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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Organizations and Direct Action Campaigns
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Why The Movement To Opt Out Of Common Core Tests Is A Big Deal

A school bus passes a sign encouraging parents to refuse that their children take state tests on Monday, April 13, 2015, in Rotterdam, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

It was evident that the state would be far below the 95 percent federal participation rate as soon as the 3-8 English Language Arts tests began. When math testing started, the numbers climbed higher still. In the Brentwood School District, a 49 percent opt-out rate for ELA rose to 57 percent during math tests. These rates defy the stereotype that the movement is a rebellion of petulant “white suburban moms.” Ninety-one percent of Brentwood students are black or Latino, and 81 percent are economically disadvantaged. Brentwood is not unique–Amityville (90 percent black or Latino, 77 percent economically disadvantaged) had an opt-out rate of 36.4 percent; Greenport (49 percent black or Latino, 56 percent economically disadvantaged) had an opt-out rate that exceeded 61 percent; and South Country opt outs (50 percent black or Latino and 51 percent economically disadvantaged) exceeded 64 percent. New York’s rejection of the Common Core tests crosses geographical, socio-economic and racial lines.

300 Indigenous Protesters Stage Brisbane City Hall Sit-In

Protesters occupy Brisbane's City Hall to object to the closure of remote Aboriginal communities. Photo: Supplied

Around 300 people stormed into Brisbane’s City Hall on Saturday night and staged an old-fashioned sit-in to protest the forced closure of indigenous communities in Western and Southern Australia. The surprise action followed a rally in King George Square on Saturday after indigenous groups under the banner SOS Blak Australia took to the streets of Melbourne and Sydney to protest problems in indigenous communities. A person familiar with the protest groups said the protests were organised on Facebook and Twitter and attracted 10,000 people in Melbourne and 3000 in Brisbane. “It is indigenous groups around the country all based around the forced closure of indigenous communities in Western Australia and possibly Southern Australia,” the protester said.

Human Rights Observers To Investigate IMF Privatization & Abuses

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It’s now almost six years since a U.S.-backed coup unseated Honduran President Manuel Zelaya. Zelaya was faulted by both Honduras’s richest families and the Obama administration for steering his country out of the U.S. orbit toward Cuba and Venezuela. While those two countries had the power to defy Washington, Honduras isn’t so lucky. It houses our largest base in Central America, and wasn’t the original banana republic for nothing. Since the coup, the Honduran people have gone from bad to worse. It’s no accident that it was the largest sending country of unaccompanied children to the U.S. last year.

McDonald’s Announces Corporate Shake-Up, Workers Vow To Rise Up

At a fast-food worker strike and protest on April 15 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/cc)

On the same day that McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook announced sweeping changes aimed at “returning excitement” to the behemoth—and struggling—fast-food chain, thousands of McDonald’s cooks and cashiers vowed to descend on the the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Illinois later this month to demand higher wages, fairer treatment, and the right to organize. “We may not have a seat in the room, but we’re sure that McDonald’s will hear us when we say that its turnaround needs to include investment in and respect for its employees,” saidAdriana Alvarez, who has worked at McDonald’s for five years, and was one of 101 workers arrested at a peaceful sit-in at last year’s shareholder meeting. Her story is common among McDonald’s employees, tens of thousands of whom have taken to the streets to protest poverty wages in recent fast-food strikes and walk-outs.

Greece’s Tsipras Threatens Referendum On EU If No Deal Reached

Greek radical left unified party President Alexis Tsipras arrives for a news conference for foreign press during his visit in Rome February 7, 2014.

In a three-hour appearance on private TV channel Star TV on April 27, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke extensively about the challenges confronting the anti-austerity government led by the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA). The program began with a grilling of Tsipras by interviewer Niko Katsinikolao and ended with questions from a 50-strong audience. A lot of questions reflected growing concern that talks with the country’s creditors — mainly the “Troika” of the European Union (EU), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) — were stalled. A recent Greek poll showed 45.5% agreed with the government’s negotiating strategy (down from 72% in February), but 39.5% say the strategy is wrong (up from 28% in February). Tsipras’s appearance came after an April 24 meeting of eurozone finance ministers (the “Eurogroup”) in the Latvian capital Riga. The talks failed to make headway in negotiating an agreement over terms for releasing some of the €7.2 billion earmarked for Greece under the second Troika “bail-out” package.

Alumni Occupy Oxford Uni To Protest Fossil-Fuel Indecision

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Alumni of the University of Oxford are occupying the university in protest over its failure to divest from fossil-fuels. The University, under pressure to act on its major investments in fossil-fuels, announced today it was postponing a decision on what to do with its investments until May. Oxford University has the UK’s second largest endowment fund, valued at £855 million in 2012, with a further £2.9 billion of investments controlled by its colleges. Occupying alumni included the University’s own former Finance Director, John Clements. The BBC quoted him saying: “we are bitterly disappointed about the university’s failure to come to a decision. Oxford should be leading the move away from investment in all world-destroying fossil fuel companies to more sustainable forms of energy.”

Was Baltimore’s Curfew A Dress Rehearsal For Martial Law?

Baltimore Police make arrests for curfew violation

Video is shown of the militarized police enforcement of a civil disobedience action to enforce a curfew by National Guard troops and Baltimore Police in full riot gear. The protesters are sitting quietly after 10 PM and are surrounded by these militarized police who aggressively arrest them. The legality and effectiveness of the curfew are discussed. The panel also discusses the charges against six Baltimore police and the death of Freddie Gray as well as the circumstances leading up to the urban revolt in Baltimore after Gray was killed. Jay discusses the likelihood that the use of the National Guard and militarized police was a dress rehearsal for the use of military force during a civil disturbance which he predicts will come in future years. Jay describes the militarized policing as not justifiable for any other reason. He also describes conversations with top enforcement officials who have described similar activities in Canada as practice for when an insurrection occurs in the future.

New York City Protesters Rally On May Day For Freddie Gray

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Hundreds of people, including union members, students, socialists, immigrants and others, gathered in New York City’s Union Square on May 1, International Workers Day, calling for a higher minimum wage of $15 an hour, justice for unarmed people killed by police and an end to deportation and detention of undocumented immigrants. This year, May Day protesters in New York brought calls for an end to systemic racism and support for police accountability for the killing of unarmed civilians, especially people of color, to the forefront of the annual labor march and rally, with “Black Lives Matter” and the names of people killed by police written on signs, and chants calling for justice for the victims of police brutality or promises to “shut it down,” a mantra of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Are Baltimore’s Protests The Prelude To A Revolution?

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Nothing happens in a vacuum. The Baltimore Uprising, as it’s been dubbed on Twitter, is not just the community’s response to Freddie Gray’s murder at the hands of Baltimore police. While it may have started out that way, the anger that has exploded across Maryland’s largest city is a response to three systemic issues – staggering levels of unacknowledged poverty and persistent unemployment, the occupying military force known as the Baltimore Police Department, and the complacent and corrupt Baltimore city government. While it’s well-known that the big banks were terrorizing poor communities everywhere with subprime loans in the run-up to the financial crisis, their behavior is no more apparent than in Baltimore. Between 2005 and 2008, Wells Fargo preyed on Baltimore’s black community by targeting black churches, hoping that the ministers would convince congregations to take out subprime loans with Wells Fargo. More than half of the Baltimore properties in foreclosure with a Wells Fargo loan from 2005 to 2008 are currently vacant.

Occupy Democracy Fight Corporate Power In 10-Day Spectacle Of Dissent

Demonstrators protest in Parliament Square in front of the Houses of Parliament. (Reuters / Peter Nicholls)

As Britain braces for next week’s general election, political activists, academics and artists will occupy London’s Parliament Square for ten days in an effort to tackle corporate capture, environmental chaos and cronyism. The ten-day affair has been organized by Occupy Democracy, a social and political movement that seeks to address Britain’s democratic deficit, and build a fairer society in the process. Billed as a Festival of Democracy, the ten-day spectacle will feature workshops, artistic performances, creative direct actions and discussions throughout the election period. It will begin on Friday evening with a show from New York-based radical performance group Reverend Billy & The Stop Shopping Choir.

Co-Founder Of #BlackLivesMatter Patrisse Cullors Explains #BlackSpring

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Following the immense outcry after Freddie Gray’s death, the phrase #blackspring has spread across Twitter, representing the latest incarnation of the #blacklivesmatter movement. Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of #blacklivesmatter, joined “The HuffPost Show” on Friday and explained how #blackspring is being used to describe the longterm struggle for racial equality in the wake of the violence in Ferguson, New York City and, most recently, Baltimore. She said: Black Spring is about really looking at this moment, as not these isolated incidences. … Black people are not a monolithic group, but what we are facing is something that’s extreme — and that’s poverty, that’s homelessness, that’s higher rates of joblessness, that’s law enforcement invading our communities day in and day out — and we are uprising. And so this Black Spring is about really talking about a national uprising. We should be honored to talk about this moment.

Amidst Nation-wide Protests, Activists Declare: “Black Spring” Has Begun

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Fueled by the announcement on Friday that six police officers would be charged for their role in the tragic death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, activists are holding a national day of protest on Saturday to amplify the growing call for racial justice and end to police brutality against people of color. “#BlackSpring has begun,” event flyers announced. Last week, in the wake of Gray’s death and the local protests and police crackdown that followed, solidarity demonstrations began springing up in cities across the country, with many more expected for the weekend. “This is not a Baltimore issue. This is an American issue,” Atlanta resident James Camper, who drove ten hours to participate in the Baltimore rally, toldWashington Post reporter Justin Jouvenal. While some reports say that the day of action is being dubbed a “victory rally” after news that local police officers are being charged for Gray’s death, others say that the one instance of accountability does not erase the countless examples of discrimination and harm with impunity against Black communities.

Thousands Protest Racist Police Abuse In Israel

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Last week’s viral video showing an Israeli policeman beating an Ethiopian-Israeli soldier triggered mass protests in Tel Aviv during Sunday’s rush hour. Thousands of Israelis poured into the streets to demand an end to recurring racism, particularly within the government and police force. Some protesters, many of whom were Israeli Jews of Ethiopian descent, sat in the middle of large intersections in Tel Aviv, purposely stopping traffic to bring attention to what they say is inherent racism within parts of Israeli society. Others linked arms and led marches down streets, raising their fists and Israeli flags high above the crowd. One protester, Daniel Arefayne, told The WorldPost that it wasn’t just the brutal video that prompted him to come to the demonstration with his three young children. Incidents of violence and racism toward Ethiopian-Israelis keep happening, he said, and he’s sick of it.

[PHOTOS] One Year Later: A Celebration Of Dontre Hamilton’s Life

All photos (unless denoted) were taken by Joe Brusky of Overpass Light Brigade.

One year ago this past Thursday 14 shots forever changed Dontre Hamilton’s family and the city of Milwaukee. Much has happened since those fatal shots left Milwaukee police officer Christopher Manney’s gun. Since that day in April the Coalition for Justice has worked hard to highlight the injustices of a system that allows officers like Manney to go free. Though some progress has been made, on Thursday the Hamilton family made clear that much remains to be done. How many more mothers must face what Maria Hamilton has endured? Mothers for Justice is organizing a Mother’s Day action in Washington DC. Please join if you can, or donate for the trip here.

22 Anti-Nuclear Weapons Protesters Arrested

Anti-nuke protest 2015 Demilitarize Now

On April 28, as the United Nations sponsored Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review conference was beginning its second day, 22 peacemakers from around the U.S. were arrested in a “Shadows and Ashes” nonviolent blockade at the U.S. Mission to the UN in New York City, calling on the U.S. to abolish its nuclear arsenal and on all other nuclear weapons states to do the same. Two main entrances to the U.S. Mission were blocked before arrests were made. We sang, and held a large banner reading: “Shadows and Ashes–All That Remain,” as well as other disarmament signs. After being placed under arrest, we were taken to the 17th Precinct where we were processed and charged with “failure to obey a lawful order” and “blocking pedestrian traffic.” We were all released and given a summons to return to court on June 24, the feast of St. John the Baptist.