Information About Second Gathering

When/Where: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 at 6:00 PM at 16 Beaver St. in Manhattan

At our first gathering last night, we decided for next week to reread the texts from yesterday. We also offered the option for people to read any relevant “case studies” to enhance our discussions.

Readings from the first gathering:

Additional readings from the first gathering:

Case studies: Other readings (and films) to draw from (if you really have the time):



  • April Carter, “Direct Action: Past and Present,” in Direct Action and Democracy Today (pp. 1-34) (2005)
  • George Katsiaficas, “The Autonomen in Unified Germany,” in The Subversion of Politics: Autonomous Social Movements and the Decolonization of Everyday Life (pp. 223-250) (1997)
  • Richard Kempton, Provo: Amsterdam’s Anarchist Revolt (2007)
  • Colin Ward, Anarchy in Action (1973)

Spanish Civil War

  • Michael Seidman, “Militancy,” in Republic of Egos: A Social History of the Spanish Civil War (pp. 14-73) (2002)



    • Frantz Fanon, “Concerning Violence,” in Wretched of the Earth (pp. 35-106) (1961)
    • Film: Gillo Pontecorvo, The Battle of Algiers (1966)




  • Barbara Epstein, “The Livermore Action Group: Direct Action and the Arms Race,” in Political Protest and Cultural Revolution: Nonviolent Direct Action in the 1970s and 1980s (pp. 125-156) (1991)


  • Film: Beca Lafore, Shutdown: The Rise and Fall of Direct Action Against the War (2008)

 Anti-White Supremacy


    • Film: Lucas Langworth, Taking AIM: The Story of the American Indian Movement (2010)

Black Panthers

    • Film: Göran Olsson, The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 (2011)

Weather Underground

    • Film: Sam Green and Bill Siegel, The Weather Underground (2002)

Young Lords

    • Film: Iris Morales, ¡Palante, Siempre Palante!: The Young Lords (1996)

 Dual Power


    • Kelly Nichols, “Taking Direct Action to Reclaim Health Care,” The Provider Project: Wellness Without Apology (2012)
    • Various, Jane Zine: Documents from Chicago’s Clandestine Abortion Service (1968-1973)
    • Film: Katie Kirtz and Nell Lundy, JANE: An Abortion Service (1998)


    • Film: Agnes Varda, The Gleaners and I (2000)



    • Various, “Christiania Guide” (2004)
    • Film: Hannah Dobbz, Shelter: A Squatumentary (2008)
    • Film: Nikolaj Viborg, 69, Ungdomshuset (2008)

Sustainable Living

    • Scott Kellogg and Stacy Pettigrew, “Introduction,” in Toolbox for Sustainable City Living: A Do-It-Ourselves Guide (pp. xi-xviii) (2008)


 Indigenous Resistance

  • Film: Rick Rowley, The Fourth World War (2003)


    • Film: Jim Burroughs, Water Wars (2009)



    • Film: Nettie Wild, A Place Called Chiapas (1998)



    • William Ernst Trautmann, “Direct Action and Sabotage,” in Direct Action and Sabotage: Three Classic IWW Pamphlets from the 1910s, edited by Salvatore Salerno (pp. 19-56) (1912/1997)
    • Film: Stewart Bird and Deborah Shaffer, The Wobblies (1979)
    • Film: John Sayles, Matewan (1987)

 Prison Abolition/Prisoners’ Revolt


    • Film: Cinda Firestone, Attica (1974)



    • Film: Jim Hubbard, United in Anger: A History of ACT UP (2012)



    • Robert Lumley, “The Student Movement,” in States of Emergency: Cultures of Revolt in Italy from 1968 to 1978 (1990)

Urban Guerrilla Warfare


    • Dan Georgakas and Marvin Surkin, Detroit: I Do Mind Dying: A Study in Urban Revolution (1998)


West Germany

    • Film: Ben Lewis, Baader Meinhof: In Love With Terror (2002)

Information About First Gathering

When/Where: July 24, 2012 at 6:00 PM at 16 Beaver St. in Manhattan.

Readings for first gathering:

Additional readings (if you have the time):

We will also be viewing Shutdown: The Rise and Fall of Direct Action Against the War (2008), a documentary reflecting on the shutdown and occupation of the Financial District in San Francisco on March 20, 2003.

List of Prospective Materials


Below are some readings and films that address direct action, either conceptually or within a particular historical context. If you have recommendations for any additional essays, articles, books, or documentaries about direct action, please email us at cafedecleyre (at) riseup (dot) net.
The group will collectively decide each week as to which specific texts to read and which specific films to watch, and that list will be posted here.



An Invitation

Dear Direct Actionists, Anarchists, Anti-Authoritarians, Autonomists, Agitators, Instigators, Incendiaries, Troublemakers, Rabble-Rousers, Radicals, Revolutionaries, Fomenters, Firebrands, Malcontents, Mischief Makers, Miscreants, Movers and Shakers,

From the occupation of Zuccotti Park to the May Day General Strike, the Occupy movement has engaged in direct action. As a result there has been a renewed interest in the concept and its history. Let us take this opportunity to deepen our collective understanding!

Join us for our first gathering of Café de Cleyre–a direct action reading group and film series!
Tuesday, July 24
16 Beaver (4th floor)
6:00 PM

Cafés have served as an important site of social gathering and debate. In this spirit, and inspired by the writings of anarchist and feminist Voltairine de Cleyre, we seek to study direct action so as to inform our struggle against the state and capitalism.

In striving to develop consistency between our principles and interactions with one another, this group offers a horizontal approach to learning. Drawing from personal experiences as well as films and readings, Café de Cleyre is an opportunity to engage in a participatory model in which everyone has something to offer and everyone has something to learn. We place emphasis on asking questions over assuming answers.

We wish to explore questions such as:

  • What is direct action and what forms can it take?
  • What distinguishes direct action from other types of action?
  • When and where has direct action been used through history?
  • How does direct action work to dismantle all systems of oppression, such as white supremacy, patriarchy, colonialism, heterosexism, transphobia, ableism, and ageism?

In future weeks, the group will collectively decide which texts to read and which films to watch. Discussions will be guided by different facilitators each week. For the first gathering, we are asking folks to read any and all of the following suggested pieces:

Additional readings (if you have the time):

We will also be viewing Shutdown: The Rise and Fall of Direct Action to Stop the War (2008), a documentary reflecting on the shutdown and occupation of the Financial District in San Francisco on March 20, 2003.

Tea and coffee will be provided; feel free to bring food!

So please join us:
Tuesday, July 24
16 Beaver (4th floor)
6:00 PM

See you at the Café!