Checklist for affinity groups

A name for your affinity group
Preferably an unusual and unmistakable word that can be shouted easily – so that there aren’t three other groups with the same name and confusion is avoided.

Share your full names, addresses, birth dates and contact persons in case of emergencies (detention/injury).

Talk about your personal objectives and motivations:
– Why do you want to take part in the action?
– What do you hope to achieve with it?
– When is the planned action successful for you?

Talk about your previous experiences and your fears.
– How do you feel physically and mentally about the planned activities? Are there things that you find particularly difficult or easy?
– Where are your personal limits? How should your affinity group deal with that?
– What frightens you? What helps in that situation?
– How do you want to deal with possible repression?
– What do you expect from each other?

Consider your behaviour in specific situations:
– What do you want to do together during the action, how far do you want to go?
– Do you have special needs before, during and after the action (e.g. medicines; supervisory duties, if someone is not yet of age,…)
– Who can stay how long in the action? Who ends the action?
-What would the worst-case scenario look like? What do you expect from each other in such a situation?
– How do you want to behave towards the police?
– How do you want to behave towards other affinity groups?
– How do you react to detention: will you give your name and personal details to the police or will you refuse doing so?
– Is it important for you that someone specific is informed in case you are detained? If yes, who and when?
– Discuss whether you can envisage situations where you would divide or dissolve your affinity group.
– Get together as buddies (in groups of two inside an affinity group!) Experience has shown that buddies seen as being of the same sex have a higher chance of staying together in police detention

Agree on how you want to take decisions:
– agree on signals (consent, veto, directions, need to discuss etc.) (see Hand Signals)
– practise taking fast and consensual decisions in your daily life and in the camp (shall we got to sleep or get another beer?) (see Consensus Handout)

Decide which impression you want to make on other people (public image e.g. in the media)
– Do you want to show your face? Do you want take up the idea of disobedience in which transparency and the conveying of openness is important? Do you want to be recognizable to other participants?
– Do you want to disguise yourself in a creative manner? Which possibilities are there for this which don’t look intimidating?
– Which messages do you want to convey? Be it through lyrics, musical instruments, flowers, banners, signs…

Talk about how you can put in practice a culture of caring for one another:
When do I feel successful? Is it as a result of a common effort or my individual performance?
Which feelings do my actions trigger in someone else? Which consequences does it have for other people?
What does a macho/bagger/chauvinist behaviour look like? What do I need in order to behave in a mindful way?
When can I take a step back to give space to other people?
– When and how can I support people in their tasks?

Consider who in the group will take which task:
– who has a mobile phone with them? Have you got the numbers of all group members? Do you need mobile phones for the action?
– with whom do you want to communicate outside of the affinity group?
– who knows the area of the action?
– who is bringing a first aid kit?

Agree on meeting points for before, during and after the action in case you lose each other
Write down the number of the legal aid on your body (pieces of paper get lost easily and can be confiscated by the police).

Arrange a place and time for a debriefing session:
– how did each person feel in the affinity group and about the action?
– What worked well, what not so well?
– Was there any repression or could there be repression in the future?
– Write a memory log directly after the action: what happened? Where was there violence by the police?

Agree to contact and support each other if you experience repression weeks or months later.

At the climate camp the legal aid will be available to answer all your questions!

Finally, and most importantly:

Have fun!