Joe says, “You can’t unlearn that dog, once he’s got into the hen house.”

May 1, 2012

Planning for Resistance to Tyranny

Resisting tyranny isn’t something “Joe Average” does everyday.  Maybe not even once in a lifetime. Status Quo has a certain quality all of its own, and, well, seems Joe just recently figured out his Status Quo has been eaten up by pests worse than termites while he sat in his favorite comfortable overstuffed chair.  Joe is not happy about that.  Joe had entrusted his Status Quo to others.  Joe now has to make some expensive and time consuming repairs.  And those to whom Joe entrusted is Status Quo?  Joe will never trust them again.  Not in his lifetime, and he will make sure those younger than him will take heed not to trust those people in their lifetime either.  Joe says, “You can’t unlearn that dog, once he’s got into the hen-house.”  Joe now has to “make some adjustments”.  Joe needs a plan.

From Joseph Martino’s book, Resistance to Tyranny…

The resistance must have both overt and covert groups.  The covert group is of course the “armed wing” of the resistance movement.  Its membership must be secret from the government.  The overt group is not armed, does not engage in combat, and is known to the government.  It is crucial the two groups appear to be distinct.  There must be no trace of linkage between them.  The overt group must be in the position of saying to the government, “If you don’t negotiate with reasonable people like us, you’ll have to fight those extremists who have taken up arms.”

Despite the apparent separation of the overt and covert groups, however, it is important that they actually work together.  The resistance must be a single organization.  There must be coordination between the two groups. Even if it is carefully hidden, including being hidden from the majority of members of both organizations.

In addition to dealing with the government, the overt wing may engage in strikes, protests, marches and similar actions.  These cannot be random actions.  They must be chosen to support the strategy of the Resistance.  Each such action must be orchestrated to bring public attention to some aspect of the Resistance’s strategy.  Planning for a protest or march must include the following questions:  Who is the intended audience?  What do you want them to do?  How does your “action” lead to that?  The Ruckus Society’s manual has good information on planning actions such as these.

So let’s go to the Ruckus Society’s website.  The Manuals and Checklist in the Ruckus Action Toolbox is what we’re looking for.  First let’s look into the Ruckus Action Strategy Guide.

Page one starts off with something that sounds like just what we need for a starting place:

The Ruckus Society defines direct action as the strategic use of immediately effective acts to achieve a political or social end and challenge an unjust power dynamic.

It spends seven pages explaining their Tactics Star, “a tool that guides us through critical questions so we can craft a strategic action.” All this works towards the end of “Take Action and Change Your World”.

Next, let’s look at the Ruckus Scouting Manual.

“The Scouting Manual for Activists” starts with:

Put simply, scouting is the process of acquiring information needed for an action to be successful. It is the gathering of site-specific information that enables the action coordinator to evaluate a potential direct action. A scout is meant to provide information that will help the action coordinator(s), campaigner(s) and participants determine what their options are for a given location or direct action tactic, and evaluate the potential for success and safety. The more relevant information the scout can provide, the better.

It spends twelve pages detailing various techniques and methods on how to gather in-depth and detailed information on a location for potential action, all without drawing unnecessary attention to yourself.  Sounds like fun.

Finally, let’s look at the Ruckus Security Culture for Activists.

A security culture is a set of customs and measures shared by a community whose members may engage in sensitive or illegal activities. Security culture practices minimize the risks of members getting arrested or their actions being foiled.

In other words, while we are trying to stop bad things from happening, our powerful opponents (usually governments or corporations) are working hard to stop us. This guide is about the security measures activists can take to protect ourselves and make our work more effective.

Another dozen pages on gathering, protecting, hiding and destroying  data such as member lists, phone numbers, and photographs of potential action sites.  Even covers handling the “Membership Exit Process”, which is all about tidying up after a member leaves, sometimes voluntarily, sometimes not.  Yes, there are those that would be moles, and they believe in getting to know you, whatever that takes.  Even Joe Average, who longs for his favorite comfortable overstuffed chair, must learn about the feeding and care of moles.

As much fun as it is to read up on my favorite bits of  history and tactics of the Irish Republican Army, there are plenty of ideas for action in Resistance to Tyranny.  There are plenty of ideas for action at The Ruckus Society’s website.  Time now for Joe Average to quit reading and start doing.  As they say:

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