It is no secret that everything in the public sector is under assault by the forces of privatization and greed. Public schools, public infrastructure, public libraries, public airport, everything that is funded and controlled by public authorities is up for grabs. Given that all three branches are controlled by the same party and that the Supreme Court will increasingly lean to the right, it is important that citizens take action.

Here is a manual for direct and nonviolent action written by a veteran of the struggles of the 1960s.

One thing is easier now: to create virtually instant mass protests, as was done by the admirable Women’s March the day after Trump’s inauguration. If one-off protests could produce major changes in society we would simply focus on that, but I know of no country that has undergone major change (including ours) through one-off protests. Contesting with opponents to win major demands requires more staying power than protests provide. One-off protests do not comprise a strategy, they are simply a repetitive tactic.

Fortunately, we can learn something about strategy from the U.S. civil rights movement. What did work for them in facing an almost overwhelming array of forces was a particular technique known as the escalating nonviolent direct action campaign. Some might call the technique an art form instead, because effective campaigning is more than mechanical.

Since that 1955-65 decade we’ve learned much more about how powerful campaigns build powerful movements leading to major change. Some of those lessons are here.

The manual is short. It offers valuable lessons about how to organize a resistance movement.

There are many fronts on which this current struggle will be and is being waged. For readers of this blog, the central issue is the survival of public schools, democratically controlled and governed.

The privatization movement is well organized and well funded. The entering wedge for privatization is the misuse of testing to defame teachers and schools. The entry point for privatization is charter schools. Then cyber charters, then vouchers. It is a continuum. The goal is to take tax money away from public schools and direct it to privately managed schools, private schools, religious schools, and tax dodges for the wealthy whose money is then used to support vouchers.

The Network for Public Education is dedicated to preserving and improving public schools. We are not satisfied with them as they are today. For one thing, they are burdened by the detritus of No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and the Every Student Succeeds Act. We must fight for them or lose them. The time is now.

Join NPE at its annual conference in Oakland, California, in mid-October. Meet your allies. We will join together to support our schools and our democracy.