Here are some tips for an effective foreclosure auction action.
- Scout out the site. Attend an auction before the action to see how many auctioneers and bidders there are, where they stand, and the area in which they can move to hold auctions.
- Figure out how many protestors you will need to effectively protest the auctions.
- Activate the personal network of the family facing an auction so they all come out in support.
- Engage in massive outreach for the auction action by preparing, handing out, and posting a flyer, phone banking, email alerts, tweeting, creating and promoting a Facebook event, and a media advisory sent to the largest presslist you can find, followed up by press calls to the media early on the morning of the action. Word of mouth to the people you know, the people they know, and so on is the most effective way to turn out numbers for the action.
- What to bring: bull horns, noisemakers (especially emergency whistles, but also metal pots and spoons, cow bells, drums, and anything else that makes lots of noise), ear plugs, signs, sunscreen, and layers of clothing.
- At the auction, assign at least one lookout to each auctioneer who has a cell phone and a loud whistle. The lookouts are responsible for letting the other protestors know when an auctioneer is starting an auction, so that the protestors can divide strategically into groups to protest all the potential auctions occurring that day at that site. During a noisy protest, texting works much better than phone calls.
- At the action, have a press contact who obtains contact information from the corporate press and grassroots media in attendance and offers them a copy of the media advisory and any supportive materials you may prepare, such as a profile of the family whose home the bank is auctioning.
- Avoid any physical contact with auctioneers and investors. Do not respond to physical contact from them.
- While engaging in the maximum possible nonviolent protest against the auctions, reassure the auctioneers, police, security staff that you are engaged in a nonviolent action so as to avoid any unpleasant scuffles, injuries, or unintentional arrests.