How to Do a Phone Zap

Here is an example of a phone zap, an audio recording of someone calling to participate in the 1/17/19 phone zap seeking an end to the lockdown at Columbia Correctional Institution:

What is a phone zap?
This is a pressure action that uses phone calls to target people or institutions. Email zaps are the same thing, but sending email messages instead of calling. It’s a tactic that’s been used by many different movements and organizing campaigns, including many IWW workplace campaigns, housing fights, anti-police work, and prisoner support.

The general idea is that landlords, city council members, corporations and prison officials operate out of offices that still depend on phone access for doing business. These institutions are based on exploiting people. When we flood offices with phone calls, we interfere with a portion of their ability to operate. By doing this in advance of specific demands and specific campaigns we support increase of people power and reducing the power of the system. It’s not like writing a letter to your congressperson – no one is making an appeal to established power. We aren’t engaging in dialog, we’re pushing against specific institutions as part of specific campaigns.

How do you do a phone zap?
Note when the phone zap is. Put it in your calendar, and set an alarm is necessary to help you remember. Look over the phone zap script and the wider information as much as you feel is necessary. Yet know that you’re unlikely to get into a debate with the people you call, it will be a matter of delivering your message to a voicemail or receptionist. Stick to the script and it will be smooth. If you haven’t done this before don’t worry, it will almost certainly be less stressful than you might imagine.

Do you need to say who you are?
No. People may ask (since the idea of people calling out of concern for prisoners is strange to many correctional officers) but you do not have to give any information you don’t want to. Some people give their full name when calling, some people give just their first name, some people just say “I’m a member of the public who is concerned about….” Stick to the script, and don’t let them sidetrack you.