Safety Tips for Events

Adapted from Up in Arms: A Guide to Oregon’s Patriot Movement by the Rural Organizing Project and Political Research Associates.

Event Framing

Be clear in all publicity that your event is meant to be peaceful. 

Call local law enforcement and let them know about the action. If possible, communicate with any law enforcement that you have a previous or good relationship with. Ask for a direct number to call if there are any confrontations. Assign one person to be in charge of this phone number. That person is to call the number if: 
• protesters are obstructing your event or movement to or within the event
• protesters surround or block anyone at the event
• protesters verbally or physically threaten anyone

Build your local security team. Recruit security folks who are calm, good at de-escalation, and committed to keeping everyone calm and safe. These people should not be the event organizers or play any other role in the event. 

Set up a security meeting ahead of time. Come up with your plan, talk through roles and scenarios, and exchange cell phone numbers so that you can reach each other before, during, and after the event. Here are some roles and considerations: 

•   Have at least two people who can focus on keeping eyes open at all times for any right-wing protesters or anyone lurking about. These people should visibly move between the protesters and your event, never turning away from protesters, even if it means their backs are to the event. Stay at least a yard away from any threatening people. Keep your hands up in a ready, but nonthreatening way. Do not argue or debate. Do have a few catchphrases pre-programmed, such as, “I think I understand how you feel, but this is not the place,” and “We are just going to keep things peaceful here.” 
•   Have a few people who are obviously providing security and a few others, who are less obvious, in the group. 
•   You may be followed after an event. If you are able, designate a public meet-up spot after your event, like a restaurant. Have a few security team members plan to be there for an hour afterward. Let people know this location and that they can go there if they think they are being followed.
•   Have one person assigned to photograph protesters and their vehicle license plates in an unobtrusive way.

During the Event

Have security people and/or the MC tell everyone to absolutely not engage with protesters or people looking for a confrontation. Do not talk to them. Do not shout at them. If they try to talk to you, just walk away or say, “I will not engage. Please stop talking to me.” Stay focused on your own event.

If your rally or vigil features speakers, coach them ahead of time not to stop if protesters are trying to disrupt or interrupt. Otherwise, the disrupters are rewarded and will continue. This is a situation where security’s role of keeping the protesters separated from the event is key.

After the Event

Debrief with your security team. What went well? What could be done better? If your event went without a hitch, congratulations! But do not think your security preparations were too elaborate. The presence of visible security can deter the protesters.

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2016 issue of the Democratic Left magazine.

Individually signed posts do not necessarily reflect the views of DSA as an organization or its leadership. Left blog post submission guidelines can be found here.

Data Security for DSA Members

June 27, 2017

Ack! I googled myself and didn't like what I found!

WHAT: A DSA Webinar about "Doxing"
WHEN: 9PM EST, 6PM PST

We're proud of our organizing, and chapter work is transparent for both political and practical reasons. However, there are basic precautions you can take in this time of rapid DSA growth to protect your privacy.

Key Wiki is a website that meticulously documents DSA activity and posts it for the world to see. If you're an active DSA member, likely your name is on their website. This is an example of "doxing".

As DSA becomes larger, more visible, and more powerful, we might expect that more websites like this will pop up, and more of our members' information might be posted publicly on the web.

Join a live webinar on Tuesday, June 27 with data security expert Alison Macrina, to learn:

  1. what is doxing? with examples and ways to prevent it
  2. how to keep your passwords strong and your data secure
  3. where to find your personal info on the internet and how to get it removed
  4. social media best practices for DSA organizers
  5. what to do if you've already been doxed

Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/9173276528

Call-in Info: +1 408 638 0968
Meeting ID: 917 327 6528

Introduction to Socialist Feminism Call

June 27, 2017
· 77 rsvps

Join DSA activist Judith Gardiner to explore “socialist feminism.” How does it differ from other forms of feminism? How and when did it develop? What does it mean for our activism? 9 pm ET, 8 pm CT, 7 pm MT, 6 pm PT.

Introduction to Democratic Socialism

July 06, 2017
· 17 rsvps

Join Rahel Biru, NYC DSA co-chair, and Joseph Schwartz, DSA Vice-Chair, on this webinar for an overview of what we in Democratic Socialists of America mean when we talk about "socialism," "capitalism" and the goals of the socialist movement.  8 PM ET; 7 PM CT; 6 PM MT; 5 PM PT.

  1. This webinar is free for any DSA member in good standing.
  2. You need a computer with good internet access.
  3. Your computer must have headphones (preferred) or speakers; you can speak thru a mic or use chat to "speak".
  4. If you have questions, contact Joseph Schwartz, schwartzjoem@gmail.com.
  5. If you have technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt, schmittaj@gmail.com, 608-355-6568.

DSA New Member Orientation Call

July 09, 2017
· 2 rsvps

You've joined DSA - Great. Now register for this New Member Orientation call and find out more about our politics and our vision.  And, most importantly, how you can become involved.  9 PM ET; 8 PM CT; 7 PM MT; 6 PM PT.

Running for the National Political Committee

July 11, 2017
· 4 rsvps

Join this call to hear a presentation and ask questions about the role, duties and time commitment of a member of DSA's National Political Committee. In the meantime, check out the information already on our website about the NPC.

Film Discussion: Pride

September 10, 2017
· 12 rsvps

Join DSA members Eric Brasure and Brendan Hamill to discuss the British film Pride (2014). It’s 1984, British coal miners are on strike, and a group of gays and lesbians in London bring the queer community together to support the miners in their fight. Based on the true story of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. The film is available for rent on YouTube, Amazon, and iTunes. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.

Film Discussion: Union Maids

September 24, 2017
· 11 rsvps

 

Join DSA member and labor historian Susan Hirsch in discussing Union Maids (1976). Nominated for an Academy Award, this documentary follows three Chicago labor organizers (Kate Hyndman, Stella Nowicki, and Sylvia Woods) active beginning in the 1930s. The filmmakers were members of the New American Movement (a precursor of DSA), and the late Vicki Starr (aka Stella Nowicki) was a longtime member of Chicago DSA and the Chicago Women's Liberation Union. It’s available free on YouTube, though sound quality is poor. 8ET/7CT/6MT/5PT.