Teaching How to Resist War—Our Partnership with War Resisters League

BEHIND-THE-PROJECTOur Behind the Project series will give you the scoop about our work. We want to show you what we do and how we do it. We’re proud of our work, inspired by the work our partners do, and we’re committed to transparency as an organization. You’ll get an inside look at what we do and the kinds of projects we can do with you.

The War Resisters League (WRL) has been resisting war at home and war abroad since 1923. Today, as one of the leading radical voices in the antiwar movement, they challenge military recruitment and war profiteering, organize nonviolent direct action, and offer on-the-ground tools to end the current war and all wars.

We worked with WRL to update, develop, and overhaul curriculum, infographics, and interactive activities for WRL’s Tax Day Flyer and nascent Anti-Tear Gas Campaign. Working with WRL facilitators, organizers, and researchers, TESA was able to provide an in-depth and interactive curriculum to be used in correlation with WRL’s yearly tax day activism, and as a gateway workshop to their expanding Anti-Tear Gas Campaign.

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Challenges faced
In early 2013, TESA was approached by WRL to help them create more interactive and participatory materials to go along with their yearly Tax Day flyer. WRL has been distributing their famous Tax Day Flyer for years, and wanted to bring it to the next level. In turn, they asked TESA to create everything from conversation starters and small group activities that could be completed on the street, during a protest or occupation, to full on lesson plans and curriculum. Following the success of this project, WRL approached TESA again, later in 2013, in order to receive help developing a workshop for their Anti-Tear Gas Campaign. The goal of the workshop was to have it serve as both an informational workshop on the campaign and the use of chemical weapons, and as a forum for experienced activists and organizers to discuss the campaign and how to affect change in the face of chemical weapons. Again, working with WRL staff and researchers, TESA created a robust and interactive workshop, that was premiered in Oakland, CA, and has since been used by WRL affiliates around the country.

How TESA helped
Using content, statistics, and research compiled by WRL, TESA created workshops, handouts, infographics, and activities to fit the wide range of audiences, settings, and needs of WRL and its constituents. This project was so unique because the curriculum needed to be flexible enough to be used in the picket line or the classroom, and the content needed to be broad enough for a newcomer to activism and compelling enough for a seasoned organizer. To that end, TESA was able to utilize participatory and democratic pedagogy to create a plethora of activities for a wide range of settings and skills. TESA worked closely with WRL to parse through vast amounts of research to meet the needs of each on of these unique projects.

What would you say to others about TESA?
TESA worked with WRL on two curricula this year: one on the war economy and the military budget and one on the “riot control” industry and the militarization of the police. Brian and Andrew are a pleasure to work with–they are very responsive to feedback, they keep to deadlines, and they are always open to new ideas and challenges. TESA took our old war economy curriculum that we were using and made it 10x more user-friendly and accessible for a wider audience. The police militarization workshop is already a hit with some of the community organizations we’ve been talking with through our Facing Tear Gas campaign. When it comes to curricula and workshop development, we trust that TESA will do a great job in working with us to come up with fun, interactive, and thought-provoking activities that are engaging for everyone who takes part. We look forward to working with them again in 2014!

A note from TESA
WRL is one of the oldest, longest running, and most respected anti-war organizations in the country, so it was a great honor to work with them to create curriculum. Education is a huge part of how they meet their goals, which put TESA is an exciting position of creating resources that will be used directly in anti-war efforts. The work that WRL does is very important to the worker-owners of TESA, and we excited to be bringing our expertise into the field of anti-militarism and anti-imperialism.

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