Preparing for a Crude Awakening

Another day, another journey to London… this time to run a workshop to help people prepare for A Crude Awakening, October 16th’s mass action against oil. Numbers were low and it took a while for enough people to gather to run the session (on holding space creatively with everyday equipment such as bicycle locks) effectively, but run it we did.

At the end of the session, I was asked to give an impromptu interview about some of the techniques covered in the workshop. I hope it gives you a flavour of what we used the time for:

As always the focus was on safe, well-supported and effective action. All too often actions and action-training focus on ‘frontline’ activist roles and forget the vital support roles. That’s all well and good until you find yourself with both arms ‘locked’ into an arm tube and no-one there to help you eat, drink, stay safe from traffic and so on….

If you couldn’t make this chance to prepare for the action, there is another opportunity in Manchester. Alternatively, at the very least check out the following links for ideas on holding space effectively:

For working effectively with others and for possible legal implications look at


2 thoughts on “Preparing for a Crude Awakening

    • Thanks for the comment. Personally I agree with some of the points you make, and have been heard to say similar things over the years. But I don’t agree with the overall ‘frame’. I don’t find the entirely negative critique useful.Can you say something positive about the action? Can you suggest some positive alternative actions? If a newcomer thinking about Crude Awakening were to read your post it may stop them getting involved – after all it’s articulate and authoritative. So at least signpost them to alternatives…

      You’ve produced some useful videos aimed at making campaign groups accessible to newcomers. You’re in danger of playing that role you’ll know well – the ‘old guard’ group member that shoots down all new ideas in flames. So a little positivity to give balance???

      To specifics. A couple of points jumped out at me. I’ll focus on those:

      I prefer small scale affinity group action. I find it more effective and empowering. Mass actions do take a lot of energy to make happen and they do run the risk of only being a series of running battle with the police. However once in a while they actually achieve what they set out to (for example many of the Reclaim the Streets actions, the Heathrow Climate Camp mass action). When that happens it energises and enlivens the movement.

      Some newcomers will be put off, but at least as many again will be empowered, even radicalised by the action. They will have found a new language that allows them to speak of the change they want to make in the world. Do I wish that the percentage of the latter rather than the former were higher? Of course. But I’ll take equal amounts over nothing any day whilst the movement works on ways to offer better support.

      So in the absence of my perfect action, Crude Awakening over inaction every time.

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