Organize a Free College for All Action Flurry

Download a printable version of our action flurry guide

What is an action flurry? An action flurry is a series of small, confrontational actions, often with creative tactics, that is meant to create a media spectacle and/or move a powerful person to take action.

An example: say that you are fighting for Free College for All and want the president of your school to sign our petition and pledge their support.

You do some research and create a log of public events the president will be attending where you can encounter them.

At each of these events, 10-15 of you show up in graduation gowns, chained together to represent being chained to your debt, and chant to disrupt the event. You run a short program where individuals tell stories about their experiences with student debt and rising costs of college, while also demanding that the president sign our petition.

Until they sign, you repeat the actions.

Creative tactics: Use creative tactics to create a media spectacle. In the example above, wearing grad gowns with chains creates a striking image that will captivate attention if photos are published in the media. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box, but make sure that you repeat the same creative tactic during each action in the flurry. Repetition will give your action flurry a trademark that people know and recognize.

Press release: Action flurries are most successful if they can draw media attention. The best way to do this is by sending out a press release before each action. However, in some cases when you need secrecy to pull of the action flurry, it may not make sense to publicize it beforehand — it’s always a tradeoff and is your judgement call!

If you are planning to write a press release and need support, reach out to us at studentactiontoolkit@gmail.com

Do’s and don’ts of an action flurry:

  • Unless you are prepared to get arrested, leave when police or security tell you to leave. Planning arrests requires a lot of research and intentional preparation, including finding a lawyer who can be present day of. If you are planning to get arrested, or take higher levels of risk, please reach out to our organizing team at studentactiontoolkit@gmail.com to get support in the planning process.
  • Repetition is critical. If you do one small action, it is likely no one will notice.
  • Create tension and controversy. Your goal is to bring the crisis your community is facing to the person you are targeting. This is best done with tension and controversy. Although this may feel uncomfortable, it will also create an exciting opportunity to force the person and the general public to see the crisis and pick a side.
  • Be disciplined. We want to create tension, but in a way that keeps our people safe. Everyone should know the plan of action going in. Pick a person to be action lead who can make quick decisions if there are unexpected barriers to the plan, and make sure everyone at the action is willing to follow the action lead’s direction.

If you have questions or need support in planning an action flurry, reach out to us at studentactiontoolkit@gmail.com