Blockades and actions across Australia are enjoying high levels of community support. Numbers alone are not necessarily enough. But adding direct action tactics to a well informed, challenging and potentially disobedient crowd create major headaches for the drillers and the authorities.
In some cases the atmosphere of a town fete with tents, vehicles and a bouncy castle have provided a platform for decoration and distractions that inspire others and encourage participation.
Symbolic blockades using props, signs, banners and bunting all encourage the taking and holding of space. In this case the line is holding space in front of a lorry that is blocking a site entrance.
Sitting down in the road with no intention of moving requires little equipment or preparation. It is most effective with large numbers of people. Full passive resistance is arrestable in New South Wales but here in the UK you do not have to walk away. If you can master the art of “going floppy” you will take up the time and attention of 2, 3 or more enforcers!
Putting yourself at a calculated risk is part of the art of Non Violent Direct Action. However NVDA is by no means the reserve of the young fit and able bodied.
Linking arms and legs to physically resist being moved can be effective especially if you have large numbers of people who are up for it. There is a risk of escalation if things get too physical.
The beauty of the D-lock is that it can be attached in seconds and no strength is required. Clearly stating that you have mislaid the key, you just sit there and wait for the cutting team to arrive.
Attaching to and imobilizing vehicles (your own or other peoples) with a friend to keep you company is a pleasant way to spend your day resisting in a shady spot.
Attaching in a really inaccessible place creates all kinds of problems for a cutting team. However it is essential that you have a least one buddy there to look out for your safety and well being. Initially to tell people that you are there and latterly to make sure you are not being mistreated.
Climbing machinery and structures is also very effective. Just sitting on the roof of a vehicle can be enough to imobilize it and require the attendance of a specialist unit.
Occupying tripods combines height with a large footprint allowing one person to block a road or track.
If you can lock-on at height everything gets that much more complicated.
Creating platforms in trees and even suspending platform over roads and gateways will require specialised units to remove you.
Using natural materials and found items in the location reduce the volume of stuff you need to transport and add complexity and labour to efforts to remove you.
Combining mulitiple elements and techniques increase the complexity of your blockade and adds to the spectacle.
Concrete lock-ons or “dragons” that combine concrete and a tube or hole with something you can lock your wrist to in the bottom can be used if there is nothing else to fix to.
Concreting tubes and lock-on points into a barrel that can be dropped at a gateway or on a road allows any number of people to be fixed in place.
If you have time and like digging you can start to tunnel creating a lock-on in a very difficult location.
The risks to yourself and anyone trying to get you out are self evident.
Combining a lock-on with a hole in the floorpan of a car opens up more possibilities.
The “Traumatron” comprised of a car and trailer was used at Glenugie and kept a cutting team busy for over 7 hours. 3 people were locked into the vehicle, one of them welded into the trailer. A concrete barrel was dropped through the floor of the vehicle to stop efforts to tow it away. Watch some video…
The blockades in NSW are well supported. Groups are making the most of the media opportunities that the blockades create and are using video and photos on independent blogs and websites to tell their side of the story.
It is important to remember that for every person taking direct action a raft of support roles are needed. Building support in the community around unconventional gas developments grows your numbers and makes spectacular and effective Direct Actions possible.
There are loads of great resources available for action planning and finding out more about direct action techniques. See the selection below and more on the Get Stuck In page.