CounterAct provides training, capacity building and resources to environmental and social justice campaigners across Australia.

Rebel School of the Air

Rebel School of the Air

Why Rebel School of the Air?

Well, we love good imagery, and also planes are cool. So is online learning.

We’ve been waiting to do more online training for years – its just never made its way up our very full wish list. So we came up with the School of the Air idea last year, or approximately three decades ago before Covid. The initial idea was that we always wanted to do interactive trainings online, and we want to break down the barriers for people from all over this wide land, just like the School of the Air. We’ve seen the power of regional towns fighting unwanted projects, and even when we visit communities, it is very hard to cover everything in a day or two.

HOW WILL IT BE STRUCTURED

Excitingly – we are going to get in the plane and build it while we are flying. We will spend several months in experimental mode, trialling different formats, timeslots, and facilitation styles. We don’t want to be “just another webinar.” There sure is a heck of a lot of that going around right now, but people are used to learning this way now – so we are excited the time has come. We will be ensuring an interactve and engaging experience as possible.

We want to build a warm, fun, engaging community of practice. It will be built for grassroots activists – the ones we have had conversations with over many years – who say the type of training we provide is so hard to come by. Especially for people in regions. But also partly – because we are one of the first organisations who has taken the specific focus of training and supporting people for Civil Resistance.

We will eventually develop an online training curriculum that is based on building practical skills for civil resistance, as well as sessions on philosophy, strategy, and social change movement analysis particularly those using civil resistance. But first off we want to trial a few things.

  • Basic skill sets for activism and advocacy – social media, events, managing a rally, de-escalating and keeping calm during conflict
  • Building confidence in talking about civil resistance and understanding strategy
  • Case studies of effective campaigns that have involved civil resistance

So initially we will not be working in a sequential order, 101, 102, 201, 301 of Direct action skills – but this is ultimately where we hope to slowly unpack content that is accessible and relevant to the particular political and legal space we work here on the many First Nations on the continent of Australia.

We will offer our sessions for free, or by donation in the short term. In any case, even if we do move to a small user-pays model for some sessions (under $10) we will always have places for those who can’t afford it.  Any CounterAct monthly donor will have free access to all of our resources, all the time, and it’s a great way to sustain our work if you can chip in.

Some of this will be Covid Dependent – as to how soon we can travel for the face to face training we prefer before people move into nonviolent conflict. Role plays and some of the more interactive elements that people find helpful are very hard to work with over videolink, though we will do our best.

First test was Mutual Aid: Building Community in the time of Corona

Next up is:

TWITTER:  Town square or tantrums (TUES 16/6 – AEST 1830PM)
Its a great campaign tool, but very under-used by many of the grassroots activists we work with. We want to get more of you on there – not only does it inform journalists and MPs but its also an extraordinary way to follow and monitor international events or at a local level, issues relating to your campaign – as well as the advocacy capacity it offers.

  • Learn how to use twitter effectively for your campaigns.
  • Why aren’t you on there already – discussing barriers
  • Why this is an under-utilised tool for grassroots activists
  • Following, interacting directly with and driving traditional media
  • Interaction with politicians and opponents – a rare opportunity
  • We also hope to have a Q&A session – to hear from various activists about successful use of twitter.