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Non-Violent Direct Action

Overview

Direct Action is any public event, action or process that allows citizens to directly expose an issue and bring it to the attention of the public and elected governments and thereby help to achieve social and political change. Direct actions include public meetings, rallies, marches, sit-ins/occupations, protests and blockades. Like many social movements throughout history, the anti-CSG movement in the Northern Rivers is committed to the core principle of non-violence as the key to successful direct action.

Non violent direct actions have played a pivotal role in the CSG Free campaign in the Northern Rivers by raising public awareness, mobilising support for the campaign, and clearly showing governments and the CSG industry the level of opposition to the expansion of the CSG industry in the region.

Trainings & resources

Trainings in non-violent direct action are offered peridoically across the region to familiarise community members with the history of social movements, the philosophy of non violent direct action, and their legal rights when involved in protest actions of this type. To find out about the next training check out the public events calendar

 

Check out the Code of Conduct for peaceful direct action by clicking the box to the right and read more about NVDA and your legal rights at public protests in this handout:NVDA Guidelines and Your Legal Rights at Protests (This legal information is a guide only and is no substitute for legal advice relating to your particular issue. )

You can also learn more about NVDA by looking at this prezi presentation below. Click on the arrow, let it upload, then keep clicking on the arrow to progress it.

[prezi id=’azpf_uvnjcqd’ width=’900′ height=’600′]

Buy The Activists Handbook by Aidan Ricketts
The following books, both by Northern Rivers authors, contain guidance on how to empower your community and take part in social change activism:

The Activist’s Handbook – Aidan Ricketts  If you buy from www.aidanricketts.com 10% goes towards Lock The Gate Northern Rivers

In the Tiger’s Mouth – Katrina Shields.  Available from The Change Agency or Amazon

Blockades

In their efforts to keep the Northern Rivers region free from CSG and other forms of unconventional gas, local communities and their supporters from across the region and beyond have actively blockaded coal seam gas operations in the Northern Rivers. Blockading of Metgasco’s CSG activities was undertaken continously for almost four months from November 2012 to March 2013 at Glenugie near Grafton and Doubtful Creek near Kyogle. These blockades were a remarkable coming together of communities from across the region in a combined effort to protect and defend their land, water and communities from the impacts of unconventional gas. Slideshows of these actions can be viewed on this page.

Friends in the international anti-fracking movement are also taking notice and learning from the actions taking place in the Northern Rivers and other parts of Australia. The following sequence of photos and text is from the website of the group Frack Off (some images have been substituted). These observations highlight both the creativity and resourcefulness of those involved in anti-CSG blockades in Australia and the usefulness of this type of direct action in achieving campaign outcomes when they are well organised by engaged and empowered communities and grounded in a commitment to the philosphy of non violence.

Bentley Blockade

The historic Bentley Blockade was a demonstration of non-violent direct action at its most effective and was one of the largest protest actions ever witnessed in regional Australia. For over 4 months, the community maintained a camp and blockade presence at Bentley in order to physically resist invasive gas drilling on farmland with several thousand people participating throughout the blocakde. This is considered to be the ‘pointy end’ of direct action and was built on many years of smaller protests, creative actions and smaller blockades. Constant messaging and discussion around the need for non-violence, even in the face of adversity or police violence, was critical to ensuring good relations with police.

Non-violent training workshops were regularly held, both to brief people on legal consequences of their actions, but also to demonstrate to people non-violent techniques, staying calm under pressure, and the philosophy of non-violence. It was this strict adherence to non-violence coupled with dispute resolution processes and good relations with police that allowed thousands of people to participate safely. The success of this means the Bentley Blockade is a model to uphold for direct actions, and is a tribute to the many people who showed leadership in this area.

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