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Quick guide for a revolution (English)

Quick guide for a revolution [MULTI-LANGUAGE]

Quick guide for a revolution
(by the movement 15M/Occupy)

[PDF]

Index:

Be the 99%.
- Think as the 99%.
- Ask the 99%.
- Open the doors to the 99%.
- Engage the 99%.
The 99% is global.
Conquer the minds. Define our own imaginary.
Emotions are the motors behind a revolution.
- Don’t be boring, don’t let anyone bore you. Inflexibility and hate are weak and make us weak.

Organization:

Gather in the public spaces. They are yours. Re-invent them.
- Demonstrations are only one possible form of protest.
Combine the street and the net.
Unity creates strength. Do not organize by issue or territory.
- Specialization leads to dispersion.
Talk, talk, talk.
- Always listen actively.
- Don’t encode the message.
Take care of the debate.
- Everybody should take care of the debate.
Decide democratically. Don’t let minorities decide for the rest.
Stand together whenever possible. Be a multiple crowd the rest of the time.
- Momentarily prioritizing does not mean renouncing.
- Reform or Revolution? Changing the system or building a new alternative one?
- Multiplicity, without losing the weight of each individual.
Don’t allow venomous minorities to kill the rest.
Always horizontal, even when being vertical.
Create open spaces, flexible ones and full of people.
- Open spaces
- Flexible spaces
- We are human beings and we like to be treated accordingly.

Actions:

The strength of non-violence.
Don’t let them label you, and limit you. Innovate. Surprise.
Think big.
- Evaluate your actions.
Be active not reactive. Prioritize.
- Mark your own time.
Don’t propose, do it.
- Shredding others is not a good unity method.
- Affinity Groups.


Be the 99%. The structure of a society can only exist with the acceptance of the people who form it. If society decides to change and organizes itself to do so, the change is inevitable. In this situation, even if the powerful try to stop it, they can’t do it if the majority decides to go through with this change.
- Think as the 99%. Before proposing an action or reivindicacion, think: Is this proposition aligned with the 99%, will the 99% feel this proposition is like their own? Remember that the 99% are the ones who have the power to change or to avoid the change. If you try to impose something they don’t relate to, you will fail.
- Ask the 99%. the first essential step is to ask and understand what the 99% want. This is something that should always be reviewed, should always be under construction, always valuable.
- Open the doors to the 99%. Anyone needs to feel that the spaces, the structures, the actions and the propositions are also theirs and that they can participate in their construction or decision, as well as follow their evolution. If there are minorities that decide for me, or exclusive spaces that I do not feel are mine, it shall not be my revolution, and therefore it shall not be the revolution of the 99%.
Engage the 99%. Proclaiming that everyone can participate in the spaces and actions is not enough for them to actually do it. Being able to get people to actively participate in the change is much more important than any action. The minorities of activists do not change the world, even if they think they see the world very clearly, and that is why it is fundamental to generate mechanisms for everyone to actively participate. Remember that participating is not just going to assemblies, demonstrations or actions. Participating can be giving a hug, moving a chair nearer, writing a text, sending a postcard to an anonymous person explaining to them why we are the 99%, etc. Its fundamental that each person find or invent the way they would like to participate in.

The 99% is global. So why change only one country? Our lives are not disconnect from other nations any more. Don’t let imaginary lines in a map stop a greater change.
The changes are quickly replicated worldwide showing how our aspirations are pretty much the same and ready to be shared without cultural translation. Speak face to face with other people from elsewhere and find out that the differences are only superficial and limited to what is aesthetic or anecdotal.
Sharing the revolution with other countries helps people feeling reassured to be part of it and includes much more people to produce ideas, proposals and tools that will help us all. The collective grow is an intellectual grow.
Reach a global level means creating a true dialogue between people from all over the world. It’s not translating what each country does and creating hundreds of monologues.

Conquer the minds. Define our own imaginary.
If the key to revolution is people wanting and fighting for a change, their subjectivity is what needs to be transformed for an effective change. That’s why each individual subjectivity and the collective imaginary created among all will be our first battlefield.
The revolution is a fight to make people believe in a change that seemed impossible before.
If you get this, the revolution wins – the structural change that comes afterwards is inevitable.
The system’s main strategy in define “what things are”, “reality”, with a very concrete image, that always replicates the status quo, making any chance of change unbelievable.

Emotions are the motors behind a revolution.
This is what defines if an action will succeed or fail. It’s the key, what make us closer to a discourse, a proposal, to commit.
If emotions are inactive then it’s impossible to succeed . If you agree with an idea but you’re not really touched by it, then you won’t put an effort to make it happen.
- Don’t be boring, don’t let anyone bore you. Inflexibility and hate are weak and make us weak.
When we have fun we are creative, empathetic and nice. To laugh, to behave naturally, gives you more strength, reaffirm your legitimacy, invite other people to join. You can face any serious matter without having a frown in your face or shouting. Hate destroy our creativity, limit your options, close the choices, split the group. You need not to hate the 1% to win, just trust on the 99%.

Organization:

Gather in the public spaces. They are yours. Re-invent them. Gather in the public spaces and talk and enjoy and organize yourselves. Take the streets, the squares, the parks, the markets, the museums, the subway, the elevator. Take your spaces and make visible the 99%, but don’t contempt to gather only to demonstrate. If there is a demonstration, take the most of the opportunity and gather to talk, organize, create, propose, invent, innovate. The spaces of the 99% are waiting for them to be wholly reinvented.
- Demonstrations are only one possible form of protest. In most cases, they do not meet their goals. Don’t limit yourselves to what is already known. _Innovate_Imagine_.

Combine the streets and the net: In the streets is where you find emotions, physicality, what move us. It’s where you can see the other, the way he speaks, the way she laughs, their emotions and everything that connect us. We feel we are many, it give us energy and makes us less lonely and isolated. We recognize ourselves as the 99%.
On the other hand, the streets are limited. There’s a limited amount of people talking, a limited organization and exchange of informations – it’s not always inclusive, as we know that not everyone can join, there’s a limited amount of us.
The net is an instant and unlimited space where millions of people can meet and organize, uniting countries and cultures, creating connections that would be impossible otherwise. The net is the only democratic, horizontal and decentralized space where huge powers are weaker than the sum of the citizens.
When we fall out of touch with the street, the emotion is lost. If we lose the net, we lose the globality, we lose our most powerful information and organizing tool.

Unity creates strength. Do not organize by issue or territory.
Although the idea of organizing the movement by issues or territories seems quite natural and logical, that way you will focus and prioritize the issue or territory problems and then you start partial fights where only the people involved on that issue or territory will join, losing the strength of the 99%. If you split the struggles, a lot of people will not feel most of these as their struggles, and therefore it will not be their revolution; this splitting fade off the references to what unite us and define us as the 99%. As an example: If the movement is based or limited to education, on that fight will only be engaged teachers, students, and relatives, even when we all could think that education is one of the cornerstones of society. The same could happen if we think from our neighborhood or city.
However, if instead of the particular points, the basis of the movement is the common ones, what unite us, everybody will think in all issues and territories, each partial fight will be thought, proposed and supported by everyone. We all be the ones in charged to defend each partial fight.
Beside that, with respect to the territories, we have to take into account that the territorial divisions have nothing to do with the common feeling. We sleep, work and meet people going from one area to another, sometimes across borders, communicating and creating links and affinities beyond our countries. The idea of territorial organization is accidental and, especially thanks to new technologies, has lost its sense.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that over this common basis of organization you can not build structures organized by issues or territories, but always as secondary elements with respect to what is really collective and universal.
- Specialization leads to dispersion. We have a tendency to organize groups by its own specialized knowledge or discussion – avoid that so you don’t get fragmented.
Each time you create a new group make sure there’s a reason for that; also make sure some people contribute not to let people disperse so it can be effective.

Talk Talk talk. Spread the words everywhere. Listen to all opinions. Let all the infos appear. Let people debate and debate.
- Always listen actively.
Listen, listen, listen. Let the differences be understood. Let everybody understand each other. If we don’t listen the others we won’t get very far; if each of us does the revolution by his own, we all fail. The debates should not turn into fights to see who is right. Make sure that everybody listen actively, and there is always a will to understand what the other want, no matter if we like it or not. Let the ideas be the main roles of the debate, and not the people.
Do not forget that listening actively is the opposite to passiveness. It goes far beyond of just attention and respect. It doesn’t mean to wait for your turn to speak with attention. It’s a genuine attitude of understanding what the other say, why he says it, and constructing from that point. Motivate that everybody ask about what they don’t understand, that they look for alternative points of view, that the arguments are reinforced or changed.
- Don’t encode the message.
To make active listening easier do not use private, technical or unnecessarily complex languages. Express your opinions in an easy, clear, concise and synthetic way: expose and reinforce your main idea without too much explanations, adornments, or unnecessary technicalities. The goal is that most understand your ideas to join the debate. The ideas can still be very complex even if expressed in a simple way.

Take care of the debate.
Do not allow that people attack each other in the debate spaces or violent atmospheres appear or people not daring to stand up and express doubts or think against the majority. Nothing justifies not to have a calmed debate, or fear to think differently.
- Everybody should take care of the debate.
Everybody should stay alert against demagogy, violence or fear to think different. Do not let some people to be in charge of it. Build tools that allow you to answer collectively in such situations.

Decide democratically. Don’t let minorities decide for the rest.
Whenever you have to take a decision on something let everybody express their opinions, especially the disagreements. Let the debates develop, and try to make the people reformulate their proposals and find consensus between disagreements. But do not force the synthesis or the homogeneous thought as the unanimity. Not always different opinions could be synthesized in a single opinion. Let the people decide when the debate is finished and the opinions could not get closer, and therefore is time to take a decision. And when that time comes, take a decision by majority. Be sure that the minority disagreements are collected and they have their space to be worked and build their own spaces (some of them after some work could turn into majority opinions), but do not let them block the majority feeling. Looking for consensus (how the process work) should not be confused with unanimity (that is just one of the possible ways to take a decision at the end of the process, and by the way is totally paralyzing unlike the majority way; do not repeat the same mistake the system does putting the 1% interests before those of the 99%). All the decisions should be able to be reconsidered whenever the people want and justify it. Therefore there is no problem to make wrong decisions. The paralysis produced by fear of acting wrong is much more dangerous.

Stand together whenever possible. Be a multiple crowd the rest of the time.
Be constructive. Do not persist always in what each one of you think is the right way. Act together whenever possible; open different paths and work in your choice without attacking the others the rest of the time. If you are wrong it will be great that other people were working in other options. Do not build artificial consensus proposals that seems to contain everyone’s option but actually satisfy no one; that usually kills the most interesting part of each idea.
- Momentarily prioritizing does not mean renouncing.
If at some point you need to take a decision that affects the whole movement, and at that point it’s not possible to open multiple paths, remember that every decision could be reconsidered in the future, so you will be able to try other ways. In order to find the right decisions many times we have to go first through some wrong ones. Do not let your disagreement avoid any decision to be taken. Do not put your own position before everyone’s.
- Reform or Revolution? Changing the system or building a new alternative one?
Run away from questions that take you to artificial or unnecessary dichotomies.Reality is full of possibilities, you don’t have to choose between opposites – many options can be created simultaneously.
A natural division will appear between people who wants small changes to those who wants big ones ; or between the ones who want to control the system and change it and the ones who wants to create a new alternative one. Don’t let the debate focus on that – there’s no need! Remember that all of us want a change. Open multiple paths and make people able to go as far as possible.
Many possibilities is always better than just one – and more people participating, by extent.
Sometimes what seems opposite at first sight turns out to be complementary, if you avoid competition.
Competition, dichotomies, impossible opposites are strategies from capitalism.
- Multiplicity, without losing the weight of each individual.
Make opinion polls to see the acceptance of the different proposals between the people. It’s an important tool to understand what the 99% wants, and to help you decide your priorities.

Don’t allow venomous minorities to kill the rest.
It will always appear some individuals (not many, but very loud) that will try to impose their personal opinions and imaginary, use the strength of the revolution for their own personal struggle, the one that they think is the priority, using old-style languages, persisting on ways to act that never worked because neither their proposals nor their ways are the ones of the 99%.
Often these people try to make the rest believe that everyone that think different to them is “on the side of the system”, that other opinions are “an insult to the victims”, that if you don’t shout extremist slogans you are not on “the side of the oppressed”, they will use demagogy to match majority with totalitarian, they will accuse you of splitting the group, the will pervert the idea of inclusiveness and they will call themselves “the true revolutionaries”, they will take the generic issues to the personal side and will attack the others. Usually, their lack of arguments, will take them to impose their opinions by attacking, using demagogy, victimization or even violence. Their interventions will usually be destructive, except when the majority agree on their opinions. Actively listening will be something impossible for them.
The atmosphere generated by them coerce the rest of the people to express what they think because they transform to think differently in confrontation.
Whenever this happens, avoid direct confrontation, do not give them more space or voice that what they deserve. Neutralize these situations talking about them; you will realize that a lot of people will feel the same as you, but will not know how to say it. It’s very important to build mechanisms to avoid these radical minorities to monopolize the space and the time, because their struggle is not the one of the 99%. Stay alert, the strength of the majority is the only thing that can stop them, as it always happens with the ones belonging to the 1%.

Always horizontal, even when being vertical.
Working in a horizontal way, and using network structures, it’s really difficult for the system to dismantle you, and it’s the only real democratic way. Make sure that everybody can propose or organize something without going through and mechanism, structure, bureaucracy or anyone’s permission. The absence of leaders is very important to make the movement belong to the 99%, and let the people understand that it’s them who have to decide. Making all delicate positions (as spokespersons, moderators, or any position that generate tensions around) rotative is an excellent solution.
If at any moment the majority decides that it needs some kind of vertical structures or positions, be sure that these are controlled at all moment by all the people in a horizontal way, and that idea is clear and present for everybody inside and outside the movement.

Create open spaces, flexible ones and full of people.
- Open spaces. Spaces must be open so everyone can join. The ones that had never come before should feel comfortable and invited to do so; the ones that already joined should feel motivated to come back whenever they want. Make the participation as easy as possible, if in order to participate in a space you must follow thousands of protocols, in the end only those who already know it may participate, other people will be implicitly excluded.
Open spaces to people and ideas. Do not let any idea to be censored.
- Flexible spaces.
However, in order to make communication and creation possible on that spaces, through the sum of many individual voices, you have to set some explicit game rules. Often, these rules tend to become complicated over time, trying to avoid all possible problems, going against the previous openness; and also tend to become dogmas. The best would be to make all these rules as easy as possible, to let everybody participate, and at the same time let all the rule to be changed, and actually be designed to be changed at any moment, so you can always improve them. This will build organic, live spaces, instead of crystallized spaces, doomed by their own internal failures.
- We are human beings and we like to be treated accordingly.
That implies respect, empathy, generosity, etc. And even being a lot, we still are human beings. Behaving naturally you get close to people. Bureaucracy, complicated ways and languages, keep us apart from each other. “Keep it simple”. Make everything easy, so everyone can understand it. Behind simple ideas could be powerful concepts.

Actions:

The strenght of non-violence. The non-violence is more powerful than violence. It allows everyone to participate (men, women, young, old, legal, illegals, the coward and the bold).
Non-violence avoids labeling and doesn’t allow the system to delegitimize our message.
It allows multiple actions instead of a physical battle that makes us much weaker than the system.

Don’t let them label you, and limit you. Innovate. Surprise.
If they label or simplify us the movement loses its depth; being reduced to a stereotype that no one wants to be part of or understand.
The system is heavy and slow, our strength lies in the fluidity, fast pace, dynamism.
When movements become predictable when language and habits become uniform and old-school the movement has lost its flare, and thus becomes ineffective because the 1% knows how to play that game. Be unpredictable, attack where they are not waiting an attack, puzzle them, don’t be where they expect you to be. Choose always the game to play, and choose always games you win. Each time they propose their game, like a violent clash, run away and propose a new one.

Think big.
We tend to think from our daily lives, from what is around us, and we usually label as impossible a lot of things that actually are within our reach. Think big, as you had all means, and many times you will discover that actually it was easier that what you thought, or you will find new ways to achieve what you wanted. If something is worth it, if it is at least a minimal possibility to do it, and provides a great reward, do not stop trying.
Aspire to win with your actions. Do not fall in activism as a way of life.
- Evaluate your actions.
Before and after each action or proposal evaluate the effect it could have or it had, in order to help you decide the following steps.

Be active not reactive. Prioritize.
Do not become a reaction movement to what the system does. That burns you and limit you to a very specific way of facing things, and become easy to neutralize. The urgency of answering to specific situations make you prioritize what may not be a priority. Do not try to open all fights, focus and prioritize.
- Mark your own time.
Whenever you are proposing actions, answering the media or proposing content for the movement, mark your own time, the one more convenient for you. Don’t let anybody from outside impose you the pace, or rush because the urgency of all the things that you would like to change or answer.

Don’t propose, do it. Stimulate commitment every time there’s a proposal (at least organizing a group to give it a defined form and make it happen in case you need more people) so spaces can be much more productive; it invites people to think more before proposing.
Always remember to say: Don’t propose, do it.
- Shredding others is not a good unity method.
In order to encourage people to join, do not demand, complain, and criticize the passivity of the people. That way you will not encourage them to engage. Tell them that you need them, that the group will really appreciate their help. When somebody feels useful it participate by desire, not out of obligation.
- Affinity groups. Motivate people to get used to organize into groups while developing an idea (affinity groups, friends or people that think alike; no bureaucracy).
It’s not only more efficient and less destructive when ideas are not fully mature yet but it also promotes an active attitude towards life and society, extremely important for a change.

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About author
A #globalrevolution enthusiast. Twitter: @AliceKhatib
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