Direct action

Direct action originated as a political activist term for economical and political acts in which the actors use their (e. g. economic or physical) power to directly reach certain goals of interest, in contrast to those actions that appeal to others (e. g. authorities) by, for instance, revealing an existing problem, highlighting an alternative, or demonstrating a possible solution. Both direct action and actions appealing to others can include nonviolent and violent activities which target persons, groups, or property deemed offensive to the action participants. Examples of nonviolent direct action (also known as nonviolence, nonviolent resistance, or civil resistance) can include (obstructing) sit-ins, strikes, workplace occupations, street blockades or hacktivism, while violent direct action may include political violence or assaults. Tactics such as sabotage and property destruction are sometimes considered violent. By contrast, electoral politics, diplomacy, negotiation, protests and arbitration are not usually described as direct action, as they are politically mediated. Non-violent actions are sometimes a form of civil disobedience, and may involve a degree of intentional law-breaking where persons place themselves in arrestable situations in order to make a political statement but other actions (such as strikes) may not violate criminal law.[1]

The aim of direct action is to either obstruct another political agent or political organization from performing some practice to which the activists object, or to solve perceived problems which traditional societal institutions (governments, religious organizations or established trade unions) are not addressing to the satisfaction of the direct action participants.

Non-violent direct action has historically been an assertive regular feature of the tactics employed by social movements, including Mahatma Gandhi's Indian Independence Movement and the Civil Rights Movement.

Gandhi Salt March
Mahatma Gandhi and supporters Salt March on March 12, 1930. This was an act of nonviolent direct action.
Bardouxha Mont 1893-mw-c
Depiction of the Belgian general strike of 1893. A general strike is an example of confrontational direct action.


Direct action tactics have been around for as long as conflicts have existed but it is not known when the term first appeared. The radical union the Industrial Workers of the World first mentioned the term "direct action" in a publication in reference to a Chicago strike conducted in 1910.[2] Other noted historical practitioners of direct action include the American Civil Rights Movement, the Global Justice Movement, the Suffragettes, revolutionary Che Guevara, and certain environmental advocacy groups.

American anarchist Voltairine de Cleyre wrote an essay called "Direct Action" in 1912 which is widely cited today. In this essay, de Cleyre points to historical examples such as the Boston Tea Party and the American anti-slavery movement, noting that "direct action has always been used, and has the historical sanction of the very people now reprobating it."[3]

In his 1920 book, Direct Action, William Mellor placed direct action firmly in the struggle between worker and employer for control "over the economic life of society." Mellor defined direct action "as the use of some form of economic power for securing of ends desired by those who possess that power." Mellor considered direct action a tool of both owners and workers and for this reason, he included within his definition lockouts and cartels, as well as strikes and sabotage. However, by this time the US anarchist and feminist Voltairine de Cleyre had already given a strong defense of direct action, linking it with struggles for civil rights:

...the Salvation Army, which was started by a gentleman named William Booth was vigorously practising direct action in the maintenance of the freedom of its members to speak, assemble, and pray. Over and over they were arrested, fined, and imprisoned ... till they finally compelled their persecutors to let them alone.

— de Cleyre, undated
West Germans Demonstrating - Flickr - The Central Intelligence Agency
A protest against the newly built Berlin Wall during the Cold War in 1961. It would be torn down in 1989.

Martin Luther King felt that non-violent direct action's goal was to "create such a crisis and foster such a tension" as to demand a response.[4] The rhetoric of Martin Luther King, James Bevel, and Mohandas Gandhi promoted non-violent revolutionary direct action as a means to social change. Gandhi and Bevel had been strongly influenced by Leo Tolstoy's The Kingdom of God Is Within You, which is considered a classic text that ideologically promotes passive resistance.[5]

By the middle of the 20th century, the sphere of direct action had undoubtedly expanded, though the meaning of the term had perhaps contracted. Many campaigns for social change—such as those seeking suffrage, improved working conditions, civil rights, abortion rights or an end to abortion, an end to gentrification, and environmental protection—claim to employ at least some types of violent or nonviolent direct action.

Some sections of the anti-nuclear movement used direct action, particularly during the 1980s. Groups opposing the introduction of cruise missiles into the United Kingdom employed tactics such as breaking into and occupying United States air bases, and blocking roads to prevent the movement of military convoys and disrupt military projects. In the US, mass protests opposed nuclear energy, weapons, and military intervention throughout the decade, resulting in thousands of arrests. Many groups also set up semi-permanent "peace camps" outside air bases such as Molesworth and Greenham Common, and at the Nevada Test Site.

Environmental movement organizations such as Greenpeace have used direct action to pressure governments and companies to change environmental policies for years. On April 28, 2009, Greenpeace activists, including Phil Radford, scaled a crane across the street from the Department of State, calling on world leaders to address climate change.[6] Soon thereafter, Greenpeace activists dropped a banner off of Mt. Rushmore, placing President Obama's face next to other historic presidents, which read "History Honors Leaders; Stop Global Warming".[7] Overall, more than 2,600 people were arrested while protesting energy policy and associated health issues under the Barack Obama Administration.[8]

In 2009, hundreds blocked the gates of the coal fired power plant that powers the US Congress building, following the Power Shift conference in Washington, D.C. In attendance at the Capitol Climate Action were Bill McKibben, Terry Tempest Williams, Phil Radford, Wendell Berry, Robert Kennedy Junior, Judy Bonds and many more prominent figures of the climate justice movement were in attendance.

Anti-abortion groups in the United States, particularly Operation Rescue, often used non-violent sit-ins at the entrances of abortion clinics as a form of direct action in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Voluntarist activist Adam Kokesh being arrested after a nonviolent protest against the Iraq war in 2007

Anti-globalization activists made headlines around the world in 1999, when they forced the Seattle WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999 to end early with direct action tactics. The goal that they had, shutting down the meetings, was directly accomplished by placing their bodies and other debris between the WTO delegates and the building they were meant to meet in. Activists also engaged in property destruction as a direct way of stating their opposition to corporate culture—this can be viewed as a direct action if the goal was to shut down those stores for a period of time, or an indirect action if the goal was influencing corporate policy.

One of the largest direct actions in recent years took place in San Francisco the day after the Iraq War began in 2003. Twenty-thousand people occupied the streets and over 2,000 people were arrested in affinity group actions throughout downtown San Francisco, home to military-related corporations such as Bechtel. (See March 20, 2003 anti-war protest).

Direct action has also been used on a smaller scale. Refugee Salim Rambo was saved from being deported from the UK back to the Democratic Republic of the Congo when one person stood up on his flight and refused to sit down. After a two-hour delay the man was arrested, but the pilot refused to fly with Rambo on board. Salim Rambo was ultimately released from state custody and remains free today.

In the 1980s, a California direct action protest group called Livermore Action Group called its newspaper Direct Action. The paper ran for 25 issues, and covered hundreds of nonviolent actions around the world. The book Direct Action: An Historical Novel took its name from this paper, and records dozens of actions in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Human rights activists have used direct action in the ongoing campaign to close the School of the Americas, renamed in 2001 the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. As a result, 245 SOA Watch human rights defenders have collectively spent almost 100 years in prison. More than 50 people have served probation sentences.

"Direct Action" has also served as the moniker of at least two groups: the French Action Directe as well as the Canadian group more popularly known as the Squamish Five. Direct Action is also the name of the magazine of the Australian Wobblies. The UK's Solidarity Federation currently publishes a magazine called Direct Action.

Until 1990, Australia's Socialist Workers Party published a party paper also named "Direct Action", in honour of the Wobblies' history. One of the group's descendants, the Revolutionary Socialist Party, has again started a publication of this name.[9]

Food Not Bombs is often described as direct action because individuals involved directly act to solve a social problem; people are hungry and yet there is food available. Food Not Bombs is inherently dedicated to non-violence.

A museum that chronicles the history of direct action and grassroots activism in the Lower East Side of New York City, the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space, opened in 2012.


Destroying fences at the border by the AATW, 2007

Principled nonviolence is a positive force in its own right and involves active concern for the well being of the opponent even while resisting the latter's actions. Mohandas Gandhi's teachings of Satyagraha (or truth force) have inspired many practitioners of nonviolent direct action. In his first book, Stride Toward Freedom, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. described the basics of nonviolence, saying that it

1. ... is a way of life for courageous people...,
2. ... seeks to win friendship and understanding...,
3. ... seeks to defeat injustice not people...,
4. ... holds that suffering can educate and transform...,
5. ... chooses love instead of hate...,
6. ... believes that the universe is on the side of justice.[10]

Applied strategically to his campaign for civil rights, Dr. King wrote in his Letter from Birmingham Jail that "Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks to so dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored."[4]

Some activists describe their actions as "nonviolent" when they forego physical violence, even though they may not be concerned with the other's well-being.


Violent direct action is any direct action which utilizes physical injurious force against persons or, controversially (see below), property.[11] Examples of violent direct action include: rioting, lynching, terrorism, political assassination, freeing political prisoners, interfering with police actions, armed insurrection, and arguably property destruction.

Ann Hansen, one of the Squamish 5, also known as Vancouver 5, a Canadian anarchist and self-professed urban guerrilla fighter, wrote in her book Direct Action that,

The essence of direct action ... is people fighting for themselves, rejecting those who claim to represent their true interests, whether they be revolutionaries or government officials. It is a far more subversive idea than civil disobedience because it is not meant to reform or influence state power but is meant to undermine it by showing it to be unnecessary and harmful. When people, themselves, resort to violence to protect their community from racist attacks or to protect their environment from ecological destruction, they are taking direct action.[12]:335

Controversy over destruction of property

One major debate is whether destruction of property should be included within the realm of violence or nonviolence. This debate can be illustrated by the response to groups like the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front, which use property destruction and sabotage as direct action tactics. Although these types of actions are often prosecuted as violence, those groups justify their actions by claiming that violence is harm directed towards living things and not property. The issue of whether sabotage is a form of violence is difficult to resolve in purely philosophical terms, but the use of sabotage as a method can be contrasted with minor property damage that is a small but necessary part of a non-violent campaign method such as breaking locks and fences to gain entry to a site.[13] Some theorists and activists believe that a doctrine of diversity of tactics can resolve the controversy.[14][15]

US and international law include acts against property in the definition of violence and state that even in a time of war, "Destruction [of property] as an end in itself is a violation of international law".[16]:218

United Kingdom

The environmental direct action movement in the United Kingdom started in 1990 with the forming of the first UK Earth First! group. The movement rapidly grew from the 1992 Twyford Down protests, culminating in 1997.

There are now several organisations in the United Kingdom campaigning for action on climate change that use non-violent direct action, including Camp for Climate Action, Plane Stupid and Greenpeace. This has resulted in environmental campaigners being labelled as extremists by the Ministry of Justice.[17]

See also

Some groups which employ or employed direct action


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-03. Retrieved 2013-03-03.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ The I.W.W.: Its First Seventy Years, 1905-1975, Fred W. Thompson and Patrick Murfin, 1976, page 46.
  3. ^ De Cleyre 2004, p. 50
  4. ^ a b King, Martin Luther, Jr. (16 April 1963). "Letter from Birmingham Jail".
  5. ^ Christoyannopoulos, Alexandre (2010). Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel. Exeter: Imprint Academic. p. 19
  6. ^ "First Day on the Job!". Retrieved 2013-08-09.
  7. ^ "Greenpeace Scales Mt Rushmore – issues challenge to Obama". Retrieved 2013-08-09.
  8. ^ Alyona Minkovsky, Kevin Zeese (24 May 2011). More activists arrested under Obama. (The Alyona Show).
  9. ^ Percy, John (June 2008). "Direct Action – two earlier versions". Revolutionary Socialist Party. Retrieved 15 June 2009.
  10. ^ "The King Philosophy". The King Center.
  11. ^ de Cleyre, Voltairine (1912). Wikisource link to Direct Action. Wikisource.
  12. ^ Hansen, Ann. Direct Action: Memoirs of an Urban Guerrilla. Toronto: Between the Lines, 2001. ISBN 978-1902593487
  13. ^ Dieter Rucht. Violence and New Social Movements. In: International Handbook of Violence Research, Volume I. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2003, p. 369-382.
  14. ^ "Hallmarks of People’s Global Action (amended at the 3rd PGA conference at Cochamamba, 2001)".
  15. ^ Rowe, James K.; Carroll, Myles (2014-04-03). "Reform or Radicalism: Left Social Movements from the Battle of Seattle to Occupy Wall Street". New Political Science. 36 (2): 149–171. doi:10.1080/07393148.2014.894683. ISSN 0739-3148.
  16. ^ Orakhelashvili, Alexander. The Interpretation of Acts and Rules in Public International Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.
  17. ^ Taylor, Matthew (26 January 2010). "Ministry of Justice lists eco-activists alongside terrorists". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  18. ^ "FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS". Food Not Bombs. Retrieved 7 August 2012.

Further reading

External links


Anarcho-punk (or anarchist punk) is punk rock that promotes anarchism. The term "anarcho-punk" is sometimes applied exclusively to bands that were part of the original anarcho-punk movement in the United Kingdom in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Some use the term more broadly to refer to any punk music with anarchist lyrical content, which may figure in crust punk, hardcore punk, folk punk, and other styles.

Animal Liberation Front

The Animal Liberation Front (ALF) is an international, leaderless resistance that engages in direct action in pursuit of animal rights. Activists see themselves as a modern-day Underground Railroad, removing animals from laboratories and farms, destroying facilities, arranging safe houses, veterinary care and operating sanctuaries where the animals subsequently live. Critics have labelled them as terrorists Active in over 40 countries, ALF cells operate clandestinely, consisting of small groups of friends and sometimes just one person, which makes the movement difficult for the authorities to monitor. Robin Webb of the British Animal Liberation Press Office has said: "That is why the ALF cannot be smashed, it cannot be effectively infiltrated, it cannot be stopped. You, each and every one of you: you are the ALF."Activists say the movement is non-violent. According to the ALF's code, any act that furthers the cause of animal liberation, where all reasonable precautions are taken not to harm human or non-human life, may be claimed as an ALF action, including acts of vandalism causing economic damage to their victims. American activist Rod Coronado said in 2006: "One thing that I know that separates us from the people we are constantly accused of being—that is, terrorists, violent criminals—is the fact that we have harmed no one."There has nevertheless been widespread criticism that ALF spokespersons and activists have either failed to condemn acts of violence or have themselves engaged in it, either in the name of the ALF or under another banner. The criticism has been accompanied by dissent within the animal rights movement itself about the use of violence, and increasing attention from the police and intelligence communities. In 2002 the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which monitors extremism in the United States, noted the involvement of the ALF in the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty campaign, which SPLC identified as using terrorist tactics—though a later SPLC report also noted that they have not killed anyone. In 2005 the ALF was included in a United States Department of Homeland Security planning document listing a number of domestic terrorist threats on which the U.S. government expected to focus resources. In the UK, ALF actions are regarded as examples of domestic extremism, and are handled by the National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit, set up in 2004 to monitor ALF and other illegal animal rights activity.

Direct Action Against Drugs

Direct Action Against Drugs was a vigilante group in Northern Ireland that claimed responsibility for the killing of a number of alleged drug dealers. The organisation was allegedly a front name used by the Provisional IRA in claiming responsibility for the killings.Was made up of I.R.A. active members exclusively.

Direct Action Day

Direct Action Day (16 August 1946), also known as the Great Calcutta Killings, was a day of widespread communal rioting between Muslims and Hindus in the city of Calcutta (now known as Kolkata) in the Bengal province of British India. The day also marked the start of what is known as The Week of the Long Knives.The 'Direct Action' was announced by the Muslim League Council to show the strength of Muslim feelings towards its demand for an "autonomous and sovereign" Pakistan. The Action resulted in the worst communal riots that British India had seen.

The Muslim League and the Indian National Congress were the two largest political parties in the Constituent Assembly of India in the 1940s. The Muslim League had demanded, since its 1940 Lahore Resolution, that the Muslim-majority areas of India in the northwest and the east, should be constituted as 'independent states'. The 1946 Cabinet Mission to India for planning of the transfer of power from the British Raj to the Indian leadership proposed a three-tier structure: a centre, groups of provinces, and provinces. The "groups of provinces" were meant to accommodate the Muslim League demand. Both the Muslim League and Congress in principle accepted the Cabinet Mission's plan. However, Muslim League suspected that Congress's acceptance was insincere.Consequently, in July 1946, it withdrew its agreement to the plan and announced a general strike (hartal) on 16 August, terming it as Direct Action Day, to assert its demand for a separate Muslim homeland.Against a backdrop of communal tension, the protest triggered massive riots in Calcutta. More than 4,000 people lost their lives and 100,000 residents were left homeless in Calcutta within 72 hours. This violence sparked off further religious riots in the surrounding regions of Noakhali, Bihar, United Provinces (modern Uttar Pradesh), Punjab, and the North Western Frontier Province. These events sowed the seeds for the eventual Partition of India.

Direct Action Everywhere

Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) is an international grassroots network of animal rights activists founded in 2013 in the San Francisco Bay Area. DxE activists started with disruptive protests but now also use non-violent direct action tactics to further their cause, such as open rescue of animals from farms and other facilities and community building. Their intent is to build a movement that can eventually shift culture and change social and political institutions. DxE activists work for "total animal liberation" and the creation of a law requiring "species equality."

Direct action (military)

Direct action (DA) is a term used in the context of military special operations for small-scale raids, ambushes, sabotage or similar actions.

The US Department of Defense has defined direct action as "Short-duration strikes and other small-scale offensive actions conducted as a special operation in hostile, denied, or politically sensitive environments and which employ specialized military capabilities to seize, destroy, capture, exploit, recover, or damage designated targets. Direct action differs from conventional offensive actions in the level of physical and political risk, operational techniques, and the degree of discriminate and precise use of force to achieve specific objectives."The US military and many of its allies consider DA one of the basic special operations missions. Some units specialize in it, such as the Navy SEALs and 75th Ranger Regiment, and other units, such as US Army Special Forces, have DA capabilities but focus more on other operations. Unconventional warfare, special reconnaissance and direct action roles have merged throughout the decades and are typically performed primarily by the same units. For instance, while US special operations forces were originally created for unconventional warfare (UW) missions and gradually added other capabilities, the US Navy SEALs, and the UK Special Air Service (SAS) and Special Boat Service (SBS) continue to perform a primary DA role with special reconnaissance (SR) as original missions. The SEALs, SAS, and SBS added additional capabilities over time, responding to the needs of modern conflict. Russia's Spetsnaz combines DA and SR units.

Under the US Central Intelligence Agency's National Clandestine Service, there is a Special Activities Division to operate without apparent national identification for plausible deniability. The Joint Special Operations Command and the frequently-renamed Intelligence Support Activity are similar units.

Hunt Saboteurs Association

The Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) is an organisation that uses direct action to stop fox hunting. The HSA have been using the same basic tactics since their inception in 1963, the underlying principle being to disrupt a day's hunting.

Individual reclamation

Individual reclamation (French: reprise individuelle) is a form of direct action, characterized by the individual theft of resources from the rich by the poor. Individual reclamation gained popular attention in the early 20th century as a result of the exploits of anarchists and outsiders, such as Ravachol and Clément Duval, who believed that such expropriations were ethical because of the exploitation of society by capitalists (see Anti-capitalism). Advocacy centered on France, Belgium, Great Britain, and Switzerland.

J. Charles Jones

Joseph Charles Jones (born August 23, 1937) is a civil rights leader, attorney, co-founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and former chairperson of the SNCC's direct action committee. Jones was born in Chester, South Carolina. He led and participated in several sit-in movements during the 1960s. He served as chair of SNCC's direct action committee. In 1961 Jones joined the Freedom Riders driving from Atlanta, Georgia, to Birmingham, Alabama; he was later arrested in Montgomery, Alabama. In 1966, Jones organized an activist organization called the Action Coordinating Committee to End Segregation in the Suburbs or ACCESS. He is a graduate of Howard University Law School (1966). Jones passed the North Carolina State Bar in 1976. As of 2011 he was serving as the chairperson for the Biddleville/Smallwood/Five Points Neighborhood Association.


Nonviolence is the personal practice of being harmless to self and others under every condition. It comes from the belief that hurting people, animals or the environment is unnecessary to achieve an outcome and refers to a general philosophy of abstention from violence. This may be based on moral, religious or spiritual principles, or it may be for purely strategic or pragmatic reasons.Nonviolence also has "active" or "activist" elements, in that believers generally accept the need for nonviolence as a means to achieve political and social change. Thus, for example, the Tolstoy and Gandhian non violence is a philosophy and strategy for social change that rejects the use of violence, but at the same time sees nonviolent action (also called civil resistance) as an alternative to passive acceptance of oppression or armed struggle against it. In general, advocates of an activist philosophy of nonviolence use diverse methods in their campaigns for social change, including critical forms of education and persuasion, mass noncooperation, civil disobedience, nonviolent direct action, and social, political, cultural and economic forms of intervention.

In modern times, nonviolent methods of action have been a powerful tool for social protest and revolutionary social and political change. There are many examples of their use. Fuller surveys may be found in the entries on civil resistance, nonviolent resistance and nonviolent revolution. Here certain movements particularly influenced by a philosophy of nonviolence should be mentioned, including Mahatma Gandhi leading a successful decades-long nonviolent struggle against British rule in India, Martin Luther King's and James Bevel's adoption of Gandhi's nonviolent methods in their campaigns to win civil rights for African Americans, and César Chávez's campaigns of nonviolence in the 1960s to protest the treatment of farm workers in California. The 1989 "Velvet Revolution" in Czechoslovakia that saw the overthrow of the Communist government is considered one of the most important of the largely nonviolent Revolutions of 1989. Most recently the nonviolent campaigns of Leymah Gbowee and the women of Liberia were able to achieve peace after a 14-year civil war. This story is captured in a 2008 documentary film Pray the Devil Back to Hell.

The term "nonviolence" is often linked with or used as a synonym for peace, and despite being frequently equated with passivity and pacifism, this is rejected by nonviolent advocates and activists. Nonviolence refers specifically to the absence of violence and is always the choice to do no harm or the least harm, and passivity is the choice to do nothing. Sometimes nonviolence is passive, and other times it isn't. For example, if a house is burning down with mice or insects in it, the most harmless appropriate action is to put the fire out, not to sit by and passively let the fire burn. There is at times confusion and contradiction written about nonviolence, harmlessness and passivity. A confused person may advocate nonviolence in a specific context while advocating violence in other contexts. For example, someone who passionately opposes abortion or meat eating may concurrently advocate violence to kill an abortionist or attack a slaughterhouse, which makes that person a violent person.

"Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. Indeed, it is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it."

Open rescue

In animal rights and welfare, open rescue is a direct action of rescue practiced by activists. Open rescue involves rescuing animals in pain and suffering, giving the rescued animals veterinary treatment and long-term care, documenting the living conditions, and ultimately publicly releasing the rescue and documentation.

Open rescue's public nature contrasts with clandestine animal rights activism. Open rescue activists typically publish their full identities. Open rescue is nonviolent towards humans and other animals, although some groups practice property damage.


A protest (also called a remonstrance, remonstration or demonstration) is an expression of bearing witness on behalf of an express cause by words or actions with regard to particular events, policies or situations. Protests can take many different forms, from individual statements to mass demonstrations. Protesters may organize a protest as a way of publicly making their opinions heard in an attempt to influence public opinion or government policy, or they may undertake direct action in an attempt to directly enact desired changes themselves. Where protests are part of a systematic and peaceful nonviolent campaign to achieve a particular objective, and involve the use of pressure as well as persuasion, they go beyond mere protest and may be better described as cases of civil resistance or nonviolent resistance.Various forms of self-expression and protest are sometimes restricted by governmental policy (such as the requirement of protest permits), economic circumstances, religious orthodoxy, social structures, or media monopoly. One state reaction to protests is the use of riot police. Observers have noted an increased militarization of protest policing, with police deploying armored vehicles and snipers against the protesters. When such restrictions occur, protests may assume the form of open civil disobedience, more subtle forms of resistance against the restrictions, or may spill over into other areas such as culture and emigration.

A protest itself may at times be the subject of a counter-protest. In such a case, counter-protesters demonstrate their support for the person, policy, action, etc. that is the subject of the original protest. In some cases, these protesters can violently clash.

Socialist Party USA

The Socialist Party USA, officially the Socialist Party of the United States of America (SPUSA), is a multi-tendency democratic socialist party in the United States. The SPUSA was founded in 1973 as a successor to the Socialist Party of America, which had been renamed Social Democrats, USA a year before.

The party is officially committed to multi-tendency democratic socialism. Along with its predecessor, the Socialist Party USA has received varying degrees of support when its candidates have competed against those from the Republican and Democratic parties. The SPUSA advocates for complete independence from the Democratic Party. Self-described as opposing all forms of oppression, specifically capitalism and authoritarian forms of communism, the party advocates for the creation of a "radical democracy that places people's lives under their own control", a "non-racist, classless, feminist, socialist society" in which "the people own and control the means of production and distribution through democratically-controlled public agencies, cooperatives, or other collective groups"; "full employment is realized for everyone who wants to work"; "workers have the right to form unions freely, and to strike and engage in other forms of job actions"; and "production of society is used for the benefit of all humanity, not for the private profit of a few".Headquartered at the A. J. Muste Institute, the SPUSA's National Office is located at 168 Canal Street in the Chinatown neighborhood of New York City. The party has four chartered state organizations in California, Michigan, Maine and New Jersey as well as twenty eight chartered locals throughout the country. In October 2015, the Socialist Party USA nominated Mimi Soltysik for President and Angela Nicole Walker for Vice President.

Solidarity Federation

The Solidarity Federation, also known by the abbreviation SolFed, is a federation of class struggle anarchists active in Britain. The organisation advocates a strategy of anarcho-syndicalism as a method of abolishing capitalism and the state, and describes itself as a "revolutionary union". In 1994 it adopted its current name, having previously been the Direct Action Movement since 1979, and before that the Syndicalist Workers' Federation since 1950.

Along with the Anarchist Federation it is one of the two anarchist federations active in the UK.

Squamish Five

The Squamish Five (sometimes referred to as the Vancouver Five) were a group of self-styled "urban guerrillas" active in Canada during the early 1980s. Their chosen name was Direct Action.

The five were Ann Hansen, Brent Taylor, Juliet Caroline Belmas, Doug Stewart and Gerry Hannah. They were activists who had become disenchanted and frustrated with traditional methods of activism, believing that by engaging in semi-symbolic propaganda by the deed, they could jolt people into action themselves.

United States Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command

United States Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) is a component command of the United States Special Operations Command that comprises the Marine Corps' contribution to SOCOM. Its core capabilities are direct action, special reconnaissance and foreign internal defense. MARSOC has also been directed to conduct counter-terrorism, and information operations.


The WOMBLES (White Overalls Movement Building Libertarian Effective Struggles) are a loosely aligned anarchist and anti-capitalist group based in London. They gained prominence in the early 2000s for wearing white overalls with padding and helmets at protests, mimicking the Italian group Tute Bianche.

Women's Social and Political Union

The Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) was a women-only political movement and leading militant organisation campaigning for women's suffrage in the United Kingdom from 1903 to 1917. Known from 1906 as the suffragettes, its membership and policies were tightly controlled by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters Christabel and Sylvia (although Sylvia was eventually expelled).

The WSPU membership became known for civil disobedience and direct action. It heckled politicians, held demonstrations and marches, broke the law to force arrests, broke windows in prominent buildings, set fire to post boxes, committed night-time arson of unoccupied houses and churches, and—when imprisoned—went on hunger strike and endured force-feeding.

Zombie Studios

Zombie Studios was an American independent video game developer of console, PC, mobile and web-based games. It was formed in 1994 as Zombie, LLC by Joanna Alexander and Mark Long, formerly of the Sarnoff Research Center. Alexander and Long founded Zombie after they completed the design of a virtual reality game console for Hasbro at Sarnoff in 1993. Zombie has designed and produced over 30 games for major platforms. From 1999 to 2004 the company was known as Zombie Inc. They created a value label in 2005, Direct Action Games, to design and produce value titles for both PC and consoles.

Their titles span a range of product genres including first-person shooter, real-time strategy, puzzle, arcade, adventure, hunting, and simulation. Zombie developed for a wide variety of gaming platforms including Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PSP, PS2, Xbox, PCs, and mobile phones.

Their publishing and distribution relationships include: Bethesda Softworks, Konami, Ubisoft, Activision, Atari, Microsoft, Disney, RealNetworks, NovaLogic, Take2, America's Army, Zango, Groove Games, Encore Software, Panasonic, Wild Tangent, Sony, BAM, Brash Entertainment, Mobliss, Ignition Entertainment and more recently Perfect World Entertainment and Atlus.

Zombie Studios shut down in January 2015 with its owners' retirement. Former staffers of the company subsequently founded a new studio, Builder Box Games (now Hardsuit Labs), who acquired some of Zombie Studio's former IPs, including Blacklight: Retribution.

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