ORGANIZERS’ GUIDEBOOK: UNITE. ACT. TRANSFORM.

OUR MISSION

Collectively Free is an activist community that works towards total animal liberation anti-speciesist messaging, creative actions, pro-intersectionality & community building.

WHY CF?

Innovative & Inspirational

Innovative & Inspirational

We are always looking for better and more creative ways of activism and we fuel our community with inspiration.

Provocative & Experimental

Provocative & Experimental

We are not afraid of pushing the boundaries and experimenting. In our journey there will be successes and mistakes.

Communal & Active

Communal & Active

Be part of an inclusive community of activists!

We are big dreamers and we put our dreams into action. We put all our efforts into creating a network of individuals who are eager for social and political change and who also believe we have no room for any form of exploitation in our society.

Our mission is simple: Total animal liberation by challenging the dominant culture of speciesism and raising consciousness on a mass scale through highly creative non-violent campaigns and using anti-speciesist messaging. We tell the animals’ stories, build a community and emphasize intersectionality, underscoring the connection between all kinds of oppression, human and non-human, while always keeping the primary focus on the animals.

  1. TOTAL ANIMAL LIBERATION
    Our ultimate goal is total animal liberation. Every non-human animal has the right to live free and without being an object of harm or exploitation.
  2. COMMUNITY
    Social change will only grow around a strong core community. As individuals, our actions can only influence other individuals and only change behavior. But as communities, we can begin to change culture and shape new ideas.
  3. PRO-INTERSECTIONALITY
    Diversity in our movement is key. CF strives to be as pro-intersectional and inclusive as possible, in every action and in every material we put out. Human or non-human, it is not our characteristics that make us matter but rather our very existence does. To be truly free from oppression, we must stop all of its forms.
  4. ACTIVISM & VEGANISM
    We promote and acknowledge veganism as a step towards the rejection of speciesism and the elimination of animal use, but it is not an ends in itself. In order to achieve total animal liberation, we must unite to speak up for the non-human animals through highly creative, non-violent activism.
  5. THE STORIES OF THE NON-HUMAN ANIMALS
    Just because we don’t understand the languages of non-human animals doesn’t mean they don’t have stories to tell. CF features the animals and their stories as a way to decommodify their image.
  6. INSPIRATION
    The success of our movement depends upon always keeping the momentum, always growing, and always looking at the bigger picture ahead. When we inspire others, we get inspired in return, and this drives us forward. Inspiration is the spark that brought us all here, and it is the spark we should strive to ignite in others.

HERE’S SOME FUN FACTS

292
Activists In Our Network in 2016
45
Press-Hits
1
Goal: Animal LIberation

It is simply not enough for individuals in a social setting to recognize the root of their social discontent; they must share concerns and organize around the social issue.

— Freeman —

The Tree Of Social Change

1. COMMUNITY BUILDING

Examples in history show the importance of Martin-Luther-King-speaks-in-church-during-Montgomery-Bus-Boycott-c-Dan-Weiner-courtesy-Sandra-Weiner-1community building, from women’s rights with one of the oldest women’s club dated back to 1868 called City’s Sorosis, to LGBTQI+ centers which not only provide a safe space but also health care, social services and housing and leadership/advocacy; from churches during the Civil Rights Movement that “served as the centerpiece of the city’s African American community, functioning as a meeting place, social center, and lecture hall”, to Gandhi’s module for India’s Independence Movement – which was based off the African module of community building.

7 VALUES CF PRACTICES

ROOTS &
ACTIVISM

</p>
<h2>ROOTS &<br />
ACTIVISM</h2>
<p>

We commit to actively engaging in anti-oppressive movements:

  • Non-participation in oppressive systems means complacency with them as it does nothing to dismantle them.
  • Therefore, we commit to unapologetically base our actions on: anti-speciesism, anti-racism, anti-colorism, anti-ableism, anti-sexism, anti-cissexism, anti-heterosexism, anti-binarism, anti-classism, anti-nationalism, anti-fascism, anti-xenophobia, anti-ageism, anti-sizeism, anti-nativism, anti-colonialism, anti-imperialism, anti-zionism, anti-totalitarianism, anti-ethnocentrism.

INTEGRITY &
EMPATHY

</p>
<h2>INTEGRITY &<br />
EMPATHY</h2>
<p>

We commit to acting with integrity and
showing respect:

  • Demonstrate a commitment to integrity and ethics: do our best to keep our promises and be transparent.
  • Show respect for and value all individuals: for their experiences, approaches, diverse backgrounds and ideas. And do so with empathy.
  • Listen to others with understanding.
  • Express appreciation for other members of the community. Maintain a 5:1 ratio of positive vs. negative interactions.
  • Keep a positive and forward-thinking attitude during destabilizing situations. Use chaos as an opportunity to demonstrate integrity.

RESPONSIBILITY & ACCOUNTABILITY

</p>
<h2>RESPONSIBILITY & ACCOUNTABILITY</h2>
<p>

We commit to
taking accountability:

  • Be accountable for our actions and results.
  • Be assertive not aggressive: maintain a healthy balance between our necessities and those of our community members.
  • Focus on finding solutions and achieving results.
  • Actively engage in discussions and commit to decisions once they are made.

OPENNESS &
HUMILITY

</p>
<h2>OPENNESS &<br />
HUMILITY</h2>
<p>

We commit to acting with integrity and
showing respect:

  • Be open and curious to learn from anyone, anywhere.
  • Seek, provide, and accept honest feedback.
  • Embrace change for continuous improvement.
  • Learn equally from our mistakes and successes.
  • Keep a positive and forward-thinking attitude during destabilizing situations. Use chaos as an opportunity to demonstrate integrity.

DECENTRALIZATION &
COLLABORATION

</p>
<h2>DECENTRALIZATION &<br />
COLLABORATION</h2>
<p>

We commit to letting
different voices echo together:

  • Never make an executive decision: always involve teams in discussions for decisions and plans that affect them.
  • Founding members don’t get to decide: every organizer has the ability to autonomously make strategic decisions for themselves and their work groups, without the pre-approval of founding members as long as the rest of their team is in agreement.
  • The entire team of organizers is expected to collaborate on ideas for campaigns, actions, materials, and implementation of new or changing policies.

EMPOWERMENT &
SUPPORT

</p>
<h2>EMPOWERMENT &<br />
SUPPORT</h2>
<p>

We commit to giving and
not just taking:

  • Nurture open communication: help activists understand that their input is valued even if you decide to go on a different route.
  • Lay out clear and structured groundwork of information for activists to build up on.
  • Support community activists’ independence and trust that they will do the right thing; stay away from micromanagement.
  • Appreciate self-improvement. If an activist took time to learn something, let them know how amazing that is!

INCLUSIVENESS
& SAFETY

</p>
<h2>INCLUSIVENESS<br />
& SAFETY</h2>
<p>

We commit to equality
and fairness:

  • Adapt our style and be aware of the diversity of people we interact with.
  • Get to know people personally through community building programs such as Unite. Act. Transform program.
  • Respect and apply the Safer Space Agreement. Work toward eliminating discrimination and welcoming minorities.
  • Value diversity within our community and beyond.
  • Promptly respond to discriminating incidents.

For more information on how to be an inclusive leader, check out this link.

SAFER SPACE AGREEMENT

We are activists because we believe in universal principles such as justice, equality and freedom. It is our responsibility to ensure that our own space is inclusive to everyone and that perpetrators of oppression in our own community are held accountable.

Safer-Space_FNL
Read our SSA here. Always share it at every meeting/event and if there are new members and have them sign it at the bottom.

CONFLICT RESOLUTION TEAM

As CF grows in numbers of organizers and community members, the risk of internal conflict increases, so a resolution policy is necessary for positive growth. It’s something that’s always been a part of social structures and will always exist: from our personal interactions with family and friends, to organizations and institutions. Conflict is inevitable, but it can be stopped from escalating, and it can be resolved and used an experience to learn and develop from. Check out our website on Conflict Resolution and learn all about it.

1.2 ONLINE COMMUNITY

Community-800x480We live in a world where technology has allowed us to communicate efficiently from afar. Our online community will help you connect with activists from all over the world, share experiences, suggest ideas, learn and teach.

1.2.1 CF NETWORK
An online group for supporters and participants in CF’s actions. We use this space to communicate logistics about events (e.g. meeting times and places), as well as to share creative ideas and discuss future events and campaigns. How to join? Our organizers will add you to it.

1.2.2 LOCAL GROUP
In addition to our international group, each chapter has their own local online community which provides a safe space to discuss local issues, events, actions, etc. You will be directed to your chapter’s online group.

1.3 GET-TOGETHERS
Now to the “real world”! 
Why are social events so important? We spend so much energy and dedicate ourselves to the movement but all this passion can be easily spent without a place to recharge it. So don’t underestimate the value of a gathering with fellow activists. It’s great to spend more relaxed and fun times  with our like-minded friends!

1.3.1 POTLUCKS
Potlucks can be organized in different ways but we recommend to keep it simple: this is supposed to be a fun event and you shouldn’t be spending too much time organizing it. Check out the step-by-step suggestions below.

ORGANIZING

STRUCTURE



1.3.2 OPEN MEETINGS
A CF organizer meeting with invited members of our extended family of activists. We will discuss campaigns, strategies, and all around ideas on how to improve our collective knowledge, skills and methods. Here are some examples of how to organize an open meeting.

ORGANIZING

STRUCTURE

 

1.3.3 SCREENINGS
Movies are also a useful tool of activism. We maximize the effort by organizing speakers and a panel after the movie. These types of events are a great opportunity to increase community knowledge and advocacy. Like potlucks and open meetings, they are also a valuable opportunity to unite and to announce and promote local projects.

ORGANIZING

STRUCTURE

1.4 UNITE. ACT. TRANSFORM PROGRAM

Oh yes it is!

Technology is exciting. It is a tool that helps activists organize and connect. However, while technology can connect us, it can also make us feel alone. Sherry Turkle, who’s been studying technology and how it affects us since 1984, talks about the importance of face-to-face conversations, which allow us to really learn about and get to know one another. The Unite. Act. Transform program encourages this face-to-face communication between organizers and activists.

We never thought we would be reading about business but we found some of the business modules to be quite interesting. In pretty much every business module out there you will find that “one-on-one” meetings are highly valued. Why? Because they provide a suitable platform to develop meaningful relationships at least in our case. We’re  not too sure about the business industry!

 

  1. Organizers will meet up with activists for 45 minutes to 1 hour, preferably in person or if not possible via Skype, and will get to know one another.
  2. If you have experience with CF’s actions and you know what we’re about then you can start the program. If you have participated in CF’s actions before but don’t feel like you know the nuts and bolts of the community yet, or if you still haven’t participated but would like to, then you should attend.
  3. Start the conversation, unite, act, transform!

  1. Partner. In order to increase the connections, it’s recommended to match seasoned activists with other activists who may be interested in getting more involved. Activists can request to see activists of a certain gender.
  2. Be respectful and considerate. Find a venue that is accessible and that respects everyone’s needs as well as a mutually agreeable time.
  3. This is a win/win situation. If possible, find out what drives the activists in your circles, what specific talents and skills they may have to offer and help them to understand how participating will benefit them.
  4. Be on their calendars. Give enough advance notice, and send reminders.
  5. Make attendance and participation matter. Prepare the event to harness the value others bring.
  6. Listen. Even though you may initiate the conversation, give them the chance to express themselves and talk.
  7. Make their role as an activist matter. Emphasizing that their voice is vital to our community helps them see their contribution as a priority.
  8. Make it fit. Match people with opportunities that fit their skills. Are they shy? Perhaps they would like to hold a sign. Do they want to overcome their shyness? Propose a leafleting role or even a speaker. Are they someone with not much time to attend actions? Surely there is some way they can contribute at a time that works for them.Suggest one of the many ways they can contribute here.
  9. Make it simple. Break down the talk into manageable steps.
  10. Keep it moving. Respect people’s time.
  11. Build team spirit and always show appreciation. A simple “thank you” goes a long way!

Ask some questions and see where the talk will take you. The following are suggested questions, feel free to tailor them as you seem fit.

  1. How did you become vegan/an activist? What prompted you to change and to get involved?
  2. Have you done other types of activism? If so, can you share some stories/examples? If not, can you think of reasons why not?
  3. Is anyone else in your circle of family/friends/work vegan/animal rights activist?
  4. How do you balance your activist life and your personal life? Where – if so – do you find the two conflict each other? Do you find you have to make compromises for one over the other?
  5. How did you hear about CF?
  6. What aspect of CF attracted you to the community?
  7. What types of actions do you find the most effective and inspirational? What types of actions have you found to be less effective? Why?
  8. What types of actions – if any – would you be interested in being more involved in (as in not only participating but also perhaps helping organize)?
  9. Do you see yourself potentially contributing more to CF? If so, how? (Could be with your time, expertise on a subject, specific skills, or of course money – we can show the list of “roles” for more ideas). If not, can you elaborate why? Is it a short-term or a long-term “not”?
  10. What would help to see you more at actions? What are good vs. bad days/times/locations for you? Can we offer any tips on time management etc.? Your and everyone’s presence is valuable every time – so we’d love to have you every time!
  11. Anything else? Ask away!


Business models also tell us that when they do these sort of meetings once or twice a year it’s not enough to develop good results. Even though we are far from being a business, perhaps we can learn from their expertise.
We don’t have the answer yet to what works best, so we would like to suggest following up on meetings with the same people 3-4 times a year

 

1.5 COALITIONS
Large-scale change can only happen through a collective, through the uniting of not only individuals but of groups as well. There are many animal rights groups all over the world but rarely do they form coalitions. While each group is important in their unique efforts and ways of presenting the issues, ultimately, our goals are all the same – animal liberation. We acknowledge that people’s triggers are different (what prompted me to be vegan may be different than what prompted you) and so we need all sorts of tactics in order to reach all sorts of people. Yet we must also acknowledge each other’s contributions and allow ourselves to join forces and organize collective actions.

When a group is co-sponsoring with your chapter, always make sure to credit the group(s) who participated in the action and include them in posts, press, materials, etc.

 

1.5.1 MICRO LEVEL
Coalition building can happen on a micro level – when members of other groups participate actively in other groups events and actions.

 

1.5.2 MACRO LEVEL
Coalition building can also happen on a macro level – when other groups participate actively in other groups events and actions.

 

1.5.3 PRO-INTERSECTIONAL

It seems like the word intersectionality currently to be getting a lot of attention as well as confusion. Quite often there isn’t a mention of the originators of the concept, leaving it to be a white-centric circle. So please, when talking about intersectionality, let’s remember that black women have been the leaders in this field of sociology.  Love it or hate it, the concept is challenging all of us, and we shouldn’t turn away from it. Here’s a video that explains our approach further:

We would like to share our view about it and how we are learning to apply it to Collectively Free. When we first started CF, our dream was to create an anti-speciesist group that embraced the intersections of oppression, both internally in our community and externally in our actions:

Internal-Commitments

Within our community, we strive to create a safe space for activists to express themselves and for potential supporters to join us. Our internal commitments include but are not limited to:

  1. Checking our own privileges, self-reflect: this is an ongoing process and quite often very hard to make.
    For example, raise your hand if you have clean water. That is a privilege. Raise your hand if you have where to sleep. That is also a privilege. Raise your hand if you don’t have to worry about being  killed for food or clothing. That is also a privilege.
  2. Being humble: if you have offended someone from a particular group, recognize it, listen to them and don’t disregard their pain with “but’s”. The intentions may be good but the context is hurtful. So for example, if you’re a male and something you have said made me uncomfortable and I deem it to be sexist, please, do listen to me. Even if you disagree the worst someone can do in such circumstances is say “well, I don’t think it’s sexist.” and walk away.
  3. Establishing and applying a safe space agreement.
  4. Having meetings that address intersectionality
  5. Empowering activists to have a strong voice (to be outspoken and to know that they are being heard)
  6. Checking that our messaging is respectful to other groups. Example, that we are not using racist, ableist, homophobic, ageist language. It can be a fine line here sometimes when dealing with speciesism.
    For example, in our action called “Glass Walls: Who Do We See?” we decided to have activists wear folds to illustrate our oblivion towards the truth and the fact that Starbucks conceals the truth from us.
    The common word for this fold is “blindfold” so first we wanted to check that the idea was okay so we reached out to individual people who are part of the community for disability and from there we also posted the idea publicly on their group, so other people could give their opinion.
    We also made a note that activists should not use language that speaks of blindness with negative connotation and should avoid the use of ableist language like “blindfolds”, “turn a blind eye to…”.
  7. Message that reflect common goals such as of anti-speciesist, anti-heterosexist, anti-racist and anti-cissexist struggles, for example. – liberation from oppression and equality of consideration. In other words, universal principles like justice, equality and freedom.
  8. Not being afraid of making mistakes: our goal is growth not purity.

External Commitments

Moving to our external commitments, they include but are not limited to:

  1. Applying a safer space agreement.
  2. Actively supporting and participating in other social justice issues and groups. Learn about their struggles, their history. Don’t do it because it’s cool lol.
  3. Actively volunteering for intersectional causes like Food Not Bombs, Food Empowerment Project.
  4. Pro-intersectional actions: we definitely carefully craft these actions and always maximize our chances of building bridges by contacting groups from other social justice movements.

A few successful examples of actions are our NYC Pride 2015 participation, Chick-Fil-A and Starbucks.

 

 


1.6 ALLY PARTICIPATION OR VOLUNTEER

Why should we participate in other social justice issues?
Intersectionality

  1. Because it is the right thing to do. There is nothing wrong with choosing to be morally consistent.
  2. If we want animal liberation, then we had better build bridges. According to professor Will Kymlicka, 99% of the intersectional analysis that is done by the left today completely ignores the intersection of species. He adds, “I think there’s no way for the animal rights movement to possibly succeed without the support from other social justice movements.”
  3. Being able to create a safe space for activists and potential supporters is key to grow our movement. If we choose to ignore the intersections of oppressions, we run a great risk of turning people away from our cause.


Sometimes we get angry at people who criticize animal rights activists “don’t you have anything better to do?”. When those comments come from minorities it can not only mean speciesism but it can also mean that because they are in “survival” mode they may not think about the bigger picture. Participating in causes like raising the minimum wage to $15 would drastically impact people who don’t get to think about these issues; showing our support to other social justice movements will only strengthen our community more.

You may also choose to volunteer for an organization like Food Not Bombs which provide vegan food to anyone in need of a meal.


HOW CAN WE START DIALOGUE?
When participating in other social justice events show your full support – trying to engage folks with other issues can be seen as disrespectful. We recommend wearing an AR shirt and having cards and literature available with you but only speaking on the subject if someone else brings it up.


Connect with folks and focus on universal principles of justice and equality and if possible share the reasons why you’re an animal rights activist.


If you are at an event which opens the space for discussion perhaps share your point of view. For example. During the Q&A at a feminism panel one of our activists asked about how come speciesism wasn’t mentioned in the feminist fight since both oppressions target female bodily autonomy. That sparked dialogue and brought attention to the intersects of oppression.


1.7 SANCTUARY
Farm sanctuaries are a vital piece of the animal rights movement. Without the hard work and dedication of such places, rescued animals would not have the opportunity to heal and enjoy their lives.

Haven’t we all heard comments such as “pigs are dirty!”, “chickens are just chickens!”? When we ask those people if they have ever rubbed a pig’s belly or held a chicken, the answer is usually no – especially in cities where concrete eats any sign of green and nature is silenced and neglected.

Sanctuaries are able to fill in that very important gap of disconnect. While some activists choose to highlight the individuality of animals through actions, sanctuaries provide an actual physical experience of what that individuality looks like. They offer the opportunity to look into a nonhuman animal’s eyes and bond.

Sanctuaries are also the most appropriate place for a nonhuman animal who’s been rescued from the horrors of the industry to heal.

In addition to all these important roles that sanctuaries have, they also provide a haven for activists as well. It is quite easy to let ourselves be deeply affected by the screams of trillions of animals. Within our own community we are constantly bombarded with photos, news and videos which can drain our energy out. Experiencing the freedom and happiness of nonhuman animals at first hand is so reinvigorating and it can balance out our anxiety and sadness.

There are many ways we can get involved:

  1. Volunteer. Get involved with your local CF chapter to coordinate a day trip. Make sure to give all the sanctuaries around you the support and help they need.
  2. Organize fundraisers. If it is not possible to travel to a sanctuary, find other ways of helping out, such as bake sales or movie screenings.
  3. Social media support. Help build their presence.
  4. Stories in action. Imagine how much more powerful is to do a speakout using the picture of an animal whom people can actually visit and bond with. Ask if you can either photograph the animals yourself or if they would be willing to share poster-quality images. Learn and share their stories!
  5. Donate and encourage others to do so. Look out for Wish Lists as well, so those who can’t afford to donate money can donate necessary items.

No social justice movement in America has ever succeeded whose exclusive strategy was to persuade people to give up something that they enjoyed or benefited from and which they perceived as private behavior.

— Phelps —

2. ACTION


Activism comes in all shapes and sizes and strategies range tremendously. At Collectively Free we focus on highly-creative forms of direct action and we encourage everyone to think outside the box and come up with new ideas. We also encourage other forms of activism. To learn more about the importance of directly action check out our presentation Why Activism? Why Direct Action?

DECENTRALIZED MODEL

decentralization1CF started in NY but it is not our goal or intention to “lead” the way. Every idea, every activist, and every chapter is unique and has a perspective to offer. This is why we offer different way in which we can empower you to come up with your own actions and do things collectively. We will always strive to be decentralized.

COLLABORATIVE ENVIRONMENT
Through our “International Organizers” group and bi-weekly meetings we ensure everyone express their ideas for actions and beyond! Nothing is decided unless the majority agrees.

CHAPTERS AUTONOMY
At the same time that we value what the majority thinks, chapters also reserve the right to act according to what they seem more fit to their specific needs. Autonomy is very important and it helps empower our community even more.

PASS THE BATON
We really mean it when we say we want to empower you! The way this model works is giving “lead” to a chapter to come up with themes, ideas, and “lead” the other chapters for an international day of action. Of course, we will still do everything collectively, but instead of expecting the NY chapter to come up with theme ideas, the initiative will originate from you. Don’t worry, we won’t just throw you into a task like this, we will make sure you have enough confidence and experience to partake in it.

SURVEYS
Coming up with “themes” collectively and asking the community to vote on their favorite option. You can create easy surveys at Survey Monkey or Google Forms.

2.1 LOCAL ACTIONS
Actions that are, of course, from your local area chapter. 
Note: local actions also constitute joint actions with chapters nearby, especially when it comes to high-impact actions – numbers do matter in some cases.

TIP: Create a google spreadsheet of potential events or put them directly into your chapter’s shared calendar so you don’t miss out. We recommend to also sign up for mailing lists of potential targets.

Because of the nature of most of our actions, direct action, it’s recommended that we plan the actions in secret and omit the location of targets when creating a public event. We have had actions compromised due to information being displayed on social media. Check the links below to learn what we think is the most effective way to organize an action.

PRE-ACTION

DAY OF ACTION

POST-ACTION


2.1.1 EVERYDAY ACTIONS
Because you can’t go a day without doing a little something! Everyday activism can be about pushing disruptions to any establishment, event or venue. Of course, we always want to maximize our impact, but everyday activism will push the fact that we don’t want folks to go one day without having to think about the screams of the animals. Do you have a sign in handy? Why not do an impromptu speakout at your local grocery store? Take a look at the possibilities we thought about. You can also download the black and white version.



Everyday activism is also not just about spontaneity but also about identifying venues or events in your local area that will be the most effective and will generate media attention.

2.1.2 HIGH-IMPACT ACTIONS
High-impact actions are actions which present substantial opportunity for exposure – media and volume of people. These actions generally require complex planning and joint forces with nearby chapters and/or other groups. An example was Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.

 

 

2.1.3 NEWSWORTHY ACTIONS
I-am-CecilNewsworthy actions can really maximize our impact. Take the example of “Cecil, the Lion”. When you go through your newsfeed all you see are stories about Cecil, the Lion; you tune in the radio, it’s the same thing; and people at your job are asking you how do you feel about it – that’s when you know it’s time to organize an action around the issue!

In situations like these we must act quickly. The media is merciless when it comes to considering something news or not. It is also an important opportunity to form coalitions, move a big mass of activists, and create memes around the theme. 

2.1.4 INSTITUTIONAL ACTIONS 

“The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., activist Stokely Carmichael, congresswoman Barbara Jordan, and writer Betty Friedan wanted individuals to change; but the main thrust of their advocacy was to change institutions, including government, academia, and commerce. Convincing a white soda-fountain clerk in Greensboro, North Carolina, to abandon his personal prejudice against African Americans would have accomplished little. Convincing Woolworth’s to serve African Americans at their lunch counter in Greensboro accomplished a great deal.”


An institution is
a society or organization founded for a religious, educational, social, or similar purpose. How can we find ways of disrupting the hypocrisy of these institutions? It may sound radical to want to disrupt a church, but they too are normalizing speciesism, as are schools, the media, corporations and many others.

Note: Let’s all be really careful about how to best challenge such instituions. For example, we wouldn’t want Atheists only disrupting a flesh barbeque event at a Church, or non-Jewish activists to have the primary voice at a Kaporos disruption.

 

2.2 INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGNS
Inspiration and ideas defy borders and connects us all. Even though we may be far away from one another, our voices echo as one.

2.3 MONTHLY DAY OF ACTION
The international day of action happens once a month and it brings activists from all over the world together, with one common goal: animal liberation.

2.4 BI-WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZERS MEETINGS
A lot can get lost in the virtual world, including powerful ideas, the ability to collaborate dynamically and personal connection. This is why we strive to making the distance between us shorter by conference calling with video or audio – with large numbers it can be challenging to maintain a steady video streaming connection. The CF International Meetings happen every 2 weeks and it offers the opportunity for activists to not only collaborate more efficiently but to voice concerns as well.

2.5 RESCUE
More to come.

2.6 MEDIA
Most people follow the news. The news media are powerful shapers of people’s opinion – they influence the everyday person and the decision makers of our society. Although the the media are difficult to influence, we as “ordinary members of the public” can make them hear us.

Here’s a step-by-step on how to grow the presence of animal rights in the media.

ORGANIZING

FAQ


I HAVE NEVER ORGANIZED BEFORE AND I DON’T KNOW ANY ACTIVISTS – HOW CAN I START?
First off, this is a very exciting opportunity and please know that we will be with you throughout the entire process. Fear not!
Here are some steps to help you out.

  1. Reaching out to people. Here’s an example of something to say – please tailor it to your audience and needs: “Hi everyone! I’m part of an inclusive animal right community called Collectively Free and I’m looking for people to join me in nonviolent direct actions for animals! I’d like to share this talk about the importance of activism and direct action for CF. Who’s in?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSPGYeDlD80
  2. Where to reach out. Join regional groups. For example if you live in Barcelona join “Veganos/as Barcelona”. In addition to that, join general groups such as “Veganos/as Spain”.
  3. Create a secret CF regional group. Connect with activists all in the same online safe space. They can also be added to our international group CF Network.
  4. Connect with your activists. Schedule a in-person get together – a potluck, or  a relaxed and informal meeting. Get to know them, connect, act, transform!
  5. Organize an event or action. Check out our guidelines on how to start organizing events or actions.
  6. Talk to us! We’re here to help you with anything you need.

 

HOW MUCH TIME IS EXPECTED OF ME AS AN ORGANIZER?
You should expect to spend 8-10+ hours a week on organizing responsibilities, including:

  1. Weekly meetings (1-2 hours – may be less)
  2. Strategy and planning of monthly days of action (2 hours)
  3. Assistance with local community development – including but not limited to reaching out to new people, establishing relationships, creating a solid sense of community (1-2 hours)
  4. Other tasks (2 hours)

This is in addition to individual roles we may have established to each individual. For instance, if your role is social media, you are also responsible for that area.

 

HOW CAN I REACH OUT TO POTENTIAL ORGANIZERS?
Do you have people interested in joining the community or perhaps contributing in some way? Let’s get to know them and offer options.

Interested in organizing with CF:Hi! It’s really exciting to know you want to join the team! We have tons of tools that empower activists to start organizing where they live. I’d be happy to talk to you about all this via Skype if you’d like – there’s nothing better than a conversation face-to-face!

If you’d like to know about what we do and what we are about here’s a useful link http://collectivelyfree.org/why-cf/

Interested in organizing but not necessarily with CF: “Hi! I’m part of this activist community called Collectively Free and we are all about [community building/intersectionality/non-violent direct action/animals/diversity, etc.]. We have tons of tools that empower activists to start organizing where they live. I’d be happy to talk to you about all this via Skype if you’d like – there’s nothing better than a conversation face-to-face!

If you’d like to know about what we do and what we are about here’s a useful link http://collectivelyfree.org/why-cf/

Interested in finding out how they can contribute to the CF community but are not ready to jump into an organizer’s’ role yet: “There are many ways one can contribute to our community! Here’s a list of possible roles we so appreciate.”

And then what?

  1. Schedule a talk. Do your best to schedule a talk right away.
  2. Follow up. If the Skype talk is taking too long to be scheduled, follow up. If you see that perhaps this is not the best way to get the conversation going engage online, send more links if necessary but emphasize how great would be to get to know them more.
  3. Invite them to join the CF Network. After you have checked that they are genuinely interested, and that the aren’t infiltrators, invite them to be part of our online community.
  4. Invite them to participate in actions/events – if a chapter is available.
  5. Follow up some more. Give them time to digest the information and follow up when you see fit.

 

IS BEING AN ORGANIZER THE ONLY ROLE I CAN HAVE?
There are so many areas in our community that you can contribute to. From artists to lawyers, we would love to have anyone involved!
Check out our “roles sheet” to identify the areas you can contribute to. If you have any other skills we did not include, please reach out to us so we can have you participate.  

 

HOW CAN WE BETTER DIVIDE THE WORKLOAD?
If we each commit to performing the tasks we need no one will feel burnt out. So let’s do it collectively! We have created an “Areas Of Commitment” spreadsheet that will help you define “roles” within the team and split the tasks more efficiently. 
We ask people to only mark the areas they are 100% committed to. For example, if you have helped once or twice with social media, do not mark that area as yours.
There are also areas in which all members should be a part of like sharing our posts or promoting events/actions.
Note that some areas are more flexible than others and it’s possible to have people alternate between tasks. For example, N. and B. may be responsible for contacting people in the day of action but may choose to take turns in that task.

 

I’M NOT GETTING THE RESPONSE AND ENTHUSIASM I EXPECTED FROM ACTIVISTS. WHAT AM I DOING WRONG?
It’s very important to engage activists as much as possible. When you post something on your group do they look like this?

Screen-Shot-2015-09-30-at-8.16.37-AM
Or like this?

Screen-Shot-2015-09-30-at-8.17.40-AM

Writing a few powerful sentences makes all the difference in engaging activists. Here’s our social media guideline for posting on social media that can make your posts more attractive and inspiring. Don’t just post. Engage and inspire.
Do you have a creative mind for memes or would like to help us create social media content? Join our CF Social Media Group!

 

HOW DOES THE SECRET GROUP WORK?
As defined previously, the CF secret group will serve mostly to create a solid network of activists that are willing to chip in with ideas, suggest actions/events and participate. Participants don’t necessarily need to be from where you specific chapter is located. For instance, the NY CF Chapter has a few members in its secret group that are from either far away cities or cities nearby.

  • Description of the group. Here’s an example of description:
    “This is a safe space for supporters and participants in CF’s actions. We will use this to communicate logistics about events (e.g. meeting times and places), as well as to share creative ideas and discussions about future events and campaigns.
    Oppressive actions will not be tolerated. They include but are not limited to: discriminatory words or behavior on the basis of race, sex, age, religion, class, size, ability, immigration status, sexuality, gender identity and/or gender expression, as well as promoting disrespect or violence towards any type of non-human animals.**IMPORTANT – Never share publicly any details about plans of actions, this is why we have a secret group**CF’s actions and events include but are not limited to the following categories…”  use the points expressed in What Kind Of Actions & Events Does Cf Do? (last point of this FAQ) to describe our events and actions.
  • Pinned post. We usually keep a pinned posted that says “E-mail Communication For Actions” to remind people to submit their e-mail to be added to the google groups.
  • Have fun!

 

HOW TO CONVEY OUR MESSAGE EFFECTIVELY? IN PERSON.

  • Listen. Bring the key-point of inclusivity to action. People need to feel like their “concerns” are being listened to.
  • Key-points. Try to talk key-points rather than lecture. Take a look at the quarter page we have here, and key-points about the specific action you are participating in.
  • Put yourself in their place. For the most part, we all once ate our brothers and sisters. Share that with your audience.
  • Take an intersectional approach. Refrain from using triggering words. Draw smart parallels.
  • Put the audience in the nonhuman animal’s place. Role reversal is a powerful tool. Use it.

 

WHAT KIND OF ACTIONS & EVENTS DOES CF DO?
CF’s actions and events include but are not limited to:

Direct action interventions
Inspired by the 50’s and 60’s sit-ins, these actions involve entering an establishment that normalizes the exploitation of non-human animals, holding space, and speaking out on behalf of the victims. These non-violent actions last no more than 3-4 minutes and are always followed by traditional outreach and leafletting outside the establishment. An example can be found here.

Theatrical demonstrations
Typically in public spaces, these actions engage passersby in non confrontational yet creative ways, pushing the boundaries of the norms we have all been socially conditioned to.

Play is useful for social movements in countless ways. CF uses theater as another tool for social change. For example: theater offers a way of challenging power, rather than replicating oppression patterns or power dynamics. Play allows social actors to disarm the audience. The results are new forms of social relations; It serves as a means for community building and strengthening. Our goal is to create communities of support and resistance; it becomes a form of repressive desublimation (Marcuse); Yet, at its most vital, play invites people to participate. It is attention-grabbing and intriguing. Read the full study here. Check out some other examples of theater being used for social justice issues, like the theater of the oppressed and feminism. An example of CF theater can be found here.

Intersectional campaigns
In the 70’s, black feminists who worked both for women’s right and civil rights, started to look at gender and race as connected issues. The feminist movement back then wasn’t talking about race, and the civil rights movement wasn’t addressing gender. They developed a theory and practice called intersectionality, a term coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in her insightful 1989 essay, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics”. Intersectionality is the idea that we cannot think of systemic oppressions such as the ones of gender, race, class, ability, sexual orientation, religion, caste, species as separate and independent from one another. It is the idea that different axes of identity interact on multiple levels, contributing to systemic injustice and social inequality.

We strive for intersectional approaches. One example is the campaign against Starbucks, which highlights both non-human and human animal suffering.

Projections Towards Compassion
PTC is a creative form of outreach that involves projecting video content of everyday animal cruelty (from factory farms to “humane” slaughter to fur farms) on city walls, engaging passersby in conversations and leafletting. An example can be found here, also check out our instructions on how to start your PTC here. Organizers – it’s always good to check the law in regards to projections in your city.

Coalition Building
One of CF’s goals is to unify the animal rights and social justice movements. CF members attend as many actions and events hosted by other groups as we can. We need our movement to grow bigger and stronger, so staying united and in solidarity with one another is crucial. If we don’t unite the animals will lose.

Open Meetings
A CF organizer meeting with invited members of our extended family of activists. We discuss campaigns, strategies, and all around ideas on how to improve our collective knowledge, skills and methods.

Panels
Focus on intersectionality. 2-3 people will do educational presentations on a specific topic (e.g. how animal rights intersect with LGBTQI+ rights, or how speciesism intersects with classism, etc.), and we will follow with a discussion.

Educational Programs
We also organize educational programs. E.g. The Vegan Pledge, a free 30-day mentoring program on guiding new vegans through their transition, covering subjects from practical matters, like reading labels, to environmental impact and animal.

Rescues
Coming soon.

Library

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