Sprout Distro

Collective Action Behind Bars

Sub-titled “A History of Jail Solidarity and its Importance for Today’s Social Change Movements,” this zine explores the use of jail solidarity as a tactic by resistance movements. While written with the idea of resistance at the 2016 presidential conventions in mind, this essay offers a helpful overview of jail solidarity tactics ranging from the (somewhat) well-known examples from the Seattle World Trade Organization (WTO) protests in 1999 to its use at subsequent mass convergences in the early 2000s. It broadens this focus to a longer range historical look, going back to the Industrial Workers of the World’s (IWW) “Free Speech” fights in the early 1900s and the civil rights movement of the 1960s. It’s a good mix of practical advice mixed with theoretical and strategic analysis.

Collective Action Behind Bars


With the ebb and flow of solidarity tactics, it’s uncertain when and how they will manifest again and whether they will positively impact struggles for social change. In addition to pondering the efficacy of jail solidarity, we must ask whether its use is worth the potential harm from reprisal. Is advanced training and discussion on the strategies, tactics, and benefits of jail solidarity necessary to its success? What kind of plans, if any, should be laid out in advance and with whose involvement?


Collective Action Behind Bars was added to Sprout Distro in 2017