Sabotage: Why, When, How By Michael Albert July 28, 2022 Change text size: [ A+ ] / [ A- ] Email this page Posted in: Activism, Vision/Strategy | No comments Please Help ZNet Law and Justice is vastly better than Law and Order. More specifically, law to have orderly just relations is vastly better than law to have orderly obedient relations. Agenda: replace orderly subordination to dominant overlords with orderly self managed justice. Look around. We have the will of overlords. They profit we hunger. They order we obey. They impose we repose. They extract we melt. They soar we sink. They are few. We are very very many. What a travesty. What an abomination. So how do we get law and justice, not law and order? Arguing merits? They deny our arguments. They control the megaphones. In neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, hospitals, legislatures, and courts. Everywhere. So, to get justice we have to struggle. But what means struggle? It means utilize our minds, bodies, and whatever tools we can muster to force compliance from wardens, judges, lawyers, legislators, presidents, priests, rabbis, managers, owners, parents, and even inner demons. Sometimes struggle is personal or local. Other times struggle is national or even international. Sometimes the difference between self managed justice and obedient order is significant but less than all consuming. Other times the difference between self managed justice and obedient order is life and death for you, or for a few, or for many, or even, as now, for everyone. No one lives beyond the climbing temperatures and rising waters. To not struggle is to reserve a place in society’s suicidal mass grave. Okay, so we must win. But what constitutes win? Raise sufficient costs to force the overlords to accept just outcomes. And what raises cost for them? Activism that says to the small town mayor, or the business owner, or the state government, or some privileged minority, or the political state, or the entire ruling class, whichever the case may be, if you don’t pull the lever to deliver what we demand, we will grow in number and in militance until you are more afraid of our continued growth than you are afraid of meeting our demands. Then you will succumb. The first rule of struggle, sad as it is to admit: We cannot rationally, emotively, patiently convince the overlords. We must rationally, emotively, and patiently address one another. But with overlords, civility gets nowhere. With overlords, we must apply pressure. And what means apply pressure? It means writing, speaking, and personally talking to each other to congregate, march, boycott, block, strike, occupy, and otherwise manifest demands until victory and beyond. Sabotage. I can feel it coming. You can feel it coming. Literally. Plan to explode pipelines. Plan to block the waterways their oil ships travel. Plan to impede access, shut offices, barricade buildings, and destroy property. Disrupt business or government as usual. When will sabotage make sense? When won’t it? Sabotage has to be morally/socially warranted. The stakes must be high enough. The predictable consequences for the consciousness and commitment of those involved and for the consciousness and mobilization of those who witness or hear about sabotage, must aid and not hinder movement growth. Sabotage, in whatever form it is proposed, must positively increase the numbers and commitment of resistance more than it will increase repression and repression’s impact. To sabotage or not? The choice clearly depends on proximate as well as wider circumstances. Sabotage is contextual. Sabotage is contingent. And yet, perhaps we can make a few nearly universal observations. Consider an act of sabotage undertaken by an individual or a small group with no broader participation. Something is blocked, disrupted, hammered, broken, demolished, burned, whatever. The participants do it and they either walk away or get rounded up. The subsequent discussion is overwhelmingly the work of mainstream media operatives. What are the odds those who were involved and those who viewed it will be uplifted, emboldened, and empowered to act again and again? What are the odds that, instead, the event goes unnoticed, or worse, is portrayed in a way that makes the overall impact on outreach and commitment negative? For that matter, what is the cost to the overlords? Do they lose something that matters, or are they aided in cleanup, commiserated with, and perhaps even strengthened? Now consider the same act of sabotage, even undertaken by the same individual or small group, but with broader involvement and organization beyond the main actors. There is a period of pre- and post-act discussion and education. The purposes and aims are made clear. There are hundreds or better thousands on hand and still more assembled in many other places, simultaneously, supporting the act. Future plans are expressed. After massive advance work, something is blocked, disrupted, hammered, broken, demolished, whatever. The participants do it and either walk away or get rounded up. The subsequent discussion is partially the work of mainstream media operatives but largely continues the advance work of alternative and social media, and even undertakes active interventions in mainstream media, all pre-planned so as to be ready and able. What are the odds those who were involved and those who viewed it will be uplifted, emboldened, empowered, to act again and again? What are the odds that the event is portrayed in a way that galvanizes and inspires others? For that matter, what is the cost to the overlords? Do they lose something that matters, suffer popular ridicule and indignity, and become weakened? My point is simple. As the murder of wider and wider swaths of humanity begins to unfold, people of generous, caring, and courageous will are going to get steadily more angry and steadily more militant. Sabotage is going to occur. Even with all the good will in the world, if sabotage becomes an alternative to sustained outreach, if sabotage becomes a substitute for grass roots organizing, if sabotage becomes an obstacle to mass mobilization, if sabotage becomes a barrier to organization building, then sabotage will do more harm, even massively more harm than good. But if sabotage is strategically combined with and even understands and orients itself to be a means of propelling outreach, grass roots organizing, mass mobilization, and organization building, then sabotage will do massively more good than harm.