Direct Action Handbooks

The nonviolent direct action movement of the 1970s and 1980s produced a series of handbooks, each building off the previous ones. While the specific action material is outdated, the material on group process, consensus, feminism, and oppression are still state-of-the-art thirty years later.

The Direct Action Handbook is a synthesis of the process sections of these various handbooks – 16 pages showing how small groups can work more effectively. This small handbook is well-suited for affinity groups and work groups.

The others are larger files. Most are connected with a specific action, and include a lot of logistical information, maps, and site-specific material. If you are planning actions at any of these sites today, much of this would still be useful.

The oldest of these handbooks that we know of is from Seabrook, circa 1976. Anyone know of a copy? Please Email us if you do.

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant activists in California modified the sacred texts in 1979 and again in 1981. The l981 handbook is one of the best.

Livermore Nuclear Weapons Labs in Northern California was the target of a large-scale blockade in 1982. This handbook is a great introduction to the series. (This action and the next several are covered in exhausting depth in the novel Direct Action, which you definitely will want to read. Click here to download chapters or the entire book.)

Vandenberg Air Force Base saw occupation and blockade actions in 1983. The Vandenburg handbook focused especially on the politics and logistics of US missile testing. 

The International Day 1983 handbook saw a complete rewrite of most of the material. While some new points were made, some reviewers felt that much of value was lost. Read this one as a supplement to Diablo 1981 and Livermore 1982, above.

The Pledge of Resistance grew out of Livermore and Vandenberg organizing, and focused attention on the US’s covert wars in Central America. Handbooks produced in 1985 and a more extensive publication in 1986 bring the series to a close.

Download the novel Direct Action as a PDF

Read Direct Action online.