Global Guerrillas (military blog) has an interesting discussion of the changeing nature of warfare.
Why read military blogs on strategy?
War is an extention of politics. Or War is the result of the breakdown of politics. It is important to think about why warfare has chaged and how these changes can be adapted to organizing political power at new levels. It is our challenge in the peace, human rights, poltitcal and envrionmental advocacy fields to extend and play with the Rabb's analysis to nonviolent conflict and our work.
The shifts in physical conflict are really an extension of political debate. Our president is engaged in a global fight for "hearts and minds" with a guy that lives in a cave. We need to explore advocacy strategy in contexts of nonphysical conflict. WInning the fight but who is really controling the political capital on a global scale?
The ideas are thought provoking and the emerging constucts for military strategy also seem to be useful points for consideration in our emerging political organizing.
"An ability to decentralize beyond the limits of a single group (way beyond cell structures) using new development and coordination methodologies. This new structure doesn't only radically expand the number of potential participants, it shrinks the group size well below any normal measures of viability. This organizational structure creates a dynamic whereby new entrants can appear anywhere"
Sounds like Stop Sinclair, MoveOn, Townhall, Dean Meetups, etc. How are we fostering the organization of political action beyond the single group approach? How are we investing in ways to create small but effective coordinating units in field organizing? (building a political machine on a laptop) How are we investing in the network capacity of the movement so these organizers and move very quickly from issue toi issue?
Systems disruption. A method of sabotage that goes beyond the simple destruction of physical infrastructure. This method of warfare, which can burst onto the scene... uses network dynamics (a new form of leveraged maneuver) to undermine and reorder global systems.
The leverage of 527's, the emergence of blogosphere, the attacks by the swiftboaters, the attacks to roll back power of infrastucture still capable of influencing direction of the country ( media and judges ). Upstart campaigns that atttack the systems of logistics support for the opposition base (attacks on particpation of churches and/or nonprofits) attempts to destroy the incentives for charity donations. Or clter jamming efforts like Chevy Ads What are the global systems that support the political and economic machines that feed conservative control of political agenda (Rob Stein) More importantly how do our moves reorder the system. Do we invest in podcast networks (shifts the system) and or Air America (reinforces a global system)? Do we invest in youtube (global disruptive) or Current TV? Do we spend money on Center for American progress or solve basic communicaitons challenges of our movement (coordinating listserve feeds which are the backbone of organizing)? Green Media Toolshed (distributed voice and tools) or (centralized messenger) NET? Do democrats keep lots of small messages or build a national "message" ?
Virtual states... No longer are guerrilla movements or terrorists aimed at taking control of the reigns of the state or merely proxies for states. A new form of economic sustenance has been found ...and gains momentum through weakening and disruption of states. This...integration creates a virtuous feedback loop that allows groups to gain greater degrees of independence and financial wealth through the warfare they conduct.
Mediavolunteer provides tools to groups to promote messages which should attract more volunteers, which should make the outreach tools more powwerful. Bloggers attack media coverage and the party which reponds and then buy ads on bloggs giving them the resources to be more effective in the attacks against the party and mainstream news.
New leaders in the political world are less likely to want to manage traditional groups or organize within traditional power structures. Bloggers avoid being cozy with the party. Organizers would rather start their own splinter group rather than connect with established nonprofits. Linking people along the edges by network automatically weakens the power of the center.
In political organizing like real estate, or media control was a game of "location". New virtual organizing end runs the value of being central. Ward chariman are not as important when candidates can directly talk to the oganizers. Organizers are less important as party and issue groups can talk to local people. All stuctures are less powerful as the people can self-organize with each other.
John's quote of Lind "Whoever is first to recognize, understand, and implement a generational change can gain a decisive advantage. Conversely, a nation that is slow to adapt to generational change opens itself to catastrophic defeat." This lesson should not be lost on orgnaizers either.