The Peaceful Revolution
How can we fight back against people who control a vast military, financial, information, and surveillance machine?
-Fiona Jenkins, via Off-Guardian
The problem is even worse than you suggest. Not only do they control a vast military, the whole financial apparatus, a massive and invasive system for information indoctrination and narrative control, and a sprawling inescapable system of surveillance, but, in addition to all this, we the people are entirely dependent on their system for our very survival. As it stands right now, there is no safe place in the world for anyone to escape this system. You are absolutely right to wonder, what can we do?
I disagree however with your proposal that a potentially viable solution is the one expressed by Moti Nissani in his article The Al-Sabbah Brigade. Anyway, his solution is not my solution. I will say, however, that his formulation of the problem we are facing is excellent. His analysis of the situation we find ourselves in is very good, and I encourage anyone who doubts the claims that a revolution is necessary to read the piece. I disagree with him mostly, almost exclusively, on his proposed solution to the problems we are facing.
First of all, setting the deeply troubling ethical issues with his proposal aside, consider the practical effects his solution would have. If some group of people started going around assassinating people, the main stream media would absolutely have heyday. The assassins wouldn't stand a chance against the media firestorm that would surely follow. Not only that, but given the capabilities of the prevailing surveillance state, these individuals would be quickly located, rounded up, and made an example of. This solution simply cannot work.
The failure in his analysis, what leads to his adoption of this violent proposal, is a failure to see the progression that non-violent resistance movements have made over the years. Nissani writes,
Pacifist strategies are sublimely appealing, but they too are doomed to flounder. Jesus of Nazareth relied on them, as did Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, and all three failed to unseat the villains or improve the human condition. Their appeal to non-violence merely led to their own violent demise. All three, and so many others of our best and brightest, were murdered because they had not seen that their enemies were compassion-less.
-The Al-Sabbah Brigade, Moti Nissani
First, none of these three failed to improve the human condition. All of them, at the very least, shifted the Overton window. Even more, each of them inspired movements of peoples in their wake dedicated to principles of non-violence, peace, and brotherly love. While an argument can easily be made that there have been successful attempts to subvert the message of peace these individuals presented, one cannot deny that the principles they presented did indeed multiply and spread throughout the world.
Secondly, crucially, Nissani fails to recognize the progress the ideas of peace have made over the years. Where once a man was quickly and brutally killed for preaching principles of peace, love, and equality among men. Now the ideas these men expressed have become more and more mainstream, up to the point we find ourselves today where the majority of people are convinced that peace is the ideal. It is now accepted as fact, almost without exception, what was revolutionary in the times of Jesus Chris, that every human being is created equal. To suggest there is some "lesser" or "evil" race of people has been thoroughly debunked, and is no longer acceptable in modern discourse.
It is this trend that should give us hope. It is easy to see that progress is being made, even if it seems we are backsliding right now. It is true, the masters of the world are pushing back hard against the principles of peace and equality right now. They would very much like to go back to a time when people accepted their right to rule unquestioningly, but this cannot be. Peace will be established on earth, these evil rulers will eventually fall, this is an absolute certainty.
It is a certainty because it is actually, logically, better for people to live peacefully. The principles that Jesus Christ professed, taking care of the poor and the weak, of cooperation and working together, of being peaceful... These are the better way to live, and when people actually consider it, they recognize it is true. What the rulers have been doing for all these years is lying and covering up these truths. They have been working to cover up this truth because they know that if enough people catch on, then the game is up.
As I argued previously in my article, The Kingdom of Heaven is an Idea, when Jesus Christ prophesied about the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven, he was not talking about the magical appearance of a bunch of buildings falling out of the sky like space ships, he was talking about an idea spreading to enough of the minds of Humankind so that Humankind itself would be transformed. The transformation would take place within the hearts and minds of Humans, and would then manifest in the earth as a new and better form of living. This is the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven. As Jesus put it,
He told them still another parable: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
The Kingdom of Heaven is an idea, like yeast spreading through dough, this idea is spreading through the minds of Humankind. When enough people become dedicated to the principles of peace and brotherly love, then the Kingdom of Heaven will come on earth. Then justice will truly be established on earth. This is what we are all waiting for, so this is what we must continue working for, to spread and implement these ideas.
However, supposing you agree with me about what I have said so far, perhaps you will complain that I have not offered much in terms of concrete actions. If I have persuaded you not to become an assassin, I have nonetheless offered very little in the way of a solution to the problems I noted at the beginning of this article, (other than the unsatisfying "spreading and implementing ideas of peace"). I will try to remedy that.
In my mind, the greatest problem we face right now is our absolute dependence on an unfriendly system. Right now people are very weak. Most of us are poor. We are required to work a lot, and we receive just enough pay to survive. Few of us have much of or any social safety net to rely on, which means we are effectively enslaved. Therefore, our first steps to freeing ourselves from this situation is to build a community. We need to network, get connected with other people, and we need to get organized as a group. We can find safety in numbers.
How do we do this? I will propose an algorithm for doing this, but first let me just point out the beauty of using such algorithmic solutions to these problems.
The first notable feature is that algorithms can spread. In fact, because we humans are all so well connected these days, an algorithm can spread really quickly. Think of the way a YouTube video goes viral, in a matter of days or even hours a new video can reach hundreds of millions of people. The same is true of an algorithm. It can go viral and spread to the whole world, practically instantly.
The second amazing thing about these algorithms is that they can be designed with decentralization in mind. They can be made general enough to work in almost any situation or location. Designed properly, they are a simple template, which anyone anywhere can implement. Done properly, their use frees us from typical constraints of organizing a movement. There is no need for explicit designation of leadership or of detailed long term planning. If we design this algorithm right, people should be able to simply start doing it, and in a matter of time a movement should materialize from the ground up.
Finally, before I propose an algorithmic solution to the problem, I want to admit that this may not be the solution, it is simply my first draft attempt at a solution. I hope people will consider this as a starting point which can be modified or improved upon.
Algorithm: Start A Revolution
If it's Saturday:
In the morning, get self and if possible the whole family ready to go to a meeting. Dress appropriately, if the only available meeting space is outside, dress for the weather. Pack lunch, bring extra for others.
Go to the local meeting area if one has been established, or to a local park if one has not been established.
- If you're the first one there, advertize your presence so others can find you. There are a number of ways to signal to others that this is a meeting place. If you're really well prepared, maybe you put a sign up. If not, just put a flag, or really any bright colorful object, up high in a tree to get people's attention, then set up a few chairs beneath it and wait.
- If no arrives to the park: Check other local parks. Also check social media. The website Meetup.com could be a powerful tool for organizing meetings.
At the park, begin networking. Talk. Let kids go play with kids, if necessary with some parental and teenage supervision, and parents talk with parents. Whoever happens to be there gets to work organizing.
- Initially people should break up into small discussion groups, groups of 5-10 people, where people discuss issues and potential solutions. Then each discussion group nominates a speaker to take part in a larger group discussion with the whole group. The whole group works to identify problems as well solutions to these problems.
Prior to leaving the group decides on future meeting dates and locations. Members collaborate to whatever extent possible. Members work together to form a close-knit organization. People within the group collaborate regularly. This local group becomes a kind of safety net, eventually, hopefully, a tight-knit and reliable community.
Finally, once meetings are established locally, the group continues work locally, but also begins to establish ties to other groups in the area. The group nominates representatives to attend other meetings in each area in order to establish an even larger and stronger network. Eventually members from local groups travel further to regional meetings, national meetings, and eventually, hopefully, global meetings.
The whole point of this is to bring people together and to establish a real, useful safety net. The long term goal of this, the ideal outcome, would be the development of a self-reliant and self-sustaining community. That goal will take time. It will almost certainly require people to relocate and to join together in a communal way of life where the community works together to sustainably provide for all its members. However, long before that goal is reached, this community group provides another crucially important function. It is shelter from the storm.
A storm is coming folks. There are a couple of events simultaneously occurring in the world right now. Either of them taken alone would be cause for concern, but together they will certainly create a terrible storm.
First, the global economy is going to collapse, it isn't certain when, but it is now on the horizon. The "Everything Bubble" as many commentators call it, is about to pop, and when it does there will be an increase in social unrest worldwide. This event alone will make a community safety net worthwhile.
Second, there is also a geopolitical shift taking place, U.S. hegemony is being challenged, and is coming to an end. The leaders of the U.S. however are unwilling to accept this, and they will fight to maintain control. Unfortunately, the only real card they have left to play, their ace in the hole, is their military might, (as their economic might is fading). They will almost certainly attempt to utilize their military might to reestablish global dominance, however, in the actual multi-polar world we now live in, their attempt will be resisted and forcefully. This means war is coming, eventually, and this war will be a major one. This is Another reason a community safety net will be necessary. During the turmoil a war will certainly bring, having people to rely on will be priceless.
Also worth mentioning, it isn't unrealistic to think that martial law will also eventually be established. Violence will likely be done at home as well as abroad. If there is economic collapse and a war, you can be certain that domestic measures will soon follow for "keeping public order". This is a third reason you want to have a social safety net established beforehand.
Okay, one last thing to consider: How can we know when to start doing an algorithm? Well, suppose I never publish this article, but I nonetheless start going down to my local park every Saturday, hanging some bright colorful object from a tree there and sitting underneath it, I won't accomplish anything. Though people may give me some funny looks.
Clearly, until enough people are both aware of this plan as well as willing to try it, doing the plan will be ineffective. However, if I do publish this article, it could go viral. At some point, when some minimum number of people have decided they like it and want to try it, then actually doing it will be effective.
What is this minimum number? I don't know. I suggest we talk about it. Maybe some intrepid individual could do some formal calculations and try to reason about what kind of social media support is likely necessary before an algorithm might work. Maybe we make an educated guess, and then just try it out and see how it goes. Whatever the case, we can use social media popularity as a useful indicator of the likelihood any algorithm has of succeeding if tested. We can consider this factor, and at some point simply decide, "Okay everybody, on Saturday, let the meetings begin".
Maybe this algorithm isn't perfect, maybe it needs revising before enough people want to try it out. The point is, it is a start. This is a basic, first draft framework for how to start organizing ourselves into a resilient network. This is my hopeful first attempt at a plan to help us actively prepare for the troubling times ahead.
Thank you for reading, and God Bless you.