How to Stop Fascism
Essay lining out practical methods of activly resisting fascism in a non-violent manner.
Resistance is Necessary
Our site has been up for some time, but until now we were unsure about what could be done to stop fascism. In the early days of the coup, things were unclear. It was not certain who constituted the new order, what their strategies were, and what their goals were. Much of these questions have been answered now. In light of this, we feel it is now time to elaborate what we believe should be done to resist the fascist state.
This page is a work in progress. We seek your suggestions for new ideas and improvements.
Fascism is different
Fascism differs from many other forms of totalitarianism in that its value system is not based on ethical principles. One can resist a theocracy by demonstrating the immorality of the theocratic regime. One can resist a Stalinist state by exposing its violations of workers rights and the abuses of public stewardship perpetrated by the ruling party. A democratic oppressor can be exposed for violations of democratic principles. However, fascism, above all, is pragmatic in its pursuit of total control. It measures its success not by an ethical standard but by the triumph of might over all other concerns. Thus, what one sees as immorality within the fascist state, the state sees as a sign of strength. Methods of resistance based on righteousness will not succeed in overturning a fascist regime.
However, we do see a place for the techniques of the peaceful non-violence movement established by Gandhi and King. While this government is not a government of or for the people, it does depend upon the cooperation of the people. While the government is devoid of ethics and morality, most of the people of our nation are not. We need to employ, as one of our tools, the philosophy of non-violence as a mechanism to appeal to the conscience of the people.
Non-violence, as practiced by Gandhi and King, is a necessary tool in our struggle, but it is not a sufficient tool. We must be willing to employ other tools if we are to succeed. We do not advocate violence and we believe that people of conscience should never instigate violence. However, the principle of self defense is held as valid in most quarters and we see no reason to dispense of it.
What we do advocate is an aggressive movement that seeks to paralyze the tools of fascism, organized along the lines of a guerilla movement, but absent of violent and illegal acts. Our new fascist oppressor has chosen the route of high technology and information processing. We believe that targeting this technology and those who create it is an essential component in the struggle against fascism. By "targeting," we do not imply physical destruction or hacking. Instead, we wish to employ new methodologies aimed at overwhelming, confusing, deceiving, and misinforming this technology. By "targeting" those who create this technology we call for the utilization of traditional protest techniques such as those employed by Reverend King.
Digital technology has its limits. There are combinatorial limits, based on mathematics, that can be exploited. Many of the new technologies pursued by the Information Awareness Office seek to discover patterns. These patterns are used to profile individuals and events. The aggregation of related information is one of the primary tasks of these systems. An effort to increase the number of entities which require relating and an effort to create false relationships between entities will diminish the capacity of such systems to attain their goals. Thus, disinformation, false identity, information overload, and information contradiction can all be employed to make these systems less effective. The goal we must seek is to increase the expense of making useful information about those who oppose the fascists.
The systems of the Information Awareness Office can be viewed as harvesters. Many will spend their time prowling electronic communications and publications, gather information, and exploiting that information. Some of the technology employed relies upon natural language processing tools (programs that attempt to parse and interpret statements in natural languages such as English). Making natural language more difficult to understand by means of current artificial intelligence tools is one step that we could take. Usage of obscure vocabulary or redefinition of common terms on a regular basis would assist in confusing these systems.
Posting mutually consistent islands of disinformation on the Internet would add false knowledge and false understanding to these systems. Changing online identities frequently, using anonymizers, creating and abandoning email accounts, creating false Internet forums, and discussing false plans for protest events that do not happen (with the knowledge of those involved) will all contribute to the growing din of nonsense that these systems will need to make sense of.
Let us lay down a warning, however. Any disinformation posted must be aimed at confusing the government about the plans and activities of peaceful resisters, such as ourselves, that oppose the regime. We must not post information that would lead one to believe that some act of terror or any other kind of criminal act will be performed. There is a valid interest in protecting the population from acts of terror and our actions are not aimed at diminishing that ability. We do not wish to overwhelm any system aimed specifically and only at preventing harm to innocent civilians.
Targeting the Producers of Surveillance Technology
Most surveillance technology is not created by the government. Surveillance technology is created within the private sector and funded through market forces and government contracts. Ordinary citizens work for these firms. Most of them understand how the work they do will be used but rationalize the ethical basis of the work through false arguments about the greater good, positive societal contributions that may one day attain, and the need to earn a living. The average technology worker is apolitical and has no evil intent. The true source of evil within these corporations are the corporate leadership. These individuals knowingly employ others to create tools that diminish the liberty of their fellow Americans. They cannot accomplish this goal without (1) a market and (2) a labor pool.
There are several steps we can take to eliminate the market and the labor pool that supports these corporations. Let us address the market.
There are four markets for surveillance technology: (1) the employer, (2) the business, (3) the private individual, and (4) the government. Each of these has vulnerabilities.
The employer that utilizes surveillance software and hardware often does so without the knowledge of the employees. Most employees believe that their online communications are probably not monitored. If all employees whose communications are monitored knew of monitoring, I believe that the sense of outrage against these employers would be significant. In order to uncover this information we can employ three strategies: (1) getting the customer lists of corporations that produce this software and hardware, (2) learning how to detect the presence of these tools and educating employees on how to do the checking for us, (3) gaining inside information from the employers who use them.
Aside from being employers, businesses have assets to protect, intelligence to gather, and reputations to maintain. Some steps taken by businesses are ethically valid. Informing all individuals that visit a business that they are under surveillance while within the business in an effort to protect against frequent crime (such as theft) is not necessarily a violation of anyone's rights. However, the gathering of intelligence with the aim to inflict harm upon competitors, ex-employees, and to invade privacy is a violation of the rights of others. Thus, we need informants. When businesses engage in such activities, we need to make it public and we need to take non-violent action against these corporations. Corporations that are embarrassed by their use of such technologies will be less likely to purchase these technologies. If a strong association can be argued between having these technologies and abusing these technologies, then simply being listed as a client of one of these firms that push surveillance technology might be enough of an embarrassment to drive corporations away.
A greater number of private individuals have been purchasing surveillance technologies. This is not always bad. People need to protect themselves from harm. However, some people purchase these technologies in order to do harm to others. We need to educate the public about these practices and making it a social taboo to spy on others.
The last (and largest) market for these technologies is the government. With respect to government, we must show no tolerance. We must take action to oppose ubiquitous video surveillance, electronics communications surveillance, data warehousing, government sanctioned marketing and utilization of consumer information, and snitch programs. To do this we must organize demonstrations, camera harassments, overload the systems with bogus email, and so on.
Finally, we need to take the fight directly to these producers of surveillance technologies. We need to protest in front of their offices. We need to flood online forums with denunciations of their work. We must expose their technology and its use. We must consider encouraging boycotts of those firms which push these technologies.
With respect to eliminating the labor pool for these firms, the above tasks will create embarrassment for those employed by them. We must make it a social taboo to work for those who rob us of our liberty. We must post information about these corporations on the Internet. Individuals seeking employment must know who to avoid.
Snitching on the Snitches
There has been an organized effort on the part of the fascist state to recruit ordinary Americans in its war on liberty. Most famous among these is operations TIPS. However, it is reasonable to assume that many of the programs under AmeriCorp, FreedomCorp, and CitizensCorp are aimed at our oppression as well. Keeping with the theme of this essay, we believe it is important to (1) keep liberty loving civilians informed about who is a member of these organizations and (2) create a social taboo against membership in these groups. To that end we believe that mechanisms should be created online to collect information concerning membership in these groups and make that available to any citizen that wishes to be sure that those who visit his or her house or those with whom he or she discusses politics are not members of these groups.
It has been reported that members of TIPS will post bumper stickers or signs on their vehicles indicating membership in TIPS. Their license plate numbers should be logged and any information concerning the identity of the owners of these vehicles should be obtained and posted online as well. Citizens should place signs on their doors prohibiting the entry of CitizenCorp members. Citizens should contact the employers of any individuals who, in the course of their work, have access to their homes and demand that any representatives of the corporation which access their homes are not members of CitizenCorp.
When multiple vendors of services meeting the same need are available, defenders of liberty should choose first those corporations that do not permit their employees to be members of CitizenCorps (or TIPS). Businesses that employ CitizenCorp (or TIPS) members should be picketed.
Targeting the Corporate Press and Media
Most Americans have been paralyzed by the lies, disinformation, and selective coverage provided by the corporate press and media. In all fascist states, the press and media play an important role in creating the illusions whereby the state finds justification for its actions. In fighting this arm of the fascist state, we must effect two changes.
(1) We must urge a greater percentage of the citizenry to abandon the corporate press and media. There are alternative news services which provide better coverage and provide more useful information than that provided by our corporate supporters of fascism. All dissenting websites should provide links to online non-corporate outlets of news information. We should accept free advertising on our websites for non-corporate media. We should discuss with our coworkers and fellow Americans the superiority of alternative news sources as a fountain of information about the rising fascist state. We must point out the lies and disinformation of the corporate media.
(2) We must pressure the corporate media to once again embrace their calling as journalists. We must demand journalistic integrity and ethics. We must demand full coverage of the issues that really do effect us. To this end, consumers of corporate media should target offending media outlets with letter campaigns, email campaigns, and demonstrations. In fascist societies, corporations are handmaidens of the state. As such, they are valid targets of protest and non-violent demonstration.
Direct Political Action
We must continue the practice of direct political action. Protests, sit-ins, civil disobedience, defiance of authority, and picketing must continue to be among the tools we employ. However, it is time to become more sophisticated in their use. The drive towards a unified and homogenous movement is a drive towards defeat. Unified movements under clear and distinct leadership are easy to spy on. They are usually infiltrated by agents of the state and their actions are sufficiently predictable to render their actions ineffective. Unified and centralized movements are easily crushed by targeting their leaders. We need to avoid providing our oppressors such opportunities by rejecting the notion of leaders.
We are not suggesting the elimination of large coalitions as they currently exist. They play an important role in using righteousness, a necessary but insufficient component of the struggle, in our movement. They create an environment where the more risk adverse can participate in struggle. It is important to support and maintain these groups. However, it is equally important to not allow ourselves to become subordinate to them.
Groups which seek a more aggressive path towards liberation should organize themselves as independent entities. They should plan their actions in secret and in person. Information about their plans and tactics should not be published online, communicated publicly, or discussed over the telephone. It may be necessary to not inform the entire membership of the location or time of an action before it occurs. The concept of immediate call-up should be employed to keep the authorities off guard.
Active action groups should plan their own actions. Hanging a banner from a highway bridge during rush hour does not require a large number of individuals or much planning. Blocking a downtown road requires planning for possible arrests, but does not require a large number of participants. Use your imagination and keep it non-violent.
When large protests are planned by traditional groups, find out all you can about their planned event. Planning actions around their actions can overwhelm the authorities. If the authorities believe that they have everything under control, only to learn that they have allocated but a fraction of the resources they actually do need, you can consider such events successful. We must wear down our oppressors and force them to consider the financial costs of oppression. Next time they might choose not to block a road because it is cheaper to just let your protest pass.
In all cases, however, be respectful of the plans of other organizations. For example, if a large group loyal to the philosophy of Gandhi or King wishes to have a perfect demonstration embodying their philosophy in every way, don't interfere with them. Conduct your actions at a sufficient distance to make it clear that they are distinct from you. It helps none of us to cause the media to distort the intent of protestors by seeking to show contradictions in political philosophy and practice. Let those who employ righteousness remain righteous. Let those who employ direct action take credit for their actions.
This will increase the desire of the authorities to infiltrate such groups. Thus, we suggest that groups are grown slowly from an inner core outward. As individuals gain the trust of the inner core, they should be invited into the core. Methods for routing out infiltrators without violating the trust or privacy of members should be constructed. One suggestion is to plan less important events that you will carry out and determine whether the actions of the authorities reveals foreknowledge. If someone is suspected of being an infiltrator, do not threaten them or harass them in any way. Just ask them. If you discover that they are an infiltrator, terminate their membership in the group. Give them ample opportunity to prove that you are wrong. Do not publicly accuse anyone of being an infiltrator. Chances are you are wrong and the damage you will have done to that individual (and to yourself) will not be repairable. We will never achieve 100% certainty of non-infiltration. We must live with that fact. Thus, steps should be taken to prevent leaks of action plans and one should remember that this is a good reason to avoid planning or conducting any action which violates the law in excess of simple civil-disobedience.
We should not be afraid to use technology. Transmitter detectors are available at spy stores. They are not 100% effective, but they will sometimes catch a spook and they will always create a deterrent against the use of such listening devices. Many cell phones can capture conversations and transmit them, through the telephone system, to an offsite recorder or listening individual. Many modern cell phones have speaker phone abilities which can be employed in this way. Cell phones should be banned from planning meetings. It might be a good practice to collect all cell phones at the beginning of a meeting and store them in another room until the meeting is over.
Family radios make good communication devices during a protest. If your group is coordinating several teams, consider using radio communication. Plans of action should be made before hand. Limit radio conversation to intelligence updates. For example, if you have worked out all contingencies, information about the position and actions of police should be enough for each team to know how to respond. Transmit only information that the police already know, but that would be useful for you to know as well. Family radios have a short range. This is a desirable quality. Police surveillance of communications will need to be made at short range. Thus, one can avoid the danger of a distant control center monitoring all communications.
There are many good encryption tools available in the United States. We recommend PGP. Communications which must be effected by email should be encrypted. Encryption is not 100% safe and there are new techniques for obtaining encryption keys through keyboard monitoring software. However, anything you can do to make the act of surveillance more expensive, when aggregated across many individuals, is just one more expense your oppressors must pay. We need to make oppression as expensive as possible.
Intelligence and Counter Intelligence
To be effective we must collect, process, and utilize intelligence. Some people are better at protesting. Some people are better at planning. Yet others are better at gathering and processing information. You can divide your organization along these lines or create a "free agent" organization that specializes in any one of these, offering your group as an entity that performs specialized tasks in concert with other groups.
We must create anti-fascist intelligence groups and networks. We must know what tactics the authorities will use. We must know what tools they have procured, their policies for using them, and their strategies for dealing with us. We must use this knowledge to undermine their plans and render their efforts useless.
Intelligence information must be shared with those who can use it. Those who use it should be encouraged to provide information as well.
Databases containing images of law enforcement individuals and their identities should be created. We should be able to check new members against a database of known law enforcement members. Likewise, we should be able to check new members against the membership lists of the aforementioned TIPS and CitizenCorp databases. Counter demonstrators should be photographed and their images should be made available to other anti-fascist groups.
When individuals are identified and confirmed as informants for the fascist state, we should consider feeding them disinformation rather than exposing them.
We must take direct and aggressive non-violent action against the fascist state. We should think outside of the box of methodologies employed in the past. We should make it more difficult for the fascist state to stop our protest activities through the use of technology and disinformation. We must look at our movement as a new kind of guerilla movement - one designed for a technologically advanced society and one designed to avoid violence. We must seek to expose the state for what it is. We must encourage the creation of a decentralized movement which employs redundancy, unpredictability, and innovation in an effort to weaken the state's ability to maintain a fascist police state. We must make fascism expensive, demoralizing, and self defeating for those who employ it.
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