Preparing for Direct Action

So, this rolled across my screen in the memories section. I wrote the bottom half but not the top, but it is still all good information to remember if you are preparing to attend a protest or any kind of direct action.

When I saw this today, my first thought was that it was good timing. People have been in the streets all along over the last decade or two, but it is starting to get attention again. When these things get attention, they tend to grow, and tend to get more police attention as well. So, I am cleaning this post up a bit and reposting it.

So, here is a list of pointers for attending protests and direct actions. The original list (items 1 – 10) was distributed with the request that everyone distribute it as a copy and paste (as opposed to a share) without attribution. Feel free to do that now with this version.

The significance of copy and pasting rather than just hitting share (or your platforms equivalent) is twofold. First, it potentially helps to mask the source. Second, and perhaps more importantly, if an account gets taken down or a post gets deleted, and you hit the share button, then on most platforms that means your share of it disappears as well. By copying it to a new post, it makes it harder to erase the data. This is important, pass it on.

  1. Water makes pepper spray worse. Use milk or liquid antacid and water. Don’t wear contacts.
  2. If you get tear gassed, when you get home, put the contaminated clothes in a plastic bag for later decontamination and shower with cold water to avoid opening your pores.
  3. Come with friends and don’t get separated. Avoid leaving the crowd and watch out for police snatch squads.
  4. Beware undercovers, but beware snitchjacketing and collaborator ‘peace police’ even more.
  5. The far right is very good at combing through pictures and doxxing people. Mask up.
  6. Write any necessary phone numbers you may need directly on your skin in sharpie.
  7. Have an offsite plan for emergencies if you have not been heard from by X time coordinated with someone offsite.
  8. Make sure all mobile devices are charged!!
  9. If you plan on going to jail, plan it: bail, lawyer, time off from work, witnesses i.e.: a cadre. Don’t just go to jail without training.
  10. Beware folks inciting violence. Most of them are police/ feds. Watch out for hook ups for the same reason. Get to know the crowd. They will set you up.

Please don’t share this status. Copy paste it without attribution.

My personal addendum (feel free to copy this as well)

If you’ve got friends that are ex-military or have done security work, or have just been sprayed a time or two before, stay close. They will respond differently than someone being sprayed for the first time.

Also, to reiterate item 1: DON’T WEAR CONTACTS.


Pepper spray has a chance of getting in your eyes.

CS gas, if they use grenades WILL get in you’re eyes.

If you are wearing contacts, there is no guarantee doctors can save your eye. There is no guarantee that you will be allowed near a doctor before it’s too late.

Get some good springy glasses that will cling to your face and not break easy. If you can afford a gas mask, try to get some that will fit in the mask.

It’s better though to go without than to wear contacts.

This goes for journalists too. CS doesn’t discriminate, and these days neither do the police.

A Comment on Martin Luther King Day

As we head into this weekend, with the Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr behind us, and the holiday in his name ahead of us, I just want to take a moment to remind everyone that the version of MLK that you learned about in school was most likely whitewashed bullshit.

Yes, he did speak of the brotherhood of men, and peace was his preferred path. Yes, the words you will see attributed to him on posters at your workspaces were his words.

They were only some of his words though. The cherry-picked quotes were not the only things that he said.

Martin Luther King Jr was a civil rights leader in a time when most peaceful measures had already failed. He was a pioneer in many of the methods and techniques used today by groups like BLM and Antifa. He preferred peace but also spoke out in anger when it was appropriate.

Every time I hear someone use him as a cudgel to shame those who are “acting out,” I remember a simple quote:

“A riot is the language of the unheard.”

He did not die because he was the peaceful Liberal lapdog that high school history classes would make him out to be. He died because he was a strong black leader, who felt that Humanity could do better and had the gall to say so. He understood at times that, though he favored peace, it was not always an option.

This is all I am going to say for now. If I see commentary from black folk or other people of color, I will try to signal boost it where I can. People that look like me have said enough over the years about MLK (and, quite frankly, a lot of what they said was bullshit, which is a major point in my post).

In a few days is the day we remember his life. If you get a chance, take a bit of time to actually learn about his life, his ideas, his methods, and put some of it into action.

The Contents of an IFAK (Starting to Think About First Aid)

Sorry I haven’t posted anything of substance in a while. I hope to change that. Among the other things that I post will be some articles on being prepared for the environments we may find ourselves in.

To those who haven’t been watching the news for the last few years, or who have never been to a protest, some of these articles may seem a bit paranoid.

To those who have been active in the various civil rights movements for longer, some of this will seem like old news.

A big part of preparedness though is thinking through what you need to do in case everything goes to hell.

So, my first article is going to be talking about first aid kits, and more specifically what the US Marine Corp carries in their default kit.


Because we can no longer depend on the idea that the opposition will not be using firearms. We can no longer depend on the idea that the police are going to render aid or allow emergency crews to render aid if there is an injury.

The over-militarization of our police departments, on more than one occasion, has lead to the obvious result of the police treating protest situations like a warzone.

First things first, I am going to start by listing the contents of a USMC IFAK (Individual First Aid  Kit). It will be a bit dry and too the point, but by just listing it out we will have a starting point.

Better yet, it will be written in a manner that might allow you to plug different things into google or Amazon more easily.

The IFAK is a first aid kit issued to Soldiers and Marines in the US Military, though the Army and Marines have slightly different load outs. It is also an example of items to consider when you are building your own emergency first aid kit.

The USMC IFAK contains the following:

A trauma kit containing:

* Bandage, Elastic, (2 EA) (field dressings)
* Bandage, Gauze, (2 Rolls)
* Tourni-Kwik Tourniquet, One Handed, (1 EA)
* Wound Pack (QuikClot), Hemostatic Treatment, (1 EA)

A Minor First Aid Kit containing:

* Bandage, Adhesive ¾” x 3″, (10 EA)
* Dressing, Burn 4″ x 16″, (1 EA)
* Povidone-Iodine Topical Solution. USP. 10% 1/2 Fl. Oz. Bt, (1 Bottle)
* Water Purification Tablet, Iodine 8 mg., (1 Bottle)
* Triangular Bandages 40″ x 40″ x 56″, (1 EA)
* Bandage, Adhesive 2″ X 4.5″, (5 EA)

Newer kits will also contain a pain relief pack that is pretty much a heavy dose of Acetaminophen because it is one of the few pain relievers available that are not also blood thinners. This is important in a combat environment where you may be prone to heavy bleeding and might find yourself waiting a while before you get any kind of proper treatment.

Newer kits also include an occlusive dressing (sometimes with valves), designed to cover a sucking chest wound.

Combat Corpsmen (medics) and specially trained “CLS” Marines carry more extensive packs, but they are specialized medical personnel. The list above is what the rank and file Marine carries.

As we have seen over the last decade or more, any protest activity has a chance to become violent. Any protest activity that directly targets Capitalism has a very high chance to become violent. Any protest activity that directly targets racism or Fascism is almost guaranteed to get violent.

Sadly, the most violent actors are likely to be the police themselves.
With recent media activity, many police departments are trying to change this image, but they don’t seem to be doing much to change the actual overall reality of things.
Fascists and White Nationalists are also starting to wise up to the fact that when we come, we are ready to defend ourselves against them if needed.

This means that not only do we need to be prepared to deal with actual combat scenarios, but we need to be prepared to deal with the aftermath as well. When a brother or sister falls, we need to get them out of there and get them stable. The stuff in the list above may seem simple, it may not seem like a lot, but it is a set of tools that anyone can learn to use.

In short: The gauze is for dressing and packing of wounds, and the elastic bandages apply pressure.

That is the most important part. Stop the bleeding. Tourniquets are for worse cases where you just can’t stop the bleeding or they are bleeding too fast to risk it.

The first aid process can be summarized as follows:

1. Get them off the X. Get them away from what is causing the harm.
2. Stop the bleeding.
3. Apply other measures as needed.

If you have time to prepare before a protest, make sure that as many people as possible are carrying portable first aid kits that have, at a minimum, the sort of things listed above. And, make sure as many people as possible are trained to use them: Especially the plastic bandages and gauze.

If your group is organized enough to do so, also try to have people who stay back away from the front lines of the fight who can deal with more serious injuries when they arise.
I will try to go into more detail with future posts. Let me know if there are any particular topics you want me to go over.

Note: While I was writing this, I found a resource that is very much worth taking a look at. The people over at Paper Revolution have an entire page related to resources for Street Medics and those who want to become Street Medics.

Check it out at:

Remember, and they have a similar notice on their page, what I have provided here is just a starting point. It is not, in and of itself, full training. The biggest thing we can do to prepare for any situation is to educate ourselves and train.