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Riot Medicine | Knowledge Exchange

Revolutionary action can, quite frankly be quite boring. Hours stood on the picket line or drowning yourself in tea in a occupied cafe, tent, or treehouse with little to do but natter away and try and ensure you’re objectives are met. This however is not always the way and when the cops turn violent, the terrier boys ambush you or you manage to head off the fash, things get hairy quick. These moments in the storm, whether intended or forced upon us can be a frenzied blur, for most people an utterly shock to the system that can be overwhelming both physically and mentally. The only way we can ensure success and any degree of safety is in relying on the comrades, whether formally or loosely organised, who, through the providence of experiance and training are able to keep their heads and provide active support roles. Here in the UK for example, we have a very well organised network of Legal Observers from several networks such as the Green and Black Cross and more often than not you’ll find the beautiful souls that come to provide on the ground medical support. Battle medics, street medics, riot medics, or whatever you call them are a blessing to be sure. Their particular sets of skills thankfully are not always put to use however should you find yourself in a spot of bother they are are the first line of support, looking after people who have taken a baton to the head, come down with heat stroke or (as was my first introduction to battle medics) taken a tumble from a horse. From Berlin to Melbourne Action medics are a vital part of any protest or direct action.

However unlike our Legal Observer comrades, there is an unfortunate drought of material to help prepare the riot medic for the role. Paper Revolution has decent intro text and a handbook and these texts are about as good as they come, Sure I’ve seen a fair few other guides and found many of them useful, however there is a tendancy to focus either on the politics or the medicine, and at that usually only a narrow window with a specific set of situations in mind. Which is why I’m especially stoked to have bumped into a new publication on my twitter feed.

“Riot Medicine” is a new 466 page work by Håkan Geijer that gives an well researched, in depth 101 for battle medics of all descriptions. Shared freely from it’s website the manual gives a robust guide for practicing insurrectionary medicine. Taking the reader from the methods of organising and situational risk assessments right through to the nitty gritty of first aid, managing shock and dealing with spinal cord injuries. This absolute belter of a book goes way beyond being a mear refined St John’s First Aid guide mind. It’s specific focus on the issues, thinking and praxis of providing on the ground medical support during riots and revolutionary action is in depth and without florid prose and laconic word smithing, it wastes no time making the point in clear, understandable language that while taking ontechnical points remains accessable and useable. Frankly it’s the opinion of the Editor that this is the must have guidebook for riot medics and it a vital download for every activist and organiser regardless other whether they intent to fill the role of medic.

Keep your eyes peeled for a printed edition after lockdown ends however in the meantime here is the introduction text and at the bottom you’ll find a link to download a copy – for free and without registration.

Peter Ó Máille

Introduction:-
Riot medicine is the practice of medicine in an adversarial environment. It exists outside of formal and State sanctioned medical services. Practitioners of riot medicine go by many names (riot medics, street medics, demonstration medics, action medical), but at the end of the day, their goals are the same. They take to the streets as part of the diverse system of mutual aid that allows individuals to engage in protest. The duties of a riot medic may include handing out water during a peaceful demonstration, providing late-night jail support for arrested comrades, caring for injured protesters and bystanders during a riot, or extracting and providing lifesaving interventions for combatants during an armed uprising.

The lens of riot medicine rather than street medicine was chose to help you focus more on how to provide medical care during demonstrations and physical engagements rather than to inform you on how to run a volunteer clinic or provide care for injuries sustained outside of short lived confrontations. The aim is to provide enough medical and tactical knowledge to enable riot medics to support short mobilizations on the scale of several hours to several days.

If you are an experienced medical professional, this book will guide you on how to safely operate during a protest. However, this book assumes that medicine may not be your primary occupation or field of study. Both the common and more formal medical terms are included as well as a glossary for reference. Foundational medical theory has been provided to give context for various treatments, and as such, not all information in this book needs to be memorized. Some information may seem obvious, but what is obvious to you is not obvious to others. In depth information is provided to help demystify seemingly esoteric practices and address common misconceptions.

Because of the exceptionally diverse conditions under which riot medicine is practiced, this book generally avoids making absolute statements about how an individual or group must act. Riot medics may be part of the Black Bloc or may act as seemingly neutral third parties. They may be uncertified or may be practicing physicians. How they choose to act depends on may factors including the nature of the action, the legality of protest, the legality of practicing medicine, and the overall political climate of the region where an action is taking place. This book will provide you with a toolbox that will help you make operational decisions using your own experiences and context specific information. Riot medicine incorporates elements of wilderness medicine and combat medicine, but it is still a distinct practice. Often the riot medic is only equipped with what they can carry in a backpack. What they choose to pack is limited by multiple factors, the major one being that their gear can be confiscated or destroyed during the course of their work. They need to carry provisions to survive the day and personal protective equipment to keep themselves safe enough to do their job. The riot medic needs to take a highly practical approach to medicine knowing that they will not be able to operate under ideal conditions. Hospital-quality diagnostic equipment will not be available, materials may be limited, and care rendered often will only be \good enough” to get a restless comrade back into the fray.

Riot medics comfort traumatized comrades as much as they heal their bodies. Protests and confrontations with fascists and the State can be stressful and even traumatizing. Even in the non ideal environments you will be working in, it is your responsibility to keep calm and help calm those around you. Nervous and stressed out comrades can be liable to make mistakes that lead to more injuries. Reading this book will help enable you to act confidently and therefore help others act confidently, contributing toward successful demonstrations and insurrections.

This book is written from an autonomous, anarchist perspective. However, the information and tactics described within will be useful to all participants in the struggle for liberation. State imposed laws and regulations are a reality, and where it is relevant, it is noted where your

work may intersect with the legal system to highlight what legal risks there may be. This book was written in 2019{20, so as you are reading this, be wary that medical best practices, legal considerations, and all other information may have become out of date.

The act of challenging the State is dangerous, but with some basic knowledge, medics can drastically reduce the repercussions protesters face. The goal is that by reading this book, you will be able to provide care for and support to comrades known and unknown, all in the pursuit of a world free of domination.

Directly download Riot Medicine by clicking here or for addition options including using a PGP Key and other media check out the Riot Medicine website : riotmedicine.net