I was involved in several real actions of Autonomous Clubs. Here some concrete steps to achieve successes.
First step. Be concerned about a problem, a decision, an injustice that negatively influences the private life of common citizens. You want to change decisions who make the position of the 99% worse. Most actions have hardly success and hurt the 99%. Lost wages after a strike, damages after a fight with the police, lost money and time after an unsuccessful action etc. It does not comply with the Golden Rule for Actions that damage to the 99% must be minimal and pressure on the 1% ever increasing.
Second step. Find some trusted people who are also concerned about the problem. Leaderless Autonomous Clubs have only one goal: forcing leaders to solve the problem. Members of the Club should not have intensive contacts with each other and not increase suddenly the number of contacts. That can be suspect. The safety of activists is of prime importance.
Third step. Be prepared for long-term actions. In the first months there will be hardly reaction, fun is first success comes later. Imagine how targets experience the rising pressure on their private life. “L’imagination au pouvoir”, “Imagination should rule” was a slogan in the French Revolt of 1968. Think how leading people react on unknown and surprising activities when their private life is invaded. Never expect much. Many people stopped being active after two massive blockades of a Dutch nuclear plant. People who could close the plant lived elsewhere and were not personally disturbed. Activists became disappointed, the goal of the action was too high. Closing a nuclear plant cannot be achieved in a few days by a few thousand people in front of the plant.
Fourth step. Remain anonymous as long as possible to avoid repercussions. Do not brag about the action to other people, it endangers activists and does not give more pressure. It is not necessary that all members of the Club know each other. General meetings should be avoided. For the own safety have an alibi when you carry out an action. Be surprising and creative. Do not use too often the same telephone when calling a target.
Fifth step. Do not offer solutions for the problem, only control, veto and punish faulty leaders. People who took wrong decisions have to decide differently after which we again control, veto and punish. Our demand is that the original decision is changed. We must not become involved in governing by proposing solutions.
Sixth step.Determine which persons have power to change decisions. Too many targets weaken the pressure. Select a bigger group of people as family members, employees, scientists, journalists, owners of clubs, restaurants or hotels the target often frequent etc, who are in some way acquainted with the target or the problem. Inform them about the objectionable deeds of the target. Time and again he may then be asked what is happening. Friends do not want to become disturbed by actions so the target becomes isolated.
Seventh step. Collect private data as telephone numbers, email addresses, signatures, IP-addresses, second houses, most frequented places, their friends, their contacts, their fixed routes along which they travel to their work, secondary jobs, hobbies etc.
Up till now there has not been any action, only the formation of an Autonomous Club, the selection of the targets, the collection of data and the planning of possible actions. No risk for the activists, no pressure on the targets.
Eighth step. After the preparations actions start. Do not plan everything beforehand, remain creative and adapt to changing situations. Time is on our side so actions may even stop for months and then start again. Activists are inspired by the wish to be active and not by a self-imposed compulsion to carry out actions. Start pressure on the private life of decision-takers who violate the freedom and privacy of common citizens. The threat of an action is as important as a real action when the target is convinced that real actions can take place. L’imagination au pouvoir!
Actions should be small and easy to carry out and remain mostly inside the existing laws because of the safety of activists. There are many surprising possibilities. Imagine what a target thinks of a not-burning Molotov-cocktail without any fingerprints at the entrance of his garden. It is hardly punishable. Making contact with one of his friends who is shopping in a mall and explain the faults of the target. It disturbs the target who want to keep quiet about what he does in his work. It is also permitted. In the end threats and real actions dominate his life. Creative and surprising actions increase the uncertainty of the target, what will happen tomorrow, what can I expect next week? Give him the idea that he is everywhere followed by sending him messages telling him where he was in the last few days. Spreading rumours, pamphlets and letters make the wrong decision of the target known to his acquaintances. One of the goals is to isolate him from neighbours and family.
Ninth step.After some months the impact of the actions becomes visible. Targets react. He may send messages around explaining his decisions to his acquaintances or activate media complaining that some thugs are disturbing him. Media do not publish messages from Autonomous Clubs but only from power-bearers.
Once a target offered to discuss the problem with the Autonomous Club. That should never have happened when there had not been actions. The Club refused of course, decision-makers decide, Clubs only control, veto and punish. Autonomous Clubs do not negotiate, they refuse to govern.
The greatest success is when decisions are changed. That should never happen when activists only begged or asked for change, when only arguments were forwarded. Begging or asking is only rewarded when decision-takers know that askers have the power to pressure him.
Joost van Steenis