"A 35-Point Practical Guide for Action"
a multi-modal, interactive intelligence and communications site. It is designed to be a practical strategic resource. The name is not meant to call up visions of gun nuts in the back alleys. We like a bit of irony. The US government has for many years designed its domestic population control programs based on a military doctrine called counter-insurgency. The “insurgents” are now pretty much anyone who disagrees with the dominant consensus and does even a little bit more than talk about it… like the Quakers that the government “infiltrated” a couple of years ago.
CD stepping in and correcting this post so that you may read some of it here. Ahem, Bruce. [thanks mom]
Insurgent American’s 35-Point Practical Guide for Action
(1) Make food. Even if its a windowsill or roof garden with a couple of tomato plants. Make a yard garden. Grow your own food, just a bit. You can expand on this later. Check out Food Not Lawns for inspiration. Start small, and don’t over stretch yourself. Succeeding early is important.
(2) Take “one more step” to oppose militarism. If you are not sporting a button or bumper sticker against the war, then start doing that. if you’re doing that, but not writing — Congress, letters to the editor, op-eds, email lists — then start writing. If you’re doing that, then give money to an antiwar effort. If you’re doing that, then start to attend local meetings. You get the idea. Take just one more step. Stopping this war will have unimaginably good ripple effects and empower all people’s movements everywhere. More ideas and up-to-date info at Bring Them Home Now!
(3) Create a blog. Blogs can be a lot more than vanity sites. They are a form of democratic communication that allow us all to be simultaneous teachers and learners, and they increase the density and survival redundancy of our communications networks. They are communications infrastructure. More blogs, more links, more sharing, more community, better coordination. Basic Blogging for Women is very helpful, for everyone, and we can also open a discussion thread here at the IA forums.
(4) Commit to study. One of the most common — and in our opinion, flawed — complaints we hear among activists and frustrated, impatient political junkies, is that there is too much writing and discussion and not enough action. Here’s what we have to say about that. Nonsense! Human agency is not simply in outwardly messing around with one’s environment. It is being a conscious agent of change. If we are walking around blindfolded, we are taking action; but if we want that action to be efficacious, then we need to see, figuratively speaking. Studying is a critical form of action. Commit to study something new, and expand your understanding of a topic or issue every chance you get. The criticality of this is the reason we include our Analysis-Synthesis section here at IA. New situations require new actions, which require new forms of understanding.
(5) Surf the Web Anonymously
Its a good idea to put a layer of protection between you and the world online. One way to-do this is by creating a free email account and not associating your own name with it. Create a online handle and use that instead of your real name. Another way is by using a Proxy Server to anonymise your web surfing. Torpark is a free Windows application that can help you do this. For more information about surfing the web anonymously check out Tor from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Remember Nothing on the web is completly anonymous. If someone has the resources they can find out anthing they want. We can make it a lot harder for them though.
(6) Learn to fix something new. Divesting of our dependency means becoming better McGivers. We have to learn how stuff works, and how to tinker with it. Our dependency rest in large part on the idea that every tiny task is subdivided our to an expert, who we pay to do it for us. That means we have to have money, and we know where that goes. Our own experience is that learning to tinker with one thing gives us insights on how to tinker with a lot of things. Learn something new on a schedule. Commit to learn how to fix something new every month, every six months, no matter. Whatever works for you. How to change the rings in a leaky faucet. How to change a tire. How to caulk a bathtub. How to built a live trap for rabbits or a bird house. Anything. The Bob Vila site has all sorts of good advice on this.
(7) Start an email list. This can be a simple one-way list to which you send out things; or it can be a listserv, that functions as a discussion group. FIRST LAW… make your first message one that asks everyone if it’s okay, and says how often you will post. People hate spam. Get their permission, and if they ask to be removed, do so without hesitation of complaint. Use blind courtesy copy (BCC) to put people’s email addresses in, so their addresses aren’t shared with the world. Once established, lists are a very important way to develop corporate media bypasses. Caution: Avoid sharing whole articles on lists… just teasers that suggest what the piece is about, followed with a link. Library Support Staff has a good site on this.
(8) Join a local organizing effort. Working with people from your same geographic area is the absolute most effective and sustainable way to do social change action. Not only does the geographic proximity make meeting more do-able, people build actual friendships that way, and organizations that are bound by real friendship are both durable and cohesive. If you live in a metro area, look in the “community calendar” sections of your free entertainment weekly. One can also use the internet to find groups working nearby. Don’t use the term “progressive” in your search parameters, however. It’s in a lot of corporate names, and the meaning of that term is very loose. Name the issue that keeps you engaged. A good handbook for local organizing is Organizing for Social Change, with lots of basic how-to advice and useful copy-able forms.
(9) Plan your way out of debt. This might seem selfish as a “thing to do,” but people who are deeply in debt are enslaved. They cannot do anything except seek money to keep up with debts. Before we can assist the liberation of others, we first need to liberate ourselves. Beware. There are many debt consolidation schemes and self-serving self-help gurus out there who just want to own your debt. When the economic swan dive happens, it comes as inflation followed by deflation and joblessness. Priority of effort in debt liquidation is to pay off living space. But to get there, the first thing that has to go is credit cards… which are part of a vast criminal enterprise. A very useful guide to getting out of debt — even if it is self-help (some are put off by that) — is Carolyn White’s Debt No More.
(10) Contribute to the nearest Environmental Justice effort. Environmental Justice is a term referring to people-of-color-led fights against the targeting of poor communities as a dumping ground for the toxic effluvia of industrialism. It is the most vital and strategic anti-imperial struggle going on inside the United States. Just as the world system is comprised of an imperial core with exploitable peripheries, some of those peripheral colonies exist inside the US. Because of the structural inequalities of this core-periphery dynamic, people-of-color-led organizations like this will never have access to the same resources as white-led, or predominantly white-membership organizations. If you can’t give them volunteer time and support, send them money. A National Directory of EJ outfits is online.