Questions for a debrief after yesterday’s march (or any other action)

    During Occupy Wall Street's March 24 "Let Freedom Spring" march against police brutality, a protester's shirt is torn as police arrest her.

    1. What were the objectives of the action?

    2. In what ways were the objectives met, and to what effect?

    3. If objectives were not met, what is the cost of not meeting them?

    4. What would it really take to achieve the most ambitious stated objectives?

    5. What follow-up work is being done to ensure the action has a political impact?

    6. What role did the action play in what larger strategy?

    7. What was the intended audience of the action? Did the time, place and messaging reflect that?

    8. Was it the kind of action you’d want to join if you saw it passing by?

    9. Do you think onlookers would be more likely to side with the protesters or want to be protected by the police?

    10. Did participants seem to be aware of how their actions might be perceived by potential allies?

    On and off throughout, the march was led by this banner, held by members of OWS' Direct Action Working Group. "ACAB" stand for "All Cops Are Bastards." They chanted, "We're here! We're queer! Fuck the police!"

    11. If you were a reporter, what kind of story would you have come away with to report?

    12. What attractive alternatives were presented to the wrong being denounced?

    13. In what ways did the action reflect the world you want to see? In what ways did it not?

    14. If protesters were arrested or injured, did they do so on their own terms? Did they contribute to a narrative of empowerment or victimhood?

    15. What kinds of populations seemed most comfortable with how the action went? Least?

    Other times, this banner led the march, carried by New York City Council member Ydanis Rodríguez and others.

    16. Did the action mobilize the people most affected by the issue at hand?

    17. Would undocumented immigrants or other precarious community members likely feel safe participating?

    18. Was it an action one could bring children to? Was it advertised as such?

    19. Did the march make potential allies more or less likely to join such actions in the future?

    20. Who wasn’t there who should have been? Do you know why?

    One banner carried the demand often articulated that day: "Kelly Must Resign," in reference to NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly.

    21. Did you have an opportunity to participate in the planning of the action?

    22. Was there any messaging used that made you feel misrepresented?

    23. What venues are available for you to express misgivings about how things went in a productive fashion?

    24. Did you feel like you were able to express the reasons you participated in the action?

    25. Do you think you were heard by those you most want to hear it?

    Members of a bike bloc dressed themselves and their bicycles as NYPD and pretended to threaten and arrest fellow protesters.


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