Thesis[edit | edit source]

Throughout the history of people resisting power, various tactics have emerged and re-emerged based on their efficacy and the ability of groups to carry them out. Any future activism can only be strengthened by a comprehensive understanding of previous tactics.

What is a Tactic?[edit | edit source]

The term "Tactics" unfortunately comes from the lexicon of militarism and violent conflict, and as such, any definition of tactics should be open to critique and change as we better learn how to apply them for movements as opposed to armies. That being understood, here are a few points to help define what we mean when we talk about tactics:

Tactics refer to very specific actions, whereas strategies are more long term (may be made up of multiple tactics). Direct Action would be a strategy in this taxonomy, because it is a broad concept which encompasses many different types of actions.

  • A tactic does not neccesarily suggest a specific issue or viewpoint.

Just because the black bloc (a tactic, in my view) was originally concieved by anarchists, doesn't mean that all black blocs are anarchistic in either their goals or organization. While public opinion usually does a good job of associating such tactics with their creators (often to stigmatize them both), it is possible for reactionary forces to coopt such tactics for any number of deceptive purposes.

Similarly, criticism of a tactic should not be construed as opposition to the political view that created or is most associated with a tactic.

  • A tactic should be easy to explain.

In order to be useful, and avoid the kind of intellectual masturbation which has become all too common in activist circles, the explanation of how to conduct a tactic should be as simple as possible, jargon-free, and should be seperated from any discussion of the history, efficacy, co-optation, etc. of the tactic. One tangential issue which should be included in the "HOWTO" section of a tactic page is the legality of the tactic, as anyone who wants to participate in a form of struggle should be aware of the potential consequences of their actions.

Tactic: Page Layout proposal[edit | edit source]

All tactic page names are prefaced with "Tactic:"

Each page has the following sections:

HOWTO: Instructions, potential legal issues

History: The origins and past uses...

Critique: Discussion as to the efficacy (not just pro/con, but what circumstances make this tactic more or less effective)

Personal Experiences: Stories from folks who have some firsthand experience.

List of Tactics[edit | edit source]

Alphabetical, with some loose categorization...

Discussion of Tactics and Related Subjects[edit | edit source]

Distruptive Action vs. Symbolic Action


Revolutionary vs. Reformist

Appeal to People vs. Appeal to Power

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