#Tradecraft: What A Military Mindset Can Teach Activists

Posted: June 9, 2015 in SWIG


There is a reluctance on the part of activists to embrace a military mindset when fighting the “war against police brutality,” “the war on poverty,” “the war on GMOs,” or any other campaign. The mindset of the soldiers has a singular goal: victory. Abandoning proven tactics because of disagreements with institution that developed them is extremely short-sighted. Martin Luther King, Jr said:

Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.

It’s probably best to start with a rule that helps illustrate the importance of understanding what the military mindset can teach activists.

There is an overwhelming reluctance on the part of many to use products, tactics, technologies, or systems that were produced by their “enemy.” If you examine the weapons of the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan, you’ll see that they were primarily Soviet-made. They used the weapons the enemy provided them. You often see Hamas-affiliated insurgents using US-made weapons taken from the Israelis. Many times, using the opposition’s weapons and technology allows a force to meet them on equal footing.

This is the toughest concept for people to grasp, but one of the most important. If you are actively in service to a cause, whatever that cause is, and you are willing to devote a significant portion of your life to that cause, you are expendable. You may get arrested, silenced, killed, or otherwise be rendered ineffective. If the movement you are a part of is worth anything, your absence will not alter its effectiveness. You are replaceable.

Given the fact that you are expendable, it should be a priority to make certain that you share any unique skills you have with as many people as possible. Soldiers are cross-trained. They learn the skills of other team members. A well-organized movement will not be brought down because a key person is rendered ineffective. You can do your part to make certain this doesn’t happen by sharing your knowledge. If you are a social media wizard, teach others. If you have a great deal of tactical expertise, teach others.

One of the things activists fail to do is train and educate themselves with any frequency. While most activists stay abreast of the news related to their particular cause, few continue to advance their own level of expertise within their skill set. Even fewer attempt to apply the Sun Tzu’s advice of “know your enemy.”

Full Story @ [The Fifth Column]


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