An Imaginative Epic
or Novel of Ideas, New Novel
or Fictive Essay
inspired in part by
popular will and liberatory tendencies
The U.S. Military Counterinsurgency Manual, December 2006
Also see: Declaration of Emancipation
FIELD GUIDE TO REVOLUTION
For Public Release – Distribution Unlimited
COUNCIL IN THE AMERICAS FOR LIBERATORY REVOLUTION
This field guide for liberation is designed to fill a revolutionary gap. It has been too long since the Americas have had at hand a sweeping manual for liberation. With the people fighting corporate and state governments and other counterrevolutionary (CORE) entities and forces throughout the hemisphere, and world, it is essential that we, the peoples of the Americas, conceive and distribute a handbook that provides principles and guidelines for liberatory revolution (LIBREV) throughout the Americas, and beyond. Such guidance must be grounded in historical studies. However, it also must be informed by contemporary experiences. And imaginative work.
This manual takes a general approach to liberation and revolution, in describing LIBREV operations against the mendacious and malicious entities that are counterrevolutionary, or CORE, forces. The people recognize that every struggle for liberty is contextual and presents its own set of challenges. We cannot fight current corporate and state tyranny, whether of neoliberal, neoconservative, or other tendencies, the exact way we fought Nazis, Stalinists, corporate-state and other CORE forces of the past. The application of principles and fundamentals to deal with any of these inevitably varies. Nonetheless, all mendacious entities, all CORE forces, even today’s highly adaptable corporate-state strains, remain essentially wars against the people. They use variations of standard themes and adhere to elements of a recognizable reactionary or oppressive status quo campaign plan, tending to utter despotism.
This manual therefore addresses the common characteristics of these mendacious entities, these counterrevolutionary forces. It strives to provide those conducting LIBREV campaigns with a solid foundation for understanding and addressing specific counterrevolutionary forces. A liberatory revolutionary campaign is, as described in this manual, a mix of offensive, defensive, and stability operations conducted along multiple lines of operations. It requires revolutionaries to employ a mix of familiar actions and skills often associated with effective popular liberatory movements and with genuinely free, just, and equitable societies wherever they have appeared in some part.
The balance between the people and their actions depends on the local situation. Achieving this balance is not easy. It requires revolutionaries in every role to adjust their approach constantly. They must ensure that they are ready to be greeted with either a handshake or an aggressive outburst while taking on actions only infrequently practiced until recently at our action training centers. We revolutionaries are expected to be community builders as well as challengers to power. We must be prepared to help establish democracy institutions and popular local community centers and assist in building all types of community controlled infrastructure and basic or advanced services. We must be able to facilitate establishing local syndicates of free association and popular will. The list of such tasks is long; performing them involves extensive coordination and cooperation with many local, national, and international agencies. Indeed, the responsibilities of leaders in a LIBREV campaign are daunting; however, the discussions in this manual alert leaders to the challenges of such campaigns and suggest general approaches for grappling with those challenges.
Conducting a successful LIBREV campaign requires a flexible, adaptive force led by agile, well-informed, culturally astute leaders. It is our hope that this manual provides the guidelines needed to succeed in operations that are exceedingly difficult and complex. Nothing less than the well-being and prosperity, and even the survival, of ourselves and all humanity is at stake.
This field guide to liberatory revolution presents ideas and principles for liberatory operations in all environments. It is based on lessons learned from previous liberatory revolutions and contemporary actions. It is also based on contingent and evolving ideas.
Liberatory revolutionary (LIBREV) actions generally have been relatively neglected in broad American political thought and intercontinental security and prosperity policies throughout history. This manual is designed to reverse that trend. It is also designed to merge traditional approaches to LIBREV with the realities of a new international arena shaped by technological advances, “globalization,” and the spread of corporate-state and other extremist ideologies, most all of which are advanced as if they are religions, or are like religions, of faith.
The manual begins with a description of revolutions and counterrevolutions. The first chapter includes a set of principles and imperatives necessary for successful liberatory revolutions. Chapter 2 discusses various organizations commonly involved in LIBREV operations and principles for integrating social and political actions. Chapter 3 addresses aspects of intelligence specific to LIBREV operations. The next two chapters discuss the design and activity of those operations. Developing local action forces, an essential aspect of successful LIBREV operations, is the subject of chapter 6. Leadership and ethical concerns get special attention in chapter 7. Chapter 8, which concerns sustainment of LIBREV operations, concludes the basic manual. The appendixes contain useful supplemental information. Appendix A discusses factors to consider during the planning, preparation, action, and assessment of a LIBREV operation. Appendixes B and C contain supplemental intelligence information. Appendix D addresses legal issues. Appendix E describes the role of additional power.
Liberatory revolution is broad in scope and involves principles, tactics, techniques, and procedures applicable worldwide. Thus, this publication is not focused on any region or country and is not intended to be a standalone reference. Users should assess information from other sources to help them decide how to apply the information and ideas in this publication to the specific circumstances facing them.
The primary audience for this manual is anyone willing to take an active role in liberatory revolution. This manual applies to people the world over.
This publication contains material inspired in part by popular will and liberatory tendencies and additionally some material found in the public document that is the U.S. Military Counterinsurgency Manual, December 2006.
Corporate-state and other non-democracy forces possess overwhelming conventional power. This capability has pushed liberatory revolutionary forces to fight counterrevolutionary (CORE) forces unconventionally, mixing modern technology with ancient techniques of liberatory revolution. Most LIBREV groups and organizations either do not try to defeat CORE groups and organizations with conventional operations or do not limit themselves to purely conventional means. They know that they cannot well compete with CORE forces on solely those terms. Instead, they try to exhaust CORE will and resources, aiming to win by building and sustaining public support and independent revolutionary public capacity. Defeating CORE forces presents a huge challenge to LIBREV groups and individuals. Meeting it requires creative efforts by every revolutionary.
Throughout history, LIBREV forces have had to relearn the principles of liberatory revolution while conducting operations against adaptive CORE forces. It is time to foster LIBREV knowledge of this longstanding effort. This publication’s purpose is to help prepare LIBREV individuals and groups to conduct LIBREV operations anywhere in the world. It provides a foundation for study before actions in any theater. Perhaps more importantly, it provides techniques for generating and incorporating lessons learned during those operations – an essential requirement for success against today’s adaptive CORE foes. Using these techniques and processes can make LIBREV forces more agile, more adaptive, and more powerful than CORE forces. Knowledge of the history and principles of liberatory revolution and counterrevolution provides a solid foundation that informed revolutionaries can use to assess counterrevolution. This knowledge can also help them make appropriate decisions on employing all instruments of LIBREV power against these oppressors.
All counterrevolutions are different; however, broad historical trends underlie the factors motivating counterrevolutionaries. Most counterrevolutions follow a similar course of oppression. The tactics used to successfully defeat them are likewise similar in most cases. Similarly, history shows that some tactics that are usually successful against regular people may fail against counterrevolutionaries.
One feature of counterrevolutionaries is that these oppressors sometimes take awhile to recognize that a liberatory revolution is occurring. LIBREV forces may take advantage of that time to build strength and gather support.
Thus, LIBREV forces may have an initial advantage, when in conflict with CORE forces. Another feature is that forces conducting CORE operations sometimes begin ineptly. CORE forces sometimes neglect the study of liberatory revolution. They falsely believe that progressive popular movements striving for major improvements in the conditions of life are automatically weak, disorganized, vulnerable.
In fact, some capabilities required for CORE oppression – for example, the ability to massively deceive via the corporate media and major cultural, social, and political institutions – may be of limited utility or even counterproductive in CORE operations, since regular people can see through a lot of falsehoods, especially ones that do not jibe with their actual conditions of life. Nonetheless, conventional forces waging CORE operations often try to use these capabilities to defeat insurgents; and often fail, ultimately, in whole or in part.
The CORE forces that are successfully overcome by liberatory revolutions are those that lose their institutional capacity to affect revolutionaries and a revolutionized populace. LIBREV forces practice and apply their knowledge of expanding free and equitable, just and compelling conditions of life. This publication can help to compress the learning curve. It is a tool for planners and trainers, organizers and all active revolutionaries. Using it can help revolutionaries begin the learning process and build upon a large knowledge base. Learning done before first action results in fewer mistakes and less wasted time and resources, and greater chance and scope of achievement.
PAST LESSONS IN ACTION
In LIBREV, the side that learns faster and adapts more rapidly – the better learning organization – often succeeds. Liberatory revolutions have been called learning competitions. Thus, this publication identifies “Learn and
Adapt” as a modern LIBREV imperative. However, revolutionaries cannot wait until they first act to prepare. Learning to conduct complex LIBREV work begins with study beforehand. This publication is a good place to start. The annotated bibliography lists a number of other sources; however, these are only a sample of the vast amount of available information on this subject.
Adapting occurs as revolutionaries apply what they have learned through study and experience, assess the results of their actions, and continue to learn during operations.
Revolutionaries pay attention to the rapidly changing situations that characterize LIBREV operations. Current tactics, techniques, and procedures sometimes do not achieve the desired results. When that happens, successful revolutionaries engage in a directed search for better ways to defeat the enemy. To make progress, revolutionaries must rapidly develop new ideas or information or actions, publicize it, and carefully observe its impact on goals. This learning cycle should repeat continuously as revolutionaries seek to learn faster than the CORE forces. The side that learns faster and adapts more rapidly makes progress.
Just as there are historical principles underlying success in liberatory revolutions, there are organizational traits shared by most successful learning organizations. Forces that are most effectively liberatory have generally –
- Developed LIBREV ideas and practices locally.
- Established local training centers, and employed them at all times, especially during special LIBREV actions.
- Regularly challenged their assumptions, both formally and informally.
- Learned about the broader world, and gain outside assistance in understanding alien political, cultural, social and other situations beyond their experience.
- Disseminate suggestions from the field, the roots, the base, the populace.
- Fostered open communication between prominent revolutionaries and less prominent ones.
- Established rapid avenues of disseminating lessons learned.
- Coordinated closely with organizations of diverse types and sizes.
- Proved open to soliciting and evaluating advice from local people everywhere, not least in areas of greatest challenge.
These are not always easy practices for an organization to establish. Adopting them is particularly challenging
for revolutionaries engaged in difficult challenges. However, these traits are essential for any revolutionaries confronting CORE forces that often possess extraordinary conventional resources and who can adapt while deploying great force. Learning organizations of various types can defeat CORE forces and evolve to meet additional challenges; hidebound organizations fail.
Promoting learning is a key responsibility of everyone. Revolutionaries continue to create outstanding networks of learning and cooperation that in many ways no corporate-state agency or other CORE force can match. These liberatory networks collect and rapidly disseminate information and ideas from the field. These networks work best in a lively climate that encourages roots-up learning. Revolutionaries in the field often informally disseminate lessons based on their experiences.
However, incorporating this information into organizational lessons learned, and then into guidelines, requires everyone’s help and participation.
Not surprisingly, the nature of LIBREV presents challenges to the dominant institutions of learning; many aspects of LIBREV do not lend themselves to use by CORE organizations.
As this publication explains, performing the many tasks in LIBREV requires knowledge of many diverse, complex subjects. These include cooperation and association of all types, economic vitality, public health and educational opportunity, and expanding democracy throughout society and social institutions that are not yet run by the people who do their work and bear or benefit from their effects. Revolutionaries with a deep-rooted knowledge of these subjects can help others understand and liberate challenging, unfamiliar environments and adapt more rapidly to changing situations. Reading this publication should be a useful early step to developing this knowledge.
LIBREV campaigns are unending and challenging. Progress is likely to be incremental, and CORE forces have many advantages. Effective revolutionaries rapidly adapt to changing circumstances. They readily use the tools of the global information revolution to magnify the effects of their actions, while CORE forces use the information revolution to ignore, distort or minimize liberatory actions and achievements. Revolutionaries often carry out liberatory acts that involve challenging or supplanting accepted oppressive institutions and norms of behavior. By focusing on efforts to support, uplift, and liberate the local people and social conditions, and through a concerted effort to truly function in learning organizations, revolutionaries can overcome and supplant CORE forms of oppression.
REVOLUTION AND COUNTERREVOLUTION
This chapter provides background information on revolution and counterrevolution. The first half describes counterrevolution, while the second half examines the more complex challenge of overcoming it with liberatory revolution. The chapter concludes with a set of principles and imperatives that contribute to achievements in liberation – the expansion of freedom and justice, equality and democracy, free association and prosperity, human rights and diverse healthy conditions of life.
1-1. Counterrevolution and liberatory revolution (LIBREV) are complex subsets of the human condition. Globalization, technological advancement, urbanization, and dominant extremists who mobilize vast resources of violence and repression on behalf of authoritarian wealth and other interests basic to militarized corporate states have certainly influenced contemporary conditions; however, life in the 21st century retains many of the characteristics it has exhibited since ancient times. The human condition remains in large part a vast and violent assault of the dominant organized groups characterized by their extremist interests and their tremendous use of force against popular will, and people en masse. Achieving victory depends on the peoples’ ability to mobilize actions for their popular interests (often expressed in terms of human rights) and to create enough resources and generate enough pressure to achieve political change despite dominant groups that possess vast social and economic resources and a virtual monopoly on traditional military violence. Thus, means to achieve liberatory revolution cannot be by way of conventional forces employed by military-corporate-based nation-states, and must instead be found in well organized and socially powerful popular mass movements capable of broad based liberatory revolution.
1-2. Counterrevolution and its tactics are as old as life itself. Counterrevolution is a more-or-less organized movement of oppressive forces aimed at crushing liberatory revolution through the use of propaganda, conflict, and repression. Stated another way, counterrevolution is an organized protracted struggle designed to weaken the power and validity of liberatory movements, human rights struggles and popular authority, while increasing counterrevolutionary control consisting of anti-democracy and unjust, unequal and oppressive conditions of life that benefit a select few who rule. Liberatory revolution consists of endless varieties of actions taken by revolutionaries to defeat counterrevolutionaries. These definitions are a good starting point, but they do not properly highlight a key paradox: though counterrevolution and LIBREV are two sides of a phenomenon that has been called revolutionary conflict or internal conflict, they are distinctly different types of operations. In addition, counterrevolution and LIBREV are included within a broad category of conflict known as continual human struggle.
1-3. Power is the central issue in counterrevolution and liberatory revolution. CORE forces attempt to secure ruling power for a few; LIBREV forces attempt to secure liberatory power for the populace, the people. CORE forces propagandize, repress, outlaw, intimidate, attack and occupy to get the people to accept its governance or authority as either legitimate or inescapable. CORE forces use all available tools-political (including diplomatic), informational (including appeals to religious, ethnic, or ideological beliefs), military, and economic-to crush liberatory revolutions. CORE authorities may be established governments or interim governing bodies. Revolutionaries, in turn, use liberation principles and popular power to get ride of or otherwise supplant these established or emerging corporate, state or other oppressive governments (and to reduce the likelihood of future CORE forces from emerging or re-emerging).
1-4. Long-term success in LIBREV depends on the people taking charge of their own affairs and wielding power by means of free association, as a liberatory democracy. Achieving this condition requires overcoming traditional CORE forces, as feasible. This can include eliminating by popular will those CORE forces whose oppressive mechanisms prevent them from ever reconciling with the people. (Corporations, for example – along with other types of governments – are inherently anti-democracy in their structure, and as such have no place in a liberatory democracy.) Over time, revolutionaries aim to enable people to provide their own security and conditions of free association that foster further liberatory conditions of life, of wide and thriving variety. LIBREV thus crucially consists of people power in the political, military, economic, social, information, and infrastructure fields and disciplines, also in culture generally and everywhere else. Revolutionaries should never underestimate its scale and complexity; moreover, they should recognize that it is rare in LIBREV, if not impossible, for any solitary force or group, let alone individual, to thrive or succeed to full effect on their own.
ASPECTS OF COUNTERREVOLUTION
1-5. Liberatory movements can be stopped, suppressed, and rolled back in a number of ways. In revolutionary Spain, the Communists, Capitalists, and Fascists worked each in their own way to crush the popular anarchists and workers groups struggling for various forms of liberatory democracy. In numerous countries around the world the CIA and US military has intervened, covertly and overtly, to crush popular liberatory movements in favor of autocratic regimes willing to do the bidding of corporate forces and institutions. Corporate-state forces have long since come to occupy and control the conditions of life for people the world over, not least in the United States of America itself, where the corporate state system of government continually acts against many of the vital expressed popular values of the people, on issues cover about every condition of life, ranging from demands for universal health care, to less militarism, to far greater public works, far better conditions of employment, the environment, and social-cultural-political conditions generally. Corporate-state propaganda and near monopoly of resources primarily serve to control and subjugate and otherwise degrade the general population. These CORE forces normally seek to achieve one of three goals: 1) to overthrow even mildly liberatory social orders within any municipality, nation-state, or across entire global regions, as corporate interests wish; 2) to maintain or deepen oppressive social orders that profit corporate-state entities, for example, the USA; or 3) to break apart states – as in, recently, Serbia and Iraq – and form (semi)autonomous entities or specially governed spaces that they can control, such as Iraq “Green Zones” and their oil-related extensions. Counterrevolution is typically a form of all-out struggle, not infrequently devolving to war, and occurs primarily within and across states, also between states, and that typically consists of wealthy organized factions of the few assaulting and subjugating the masses, in myriad ways.
1-6. There exist significant exceptions to this pattern of counterrevolution, however this pattern of wealthy organized factions of the few (especially corporate-state forces) assaulting and subjugating the masses is the general pattern to which the Americas and much of the world is most subject. The USA is the epicenter of this pattern, largely because the USA devotes more money to its military forces – let alone to corporate-state advertising and other propaganda tools – than does the entire rest of the world combined.
1-7. Even in struggles internal to states, the involvement of outside actors is expected. Dominant corporations and states act transnationally, participating in many such conflicts. Outside actors are often transnational corporate-state and related organizations motivated by ideologies based on extreme and otherwise unpopular political and cultural, social and economic beliefs. Faith based beliefs and organizations also interfere, sometimes to great extents, exploiting the oppressive internal conditions plaguing failed and failing states dominated by corporate and state and other tyrannical control. Such outside involvement, however, does not change one fact: counterrevolutionary forces try to domineer popular will by propaganda and bribery if possible, by force if necessary. Counterrevolutionaries denote such conquest as establishing “legitimacy” or “credibility”. Liberatory revolutionaries understand such attempts at conquest to be immoral, also illegal under human rights treaties (at the least) and otherwise barbaric.