Do not react, act autonomously!
The 92nd Letter of an Autonomous Thinker

Amsterdam, October 11 2007

Dear reader, 

A flea looks for a unguarded place on a human body to suck some blood. One bite is a nuisance many bites are terrible.
Humans do not look for easy places to attack but mostly react on what the elite decides. They are not autonomous.

That has to change!

In the eigthies I participated in the Anti Nuclear Movement that reacted against a Dutch nuclear plant. Thousands of masspeople blockaded the plant. I took part but also proposed the slogan “The nuclear plant is everywhere!” Directors do not live in the plant, neither do scientists that make nuclear energy possible. Many firms supply the plant with food, drink and materials, dispose the nuclear waste or distribute and use nuclear energy. There is a multitude of targets that are not as well guarded as the nuclear plant.

Only sometimes “other targets” were attacked for example by sabotaging electricity supply lines or by a demonstration in front of the house of a atom physicist. Most political energy was concentrated on the nuclear plant. The result was a clash with the police and not the closing down of the plant. 

Wars between indigenous masses and occupying armies are different. Nearly always the masses won. Vietnam, Indonesia, Somalia, Cuba, Nicaragua and now Afghanistan and Iraq. They fight like fleas, they attack on weak points and are not led by what the occupying army is doing. When the Americans amass troops in Baghdad, insurgents go elsewhere. I only wonder why insurgents do not expand the war to the heartland of the occupiers. There have been few attacks on weak points in Western countries. In the end  the masses of the occupying countries will turn against their leaders because they cannot live anymore the life they lived before.

This is not new. Sun Tzu wrote already in the sixth century BC in  “The Art of War”:
“Appear at points which the enemy must hasten to defend; march swiftly to places where you are not expected”.
“You can be sure of succeeding in your attacks if you only attack places which are undefended”.
“So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak”.

To get rid of any elite I propose the same policy. Do not react on what the elite is doing but make it impossible for elitepeople to live the safe, privileged and prosperous life they live now. Undermine the power basis of the elite and not its decisions.

The Americans did not withdraw from Vietnam because they thought that Vietnamese had the right to be independent. The decisive factor was fifty thousand dead Americans. Therefore the American masses rallied, the life they lived before was being threatened.
The same is happening in Iraq. Thousands of Westerns are dying. The tide is turning in the West – and terrorist attacks do contribute also to this change. When the war in Iraq is over Westerns will not die anymore in the Iraqi quagmire and terrorist attacks will disappear. 

The rightist Dutch-Israeli war historian Martin van Creveld (“The evolution of war”) is very negative about the chances of the Americans in Iraq. The French and the Americans in Vietnam, the Soviets in Afghanistan or the Dutch in Indonesia lost wars against insurgent masses. The military strongest party had to withdraw. Van Creveld did learn from the past that all wars in foreign countries are a morass in which foreigners will drown.

This historical lesson is not understood by Western activists. They do not realise that the elite can be undermined by independent attacks on weak points. Then elitepeople will realise that it will not be anymore possible to have it always better than the rest of the population.

The central point is always that actions should make life in the eliteworld less agreeable. When elitepeople realise they cannot live anymore the privileged life they lived before, they will not anymore support decisions of the top elite. Than the possibility for a world without elites will come around.

The War of the Flea takes time but the future is bright. When the number of flea pricks will increase signs of decay will appear in the eliteworld. But the present-day activists only try to improve the situation of the masses and do not attack the reason why the situation of the masses is subordinate. They do not invade the eliteworld, but only fight for improvements within the framework set by the elite.

For further ideas about the War of the Flea see Letter 32 and Letter 88.

Yours truly, Joost van Steenis


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93. Naomi Klein
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