A thousand pinpricks: The surprise effect in resistance

A thousand pinpricks: The surprise effect in resistance

When David fights Goliath, resistance needs to be well planned. The stone that hit the giant between the eyes was an effective tool because David knew his weaknesses. If he had been a hot-headed man, he would have struck at his opponent's feet - with certainly different results.
What are our weaknesses in resistance that we can compensate for in order to become more effective? This is outlined below with three examples.
a) We try to beat the opponent only by legal means
During the Corona crisis, numerous resistance networks tried to fight the massive encroachments on fundamental rights through the legal process. The constitutional courts in many European states were seized with applications and complaints, the vast majority were rejected (often with flimsy formal arguments). One of the rare exceptions is the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in the case Communaute genevoise d'action syndicale (CGAS) v. Switzerland (application no. 21881/20) [1]. The ECtHR found that general anti-COVID measures prohibiting public events for an extended period of time violated Article 11 of the Convention (freedom of assembly and association). A drop in the ocean, because many who have so far believed in the rule of law had to realise that they cannot expect (effective) legal protection.
As far as climate protection is concerned, escalation strategies are becoming increasingly acceptable. Swedish author Andreas Malm, in his book "How to Blow Up a Pipeline. Learning to Fight in a World on Fire", believes that in addition to purely non-violent wings in resistance, there is also a need for those who use tactics such as sabotage. What applies to the climate should also apply to the protection of fundamental rights, in the case of massive violations of fundamental rights by states. The protection of fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in European legal systems essentially grants rights of defence and claims to protection directed against or at the state, but not rights of attack in the sense of rights of self-defence, state of emergency or emergency assistance. This is a consequence of the state's monopoly on the use of force in constitutional states.

b) We let ourselves be steered by the opponent
In the resistance against the Corona measures, people are often involved who have not yet been able or willing to gain much political experience. Especially medical doctors and lawyers tend to expose the mistakes of the opponent and put them right. That corresponds to their school of thought. Politically, however, it is a pitfall to sink one's teeth into one's opponent's mistakes and think about how one could do better. Because politicians, the media, the pharmaceutical and medical lobbies are politically experienced and trained, they know exactly about this weakness of the opposition. So they "feed" the resistance with small morsels at regular intervals, knowing that the resistance will bite into them. Particularly popular, in my observation, are "announcements" by politicians that are circulated through the media: " Covid-19 in Belgium: Frank Vandenbroucke advocates keeping masks at doctors' and pharmacies' " Covid: Bill Gates says vaccination doses are needed every six months after age 50' " Covid: $3 billion to boost fight against pandemic' .
What the enemy does not count on is active counter-attacks, which they have to deal with themselves. The state of Ecuador recently personally delivered a sovereign manifesto to WHO headquarters in Geneva. It was announced that the Ecuadorian people will not tolerate, under any circumstances, including pandemic circumstances, that the sovereignty of their homeland be undermined by an international organisation [2].

c) We turn against each other instead of against the common enemy
In several European countries, resistance has formed politically in the wake of the Corona crisis to reform the systems from within. In Slovenia, a total of six such extra-parliamentary parties contested the parliamentary elections in April, none of which made it into parliament. As an electoral alliance they would have had 15 mandates, making them the third largest party. However, this convergence was not possible despite intensive efforts.
In Germany, the grassroots democratic party Basisdemokratische Partei Deutschland was founded in the context of the protests against Corona measures. It contested the 2021 federal election as well as several state elections this year and last year, but failed to enter parliament in each case. The German grassroots, according to an insider, is characterised by permanent wrangling and squabbling over the emperor's beard.
The politically trained opponent also keeps a close eye on this: as soon as a resistance movement has a certain size and importance, offers of purchase and bribes follow in order to further the split.

Or should we not simply strike out?
Whoever is involved in resistance knows the point at which one would like to let one's fists speak. Why waste valuable time with pointless discussions? Why study your opponent and yourself, know his strategies and tactics? Why not create clear conditions right away, where necessary by force?
The Germanic tribes were technically and numerically inferior to the Romans in the Teutoburg Forest. But unlike them, today we cannot even name our adversary concretely; he confronts us in an abstract form, as a diffuse network of politics, corporations, lobbyists, media. Our opponent is a many-headed hydra that grows heads "in real time" that we haven't even cut off yet.
So where exactly should we attack? The storming of the Bastille was, after all, locally containable. And who would fight alongside us? The people? The people that British historian Ian Morris, in his extraordinary book "Why the West Rules - For Now", describes as cowardly, lazy and greedy? The people who, when in doubt, look to the rulers rather than against them? And what would be the backlash?
"This attack, this siege, was criminal behaviour, pure and simple, and it is behaviour that we, the FBI, consider domestic terrorism." [3] With these words, Christopher Wray, Director of the FBI commented to the Judiciary Committee in March 2021 on how, in his view, all those people who had participated in the "storming of the Capitol" in January of that year should be classified. The FBI, together with the Washington Metropolitan Police, also pulled out all the stops: after public appeals (and promised rewards), some 140,000 files of evidence were received, much of it as a result of a successful hacking attack on the social network Parler. GPS data from mobile phones were analysed and linked as well as hacked voice messages, videos or photos. The result: several hundred charges and concrete prosecution of people the FBI called "mobs".

A thousand pinpricks weaken the opponent
And yet opportunities present themselves to us, because what the opponent does not reckon with are countless attacks of resistance - incessantly and on different levels. Attacks whose frequency and randomness are so unpredictable that they increasingly block the opponent's forces. This is an asymmetric war, the resistance must destabilise and communicate with each other, it has very limited means and must rely on the element of surprise.
  • Let's make this resistance visible, let's take to the streets, let's show how many we are! That makes the politicians nervous!
  • Let's refuse to obey by stopping work, that also unsettles the business lobby. Let's remember Genoa or the truck strikes ! Let's learn from the Chinese strategy by legally delaying production and delivery!
  • Let's form networks and protective communities, let's ensure resilient systems in the area of basic services, energy, data protection!
  • And let's leave the borders behind, look around in other countries, you will be amazed how much resistance there is. Look for allies, forge alliances, if you speak a foreign language, use it!
The great advantage in today's resistance is its antifragility, as Nassim Nicholas Taleb calls it: "The antifragile is positively disposed to randomness and uncertainty, and that includes, crucially, a preference for a certain kind of error." The resistance that is forming today is heterogeneous, it has many faces, crosses borders, is not completely predictable for the adversary.
Artificial intelligence and its powerful users - be it in simulation games, be it in command and control - can be beaten by creative, sometimes irrational decisions and actions.
The art of resisting an overpowering opponent and his deployed, seemingly insurmountable forces consists, among other things, in redirecting them in such a way that they have an effect back on the opponent himself. The monopolised violence in all its manifestations, abusively used by the state against the citizen, must be redirected against the citizen himself.

This analysis was first published in: Le Courrier des Stratèges on May 30th, 2022