On Subversion & Resistance
To fully grasp the power of Subversion, you need to understand some o the aspects that go into what it is you are subverting, and where subversion lies in the mess of tools useful in resisting a fascist regime powered by wealth and hiding behind the pretense of meritocracy.
There is an old, old saying — used even by that “newer” agitator, Frederick Douglass — about how there are Four Boxes of Liberty. The use of it goes back hundreds of years, and even those on the other side are fond of it because of the truth in it — although they tend to ignore the first few more often than is necessary.
To that I like to add a quintuple of my own, and it starts with two of the better known ones: The Carrot and The Stick.
“There are four boxes to be used in the defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury and ammo. Please use in that order.”
The Soap Box. That tried and true standard You take the box, set it out in a public area, step up on it, and expound in the tradition of the ancient orators of Democratic Greece, swaying with the word and the arousing passion and sentiment in the hearts and minds of all that can hear you.
This is a soap box. Blogs, Editorials, Opinion and Analysis, Critical Theory, etc — these are the tools of the Soap Box. Essentially, getting your voice out there.
It is the first Box by which Liberty is defended, and the most important one. When done right, it is the Carrot — the bribe and the treat that awaits should the unwieldy creature bow to our will.
There is another part to the Soap Box, however, and that is why it is the first choice, always. That part is the Stick. The thing that sits behind the unwieldy creature and provides a smack. For the Stick can be applied across multiple areas.
The Stick in the Soap Box is the Protest, the March, the Blockade, the act of Civil Disobedience and defiance of Authority for the cause of freedom.
Journalism covers this, and in turn, influences the opinions of those for whom the Carrot is not always enough.
The Ballot Box
The Ballot Box is the second of those four boxes. Calls to Senators and Representatives, visiting and befriending the staff that work for various city, county, and state legislators and councilmen, these are all the forms of the Ballot Box — but the most important one, of course, is the vote itself.
Despite the Electoral College, a single person’s vote can be enough to sway even the Presidential election . Ultimately, when you look at the Electoral Map, the difference here was less than 10,000 votes, such as, so the Electoral College, which was literally designed to make some votes count more than others is doing what it was designed to do.
In all other races, a single vote can absolutely turn the tide and decide the winner — so a vote is one of the most powerful tools — which is why so much effort is put into limiting the number of people who can vote, in the name of protecting those votes.
Remember that any limit on who can vote beyond citizenship is a limit on democracy, and an abridgement of Human Rights.
This is the other part of The Stick, as well — call it the blunt end, while the other side has a leather thong to it that cracks like a whip. When people are elected, votes become currency, and that gives power to the people only as long as they use it with force and conviction.
Voting is one of the most key social constructs we have, and it can be broken easily, if it is not tended to or looked at as a waste.
Now here, I will stop on the Four Boxes and talk about two of the ones I use.
You know the carrot and the stick, so let’s get to the Crier and the Gossip…
The Town Crier
Newspapers, television shows, films, talk radio, documentaries, — the many and varied forms of communication we have are all part of the Town Crier role. They are the Fourth Estate, the People’s check on the power of the corrupt and the malfeasance of the despot.
I just call this one the Crier because, well, these days they spend an awful lot of tie crying over lost revenues and all that stuff. They shift from Print has damaged some very important, very critical organizations because they do not want to shift, and the internet culture has only very recently begun to spend the money necessary to enable them to make the shift towards digital format efforts.
But, they serve the role of the Town Crier not in the literal sense (though some often do — now Fox News is doing that, for example), but the metaphorical one They are the ones who keep people who do not have time, inclination, or facility to go to school or put effort into learning about things to speak to them clearly.
These days, far too many people confuse opinion and journalism and entertainment — something FOX News is fond of doing, but they, in turn, took their cue from other efforts throughout the years and the trend that began in the 1980s with the deregulation of the communications industry, enabling massive buyouts of the major news organizations and the consolidation that leaves us with the Mainstream Media we have today being so limited in terms of diversity and diversity in ownership.
They are the folks who, in this sense, wander about shouting the news and information of the day — they let us know not just what is going on around us in terms of politics and business, but also in terms of fun and community.
They are joined by their close cousins, most of whom are, as you can guess, disreputable…
The gossip is all the tabloids and entertainment stuff — not always fluff, but not always really key. And, like their name, they are the gossips — the folks who tell the tales that are neither fit for nor serious enough for the Town Crier, who takes his job and himself way too fuckin seriously — men, am I right?
Think “human Interest” without the substance. Entertainment Tonight is widely credited with giving the modern incarnation its boost, but there is always Hedda Hopper in the more distant past, and those before her who may not have met Benjamin Franklin’s standards for publication in Newspapers, but surely influenced his Almanac.
TMZ owes their whole existence to the Gossip.
So that covers four of the elements I noted, and half the traditional ones.
All of them affect the next two of the Four Boxes, though…
The Jury Box
One of the reasons that a lot of people do not register to vote, surprisingly, is that voting is often tied to Jury Duty.
Yes, really, for those scattered few of you who still believe (rightly) that Jury duty is a solemn duty and honor. Most of those that still believe that most likely have a somewhat conservative background, as well. Statistically speaking.
But as a job, the inconvenience of it is part of the price of having a justice system that actually works — and a part of the responsibility that every citizen has to protect their vote.
However, in this case, the Jury Box is actually more about The Court system — the very same one that Pretendent iDJiT is now rather upset with for doing its damn job.
Juries of various sorts are used — especially in lower courts — to decide all manner of issues, including some governmental ones. It can be rather impactful.
The previous elements all actually affect the Jury Box, though — be it Judges or Jury Members. So they are important and crucial.
The last box is the one people think of usually before the Jury Box, though.
The Ammo Box
“Ammo” is a more modern construction of this one, which was also called a “cartridge” box, and “bullet’ box as well to drive the point home with even more force.
This, of course, is an allusion to the idea of warfare and violence. Rebellion, Revolution, Civil war, armed conflict of various sorts and means.
It is, especially fo anyone who actually gives a damn about human rights and does so honestly and truthfully, is not merely the last measure, it is the measure of extremity and finality.
Because it starts with the very central premise of denying other people their right to life. That is what killing someone does, if I still need to spell it out.
So we don’t want to do the while Bullet box thing, but the other three are not working or not working well or fast enough for us.
There is another option. One I think more than a few of you will get a kick out of.
This is the last of the five I talk about. The Spy is the rogue of all trades, the mistress of seductive subversion and psychological warfare.
The spy operates *everywhere*. Which means both in the streets, on the soapbox, in the newsrooms, in the ballot and Jury boxes, among the gossips and the criers, the whole kit, kat, and caboodle.
The Spy is the other way. The way that doesn’t follow the rules set forth by the opponent, and undermines them, weakens them, sabotages their efforts.
Spies, however, have to be very, very knowledgeable about a few different things. Not just the politics, or the way the Regime being resisted operates.
They need to know people. There is a reason that the CIA classified the work of a woman who wrote at length about the ways that hackers would pressure and confuse and get people to do things that allowed them access to major sites.
It is part of spy craft.
Subversion is part art form, part science, and a whole lot of being quicker than the people around you. Another way of looking at it is like the work of a con artist — it is an art form built on the sciences and skills of understanding and manipulating people and social systems (which are made up of, you guessed it, people).
In my last post, I mentioned something called a “whisper campaign”. I said “look it up”. thankfully and merrily, some readers did just that and more than a couple wrote me to say “um, hey, Dyss, that’s kinda unethical.”
And it is. In an open society. And when you are not struggling to gain your human rights. And when you are afforded equality and equity.
When you are stuck between a rock and a hard place, though, you get creative, and you use tools that the Master might be able to get his hands on, but that he doesn’t control or own.
Whisper campaigns have been used for longer than the US has been around, but among the most famous of all whisper campaigns is the Thomas Jefferson having kids with his slaves one.
yes, really — John Adams’ followers took a secret truth and spread it through gossips and while it took a few hundred years to pan out as evidence and truth, it was still a great example of the kind of subversion I am talking about.
As opposed to the kind that Goebbels employed, where people would just walk up and say “hey, those people are jews, and they are nasty and dirty and you should kill them” — which is pretty much the same thing white supremacists say. Modern day folks just do it less obviously, using all sorts of “in jokes” and “code phrases” like multiple parentheses on twitter.
This is key — using the truth is absolutely essential. For example, when I say that iDJiT looks tired, I am being honest — looks tired is a subjective concept. He may not look tired to everyone.
The other focus is to keep your eye on the target — you have to have a very specific goal in mind when doing subversion. For example, I tend to work very hard to subvert oppression — in part because I have to just to survive, and in part because, well, I cannot help it — i cannot stop people from making a mistake regarding me, and plenty do.
I use it to my advantage whenever possible — which usually means not letting them get to know me very much.
Good spies will use neurolinguistic programming that relies on social constructs and socialization to manipulate people’s thoughts, opinions, and ideas in a manner that either fools them into thinking something they wouldn’t otherwise, or to get them to do something that they do not realize they are doing.
It is a form of psychological warfare — and a far more subtle and nuanced form than that employed by the Ggaters and White supremacists and Tea Partiers in the rank and file (all of whom have had it done to them by those further up the food chain.
It has not real scientific value, to be honest — it is, effectively, the act of conning people. Really — check it out — NLP of this sort (there are other things called nlp) is basically pseudo-science that relies on aspects of deceptive attention deficit manipulation and psychology.
This psychological subversion is often accomplished through things like whisper campaigns, genuine social engineering (not the conservative blowhard sort about passing laws to make people do something, but the actual literal concept of social engineering, which is the more sceincey name for being a confidence artist.
As opposed to the not so sciencey but better sounding name of “neurolinguistic programming” that if you didn’t loo it up, you wouldn’t know was a bunch of bullshit unless you had already encountered it.
Because I just subverted you — unless, again, you already knew this about NLP.
That is how easy it is. And the best part is that when you let people know you have, they will deny it. its like an absolute given. They will do the opposite of what they should do, but because of their biases, they are more easy to manipulate, even when they know it is coming (it gets me, too — usually when I am hungry and I want a snickers bar. Because for some reason they just sound really good when you are hungry, right?).
good subversion takes something that your given audience accepts as an idea, and then uses that idea against them, in simple terms. It has been used for centuries, though we never really called it that when Columbus came here and used an eclipse to scare the hell out of the pissed off islanders he was taking advantage of.
The point of subversion is not to actually win a fight, though. This is the thing a lot of people do not understand — they think of it as the tool to do that, and it isn’t.
That’s what the other three boxes and the other four tools are — especially the first two in each case.
But well done subversion can turn the tide and make those things far more effective.
Right now, the federal government has thousands of subversives in it — folks who are resisting the push of this interminable damned fool.
We can make a difference through these basic tools.
Unless that’s too subversive for you…