Yellow Overalls Organizing Tips

by one who wears yellow overalls



It’s sometimes difficult to visualize a new tactic of civil disobedience, so the following list is meant to give one a beginners guide to organizing an "overalls" type project in ones’ community. Remember, though, it’s not just about the tactic. Yellow overalls is a philosophy of action!

1. Call for an open meeting to discuss the current and assumed future climate for direct action and civil disobedience. Show pictures and hand out information on the history, politics, and philosophy of the overalls approach, among others. Bring along a few examples of "non-confrontational" defensive protection. Assume the meeting is infiltrated, so stick to the facts, and propose nothing.

2. Propose or form, in whatever way possible (think security!), an affinity group, or a collective of individuals interested in the tactic. Order some yellow overalls (or whatever color you should so choose). Don’t be afraid to have lengthy political discussions about why, how, and when to employ the tactic. Raise the issue of "male-centered tactics". Propose ways to counter these tendencies. Be as open and as honest as possible. And men, check your bravado at the door!

3. Familiarize yourself with the successes and failures (including the more harsh criticisms coming out of the movement) of the white overalls, as it developed in Europe, particularly in Italy.

4. Start small. The white overalls movement began with just a few individuals protesting in the middle of Milan, Italy, in white overalls. Find an appropriate campaign to focus around, and don’t be afraid of the media. USE IT! Turn the power of the cameras against itself.

5. Be as clandestine as possible with the actual organizing of the thing, but find creative ways to publicize the effort. The police will most likely be aware of whatever you do (at least assume it so), therefore be alert and smart.

6. Remember, the philosophy is based on "negotiation", not reformism or "selling out". Don’t fall for the trap of the controversy between violent vs. non-violent direct action. These debates hinder, rather than clarify, political action. Learn from history.

7. Organize and make decisions anyway you like (I, nor anyone else for that matter, can say otherwise), but remember, a decentralized, anti-oppressive effort will go further in effect and security than some sort of centralized "leadership". Oh, and it’s good for its own sake. Oppression sucks!

8. Hold a "regalia" making party, invite friends over for beverages, conversation, and put together some interesting outfits. Design a helmet with a stuffed animal glued to the top. Get a hold of those "pool waders", the ducky ones. Make armour, but the kind that looks like the guy who wears the grass coat.

9. Practice different "formations" or excorsises of mini-clusters. Discuss issues of security, solidarity, and "tactical oppression". Who’s in front? Who’s holding the banner? Check your language. It’s not about a "military" thing, or "fighting the cops", but individual and group empowerment...and fun.

10. Be creative. This is a different sort of revolution than Che and Bakunin were proposing. Relax, and take your time. And for heavens sake, have fun!