Suggested Guidelines for Tea Party Protesters
This is not a completely comprehensive list, or SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) but a distillation of what has been found useful over the last year, when conducting street protests, and may be added to or amended as events dictate.
- The more advance notice supporters have of the time and date for the protest, the more supporters will be able to participate. A shorter lead-time probably means fewer participants. It will still take time to get the word out, via the website, email or other publicity, and to send a press release to local media, concerning the planned protest. However, a well-announced and organized rally or protest will likely give time for counter-protesters to organize also. Protest leaders should consider this, and prepare for counter-demonstrators, or infiltrators.
- Signs: legibility at a distance and wit count. Artistic talent is excellent, but not necessary. The protest organizer should also bring some blank signs and a handful of sharpies/magic markers. It has sometimes proved handy, to respond to counter-demonstrators by creating a new sign, either poking fun at their sign or cause: for example, making a sign saying “I’m With Stupid” and standing with it, next to a counter-demonstrator. Again, humor and creativity count.
- Expect hecklers, counter-demonstrators and infiltrators, or even just supporters with potentially offensive signs. Do not be drawn into responding with anything other than good humor and positive energy – especially when cameras are present, from the news media or otherwise. If counter-protesters are being interviewed by media, stand behind them with your signs. If someone with an offensive sign is present, stand between them and media cameras to mask their sign. Remember – that of all the footage shot by the TV cameras, only a tiny fraction will be on the newscast. If interviewed by a TV reporter, be up-beat, and informative. Do not rant, yell, call names, or otherwise be ugly for the TV cameras, anyone with a camera … or actually, anyone at all. While the news media is powerfully attracted to the irrational screamers at a protest event, let them find them anywhere else than in the ranks of Tea Party supporters.
- Bring your own cameras – still and video, and document, document, document; especially any encounters with anyone attempting a provocation, or any unusual occurrences during the protest.
- Engage people who show an interest: explain what we are doing, and why. Encourage them to get involved, and to educate themselves regarding their rights and responsibilities as free citizens. Be prepared to discuss the issues, knowledgeably. Refer them to this website, and encourage them to come to the next SATP general meeting
- Most likely there will be SAPD or local police present. Follow their orders, should they find it necessary to give any. Be circumspect and completely law-abiding throughout the protest event; and if possible, engage the officers present, as in Item 5. Let them know when our protest will be finished.
- If trash has been generated by the protest, or rally, be good citizens and remove it.
(A list of suggested mottoes is here)
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