The Jabberwock, of course, is the modern capitalist / patriarchal / empire meme-virus that is infecting the global ethnosphere and, in addition to wiping out cultural diversity by putting a 7/11 and a Starbucks on every corner, is threatening to exterminate life on Earth. This article is a mini-handbook empowering global #OCCUPY teams to build nonlinear, interconnected, resilient, leaderless social systems that make the Jabberwock irrelevant.
NOTE 1: Most of what follows I extracted from an astonishing series of blogs and comments (with permission) penned by John Robb posted at http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/ . John is the author of Brave New War.
NOTE 2: If you want to help document #OCCUPY strategies for others to copy, please add them to MiiU. http://www.miiu.org/wiki/Occupy_Wall_Street
#OCCUPY is not a legal conflict. It is political insurgency.
The bad news is: as the ruling system tries to suppress the insurgency it engages in low-intensity warfare. In other words, we are already at war. The good news is: states don’t know how to win this war. “No state has ever defeated an indigenous insurgency.” – Jerry Boyle
The Jabberwock is a loose affiliation of psychopathic personalities using single-mind intelligence passing orders down through their hierarchies.
In comparison, #OCCUPY is open-source (leaderless), and uses many-mind (swarm) intelligence, which is nonlinear and which tends to generate an abundance of parallel (unpredictable/uncontrollable) actions. Therefore, if #OCCUPY persists, then the Jabberwock has no chance!
Persistence is enhanced through intelligent understanding of #OCCUPY strategies and technologies, thus, this mini-handbook, in which you will find the following sections:
- GENERAL #OCCUPY STRATEGIES
- WHAT #OCCUPY IS REALLY ABOUT
- SPECIFIC #OCCUPY STRATEGIES
- HOW TO DISARM A POLICE OFFICER
- AND HAST THOU SLAIN THE JABBERWOCK?
- HOW TO MANUFACTURE A TRIBE
- RECOMMENDED FURTHER READING
1. GENERAL #OCCUPY STRATEGIES
Superempowerment – #OCCUPY increases the ability of individuals and small groups to accomplish tasks through rapid improvements in decentralized decision making, teamwork, nonlinear strategy, and the use of technology to access global networks. Many-to-many collaborations enable small groups to radically increase their productivity in protests. For example, if many small groups disrupt a system by attacking its weak points simultaneously in diverse modalities (such as walkouts, flashmobs, media campaigns, street theater pieces) this can multiply the effectiveness to achieve as much as a 1,400,000 percent return on investment. That is superempowerment.
Open-source warfare – #OCCUPY gains diverse intelligences by remaining leaderless so it can be sourced by the whole swarm rather than by individual leaders. Through self-organizing its nonviolent noncompliance with what-is-not-sustainable, #OCCUPY acts in parallel through a large collection of small, superempowered groups. These small groups can work together to take on much larger foes (usually hierarchies). Open-source organizing enables high rates of wildly diverse innovation, increased survivability among the participant groups, more frequent protests, and an ability to swarm targets.
How is #OCCUPY sourcing a long-term superempowered open-source insurgency? Two steps:
A) MAKING A PLAUSIBLE PROMISE .
Establish an idea that holds the open-source insurgency together. The plausible promise is composed of:
An enemy . The enemy serves as the target of protests. This enemy can either be perceived or manufactured (any group or organization that can be depicted as a threat, in this case: the Jabberwock.). The enemy can be any group that currently holds and exerts power: invader, the government, a company, an ethnic group, or a private organization. It’s all the Jabberwock.
A goal . This goal animates the group. Because of the diversity of the groups and individuals that join together in an open-source insurgency, the only goal that works is one that is simple and extremely high level. More complex goal setting is impossible, since it will fracture or fork the insurgency.
A demonstration. A successful demonstration proves the viability of the insurgency. People see it is actually possible to win against the enemy. The demonstration deflates any aura of invincibility that the enemy may currently enjoy. The demonstration serves as a rallying cry for the insurgency.
B) MANAGING ITS FOCO .
Every open-source insurgency is ignited by a small founding group, a foco in guerrilla parlance. The foco sets the original goal and conducts the operation that provides the insurgency with its demonstration of viability. It’s important to understand that in order to grow an open-source insurgency, the founding group or individuals must follow a simple path:
Relinquish. Give up any control over the insurgency gained during its early phases. In practice, this means giving up control of how the goal is achieved, who may participate, how to communicate, etc. The only control that remains is the power of example, the respect gained through effectively serving the goal. If ever a leader attempts to fork the protest by trying to lead it towards an agenda or policy or politics only they care about, they should be immediately ignored / rejected / blocked.
Resist (resist your hidden temptations). This means: stay small. Don’t grow the foco to a size that makes the original group easy for the enemy to target (allow very few new members in the first group). Further, don’t establish a formal collection of groups, a hierarchy of control, or set forth a complex agenda. This will only serve to alienate and fragment the insurgency. In some cases, it will make the foco a target of the insurgency itself. It will also slow any advancement on the objective since it limits potential pathways of innovation that naturally emerge from a large, loose network of self-organized superempowered groups.
Share. Rapidly give away your best resources, ideas, information, knowledge, recruits, etc. to other groups that join the insurgency. Share everything possible that doesn’t directly compromise the foco’s integrity (its operational security or viability). Expect sharing in return.
2. WHAT #OCCUPY IS REALLY ABOUT
#OCCUPY is comparable to what we are seeing in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, etc. Remember, these are actions that have already toppled governments.
The big difference between #OCCUPY and those other protests is that #OCCUPY is not directed at governments. It is aimed at companies, but not just any companies. It’s aimed at the banks that own and run the global economy. #OCCUPY is replacing the heart of the global Capitalist system with a new human agenda on the planet.
#OCCUPY ignores governments and standard political processes because:
- Governments are much weaker than the global economy (they are bankrupt hollow shells of what they were at the end of the Cold War).
- Governments are too ineffectual and/or corrupt to change anything even if they are coerced (see the US, Ireland and Greece for recent examples).
- Too little will change even if the government changes parties (see the US for how lame politics and politicians have become).
What’s the real goal of #OCCUPY? It’s a recognition that the center of world power doesn’t reside in Washington or London or Moscow or Beijing anymore. It’s in the executive suites and luxury resorts behind the global corporate hegemony. This protest dispenses with the middle men (governments) and goes straight after the real power to divest it of whatever credibility it still tries to claim.
The reason we are seeing this movement right now is because Capitalism, the last great ideological system, is in crisis. This isn’t merely a crisis of outcomes (economic depression, financial panic, etc.). It’s a crisis of BELIEF. While people generally believe in the idea of capitalism, a critical mass of people now think that the global capitalist system we currently have is so badly run, so corrupt, so terrible at delivering results that it needs either A) a complete overhaul or B) to be replaced with something new (which equates to the same thing, because the Jabberwock cannot be overhauled. Don’t fool yourself! A Japperwock cannot become anything other than a Jabberwock.).
3. SPECIFIC #OCCUPY STRATEGIES
There is no difference between a person and their absolute responsibility for the consequences of their actions. The concept that a person’s responsibility is subsumed by the corporation they work for (corporate personhood) or the government they serve (national laws, or the customs of the bureaucracy) is a false paradigm. Believing in this false paradigm leads to global suicide.
How do you know you are thinking in the false paradigm? You can catch yourself if you are:
- Assuming you must ignore social and environmental consequences in your decisions because they seem too expensive to consider.
- Strategizing ways to externalize costs so that the general public, future generations, or third world countries pay to deal with your toxic wastes.
- Thinking you can manufacture a product without including its recycle costs in your manufacturing and pricing.
- Thinking you can cut old growth forests in Borneo, make products in China, and sell them through Ikea or Walmart.
- Thinking that you can follow orders from a superior and kill people with robot planes in Afghanistan.
- Thinking you can manufacture, sell, transport, or fire depleted uranium weapons.
- Thinking that it does not matter if you consume false-paradigm products. (If most people stopped using Shell Oil or McDonald’s hamburgers for two weeks these firms would be bankrupt.)
- Thinking you can be pissed off at your neighbor without changing yourself.
- Thinking you can order someone else to stop a third party from creating a better world and not face the personal consequences…
For example, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg thought he could have the owners of Zuccotti Park –Brookfield Properties – shut down #OccupyWallStreet early in the morning of 14 October using the ruse of “cleaning the park.” He thought he could avoid the personal consequences of this decision. He was thinking inside the false paradigm.
#OCCUPY perceived the cleaning order as:
– Bloomberg vs. #OCCUPY.
– One Mind vs. Many Minds.
– Linear Thinking vs. Nonlinear Thinking.
From the very beginning Bloomberg had no chance. (This is true for whatever authority figure tries to subdue or suppress the people united. Meshwork meeting technologies far outpower hierarchical intelligence. )
How did #OCCUPY do it? #OCCUPY took immediate actions to delegitimize Bloomberg’s complaint that the park was dirty and unsafe. #OCCUPY reorganized itself and brought in power-washers, brooms, and mops. They deep-cleaned Liberty Square. They hired their own dump truck. They even offered to let cleaners into the square to clean 1/3 of it at a time!
With the Mayor’s complaint de-legitimized, #OCCUPY went on the offensive. It personalized the eviction move. It located Bloomberg. He was at a gala dinner at Ciprianis (a Wall Street restaurant!). They surrounded the restaurant and tried to enter it to deliver a petition with 310,000 signatures. Bloomberg hid, departed from the rear. In short order the deputy mayor announced that the eviction was cancelled!
Remember, every situation is unique, but general group intelligence strategies apply.
Here are some guidelines:
Go straight for the man . Maximize the taint of an authority’s actions on his personal brand. Blame him personally. Pierce his shield of bureaucratic impersonality. For example, #OCCUPY branded the park eviction with the name: BLOOMBERG. This is a global stage. Let’s use it. The reputation of the president /mayor /CEO /general /police chief may not matter much to you, but it certainly matters to him.
Confuse him . Respond to his attack with lots and lots of flashmobs. Go for non-violent system disruption. Shut down bridges and major streets. Overwhelm the system with actions of unprecedented speed and unpredictable volume. As soon as the police arrive in force, disperse and reassemble at new locations. Bikes plus Kids. Disrupt, disrupt, disrupt. More flashmobs equals more disruption. As long as you are under attack in one place, keep the city tied up in knots at other places. NOTE: If they lock down your area, flashmobs are the best way to participate. (Plus, as an added benefit, in running from location to location you get some needed exercise!)
Connect with more people than him . Best way to do this: Eyes in the sky. Get cameras above your action, for example. Stream the feed. The better the quality the more impact it will have. It will play across the world. Think about how important AJs video feed over Tahrirwas when things got hot. Better yet, get AJ to cover it and stream it.
Success story. The flashmob tactic was tried in Panama a couple of years ago by the SUNTRACS construction workers union. With very small groups pre-planted all over the city they drove the police absolutely crazy. Police would show up at location A, the mob would disperse immediately, two text messages and then flashmobs would simultaneously block streets at locations B and C. This worked very well and with much fewer people than #OCCUPY has available. Encourage multiple #OCCUPY flashmob teams to self-organize and operate in parallel!
Continue to exist. Logistics are important. Think ahead. Cold weather is coming fast freezing food, water, everything in a few weeks. #OCCUPY will get tough, impossible with snow blowing. Instead of slowly giving it up and going home with frostbite, consider abandoning the parks. Why not do the “very small groups pre-planted all over the city for flashmobs” all winter long from warm apartments? Print an apartment hospitality directory, or put it online, like the Mennonite Your Way Directory www.mennoniteyourway.com/ It’s time for tribal living.
Become Lady Randomfactor. Many random events that are out of control will wear down and use up the Jabberwock’s resources. With such a disproportionate cost ratio between your actions and the Jabberwock’s reactions, the Jabberwock is nonviolently bleeding itself to death.
Then become Lord Critical Mass. Except, instead of every Friday, pick one random, unpredictable day (or a couple days) each week to #OCCUPY with a critical mass of people (meaning, enough people to attract attention and cause an impact). Five hundred police come out on Monday expecting the crowd from Sunday to still be there, but people have mysteriously vanished and downtown looks like a Police State. By Wednesday there are only fifty police left, and then suddenly thousands of #OCCUPYers show up there, warm, fed, showered, shaved, and feeling quite chipper, even in the middle of winter.
4. HOW TO DISARM A POLICE OFFICER
These are notes from a video taken October 11, 2011, featuring Chicago lawyer Jerry Boyle of National Lawyers Guild giving a street workshop to #OCCUPYCHICAGO. It contains valuable legal and strategic information for protesters everywhere. It’s an hour long, but completely engaging and well worth watching. It is posted at http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/17807926by Linda Ross.
Police are trained to think within five legal definitions of force:
- Physical presence — a show of force is equal to the use of force.
- Verbal direction — instructions and commands.
- Empty hand control — no weapons. Physical contact.
- Intermediate weapons systems — pepper spray, baton.
- Lethal force.
In an interaction with police, you have the power to determine to what degree of force the situation escalates. For example, if an officer speaks to you and you ignore him, you force him to escalate his force. He must speak louder or get angry to get your attention.
Therefore, in non-violent #OCCUPY actions, you can de-escalate force by looking police officers directly in the eyes. Most police officers already sympathize with the goals of #OCCUPY. You can demonstrate compliance with their physical presence and verbal direction by acknowledging them, listening to what they say, and repeating back what you understood. You do not necessarily have to do what they say, but if you stay in relationship with them, acknowledging them, listening and speaking with them (perhaps even being kind to them) then there is a good chance the force can be kept at the verbal level.
You can also determine whether or not you will be arrested. If you do not wish to be arrested then create it so interactions stay within the first two levels of force. By the time an officer goes to empty hand control and grabs you by the arm, you are being arrested.
Police may be tired, angry, scared, or overwhelmed. They may regard dealing with street protests as a distraction from their true work of dealing with criminals. Being frustrated, they may (unconsciously) wish to escalate the level of force in an interaction so that if they do go to the trouble of arresting you, you will be charged with a higher crime. For example, police are trained in pain points. If an angry police officer grabs you he may intentionally apply pressure at a pain point causing you to automatically flail about, which on a video would be hard to distinguish from resisting arrest or attacking the officer, an automatic felony charge for you. Your flailing is also a good excuse for him to use pepper spray, a knee, or his club on you.
Some people recommend that if you are grabbed you should go limp, but if you do, you will likely be trampled or dragged around and might get hurt. If you already know a police officer might grab you in a pain point you can prepare yourself to not react aggressively no matter what. Often, these days, to avoid escalation of force, white shirt police do the actual arresting, with blue-shirt police as their backups.
To disarm a police officer, use the first three levels of force on him before he uses them on you.
For example, at level one: physical presence, to maximize the apparent show of force at a scene, the police may be outfitted in riot gear, head to toe armor, shields, batons, helmets, etc. This is the police officer’s power costume.
Well, you can wear a power costume too.
Consider this, if you wear a suit and tie, the police will have a very difficult time hitting you because blue-shirt police take their orders from people wearing a suit and tie. If you wear a pink bunny suit, it will look very bad on TV seeing a police officer beating on girls dressed in pink bunny suits. If you wear a V mask with your suit and tie they don’t know what you are. This is powerful.
Using the first three levels of force (presence of force, verbal direction, and empty hand control) on a police officer before he uses it on you disarms him. It can look like this: When the police arrive, you scan the group and locate the highest ranking officer. Then, in your suit and tie you smile professionally, make eye contact, hold out your open hands, walk enthusiastically up to the him, shake hands and introduce yourself, “My name is David Applebee. I am a possibility manager. If there are any problems here, let me know what I can do for you. I’ll be right over there.” Physical presence, verbal direction, empty hand control. Sweet.
5. AND HAST THOU SLAIN THE JABBERWOCK?
There’s no question that the #OCCUPY groups have done a great job with constructing a foundation for resilient communities in the heart of many of our most dense urban areas.
People are already considerate with each other, despite personal discomforts. They pitch in to work. Food gets served. The area gets cleaned. There is entertainment. There’s innovation (circle meetings, improvised tech solutions, creative workarounds). There is education (lots of seminars being taught). There is open, leaderless, participatory governance with consensus decision making. There is s treaming media 24x7x365 (interviews, opeds, confrontation scenes, theater pieces). There is legal support for dealing with the complexities of congregating and living in an urban, public space.
A permanent camp in each location means that there is a gathering point for HUGE protests in the near future (quick responses to shocks/events/etc.). These are seed crystals for protests that span hundreds or thousands of cities simultaneously.
All of this is great and this experience will definitely pay off over the next decade as the global economy deteriorates, panics, and dissolves. It will make building resilient communities easier (there are lots of ways to build a resilient community, we’re trying todocument all of the ways how on MiiU).
However, is this experience building a next-culture tribal identity? A global #OCCUPY tribe? Something that can go beyond protest and build something new? A tribe that is woven tightly enough to create new resilient economic and social networks that step into the breach as the current models fail?
6. HOW TO MANUFACTURE A TRIBE
How do we manufacture a resilient community that protects, defends and advances the interests of its members? We build a tribe. Tribal organization is the most survivable of all organizational types, being the dominant cultural form for 99.99% of human history. Like a cockroach, it has proved it can withstand the onslaught of the harshest of environments. Global depression? No problem. (for more, see: Tribes!)
To build a tribal #OCCUPY identity, we will need to manufacture fictive kinship amongst ourselves, that is, we will need to tell each other and the world the story of who we are together. That kinship is built through the following (see Ronfeldt’s paper for some background on this):
- Story telling. Shared histories and historical narratives.
- Rites of passage to authentic adulthood (not just a driver’s license and the right to drink and vote) (for more on this see Of Water and the Spirit by Malidoma SomÃ©, and Secrets of the Talking Jaguar by Martin Prechtel). There are rituals of membership and life transitions. Membership is earned, not given due to the geographic location of your birth, or who your parents happen to be.
- Obligations. Rules of conduct and honor. The ultimate penalty being expulsion.
- Egalitarian and often leaderless organization. Sharing is prized.
- Multi-skilled. Segmental organization (lots of redundancy among parts).
- Two-way loyalty. The tribe protects the members and the members protect the tribe. If this isn’t implemented, you don’t have a tribe, you have a Kiwanis club.
As the #OCCUPY tribe we seem to be building a stable and recognizable identity. We are experiencing in certain moments the bondedness fictive kinship. Our relationships and commitments to each other, and to our future together, are deepening. As the 99% we are regaining our individual and tribal voices. We are taking back our authority after 6,000 years of patriarchal servitude.
Going to an occupy location and helping out is a rite of passage. There are rules of conduct (growing from a shame culture to an appreciation and personal development culture). #OCCUPY is definitely egalitarian and leaderless. It’s spread out over different geographies. Given the efforts put in to keep the #OCCUPY locations intact, it appears that people have become loyal to the tribe. The only question is whether the tribe truly protects the members. Is the loyalty two way?
How to slay the Jabberwock? Use your innersword of clarity to establish and live within a set of distinctions that are not contained inside the Jabberwock. Then the Jabberwock dies of attrition.
Deeply enjoy the benefits of the #OCCUPY culture. Keep sharing your new distinctions and the ways you got them. Soon you become a bridge to sustainable culture that other people can also cross. We can only go there together.
7. RECOMMENDED FURTHER READING
And articles by Paul Chefurka, especially World Energy and Population