“This is a primer for those ready and sturdy enough to take real action.”Dennis Hiebert, Geez magazine
Here you’ll find Beautiful Trouble modules that we’ve added since the publication of our original encyclopedic volume.
On March 22, 2012, hundreds of thousands took the streets, marking the first of what would become monthly mass demonstrations backing the strike.
Holding regular events permits activists to build strength through repetition, because with each iteration, the event has the potential to become bigger and better.
In the UK in the 1980s, thousands of men were being continually prosecuted for consensual gay behavior — a level of institutionalized police and judicial discrimination greater than any other European Community member at the time. In 1989, convictions for “gross indecency” (a consensual, gay-only offense) were more than three …Continue Reading
“They asked me whether I was waiting for someone. Did I have a problem? I remained calm and mute. I didn’t have a problem, but in the following hours, as my picture and the mysterious alias “Standing Man” spread on Twitter, I became one.”
“The pyramid of shoes worked because it was visually arresting, emotionally powerful, and easy both to participate in and to understand.”
“…the sculpture that arose from the accumulation of each of these simple acts, told a big, complex story that captured the scale of the problem.”
To bring playfulness to a protest; to soften a tense standoff with police; to ridicule the authorities.
Who knows what exciting initiatives might come about thanks to the efforts of par(k)ticipants inspired and excited by all the ways a parking space could be put to use!
Believing that the quickest way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, Conflict Kitchen seeks to build cross-cultural understanding and promote peace by introducing people to the food and culture of places with which their government is in conflict. Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the brainchild of artist/activists Jon …Continue Reading
By drawing on the cultural assets of the community, organizers can deepen the involvement of participants, disorient opponents, and shift the cultural terrain in their favor.
“The round dance flash mobs represented both a powerful expression of resistance and a practice of cultural regeneration.”
The Free Fare Movement (Movimento Passe Livre) is an independent and nonpartisan social movement in Brazil that fights to change the current private transportation system to a free public transportation system available to everyone. The movement started in the 2000s, with several important campaigns in various cities that led up …Continue Reading
Ten years ago in Brazil, a horizontal, autonomous, independent and non-partisan movement called the Free Fare Movement (Movimento Passe Livre) was formed to fight for free, high-quality public transportation. Since then, every time a municipal government in Brazil has tried to increase public transportation fares, the Free Fare Movement has …Continue Reading
To express popular dissent; to overcome fear in repressive settings; to draw wide swaths of the population into active participation in civil disobedience.
The Enmedio Collective is a group of image professionals (designers, filmmakers, artists) that, unsatisfied by the lack of connections between art and politics action, decided to abandon their usual fields and work to situate themselves in-between, in no specific place at all and in all places simultaneously. From there they explore the power of …Continue Reading
Fix a problem as best you can to pressure authorities to fix it properly.
On October 6, 2007, thousands of people gathered in front of city halls in various Spanish cities to break the world record for the number of people simultaneously shouting “No vas a tener casa en la puta vida!” (You’re never going to have a home in your fucking life!). How …Continue Reading
Legislative theater takes Augusto Boal’s interactive forum theater exercises from the stage into the real world – as a tool for proposing and enacting legislative and policy changes at any level of government.
Carroça is the Portuguese word for carriage — that is, a wheeled vehicle for conveying people, often drawn by horses, and designed for comfort and elegance. Curiously, in Brazil this word also refers to the ramshackle carts that some human beings are compelled to use. These are the collectors of …Continue Reading
Escola de Ativismo is an independent, non-partisan collective based in São Paulo and active in different regions of Brazil. The school provides training in grassroots and campaign strategies to organizations, collectives, movements and individuals working for greater democracy.
Love your country, and fight so that its flag and other national symbols evoke its most egalitarian and noble values.
In June 2013, Barcelona’s city council shocked residents by renting out the iconic Columbus Monument to two multinational companies to use as a billboard — just another case of public goods being sold off or rented while private companies make massive profits. Immediately thereafter, those two companies put an enormous …Continue Reading
Dunbar’s number refers to the approximate number of primary, care-based relationships people can maintain. The concept carries interesting implications for navigating the leap from organizing among friends to organizing under formal structures.
Nannies, housekeepers, and elder care providers have long been excluded from basic labor protections in the United States, but thankfully, this is now starting to change. In 2010, New York passed the very first Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, followed by Hawaii and California, with other states soon to follow. …Continue Reading
When taking on a big and well-known target, it is often the target’s reaction to your action that’s the key to success. Therefore, anticipate your target’s reactions and write them into your script.
In the words of media researcher Charlotte Ryan, “A frame is a thought organizer, highlighting certain events and facts as important, and rendering others invisible.” Framing a message correctly can make or break an entire campaign.
To broadcast a message through collective action; to frame nighttime actions with a key message; to make creative use of overlooked public spaces.
The Overpass Light Brigade was forged in the Wisconsin Uprising of 2011, and at first focused upon the campaign to recall right-wing governor Scott Walker. Out of that regional action the international Light Brigade Network was formed, and is behind the national coordination of messages such as the WALKOUT ON …Continue Reading