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CounterAct

CounterAct

CounterAct: Building People Powered Action is a not-for-profit organisation that supports communities across Australia to protect the natural environment and work for social justice and human rights. This is done by providing training, educational resources and capacity building to support communities and activists.

The CounterAct collection on the Commons includes case studies, articles and practical checklists. Many of these resources have been written by Nicola Paris from CounterAct but the collection also includes resources from allied projects and campaigns focused on civil resistance, non-violence, direct action skills, campaigning and grassroots organising.

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Large group blocking intersection near Federation Square and Flinders Street Station in Melbourne.

Media Checklist for Actions

A thorough checklist to help you prepare for traditional and social media in the lead up to an action, including some considerations for non-violent direct actions. Download as a handy printable pdf from the box at the bottom of this page.

Front cover of Pt'Chang's Nonviolence Training Project Trainers' Resource Manual

Nonviolence Trainer’s Resource Manual

This manual aims to contribute to the body of practical on nonviolence training, and support the work of people working to increase the power and effectiveness of grassroots social movements. While it is a method for change accessible to all, to succeed, nonviolence requires organisation, discipline, persistence in the face of repression and strategic application.

Camp Walmadan Booklet

The struggle to protect James Price Point was a multi-faceted, organic campaign, fuelled by creativity, ingenuity and a fierce sense of independence and justice. The Camp Walmadan booklet gives an insight into a recent successful community campaign. It also provides a great overview of the kinds of issues to consider when organising a large scale direct action convergence.

A group of smiling protestors under a tarp shelter. A banner reads 'Coal Out, Renewables In'.

Beginners guide to a blockade camp

Many successful campaigns have based their direct action from blockade camps and include the wins against the damming of the Franklin river, stopping the Jabiluka uranium mine, and the proposed gas hub at Walmadan/James Price Point. It can be a scary thing, heading to a blockade camp for the first time. Here are some tips to get you started.

parents / carers and babies sitting in meeting

Family friendly organising

Here is a list of crowdsourced ideas on how to make meetings and activism more welcoming and inclusive for parents/carers and their families.

Photograph of students holding a banner reading 'Our Future, Our Reef, Don't Risk It'.

Live tweeting at rallies and marches

Twitter is a very useful way to share your story outside traditional networks. Increasingly Twitter quotes and photos are used to embed in traditional media, and with a small amount of effort you can get your event trending. This will alert politicians and media to your issue.

Photograph of people dressed in suits and bowler hats and brief cases walking together in front of a coal fired power station.

Affinity Groups for Non-Violent Direct Action

Affinity groups are a feature of many large scale non-violent actions. An affinity group is a small group of people (eg: 5-15) who have something in common who take action together. Groups could focus on a specific theme eg street medics or legal observers or more commonly it is a group of people that take action as a team.

Photograph of the first General Assembly of Occupy Melbourne, October 15 2011. A large gathering of people in City Square with signs.

Occupy Reflects

A collection of reflections on Occupy Melbourne. The global Occupy movement was one of the most important political events of recent history. Beginning with Occupy Wall Street in New York, the movement triggered an unprecedented wave of uprisings. Melbourne became the largest occupation in the southern hemisphere.

Photograph of protestors at the Jabiluka blockade in 1998. Features banners with 'Uranium, Leave it in the Ground'. The march is led by Mirarr elders and Peter Garrett.

Jabiluka: Fight for Country

In 2005 the Mirarr succeeded in halting the development of the proposed Jabiluka mine. It was the culmination of an extraordinary decade-long campaign which saw people across Australia and the world stand up and support Mirarr in their opposition to uranium mining on their land.

Stop Jabiluka, Stop Uranium Mining, Reclaim the Future. Symbol of a hand print on background of a nuclear symbol.

Stop Jabiluka Mine Handbook

Stop Jabiluka Mine handbook gives a fascinating insight into an important part of Australian social movement history as well as an overview of the kinds of issues to consider when organising a large scale direct action convergence. Over 500 people were arrested in the course of an eight-month blockade at Jabiluka in 1998.

Photo of protesters at Leard Blockade. Protestors have arms crossed in 'no deal' sign. There is a banner 'ANZ: Think Again'.

Facilitation at the Frontlines

This article includes reflections and tips for ‘extreme sport’ facilitation at blockades and action camps. Includes notes about logistics, comfort of participants, timing, internal organisation within the facilitation team, holding the space, and being transparent about role and power dynamics.

Cartoon penguin with a picture of a rocket approaching Pluto. Text reads: 'Brenda vs Facebook, The Truth About Cambridge Analytica

7 tips for Facebook Risk Management

Facebook is a vital organising and networking tool but presents risks for activists. Digital security can seem overwhelming but we can all get better at it. There are organisations who have done a great job of breaking the information down and giving you support to improve your practices. Start with these 7 tips.

Cartoon of two eggplants in suits and sunglasses. Text reads 'Eggplants are a key component of the surveillance state. They are always listening. Most vegetables are.'

Tools for More Secure Activism

CounterAct encourages the progressive and radical movements on the Australian continent to get better at digital privacy and security. Security culture is simply a set of practices that limits the ability for government or opponents to find out more information about you and interfere with or monitor your group. We’ve given you some tools to minimise this.

Photo of protesters at Leard Blockade. Protestors have arms crossed in 'no deal' sign. There is a banner 'ANZ: Think Again'.

Checklist for Non-violent Direct Action trainings

A checklist of some of the basic principles, and pieces of information, to include in NVDA training. When facilitation is shared among a number of people at large convergences it can be easy to miss things! This has been crowd-sourced from NVDA trainers and CounterAct training.

A group of smiling protestors under a tarp shelter. A banner reads 'Coal Out, Renewables In'.

Preparing for a Community Blockade

Here are some practical things you may like to consider in logistical preparations for a community blockade: helpful skills, action roles, and logistical preparation.

A jubilant group of people pose behind a large banner reading 'We won'. They are at the beach with sky and ocean in the background.

James Price Point/Walmadan – A Huge Win

In 2013 the people of Broome stopped the development of a gas plant and port at iconic James Price Point (Walmadan). They had substantial political and corporate interests arrayed against them but prevailed with a strong sense of community and creative strategic campaigning. This short case study shares some of the keys to success and strengths of the campaign.

A group of people stand behind a Lock the Gate banner and hold yellow triangles in the air.

Coal Seam Gas – The Ongoing Battle

The struggle between the developers of unconventional gas (coal seam, shale and tight gas), farmers and communities has struck a chord with people all over the country and has rightly been referred to by Lock the Gate as ‘the fastest growing social movement in the country’. This short case study shares some of the keys to success of the LTG approach.