited several corporations, which contributed to a legal fund that was set up to raise money for the officer who shot Michael Brown. “We need to identify targets we can hit in the pocketbook,” Freeman said.

Protestors Lock Themselves To Pipeline Trucks To Stop Pipeline Expansion

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At about 7:30am this morning, two men locked their necks with bicycle U-locks to a pipeline construction truck, immobilizing it, as it was exiting a Precision pipeline storage yard at 3565 East Lakeville Road. This action has resulted in a back-up of trucks that have been blocked from exiting the pipe yard. At the time of this writing, there is a police presence around the two persons locked to the truck as well as dozens of other supporting protestors. Precision Pipeline, who runs the pipeline storage facility, is hired by Enbridge to expand Line 6B. In 2010, Line 6B ruptured in Marshall, MI spilling over 1 million gallons of toxic tar sands and diluents into Talmadge Creek, impacting 40 miles of the Kalamazoo River. Four years later, Enbridge states that the Kalamazoo River is the cleanest it has ever been while dragging its feet in clean-up efforts. Simultaneously, Enbridge states that the river will never be completely clean, and has meanwhile been expeditiously expanding the 6B pipeline system to carry a higher capacity of tar sands oil. Acting to disrupt Precision Pipeline, 20-year-old Duncan Tarr and 21-year-old Dylan Ochala-Gorka, both Michigan residents and organizers with a group called the Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands (MICATS), demand a halt to Enbridge’s expansion of line 6B as well as restitution for those still suffering from effects of the 2010 tar sands disaster.

All Out For Detroit To Defend Rasmea Odeh!

Defend Rasmea Odeh

A Palestinian woman, Rasmea Odeh, was arrested at her home this morning, Oct. 22, by agents of the Department of Homeland Security. She is charged with immigration fraud. Allegedly, in her application for citizenship, she didn’t mention that she was arrested in Palestine 45 years ago by an Israeli military court that detains Palestinians without charge – a court that has over 200 children in prison today and does not recognize the rights of Palestinians to due process. Judge Paul D. Borman removed himself from the case of Palestinian community leader Rasmea Odeh. Earlier this month, the judge stridently denied a defense motion calling on him to step down. The motion claimed that his life-long support for the state of Israel—whose arrest, torture, and conviction of Odeh for alleged Jerusalem bombings in 1969 is at issue in this case—would not allow for a fair trial. Odeh has pleaded not guilty to the charge of Unlawful Procurement of Naturalization, and vehemently refutes the Israeli convictions, which were based on a forced confession after extended periods of vicious physical and sexual torture.