An Operational Manual for the Brighton Branch of the Love Activists Movement
This is a guide for anyone new to Love Activists who would like to get involved. This document will be updated routinely, based on our personal experiences in Brighton. If you have any comments or questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Last updated: 12th March, 2016
We are a leaderless movement. This does not mean we are without leaders. The only reason we have gotten this far is because we have all been leaders. We have all taken the initiative to do the thing that needs to be done to make the things happen. Many hands make light work. Together we have already proven that we are capable of amazing things!
We have thrived by virtue of the fact that we are non party political. It is difficult to acknowledge the support of players in a pantomime which has become so dangerously detached from reality, but there are a few brave individuals, slaving away in Parliamentary bureaucracy for the greater good. These noble souls, who are striving for a saner, kinder politics we happily acknowledge, respect and endorse wholeheartedly as individuals, if not as members of political parties.
We have also thrived by virtue of our no-money policy, which has made it easier to practise universal peace, love and respect in all that we have done so far and are continuing to do.
Love Activism has grown a lot over the last year and it’s continuing to grow, in Brighton and beyond.
It’s about supporting each other so that we can all be the strong leaders that we need to be.
Good stuff will only keep happening if people keep stepping up to do it and if we all support them when they do!
This document is intended to be a ‘how to’ guide to our interpretation of Love Activism so far. It’s basically about taking personal leadership of an individual aspect of a plan to get good stuff done collectively. It’s about listening to each other’s experiences and ideas and supporting each other’s work.
So far, we’ve organically developed into four crews. Most of these crew members overlap and multitask the various responsibilities. Most of these working groups organise via closed groups on facebook. If you are interested in getting involved, please send a request to join the relevant group.
- Admin Crew
- Love Kitchen Crew
- Press and Media Crew
- Lobbying and Direct Action Crew
The admin crew are responsible for co-ordinating communication between all the different working groups, volunteers, supporters and the wider Love Activist community.
We suggest that anyone who wants to join the admin team should already be volunteering in another working group, in order to have the necessary experience and understanding of all the stuff we do.
We try to respond to messages as and when they come and forward them to the relevant people and the relevant working groups.
We network with other groups and share important and informative material as far and wide as possible.
We help support with setting up event pages for the love kitchen, meetings and other direct actions. We also make efforts to share campaigns and events organised by other groups.
A lot of what the admin crews do is just forwarding messages for the other crews.
If someone asks to volunteer we usually encourage them to come to the Love Kitchen on a Sunday. If they are offering a donation we suggest the same. We DO NOT accept cash donations. If they can’t attend the kitchen but would like to donate food, clothing, or other useful items, then try asking other volunteers in the relevant organisational group if they can arrange a collection or be a drop off point if someone is willing to deliver.
This will be when your interpersonal communication skills will really come into play, as you will need to help find a suitable time for both volunteers and for the kind people donating stuff.
Volunteers make an effort to take pictures on their phones of all donations of food and equipment. These pictures can then be posted online to thank the people who donated, also to keep a record of stuff which has been kindly given, to show what is possible when we work together. (Please send pictures/details to the admin of the main FB page to share if you are not an editor/admin of the page)
Press and media related enquiries should be forwarded to the ‘Love Activists Brighton Press and Media team’, ideally by posting it to their group page on facebook.
- Messages from the Council/Police/Authorities
The ‘Love Activists Brighton Lobbying and Direct Action’ crew use the riseup email account for correspondance with the local authorities quite a lot. If you spot a relevant message on the FB pages which they haven’t picked up on please forward it to them.
You may also receive general messages of support and solidarity or requesting support and solidarity. We are a community network, and we encourage solidarity. We encourage supportive reposting of campaigns who are aligned with our own, as we encourage attendance at our comrades’ demonstrations, protests and direct actions.
We are expressly not party political, though we appreciate the support of people who are and we will sometimes repost party political campaigning materials. If in doubt about posting political stuff, ask the lobbying and direct action group.
We are saddened by how some of the UK’s charities are funded. We appreciate the work of their amazing frontline volunteers, but we do not feel that rewarding CEOs with 6 figure salaries to gamble the UK’s generosity on an unstable stock market is the best use of people’s money.
We trust our admins’ judgement – there haven’t been any controversial or contentious postings yet – if there ever are, we will deal with them democratically.
As well as managing messages, the admin crew also manage comments and posts. In order to make sure all the volunteers are okay with what we post, we suggest only re-sharing content from pages which relate to our cause.
Try to respond to all comments on social media, saying a big thank you for all the generous support we get. If you see any negative comments or posts we suggest apologising for how they’re feeling, empathising with what they’re talking about and making a recommendation that they are welcome to message the page in private so we can deal with the problem in a positive way.
Finally, you are there to deal with any issues that may arise from other working groups. If you receive any messages from concerned volunteers try to deal with them to the best of your knowledge and work with the rest of the team as much as possible. Don’t take it all on your own shoulders.
Love Kitchen Crew
There are many things people do to help out with the regular Sunday love kitchen.
Firstly, people just come and hang out at kitchen. A friendly crew with a good vibe is the most important element. If you are a musician or have a soundsystem – good music always helps!
The kitchen needs some people to serve tea & coffee, some to organise collecting hot water and surplus food donations from the community, including supportive individuals, shops, businesses, restaurants and cafes.
After a while, you will get a feel for where your skills are useful. You may feel like hosting a kitchen yourself. Usually for first timers we try to have one of the more experienced volunteers come with you, to help with any questions or concerns you might have.
When hosting the kitchen you will be responsible for collecting the kitchen equipment which is packed into two wheelie bags along with a foldable lightweight table. You will need to transport it on foot (or in yr vehicle or bike trailer if you have one) and help set it up with the help of other volunteers.
The bags contain a stove, 5 litre hot water flask for making hot drinks, some cooking equipment, tea/coffee and donated food. There should also be some street sheets with information on local services and some binbags to organise rubbish and recycling. It is good to fill the 5 litre flask with hot boiling water before setting off if possible. When arriving on-site you should first set up the table and stove and start heating up any food. (Obviously, ensuring gas cannisters are in place correctly before use)
When the 5 litre pump flask needs re-filling, we usually ask nearby shops, cafes, pubs etc. We set up the flask and boxes/jars of tea/coffee and milk and the stove on the marble side when set up at the clocktower, setting up other food stuff on the table. Be sure to take bin bags with you and organise the rubbish for recycling.
After the kitchen, the equipment needs to be securely stored for that week. This is organised ad-hoc by the Kitchen crew. Please don’t add more kit than is necessary. When we run out of supplies, or if anything gets lost or broken, please message the organisational page immediately so we can repair or replace items as necessary. If you are also an admin, please update this information to the wishlist. There are numerous files to keep track of what equipment we have and where on the organisational page on facebook.
Volunteers are keen to cook for the kitchen. When setting up the event page for the Love Kitchen it is advised to do shoutouts asking people to bring cooked food. There is sometimes food surplus which people can use to cook with. Hosts of the kitchen also cook sometimes. All of this can be coordinated via the Love Kitchen Organisational Crew facebook page.
To set an event page up as Love Activists Brighton you will need to ask to join the admin crew and be made an editor of the page.
If any food donations come in, it’s up to everyone how to make use of them and you may want to come up with meal ideas using what has been donated. No meat – all vege. No rice or beansprouts to minimise risk of food poisoning. Finally, during the setup please make sure you are sticking to Health & Safety guidelines. Make sure to use the provided hand sanitiser/wear disposable gloves when handling food or beverages, cover all surfaces which you are preparing or serving food from and exercise good common sense.
After the initial setup everything should run smoothly. Just make sure to keep the flasks regularly topped up and keep the food coming!
Press & Media Crew
The press and media crew presents the public face of Love Activists. We wrote the first draft of this document!
This team is responsible for; dealing with press interviews, enquiries, producing placards and banners, designing and executing social media campaigns and producing the Love Activists’ forthcoming regular newsreel!
You might want to write an article, produce a video, or you might want to help research angles on other stories or actions.
You might want to help design placards, banners and other arty stuff for the Direct Action crew or you might want to help putting together, printing and distributing the final edition online and in print.
The Press & Media crew can now communicate, network and organise through our facebook group
Lobbying & Direct Action Crew
This team are responsible for coming up with new tactics and strategies to campaign for an end to homelessness, and for social, economic and environmental justice through the power of peace, love and respect!
This crew also keeps track of local council and central government doings.
All updates are posted on the group page. To take leadership in this group means being responsible for administrating petitions, arranging and attending meetings lobbying officials, organising protests, conducting research, arranging marches and direct actions which communicate effectively.
Unfortunately for any cheeky undercover coppers, this isn’t a team for planning any violent, dangerous or illegal direct actions – we’ll leave that for you and your mates to sort out!
The Lobbying and Direct Action crew can now communicate, network and organise through our facebook group
Safer Spaces Policy
As a movement we are all responsible for keeping each other safe, so we have a safer spaces policy to ensure everyone is safe, happy and comfortable.
– Don’t be out of order
– No racism, sexism, homophobia or any form of prejudice
– Controlling or dominating behaviour is also unnacceptable
– Our initial response to contraventions of this policy would be to do our best to de-escalate any stressful situations.
– Our final response to contraventions of this policy will be the silent treatment, or if necessary we’ll all just leave
– Anyone who uses or threatens violence will be automatically fed to the pigs