Living Wage Action Coalition
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Direct Action & Escalation

Intro | Types of Actions | Case Studies

A campaign is rarely successful in committees and board meetings where students sit and hear about the administration's concerted efforts to 'explore the issue'. It's likely that the administration is doing very little, and using these committees to make you feel like your campaign is moving forward. Committees may have their place, but if you really want to win a campaign you'll need to take it outside of the boardrooms and offices.

There are all sorts of actions your group can do to raise awareness and get your administration's attention (see Types of Actions for ideas!). This includes anything from guerilla theater to rallies to banner drops to sit-ins and strikes.

But before your group chooses an action, it's extremely important that you have a clear idea of the overall demands of your campaign, and who your target(s) is/are. See the Campaign Strategy section for more on determining the goals and targets of your campaign.

You should also have a clear idea and good communication with your group about what risks each action entails. Never, ever do anything your group as a whole isn't comfortable with. Never, in general, do anything beyond your personal comfort level. Be very aware of folks in your group at higher risk for harassment by the police or authority figures.

For any action, decide exactly what you want to get out of the specific action. How will the action bring you closer to the overall goals of your campaign? What do you want the administration and/or student body to do as result of your action? How will this action combine with other actions to build momentum? Start thinking about this, and check out Choosing an Action for more.

Although all actions have some amount of risk involved, you can disturb and disrupt without doing anything illegal. But whether your action is illegal or not, sometimes the police will still find a reason to bother or even arrest you... see Know Your Rights for more on police and legal matters.

If you are working on a student-worker solidarity campaign make sure to include the workers to the extent that they feel comfortable. Talk to them before you plan something and listen to what they feel and what they think. Get them involved but be cognizant of their situations including immigration status, job security, potential harassment from management or other workers. See the Worker Empowerment section for more info on struggling in solidarity with campus workers and related issues.

Finally: Don't forget to have fun and be creative! Tap into the creativity of members of your coalition and the student body at large. Infusing your actions with creative twists and turns will add excitement to your campaign and keep your administrators on their toes. Find ideas on the Creative Examples page.

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