by Tony Cartalucci
October 25, 2012
A guide to
how the war for control
is waged upon us,
and 4 ways to fight back.
The terms insurgency and counterinsurgency can
quickly become confusing in a politically motivated context.
In the United States, and around much of the world where the nation-state
still prevails, the established order is one of national sovereignty based
on constitutions and charters produced by each respective nation, with an
infrastructure built and improved upon over generations by each nation's
respective cultures, economic activities, and innovations.
There is an
insurgency to subvert all of this.
corporate-financier insurgency, or simply a "corporate-insurgency."
The corporate-insurgency seeks to subvert our institutions, starting with
the family, extending to our schools, universities, churches, temples and
mosques, our local sheriff, and even reaching into our national governments,
rewriting or eradicating altogether our national constitutions and charters.
It has, to a great extent, already subverted our independent local
infrastructure, while implementing laws and regulations to prevent us from
We have the very tactics described in a vast library of
government and military counterinsurgency documents being employed against
us, where ever we are and to a profound effect.
"Insurgency is the organized use of
subversion and violence to seize, nullify or challenge political control
of a region. As such, it is primarily a political struggle, in which
both sides use armed force to create space for their political, economic
and influence activities to be effective.
Insurgency is not always
conducted by a single group with a centralized, military-style command
structure, but may involve a complex matrix of different actors with
various aims, loosely connected in dynamic and non-hierarchical
networks. To be successful, insurgencies require charismatic leadership,
supporters, recruits, supplies, safe havens and funding (often from
They only need the active support of a few enabling
individuals, but the passive acquiescence of a large proportion of the
contested population will give a higher probability of success.
best achieved when the political cause of the insurgency has strong
appeal, manipulating religious, tribal or local identity to exploit
common societal grievances or needs. Insurgents seek to gain control of
populations through a combination of persuasion, subversion and coercion
while using guerrilla tactics to offset the strengths of government
Their intent is usually to protract the struggle,
exhaust the government and win sufficient popular support to force
capitulation or political accommodation.
evolve through a series of stages, though the progression and outcome
will be different in almost every case."
page 7 U.S. Government Counterinsurgency Guide, 2009
While this above quote is a most accurate
description of an insurgency, as one reads
the U.S. Government Counterinsurgency Guide (2009), they will realize that
the opposing methods of counterinsurgency itself involve all of these same
factors, simply mirrored and reflecting the interests of the US versus the
interests of targeted "insurgencies."
The cover of the
US Government Counterinsurgency Guide (2009)
features the signatures
representing the trifecta of modern day empire,
covert operations (USAID),
military force (Department of Defense),
and system administration (the
COIN describes the methods by which empire is
implemented at a grassroots level.
As a matter of fact, what is described by the 2009 counterinsurgency (COIN)
guide, is an accurate description of how political control has been achieved
and maintained by all governments throughout the entirety of human history -
it also forms the foundation
of modern empire.
Understanding this is key to finding solutions when
one finds themselves under the subjugation of an unfavorable political
ideology or system. The tactics the guide describes can, and often are, used
by either side in any political struggle, not necessarily only in an armed
COIN is a socioeconomic-tactical synthesis, an interdisciplinary strategy
based on an understanding of how a society functions, how to organize human
resources to multiple force, and what needs and desires motivate
individuals, as well as how these can be manipulated and controlled to
collectively motivate a society.
These more technical concepts are generally
absent from everyday political discourse, and equally absent or incomplete
in regards to finding solutions for a failing or unfavorable system.
Insurgency and Counterinsurgency: How to Fight
While the US Government COIN guide gives us a clear picture over the
governmental-military interdisciplinary aspects of COIN, the Marine Corps
Field Manual 3-24 (FM 3-24) provides us with a complete picture of the
actual components of an insurgency and all the relating factors that affect
This includes an enumerated list of services, institutions,
organizations, and processes that must be controlled in order to establish
political, tactical, and economic primacy. Without these, counterinsurgency
Without these, any political movement seeking to assert itself over a
flawed or failing system, fails.
While FM 3-24 deals with an armed insurgency,
presumably in a foreign country, the basic concepts can and are applied to
the execution of real political power throughout the world.
The reason why
so many well-intentioned political solutions fall short, is because they are
tailored without understanding these basic concepts.
1. Establishing Essential Services
When attempting to establish political primacy -
essential services, basic infrastructure, economic development and
administration must all be controlled by the counterinsurgency.
It is upon
these basic aspects of modern society that people depend, and from which
popular support is sustainably derived. Strength in arms alone will fail
utterly unless these aspects are secured, controlled, and developed
Upon page 117, the manual discusses the
establishment or restoration of essential services. It states specifically:
Essential services address the life support
needs of the HN [host-nation] population. The U.S. military’s primary
task is normally to provide a safe and secure environment. HN or
interagency organizations can then develop the services or
In an unstable environment, the military may
initially have the leading role. Other agencies may not be present or
might not have enough capability or capacity to meet HN needs.
Therefore, COIN military planning includes preparing to perform these
tasks for an extended period.
Any goal, no matter how well-planned, noble, or
progressive, cannot be achieved before these basic services are established
and capable of being sustainably maintained.
The military is a highly
trained, disciplined, well organized institution capable of developing,
maintaining, as well as protecting these services. In our local communities
around the world, we have to ask ourselves how we can similarly develop and
maintain these services sustainably.
The task is not entirely as daunting as it may
Local communities around the world accomplish this through a
of traditional and newly created local institutions. Most local
communities around the world operate with the added advantage that the
corporate-insurgency they face is low-intensity and generally not armed.
prospective activists, auditing what their communities already possess, and
how to develop it to be more organized and effective would be a good first
Some other initial priorities identified by the
manual include the following taken from page 122:
Many communities already possess the ability to do these activities on their
Points such as "building an indigenous local security force" might
translate into efforts to empower local sheriff offices to negate intrusive,
unconstitutional federal government control. It might also include the
establishment of professional neighborhood watches and shooting clubs where
responsible gun ownership is taught.
Building and improving schools might
translate into expanding and improving local home schooling networks,
leveraging freely available
and opening after-school tutoring centers giving remedial classes or
teaching trades and skills not taught at existing educational institutions.
Ultimately, most communities are not faced with absolute destitution. For
the most part, basic services exist.
The problem really is that these
services are carried out in some cases by corporate-insurgents and play an
essential role in building legitimacy and a support base dependent on the
corporate-insurgency for these services.
Therefore, the goal should be to
take ownership over the execution of these basic services which can be done
as a community effort or as a local, small business.
The precept of "boycott
and replace" is the equivalent of the "take, hold, and rebuild" doctrine in
military "nation-building" and counterinsurgency.
2. Economic Development
On page 119 of the report, it states the importance of expanding on basic
services and supporting economic development.
It states specifically:
The short-term aspect concerns immediate
problems, such as large-scale unemployment and reestablishing an economy
at all levels. The long-term aspect involves stimulating indigenous,
robust, and broad economic activity.
The stability a nation enjoys is
often related to its people’s economic situation and its adherence to
the rule of law. However, a nation’s economic health also depends on its
government’s ability to continuously secure its population.
Planning economic development requires
understanding the society, culture, and operational environment. For
example, in a rural society, land ownership and the availability of
agricultural equipment, feed, and fertilizer may be the chief parts of
any economic development plan.
In an urban, diversified society, the
availability of jobs and the infrastructure to support commercial
activities may be more important. Except for completely socialist
economies, governments do not create jobs other than in the public
However, the micro economy can be positively stimulated by
encouraging small businesses development. Jump-starting small businesses
requires micro finance in the form of some sort of banking activities.
So then, supporting economic development requires attention to both the
macro economy and the micro economy.
Without a viable economy and employment
opportunities, the public is likely to pursue false promises offered by
insurgents. Sometimes insurgents foster the conditions keeping the
economy stagnant. Insurgencies attempt to exploit a lack of employment
or job opportunities to gain active and passive support for their cause
and ultimately undermine the government’s legitimacy.
of military age may join the insurgency to provide for their families.
Hiring these people for public works projects or a local civil defense
corps can remove the economic incentive to join the insurgency.
The report then goes on to list the major
categories of economic activity that it implies are essential for the
counterinsurgency to control:
Clearly all of these industries are
dominated by the corporate-financier oligarchs and their
One need not stretch their imagination here to see
how the economic crisis created by corporate-financier interests across
the West and spreading around the world is comparable to the sort of
economic challenges facing a post-war nation fighting an armed
The description and redresses described on page 119 are
particularly relevant, and if we consider the corporate-financier
interests who have overtaken our government and institutions as the
insurgency, we must see it within ourselves and our communities to
search for the energy and initiative to begin local economic
And again, where the military possesses the ability and the resources to
do this on their own, or with other government institutions assisting -
local communities must develop their own institutions to accomplish
these same goals themselves. H
ackerspaces and farmers' markets represent
two organized efforts to develop economic opportunities locally, and
present viable models that can be expanded into other industries.
An entire section of the counterinsurgency field manual is dedicated to
The importance of managing logistical lines not only enable
an army to conduct counterinsurgency operations efficiently, but deny
the insurgency supplies to conduct their operations. As it is pointed
out, throughout history, insurgencies many times supply themselves off
of carelessly protected counterinsurgency supply lines.
The report states on page 169:
Insurgents have a long history of
exploiting their enemies’ lines of communications as sources of
supply. During the Revolutionary War, American forces
significantly provisioned themselves from the British Army’s
overindulgent and carelessly defended logistic tail.
1930s, Mao Zedong codified a doctrine for insurgency logistics
during the fight against the Japanese occupation of China.
exaggerating, Mao stated,
“We have a claim on the output
of the arsenals of [our enemies],…and, what is more, it is
delivered to us by the enemy’s transport corps. This is the sober
truth, it is not a jest.”
For Mao’s forces, his enemy’s supply
trains provided a valuable source of supply. Mao believed the
enemy’s rear was the guerrillas’ front; the guerrillas’ advantage
was that they had no discernable logistic rear.
This relative lack of logistic capacity
was not an insurmountable problem for Mao or one of his logistic
theorists, Ming Fan. According to Ming,
“Weapons are not difficult
to obtain. They can be purchased from the people’s
‘self-preservation corps.’ Almost every home has some sort of weapon
that can be put to use.…
Ammunition can be obtained in the following
(1) From supplies given by friendly troops and headquarters
on higher echelons.
(2) Purchased or appropriated from the
(3) Captured by ambushing enemy supply columns.
Purchased undercover from the enemy army.
(5) From salvage in combat
(6) From the field of battle.
by guerrilla organizations. (Such items as hand grenades,
Beyond these specifics, this doctrine prescribes
a mindset of actively seeking parasitic logistic relationships
with not only the conventional enemy forces that the insurgents
seek to co-opt and defeat but also active linkages to local black
market activities and the cultivation of host-nation sympathizers.
For these reasons, forces conducting
counterinsurgency operations must protect all potential supplies.
Forces must also vigorously protect their lines of communications,
scrupulously collect and positively control dud munitions
and access to other convertible materiel, and actively seek
ways to separate insurgents from black market activities.
The corporate-insurgency's logistical lines
are particularly easily to compromise - that is because we the people
are their logistical lines.
The corporate-financier oligarchy sustains
itself from the collective patronage of communities around the world
failing to develop local institutions, services, and economies, and
instead pay into centralized, monopolizing multinational corporations.
By boycotting and replacing these multinational corporations,
we cut the corporate-insurgency off entirely from its logistical lines,
starving it into submission.
But just as the USMC COIN manual implores counterinsurgency planners to
secure their logistical lines from pilfering insurgents, the
corporate-insurgency uses laws and regulations to protect their lines.
Laws and regulations are designed to prevent independent local
institutions, services, and economies from springing up and competing
directly with the corporate-insurgency.
Farmers in America have been fighting laws seeking to disrupt and
regulate out of business, local farmer's markets.
Similar laws in
regards to "intellectual property rights" seek to stifle the emergence
of independent technological innovation and personal manufacturing.
Understanding the greater implications of these laws should provide us a
greater impetus to organize and find the means of circumventing them.
For local communities organizing against the corporate-insurgency, our
"supplies" consist of our food and water, our electricity, our means of
communication, and many others. To secure these, we must assume
ownership over them, maintaining them as a collective common or a small,
To organize against the corporate-insurgency when we are
still dependent on them for even simple things like food and water, is a
recipe for instant and repeated failure.
In a very literal sense, a local community's communications include
telephone networks, the Internet, and radio.
Like many other aspects of
fighting the corporate-insurgency, the low-intensity nature of it
affords us the ability to piecemeal boycott and replace various aspects
of its power structure without disrupting the lives of people in our
local community. In terms of communication infrastructure, ad hoc
wireless networks could be constructed to connect a local Internet.
is already being done by the US State Department to infiltrate and
overthrow sovereign nation-states - they already recognize it as an
essential strategy of the corporate-insurgency.
In New York Times' article, "U.S.
Underwrites Internet Detour Around Censors," it states:
The Obama administration is leading a
global effort to deploy “shadow” Internet and mobile phone systems
that dissidents can use to undermine repressive governments that
seek to silence them by censoring or shutting down
The effort includes secretive projects to create independent
cellphone networks inside foreign countries, as well as one
operation out of a spy novel in a fifth-floor shop on L Street in
Washington, where a group of young entrepreneurs who look as if they
could be in a garage band are fitting deceptively innocent-looking
hardware into a prototype “Internet in a suitcase.”
With a well developed
a similar network can be created for a local community to simply
circumvent and replace corporate-financier monopolies, providing custom
tailored services for a community its creators already know, and
spreading the profits of communication monopolies across local
communities worldwide - a redistribution of wealth done not through
socialist handouts, but through innovative local entrepreneurship.
larger international Internet could be made by simply providing links
Community broadband initiatives are already popping up around the world
built around a similar premise. In Syracuse, New York, just such
an initiative headed by
Seth Rutledge, is working on this very project.
this letter to his local paper, Rutledge explains the benefits and
necessity of taking ownership over the means of communication:
The Syracuse Community Broadband
Initiative (SCBI) has received a $15,000 grant to explore the
economic viability of building a state-of-the-art, fiber-optic
broadband network for Syracuse.
The SCBI seeks to provide cable, Internet and phone service to
residents and businesses. The network would operate like a public
utility committed to the best service at the least cost, and would
operate from subscriber revenue independent of taxpayer subsidies.
The network could provide a much higher connection speed than is
currently available. It would have the capability to deliver an
unlimited number of on-demand channels, including high-definition
broadcasting and video conferencing for every subscriber via
Internet Protocol television (IPTV) technology. It could deliver a
vastly superior product at a much lower price.
Our local communications infrastructure is crucial to the social,
economic and democratic health of our community. It is equal in
importance to our public roads, schools and utility services.
foolish if we, as a community, do not take the lead in securing
public control of, and access to, our communications network.
It is not only possible and beneficial to develop local communication
alternatives, but an absolute necessity in order for people to reassert
themselves in a failing and unfavorable political system.
Communication also includes the media. In this regard, the
corporate-insurgency is already suffering serious defeat. It is finding
it increasingly difficult to maintain primacy over the political
narrative, or maintain popular support.
When countering the corporate-insurgency, every bit makes a difference,
and starting a blog, Twitter, or Facebook account with the expressed
purpose of informing others of what is going on locally, nationally, and
internationally is both free and easy to do. Even if the goal is to
simply repost articles others write - these efforts combined with others
already active will make a significant difference.
How far a media project goes depends solely on the amount of time and
effort one spends investing in it and the standards of objectivity and
intellectual honesty one holds themselves to.
The alternative media is a
perfect example of a new "institution" and form of activism that has
already successfully begun to counter the corporate-insurgency, and it
does so by leveraging technology that allows us to do as individuals
what was once only possible with large, capital intensive organizations.
The alternative media also reflects some of the tactical considerations
expressed by the USMC COIN field manual in regards to logistics.
using large corporate-owned, free services like Blogger, Facebook,
Twitter, YouTube, and others to spread a constructive message aimed at
developing our local communities, and against the corporate-insurgency,
we are essentially exploiting their own logistical trails for our cause.
It must be understood that while, without taking these basic aspects
into consideration a political movement is sure to fail, this does not
by any means negate the work of activists focused in other areas.
synergy must be created between all efforts aimed at unwarranted
corporate-financier influence - but these fundamentals must be
understood by all involved.
It must also be understood that not everyone employed or involved in a
large corporate-financier, multinational corporation is a bad person.
fact, many people who work for corporations like,
and incredibly talented.
Like many military who leave the service and
join the cause of humanity, these people can become some of our most
valued allies if and when they realize the greater implications of what
they are involved in and what, for their own best interests and those of
humanity, they must next do.
For our part, we must work hard to develop our local communities, to
create tangible solutions to the problems we face, superior local
alternatives to replace the dependency that empowers our opposition, and
produce a viable model that is self-evidently a system people will want
to join and help build.
Of all the aspects discussed in the voluminous collection of
counterinsurgency manuals the US government has produced, possessing a
morally superior cause and instilling a sense of legitimacy within a
population ranks toward the top in importance.
Building a local
community with the people's best interests addressed by the people's own
two hands themselves, exhibits just such a cause, featuring just such
It would be a movement very difficult for the
corporate-insurgency to prevail against, and is the key reason why their
doctrine has failed them overseas in pursuit of their empire.