Leaderless Resistance

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Leaderless Resistance

Postby A Username » Fri Oct 27, 2006 12:14 am

http://www.louisbeam.com/leaderless.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leaderless_resistance

From Wikipedia:

Leaderless resistance (or phantom cell structure) is a political resistance strategy in which small, independent groups (covert cells) challenge an established adversary such as a government. Leaderless resistance encompasses non-violent disruption and disobedience as well as bombings, assassinations and other violent agitation. Leaderless cells lack bidirectional, vertical command links—they are groups without leaders.

Given the simplicity of the strategy, leaderless resistance has been employed by a wide-range of movements, from terrorist and supremacist groups through animal rights, anti-corporate, anti-abortion, and environmentalist activists.

General characteristics

Typically, cells often number less than three individuals (and rarely more than a dozen). The basic characteristic of the structure is that there is no explicit communication between cells which are otherwise acting toward the same goals. Members of one cell may have little or no specific information on who else is agitating on behalf of their cause.

Leaderless movements may have symbolic figureheads. It can be a public figure or an inspirational author, who picks generic targets and objectives, but does not actually manage or execute plans. Media, in this case, often create a positive feedback loop: the publishing of declarations of a movement’s role model instills motivation, ideas and assumed sympathy in the minds of potential agitators who lend further authority to the figurehead. While this may be loosely viewed as a vertical command structure, it is notably unidirectional: a titular leader makes pronouncements and activists may respond but there is no established contact between the two levels of organization.

As a result, leaderless resistance cells are largely insusceptible to informants and traitors. As there is neither a center that may be destroyed, nor links between the cells that may be infiltrated, it is more difficult for established authorities to arrest the development of a leaderless resistance movement than more conventional hierarchies.

Given its asymmetrical character and the fact that it is often strategically adopted in the face of an obvious institutional power imbalance, leaderless resistance has much in common with guerrilla warfare. The latter strategy, however, usually retains some form of organized, bidirectional leadership and is often more broad-based than the individualized actions of leaderless cells. In some cases, a largely leaderless movement may evolve into a coherent insurgency or guerilla movement, as successfully occurred with the Yugoslav partisans of World War II. In the same conflict, the British leadership had extensive plans for the use of such resistance in the event of a German invasion.

While the concept of leaderless resistance is often based on resistance by violent means, it is not limited to them. The same structure can be used by non-violent groups authoring, printing and distributing samizdat literature, using the Internet to create self-propagating boycotts against political opponents, maintaining an alternative electronic currency outside of the reach of the taxing governments and transaction-logging banks.

History of the idea

The concept of leaderless resistance was reportedly developed by Col. Ulius Louis Amoss, an alleged U.S. intelligence officer, in the early 1960s. An anti-communist, Amoss saw leaderless resistance as a backup for the possibility of a Communist seizure of the United States.

The concept was revived and popularized in an essay published by the anti-government activist Louis Beam in 1983 and again in 1992. Beam advocated leaderless resistance as a technique for white nationalists to continue the struggle against the U.S. government despite an overwhelming imbalance in power and resources.

Beam argued that conventional hierarchical pyramidal organizations are extremely dangerous for their participants, when employed in a resistance movement against government, because of the ease of disclosing the chain of command. A more workable approach would be to convince the like-minded individuals to form independent cells, without close communication between each other, but generally operating in the same direction.
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