Manual for a Revolution


There are those that will be shocked when you use the word revolution.

Revolution, the act of revolting, and overturning the current power structure is an extreme measure; one that should be handled with extreme caution and in most cases they should be avoided. Revolutions are dangerous in every sense of the word and it is difficult if not impossible to predict their outcome but there are times when allowing those in control to stay in control is even more dangerous. 

Right now the question you need to ask yourself is this: Are we at that point yet? Can the current system be reformed?   

Revolutions begin with a NO and end with a YES. Revolutions begin when you say NO to those who claim to have power over you and revolutions end when you accept a new status quo, a new normal, whether that new normal is an improvement or not. The causes of revolution are numerous in form, but there is one common root, and that’s discontent. Discontent is the emotion that builds and builds on the surface. It is a storm which brews in the mind of the people, just waiting to be unleashed. The trouble is that it is much easier to unleash that storm than it is to get people in agreement as to what should come next. It’s not easy to get people to see eye to eye regarding what needs to happen after the current system falls. So this is usually put off or avoided altogether. And that’s a serious mistake. Without clear objectives, chaos usually sets in soon after the old regime falls and then in the power vacuum that is created a tyrant rises to bring order. As a result, the systems that follow revolutions are often as just as totalitarian or more totalitarian than those that they replaced. It should, therefore, be abundantly obvious that discontent is not a sufficient driving force for a revolution that is if your goal is actually to leave a better world for your children and grandchildren. 

In order for upheaval to have positive results it must be driven by a clear and realistic vision; a vision that accounts for the world and humans the way they actually are right now not the way we wish they would be or that we hope they might be and it must differentiate between that which can and cannot be changed in the short term. There is nothing more dangerous than armed men with utopian dreams. So let’s be realistic, shall we? 

We the people are divided. We have divided ourselves into classes and subclasses, liberals, and conservatives, libertarians, anarchists, socialists, anarcho-socialists, monarchists, state-based free market capitalists, anarcho-capitalists, resource-based economy advocates and more. There is absolutely no chance that anyone of you is going to convince all of the others that your way is the right way unless of course one of you rises to political power in the fray and enforces your beliefs by the barrel of a gun. This is the way it usually happens throughout history and this is what we must avoid repeating. 

3 Requirements of a Revolution

A movement is only successful if it starts with an idea that is strong enough to take root in the mind of the population and inspires and motivates people to spread it. It is possible for a diverse and divided people to form a coalition in times of great need and unify around an idea, but it only works if that idea meets the following 3 requirements: 

1. It must articulate a clear and defined common interest which will allow the people to work together. The necessity for unification even if that unification is temporary needs to be evident to all stakeholders and must be accompanied by a sense of urgency which impels people to reach out to others in their community and spread the idea. 

2. A clear vision of what you’re working towards. What are you going to replace the current system with? Ironing out the fine details isn’t actually productive. What’s needed is a broad and abstract vision based on principles. In human societies, extreme and abrupt changes are usually destructive. All efforts must be made to retain social stability and this means steering clear of any sort of utopian fantasies. The time to rewire humanity is NOT during a period crisis. Historically such attempts usually end in tragedy.   

3. A plan of action, and a clear understanding of the rules of engagement. 

Establishing the Common Interest

Establishing the common interest is easy if you are informed and if the people around you aren’t informed then your job is clear: inform them. Whether you consider yourself a liberal or conservative or none of the above the bankers and corporations which hold the puppet strings of the state have placed us all on a path that leads to complete and total destruction. Our common interest is the world that we’re leaving our children. The clear vision of what we’re working towards is much harder. Again, there is nothing more dangerous than armed men with utopian dreams, and there’s no greater symptom of utopianism than the illusion that we can convince the entire world to accept one monolithic belief system. Yet at the same time, all great movements are driven by an idea, they are driven by a vision. How do we resolve this apparent contradiction? How do we find a common vision without falling for the naïve fantasy that we can unify all worldviews? The answer is actually pretty simple and that’s a good thing because only very simple ideas can be transmitted from person to person without breaking down.

Our vision starts with the foundational understanding that there is not one single right way for humans to live on this planet and that it is unacceptable to force others into any system without their consent or to use violence or coercion to compel them to obey a set of rules that they never agreed to. That should just be common sense, but it’s really not for most people. Most people like to use government thugs to enforce their good intentions. They just don’t like it when it comes home to roost and the gun is pointed in their face.

When the current system falls there is going to be no way to reconstitute it in its old shape and size without violence and coercion and even that probably wouldn’t work. Therefore, the only real, ethical option is to accept that Humpty Dumpty isn’t going to be put back together again. When it’s time to rebuild we don’t need to figure out one system that everybody can fit under, rather we need to figure out an approach which facilitates multiple systems side by side. What would this look like?

Well, imagine a network of small voluntarily formed communities bound together in loose federations that cooperate for mutual defense and trade as needed with decision making taking place at the local level. It’s a simple concept, one that has been applied many times throughout history. The most striking example, however, is the Iroquois Federation which unified six tribes with their own cultures and traditions. The Iroquois Federation lasted until 1779 when they were conquered militarily by the U.S. Many historians believe that the Iroquois Federation served as the original inspiration for the United States. The most striking difference is that the Iroquois Federation never had a central government. No one at the top had the power to force the member tribes to do anything whatsoever and yet this system worked and it worked well for a very long time. So clearly this is not a utopian fantasy, it’s a viable option, and it’s the only option that can be enacted on a voluntary basis.

The final element of the conscious revolution paradigm is the plan of action, the strategy and tactics, the short term and long term goals and the structure of the movement. Let’s start with the top level strategy and move towards tactics. 

3 Pillars of Power

Some think of revolution in terms of bullets and bombs, but this is a misconception. Revolutions are about pulling the pillars of power out from underneath the state one by one until it falls. The state leans on three primary pillars of power:

1. Control of the group mind, ideas, and beliefs.

2. The control of money, finance and thereby human activity.

3. The monopoly on violence, and the use of intimidation to extract obedience by fear. 

3 Stages of a Revolution

There are three stages of the revolution and they’re sequential, and correlate directly with the three pillars of power:

1. The Ideological Revolution. This where we undermine the belief systems which support their control. This where we systematically erode at their illusion of legitimacy; their aura of power. We expose these criminals for the scoundrels that they are and we inspire discontent among those who the state depends on for its functioning. If you’re new to this, welcome to the party. It’s already in full swing, and guess what, we’re winning. The powers that be have lost control of the dialogue, and they know it.

2. Strategic Non-Compliance/Defiance. This can take many forms and multiple approaches can be used at the same time. The goal here is to interrupt the chain of obedience for as long as possible, as many times as possible, to publicize that interruption on as large a scale as possible, to document the police and or military brutality that follows and to distribute that footage far and wide. The purpose of this is to damage the ruling party’s image because power is all about image; it’s all smoke and mirrors. Once that image starts to break down this inspires others to disobey, monkey see, monkey do, and when this catches on and contagion sets in it becomes a force of nature, like a tidal wave. It’s all about reaching critical mass. What’s crucial to understand here is that revolutions are almost entirely psychological in nature. In this context building confidence is the most important element. Therefore, it is better to do small successful operations and build up from there, than it is to start with large high stake events.

3. Remove the State’s ability to control the police and military. This is when the people have built the necessary momentum to take the monopoly on violence out of the hands of the current regime. In the best of circumstances such a transition can be relatively peaceful, but this only possible when a significant portion of the police and military have taken the side of the people. The police and military are the enforcement arm of the state and without them, the powers that be have no power at all. Faltering governments almost always resort to brutal repression to attempt to stay in power, but this is often a fatal error. Even one refusal to follow an immoral order can set off a chain reaction that destroys the illusion of authority that they so carefully cultivate. Once that happens, it’s game over. 

Now since this is such a crucial element in the equation, it’s not something that should be left up to chance. Every effort needs to be made right now to reach out to the police and military, to help them wake up to what’s going on and to let them know that the people will support them if they break the chain of command. 

Leadership and Organizational Structure

Our current system relies on a hierarchical chain of command, a social pyramid which allows a small handful of individuals to control everyone else. In sociology, this is referred to as vertical collectivism. If our long-term vision is not compatible with such a structure, it would be foolish to build a resistance movement which copies it. Ends don’t justify the means, the means will determine the end result. So if we want a decentralized, non-hierarchical federation of autonomous communities to replace the current system, the movement must be decentralized and non-hierarchical as well. This doesn’t mean there’s no place for leadership. To the contrary, leadership is essential. The distinction needs to be made between leaders and rulers. Leaders walk ahead of the crowd. Rulers place themselves above the crowd. What’s needed is a vast network of leaders, independently motivated and capable of thinking for themselves, working to organize groups both locally in the real world and online, unified not by obedience to a single leader, but unified by an idea. Now while this approach does present some challenges logistically it has the advantage of making it virtually impossible to destroy the organization merely by getting rid of one or two leaders. A distributed organizational structure is much more resilient. So where are these leaders? Well, don’t wait for them to appear. We need you to be one of those leaders.

If you don’t know how to be a leader; learn. Dealing with crowds is a skill, one that you can refine through practice and study. Anyone that wants to learn the basic psychology of uprisings and how to work with the public should study the following books intensely, reading them several times, taking notes and reflecting on what they say.

1. The Crowd by Gustave Le Bon.

2. The Psychology of Revolution by Gustave Le Bon.

3. From Dictatorship to Democracy by Gene Sharp.

These books are all available online to read and download for free. Like all books, they should be read with a critical mind questioning everything that’s said. However, they do offer a great deal of insight as to how to take power out of the hands of a tyrant.

Leadership takes many forms and can mean many things depending on the situation:

1. Inspire people to take action.

2. Help Organize people into groups.

3. Train new leaders.

Now the final element you need to start your revolution is tactics. In the realm of violence, the state has the definitive advantage and it would be foolish to engage them where they are strongest. Instead, we should use tactics that engage them where they are the weakest. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of non-violent tactics which have been proven effective in toppling dictatorships. Gene Sharp’s book, “From Dictatorship to Democracy” lists 198, but those are no means the only ones that can be used. The tactics employed by each group will depend on the mission and the specific goals of the group. The military divides itself into Army, Airforce, Navy, and Marines so that each can be specialized in the tactics of the terrain where they fight. Likewise, a non-violent movement should have specialized groups for specific issues. This is already developing and can be seen by the likes of the Oathkeepers and P.A.N.D.A. The possibilities are endless.  Take action and break the inertia of passivity, this is how you take back your power, one millimeter at a time.

Source: Storm Clouds Gathering