Action Planning/Discussion Worksheet for Antifascists

Three Way Fight


Editors’ note: The following worksheet outlines a process to help antifascist groups prepare for political actions. Three Way Fight is publishing it as an appendix to our discussion series on the events of August 22nd in Portland, Oregon. Although the worksheet focuses on tactics, it is intended to be viewed and used in the context of broader political and strategic discussions.

Action Planning/Discussion Worksheet
by some members of GDC Local 1


This worksheet was compiled by the members of the General Defense Committee PDX Local 1 who ventured out onto the Portland streets on August 22. While heartened by the size of the resistance, we became concerned about a number of tactical decisions we observed and the insufficient attention that all of us paid to preparation and flexibility.

This worksheet is not intended to be filled out and left laying around casually. Rather, affinity groups can use it as a conversation/self-training prompt to spark 1) critical discussion of your own group’s tactics and analysis, and 2) a common platform to begin conversation with other groups with whom you have connection and trust. If we’re doing horizontal organizing, we have to talk to one another about strategy!

Event Disruption Worksheet

Action Context:

Analyze the information you have about the upcoming action and your previous knowledge of similar events in the past.

  • Location: Public/private/federal property? How many entrances/exits does the site have and how visible are the entrances? Are there any site-specific risks to be aware of (e.g., federal property)? What does the site offer in maneuvering options? Do elevations or structures offer usable cover?
  • Event type: (e.g., presentation, rally, convoy, direct provocation)
  • Site context: Presence of vulnerable populations nearby? Police presence or nearby buildings/areas that may be a risk?
  • Potential size of opposition: Media exposure, dates planned far in advance, anniversaries of specific events, recent events (locally or nationally) or political upheaval may factor into attendance size.
  • Coordination level of counterprotest: What have you observed in the past? What seems likely for this event? Why?
  • What factors make this action like or unlike previous actions?

Situation Analysis:

  • What can be reasonably inferred from your analysis of the action context? How can you use this information to create a plan?
  • Will the opposition stay in one place? Caravan? March? How will your group show up to this presence? (Working through the ‘goals’ section below may help clarify your answer here.)
  • If/when the situation changes, e.g., a proposed rally decides to caravan or march, or there is an escalation, what will black bloc likely do in response? What will your group do based on the likely actions of friendly and opposition groups?
  • What contingency plans can your group develop to keep you safe/effective before, during, and after the event? What does ‘safe’ and ‘effective’ mean to your group? What risk tolerances do members of your group have?
  • If scattered, where will you re-gather?

Tactics Emerging from Analysis:

  • What tactics are you comfortable using/have training in?
  • What tactics do you wish to develop?
  • What tactics are complementary (and do you know anyone who engages in these?)
  • What do you need (that you can control) for these tactics to be successful?
  • Some tactics come with more risks and potential costs than others. Has your group thought through these together? If arrested, does a third party have information to be used in jail support?

Shared Goals:

  • What are your group’s long-term goals, and their guiding principles? How does this event play into those goals and principles?
  • Based on the above analysis, what are the goals of your group for the day?
  • How will you know when you’ve met them and/or when they are incapable of being met?
  • Will you share your goals with other affinity groups? Do your goals involve coordination with other affinity groups? If so, how will you make that happen?

Communication Strategy:

Communication is always clearly a risk, due to potential interception, but it is also absolutely necessary between group members, and potentially between groups. Knowing how you plan to communicate internally before an action can help with mobility and contingency planning. Knowing how to communicate externally can make or break a counter-action. Forming relationships between groups and group members is a powerful tool to create a stronger and more resilient leftist community overall.

  • Who do you need to communicate with?
  • What plan do you have for maintaining that communication?

Additional Resources

There are few easily accessible podcasts and websites about strategy for us to recommend here, and blessedly fewer pastel instagram slideshows. But it can be good to start from the place of what you have, what you can use, and how to get it where you are going. What follows are podcasts and online resources that can be of use for thinking about actions and what you can do there. You can also read Sun Tzu’s Art of War and use it as dating advice, just saying.

Live Like the World is Dying podcast:
S1E7 is a run down of respirators and goggles
S1E10 has information about body armor
S1E8 has an interview about a person’s experience responding to a gunshot wound at a protest
It could happen here podcast:
Season 2: October 22, 2021
Regardless of your opinion on Robert Evans or the John Brown Gun Club, the conversation here about community self defense as an act of service is interesting.  
Final Straw Radio podcast:
The August 9, 2021 episode “Combating Movement Misogyny” has a conversation about the recurring problem of the people considered “frontliners” being treated differently/better/with more appreciation and support than the ones performing invisibilized/reproductive/social/care labor (often by people who are read as “feminized”, regardless of their actual identity). The conversation about valuing labor that is not seen as glamorous is absolutely vital.  
Rosehip Medic Collective:
Classics of the genre.

Several versions of images like the following circulated last year. What would yours look like?

Aaaaand I’m just gonna leave this here for fun:
Ye olde counterinsurgency field manual of the united states army and marines. Do we have the same definition of fun?

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