200 200,000 and the masses


We must take the power and the money away from the 1%



Developing the Fourth People's Power

Joost van Steenis
Complete book free to download, click here

  Chapter 43

Psychological actions, threats hoaxes and rumours

To change the mind of people psychology is important in actions



“When actions take place on the border between fantasy and reality attacked targets will never know what is real and what imaginary”. Power is a vague concept. While money is the basis of the power of the 1%, actions intruding the private living sphere of the 1% are the basis of the power of the 99%. Just as money is only sometimes used in power struggles, direct actions should also be used sometimes. The knowledge that the 1% has money, the knowledge that the 99% can penetrate in the private living sphere of the top determines the amount of power. In a world in which all people have the same status, everyone should have the same power.

“In battle, there are not more than two methods of attack—the direct and the indirect; yet these two in combination give rise to an endless series of manoeuvers”. (Sun Tzu). In the War of the Flea a direct attack is when a mosquito pricks, an indirect attack the humming of the mosquito threatening to prick. Being pricked once people find the humming often worse than the pricking. Psychological actions including the threat that actions could take place are an integrated part of the struggle. The combination of real and possible actions penetrates the minds of targets who become constantly occupied by attacks. Sometimes they alleviate the pressure by taking decisions that favour the 99% even when they come in conflict with their own kind of people. Then the conflict spreads in his environment.

Psychological actions are fairly safe. It gives fun realising how such actions influence the mind of the target who must contemplate about what happens when threats become real actions. This kind of actions complies with the Golden Rule for Actions because it does not hurt the 99% and increases pressure on the 1% whose minds are filled with fear about possible actions.

Psychological and material actions only involve objects that are important for the 1%. When masspeople get a phone call in the middle of the night it is a nuisance but they can disconnect , leaders must always be available. Is it really so bad when you read in a newspaper that you are deceased? You do not ask the police to look for people who throw stinking lysol on the doormat, who trimmed the most beautiful plant in the garden, who flattened the tyres of your car, who ordered a taxi while you did not want to go out, who annulled your hotel in a far-off holiday place. Even when a window is smashed the police hardly can find perpetrators and the 1% must fear for more stones, wait for new actions while they can do nothing. The direct damage is small but the immaterial pressure influences the mind of the 1%.

One of the action goals is making leaders realise that the 99% have power. A long-lasting stream of small actions in the private living sphere influences any human. Actions show that activists can penetrate the living sphere of the target. A can of used oil emptied on the beautiful maintained lawn has the same effect as putting a can with used oil on the lawn without damaging the grass. A flask with petrol, oil and a piece of cloth the same effect as a burning Molotov-cocktail. Surrounding him in a mall with some friends or putting some rocks on his car has a threatening effect but it are also real actions. Knowing that always anywhere unexpected actions can occur starts to dominate his mind. What will happen tomorrow, in a week, in a year ……. Real actions strengthen the feeling that he is never alone unless he changes his attitude, his mentality and decisions that are disadvantageous for the 99%.

The power of the threat of real actions increases when they are accompanied by proof that somewhere, sometimes, something serious happens. It increases the uncertainty of the decision-taker. What will happen is intensified by the idea what may happen. Demonstrations are only temporarily threatening and authorities know that threats shouted out loud in a demonstration are empty words that neither undermine the power nor the private life of the powerful. Activities without a further maybe do not pressure decision-takers.

Actions by Amsterdam squatters of the “hard” line cared for it that more squatted houses were saved in comparison with houses squatted by the “soft” line. Authorities did not want too much disturbing street actions. The actions and the militancy (threatening to become active) of followers of Malcolm X, the Black Panther Party or the race rioters in big towns had more influence on the improvement of civil rights than peaceful actions of the Martin Luther King line, though the police violence provoked by peaceful protesters also played a role. But the threat of militant actions was too small and racism is still wide-spread in the USA and elsewhere.
In all activities something should happen that really disturbs the controlled and cosy life of decision-takers. The idea that they are losing control over their private life undermines their power. When the powers that be realise they cannot control the autonomous activity of the 99% they acknowledge there is a counter power. Leftists nor rightist organisations were never a power that threatened the 1%.

Many leading activists still suppose they can change the world through dialogues with decision-takers though their arguments are almost never taken into account. Trade-union leaders did not replace old-fashioned strikes that had some influence in the past by more powerful activities. Strikes nearly disappeared in Western Europe and thus the threat of a strike as a power instrument. The influence of trade-unions is withering away. The same can be said of organisations as Greenpeace and other environmental action groups. Authorities agree with propositions that fit in their own agenda. There is no threat of real actions that undermine the power of the top.
The powers that be also combine real actions with threats when they use their money. Threatening to withdraw subventions to organisations that complain too much, threatening to go to another country when their salary is not high enough, refusing to invest in unruly or disobedient countries. Child labour and very bad working conditions in factories in developing countries are continuing because of the threat to replace factories to other countries. Activists do not counter this power by threatening with direct actions in the private living sphere of investors who damage the life of ill-treated workers.

What was the threat of Occupy? Sitting in a square is a nuisance and the slogan “Occupy the Financial Centres” was not accompanied by real actions. Authorities could easily clear the squares and saw the Movement Occupy wither away. Only the more militant Occupy Oakland offered some resistance and lasted a little bit longer.

While the 1% has power based on money to enforce decisions, the activist world hardly has power, the threat of possible actions is not accompanied by real actions that disturb the world of the powerful. The power of the 99% should be based on people who carry out a multitude of small actions in the privileged eliteworld.

In a fairly recent action about a not paid bill for real work it was sufficient to carry out a few direct actions as closing the lock of a front door by super glue next to a few threats of actions as mentioning that the house of the debtor was beautiful but that it was easy to enter the garden of the house. The bill was indeed paid though it took several years to get the payment of a few thousand euro also because the creditor was not very active in pointing his arrows at the debtor. In the end the threat of more real actions forced the creditor to pay.

Psychological warfare is an integrated part of the power of the 99%. This includes not only direct threats of coming actions but also hoaxes or rumours about something that could be true. As Sun Tzu already said a very long time ago: “mystify, mislead and surprise the enemy”. Corruption, sex, domestic violence, employment of illegal cleaners and many other subjects the 1% do not talk openly about undermine their position as respectable persons. This penetrates and dominates the mind of decision-takers if accompanied by real actions.

Nuclear bombs were only twice used in the far past but are still used as a threat, just as super weapons as aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, intercontinental rockets, drones or chemical weapons. Why has the USA a stock of chemical weapons in Panama? Why has the USA military bases all over the world? Not to threaten with military actions because when the threat becomes a real action most weapons do not come from the bases but directly from the USA.

The 99% are time and again disturbed in their private living sphere by real actions of the top so they even listen to threats. Threats and real actions are two sides of the same coin. The top knows that a coin has two sides, activists only use one side of a coin, without threats the other side is blank and the coin invalid and useless.

When there is no threat activists are not dangerous. They do not undermine the power of the top. When activists only use arguments they remain dependent on the benevolence of decision-takers. The lack of successes of past activism are not encouraging. The 99% only get some power when they use threats as well as direct actions over a longer period of time. 


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