Can’t Stand By network aims to end mandatory detention

Can't Stand By promotes non-violent civil disobedience.

#CantStandBy (CSB) is a decentralised online network similar to Anonymous or Occupy.

This network aims to make the Australian government’s regime of refugee detention so economically, politically and socially expensive that they have no choice but to abandon this policy.

Like an ambulance with a siren that brings all traffic to a halt, or a fire alarm that triggers the evacuation of an entire building, CSB operates under the logic that there is an emergency situation so severe and urgent that business as usual needs to be suspended, in specific ways, until the emergency is resolved.

Our goal is to make it physically impossible for any political party to continue mandatory detention. CSB is not trying to out-debate the government, we are working to out-organise them.

The crimes against humanity unfolding in Australia's refugee detention centres are precisely the types of emergencies that warrant this kind of action. Fortunately for opponents of mandatory detention, on a logistical level, mounting a campaign of civil resistance in Australia can be a simple, non-violent thing to do. It can be summarised in four words: without trucks, Australia stops.

However, it is also true to say that Australia stops without the roads on which trucks depend. Without certain roads, there can be no trucks, and without trucks, there can be no economy. Almost everyone who lives in a big city is within a short distance of an economically significant roadway. People could block these roads simply by standing on them. This simple act, carried out on a large enough scale, would in effect shut down the entire country.

Over the past 12 months, demonstrators all across the country have been mobilising on the first Saturday of each month to help build the profile of the #CantStandBy network. This has involved more than 100 separate actions, including shutting down major roads in Coburg, Melbourne on three consecutive occasions without a single arrest.

This has all been organised through the #CantStandBy Nonviolent Civil Resistance Network Manual.

The aim of the CSB network is to allow for tens of thousands of people to repeatedly carry out multiple, simultaneous, non-violent occupations, in economically significant locations, without needing to be privy to any secret plans and with minimal risk of arrest or personal injury. It could also scale up from a single participant, so people with no previous connection to the network could instantly begin participating.

The network manual provides maps that show demonstrators how just 0.1% of the population could shut down almost every major roadway in Australia’s five largest cities: 1300 people in Adelaide, 2000 in Perth, 2200 in Brisbane, 4400 in Melbourne and 4800 in Sydney. 

The crisis on Manus Island has compelled more people than ever to get involved in the network. The next national CSB monthly day of action will take place around the country on December 2. CSB also has a growing library of media beyond the Network Manual, which explore these topics more broadly.

[For more information search #CantStandBy and #CentralStationActions.]