Jun 11, 2013

The Revolution Script is now Quasi-Psuedo-Archived

I hate to do this, but to leave the blog as is, while I don't regularly attend to it or even approve comments, is unfair to my readers. As of now, please consider TRS to be an archived resource. I will post more content at points and what have you, but it should no longer be considered a "blog" in the sense that it will no longer be an ongoing log on the the web.

Thanks to all my readers over the years. I will still check the associated gmail account if folx need to contact me.

Mar 22, 2013

The Revolution Script Fan Club Redux

Long time readers of the blog, all two of you, will remember my "epic" encounter with ar-15.com and some other gun forums. I was banned form the former forum for "linking to sites advocating illegal acts," my blog, despite the complete lack of evidence to incriminate me. My trolling of that forum and the thread died and was archived for members only. Semi-recently they made the archive public, the thread can be found here and I was able to go back, have some laughs and realize it really wasn't as serious as I thought at the time.

Since I am unable to post/troll there any more, I'll just do it here.

Hey ARFCOM! I am still here, still writing my blog and more active IRL than ever. The FBI or the BATFE never came for me. You never tracked me down or managed to d0x me. I have been in police custody, including DHS on several occasions since you alerted them to my potential "domestic terrorism." They didn't do shit or mention anything about my activities. Good try though.

If you wanna continue the conversation, I would suggest that you ask the mods/admins to reverse my ban. Round two is long overdue.

Mar 8, 2013

Demonstration and Testing of Various Shotgun Loads

I just came across this video, made for law enforcement training which gives an overview of the performance of different shot loads, particularly of interest to me is the section on exotic loads, such as the flechette.

Mar 1, 2013

Tips of the Day: 5 Lessons in Warfare from Maoist Poster Form

Regular readers of The Revolution Script will know that I am an enthusiast of "communist" and revolutionary poster art, despite my considerable more personal-freedom based socio-political identity. I recently found this series of posters from the PRC which give some very important tactics and techniques for the guerrilla and anti-imperial soldier.

Via Maopost

 Poster 1, Combat Techniques - With vengeance in your heart, no bullet will be fired in vain. You must especially make the best use of your time to learn how to fire a gun, because in combat this is the most widely used practical skill. Ensure that training for shooting a gun is thoroughly carried out.

Poster 2, Combat Techniques - Throw grenades relentlessly and blow the enemy to smithereens. Grenades are a key weapon in close combat. You must throw them both far and accurately.

 Poster 3, Combat Techniques - Charge boldly against your enemy and ensure your bayonet gleams red with his blood. Only armies that dare to fight with bayonets are truly fierce. Bayonet-fighting is a symbol of political and military quality in an army. Bloodied bayonets are a symbol of a brave army.

Poster 4, Combat Techniques - Be resourceful and brave, and you will be capable of destroying any stronghold. Blasting was traditionally an important combat skill, and its role is still key. Blasting is an effective weapon in close combat. Our soldiers should be well trained in blasting techniques.

 Poster 5, Combat Techniques - Annihilate the enemy but preserve your own. While injuring or killing the enemy in combat, we should minimize our own losses. We must utilize our fortifications to construct foxholes rapidly while under enemy fire.

Back in Vermont (Again) and (More) Dumpstered Ammo

Pretend I wrote this last May.

After two years of living in the PRC (People's Republlik of California), I recently moved back to New England, including my home country of Vermont, where Sahiem and I were able to run some patrols and survey our training grounds.

On my drive back across the United States, I happened to stop in Beaver, UT to visit a gunstore which several billboards had promised to be the largest in Southern Utah. The store did not dissapoint, despite its moderatiely expensive ammo. Hella chiller OG German Shepard guards the front. I took a peek in the dumpster behind the store, and scored two 20-round boxes of Wolf 7.62x39. I opened the boxes to discover that many of the steel-cased rounds were very badly corroded, beyond usablity. Still about 27 rounds were in usuable condition.

Upon my return to Vermont, Saheim and I grabbed out respective service weapons and headed up into the woods. It was great to out there after living in arid, crowded California. Just three things of note to report.

1) This spring time patrol brough us to an oft-frequented cellar hole by a stream. It is pretty strategically positioned, has access to fresh water, apple trees and could easily hide a guerrilla unit. However, at this time of year there was several inchs of icy water pooled at the bottom, making it suitable in a pinch, but less that ideal for prolonged use. The seasonal change in Vermont is much greater than in other climates, but accounting for the seasons is obviously of great important to the guerrilla.

2) We also checked up on a neighbor's property which has pretty descent roads running through it. The area had been extensively, but not completely logged, which made it look completely different. Additionally the reductiom of under-growth and increase in sub-canopy sun slight made a certain key position much more visible to the surround area. This highlights the importance of regular intelligence gathering in all areas.

3) I ran the 27 rounds of dumpsterd, slightly rusty ammo through my WASR-10 which no problems other than leaving a little bit of rust build up in the chamber.

Look forward to more patrol reports once the snow melts.

Feb 8, 2013

Guest Post: California First Aid Kit

Thanks to Comrade Jaguar over at Jaguar Press for this post detailing the California first aid kit he put together (it has avocado on it, hence the California) for use at street demos, at the range and in wilderness situations. He is a good friend of the blog and I hope that you check out his blog and enjoy his fine poetry.

Since attending a recent first aid training at the local Red Cross, I’ve become increasingly interested in first aid and preparedness in general. I wouldn’t call myself a “prepper,” but I do like to have a robust first aid kit on hand for what ever life throws my way.

Philosophy of Use (POU):
Versatility is the key idea guiding the composition of this kit. I found myself needing supplies for different applications: basic first aid, range medic, mini-disaster preparedness, street medic, west coast festival culture, etc. Any given day I could end up dealing with a small cut or burn, a gun shot wound, an earthquake, a riot, or a drug overdose. The items included are the result of careful personal consideration as well as conversations with friends and paramedical colleagues. It is designed for a group of 2-4 people as opposed to an individual IFAK-type configuration.

The kit is not a professional medical or long term care kit. Like most first responders, I assume that the person I am aiding will receive some sort of professional medical care within hours. I also assume that I will eventually have access to my back up supplies to restock after busting the kit out. I only packed what I reasonably know how to use, although an upcoming Wilderness First Responder class should allow me to enhance and utilize my kit more fully.

I store everything in a Condor Ripaway EMT Pouch, which has incredible storage capacity (check out a product description for more). I chose it primarily to be able to access items with one hand, which I learned the importance of after having to patch up a gashed finger. I chose Multicam pattern simply because it’s pretty. Small items are grouped and stored in ziploc bags, that way everything in the pack can take a dunk in a river and still remain sterile and dry. I also keep a list of items in the pouch and try to keep in mind which items are banned by TSA (medication, razor) so I can potentially remove them for travel.

Item List in 4 Categories:


EMT sheers
LED light w/ lanyard and mini-carabiner
glow stick
red tape
small razor with sheath
4 safety pins
waterproof notebook and pencil
up to 15 ft of 550 paracord (fob on velcro pull tab and LED lanyard)

SWAT Tourniquet
Israeli bandage

Quik Clot
adhesive bandage “booboo kit” with Neosporin and skin glue
2 unscented tampons
large gauze dressing
small gauze dressing
gauze pad kit with various sizes from 2×2” to 5×9”
medical tape roll (tied into pouch with gutted paracord)

ear plugs
CPR faceshield
2 pairs of nitrile gloves
alcohol wipes/prep pads kit
2 field towels (Hoo-Ahhs)
2 face masks
space blanket
8 ziploc bags of various sizes

Medication module:
standard aspirin and non-aspirin pain/fever reducers
charcoal pills
sinus rinse

Looking forward to improving the kit, the obvious step is to train more with different tools for different situations. Besides that, I would like to incorporate more “natural” remedies (healing herbs, 5HTP) and add a Benchmade 915SBK to the mix because of its 4 way capability as a straight blade, serrated blade, seatbelt cutter, and window breaker.

Be prepared, train often. Here’s to hoping I never have to use any of it.
Fold out clamshell design makes kit easy to access with one hand and seal quickly with a velcro strap. You can see that there is a lot of organizing space in this pouch.

Jan 26, 2013

A Survey of Gun Stores in the Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Hawaii.

Update: I updated listing for a store that was forced under by the ATF and for a range as well as added another Vermont gun store. Expect another update with California gun stores soon

Update: I have recently moved to Hawaii and decided to expand on this ever-popular article. And I added one store in Connecticut, just to make it that much more comprehensive. As always feel free to post any additions or thoughts of your own in the comment section

Sahiem and I have been checking out the numerous gun stores that can be found scattered around New England/Hawaii. I thought that I would post some of my impressions of them for the benefit of my readers. I will update this as time goes on and the staff of The Revolution Script continue to search out the best deals on ammo, guns, accessories and other supplies. Note that none of these stores should be considered "pinko friendly."


Back 40, Windsor, VT - I haven't been there myself, but Saheim tells me I'm not missing much. One positive note is that they sell mil surp guns on consignment that are built by a local gunsmith, a very talented guy that I have met at the range. Recently it was a Romanian RPK build.

John's Gun Shop, Morrisville, Vermont - The owner of this store is an über-Christian survivalist and as such provides great deals on ammo and a fair number of civilian black rifles as well as Class III fire arms. The owner gives you a free CD of his Christian music with every purchase. NOW CLOSED.

Powderhorn Outdoor Sports Center, Williston, Vermont - Thanks to Soob for adding this store in the comment section. I recently made the trip to see what all the hype was about and I am glad I did. Their selection is unrivaled in Vermont as far as military weapons are concerned. From collectible broom handled Mausers to AK variants from multiple country to FN FALs, the Powder Horn will not disappoint the discriminating revolutionary. The store also stocks knives, gear and plenty of current production and mil. surp. ammo, although their selection of 7.62 x 39mm was noticeably lacking when I visited, except for tracers, which I have never seen in that caliber before or since. Their prices on guns seemed reasonable and I saw several items which I might have to pick up the next time I have seven hundred plus dollars burning a hole in my pocket.

Charles Wells Jr. Gun Shop, Bennington, VT- This store was the worst gun store I have ever been to. It is attached to a gas station and is small and cluttered. On top of that they have virtually no selection of guns and the worst prices I have ever seen on ammo anywhere, more than double what you pay at other stores. Don't even bother.

Barrow's Trading Post, Quechee, VT- In addition to yet another unfriendly store owner, Barrows doesn't offer anything particularly unique. The selection consists of a small handful of hunting weapons, carbines and second-rate handguns such as Hi-Points and Tauruses, all of which they are asking $50-100 too much for. No mil surp ammo or rifles. Plus I know for a fact that certain members of the Revolution Script Fan Club frequent the store...

Orvis Retail Store, Manchester, VT- It's pretty cool if you like expensive yuppie clothes and $35,000 hand engraved hunting shotguns.

Dattilio's Discount Guns Tackle & Archery, South Burlington, Vermont- The complete opposite of Charles H Wells in Bennington. This gas station and gun store combo actually has reasonably priced ammo and a good selection at that. Whether you are looking for steel-cased practice ammo or high-performance self-defense loads, chances are they have it. Saheim and I have both been impressed with our visits. If you ask, they will let you into the back room which holds two cases of long arms, a mix of military and hunting rifles and shotguns.

R&L Archery, Barre, Vermont- This is more of a sporting goods store with an extensive gun selection than a gun store. Think of it as a Cabela's, except much, much smaller and locally owned and operated. Their firearms selection includes a relatively small number of guns, mostly hunting rifles, shotguns and handguns. The website has a gun list, although based on the over all quality and amount of out of date info on the page I am not sure how well this list is maintained. They do have a rather comprehensive ammo selection that is decently priced, but a very poor selection of military rifle calibers. The store also sells bows and arrows as the name would suggest as well as camping gear, paintball and airsoft, etc. A nice store that I would like to visit again some day, but not nice enough that I am in a hurry to do so.

Parro's Gun Shop, Waterbury, Vermont- Probably the best gun store in the state if you are law enforcement or military and a pretty damn good store for everybody else. Parro's focuses on the police market, offering body armor, tactical gear and a twenty percent discount to cops. But it does have a whole lot more for everybody else. To begin with, most everything, except for their large collection of handguns is not kept behind a counter so you are free to look at and hold all the ammo and all of the long arms without having to harass the store clerk. The store has a top-notch selection of military firearms but sadly not mil-surp ammo to match. They do have a good, not great selection of ammo. Prices in the store are fairly reasonable but notable higher that similar stores. The staff was very nice and I even walked out with a stack of promotional paper targets.

New Hampshire:

Welch's Gun Shop
, Lebanon, New Hampshire- Your friendly neighborhood gun store, home to the infamous Junior, a wheelchair-bound old man who is nearly deaf from shooting guns. The store is nothing special and doesn't have the greatest selection outside of hunting firearms. Occasionally you can find a good deal there and the helpful staff have been know to allow themselves to be haggled down quite a bit when the customer is paying cash. Don't expect to find any military surplus ammo or any deals on military calibers.

Riley's Gun Shop, Hooksett, New Hampshire- The largest gun store in the state of New Hampshire, Riley's is well worth the drive and always fun to stop by. Their selection is great even if their prices on guns aren't always the best, although the do have the best prices around on Judges. The usually have good deals on military surplus ammo and right now they have cheap cases of .223, including mil-spec Lake City/Federal. In the past I have found some East German 7.62 x 39mm there, which turned out to be corrosive even though they told me that it wasn't. Also check out their bargain shelf for great deals on ammo and magazines.

Alstead Gun Shop, Alstead, New Hampshire- I was surprised at how many guns they had in stock, even more so at their high prices on many items. They did have a good selection of ammo, including military calibers. Recently I snatched up some super cheap South African brass case for my new AK and my old SKS. And I saw they had some deals on Russian made AK mags. It was a nice store and it came highly recommended but I probably won't go out of my way to visit it.

Sporting & Hunting Depot, Charlestown, New Hampshire- Right off of Interstate 91, the store down in Chucktown is a hidden gem. This store has it all, a great selection, even in terms of assault rifles and their magazines, good prices and a convenient location. They don't usually stock too many kinds of mil. surp. ammo but I have found limited quantities of Norinco 7.62 x 39mm lead core on the bargain table in the back that Clinton banned from importation. I have also found real good deals on mags from the bargain table and recently walked away with some East German and Chinese AK ammo with some stripper clips. I have heard nothing but good things about this place from multiple sources

Lewis Arms, Bow, NH- Just down the road from Riley's, Lewis Arms seemed pretty standard when I recently visited. There prices seemed a little high but there selection was actually pretty good. I saw a Norinco AK there, something I haven't spotted at any of the places listed on above. They had a VERY limited selection of mil. surp. ammo and not too much else besides hunting rifles and other guns which I don't really care about. Also, I felt like Brad Lewis, the owner was giving me the stink-eye the entire time I was there, something I am used to at gun stores at this point. They do gunsmithing on site in what looked like a pretty comprehensive workshop.

Birch Knoll Gun Shop, Lyme Center, NH- This is probably the smallest gun store I have ever visited. With a small collection of handguns, rifles and shotguns, this place wouldn't be my first choice to buy a SHTF gun. He told me that he makes a habit of not stocking black rifles. The owner was a super nice guy and didn't mind shooting the shit. They did have a couple of good deals on ammo, including U.S. gov 12 ga. buckshot and some Aguila 12 ga. Minishells, something that you don't see just anywhere. Note that the owner is EXTREMELY right wing, so don't bring up politics, including gun laws as he will get real worked up like. Other than that he is a good guy trying to keep his store afloat in a bad economy, so I would encourage people to stop by. He no longer advertises in the local paper, I am not sure if that means he is closed... or what...

Rody's Gun Store, Newport, NH: I was pleasantly surprised when I visited Rody's. It is a pretty small store own by a NH native and WWII veteran who seemed like a nice enough guy. A great selection of ammo for the size of the store and when I visited they only had Kalashnikovs in terms of assault rifles. I saw some good deals on Ruger's, whose factory is also located in the town and for whom Rody does repairs. They took their sweet time repairing a comrade's Ruger SP101 but did it for free through the factory. There is a public skeet range out back and a shooting bench from which customers can test fire guns before buying them. If you are in the area, stop by and you will probably find something that you like. When I returned after my first visit, I found that the ammo supply had dwindled and all the AKs were gone. Obviously they don't get new inventory in very often.


Valley Sport Center, Easthampton, MA- One of the few sporting goods stores that I have come to respect as a gun store. A varied and interesting selection of guns that are very reasonably priced and a friendly, helpful and knowledgeable owner make this store stand out. Of course I could never take advantage of the store's selection as I do not have the necessary permit to purchase guns and ammo in Gungrab-achusettes. NOW CLOSED

R and R Sport Shop, Belchertown MA- Much less friendly place than the Valley Sport Center. Good prices on hunting firearms but very little, i.e. one SKS in terms of military arms and no mil. surp. ammo that I saw. Stop by if you are in Belchertown visiting the Quabbin, but its not really worth going out of your way.

Personal Defense Specialists, South Hadley, MA- Maybe the most poorly set up gun store ever. Their VERY LIMITED selection, maybe 30 guns total are kept on the wall fifteen feet behind the counter. Their prices were pretty high and I can't really recommend that anyone go to this store, unless you are visiting the Polish Pottery Shop next door.

Smith and Wesson Shooting Sports Center, Springfield, MA- A great place to visit if your in the area. Beside the shooting Academy on site, there is a store with a mini-museum and a complete selection of Smith and Wesson handguns, knives and accessories. Their prices are factory prices so don't expect any deals. My favorite part is the indoor range where you can rent a gun or three and go shooting with some comrades. Be aware that you can't legally shoot anything with a human face on it in Massachusetts. S&W makes some nice pistols so it is nice to be able to pick your favorite or try their latest models, like the R8 series. RANGE CLOSED INDEFINITELY,


Cabela's, East Hartford, CT- I have made a couple of visits. They have what you would expect at any Cabela's in terms of guns and gear. Ammo availability was pretty volatile, sometime the shelves are empty, sometimes flush, but always pretty pricey. If you are looking for CT/MA/NY compliant guns, this would be a good place to check out, the staff will be able to help you navigate the various laws applicable guns. Some military type weapons and a good variety of ammo in military calibers, just be ready to pay for it.


Magnum Firearms, Honolulu, HI- This store has a great selection on guns and gear, in fact one of the best selections of military firearms I have ever seen. Not too many stores stock Galils, RPKs and Dragonuvs, or even AKs to begin with. Too bad that their prices are through the roof; 650 for a Judge, 800 for a WASR-10? Outrageous. No mil-surp ammo that I saw, but they do sell cases of military caliber ammo. Definitely worth a visit just for the eye candy.

Security Equipment Corporation, Honolulu, HI- A nice little store that is geared toward police officers. They don't have a ton of guns in stock, no AKs, just ARs and M-14s, plus a good portion of their handguns are for law enforcement only. Decent prices on guns and ammo and lots of tactical gear.

Gun Source, Honolulu, HI-
This was probably one of the emptiest and least decorated gun stores that I have ever visited. There was a distinct lack of inventory in the areas of holsters, tac gear and other accessories. Their military arms selection was pretty good with ARs, M-14s and lots of Kalashnikovs, including Saigas in .308 and 12 ga. There prices were OK but I saw no military surplus ammo. When I visited the store a second time, I found their customer service to be excellent, very unusual for any gun store.

Waikiki Gun Shop, Honolulu, HI,
A tiny other one in Waikiki had a nice selection of guns, standard ammo selection and some pretty good deals on accessories and gun parts. They had some cheap Tauruses and Hi-Points. They reload their own ammo for the range but I didn't see any for sale.

Hope y'all found that useful, cause there's more to come.

Jan 25, 2013

Vermont Police Now Fully Equipped with Mobile Data Terminals

Before I left Vermont, I accepted the invitation of the local police chief to get a free demo of the new mobile data terminals recently acquired by the department thanks to a grant from the Department of Homeland Security. Obviously there are tons of terrorists in my small home town, so many that it needs federal tax dollars, ones that could be much better spent investing in education, health care, unemployment, or any number of needy social services. But I digress...

The chief said that by the end of 2008, every police department in Vermont (sheriffs, state police, Border Patrol, town) will be equipped with laptops encased in shock proof, drop proof cases that swap in and out of their cruisers and other vehicles. Using either the keyboard or the touch screen, the cop can access the internet and see which officers are on patrols from which departments across the state and instant message them. Also cops no longer need to radio into a dispatcher in order to check plates, car registration and people's licenses and other IDs. I am guessing that most other states also have this technology but I just wanted to share this piece of counter-intelligence.

Jun 22, 2012

Don't Do What Donny Don't Does

Meaning don't "bubba-out" your SKS, don't lean back when in your shooting stance, and don't hold the rifle so there is only one small point of contact with your shoulder.

May 9, 2012

All of Your Base Are Belong to Us: A Homes not Jails Guide to the Occupation of Buildings

As the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement evolves and has started a “second phase,” the occupation of vacant and unused buildings has become an increasingly popular tactic with notable occupations in San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Cruz, and Raleigh. My intention here is to describe how Homes Not Jails-San Francisco (HnJ) plans and executes their public housing takeovers/building occupations, based on their public actions that I observed over the course of 2011.

All information contained herein is only intended for academic and informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice or encouragement to violate any law(s). Building occupations are illegal everywhere in the US.

Your results may vary. In planning any kind of political action, it is important to consider local conditions; what works in San Francisco doesn’t even work in Oakland the same way. San Francisco’s law enforcement, justice system and political climate are unique within the United States.

Planning and Preparations

Security Culture and Legal Considerations

Almost all of the planning is done in public HnJ meetings, everything except location, method and means of breaching, and preoccupation can be conducted openly and publicly. The number of people who know the location of any occupation in advance should be kept as small as possible, for HnJ, this has usually meant five or fewer people. Code names are given to potential sites, so that they can be safely referred to by the group, without disclosing its location. Standard security culture practices are observed regarding digital forms of communication.

There are three general working-groups that bottom line, or take responsibility for making sure that the tasks necessary for a successful occupation are completed; Arts, Propaganda and Media, Logistics, and Cracking/Breaching.

Arts, Propaganda and Media

One of the most basic tasks that deserves attention is the fabrication of banners and placards for the march and to be dropped/hung at/on the occupation site. Flags are fun, festive, make for powerful imagery, and can be used to direct the march.

This working group is also responsible for booking speakers and musicians and arranging mobile sound amplification. Speakers help to “message” the event, get people excited and start the march on a good foot. Having music, live or recorded makes a rally more upbeat and creates a more energetic march. Spoken word performances are another possibility.

Both physical fliers and digital event notices need to be made, detailing time, place and message of the rally. Digital copies are posted/sent to local Indymedia pages, social networking sites, listservs, etc. Fliers should be made in both quarter sheets (for handing out) and full sheets for wheat pasting, posting in free paper machines (no tape or paste required), etc.

Several press releases can be prepared, with different versions released over time to let media know where march is meeting, what is planned, why you are doing it, etc. Once the building is occupied, a press release about the actual site can be sent out. It may be useful to have a media contact, somebody in a safe place outside of occupation to take media calls (on a land line preferably) and distribute press releases as events unfold.

Logistics and Resource Coordination

This is another public function of an occupation, the acquisition and transportation of materials and resources. The transporters should be told the general neighborhood the day of the occupation and the location once the building has been occupied. This working group needs to coordinate with the breaching team, specifically the pre-occupiers in order to stage “shelf-stable” materials at the occupation site in advance. Resources that have been found useful by HnJ include:

Food- HnJ usually brings some freegan food but also enlists the help of Food Not Bombs to serve hot food on the street in front of the occupation. Folks need to eat, keep them well-fed and happy. Bring coffee and tea or means for making it, hot coffee is a great way to wake up.

Water- Potable water needed to drink and clean, also to flush toilets if the plumbing is out of service.

Medical- Some form of med-kit, the most common ailments I have seen are muscle pains, headaches and lacerations. Most recently, with the rise of Occupy, it is very likely that the occupiers may face pepper spray and/or tear gas, so plan medical supplies accordingly. A good zine with instructions for treatment and defence of “less than lethals” can be found here (.pdf).   

Sanitation- Somewhere to wash hands and/or hand sanitizer. Somewhere to poop and toilet paper.

Legal support- Contact the National Lawyer’s Guide in advance to setup legal support, including a legal hotline to call if arrested. If NLG is not available, have a comrade with a local landline phone on standby to record the names and birth dates of those arrested, in any so they can be tracked within the jail system by comrades.

Cracking/Breaching Team

Selecting a Location- Home not Jails selects sites for demos that are unsuitable to house people due to security or access issues; the group doesn’t wish to “blow up” potential space where people could be housed. Residential properties are preferable because HNJ is a housing advocacy group, but office and other commercial properties may be suitable for other groups with different goals. IMO, the bigger, the more expensive the property being occupied, the better; one purpose of public demos is to highlight the extent of wasted properties, large properties do this better. Although it should be noted that larger building also means a less cohesive and more chaotic occupation as people naturally want to explore, run around etc. and not remain as a group and function accordingly.

Casing/Researching- Extensive research and surveillance needs to be done on a building both before and after you secure access. You want to establish who owns the building and any other information or history about it; this helps determine it’s viability and visibility as a demo site as well as providing the substance of your messaging.

Does the building has security guards or a property manager who regularly inspect the building? The number, area of operation and frequency/time of visits all need to be determined. Use a small piece of tape that connects the door and the door frame to determine if people are accessing the building and when; if the door is opened, the contact will be broken. By continuously checking and retaping, one can determine the best time to breach and pre-occupy (more on that later).

Does the building have functioning security camera? Note where the cameras are and which areas are not covered by them; exploit the weakness during surveillance and entry.

Gaining Entry- The method of entry will vary by building. Choose the path of least resistance.

First check if any ground-level windows or doors are open. It may be necessary to get into the back yard/parking lots to try back doors and windows.

If nothing at ground level is accessible, climbing may be required. Google Earth and/or on the ground intel can be used to determine if there is roof access to the building; to get to the roof either climb up a fire escape/pipes or gain access an adjacent roof and hop over. Open second story or higher windows may be accessed via fire escape or other means of creative climbing. Some people can pull some real ninja shit in terms of scaling/climbing, seek them out and utilize them.

If you have the skill, pick the lock, either on a door or a gate to gain required access. A good way to secure continuous access to a property is by replacing the padlock or door lock with an identical lock of your own; remove the old lock by means of bolt cutters, sledge, picking, etc.

“Storming the Castle” is a somewhat less finessed method, but in some ways more effective politically due to bravado involved. If you are not able to secure covert entry, you simply lead a march to the target and forcefully breach it. This tactic was used during Homes not Jails on World Homeless Action Day (10/10/11) on the Cathedral Hill Hotel, a vacant 600+ room hotel with two 24-hour on-site security guards, who didn’t know what hit them as 30 people ran past them while they were distracted by one person.

Preoccupation- If possible, the night before the action a team of 2-4 people should covertly enter the building and start preparing it for the occupation by cleaning, de-fortifying, etc. This eliminates uncertainty on the day of the occupation and allows march participants to enter an already opened building, giving them additional legal protection and making for a more comfortable and welcoming occupation experience. The preoccupation group can also stage bulky/heavy occupation materials such as water, food, and banners in advance.

The Day of the Action

The basic form is a rally, march and occupation. The rally and meeting point should be a large, open public area such as a park or plaza. This is a good time for music/performances and speeches to build moral and allow for the size of the crowd to grow.

The march should be guided by somebody who knows the route to the not-yet-publicly-known target, as well as a banner which sets a reasonable pace. Megaphones can lead chants to build moral and gather participants from the neighborhood. The doors should be open when the march arrives and enters the building. Occupiers should be welcomed inside and can given a tour a tour of their “new home,” and a common food and assembly area established. At this point it may be possible and helpful for people who do not enter the building to provide a buffer against police approaching, securing, or entering the building.

During the Occupation

Educate people, as much as you can on what to expect in advance of the occupation, it will reduce chaos during the occupation and increase likelihood of success. Specifically it is helpful to educate folks on the potential legal ramifications, if they will have a chance to leave building before arrest, the general format of the occupation and how occupations have gone in the past

Have fun! Building occupations are incredible and liberating, enjoy and explore the building and spending time with your fellow occupants. Play magic cards, or whatever.

The building is your new home, treat it accordingly. Personally,I would advice that you don’t be destructive (separate topic), it helps maintain good public image and limits potential legal consequences for all of the occupiers. Additionally it seems that over time SFPD came to understand  HnJ’s modus operandi, that HnJ is not there to vandalize, and started to treat actions with more “respect”/restraint. Although that restraint went right out the window with the rise of #occupy, more on that later.

Over the period of time I observed HnJ actions, the began experimenting with having people in charge of Safety and situational awareness. As mentioned elsewhere, this has included keeping at least one person on the door. Additionally, HnJ members have started taking up observation posts (OPs) during occupations, from windows and roof tops, and monitor police presence and watch for the trespassing complaint to be signed by the property owner or agent thereof. In my experience both of these functions are important and useful, but are not a required element of an occupation.

Dealing with the cops

Inevitably the police will show up and swat/tactical units may be used to breach and enter the building to evict the occupants. Cops like to bring out all their toys and practice group tactics when they have to clear a large number of occupiers. Barricades of any sort will not prevent the police from breaching if they so desire. Ergo, make attempting to enter the building an undesirable situation for the cops by other means. For example, police do not like to enter dark buildings at night, so staging occupation a little before the sun sets improves the chances that the occupation will last until morning.

“Blocking” entrance with people who don’t want to enter the building, a semi-tight crowd  in front of the door is a good way to keep the police at bay. It might be helpul or necessary to post a guard at the entrance to keep access open but secure; if the police approach the guard can pull the door shut and lock it, if they leave the person can reopen the door.

Legally, the property owner has to sign off on a trespassing complaint to give the police authorization to enter the premises. This can take some time, the property owner may be hard to locate. This can be used to your advantage in keeping the building open and/or free of police for as long as possible. They can also show up in 15 minutes.

Although not a tactic employed of HnJ, for folks doing an eviction-defence occupation, Sheriff's typically execute evictions, regardless of location.

What’s Next?

There are three ways I have seen building occupations end.

1) Everybody leaves when given the option by police or security. SFPD almost always gives Homes not Jails the option to leave willingly and freely before sending officers to clear the building and arrest the occupants. This option may have to be negotiated for.

2) Folks take a symbolic, “voluntary” arrest.

3) All the occupiers leave covertly before the police enter the building, under the assumption there are people to arrest inside. This makes the police look foolish; SFPD sent multiple tactical squads into an empty building that HnJ occupied and spent the day clearing the entire building floor by floor, looking for occupiers who were not there.

Because of its illegal nature, squats are most often covert endeavors; personal property rights are one the most dearly held legal rights in the Western legal tradition (“life, liberty and property”) and as such vacant properties are vehemently defended against use by non-legal entities. Long-term, overt occupation of a large building, especially by an social/political movement with as much potential as #occupy is, at this point in time, a pipe dream. The state will do anything in their power to squash any attempt to establish permanent liberated zones by any radical social movement.

I have not yet seen or read about any way to hold a building in the long term using non-violent tactics; the state has incredibly powerful methods of breaching buildings, from armored vehicles to pneumatic devices to explosives and no amount of feasible fortification will delay this from happening. If they want to enter a building, they will do so and it may not be pretty.

#occupySantaCruz held an abandoned bank, re-named 72 River for around 72 hours, a record for overt occupations under the banner of Occupy. HnJ public actions have typically lasted between twelve and twenty hours before police serve trespassing notices.

Post Script: Lessons of #J20 and #J28

The majority of this article was written and informed by occupations before Occupy San Francisco’s occupation of the Cathedral Hill Hotel on January 20th and the much publicized attempted occupations of buildings by Occupy Oakland’s Move In Day action on January 28ths. Having observed both of these actions, it is clear that the game has changed in terms of building occupations. That is, the occupations that informed the bulk of this article, occurred in a different socio-political climate that than the one we currently find ourselves in.

Both of these days were incredible learning moments in many ways. Relevant here is what we can learn about planning and carrying out public building occupations. To begin with it is clear that the state, its corporate masters and their forces of repression are talking any attempt at liberating buildings by the Occupy movement much more seriously than those conducted by other groups prior to September 17th, 2011. They seem dead set against allowing the Occupy movement to move inside or re-establish itself outside. Federal law enforcement was coordinating with SFPD on #J20 at the staging ground near the hotel.

The interest of law enforcement in these types of actions have made a higher level of operational security culture necessary for planning successful building occupations. On #J20, the police knew the occupation was going to happen and the intended target and planned a detailed defense of the building. These defenses were thwarted by the protesters’ ingenuity and Occupy San Francisco occupied the building. However, it would have been a completely different occupation had the original march arrived at an open building not protected by mace-spraying riot cops.
On #J28, my understanding is that the intended targets were widely known throughout the ranks of Occupy Oakland as far as a month in advance of the action. As such, the police were able to plan a response and stage police at the Kaiser Convention Center and repel the occupation march.

It is clear that simply large numbers of determined protesters is no longer enough to ensure a tactical advantage versus the police when attempting a building occupation. Tactical prowess, effective security culture and experienced and capable participants are now more than ever vital in planning and conducting semi-clandestine building occupations.