Workshops teach students how to organize for political action
April 15, 2009 4:34 PM
Amid the usual Wednesday bustle of the Malcolm X Plaza, a group of students gathered to discuss responsible and effective civil disobedience.
Led by long-time political activist David Solnit, the Non-Violent Direct Action workshop discussed the procedures of political protest and what activists should expect when practicing non-violent activism.
"This country is in crisis on a bunch of different levels so we desperately need students and everybody to start figuring out how to organize effectively, build movements that sustain themselves, and win," said Solnit, author of "Globalize Liberation: How to Uproot the System and Build a Better World."
Non-Violent Direct Action is just one of 10 different workshops during Spring into Action on April 15, a full-day event intended to hone student's organizing skills for political action.
Solnit employs role-playing in his workshops to demonstrate the complications activists might encounter while on duty. Participants practiced pain compliance holds, pressure points, simulated arrest, and active resistance.
The workshops are a product of Campus Organizing Roundtable on Empowerment, a student-run organization aimed to mobilize students against budget cuts.
"It's one thing to just think about it on your head, but when you actually have to do it hands-on with the people you are organizing with it makes you so much more prepared for what you're going to encounter," said Keller, a member of Campus Organizing Roundtable on Empowerment.
Other activism workshops touched on topics including the SF State's 1968 student strike, Marxism, community and campus organizing, and labor and human rights; each one pertaining to actions necessary to thwart further cuts to California education.
"We are just connected by the sheer fact that we are against the budget cuts," said Keller.
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