In our on-going series on modifying local government behavior, especially in the face of runaway crime and public officials who see their offices as their own private spending and intimidation clubs, it is appropriate to introduce measures by which you control the flow of information in this battle. As regular readers will recall, in the aftermath of our 2015 burglary, we consulted a team of specialists in many fields, including media and public affairs, to help adapt political and unconventional warfare methods to this effort. This mini-series of articles condenses a portion of those adapted methods so that you can more efficiently launch your own local public affairs efforts in your area.
Scoping the Problem
Using a city council as an example, this group controls the narrative in one room, for about one hour, once a month, and usually under circumstances which limit or prohibit open debate. This causes such officials to imagine that they have more power than they actually do, and to then act in accordance with this belief. To crush this attitude, and thus the resulting misbehavior, it is your goal to control the narrative, with an iron fist as needed, at all times and all places outside of that small box of space and time, using the methods shown in this series. It is essential for this purpose that you divest yourself of all pathological altruism which has been beaten into your skull since childhood.
The Counter-Insurgent Mindset
If you are contemplating taking the actions listed in this article series, then a local insurgency against the principles of civilization has already become entrenched. Whether street gangs have taken defacto control of public policy or tyrannical public officials are abusing their offices, the normal levers of citizen control of government have been bypassed by these insurgents. Mentally, model those wayward public officials as the invading force that they are, and your goal as that of liberating your local area and restoring power to legitimate, non-corrupt authority.
You are now the counter insurgent, and your control of the local narrative is an important part of your counter-insurgency efforts to wrest control of the public space back from the insurgents who currently occupy positions of power. That public mind is currently held hostage by the insurgents, but you can count on the fact that if your cause is just, then there is a large mass of seething resentment bubbling under the surface. It is highly unlikely that you will experience a cinematic rising up of the people to restore their government to themselves. What is more likely is that you will be able to motivate a few of them to take positive action using some of the other activist techniques we describe on these pages, while a much larger number will be eager to provide critical information. This combination will be sufficient, and, as we have seen in our local experience, these numbers will grow as you demonstrate wins and the insurgents are progressively exposed as incompetent and impotent.
Define The Objectives
Your media and public affairs efforts are not ends, they are the means by which your team accomplishes its mission of reining in criminals and wayward public officials, no matter where they are along a broad spectrum from outright corrupt to merely tyrannical. To make sure your narrative stays on track, you must first define that track. Which objectives you define will depend on your particular situation. Some examples include:
• Pushing back on street crime
• Weakening criminal organizations
• Exposing corrupt officials
• Changing adverse legislation
• Pushing petty tyrants back into their box
• Assisting and organizing victims of civil rights violations
• Organizing and promoting other dissident efforts
• Establishing intelligence networks
• Conducting elicitations and interviews
Before taking any media or public affairs actions, you must pass each one through the filter of “does it promote our objectives or does it harm them?” Before you can do this, you must clearly define them. Write them down and use them as your mission statement. Change them as circumstances demand, but make sure everyone in a decision-making capacity knows what these objectives are.
Behavior Modification, Not Elections
It is essential to understand that your efforts are not directed at winning elections for the good guys, although this may be an important side-effect. Elections are simply too rare to be of much practical use; officials only really pay attention to the electorate in the months prior to an election, usually misleading the public in the run-up to the elections, yet causing much damage in all the years in between. Plus, good guys can become bad guys once taking office, particularly if exposed to a background of official misbehavior once there. No, the purpose of your narrative is to modify the behavior of sitting officials, including resignation, or in extreme cases, exposure for criminal prosecution while in office.
At the same time, as the good guys, you must avoid certain pitfalls, including defamation and extortion, or even the appearance of these negative and counter-productive tactics, although the insurgents you are fighting will almost immediately resort to these against you and your team. We will drill into these topics in a future article, including how you can use the insurgents’ darker natures against them, allowing them to hang themselves, both in court and in the public mind.
Controlling the Narrative Means Taking Control
As a good guy, you naturally believe in things like fairness and free speech and so on. In normal circumstances that mindset is good for civilization. However, you are fighting an enemy who already occupies the high ground, and who many people, initially, will be afraid to cross. If you allow the opposition to plant seeds of doubt in your narrative, even if these seeds are provable lies, it could damage your overall effort.
This is why the normal established social media is undesirable. In addition to destructive un-moderated commentary, if you take the seemingly easy Facebook route, you’ll quickly find that many people, even those in support of your efforts, will not want to friend you out of self-preservation. This can happen for a wide variety of rational reasons; perhaps their cousin works at a company that a local tyrant owns and is afraid to lose their job. It is your responsibility to protect the anonymity of your supporters; you have taken up this fight, and are fighting for them, not the other way around. Many of them will become emboldened after they see you racking up wins, and some of them may be willing to become public allies, but forcing all of your supporters to go through a Facebook loyalty test on day one is inviting failure. Fortunately, you don’t need very many public allies as long as you are getting a steady stream of reliable information. By protecting your network of supporters, you can limit the usefulness of the sort of terroristic tactics (soft or hard) the insurgents are prone to use against their enemies.
Letters to the editor of your local rag are out also. Chances are, either the newspaper is an outright mouthpiece, or its editors are afraid to offend the (currently) powerful, and thus advertising revenue. Chances are, your local insurgent cabal is using their power to control some economic factor in the area; tyrants don’t often seek power just to then pass up opportunities to enrich themselves. Advertising revenue then becomes yet another lever of power at their disposal, and thus influence over newspaper editorials. Beyond these factors, even if the editorials seem nominally hostile, you can bet that this is a greatly filtered subset of all the letters they actually receive. Your public affairs volume will be too large and your content too finely nuanced to pass through this tiny drinking straw. You need a firehose.
All this means that you must have your own website and publish your content there in a disciplined and organized way. In the next article in this series, we will drill into the essentials of this important resource, but until then take a look at our own Leech City Online site for insight into how we are using a website in this fashion. In other future articles, we’ll discuss content management and how this relates to your overall public affairs and intelligence operations, along with many other aspects of taking control of your local narrative.