Enforcing nonviolent discipline in the NH liberty movement, without reducing unity

Tell me how to improve this scheme. In studying effective resistance movements, I came across two interesting factoids: First, America’s “scientist of resistance,” Erica Chenowith, has run extensive studies around the world and concluded that nonviolent movements have over twice the success rate of violent ones. She is a former Free Talk Live guest, and I believe her based on all I have experienced and studied myself. It matches…and the violent stuff, even violent talk or “parallel violence” tends to dramatically undermine peaceable efforts. The words “Tienanmen protest” and “Antifa” prove this point. The former gets your support because it maintained peaceability discipline, the latter gets your opposition because it didn’t.

Second is a statement by Ivan Jorovic, maybe the most prominent member of Otpor. Optor is the mostly-Serbian group that basically ended the Third Balkan War in 2000, by pushing Serbia’s strongman out of power without firing a shot. Jorovic says to succeed along these lines you need all of the following: Flexible planning, unity and discipline…particularly nonviolent discipline.

I have found few easy guides on how to achieve the latter, but it’s probably the most important. Our movement has maintained it with govt, but there are instances where folks have made threats, etc. As the walls close in and our endeavor continues its expansion, there will be additional strains on nonviolent discipline. Here is how I’m going to try and help enforce it within the NH liberty movement for now, without unnecessarily damaging our unity.

If I catch someone advocating for physically harming people who serve or represent governments in America, (not street criminals, not invading foreign armies, not inanimate govt. objects free of risk to thinking beings) the plan is to initially issue them a warning. If I catch them doing it again, I would probably cut them off from most or all of the support I am giving them or would have given them. This might be temporary. But it is not hypothetical, and the implications for the blowhard could be significant. For example, Rich Paul (who has made frequent and unimpressive public calls for physically harming government people), is currently locked up and receiving about 25 pages of mail from me per month. The next piece of mail I send will be a warning, suggesting that he cease and desist with this…or cease to receive mail from me. I would also probably lose interest in protesting or publicizing his plight but would not take it out on others just for being associated with him. A person outside of jail could be reluctantly cutoff in other peaceable ways.

A proven act intended to physically harm government folk along these lines would result in a longer cutoff, without warning.

Since activists who make violent statements tend to wind up in trouble and desperate for any type of support they can get…and since I otherwise tend to offer quite a bit of support to activists in jail…this should be a significant deterrant. But it should be a lot better, if a lot of you took this course of action: Warning blowhards, then cutting them off if they ignore the warning. Maybe publicize the cutoff, but in the interest of unity…it’s best to avoid going all Denis Goddard. In Rich’s case that would mean being mindful of his frequent, helpful activism and putting his overstep in perspective. It’s minor when compared to the average Fed’s abuses…and not a cause for foaming at the mouth against him. In an individualistic movement, it’s a thing that individuals can do on their own initiative.

This plan of action on my end is subject to revision or improvement. What do you think? Is this something you too are willing to do? What are other methods we could use? Nonviolent training classes come to mind, and Otpor used those…but I don’t see a practical way to do it myself much. Can you?

Remember…some police start to get queasy attacking the polite. But few get queasy about attacking rock throwers, let alone people who are more violent than that…or who spew threats.


Ridley, I agree with you in your idea of maintaining “discipline” with in our community.

I get frustrated hearing about individuals harming members of our community. At those times I am wanton to cause harm to those harmers myself or to engage them myself. However, if I did, what will be the result? I could be behind bars, then how would I be able to support the community?

I agree with the idea that we must be “peaceful”, because if we don’t people who we are trying to convert to liberty, or at the least to be sympathetic to the cause of liberty, using peaceful means instead of coercion, are going to call us out on our BS. Worse than that, they may decide in their minds that all of us are “violent revolutionaries” and may vow to never support the cause of liberty because of it.

If you use the tools of the State – fear, intimidation, threats, violence, coercion – you will be seen as just as bad as the State.

I “grew up” listening to Ian in 2008, and at THAT time, he was angry as hell and was wanton to do something about it. I too felt that way after I saw what was being done to myself and others, that others just didn’t see. Just as Ian and Mark convinced me that Liberty is the answer, I’ve also come to the conclusion that violence is not the answer either.

To those who speak of using the tactics of the State, I feel your anger. I feel your frustration. I too want to harm others who are harming those who I call my friends. But I can not in good conscience say on one hand I believe Liberty is the answer and on the other hand use the tools of the State, my sworn enemy, and be okay with that.

I will be following Ridley’s example and if you announce intent to commit actual violence against people who serve the State or represent the State, I will warn you. If you do it again, I will tell you that I will not support you any further. All future support will be suspended. It maybe temporarily, it may be permanent, it is my discretion. You are more than welcome to criticize me, to match my “shuning” of you, and I will not hold that against you. If you come to me and make some effort to reject your violence, I will welcome you. Once. This will not extend to the supporters of violent people, unless they too are acting in violence toward the State.

I will not quibble about what “this” or “that” means, other then to say, if you have to ask and it is supporting violence against the State, I reject it.

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thanks cyber: what is your opinion (what is everyone’s opinion) on whether warnings should be issued publicly and the target of the warning named? i guess i’ve already named rich paul, since his spews were so public . But that does set a precedent.

obviously we’ve got to strike a balance between being an undisciplined rabble…and going on witch hunts or doing other unnecessarily divisive stuff.

I think people should treat their activist credentials like they treat their professional credentials. Write up a resume! Add certifications from respected investigative authorities.

Mine would include: “certified real name and identity”, “certified Non-Violence pledge”, “certified no history of theft or violence”, “certified income Tax Resister since 2004”, “certified off-the-grid agorist since 2009”, “certified 10 Civil Disobedience arrests, combined 90 days of jail Hunger Strikes”, etc. (But, obviously, no “no posting unpopular opinions” and “no throwing hissy fits when Ian deletes stuff” pledge for me, heh.)

Then you can require that members of a planned rally have certain certification requirements. And if anyone violates their pledge, they lose their certification.

ya i think i like that idea of a certification people could get… maybe on hemp paper! you went on a hunger strike Libman???

Here is the letter I have sent to Rich Paul as planned above:

"Rich: I’ve been studying the Serbian dissident Ivan Jorovic quite a bit lately, he’s brilliant, no one to my knowledge can claim more credit for ending the balkan wars and dethroning slobodan milosevic in 2000. you’d also like the picture of him being used by his buddies as a battering ram to enter a locked government door; he’s hilarious. Other research has convinced me and others more informed than me, like “resistance scientist” Erika Chenowith, that peaceable revolutions are over 2x as effective as violent ones…and the ratio is improving in favor of the peaceable. I already suspected this stuff instinctively, but the data is now proving it to my satisfaction. The other data, of interest to you, is that paralell violent movements…or violence from within a largely nonviolent movement… undermines the success of the nonviolent movement. It does this by deterring friendly participation, swinging the news coverage away from the peaceable folks, and stiffening the resolve of the authorities against the whole movement. peaceable revolution…removes the pillars of support from the authoritan, by creating a broader based movement which you don’t have to be a young healthy male or to join.

Along these lines, Jorovic makes makes a point that you need to hear , and which I need to be stern with you about. Jorovic says you need 3 things in a peaceable-change political movement, and missing even one of them dooms you to failure. these thigns are:

  1. Flexible planning
  2. Unity
  3. Discipline , particularly discipline in nonviolence

The latter normally comes about through training, but since I’m not usually around many people it’s not very easy for me to train anyone. So I’m adopting an individualistic / location-doesn’t-matter approach to nonviolent discipline by establishing a protocol for gently but perhaps effectively enforcing it. Nowadays, when I catch an NH liberty activist violating non-violent discipline by calling for physical harm to American government workers or politicians at any level, I issue them a warning. If I catch them repeating such calls, I cut them off from all or most support…for some significant period. That means no more mail in jail (where most such people end up), no protests for them, maybe no publicizing their plight. People associated with such blowhards, but not guilty of anything themselves, would not be subjected to guilt by association. If an act of physical violence were actually perpetrated, then the perpetrator would be cut off without warning and probably for a much longer period.

Anyway, having heard your calls for physical violence against the persons of government people, and in the interest of peaceably enforcing nonviolent discipline, I’m now issuing you the warning. If i hear that from from you again, and I’m sure it was really you, I will stop sending you mail or focusing on your plight.
For now…the mail and the focus continues. and in the interst of unity it’s important to keep things in perspective: You’ve been an effective, harmless liberty activist in new hampshire for over a decade; your verbal breaches in that time are minor compared to the actions the average Fed commits in a week.
But they are breaches, and they need to stop.

Meanwhile… here are more pages of my writing (nearly the only kind of writing that is safe to send jails without fear of having it returned). I hope they’ll entertain you during this already-excessive punishment. "

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That’s a tough one Ridley.

Part of me says that this is my problem with someone. I prefer I handle my own problems with people in private. Praise in public and criticize in private. It’s how I prefer to be treated.

Another part of me wants to publicly disclose that I am not associated with someone and if asked why not, to be honest and respectful as to why. Again, it’s how I would want to be treated if I’m being too obnoxious or assine, as I sometimes am. I try to give people specific ways to recover their reputation with me, because that’s what I would want someone to do for me.

Your reputation is all you really have.

There are some beliefs that are incompatible with mine, in my opinion. Bigotry is one of them. There is no recovery from bigotry, other than to change your belief.

That’s the way I see things.

maybe a compromise would be warning in private, cutting off in public. One downside to warning in private, however, is that you could be “physically pressured” ater to provide law enforcement or courts…with information about your private warning. If the thing was already public, that wouldn’t be as much of an issue.
By physically pressured I mean throwing you in jail , not waterboarding you lol.

had methods

also we can use the tactics that protestant churches use that do not have the force of government behind them
go to the brother in private … if he changes then you have won him over
if he won’t then you bring more brothers in private … if he changes than great
if he won’t then you bring him before the whole group
and if won’t change … you treat him as an outsider and publicly let everyone know of your differences

everyone will be able to choose if they want to be a part of your community and movement … if they don’t like your tactics then they will choose a different community

for those outside our group … who use force … we can publicly denounce them, but would not do our group discipline


On the question of public or private warnings, I will try to restate what I said previously, more concisely.

If I fuck up, I want to know, privately. It is so I can have the opportunity to unfuck myself. So, I will extend you the same courtesy, when you fuck up, in private. So, you will have the opportunity to unfuck yourself.

When I fuck up, repeatedly, and have not made amends to my fuck up, repeatedly, it has the appearance of a willful act. My expectation is that in such a case, that because of the acts and the appearance of willfulness, I appear to you as someone to avoid. Further, my expectation is that if I’m a walking and talking fuckup, it would be common courtesy to, at least your close friends, to warn them about me, the walking and talking fuckup. Now, what level I choose to publicly warn people is based, as it is on how I defend myself, on how much you have fucked up, with the understanding that I will be judged by how I treat others, and held to the same standards.