Street Tactics/Clown Vocabulary!

Every Friday before our march to disrupt the NYSE closing bell, DAWG organizers have been hosting tactical trainings for spring trainees to employ in the streets later that day. These tactics were initially developed by street performance groups, including Rebel Clown Army, and are being adapted by OWS for practical use in the street and during mobilizations.

These vocabulary allow us to move intentionally in large groups, highly coordinated, unified, and militant while avoiding the violent implications and hierarchical methods of the military.

The successful employment of each of these tactics depends on a high awareness of one’s surroundings, trust for the demonstrators around you, and an acknowledgement that we are powerful when acting together.

Occupiers demonstrating “Wall.”


term [hand signal if applicable] – description


hup – hopping, saying “hup”, mass together around trainers
*when practicing, it is helpful for the trainer to start off by going into the middle of the circle but eventually move to other locations outside of the circle, forcing participants to pay attention more attention to detail what they are doing rather than just following the crowd.

melt – slowly fall to the ground (5 sec)
*encourage participants to keep half of their body stiff while letting the other half “melt,” avoid melting joint by joint and instead fluidly sink to the ground.

mic check [raise right fist, grab right wrist with left hand] – amplify the voice of the person initiating mic check

civilians [mic check signal and exploding fists w/ outstretched fingers]– disperse in all directions and pretend to be civilians
*give civilians some examples of what civilians do: pretend hail a cab, make a phone call, text, etc
*depending on the scenario, it may be best to go into civilian mode with buddies
*when using civilians to disperse and reconvene, its best to announce where convergence spot is

wall north (east/south/west) – link arms with people next to you and solid footing, facing direction that was called out
*space legs out shoulder-length apart and lean into stance – tight legs will be easier to knock over than a comfortably bent position
*when linked, lock your hands and tuck your thumbs in – pigs will and have tried to attack this weak point to weaken a wall

run away – follow trainers waving hands and yelling
*used as a non-threatening way to disperse (not very covert)

stomp – same as hup except stomp feet and come together

familiars – same as civilians except introduce yourself to someone new!

love is the answer – group hug around trainers
*can be used to de-arrest, protect comrades from getting beaten, and bring dispersed group back together

wall march/melt – march or melt while walled up
*wall melt: sitting down, not laying down! Sit upright so it is easier to do so (and get back up) while arms are locked.
*If group attempts this tactic, make sure there is time to practice multiple times so folks can safely execute this sitting soft lock.
*A large array of sitting soft locks and others may be explored in traditional NVDA trainings

charge – charge forward after trainer

circle up – form one large circle

circle up 3/4/5 – hold hands and form in concentric circles – 3, 4, 5, etc. rings deep

Spring Trainees getting up from “Melt”

This entry was posted in Opposite the Editorial page. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.