Know your colleagues

If you are thinking about committing non-violent civil disobedience, or exercising your constitutional rights to free speech and expression of ideas, manifesting your dissent, participating in a peaceful protest in which you might be arrested..


Be wary of people whom you do not know. All the social justice organizations with which I work are involved in many kinds of advocacy; civil disobedience is only a very small part of the mission. If someone has not helped with the more routine, sometimes even boring, necessary labor of your group, and becomes interested in your organization only when you stage protests or plan an action that might include civil disobedience, be careful.

Would you choose to have someone who just joined your organization speak on behalf of the entire group, go to the legislature on your behalf, represent your goals to the press? If not, then do not

I would not trust the motives of a new person who is not or has not been involved in necessarily more mundane aspects of your work. At BEST, this person is naive or too new to represent your organization in this dramatic way. At worst, the person could be deliberately wishing to cause trouble.

See also:

You’ve got to know the territory
Know yourself
The things you carry

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