(Admin Note: For those new to the blog, I’ve espoused these ideas for a long time based on my professional experience as an Intelligence Analyst and a student of guerrilla and insurgent movements. When we begin breaking down what another American revolution would look like and approach the topic from a military intelligence point of view, we see a lot of problems that are difficult to overcome, which have ultimately led me to believe that the likelihood of success is quite low right now. The good news is that there’s a way forward if you want to restore Liberty. I hope you’ll consider what I have to offer.)
There have been myriad plans to restore Liberty floated around in the Freedom Forces (FREEFOR) and Patriot communities. They’ve ranged from making war on police officers to more traditional resistance operations against countervalue targets, to passive resistance and civil disobedience, and simply voting our way out. I think some of these plans have some merit… some have more than others, while at least two have no merit. I’ve never liked the idea of shooting police officers ‘just to get our point across’ and I think it’s a dumb idea. A similarly dumb idea is that we can just vote in a new, better president to fix everything. I don’t mean any personal offense to anyone who supports these plans; I just wish that you would think through the process of what they entail, the likelihood of success, and the end result if you fail. There are, of course, several striking negative second- and third-order effects that are detrimental to what you’re actually trying to accomplish. I’ve covered those in detail in previous posts.
Understand: I’m a pragmatist. I favor practical plans over outlandish and low-probability-of-success plans. And since there are relatively few of us Patriots willing to pursue a future to the ends of our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor, and since we will only have one chance to get it right the first time, we owe it to ourselves to move out with a purpose with a plan that can actually get us what we want. If we look across the spectrum of civil conflicts across the centuries, there a lot that not only failed in succeeding, but that actually made life worse. In other words, the exact opposite of what these folks set out to do. I’m reminded of the Roman Emperor Caligula, who by all accounts was one of the most brutal, demented, and evil rulers in the history of the earth. He was assassinated by a few body guards who wanted the Roman Senate to restore the Republic. But what did the Roman people do upon hearing of Caligula’s death? They stormed the Senate building and insisted that Claudius be made emperor. (Claudius’ life had been spared by the Praetorian Guard during the coup.) Claudius purchased the support of the Praetorian Guard, which thus entrenched him as emperor, completely negating the efforts of the Senatorial conspiracy to restore the Republic. And Claudius selected Nero as his heir, who infamously fiddled as Rome burned. This is just one among many such historical realities.
So none of us should approach the topic lightly or without doing our due diligence in thinking through all the implications. A failed attempt, especially a failed violent attempt at the national level, is much more likely to make matters worse here at home. All the things we’re railing against will be justified and augmented if offensive violence is ever adopted as a political tool. I don’t know who penned it, but the phrase is as true as ever: “Individual acts of resistance will be viewed as terrorism.” (Note that I said ‘offensive violence’, as opposed to defensive. You have an obligation to defend yourself from unconstitutional actions.) The answer really doesn’t emanate from a small group of individuals who don’t hold influence, who don’t wield power, and who have no authority. A very astute reader and commenter on this blog once wrote something to the effect that Washington, Jefferson, Adams, et. al., were all elites. And until they felt the pinch of tyranny, nothing happened. It’s likely that we face a similar condition: until the elites realize that future generations are threatened by the political, soft tyranny of today, and something must be done to make life better for them, then the cause of Rightful Liberty won’t really be moved forward. The good news is that we’re getting there, but the bad news is that we’re not there yet. We will probably be there within a decade, so hang in there.
So in developing a potential way forward, we ask , “What do we want?” I think Jefferson’s Rightful Liberty is a very good answer. The next questions we have to ask, however unpopular, are “Can we achieve it? Can we get what we want? Do we have the manpower, do we have the resources, do we have the logistical support and all the other things needed to sustain a multi-year conflict?” None of this is going to be over in a week. The American Revolution in its entirety lasted 18 years (1765-1783). Do we have what it takes to last five or ten or fifteen or more years? Remember that in the latter years of the Civil War, the Union plan was to win through attrition against a numerically inferior adversary. Can we win a conflict of attrition when rebelling against a regime which has more soft power and hard power? That’s an important question to answer because at this point, we do see a lot of anger and frustration in this movement.
A few days ago we talked about the two requirements for a social base to move to conflict (Social Bases & Insurgent Movements). Any violence is likely to be carried out by a relatively small percentage of the population. And we know that they will encounter lots of problems: the obvious and first consequence is violent reprisal by the regime (hard power), but their extended families will likely encounter hardships as well. Remember, we’re talking about “terrorism” so there will be frozen bank accounts, folks held in indefinite detention, massive propaganda campaigns and social targeting, maybe some lost jobs, businesses seized (material support). These are some elements of soft power that will make life very difficult for those involved and, ultimately, it’s going to deter others from getting involved. Frankly, it’s probably just what the regime wants. We now move from a small number of those willing to commit violence to an even smaller number. There’s too much money at stake, there’s too much “America has problems but it’s still the greatest country on earth”. Too many of those in our support base are fat and relatively happy, because, ‘Hey, it could be worse.’ We still live in a $15 trillion economy, after all. Who, with any wealth and in their right mind, would support a violent plan that, regardless of outcome, would endanger the value of their money and investments? Answer: No one. So there a lot of problems with the ‘three percent’ solution that we don’t find elsewhere in other plans, like the one I’m about to present. And then we haven’t even gotten into the networks and logistics required to sustain even a small operation, much less a larger one. While those networks are developing, it’s no where near the scale required for the mission. And, again, we haven’t even begun to talk about third and fourth parties in this conflict — potential foreign involvement that makes matters worse, the increased criminality and lawlessness we find in these types of low-intensity conflicts, and so forth. You’re going to find yourselves in a constant struggle for survival, fighting lots of small wars in the midst of a much larger one, to turn a phrase from Kilcullen. So for these reasons, I’m out… because there’s a better way.
The next question we need to answer is, “What will be the size and scope of our plan to accomplish our goal(s)?” I think coast to coast is unrealistic. What’s more realistic is a regional plan, or plans in several regions, where popular support can be achieved and maintained. Many regions would never support re-establishing the proper order of Man above State, so to suggest that they’ll just go quietly into the good night is at best naive. For those who support the coast to coast option, you’re relatively few in number fighting in a very large country and greatly outnumbered in lots of places. That’s an option for which most are wholly unprepared. Coast to coast is a non-starter for this reason.
Look, I empathize with the feeling that we have to do something. And it may be emotionally gratifying to think about violent resistance against the members of the Ruling Class. There are times when I’m driving on the freeway and I want to shoot another driver in the face, but just because I have that desire doesn’t mean it would be the most prudent thing for me to do. In fact, it wouldn’t solve my problem, no matter how good it made me feel in the moment. The point here is don’t cut off your nose to spite your face. Don’t start something for which we’re unprepared just because it will make you feel good in the near term, or because you enjoy fantasizing about it. Once the North American Liberty Games kick off, there’s no end in sight. This won’t be won overnight, or in a week, or a month. Be prepared to have this go on for years. Be prepared for your families – and families all across the communities involved – to face hardships not seen in their lifetimes. And there’s still no guarantee of victory.
The ability for the regime to decimate a domestic insurgency of terrorists of three or five or even ten percent of the population is quite strong. You will experience the unlimited, boundless power of the regime; without the limitations of transoceanic supply lines, language and culture barriers, and, most importantly, laws. Furthermore, if you fail, you will have justified all the unconstitutional activity and likely invite more for the cause of “security and stability”.
One of the great advances during the British Malayan Emergency was turning a conventional war into a war of police action, which became the strength of occupation/counter-insurgent forces. The British, using the existing Chinese population, de-legitimized the authority of the Communist Terrorists and ultimately won. That’s exactly what will happen to a nationwide insurgency of a small percentage of the population. You will turn America into an Iraq or Afghanistan, and Americans will tire of their quality of life being disrupted. Once regular Americans, who maybe even supported the idea of revolution, start to see the protracted nature of a domestic insurgency (around 10 years, on average), many will start to seek a return to normalcy even if it means turning against the people to whom they at least paid tacit or explicit moral support, especially if those people aren’t winning. Without the aid of the populace, you won’t win the war. Without the appearance of winning the war, you won’t receive the support of the populace. Right now, you have neither.
Now ask yourself the question, “If I were to get involved in the fight, would my neighbors thank me for their hardships and offer support, or would they aid the local authorities in finding me so that they can go back to living a comfortable life?” Based on our culture, lots of people are going to be at the losing end of that question. There are a lot of reasons why plans like these are likely to fail; the least of which is the ability of the regime to cause undue pain for political gain. Because when parents are having problems buying stuff for their kids or affording fuel to drive to work or are experiencing rolling brownouts from cyber attacks, their best option isn’t five years from now when the conflict is settled; it’s five weeks from now after they’ve turned in everyone they know.
Back to how the public will see these violent acts, a major problem with a lot of the active resistance plans is that they call for what will easily be branded terrorism, which is the individual use of violence (against non-military targets) to achieve political goals. It’s no secret that the ability of the mainstream media to get the early jump on breaking news makes it a critical tool in the Statist tool belt. The mainstream media, after all, is nothing more than a mouthpiece for progressives and Statistism, and these media outlets form opinions for many Americans. So the absolute first step is continuing to support and expanding alternative, pro-Liberty media. If your plan isn’t winning over Breitbart or similar outlets; at least giving them an opportunity to write about your efforts in a positive way, then you’re unlikely to be successful. The cards are stacked against you if you can’t do that. (And Lord help you if the Fairness Doctrine and Net Neutrality ever begin to squelch pro-Liberty media outlets. Then you will have no message, other than the one the regime will provide for you.)
I’ve written at great lengths about the need for popular support for both your cause and your actions. So perhaps the first metric of a good plan is whether your own people will support you. Movements that don’t gain the support of 15 to 25 per cent of the population, regionally if not nationwide, generally result in failure. Further, if a movement reaches that threshold but its tactics or strategy is not supported, then the movement is simply doomed to fail. A Pew Research Poll from December 2011 found that while 44 percent of Americans supported the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, 49 percent disagreed with OWS tactics (a smaller percentage agreed with them) — and that was a largely ‘peaceful’ movement compared to kinetic operations! So what happened to the OWS movement? It was forced to abandon its tactics, due both to police action and a failure to maintain popular support for their tactics. That, and it started to get cold outside. For any movement to create real and permanent change, it needs popular support on all fronts, including popular support for its tactics.
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld infamously said: “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you want.” And it’s time to face facts: we go to resistance with the nation we have, not the nation we want. Call me crazy, but I just don’t see the popular support nationwide at the levels necessary to sustain a movement, and certainly not at the levels that are more likely to produce victory. We might be getting there but we’re certainly not there yet.
Brigadier General Samuel Griffith, USMC (Ret.) wrote in-depth about his study of partisan resistance and guerrilla movements. One of the things that I find particularly interesting is how he qualified the execution of guerrilla movements, which I think can also be applied to the modern American resistance. He describes ten factors that determine the outcome of guerrilla and resistance movements. Each factor should be scored for both the resistance movement and the regime in power. Ten factors with ten points each give you an index of 100. The highest index probably has the better chance of succeeding. They are:
– Appeal of Program
– Popular Support
– Quality of Leadership
– Quality of Troops
– Military Efficiency
– Internal Unity
– Operational Terrain
– Operational Area Communications
(For an overview of what this index looks like, read Qualitative Measurements of Resistance and Revolution Models.)
If we begin with Appeal of Program, we ask, “Is the program appealing?” To answer that question – to even get a subjective measurement – we really have to answer another: “What comes next if we win?” And right now, I don’t see any better instruments for maintaining the governance we want, than what we already have in place (three branches of government, bicameral legislature, Bill of Rights, etc.). The need to change something is apparent. I see lots of Molon Labe and pro-Second Amendment gear out on the streets, but most are so wrapped up in the things that don’t matter (AR vs. AK, 9mm vs .45ACP) that they don’t even know they don’t the things that do matter (communications, intelligence, logistics to name a few). That’s what Rumsfeld called the ‘unknown-unknowns’.
There are lots of pissed off people out there, which is encouraging for me to see. But I don’t see a program or a course of action out there that will garner widespread support, even among the base. This post will be read (parts of this post will be read) by 10,000 people and there will still be no traction because it’s just one guy saying it.
Collectively, we’re a bunch of pissed off Americans saying, “Well, I really hate the way things are but I don’t know a way forward that’s likely to change anything.” Because killing a politician is going to land you in the ground or in prison, and numerous dead politicians will give the regime exactly what it wants: a reason to do the things they want to do and the popular support to go with it. And you’ll still be accomplishing absolutely nothing, and perhaps accomplishing something very negative for the rest of us in the short- and medium-terms.
With leaderless resistance and similar ideas, we don’t solve our fundamental complaints — the illegitimacy of the current government’s limitless authority. Expecting to intimidate and coerce national-level politicians to abandon their positions is essentially unenforceable. They have a shroud of protection in DC; one that’s not going away, and other leaders across the nation are too financially dependent on the DC money siphon/pot o’ gold to support anything remotely close to national revolution.
The Plan Overview
All these problems are why I’m a proponent of using individual states to restore Liberty. I got behind the Free State Movement years ago but bailed as soon as they chose New Hampshire because I thought (and still think) that it was a poor choice. Ultimately, if you want to see Liberty in your lifetime, then what we’re talking about is one of two things: an autonomous regional or state government, or a clean break. It doesn’t really matter to me which happens, but I can tell you that it won’t happen unless you take your Liberty back for yourself. That means not kowtowing to federal regulations and unconstitutional laws; it requires us to disobey the insanity; it requires us to focus on building resilient communities and, yes, electing pro-Liberty representation to fight for us in the statehouse. It requires a paradigm shift in the way people think. And none of this is going to happen until a few things occur:
1. The more people hurt, the more they will have a reason to do something. Until our potential bases of support are really hurting, they have little incentive to expose themselves to risk. No pain, no gain. The worse it gets, the better it gets, as they say.
2. Until we build resilient communities and have leaders in our counties and Sheriff’s departments who will stand up for us, we’re not going to have change. We need to stop focusing so much on national-level politics and concern ourselves with our communities and our states, which are the only two entities capable of solving our political crisis. That’s what makes this argument so powerful. We already have political legitimacy through the existing state government. Through a vote and signing a piece of paper, we can become an independent entity literally over night. And if we fight a war, it will be fought for an existing state with existing leadership and existing authority and existing support — things that are very non-existing for the very loose, small confederation of the ‘three percent.’
3. There’s a reason why Obama and Marxists for decades have done community organizing. It’s because it works. It’s because it gets your message out in a cost-effective way (what’s the price of a conversation?), you reach lots of people and you build a base that you can mobilize. We have to become community organizers. Until our communities and regions get better organized to protect each other from regime incursions, we will remain vulnerable.
In short, we must convince the populace that our goals are better than what we have now, and that we’re capable of winning and implementing a structure that provides a better life. Americans won’t trade the current tyranny for a future tyranny, and that’s another reason why we should use the existing legal and political structure of the state to move on to Objective Liberty. If our state begins to corrupt the virtues of Rightful Liberty, then it’s much easier to right the ship at your state capitol than it is in the District of Criminals. Geographic isolation is a factor in being powerless to directly affect DC.
So let’s focus on regional success in the American or Appalachian Redoubts or maybe in Texas or other states, if they make it past amnesty. If we can show that it works there, then we can start adding territory and build back a properly-sized Republic with a population of citizens willing to put foot to pavement to ensure we keep it lawful. (One problem we have is that our nation is too large as it is.)
If you want Liberty within your lifetime, if you want the regime to butt out where it’s not concerned, that’s what you’re looking at. Cleaning house in DC is going to come by making them irrelevant, not by replacing them. I’m not the first to state this and it’s not “my” plan as much as it is the one that I wholeheartedly support.
We as Patriots really are a numerically small force. I’m not talking about the folks who wear flag pins on their lapel and own all the t-shirts and are in a Facebook group; I’m talking about those who are constantly training and committed. Truly a very small number of us. And when we’re gone, that’s it. If what we’re building is a small army, then it can’t be easily replaced. We are a non-renewable resource because the train-up time is too long and the learning curve too steep. That’s another reason why the pursuit of violent means of securing our Liberty shouldn’t be our first choice.
As we examine the behemoth we’re dealing with, the condition of the regime, it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out that it’s losing legitimacy. More and more people are ‘waking up’ to the poor state of fiscal and monetary policy, lawlessness and new age liberalism. They’re worried and rightly so.
So the plan is simply this: we have to bide our time, community organize, train, network, build support at the local and state levels. There will be a day when the regime is in free fall. Days when there are bank holidays, when there are furloughed workers, when Americans are trying to replace their accumulated wealth of dollars with something else, when this nation is teetering on collapse, then we will have our opportunity. Many of us see it: America is failing by design. When it fails, we need a solution because the regime certainly has plans. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel and we don’t have to spend lots of energy on replacing our leaders in DC. They will cease to exist because they will be irrelevant to us. The solution is a pre-existing state, groups of counties or regions that are pro-Liberty, and we need to begin the work of empowering our leaders, both elected and unelected, to sever the ties.
When in the course of Human Events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
At least if we have to fight a war, it will be in defense of our homes and our state. That’s fighting for something that our neighbors might actually appreciate. There are going to be hiccups – financial, monetary, humanitarian, etc. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Go through some hardship now to provide a better life for your children. It’s that simple.
All the points that need to be covered certainly haven’t been. This post is a concept, a road map. I’d be happy to answer questions and provide reasoning beyond what was initially written.
Lastly, you should be doing all this on the local level regardless of your position on the topic. Not everyone lives in a state where this is possible. But if we’re opting for the course of action with the highest chance of success, here it is. The state provides all the authority and legitimacy we as individuals and small groups lack. But all this has to begin at the local level.