Affinity groups are groups of people who take action together and support each other. This checklist will help you set up your affinity group well.
Choose a name for your affinity group (preferably an unusual and unmistakable word that can be shouted easily).
Share your full names, addresses, birth dates and contact persons in case of injury or detention.
Talk about your personal objectives and motivation:
- Why do you want to take part?
- What do you hope to achieve?
Talk about your previous experiences and your fears:
- What do you expect from each other?
- How do you think you’ll feel physically and mentally?
- Are there things that you’ll find difficult or easy?
- Where are your personal limits?
- How should your affinity group deal with that?
- How do you want to confront possible repression?
Consider your behaviour in specific situations:
- What do you want to do together, how far do you want to go?
- Do you have special needs before, during and after the action?
- What frightens you? What helps in that situation?
- Who can stay how long in the action?
- How do you want to behaviour towards the police?
- How do you want to behave towards other affinity groups?
- How do you react to detention: will you give your name and personal details to the police or not?
- Is it important for you that someone – or someone specific – picks you up from the detention centre?
Discuss whether you can envisage situations where you would divide or dissolve your affinity group.
Decide which two (or three) people will stay together under all circumstances (Buddies / Tandems).
Note: If buddies are of the same sex the likelihood is greater that they can stay together in case of detention.
Agree how you want to make decisions:
- Agree on signals (consent, veto, directions, need to discuss etc.)
- Practice taking fast and consensual decisions in your daily life and in the camp.
Consider who in the group will take which task
- Who can represent the group in the meeting of delegates (could be several so that you can rotate)
- Who has a mobile phone with them? Have you got the numbers of all group members?
- With whom do you want to communicate outside the affinity group?
- Who knows the area?
- Who has a first aid kit?
- Where appropriate, other tasks
Agree on meeting points before, during and after the action in case you lose each other.
Write down the number of the inquiry committee on your body (pieces of paper get easily lost and can be confiscated by the police). Call the inquiry committee each time you witness an arrest. Also, call the inquiry committee as soon as you are released from detention.*
Arrange a place and time for a debriefing session:
- How did each person in the group feel?
- What worked well, what not so well?
- Was there repression or could there be repression in the future?
Agree to contact and support each other if weeks or month afterwards you experience repression.
Write a memory log directly after the action:
- What happened?
- Was there violence by the police?
- Talk about it in your affinity group and contact your preferred legal aid group.
* Alternatives to the ‘inquiry committee’ may be the legal support team or the central organising group depending on your action context.
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