Guidelines for Organizing Securely

A suggested framework for maintaining security while organizing for the summits.

Purposes of this document

  1. Prevent activists from accidentally incriminating themselves, giving law enforcement an excuse to disrupt our movement.
  2. Prevent activists from succumbing to crippling paranoia, which disrupts our movement by making us secretive and insular.

Organizing framework

There are two modes of organizing for an upcoming summit: publicly, and within your affinity group.

Public Organizing

This is organizing which anyone can participate in. In fact, everyone is encouraged to. It is assumed that the authorities are monitoring public organizing. Because of this, public organizing is limited to discussing and planning legal activities.
Things which are generally considered to be public organizing:

  • Publicly endorsing calls to protest the summit
  • Educating others about the issues, and encouraging them to participate in the mobilization
  • Coordinating logistics like transportation to the summit and housing at the summit for people who want to participate in the mobilization
  • Circulating information about marches, workshops, and other events which have been publicly announced

Everything on this group is part of a public organizing effort.

Affinity Group Organizing

Affinity groups are small groups of people who know and trust each other. They work separately from public organizing, and usually keep their discussions and plans somewhat private. Because of this, it’s usually assumed that the authorities aren’t able to monitor affinity groups. An affinity group only makes plans and decisions for the members of that group.

Things which might be organized within an affinity group:

  • A plan to shut down a bank by locking people to the doors
  • A team of scouts who monitor and report on police movements
  • A plot to infiltrate a fundraising event and mic check a public figure
  • Constructing and distributing shields to protesters for protection
  • Participating in or assisting any legally questionable action

Affinity groups each have their own internal security protocols which decide what things they will share publicly and what things they’ll keep private. Here are some examples of security questions an affinity group might address:

  • What kind of monitoring is of concern to this affinity group?
  • What kinds of things does the group want to keep private?
  • Is the existence of this affinity group a secret?
  • Can each individual say they are a member of it? Can they say who else is?
  • What info can be shared outside the group?
  • Who can that information be shared with?


Will participating in public organizing get me in trouble?

In a police state, anything can get you in trouble. In the past, law enforcement has chosen to illegally target public organizers for harassment and arrest ahead of summit protests. However this is rare, and clearly unconstitutional. We should not allow police terrorism to intimidate us from openly exercising our rights.

Do I have to chose one kind of organizing or the other?

You can (and should) participate in both public and affinity group organizing. Just because you are publicly involved in organizing for the protest doesn’t mean you can’t participate in private affinity groups. And just because you’re making private plans doesn’t mean you shouldn’t publicly promote and organize for the mobilization. The key is to keep your organizing efforts separate. Do not share private information between your affinity group and public organizing.

So affinity groups are just secretive teams planning to cause mayhem?

No, affinity groups are for everyone! Most affinity groups are planning activities like medical support, independent media, parades, or even just art and music. These groups aren’t necessarily doing anything seriously illegal, but they have certain things they may not want to broadcast to the general public and the authorities.

Do I need to have an affinity group to participate in the mobilization?

No, although it’s recommended. A lot of the action at a mobilization is organized by affinity groups. By forming or joining one, you can be more effective and safe. But even if you don’t have an affinity group, you can still participate in public organizing and publicly announced events.