By Brandon Smith and originally published at alt-market.com
My work and my thoughts lately have turned toward a now constant focus on the concepts of organization, more in respect to underlying philosophy rather than hard, fast rules and structures. If you are one of the slithering acolytes of political theory elitist Saul Alinsky (and you haven’t felt the inclination to jump face first into the nearest punji pit), then the primary tool of organization for you is to lie, and to lie often. Tricking people into action using false premises, telling people what they want to hear rather than opening their eyes to reality, is perhaps the easiest way to build a movement. Of course, that movement will eventually destroy itself as the lies begin to inhibit progress rather than inspire it. But in most cases, by the time the organization self-destructs it has already been exploited for the nefarious purpose it was intended.
For the liberty movement, the movement against globalization and forced centralization of financial and political power, lies are simply not an option. The internationalists have already cornered the market on lies, so we must take a completely contrary approach. We must organize around the truth, no matter how painful it happens to be. This is a much more difficult prospect, one many people don’t understand or appreciate.
There are a lot of complaints in the movement about the lack of what they consider effective organization, and the frustration is in some ways beginning to evolve into fear. Here are some core inconsistencies I believe are at the heart of organizational problems within the liberty movement and what we can do to solve them.
Re-examining Our Concept Of Real Organization
For multiple generations, Americans and most of the rest of the world have been conditioned to believe that organization is a top-down affair that requires a central leadership that hands orders across the ranks of a rigid structure. The people within the structure operate as parts of a greater machine, and the success of the machine is (supposedly) directly related to how close the smaller parts (people) work together and follow those orders. Unfortunately, many activists in the liberty movement also assume that this is what an organization is and how it works.
Surely, there is a need for people with a talent to inspire others to thought and to action. But these men and women are nothing unless they can motivate individuals to eventually take their own initiative without orders. A true leader is a teacher — nothing more. And if he really cares about the future prosperity of the people he is teaching, that teacher’s objective will be for his students to exceed his own capabilities and to become independent in their accomplishments.
For a movement driven by a desire for the preservation of freedom and sovereignty, organization requires structure, but not rigidity or centralized leadership. The collectivist model of the human machine or hive is a flawed model that oppresses individual contributions that could be revolutionary. The corporate model, for instance, is a perfect example of an organization built mostly on lies (just look at the inconsistencies of real debts versus real profits for most major companies) and that fuels itself on the integration of people as replaceable gears and bolts on a rusted, shuddering Ferris wheel ride. Corporations might appear to make money, but they never meet their ultimate potential as organizations because most of the people within them could not care less about the purpose or even health of the system as long as they continue to draw a paycheck. When an organization merely limps along on the thin thread of the survival principle, this is the opposite of success.
The liberty movement has to abandon outmoded and ill-conceived notions of mainstream organizational models and take more stock in decentralized activity. A lack of an arbitrarily designated pecking order or the pyramid scheme of top-down branching management is a goodthing for our cause, not a disadvantage.
Legitimate Structure And Purpose
Just because a movement is decentralized does not mean it should lack a foundation, and that foundation should be composed of a primary purpose and a primary plan of action. This is where some liberty activists seem to become most nihilistic in their thinking.
They have been looking for top-down leadership, which doesn’t exist and shouldn’t exist. They have been looking for a set plan of attack, which no one can seem to agree on. And they moan relentlessly about what they see as the lack of a singular, universal vision of what the ultimate goal should be. I have heard the argument more than once that the liberty movement will fail because victory would require us to all agree on one ideological vision and a rather singular strategy. What they don’t appear to realize is that a vision and strategy already exist that most of us agree on.
Again, our society has been conditioned to see through only a very narrow window of what constitutes organization that demands we adhere to the top-down philosophy. However, most liberty activists already agree on the bottom-up goal of self-reliance and self-sufficiency in all things, from food and water to education, security and governance.
There will be no mass majority movement on Washington in a “V for Vendetta”-style march led by some heroic masked man. And even if there were, it would accomplish nothing unless the top of the globalist pyramid was toppled (Occupy Wall Street is a good example of how such theatrics fail). This goal of a mass awakening is a common fantasy and an impractical one; but self-sufficiency, mutual aid and mutual defense are realistic efforts, given the likely short amount of time we have left. The universal vision is right in front of our faces and always has been: to break away from the corrupt mainstream system, to remove our dependency, to provide our own necessities and, thus, to remove our consent.
Every liberty proponent in America should be able to pursue this goal without prompting from any centralized leadership, and it encompasses every aspect of the fight against tyranny. Make your family self-sufficient and secure without aid of government. Make your neighborhood self-sufficient and secure. Make your town or county self-sufficient and secure. If the elites try to stop you, fight back and from a position on the moral high ground. If enough communities defend themselves the prospect of martial law or totalitarian control becomes systemically impossible, politically and strategically. I rarely run into liberty advocates who disagree with this plan, yet they do nothing and refuse to even make the attempt because they are still waiting around for someone to give them a plan. Stop waiting around for the next Gandhi or George Washington and do what you already know needs to be done. It is truly as simple as that.
Changing Our Idea Of Leadership
As stated earlier, you do not need a man on a white horse to ride in and save you from the terrifying idea of self-responsibility. If you are waiting for someone to come down off the mountain with magical stone tablets and lead you to the promised land, you are going to find yourself rather disappointed. Despite popular belief, men do not organize other men; only ideas given focus organize men. Men rally around that which they love or that which they hate. Leadership is often incidental, or sadly, manipulative.
So, by extension, we can conclude that to develop a strong organization, the ideal must be honest and honorable, the plan must be decentralized and natural for individuals to implement, and those who coordinate the organizational efforts must do so with the realization that they are stewards of the principles of that movement and that those principles are more important than their glory. If activists plan to become followers of anything, it should be solid principles. Leaders are secondary.
In my time in the movement, I have seen relatively good men with sound ideals exhibit insane behavior and absurd motives when exposed to a mere 15 minutes of fame. Ego is truly the greatest Achilles’ heel of any activist organization. This is a fact that corrupt governments are highly aware of.
If you look into the history of the FBI’s subversive Cointelpro efforts from the 1950s onward, you will find a common tactic used to dismantle anti-establishment groups, which is to sow discord among organizers and coordinators by feeding egos and turning them against each other. Like the ring of power in the “Lord of The Rings” books, the desire for leadership can blind people to the greater cause. They develop delusions of grandeur, thinking they are the next guru, the next prophet, the next man to lead the charge to permanent historical stardom. Each person believes that if only he had the ring, if only he were the leader, he could resist the temptations of power and achieve what others could not. And so he refuses to work with others or to share the stage, or he even attempts to subvert or co-opt the legitimate accomplishments of more capable men.
The only solution is to cast off the ring forever, to care nothing for the supposed glories of leadership and to work only for the betterment of others.
I have also seen people within the movement fall victim to the admiration of their own fan base. Positive feedback from readers is certainly helpful, but I would be writing everything I write now even if every email I received were laced with vitriol (sometimes they are). The truth does not require fans; it functions fine without them. Liberty champions do, on occasion, receive letters of adoration — from being compared to Thomas Paine all the way to being labeled the next Jesus (the former being flattering and the latter being just plain weird). The problem is not public appreciation; it is the cult of celebrity that many Americans have grown too attached to, as well as the fact that some activists in more public positions have a hard time handling positive attention without their heads expanding 10 sizes too big.
The fact is I don’t matter, liberty leaders and personalities don’t matter, the limelight doesn’t matter, and the level of our fan base doesn’t matter. All that matters is how effectively and efficiently we can get the facts to the public. Organization suffers when the cult of celebrity takes over, whether in the minds of activists or in the minds of the people who represent them in the media.
Fear Of Risk Leads To Inaction
In my work with groups such as Oath Keepers and its Community Preparedness Team program, I have taken what some might consider sizable risks, and I have witnessed others who have gone even further. And in this risk I have seen the kinds of progress in organization I have never seen anywhere else. Without risk, there can be no organization against tyranny and, thus, no chance of success. If you are afraid to be put on the naughty list in the National Security Agency database, if you are afraid you might lose your job, if you are afraid you might be labeled an “extremist” or if you are afraid of uneducated public perception and this has prevented you from building mutual aid and defense groups where you live, then you have already lost everything. Fear leads to inaction, and inaction is death.
I have even witnessed members of organizations attempt to prevent others from taking positive measures like training for community defense because they are so fearful of what might happen due to their affiliation they will actually work against the better goals of the people around them. All I can say is that fear-driven people have to be removed from organizational environments, or they will poison the waters until the entire venture flatlines. Risk is inevitable. It is unavoidable. All anti-establishment, anti-tyranny movements depend on it. The more people willing to take risks, the more effectively “safe” that risk becomes. This includes the fear of defense and the fear of losing one’s life in the process. Every scenario, even the worst-case scenario, has to be considered and then set aside as irrelevant. Fear has no place in the minds or actions of liberty champions. Remove fear, and world-changing organization becomes possible.