Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tools of a Resistance Mindset

The recent riots in Greece have produced some very interesting tidbits of information for those of us attempting to increase a resistance mindset.

Reports on the riot perpetrators are swinging a bit. As you're probably aware the initial catalyst for the riots was the shooting death of a 15 year old man by Police. I've read that the continuation of riots over the last eight days were by Anarchists, Communists, Leftists protesting a corrupt and thinly held right-wing majority government, etc. Most articles seemed to agree that youth are mainly responsible for the rioting.

So far, the Police have held up to the normal projectiles, rocks, trash cans, etc. The rioters have added molotov cocktails to that mix though. I saw one photo of an Officer engulfed in flames. To their credit, the Police have held their fire, which is generally believed to have been responsible for the rioting not increasing exponentially.

One tactic some rioters have turned to is pictured above. They are using lasers to dazzle the eyes of the Police. I find this to be an interesting idea. On the one hand, it is non-lethal in and of itself, though it should be noted that if the laser is of a certain intensity, it can permanently damage the retina. On the other hand, it is likely far better than, say, more lethal objects such as molotov cocktails.

I do wonder at the effectiveness though. In a tight beam such as pictured above, one can only affect one opposing force member at a time. Maybe two or three if you're playing it back and forth accurately. You'd have to have a lot of lasers distributed to the crowd to affect enough of the opposing force to make a difference. On the other hand, it may be possible to rig a vibrating mirror to rapidly play the beam over a wider area - allowing for a generally disconcerting bright flashing that would cause disorientation to a larger group of people.

What this ultimately proves to me is that I need to shift my mindset. There are likely many common tools and devices that we have in our daily lives that could potentially be used to cause uncomfortable but ultimately non-damaging/lethal effects on an opposing group of people.

Too often, when playing out what-if scenarios, the mind turns immediately to lethal implements. However, what the Greek protesters are teaching us here is that there is more than one way to skin a cat so to speak. Disruption can take many forms. Force multiplication relies on a tactic being cheap, easy, and effective.

Remember, the idea of an action such as this is not to create a situation in which the general public thinks you barbarous. Instead, you need to tailor your disruption in such a way as to affect mainly (or preferably only) the representatives of an oppressive force, and in a way that is seen as ultimately non-harmful. It's easy for for the media to show you burning people with molotov cocktails in a highly negative light - but if all they can do is show your group resisting with lasers and an occasional rain of rocks, it may be far easier to keep the public on your side.

As an example of tailoring your public image, look at the image of the Policeman on fire vs. the image of the laser above. Both images are from the Greek Rioting, but they evoke different emotions in a reader. The laser is "cool", the image is still very eye catching, and likely to end up in the media with a story about the protest. This image gets into the papers and sparks the public's interest. The fire is bad - it too gets into the public consciousness but generates thoughts that are not beneficial to your side.

By all means, respond with appropriate force to counter the other side's actions. However, let the other side escalate to the next level of the force continuum first, don't allow your side to cause the escalation in a way where retaliation can be reasoned away.

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"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." – Thomas Jefferson