Resistance Profiles


Building a successful culture of resistance to address modern environmental and social justice crises requires that we learn what has and hasn't worked for other groups. The Resistance Profiles below provide an introduction, with references to further resources, to different approaches of many resistance group of the past and present, with a wide range of goals, strategies, tactics, ways of organizing and effectiveness.

To understand the difference between strategy and tactics, please read the Strategic Resistance excerpt from the Deep Green Resistance book. We've chosen the examples below for their illustrative and educational value. Inclusion of a group or campaign does not imply endorsement by Deep Green Resistance of their goals, strategies or tactics.

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For news stories of recent attacks on infrastructure, visit our Underground Action Calendar.

Resistance Profiles

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Name When Active Where Active AG/UG Success Goal Strategy Tactics Organisation Above or underground Security Recruitment Effectiveness Further learning Image
Name When Active Where Active AG/UG Success Goal Strategy Tactics Organisation Above or underground Security Recruitment Effectiveness Further learning Image


1967 - present India - Central Underground Medium To redistribute land and power from the State and corporations to the landless poor, based on Maoist principles Protracted armed struggle Assassinations and ambushes. Sabotage and destruction of power plants, schools, and phone and rail lines Underground based on hierarchical military style structure with underground cells operating in different regions. Naxalite villages based on people's democracy and have judicial and tax collection systems, law enforcement, schools and healthcare

Mostly underground and more recently aboveground involvement in politics through the 'Communist Party of India'

They mostly operate and recruit in areas that are remote

Mostly from indigenous rural poor who live in resource rich areas and marginalized groups such as the Dalits (untouchables). Installing essential infrastructure to help and gain favor with poor villages. Empowering and protecting women who are suppressed by mainstream culture

They currently control an estimated one fifth of India's forests, they are active in 16 of India's 28 states, described by India's Prime Minister in 2006 to be, 'the single biggest internal security challenge ever faced by India.'

"India's Naxalites Remain a Force to be Reckoned With"

"The Big Question: Who are the Naxalites and will they topple the Indian government?"

Red Sun: Travels In Naxalite Country by Sudeep Chakravarti


Green Scare watch

2002 - present US Aboveground Low To stop the U.S Government punishing environmental activists as terrorists To raise public awareness of the situation and put pressure on the U.S Government To keep abreast of any discriminatory actions against activists and to highlight them through media, demonstrations and public lectures Will Potter has an active website which seems to be the focus of the organization Aboveground No security necessary Word of mouth, lectures, websites Awareness has been raised, but this has been ineffective in reducing judicial punishments for activists who show no remorse for their actions

Green is the New Red: An Insider's Account of a Social Movement Under Siege by Will Potter


Peasants' Revolt

1381 England Aboveground Medium The abolition of feudal obligations (serfdom) and the resulting economic/social injustice Applying pressure to the government to change the law regarding serfdom (almost slavery) through assassinations, refusal to pay taxes, and property destruction

Refusing to pay taxes (Poll tax) and rioting when officials attempted collection.

Organised into groups from different areas and marched to London encouraged by the teachings of John Ball and led by Wat Tyler. In London they negotiated with King Richard II demanding law reforms and the heads of various members of the Royal Council. Their request was not suitably answered and the group rioted sabotaging prisons, government buildings (including the Tower of London) and assassinated several targeted members of the Royal Council.

Groups of local peasants led by charismatic leaders Aboveground - actions of those involved were visible and not anonymous None once the revolt had started Groups of peasants were unified by there economic situation and anger at the King's Council. Groups were coordinated from different areas but there is no evidence for active recruitment. In the short-term the revolt was crushed, with most demands denied, initial concessions revoked, and large numbers of people involved later executed. In the long-run it is believed that the actions taken by those in the revolt scared land owners and the government contributing to the end of Feudalism, peasants being treated with more respect and the end of the hated Poll tax.

The Peasants' Revolt 1381

The Peasants' Revolt of 1381 by R. B. Dobson


ETA (Basque separatists)

1959 - 2012 Basque region - Spain into France Both, w/firewall Medium A fully independent Basque state Action-repression-action: By attacking Spanish police and military, ETA would force the Spanish government to overreact in response, leading to even greater support from the Basque public. Bank robberies, ransom of hostages, and theft from arsenals or factories to obtain money, guns and explosives. Kidnapping and assassination of police, military, and politicians in early years; later adding bombing of public places plus attacks on journalists, businesses and businessmen. Underground and aboveground with a firewall between. The underground consisted of a hierarchical military cell structure of 3 - 5 members who operated in secrecy being cut off from other cells. The cells took directives though a series of liaisons that led to an Executive Committee in the sanctuary of France. Mostly underground with aboveground political representation in the form of the Batasuna party that was later banned because of links to ETA. The organizational structure of ETA provided security to members who would often be tortured by Spanish security services attempting to gather information. For years many members enjoyed protection from Spanish security services by locating themselves across the border in France. Mostly from people who had direct experience of state repression and their relatives and friends. It is also speculated that ETA recruited from students groups but details are vague. ETA's assassination of Luis Carrero Blanco, Franco’s heir apparent, effectively ended the dictatorship and opened the path to democracy. Their militant threat heavily influenced post-Franco political negotiations in the 1970s, resulting in the "State of Autonomies." However, from the 1980s onward, ETA achieved little tangible political gain. They lost almost all public support for their brutal tactics and for their ultimate goal of full statehood. Nevertheless, the Basque region achieved a level of autonomy not seen elsewhere in Spain, including the ability to collect and distribute their own taxes and appoint their own police.

The persistence of nationalist terrorism: the case of ETA

The Rise and Fall of ETA


Hindustan Socialist Republican Association

1928 - 1932 India - north Both Medium To end the colonial British rule and establish a Federal Republic of the United States of India To facilitate an armed revolution involving a struggle by the masses to establish "the dictatorship of the proletariat" and the banishment of "parasites from the seat of political power" Assassinations. Symbolic bombings to gain publicity. Distribution of leaflets and books to the public. Armed robbery of government trains. Voluntary arrest with known punishment of hanging and remaining on hunger strikes. Based on socialist principles within a single cell The Hindustan Socialist Republican Association was aboveground and dealt with public relations whilst the militant wing of Hindustan Socialist Republican Army focused on armed struggle Secret meetings and use of safe houses They did not directly recruit outside of their original known members

The organization ended with the majority of members being hanged or imprisoned. The last round of hangings, that included Bhagat Singh's, led to thousands of youths in regions around Northern India rioting in protest against the British Raj and also against the indifference of the congress. It is also believed that the actions of the HSRA but pressure on the British Government to negotiate with the more liberal Indian National congress (led by Gandhi) and partially withdraw from India.

The Genesis of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association

Bhagat Singh: Revolutionary with a Difference

The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2004)

Bhagat Singh: An Immortal Revolutionary of India by Bhawan Singh Rana


Underground Railroad

1790s - 1870 US, Canada, & Mexico Underground Medium To free African-American slaves To arrange for escaped slaves to travel to anti-slavery states and countries Quakers (amongst others) devised the Underground Railway – which was a means of transportation via secret transportation routes and safe houses to British North America (Canada), Mexico or Florida (then a Spanish colony) Comprised of mainly Quakers, free-born blacks, white abolitionists, and members of other church organizations who operated in small cells. By 1850 it is estimated that 3,000 people were involved in the Underground Railroad. Underground Codes were used based on a railway e.g. guides → conductors, safe houses → stations, escaped slaves → passengers or cargo. Each cell of helpers operated on a 'need to know basis' only knowing their part of the network and how to transport slaves to the next safe house. Routes were frequently changed, and often indirect. Mostly by word of mouth and through ministers in churches among free-born blacks and white abolitionists At its height in 1850 about 1000 slaves per year escaped through the Underground Railroad. Although this was a relatively small number compared to the annual importation of new slaves, the psychological effect on slave holders was big. Slavery was officially abolished in all U.S states after the Civil War and the Thirteenth Amendment was added to the Constitution.

The Underground Railroad at PBS.

The Underground Railroad (full documentary)

The Underground Railroad: A Record of Facts, Authentic Narratives, Letters. Narrating the Hardships, Hair-Breadth Escapes and Death Struggle by William Still

Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole


White Rose Society

1942 (June) - 1943 (February) Germany - Munich Underground Low To resist the Nazi regime To inform and persuade scholars, medics, students, and pub-owners Propaganda. They printed and secretly distributed 6 pamphlets arguing, from an intellectual standpoint, the evils of national socialism and in defense of the Jews. They also put up public graffiti criticizing Hitler. Close-knit group of friends in the student resistance organization in the university of Munich Underground Single cell and secret Pamphlets urged recipients to copy and distribute pamphlets

3 members were executed by guillotine in Feb 1943, two more in July 1943, and 1 more in Oct 1943. Remaining members were sent to prison for 6 months – 10 years.

The last leaflet was smuggled out to the Allies who air-dropped millions over Germany. Although they did not alter the course of the war, the members are recognized throughout Germany as martyrs, have streets and squares named after them, appear on stamps and stand as a symbol for a non-violent stand for freedom.

White Rose: The Germans who tried to topple Hitler

The White Rose (1982, German)

Sophie Scholl: The Final Days (2005)

The White Rose by Inge Scholl (1970)

A Noble Treason by Richard Hanser (1979)

An Honourable Defeat by Anton Gill (1994)


The Luddites

1811 - 1817 England - Midlands Underground Medium To secure employment and a living wage for working class people and to eradicate inhumane factory and mill working conditions Initially, to lobby government to enforce the law. When that failed, to make it unprofitable or unsafe for factory owners to employ new technologies harmful to workers' conditions.
  • Lobby parliament to enforce laws about using non-apprenticed workers
  • Break into factories at night to destroy new machines the employers were using
  • Arson on factories
  • Assassination of merchants
Independent underground cells that operated without a leader. Non-hierarchical. Part of and therefore supported by local communities. Underground Underground cells with new members swearing oaths of secrecy upon joining. Captured members would make reference to their mythical leader General or King Ludd. Since there was no such person, it was difficult for the authorities to learn much about them from captured members. Word of mouth amongst workers and friends

They destroyed 200 stocking frame machines in a 3 week period, with attacks occurring on a nightly basis. They succeeded in restoring wage levels and scaring factory owners away from using some of the machines, but only for a short time.

The Government took action in 1812 by passing the Frame Breaking Act to make machine-breaking a capital offense, and 12,000 military troops were called to areas where Luddites were active. The dramatic response of the Government suggests that the actions of the Luddites were effective. In the summer of 1812 8 men in Lancashire were hanged and 13 transported to Australia whilst another 15 were executed at York.

The Luddites

The Luddites (1988)

The Luddite Rebellion by Brian J. Bailey

Land of Lost Content: The Luddite Revolt, 1812 by Robert Reid



1903 - 1928 England Both High Change of legislature to allow women to vote and to stand for electoral office Applying pressure to politicians to change the law In rough chronological order:
  • Public meetings, petitions and peaceful demonstrations
  • Targeted disruption of government meetings
  • Breaking windows of government buildings and prominent politicians homes
  • Arson attack on a politicians empty home; Sabotage of phone lines
  • Sabotage of post boxes; Sending letter bombs
  • Hunger strikes and being force fed
  • Publicity and demonstrations supporting prisoners and against the torture of prisoners
  • Publicity through a suffragette jumping in front of the King's horse and being killed on Derby Day
  • Civil disobedience by refusing to participate in a census
Through over 90 public offices throughout the UK Mostly aboveground with underground cells Security seemed quite relaxed as members often wanted to be arrested to attract attention to the cause. Offices were publicly known and were raided by the police. Leafleting, holding regular public meetings, demonstrations and wearing group colours of purple, white and green They eventually achieved their goal of equal votes for women in 1928

The Suffragettes - History Learning Site

Suffragette: My Own Story by Emmeline Pankhurst

Sylvia Pankhurst: The Rebellious Suffragette by Shirley Harrison

The Militant Suffragettes by Antonia Raeburn


Tibetan Independence Movement - Chushi Gangdruk guerrilla army

1958 - 1974 Tibet Underground Low Political and social independence from China. An end to genocidal practices such as population transfer, ethnocide, and forced labor camps. Resistance to ecocide such as mining, siting of military sites, overhunting, and toxic waste dumps. Make occupation untenable via violent attacks on Chinese military and police personnel, outposts, and resources Sabotage, guerrilla warfare, ambushes of patrols, retaliation against collaborators Received $17 million USD in aid from the CIA through the 1960s. They were organized in a traditional military hierarchy, with some 10,000 fighters at their peak. Underground Full military security operation. Encrypted radio communications, limited wide-area communications. Assisted by operating in mountainous areas near international borders of sympathetic states. CIA trained limited number of trainees in Colorado. Recruitment mostly from angry, anti-Chinese Tibetan people. Largely ineffective. Inadequate supplies, training, and leadership. Some poor target selection. Largely outclassed by Chinese military units. No cohesive strategy for defeating the colonial occupation.

Tibet's Forgotten Heroes: The Story of Tibet's Armed Resistance Against China by Birgit Van de Wijer


Tibetan Independence Movement - "Middle Way"

1987 - present Tibet Aboveground Low An end to genocidal practices such as population transfer, ethnocide, and forced labor camps. Resistance to ecocide such as mining, siting of military sites, overhunting, and toxic waste dumps. Apply diplomatic and international public pressure on China to withdraw from Tibet International lobbying, United Nations, appeal to morals Religious hierarchy around the Dalai Lama. Moderate, conciliatory approach that does not call for full independence. Aboveground Operating mostly outside of occupied Tibet Working mostly with moderate and religious elements and governments worldwide Some success in raising awareness. Largely ineffective at changing material conditions.

Tibet's Forgotten Heroes: The Story of Tibet's Armed Resistance Against China by Birgit Van de Wijer


Tibetan Independence Movement - Sporadic Uprisings and Grassroots Resistance

1950 - present Tibet Underground Unclear Political and social independence from China. An end to genocidal practices such as population transfer, ethnocide, and forced labor camps. Resistance to ecocide such as mining, siting of military sites, overhunting, and toxic waste dumps. Foment a widespread uprising through well publicized symbolic protest. Unclear if movement is governed by a cohesive strategy. Sabotage, protests, rioting, retaliation against collaborators and security forces, self-immolation (at least 38 monks and nuns since 2009) Unclear. Possibly ad hoc, possibly based around grassroots organizing and community groups. Mostly underground, due to criminalization of protest Unknown Unclear. Grassroots organizing and community-based. Unclear. Some success in raising awareness. Indicative of simmering grassroots opposition.

Tibet's Forgotten Heroes: The Story of Tibet's Armed Resistance Against China by Birgit Van de Wijer


Irish Revolution / War of Independence

1916 - 1921 Ireland Both Medium End of English rule to form a free, independent republic Guerrilla Warfare to make governing Ireland impossible, and the cost of staying in the country so great, that the British would be forced to withdraw Michael Collins formed the Irish Republican Army (IRA) that operated in small “flying columns” of 15-30 men who trained in guerrilla warfare, particularly the hit-and-run raid, the ambush, and terrorist tactics that included assassination. The IRA blew up police and military bases, destroyed coast-guard stations, burned courthouses and tax collectors' offices, and killed many police and military personnel. The paper membership of the IRA, carried over from the Irish Volunteers, was over 100,000 men, Michael Collins estimated that only 15,000 men actively served in the IRA during the course of the war, with about 3,000 on active service at any time. The military wing had a traditional hierarchical structure. Sinn Fein was an aboveground political wing holding most of the seats of the Parliament of Southern Ireland, until the British Government declared it illegal in 1919 and arrested many of its leaders. The military wing was underground, operating in small hit-and-run units. IRA leaders in local areas organized guerrilla activity on their own initiative. The IRA established a network of spies among sympathetic members of the Dublin Metropolitan Police's “G Division” of detectives, and in other branches of the British administration. Collins set up “the Squad”, whose sole duty was to seek out and kill “G-men” and other British spies and agents. Due to the widespread support by the general population, most Irish refused to pass information to the police or to British forces, and often provided “safe houses” and provisions to IRA units “on the run” Heavy repression by the British forces in response to IRA activities created broad support for the IRA across Ireland, and a steady flow of recruits from each locality Partial success. Michael Collins' two-fold strategy of murderous raids and ambushes disrupted normal governance. Many military historians have concluded that the IRA fought a largely successful and lethal guerrilla war which forced the British government to conclude that the IRA could not be defeated militarily. A truce was called in July 1921 and the British Government proposed a partition, with a Irish Free State in the South but Northern Ireland remaining in the UK. This led to an eleven month civil war.

Irish War of Independence (Wikipedia)

Michael Collins (1996)

The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006)

War in the Shadows by Robert B. Asprey


Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN)

1994 - present Mexico Both Medium To protect indigenous autonomy, their connection with their hereditary land, and combat forces of globalization. In addition, they are working to build participatory models of government, following indigenous traditions as well as uniting anti-capitalist forces behind “Zapatismo”. They initially used an armed uprising with a heavy military focus to win some autonomous space. They now work mostly aboveground to create institutions parallel to and in replacement of the Mexican government. They network with other indigenous groups to support autonomy, while interacting as little as possible with the “bad government.”

Their tactics have evolved in the last decades. The EZLN began with a full scale attack on key cities in Chiapas, Mexico, resulting in a war with the government. The war ended with a cease-fire after 12 days, leading to a 1996 peace accord with the government meant to protect indigenous autonomy. Though not actively fighting, they still maintain a formalized underground army with bases of support. The army states that it will not attack nor defend lands with weapons, but is training. If lands are taken by government, the people relocate.

The Mexican government failed to uphold the 1996 treaty, but the Zapatistas have used this period to act as if the treaty is valid, building health, educational, and governmental alternatives to those offered by the Mexican state.

They actively build an international presence to gather donations and support, and also tour Mexico and host large indigenous conferences in the hopes of supporting other indigenous groups in their mission for autonomy. They refuse offers of "aid" and other subsidies from the Mexican government.

The territory is split into 6 “caracoles”, autonomous governments that fall under a larger Zapatista banner, with local community members continuously rotating through positions of power. The “civilian” arm of the group is technically in charge of the “Zapatistas” with the EZLN (the actual army) taking a step back, but there is some debate over how much influence the EZLN commands in reality. Both. The Zapatistas are run by the aboveground arm, with the EZLN in control of the underground army. Lots of secrecy around army whereabouts and activities; participants are not openly armed. Everyone wears signature “pasamontana” mask. Borders to territories are protected by unarmed guards and visitors need permission to enter. Mainly from populations of peasant farmers and indigenous communities. They are struggling to keep recruits because of economic disruption and decreasing crop yields likely resulting from climate change. In addition, the government has engaged in a long paramilitary war with US complicity, using the “drug war” as a ploy to militarize the south of Mexico and undermine autonomy. Very effective. They have been able to protect lands for the last 20 years. Overall, there has been a resurgence in indigenous movements in Mexico and Central America, largely related to the continuing presence of the Zapatistas.

Zapatista Revolution

Towards a history of events in Chiapas

Zapatistas celebrate 10 years of autonomy with ‘escuelita’

The Humility of Love: A Lesson from Chiapas by Frank Coughlin of DGR NY

Enlace Zapatista (ES)


Movement for the Emancipation for the Niger Delta (MEND)

2005 - 2013 Nigeria Underground Medium Majority or total control of oil production/revenues in the Niger Delta (for the Ogoni people) and withdrawal of the Nigerian military from the Niger Delta Totally destroy the capacity of the Nigerian government to export oil in the Niger Delta, force the multinational oil companies to discontinue operations, and likely precipitate a nationwide budgetary and economic crisis.
  • sabotage of oil infrastructure
  • bombing near military, government or oil industry infrastructure or buildings
  • theft
  • guerrilla warfare
  • kidnapping of foreign oil workers for ransom (MEND has a very good record of returning them unharmed)

MEND uses speed boats in swarm-based maneuvers to quickly attack targets in succession. Multiple highly maneuverable, well trained and armed units have kept the government and Shell's defensive systems off-balance defending their sprawling networks (1,000 oil wells, 6,000 km of pipeline over 70,000 square miles).

Very effective use of system disruption: targets have been systematically and accurately selected to completely shut down production and delay and/or halt repairs.

MEND, an umbrella organization, has evolved into a conglomeration of distinct militant groups with constantly shifting alliances and loyalties. Command and control is believed to be hierarchical. Leaders are frequently deposed or replaced by rivals, due to internal conflicts over proceeds from criminal and political activities, and due to Ijaw tradition of choosing tribal leaders on a rotational basis Underground cells with a few spokesmen that communicate with the international media Leaders are always on the move and extremely cautious. They do not take telephone calls personally, knowing that soldiers hunting for them have electronic devices capable of pinpointing mobile phone signals. During raids, fighters wear masks to protect their identity. All communication with the media is conducted using aliases. MEND does not reveal identities of its rank and file and conducts all recruiting clandestinely. The fluid and contradictory organization structure may or may not be by design but is very effective at obscuring the leadership and increasing the operational security of key individuals Draws its fighters from communities across the delta: ethnic militias in the west and from cults (criminal gangs) in the east Has not yet achieved its goal, but its strategy and tactics have been effective, resulting in a cut of more than 28 percent of Nigeria’s oil output from 2006 to 2009. In August 2009, the government offered a 60 day amnesty: militants who handed in their weapons were pardoned for their crimes, given job training and were paid US $410 per month until they found work. But the ceasefire and amnesty ended in December when MEND attacked a Shell/Chevron pipeline amidst questions about President Yar' Adua's health and impatience with the slow pace of job growth.

Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Wikipedia)

Blood Oil

MEND: The Niger Delta’s Umbrella Militant Group

Niger Delta: Behind The Mask

MEND: Anatomy Of A Peoples’ Militia

Politics, Gangs, and Big Oil Spell Disaster in the Niger Delta

Sweet Crude (2007)

Delta Boys (2012)


African National Congress (ANC)

1912 - present South Africa Both Medium Equal rights for all South Africans regardless of ethnicity Put pressure on the South African Apartheid government to implement constitutional reform and return of the freedoms denied under apartheid

Phase One: From 1912 to 1960 the ANC used purely non-violent tactics including strikes, boycotts, protests, demonstrations, education and awareness raising, and alternative/political education.

Phase Two: Following the 1960 Sharpville Massacre, and because non-violent tactics alone were proving ineffective, in 1961 the ANC formed its military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe. (See MK profile for more details.) ANC groups outside South Africa focused on an international boycott of all South African products, and on excluding South Africa from the 1970s Olympics.

Inside South Africa the ANC, though driven underground, continued its non-violent tactics including strikes, protest marches, and distributing leaflets, and worked with student and community groups to challenge the Apartheid government. During the 1980's mass support galvanized around "Release Mandela Committees", and the ANC based the People's War on four pillars: ANC underground activity, united mass action, MK attacks, and an international campaign to isolate the apartheid regime.

From 1912 to 1960, and again after 1990, the ANC elected its President and National Executive to make decisions for the organization, with regional branches for local decision making. The ANC was banned in 1960, so organizing moved out of the country or underground. In the 1980s student, civil, workers', and women's organizations formed to demand political power.

Phase One: Until its banning in 1960, The ANC was an aboveground organization.

Phase Two: Afterwards it continued to work from the underground for a mass mobilization of resistance and to direct the MK military wing.

Phase One: Relaxed, since the ANC wanted to draw as much attention as possible to the issues.

Phase Two: See MK profile

Heavy repression from the Apartheid government radicalized many to join the aboveground and underground movements

Successful at ending apartheid. The combination of the ANC's work to promote mass political struggle with Umkhonto we Sizwe's armed struggle succeeded in pressuring the Apartheid government to unban the ANC in 1990. South Africa's first multiracial elections based on "one person one vote", held in April 1994, resulted in Nelson Mandela of the ANC and of Umkhonto we Sizwe becoming South Africa's first black chief executive.

Unfortunately, the subsequent governments embraced Neocolonialism, which has been a disaster for South Africans. Though the formal structures of apartheid have ended, the economic impacts linger and the country remains one of the most unequal in the world.

History of the African National Congress (Wikipedia)

A Brief History of the African National Congress

Nelson Mandela Resister Profile (PDF)

Long Walk To Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela by Nelson Mandela


Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) / The Spear of the Nation

1961- 1990 South Africa Underground Medium Equal rights for all South Africans regardless of ethnicity Use guerrilla warfare to bring the South African Apartheid government to the bargaining table. The armed struggle was not an end in itself, but a complement to the mass political struggle. The MK strategy evolved through a number of phases:
  • Phase One: early 1960s: sabotage
  • Phase Two: mid 1960s to mid 1970s: political mobilization and developing underground structures
  • Phase Three: mid 1970s to 1983: guerrilla warfare armed attacks
  • Phase Four: 1983 to 1990: 'taking the war into the white areas' / people's war

Phase One: targets included government installations, police stations, electric pylons, pass offices, and other symbols of apartheid rule. In rural areas, there were arson attacks on sugar cane fields and wattle estates.

Phase Two: little MK activity inside South Africa, with MK recruits training in foreign camps.

Phase Three: a shift away from symbolic military actions, with a noticeable increase in armed attacks inside South Africa. MK sabotaged railway lines, bombed Bantu Administration offices, and attacked police stations, oil refineries, fuel depots, the Koeberg nuclear plant, and military targets such as Voortrekkerhoogte. In response to the apartheid government's vicious responses, MK's Special Operations Command ordered attacks against military personnel.

Phase Four: MK attacked economic, strategic, and military installations in white suburbs. They bombed targets such as the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court, banks, beach bars, shopping centers, sports stadiums, and Wimpy Restaurants, causing some civilian casualties. In 1989 MK Special Operations personnel launched a sustained mortar attack on the South African Air Force's secret Three Satellite Radar Station.

Phase One: MK was at all times subordinate to the leadership of the African National Congress (see ANC profile for more details), whose political policy and strategy directed MK's military strategy. MK's structure mirrored that of the ANC, with a National High Command at the top, Regional Commands in each of the provinces, and local commands and cells operating below. The High Command determined tactics and general targets and managed training and finance. Regional Commands selected local targets to attack. Many of the established MK units were allowed a degree of initiative in executing their operations, so long as they remained within policy guidelines.

Phases Two and Three: MK established the Revolutionary Council (RC) in 1969 to train political and military cadres as part of the long-term plan to build a robust underground within South Africa. Until the mid 1970s MK was an 'army in exile' with long and insecure lines of communication, command and control; most actions were launched by units from Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. In 1979, MK created a Special Operations Division to carry out strategic militant attacks from within South Africa.

Phase four: In 1983 the Revolutionary Council was replaced by the Political Military Council (PMC) which controlled and integrated the activities of:

  • Internal Political Committee (responsible for the coordination of ANC political activities within South Africa)
  • Military Headquarters (responsible for the coordination of operations, ordinance, intelligence and communications)
  • NAT (responsible for the co-ordination of civilian intelligence, counter-intelligence and security)
  • Regional PMCs
    • Internal Regional PMCs
      • Area PMCs
        • Local PMCs
  • MKIZA (intelligence division created in the late 1980s to analyze the enemy South African Defence Force)
Underground. Classified as a terrorist organization by the South African government and the United States. MK's original command structure was drawn from the high profile, public resistance campaigns of the 1950s. Lacking experience with underground security, the whole command structure was arrested in 1962. Communication lines were not secure, with breaches resulting in some deaths. The organization operated on a "need to know" basis between cells, levels of the chain-of-command, and different organizational units.

Phases One and Two: Recruitment minimal due to a lack of allies and camps in neighboring countries.

Phase Three: In 1976, high school students led a series of protests against apartheid policies. The protests and the subsequent reprisals and massacres by South African security forces galvanized widespread interest in resistance, especially amongst youths. In the years that followed, several thousand youths fled the country and joined MK.

Phase Four: Similarly, a series of protests and uprisings beginning in September 1984 fueled a new wave of recruits, with more political consciousness than in prior phases thanks to their experiences in mass democratic organizations of the early 80s.

Trying to swell the ranks of a volunteer army perpetually short on recruits, Area PMCs only rejected volunteers on grounds of health or age; volunteers simply had to be against apartheid and have the courage to take up arms. About 10-12,000 members of MK received formal training outside South Africa during the early phases. By the time of negotiations in 1993, MK had about 20-25,000 members.

Successful at ending apartheid. The combination of the ANC's work to promote mass political struggle with Umkhonto we Sizwe's armed struggle succeeded in pressuring the Apartheid government to unban the ANC in 1990. South Africa's first multiracial elections based on "one person one vote", held in April 1994, resulted in Nelson Mandela of the ANC and of Umkhonto we Sizwe becoming South Africa's first black chief executive.

Unfortunately, the subsequent governments embraced Neocolonialism, which has been a disaster for South Africans. Though the formal structures of apartheid have ended, the economic impacts linger and the country remains one of the most unequal in the world.

Umkhonto we Sizwe (Wikipedia)

Umkhonto weSizwe (South African History Online)

The other armies: A brief historical overview of MK, 1961-1994 (The South African Military History Society)

Operations Report

Structure, Training and Force Levels (1984 TO 1994)

Nelson Mandela Resister Profile (PDF)


Freedom Riders

1961 (May - September) US - southern states Aboveground High End racial segregation in US interstate buses and in the waiting rooms and restaurants of terminals serving them Prompt law changes by focusing publicity on the segregation laws of the Southern states Using mixed racial groups, ride interstate buses into the Southern states to violate laws and customs enforcing segregation in bus seating and in terminals. Use the expected mob violence to generate widespread publicity. The first Freedom Ride was led by CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) Director and 13 riders (7 white/6 black). CORE was a non-violent organisation that was originally formed by a group of students. Aboveground, as they wanted to attract as much publicity as possible to their cause Unarmed and committed to non-violent response to the expected mob violence, they did receive training on how to absorb beatings as safely as possible. Otherwise, as a well publicized, aboveground campaign, they had minimal concern with security. From small beginnings, the ferocity of the attacks on the Freedom Riders recruited hundreds, mainly students, to their cause. About 450 riders actually took part in the Freedom Rides, about 75% male and under 30, with equal numbers of black and white. The mob violence inflicted upon the Freedom Riders with collusion by local police, including beatings and petrol bombing of a bus, shocked the public and attracted international attention to the cause. Eventually President Kennedy was forced to intervene and make a stand that the federal government would no longer allow southern localities to violate federal laws. New policies went into effect November 1, 1961, allowing passengers to sit wherever they pleased on interstate buses and trains; outlawing racially segregated drinking fountains, toilets and waiting rooms; and requiring lunch counters to serve all customers regardless of race.

Freedom Riders (Wikipedia)

Freedom Rides (

Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice by Raymond Arsenault

Breach of Peace: Portraits of the 1961 Mississippi Freedom Riders by Eric Etheridge

Freedom Rides by James Peck

"He Was My Brother" by Simon and Garfunkel


Mohawk Warriors

1971 - 1996 Canada & US - Quebec & New York Both Medium Protect Mohawk cultural values, establish self governance, and assert authority over traditional Mohawk lands Secure land, become economically self sufficient, and raise awareness by supporting other Mohawk communities in conflict with the state ​Blockades and occupations; raising funds by protecting unregulated casinos, bars, and gasoline stations and trade in tobacco, alcohol, guns and drugs; deterring police and army incursions into their land by staying heavily armed. Mixture of traditional tribal council, military cell structure organised by Vietnam War veterans in conflict situations, and hierarchical structure for organisation of revenue generating enterprises. ​Initially aboveground but became increasingly involved in criminal activity ​Operated from Mohawk reserves that were police 'no-go zones', and operated secret supply lines across the border of the USA and Canada ​From more militant and entrepreneurial members of the Mohawk people, particularly youth ​The Mohawk Warriors secured land for economic self sufficiency and established themselves as an imposing force, with state authorities afraid to enter their territory. However, to accomplish this, the traditional Mohawk value of respect for the earth and principles of the Longhouse tradition were sacrificed as the Mohawk Warriors became increasingly involved in criminal activity that polluted the land and disregarded the well-being of the community.

Roots of the Mohawk Crisis

Mohawk Warrior Manifesto

History of Mohawk Warriors

People of the Pines: The Warriors and the Legacy of Oka by Geoffrey York (1999)


​Nat Turner's Fighters

1831 (August) US - ​Southampton County, Virginia Underground Medium Liberate slaves Start an uprising of slaves against masters ​​Nat Turner (a slave) believed he had instruction from God to slay his master and liberate slaves. He killed his master and family and then went from plantation to plantation killing slave owners and their families, collecting weapons and liberating slaves to join the group and continue the mission. Informal hierarchical structure led by Nat Turner and 4 original trusted slaves that, at its peak, instructed 60 other slaves and free blacks ​Underground until the rebellion became known and Nat Turner and his group clashed with a white militia group ​Nat Turner confided in 4 fellow slaves who secretly spread plans of the rebellion to wider circles with meetings being coordinated through the singing of code songs whilst they worked. ​​Mostly​ through liberated slaves joining the rebellion

​​Nat Turner and his group led the only effective slave rebellion in U.S history, liberating 70 slaves and killing 55 whites. Nat Turner was captured, hung and then skinned and the majority of the rebels involved in the insurrection (and many that weren't) were later tried and executed. In reprisal attacks, white mobs killed about 200 black slaves and free men and new laws were passed that further repressed slaves and free blacks.

The rebellion scared the people of the Southern states, added fuel to the abolitionist movement in the Northern states and was used as an iconic example by people and groups standing up to white oppression in later years.

Nat Turner Biography (

Nat Turner (

Nat Turner's Rebellion (

Prophet - The Story of Nat Turner by Kenya Cagle

The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron


​Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

1943 Poland - Warsaw Underground Medium Stop the deportation of Jews to extermination camps Armed revolt against SS guards who entered the ghetto to collect Jews for deportation ​​A resistance group in the ghetto, the 'Jewish Fighters Organisation' (ZOB), accumulated a small cache of weapons through smuggling and making them. They used guerrilla warfare tactics of attacking the SS guards and then escaping using tunnels, sewers and rooftops. Military cell structure led by Mordechai Anielewicz, with links to underground Polish resistance groups outside the ghetto ​Underground

​Of the upmost importance. The ZOB established a prison inside the ghetto to hold and execute traitors and collaborators like the Jewish Police.

Smuggling of food and weapons into the ghetto through the walls and secret tunnels was necessary to supply the resistance, with the risk to those caught smuggling being shot on sight.

From anyone willing to join the resistance inside the ghetto. It is estimated that 750 pople joined the resistance, most of whom were young men.

​​The uprising was the largest single revolt by Jews during World War II. The Nazi forces planned to clear the ghetto of 50,000 in 3 days but the uprising killed seveal hundred SS guards and delayed the clearance by one month. It is estimated that 7,000 Jews were killed in the uprising by SS guards who resorted to systematically demolishing and burning buildings in the ghetto.

The uprising gave inspiration to future resistance movements and demonstrated the honor of the Jewish people who, certain of their death, chose to die fighting, inflicting damage on their oppressors instead of being led compliantly to extermination camps. Although there were few survivors, those who resisted had a better chance of survival than those passively led to concentration camps.

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (Encyclopaedia Brittanica)

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (

Border Street (1948)

The Bravest Battle: The Twenty-eight Days Of The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising by Dan Kurzman


​Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC)

1999 - 2014 England & US Both, w/firewall Low Close Huntingdon Life Science (HLS) Make HLS unprofitable ​​Direct targeting of HLS and its employees through lawful protest, sabotage, harassment, intimidation and violent attacks. Also secondary and tertiary targeting of HLS's shareholders and business partners, and their business partners. The underground was leaderless, non-hierarchical, and operated as small autonomous cells carrying out direct actions according to SHAC guidelines. The aboveground advocated for underground direct action, suggested targets, and raised funds and public awareness. ​Both, with firewall between ​Underground actions were executed anonymously, and the organizational structure made SHAC difficult to infiltrate. If members were arrested, they had little information to give authorities. The aboveground encouraged the public to join aboveground campaigns, or to carry out underground actions against targets suggested by SHAC. Funding and general support increased in the UK after the broadcast of a documentary showing the treatment of animals inside HLS. In the US, SHAC received support and recruits from sympathetic musical subcultures.

Suppliers and customers distanced themselves from HLS, its share price plummeted, and the company was dropped from both the London and New York Stock Exchanges. But HLS remains open because the UK Government bailed it out with banking and insurance services, and because HLS moved its financial center to the US to take advantage of anonymity laws.

The SHAC campaign was ended only after multiple laws were passed in the UK and US that targeted the methods used by SHAC. Relatively few arrests have been made and most cases remain unsolved.

SHAC Attack

The SHAC Method: A critical assessment

SHAC Ends: We Made History...The Future is Ours

Terrorist: SHAC 7 (2010)


Earth Liberation Front (ELF)

1992 - present England (originally), now in over 17 countries Underground Low Stop the exploitation and destruction of the environment Stop environmentally destructive businesses through attrition: inflict more economic damage than they can absorb Economic sabotage via attacks on property using arson, sabotage, and bombings Leaderless, non-hierarchical, small autonomous cells. ​Actions are carried out by underground cells. The North American Earth Liberation Front Press Office (NAELFPO), an aboveground support group, focused on outreach, prisoner support, and raising funds and awareness. ​When security culture is followed, its decentralized autonomous cells make the ELF difficult to infiltrate, and if a member is arrested they can give little information to authorities. The NAELFPO allowed underground cells to securely publicize actions. Mostly indirect. Public outreach and press releases about underground actions inspire individuals and affinity groups to carry out actions of their own. A direct action can be considered an ELF action if it causes economic damage to those exploiting the environment, educates the public, and takes all reasonable precautions to avoid harming human or non-human life.

The ELF's strategy of attrition has not inflicted enough losses to offset the profits of extractive and destructive industries. Though activists have caused more than $100 million in damages in various attacks, and slowed or halted many projects, the impact has been negligible on industrial expansion as a whole.

Despite being named by the FBI as the leading domestic terrorism threat, relatively few arrests have been made and most cases remain unsolved.

Fanning the Flames

FAQ about ELF from NAELFPO

Ecoterrorism; Extremism in the Animal Rights and Environmentalist Movements

Burning Rage of a Dying Planet: Speaking for The Earth Liberation Front by Craig Rosebraugh


The Animal Liberation Front (ALF)

1976 - present England (originally), now in over 40 countries Underground Low End all animal suffering Force animal abuse organizations out of business through attrition: inflict more economic damage than they can absorb ​​Direct release of animals, plus attacks on property using arson, sabotage, and bombings Leaderless, non-hierarchical, small autonomous cells. ​Actions are carried out by underground cells. The aboveground Animal Liberation Front Support Group focuses on outreach, fund raising, prisoner support, and raising awareness. ​​When security culture is followed, its decentralized autonomous cells make the ALF difficult to infiltrate, and if a member is arrested they can give little information to authorities. The ALF Support Group allows underground cells to securely publicize actions. Mostly indirect. Public outreach and press releases about underground actions inspire individuals and affinity groups to carry out actions of their own. A person or group can be considered a member of ALF if they are vegetarian or vegan and carry out an act that furthers the cause of animal liberation, where all reasonable precautions are taken not to harm human or non-human life.

The ALF's strategy of attrition has not inflicted enough losses to offset the profits of the animal industry. Though activists have released tens of thousands of animals, caused tens of millions of dollars of damage, and forced the closure of many targeted organisations, the impact has been negligible on the industry as a whole.

Despite being named by the FBI's Counterterrorism Division in 2004 as one of "the most active criminal extremist elements in the United States", relatively few of those responsible have been captured and most cases remain unsolved.​​

FAQ by ALF Support Group

Ecoterrorism: Extremism in the Animal Rights and Environmentalist Movements

Animal Liberation Front: Complete Diary of Actions by Peter Daniel Young


Chilean Resistance

1973 - 1990 Chile Both High Replace the dictatorship led by General Augusto Pinochet with a democratically elected government Pressure the dictatorship to hold democratic elections The resistance split into a minority who used sabotage, bombings and assassinations and a much larger group who used non-violent tactics of strikes, monthly protests and creative expressions of non-violent civil-disobedience. The Chilean Resistance was an umbrella term encompassing many groups, each with its own structure, opposing the dictatorship of General Pinochet. Despite ideological differences, the diverse groups, including churches, universities, labor unions, and communist organizations, worked together. ​Both ​Underground groups needed to operate in complete secrecy, as discovered members would be arrested and often 'disappear'. Aboveground actions also needed to be organised secretly as security forces and the army wene used to violently quell opposition. Despite repression, journalists spread information of forthcoming actions though newspapers, magazines and radio. The Catholic Church was in opposition to the dictatorship and churches encouraged their congregations to resist. General Pinochet held a plebiscite (referendum) in 1988 concerning his continued leadership of the country, to which 55% of the population said 'no'. He retained control of the military which later refused to support him and in 1990 he officially left office to be replaced by a democratically elected president.

Chileans overthrow Pinochet regime

Chile, Struggle against a military dictator

Salvador Allende (2004)

A Nation of Enemies: Chile Under Pinochet by Pamela Constable


Libyan Resistance

1911 - 1951 Libya Underground Low Complete Italian withdrawal from Libya A war of attrition against the occupying forces to make the occupation economically unfeasible and politically unpopular Guerrilla warfare tactics of bombings, ambushes, sabotage and assassination; and conventional warfare when joined by international armies The resistance was comprised of many tribal groups, each with its own organizational structure. The most prominent group was the Islamo-political group, the Senussi, organized in a hierarchical way based on Islamic traditions. ​Underground ​For many years the resistance forces controlled the interior of Libya, a safe haven from which they could operate and plan attacks. Individuals and groups were encouraged to join the resistance for nationalistic and religious reasons. The resistance was a formidable obstacle to Itay's control of Libya. However, the resistance forces were weak, and until its defeat in WWII, Italy held almost total control of Libya. Allied forces held Libya for 6 years after the war, until it gained full independence in 1951.

Libya: the Bitter Fruits of Italian Colonialism

Libya: The Italian Occupation and the Libyan Resistance

Libyan History: Italian Colonization

Lion of the Desert (1981)

Libya: A Country Study by Helen Chapin Metz


French Resistance

1940 - 1944 France Underground Medium Expel the occupying Nazi forces and puppet Vichy government Make the occupation of France as difficult as possible and to assist the invasion by Allied forces Guerrilla warfare tactics of bombings, assassination, and sabotage, with assitance via funds and arms air dropped by Allied forces. French resisters gathered intelligence about German targets to pass to Allied forces, and provided escape routes for Allied soldiers trapped behind enemy lines. The French Resistance was an umbrella term covering many groups in France, encouraged to unite by Jean Moulin, and led by Charles De Gaul broadcasting messages from England. The groups followed a hierarchical military structure. ​Underground ​Secrecy was paramount as people discovered to be in resistance groups were sent to concentration camps. Resistance members hid amongst civilians and held meetings in secret. Underground resistance newspapers boosted morale and encouraged people to join resistance groups. Resistance groups contributed to the success of the Allied D-Day landings in June 1944 by providing intelligence to the Allies and carrying out widespread sabotage against Nazi transportation and communication infrastructure. The French Resistance fighters joined the Allied forces in openly fighting the Nazis, recapturing Paris and then all of France in August 1944. General Eisenhower estimated the value of the Resistance as equivalent to 100-150,000 soldiers.

The French Resistance (Scrapbookpages)

The French Resistance (World War 2 Database)

The French Resistance (History Learning Site)

The Army of Shadows (1969)

The Sorrow and the Pity (1969)

The Resistance: The French Fight Against the Nazis by Matthew Cobb


Armenian Resistance

1915 - 1917 Armenia Underground Low Avoid deportation, likely leading to death, of the Armenian people to Syria and Mosul by the Turkish army Resist the deportation By 1915 the Turkish army had conscripted all Armenian males aged 18-52 into WWI and confiscated the majority of Armenian weapons. In 7 major instances, towns and villages resisted deportation by taking refuge in easily defensible local areas and using what weapons they had to militarily oppose the Turkish army. Previous Armenian leaders had already been deported or executed, resulting in no central organization of the resistance. Villages improvised responses as news of deportations and refugees reached them, likely based on existing power structures of the people. ​Underground ​Unnecessary Although the decision making process is unknown, once a village decided to resist the deportations, people supported the resistance however they could. Women often played important roles, as many men had already been conscripted into WWI. The Turkish army killed an estimated 1 to 1.5 million Armenians during the deportations. Most villages which resisted the deportations fought valiantly despite being vastly outnumbered and outgunned, but were defeated, with survivors massacred. Allied forces intervened in time to make the resistance in Van and Musa Dagh successful at saving 40,000 lives.

Large-scale deportations of Armenians begin in Turkey

Armenian Resistance to Genocide: An Attempt to Assess Circumstances and Outcomes

Armenian Genocide (2006)

Armenian Golgotha: A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide by Grigoris & Peter Balakian


Philippine Resistance

1942 - 1945 Philippines Underground Medium End the military occupation of the Philippines by Japanese forces Weaken Japanese control, gather intelligence to assist the invasion of Allied forces, and join Allied forces in fighting the Japanese after the invasion Guerrilla warfare of sabotage, bombings and ambushes; and smuggling of gathered intelligence to an American base in Australia. The resistance avoided direct confrontation with Japanese forces for fear of reprisals on civilians. Many guerrilla groups shared the goal of expelling the occupying Japanese forces. They initially acted independently employing various organizational structures, but later became more organized and coordinated by General MacArthur of the US Army in a military style hierarchy. ​Underground ​Secrecy was important, but the guerrilla groups mostly operated safely from the interior of the country where the Japanese were rarely active. Despite these precautions, the Japanese did discover some guerrilla bases and execute members.

Existing Filipino political groups and unsurrendered US and Filipino army battalions converted into guerrilla cells.

Recruitment also took place through campaigns that focussed on villages where people had suffered under the Japanese and were more likely to join resistance groups. Coercion in the form of threats to potential members and their families was also used to recruit new members.

By the time of the US invasion in 1945, Japanese forces controlled only twelve of the forty-eight provinces. The guerrilla forces played a vital role in the successful invasion of the Philippines by US forces and the surrender of the Japanese.

Guerrillas in the Philippines

Bataan Diary

The Philippine Resistance Movement


Algerian Resistance

1854 - 1962 Algeria Underground High Expel the French colonial forces and to form an independent Algerian state within the framework of the principles of Islam Make the continued occupation of Algeria economically unfeasible and politically unpopular in France Hit and run guerrilla warfare tactics of, bombings, sabotage, and assassinations Hierarchical structure that controlled the activities of groups in sectors based on Ottoman-era administrative boundaries ​Underground ​A national state of emergency was announced with capital punishment imposed on those found guilty of a crime with a political motive. The National Liberation Front (FLN) established itself as the main nationalist organization opposing French rule, based their headquarters in the safety of Egypt, and broadcast instructions to cells in Algeria. After launching attacks, members would retreat into hiding or melt into the civilian population. The FLN recruited new members though either coercing or co-opting smaller organizations to join. Algeria gained full independence in 1962 with the signing of the Evian Accords, with a cost of between 300,000 (French estimate) and 1.5 million (FLN estimate) Algerian casualites and over 2 million forcibly relocated.

Algerian Resistance Against the French

The War of Algeria’s Independence – 1954-62

Algerian National Liberation (1954-1962)

The Battle of Algiers (1966)

La Guerre d’Algérie (The Algerian War) (1972)

A Savage War Of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962 by Alistair Horne


Russian October (Bolshevik) Revolution

1917 Russia - Petrograd, Moscow and the land between Aboveground Medium End Russia's involvement in WWI, distribute land to peasants, and strengthen the Russian nation Seize power from the unpopular provisional government, which took temporary control when the earlier February Revolution overthrew the rule of the Tsars Widespread workers strikes and rural peasant uprisings weakened the foundations of the capitalist system. In a military operation led by Lenin and supported by the Red Guard army organized by Trotsky, the revolutionaries took control of Petrograd including the provisional government's headquarters in the Winter Palace. After two weeks of conflict, they later took control of Moscow. Several groups collaborated to enable the revolution, but the Bolshevik party ended up in control. The Bolsheviks followed the socialist theory of Lenin, that initially strong leadership with a centralized state must be formed. In theory, the masses would increasingly taking control, and the state would eventually "wither away". Once in power, the Bolshevik party outlawed other parties and became strictly hierarchical. ​Aboveground ​Minimally necessary The revolution was supported by the Bolshevik Party, the Left Social Revolutionary Party, and the anarchists whose supporters covered large parts of the population. The Left Social Revolutionary Party had strong support from the peasant class.

After the revolution Russia became the worlds first declared socialist state, and withrew its forces from WWI.

Lenin's idea of socialism was never achieve as the Bolsheviks centralized their party, becoming isolated from the working class. The state didn't "wither away," instead becoming a monolithic, one-party, centralized dictatorship. Stalin eventually took over, and became one of the most murderous dictators in history.

Bitesize, The October Revolution

The Leninist Theory of Organisation

Anarchist Organisation not Leninist Vanguardism

Red October, The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 by Robert Daniels


Chechen Resistance

1994 - present Chechnya & Russia Both Medium Independence from Russia, and an Islamic revival Defend Chechnya from Russian occupation, and bring the conflict to the Russian people on Russian soil

Guerrilla warfare tactics from trained and well supplied cells capable of operating independently or together. Coordination allowed larger scale operations against Russian troops in Chechnya, such as the taking of the Capital, Grozny, in 1996.

Bombings, assassinations, and kidnappings in Russia, particularly Moscow.

Hierarchical military style organization, although at times guerrilla cells operated autonomously ​Both ​In Russian controlled Chechnya secrecy is essential as there are frequent reports of those displaying opposition being tortured, kidnapped, and killed Recruitment mostly occurred from within Chechnya in response to nationalisic, Islamic and anti-Russian sentiments. Some foreign fighters are recruited through the guise of fighting for Islam, but Moscow often overestimates these numbers to claim defense against international Islamic terrorism. Despite repelling the might of the Russian army and causing many casualties on Russian soil, Chechnya is currently under Russian rule in the form of a puppet government. Extreme interpretations of Islam have been flourishing in Chechnya as aspects of Sharia Law are enforced in many places.

Chechen Nationalism and the Tragedy of the Struggle for Independence

Islam in Chechnya


Russia’s bitter relationship with Chechnya

The Chechen Resistance and Radiological Terrorism

A Dirty War: A Russian Reporter in Chechnya by Anna Politkovskaya


Red Army Faction (Baader Meinhof Group) (RAF)

1970 - 1998 West Germany Underground Low Destroy the West German capitalist system which had prominent positions held by ex-Nazis, and expel the imperialist USA The RAF lacked a coherent strategy. Their actions centered on symbolic attacks, intended to trigger a wider revolutionary movement through inspiration and by forcing the government to anger the masses with overbearing responses. Bank robberies to raise funds; and urban guerrilla tactics including bombings, arson, and assassinations targeting government, big businesses, and foreign imperialists. The first phase of the RAF actions were carried out by a single group consisting of founders Ulrike Meinhoff & Andreas Badder with a small group of associates. When most of the original members were arrested, separate cells formed in support of the prisoners and to continue the strategy of the RAF. The cells organized into a system of interacting circles of leaders selecting targets, commandos arranging logistics, and militants executing the plans. ​Underground C​ells were organized through contact with a single person and members only knew each other by code names. The RAF had a general level of support for their activities in West Germany, and recruited young people who supported their cause. Other groups with shared goals assisted in operations and training ― e.g. 'June 2' movement in Germany and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) in Palestine. Despite high profile bombings and assassinations and having some sympathy amongst the public and support from other groups, the RAF failed to achieve their stated goals.

Who were the Baader-Meinhof gang?

Red Army Faction (Global Terrorism)

Red Army Faction (Encyclopaedia Britannica)

"We wanted to push the revolutionary process forward"

The Baader Meinhof Complex (2008)

Red Army Faction Volume 1: Projectiles for the People by J. Smith


Spanish Anarchist Revolution

1936 - 1939 Spain, primarily Catalonia Aboveground Low Oppose the fascist coup of Franco's Nationalist party and overthrow capitalism Militarily oppose the facist coup and create institutions of decentralized workers' self management of production Strikes, bombings, arson attacks, seizing and collectivizing land and factories, seizing guns and weapons from military barracks

Hierarchical, decentralized and based on workers councils, with power held by small groups of people deciding their goals and plans through democratic votes. To scale up to larger scale organizing, workers councils elected delegates to make decisions at more executive layers. Thus, although the organizational structure was hierarchical, the flow of power was from bottom to top, rather than top to bottom.

The military organized on a similar model, with delegates taking positions of command but with less authority than a traditional military hierarchy. This model made it relatively slow to develop and execute strategy.

The workers seized, ran, and managed the means of production, and elected delegates for decision making.

​Aboveground ​Minimally necessary, as they stayed to areas they controlled Members were initially recruited from existing workers unions to form the CNT, a national union. Once organized, members marched to towns and villages to encourage people to take control of the land and to recruit new members.

The anarchist revolution successfully took control of 60% of the country and, for a short time, ran it according to anarchist principles. They failed to take complete power from the Popular Front government which, although elected, continually acted in the interests of the bourgeoisie and capitalists. The anarchists claimed they didn't take power from the government to avoid forming a dictatorship themselves, and to concentrate their efforts on fighting Franco's fascist uprising. Others claim that the anarchist revolutionaries doubted the ability of the masses to govern themselves.

The revolution ended when the revolutionaries collaborated with the capitalist government and distanced themselves from the workers and militia. Franco, supported by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, took power when the workers and militia became disillusioned by the betrayal by their leaders.

Anarchists in the Spanish Civil War

Does revolutionary Spain show that libertarian socialism can work in practice?

Land and Freedom

Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell

The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Revolution and Revenge by Paul Preston


Ka'apor Indian Warriors

2014 (August) - present Brazil - Northeast Aboveground High Stop the illegal destruction of the forest in the region where the Ka'apor live Force illegal loggers off the land Destroying illegal logging camps and equipment, and beating loggers and sending them off the land Warrior division of the Ka'apor people, with consensus decision making based on intimately knowing and trusting each other ​Aboveground ​Minimally necessary, as the region is remote Not necessary, beyond engaging an existing warrior division of the group The Ka'apor have greatly reduced illegal logging activities in the region. It's yet to be seen if the illegal loggers will return or retaliate.

Amazon Warriors Fight for Their Trees

Ka'apor warriors in the Amazon confront illegal loggers

Indigenous warriors take on illegal loggers in Brazil's Amazon


Turkey - Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) Conflict

1984 - present Southeast Turkey Both Low Initially: create an independent Kurdish state. Later: create an autonomous Kurdish state with greater political and cultural rights for Kurds within Turkey. Militant uprising in Kurdish parts of Turkey Guerrilla attacks using bombings, assassinations, and kidnappings of security and civilian targets; financed by extorting money and drug smuggling. Hierarchical, with different cells and a complex web of support ​Both, with political representation in the form of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) The PKK mostly operate from Kurdish areas where they have general support and are difficult to infiltrate. ​Further, a complex recruitment process helps identify spies, and communication between cells is minimized. The PKK target culturally and socially oppressed Kurdish youths for recruitment. The general public in Kurdish areas feels that to join is a heroic and noble act. The PKK has not achieved any of its stated aims, but their activities have caused 8,500 casualties in Turkey and have cost the Turkish economy an estimated 300 billion dollars in lost tourism. They are considered a powerful force in the region.


How Does the PKK Recruit?

PKK begins to withdraw from Turkey

Blood and Belief: The PKK and the Kurdish Fight for Independence by Aliza Marcus


Partisans during WWII

1939 - 1945 24 countries of Europe, former USSR, and East Asia Underground High Expel occupying Nazi and Japanese forces Assist Allied forces and hinder the operations of occupying Nazi and Japanese forces Ranged from non-cooperation to openly confronting German forces, but mostly guerrilla tactics of sabotage and ambushes. Partisans passed intelligence to Allied forces; and hid crashed pilots, prisoners of war, & Jews. Varied from country to country, but generally organized in a military hierarchy or according to the principles of communist ideology. Groups acted independently at first, but British and U.S intelligence agencies increasingly organized them to act collectively. ​Underground ​Secrecy was paramount as Nazi and Japanese forces ruthlessly exploited slips in security. Partisans published and distributed underground newspapers within occupied countries to boost morale and recruit for resistance movements. Allied forces broadcast and air dropped propaganda encouraging resistance to occupation. As the partisans organized and increased in numbers they grew from a nuisance to a significant hindrance to the occupying forces. They won some impressive individual victories, and are believed to have played a vital role overall in the ultimate Allied victory.

WW2 Resistance Movements

Partisans, War in the Balkans


German Resistance during WWII

1939 - 1945 Germany Underground Low Remove the Nazi regime and save the lives of Jews and others deemed undesirable by the Nazis Hinder Nazi operations in Germany and stop deportations to concentration camps Symbolic opposition from the Catholic Church, resistance from youths to attend compulsory Nazi youth camps, protests, distribution of anti-Nazi propaganda, saving individual or small groups of Jews from concentration camps, sabotage of infrastructure, and assassination attempts on Hitler Varied, from individuals operating alone, to small groups of friends, to undercover military operations ​Underground ​Various measures were taken to maintain secrecy, but most members of resistance groups were discovered and executed or sent to concentration camps From existing networks, and through distribution of leaflets and posters Some small victories: the wives of thousands of Jewish men sent to concentration camps won release for their husbands with the Rosenstrasse protests, and Schindler saved an estimated 1200 Jews. However, with the German population largely supporting the Nazi regime, the German resistance played only a small part in its defeat, and were unsuccessful in saving the lives of 6 million Jews.

German Resistance to Hitler

10 Awesome groups of Germans who resisted the Nazis

Schindler's List (1993)

Rosenstrasse (2003)

Sophie Scholl: the Final Days (2005)

Valkyrie (2008)

Disobeying Hitler: German Resistance After Valkyrie by Randall Hansen


Forest Guerrillas

1921 (November) - 1922 (March) Finland Underground Low Secession of East Karelia from Soviet Russia and inclusion in the newly formed Finnish state Destroy the controlling Soviet forces in the region Guerrilla warfare tactics of assassinations and open conflict with Soviet forces Traditional military hierarchy ​Underground ​Fighters planned and launched attacks from the safety of Finland The Finnish state did not officially support the uprising for fear of reprisals from Russia but encouraged volunteers to join, turning a blind eye to men and supplies crossing the Finnish-Russian border. Because of the largely Finnish ethnic origins of East Karelia, the uprising had popular support in Finland. The uprising failed. The superior Soviet army and the harsh winter killed many of the Forest Guerrillas, and the remainder retreated to Finland. Under threat of an attack on Helsinki, the Finland government signed an agreement with Russia on the inviolability of the Soviet–Finnish border.

The Heimosodat (The Finnish Kinship Wars of 1918-1922)

Finland's Civil War 1918: Red & White Suomi and the Kinship Wars, 1918-1922

The Forest Guerrillas: A Story of the Partisans of Lake Ilmen by Piotr Pavlenko



1647 - 1650 England Aboveground Low Constitutional reform and equal rights under the law for men, excluding servants and those dependent on charity Use propaganda to influence soldiers and others to support demands of constitutional reform of UK Parliament Pamphlets, petitions, and books, including The Agreement of the People. Sought and found support among army's rank and file. Developed their own traditions of free discussion and vigorous petitioning and used them to formulate and advance their demands. Organized as a national coalition of democratic chapters, with meetings often held at local taverns. ​Aboveground ​No information available. Little information available, but seems to have been largely via the spread of their ideas. Members often came from the "middling sort" of the population such as tradespeople, artisans and shopkeepers. Ineffective at achieving their goals, but helped influence the ideas of the American and French revolutions. The elimination of the Levellers as an organized political movement did not obliterate the ideas they helped propagate.

The Levellers and the Tradition of Dissent

The Levellers

The Levellers: A Chronology and Bibliography


Diggers, or True Levellers

1648 - 1650 England Aboveground Low Absolute human equality - including equality between men and women. The abolition of private property. Make the land available to every person to dig and sow, with common ownership of the land Nonviolent seizure of unused land, holding it for the common good. Pamphlets to spread propaganda. Local, with little centralized organization. Possibly received help from some Levellers. Informal relations between communities. ​Aboveground ​No information available Little information available, but seems to have been largely via the spread of their ideas. Ineffective at achieving their goals. Though they initiated several land seizures and struck some symbolic blows against the halls of wealth and power, all occupations were quickly crushed by local land owners and the army.

The Diggers and the Levellers

Gerrard Winstanley & The Diggers


Black Panthers

1966 - 1982 US - first California. Later it spread nationally and internationally Aboveground Medium Initially to protect the residents of African American neighborhoods from police brutality. Later they sought Marxist revolutionary goals with equality in education, housing, employment, and civil rights. Militant revolution against the exploitative capitalist system, where the economic and political roots of racism are found.

Having a firm ideological foundation. Visibly arming themselves, being knowledgeable about the law and patrolling African American neighborhoods to prevent police brutality and oppression.

Running 'Survival programs' that provided community help such as tuberculosis testing, legal aid, transportation assistance, ambulance services, the manufacture and distribution of free shoes, free breakfasts for children and education that promoted class consciousness.

Protests that raised awareness about police brutality.

Attempted assassinations of witnesses who testified against Black Panther members.

Based on Marxist - Leninist principles with an authoritarian style of leadership. Individual chapters had some autonomy, but the Central Committee in Oakland dictated important decisions. ​Aboveground ​Each Black Panther member had to learn and follow a 26 point list aimed at ensuring security and good public relations. Infiltration by informants and the FBI as part of COINTELPRO seriously impacted the Black Panthers, who endured assassinations of members and the instigation of violent conflict with other groups. Partially through operating within, maintaining good relations with, and publishing and distributing newspapers within African American communities. They also cultivated outside support by uniting with other minority and white revolutionary groups. The actions of the Black Panthers unified, mobilized, and empowered people in oppressed African American neighbourhoods and provided inspiration to other oppressed groups. Their actions achieved some of their goals but, many were symbolic. The US Government feared even this symbolic success; in 1968, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover described the Black Panthers as "the greatest threat to the internal security of the country." The Black Panther Party slowly imploded under pressure from COINTELPRO and infighting.

Black Panther Party

An Ideal Blueprint: The Original Black Panther Party Model and Why It Should Be Duplicated

Anarchism and the Black Revolution - Lorenzo Komboa Ervin

Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (2015)

The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party by Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin


Sobibor Concentration Camp uprising

1943 Poland Underground High Escape from the concentration camp, to avoid certain death Create conditions for a mass escape from the camp, to avoid reprisal killing by SS guards of ten prisoners for every escapee Lure guards one by one into secluded areas to quietly kill them and use their uniforms as disguises, leading prisoners outside of the gates during a roll call. Plotters cut phone lines and sabotaged vehicles to prevent calling in of outside assistance. Military style hierarchy Underground Plotters informed only a select few of the escape plans to minimize the risk of betrayal Initiated by Leon Feldhendler and a group of close associates who recognized they lacked members with military experience. They targeted recently arrived prisoners with military experience for recruitment, including Aleksander "Sasha" Pechersky who eventually led the uprising. Of 550 prisoners, 400 used the opportunity to escape. The Germans executed those who remained, and during the escape attempt and the ensuing manhunt, killed all but 58 of those 400. Despite only a small number of survivors, many more lived than if they had gone along passively to their deaths. Further, the Germans permanently closed the camp after the uprising.

Sobibór: The Other Great Escape


Sobibor Uprising

Escape From Sobibor (1987)

Escape from Sobibor by Richard Rashke


Niger Delta Avengers

March 2016 - Present Nigeria Underground Medium To create a sovereign state in the Niger Delta and withdrawal of Nigerian military and International oil companies from the area. The NDA wants a bigger share of the Niger Delta's resource wealth to go to the region's people, and it wants some sort of environmental remediation after decades of rampant oil and gas pollution. Cripple the Nigerian economy by totally destroying the government's capacity to export oil in the Niger Delta, forcing the multinational oil companies to discontinue operations.
  • sabotage of oil infrastructure
  • bombing near military, government or oil industry infrastructure or buildings
  • guerrilla warfare

NDA uses speedboats in swarm-based manoeuvres and coordinates underwater attacks on gas and oil pipeline infrastructure. Multiple highly manoeuvrable, well trained and armed units have kept the government, Chevron and Shell's defensive systems off-balance defending their sprawling networks, bringing Nigeria’s oil output to a 20 year low.

Very effective use of systems disruption: targets have been systematically and accurately selected to completely shut down production and delay and/or halt repairs.

Members are a group of young, well-travelled and educated men. They appear to be highly trained individuals, some of whom, according to NDA claims, have infiltrated the Nigerian military. Underground cells with a few spokesmen who communicate with the international media The NDA are highly secretive and little is known of their internal strategies at this early stage. Has not yet achieved its goal, but its strategy and tactics have been effective, resulting in the country losing about 1.3 million barrels of crude oil daily due to the bombing, and is no longer Africa’s top oil producer.

Wikipedia timeline of activities

Nigeria faces 'almost impossible' fight against 'Niger Delta Avengers'


Rojava Revolution

2012 - present Rojava, formerly Syria Aboveground High Self-determinism for Kurdish people Transformation of society through equality of the sexes, minority rights, equal distribution of wealth, social ecology and permaculture Direct democracy in social organization and armed resistance in fighting ISIS and securing the revolution

Democratic Confederalism - anarchist/libertarian-socialist communal structure, multicultural and consensus based.

There are four armed groups:

  • Women's Protection Unit (YPJ), the women-only wing of the military
  • Peoples Protection Units (YPG), the mixed sex wing of the military
  • Civilian self defence units (HPC) for community protection
  • Asayish (Police)
Aboveground Little is known From the Rojavan populations and international brigades Highly effective in establishing and maintaining an autonomous region while under constant attack on two fronts by ISIS and the Syrian government. Equally effective as a feminist revolution in an area of the world dominated by patriarchal values.


Rojava: reality and rhetoric

Revolution in Rojava: Democratic Autonomy and Women's Liberation in the Syrian Kurdistan by Michael Knapp, Anja Flach, and Ercan Ayboga


Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP)

1990 - present Nigeria Aboveground Low Ogoni control of local environment, cultural practices, and decision making Non-violent actions to resist, and raise international awareness of, oil company and Nigerian Government exploitation of Ogoni land and economic resources Demonstrations; occupations to prevent pipeline construction; lobbying international governments to embargo Nigerian oil; lawsuits; and outreach to international press, charities, and public MOSOP is a grassroots umbrella for many Ogoni organizations with representation from each village. Decisions are made democratically at the village level and propagated to the MOSOP steering committee via representatives. Aboveground None initially. Many members went into hiding after severe repression and executions by the Nigerian government. MOSOP recruited Nigerians expected to be valuable to the organization, unifying existing Ogoni villages and organizations representing over 500,000 people. Many members joined after international outcry at the 1995 execution of founder Ken Saro-Wiwa.

Some actions temporarily reduced oil output, and lawsuits against large oil companies won millions of dollars in damages paid to the Ogoni people. In conjunction with international pressure, this has made the companies curb the worst of their social and environmental abuses. But oil companies are still active in the region with destructive impact and little economic benefit to the Ogoni people.

The failure of nonviolent tactics to achieve justice led to the formation of MEND and of the Niger Delta Avengers.

The Story of MOSOP

Shell announces £55m payout for Nigeria oil spills

Ken Saro-Wiwa And Mosop: The Story and Revelation by Ben Wuloo Ikari


Gene Sharp

1983 - present Global Aboveground High Advance the worldwide study and strategic use of nonviolent action to apply power in political conflicts Develop and propagate a theory of how subjects can withdraw allegiance from those in political power Spread, in multiple languages, the results of research. Media include books, word of mouth, lectures, documentaries, and press coverage. Sharp founded the Albert Einstein Institution in 1983. It has one staff member. Aboveground Unnecessary See "Tactics" Sharp's books have been read by millions, from college campuses to guerrilla camps, and his work has influenced many resistance movements around the world

Gene Sharp: The father of nonviolent revolution

Gene Sharp: The Machiavelli of non-violence

How to Start a Revolution (2011)

FaLang translation system by Faboba

Collapse Scenarios "At this point in history, there are no good short-term outcomes for global human society. Some are better and some are worse, and in the long term some are very good, but in the short term we’re in a bind. I’m not going to lie to you—the hour is too late for cheermongering. The only way to find the best outcome is to confront our dire situation head on, and not to be diverted by false hopes."

Collapse Scenarios No resistance "The poor will see their own condition worsen. The millions of refugees created by economic and energy collapse will be on the move, but no one will want them. Desperate people will be the only candidates for the dangerous and dirty manual labor required to keep industrial manufacturing going once the energy supply dwindles. Hence, those in power will consider autonomous and self-sustaining communities a threat to their labor supply, and suppress or destroy them."

Collapse Scenarios No resistance "The authoritarian governments—those that will continue ruthlessly exploiting people and resources regardless of the consequences—will have more sway and more muscle, and will take resources from their neighbors and failed states as they please. There will be no one to stop them. It won’t matter if you are the most sustainable eco-village on the planet if you live next door to an eternally resource-hungry fascist state."

Collapse Scenarios No resistance "As intense climate change takes over, ecological remediation through perennial polycultures and forest replanting will become impossible. The heat and drought will turn forests into net carbon emitters, as northern forests die from heat, pests, and disease, and then burn in continent-wide fires that will make early twenty-first century conflagrations look minor. Even intact pastures won’t survive the temperature extremes as carbon is literally baked out of remaining agricultural soils."

Collapse Scenarios No resistance "Global warming will continue to worsen long after fossil fuels are exhausted. For the planet, the time to ecological recovery is measured in tens of millions of years, if ever. A major warming event could push the planet into a different equilibrium, much warmer than the current one. Large plants and animals might only survive near the poles. The entire planet could become uninhabitable to large plants and animals, with a climate more like Venus than Earth."

Collapse Scenarios Limited Resistance "Surgical attacks on energy infrastructure limit new fossil fuel extraction (focusing on nastier practices like mountain-top removal and tar sands). Some attacks would be conducted by existing resistance groups (like MEND) and some by new groups. The increasing shortage of oil would make pipeline and infrastructure attacks more popular with militant groups of all stripes. Militant groups would organize, practice, and learn. These attacks would not be symbolic."

Collapse Scenarios Limited Resistance "These attacks [on energy infrastructure] would not be symbolic. They would mostly constitute forms of sabotage. They would be intended to cut fossil fuel consumption by some 30 percent within the first few years, and more after that. There would be similar attacks on energy infrastructure like power transmission lines. This would set in motion a process of political and infrastructural decentralization."

Collapse Scenarios Limited Resistance "In some areas, increasingly abandoned suburbs (unlivable without cheap gas) would be taken over, as empty houses would become farmhouses, community centers, and clinics, or would be simply dismantled and salvaged for material. Garages would be turned into barns—most people couldn’t afford gasoline anyway—and goats would be grazed in parks. Many roads would be torn up and returned to pasture or forest."

Collapse Scenarios Limited Resistance "Attacks on energy infrastructure would become more common as oil supplies diminish, and steepen the energy slide. This would turn the tide on population growth, making world population peak sooner and at a lower level than in the “no resistance” scenario. Because a sharp collapse would happen earlier than it otherwise would have, there would be more intact land in the world per person, and more people who still know how to do subsistence farming."

Collapse Scenarios Militant rationale in all-out infrastructure attacks "Humans aren’t going to do anything in time to prevent the planet's wholesale destruction. Poor people are too preoccupied by primary emergencies, rich people benefit from the status quo, and the middle class are too obsessed with their own entitlement and the technological spectacle. The risk of runaway global warming is immediate. A drop in the human population is inevitable, and fewer people will die if collapse happens sooner."

Collapse Scenarios Militant rationale in all-out infrastructure attacks "We are in overshoot as a species. A significant portion of the people now alive may have to die before we are back under carrying capacity, and that disparity is growing. Every day carrying capacity is driven down by hundreds of thousands of humans, and every day the human population increases by more than 200,000. The people added to the overshoot each day are needless, pointless deaths. Delaying collapse, they argue, is itself a form of mass murder."

Collapse Scenarios Militant rationale in all-out infrastructure attacks "Humans are only one species of millions. To kill millions of species for the benefit of one is insane, just as killing millions of people for the benefit of one person would be insane. And since unimpeded ecological collapse would kill off humans anyway, those species will ultimately have died for nothing, and the planet will take millions of years to recover. Rapid collapse is ultimately good for humans because at least some people survive."

Collapse Scenarios Militant rationale in all-out infrastructure attacks "Well-organized underground militants make coordinated attacks on energy infrastructure around the world. Militants would take action against pipelines, power lines, tankers, and refineries, perhaps using EMPs to do damage. No attempt would be made to keep pace with aboveground activists. The attacks would be as persistent as the militants could manage. Fossil fuel energy availability would decline by 90 percent. Greenhouse gas emissions would plummet."

Collapse Scenarios All-out infrastructure attacks "With a 90 percent reduction in fossil fuels, there would still be enough to aid basic survival activities like growing food, heating, and cooking. Governments could still attempt a rapid shift to subsistence activities for their populations, but militaries and the very wealthy would attempt to suck up remaining supplies of energy. In some places, they would succeed and widespread hunger would result. In others, people would refuse the authority of those in power."

Collapse Scenarios All-out infrastructure attacks "In most areas, reorganizing an energy-intense industrial civilization would be impossible. Even where existing political organizations persist, consumption would drop. Those in power would be unable to project force over long distances, limiting their activities to nearby areas. Tropical biofuel plantations would not be feasible, nor tar sands or mountain-top removal coal mining. The construction of new large-scale infrastructure would simply not be possible."

Collapse Scenarios All-out infrastructure attacks "Though the human population would decline, things would look good for virtually every other species. The oceans would begin to recover rapidly, as would damaged wilderness areas. Greenhouse emissions would have been reduced to a tiny fraction of their previous levels, likely averting runaway global warming. Returning forests and grasslands would sequester carbon, helping to maintain a livable climate."

Collapse Scenarios Decisive Ecological Warfare Strategy "Many different mechanisms drive collapse, not all equally desirable. Some are intentionally accelerated and encouraged, while others are slowed or reduced. Energy decline by decreasing consumption of fossil fuels is a mechanism of collapse highly beneficial to the planet and humans, and that mechanism is encouraged. Ecological collapse through habitat destruction and biodiversity crash is also a mechanism of collapse, but is slowed or stopped whenever possible."

Collapse Scenarios Decisive Ecological Warfare Strategy "Each negative aspect of the civilization's collapse has a reciprocal trend encouraged by the resistance movement. The collapse of large authoritarian political structures allows small-scale participatory structures. The collapse of global industrial capitalism allows local systems of exchange, cooperation, and mutual aid. A small number of underground people bring down the big bad structures, and a large number of aboveground people cultivate the little good structures."

Collapse Scenarios Decisive Ecological Warfare Strategy "Protracted popular warfare doesn’t apply; the people will never have the numbers required. They also face a different kind of adversary, for which different tactics are applicable. So they will take the essential idea of protracted popular warfare and apply it to their own situation—saving their planet, bringing down industrial civilization and keeping it down. They will devise a new grand strategy based on a simple continuum of steps that flow logically one after the other."

Four Phases of DEW Networking & Mobilization "Resisters organize themselves into networks and build cultures of resistance to sustain those networks. Sympathizers and potential recruits are educated on serious resistance strategy and action. Key in this phase is actually forming the above- and underground organizations that will carry out organizational recruitment and decisive action. Security culture and resistance culture are not very well developed at this point, so extra efforts are made to avoid sloppy mistakes."

Four Phases of DEW Networking & Mobilization "Training of activists is key, especially through low risk (but effective) actions. New recruits will become the combatants, cadres, and leaders of later phases. New activists are enculturated into the resistance ethos, and existing activists drop bad or counterproductive habits. This is a time when the resistance movement gets organized and gets serious. People are putting their individual needs and conflicts aside in order to form a movement that can fight to win."

Four Phases of DEW Networking & Mobilization "Isolated people come together to form a vision and strategy for the future, and to establish the nuclei of future organizations. Networking occurs with resistance-oriented organizations that already exist, but most mainstream organizations are not willing to adopt positions of militancy. If possible, they should be encouraged to take positions more in line with the scale of the problems at hand."

Four Phases of DEW Sabotage & Asymmetric Action "Resisters might attempt to disrupt or disable particular targets on an opportunistic basis. For the most part, the required underground networks and skills do not yet exist to take on multiple larger targets. Resisters may go after particularly egregious targets—coal-fired power plants or exploitative banks. At this phase, the resistance focus is on practice, probing enemy networks and security, and increasing support while building organizational networks."

Four Phases of DEW Sabotage & Asymmetric Action "The resistance movement understands the importance of decisive action. Their emphasis in the first two phases has not been on direct action, but not because they are holding back. They know that the planet (and the future) need their action, but understand that it won’t benefit from foolish and hasty action, or from creating problems for which they are not yet prepared. They act as seriously and swiftly and decisively as they can, but lay the foundation to be truly effective."

Four Phases of DEW Sabotage & Asymmetric Action "Aboveground activists take on several important tasks. They push for acceptance and normalization of more militant and radical tactics, and vocally support sabotage when it occurs. More moderate advocacy groups use the occurrence of sabotage to criticize those in power for failing to take action on critical issues like climate change. They do not side with those in power against the saboteurs, but argue that the situation is serious enough to make such action legitimate."

Four Phases of DEW Sabotage & Asymmetric Action "More radical and grassroots groups continue to establish a community of resistance, but also establish discrete organizations and parallel institutions to make community connections and found relationships outside of the activist bubble. These institutions focus on disaster preparedness and helping people cope with impending collapse.

Simultaneously, aboveground activists organize people for civil disobedience, mass confrontation, and other forms of direct action."

Four Phases of DEW Sabotage & Asymmetric Action "Aboveground organizations establish coalitions, confederations, and regional networks, knowing that there will be greater obstacles to these later on. These confederations maximize the potential of aboveground organizing by sharing materials, knowledge, skills, learning curricula, and so on. They also plan strategically themselves, engaging in persistent planned campaigns instead of reactive or crisis-to-crisis organizing."

Four Phases of DEW Systems Disruption "Resisters step up from individual targets to address entire industrial, political, and economic systems. Industrial systems disruption requires underground networks organized in a hierarchical or paramilitary fashion. These larger networks emerge out of the previous phases with the ability to carry out multiple simultaneous actions."

Four Phases of DEW Systems Disruption "Systems disruption identifies key points and bottlenecks in the adversary’s systems (electrical, transport, financial, and so on) and collapses those systems or reduces their functionality. This is not a one-shot deal. Industrial systems are big and can be fragile, but they are sprawling rather than monolithic. Repairs are attempted. Resistance members understand that. Effective systems disruption requires planning for continued and coordinated actions over time."

Four Phases of DEW Systems Disruption "The aboveground doesn’t truly gain traction as long as there is business-as-usual. On the other hand, as global industrial and economic systems are increasingly disrupted (because of capitalist-induced economic collapse, global climate disasters, peak oil, peak soil, peak water, or for other reasons) support for resilient local communities increases. Failures in the delivery of electricity and manufactured goods increases interest in local food, energy, and the like."

Four Phases of DEW Systems Disruption "Aboveground activists use the disrupted systems as an opportunity to strengthen local communities and parallel institutions. Mainstream people are encouraged to swing their support to participatory local alternatives in the economic, political, and social spheres. When economic turmoil causes unemployment and hyperinflation, people are employed locally for the benefit of their community and the land."

Four Phases of DEW Systems Disruption "Whenever those in power try to increase exploitation or authoritarianism, aboveground resisters call for people to withdraw support from those in power, and divert it to local, democratic political bodies. Those parallel institutions can do a better job than those in power. The cross-demographic relationships established in previous phases help to keep those local political structures accountable, and to rally support from many communities."

Four Phases of DEW Systems Disruption "Strategic efforts are made to augment existing stresses on economic and industrial systems caused by peak oil, financial instability, and related factors. The resisters think of themselves as pushing on a rickety building that’s already starting to lean. Indeed, in this scenario many systems disruptions come from within the system itself, rather than from resisters."

Four Phases of DEW Decisive Dismantling of Infrastructure "Resisters go beyond systems disruption, permanently dismantling as much of the industrial infrastructure as possible. In the most optimistic projection, this phase would not be necessary, as converging crises and infrastructure disruption would combine with vigorous aboveground movements to force those in power to accept social, political, and economic change. Reductions in consumption would combine with a genuine attempt to transition to a sustainable culture."

Implementing DEW "Resistance to civilization is inherently decentralized. That goes double for underground groups which have minimal contact with others. To compensate for the lack of command structure, a general grand strategy in this scenario becomes widely known and accepted. Furthermore, loosely allied groups are ready to take action whenever the strategic situation called for it. These groups are prepared to take advantage of crises like economic collapses."

Implementing DEW "Autonomous cells maintain readiness to engage in opportunistic action by identifying in advance a selection of appropriate local targets and tactics. Then once a larger simultaneous action happened (causing, say, a blackout), autonomous cells take advantage of the opportunity to undertake their own actions, within a few hours. In this way unrelated cells engage in something close to simultaneous attacks, maximizing their effectiveness."

Implementing DEW "Historians now believe that Allied reluctance to attack early in the war may have cost many millions of civilian lives. By failing to stop Germany early, they made a prolonged and bloody conflict inevitable. General Alfred Jodl, the German Chief of the Operations Staff of the Armed Forces High Command, said as much during his war crimes trial at Nuremburg."

Implementing DEW "Resisters aimed to reduce consumption and industrial activity, so it didn't matter to them that some facilities had backup generators or that states engaged in conservation and rationing. They celebrated nationwide oil conservation and factories running on reduced power. They remembered that in the whole of its history, the mainstream environmental movement never even stopped the growth of fossil fuel consumption. To actually reduce it was unprecedented."

Implementing DEW "Targeting energy networks was a high priority to resisters. Many electrical grids were already operating near capacity, and were expensive to expand. They became more important as highly portable forms of energy like fossil fuels were partially replaced by less portable forms of energy. Resisters recognized that energy networks often depend on a few major continent-spanning trunks, which were very vulnerable to disruption."

Implementing DEW "Resisters recognized that sporadic sabotage would sacrifice the element of surprise and allow their enemy to develop ways of coping with future actions. Some reactions would be desirable (a shift toward less intensive, local supplies of energy) and others undesirable (deployment of rapid repair teams, martial law.) Resisters compensated for exposing some of their tactics by carrying out a series of decisive surprise operations within a larger struggle."

Implementing DEW "Resisters understand that DEW depended on relatively simple "appropriate technology" tactics (both aboveground and underground). It depended on small groups and was relatively simple rather than complex. There was not a lot of secret tactical information to give away. In fact, escalating actions with straightforward tactics were beneficial to their resistance movement."

Implementing DEW "It's clear that a small group of intelligent, dedicated, and daring people can be extremely effective, even if they number one in 1,000, or one in 10,000, or even one in 100,000. But they are effective in large part through an ability to mobilize larger forces, whether social movements or industrial bottlenecks.

Furthermore, if that core group can be maintained, it's possible for it to eventually enlarge itself and become victorious."

Implementing DEW "Future historians will comment that DEW was designed to make maximum use of small numbers, rather than assuming that large numbers of people would materialize for timely action. If more people had been available, the strategy would have become even more effective. The strategy attempted to mobilize people from a wide variety of backgrounds in ways that were feasible for them; it didn't rely solely on either militancy or symbolic approaches."

Implementing DEW "The tactics required for DEW were relatively simple and accessible, and many of them were low risk. They were appropriate to the scale and seriousness of the objective and the problem. Before this, the required tactics were not being implemented because of a lack of overall strategy and of organizational development.

However, that strategy and organization were not technically difficult to develop—the main obstacles were ideological."

Implementing DEW "In evaluating risk, members of the resistance considered both the risks of acting and of not acting. The failure to carry out an effective strategy would have resulted in a destroyed planet, the loss of centuries of social justice efforts, and billions of humans and countless nonhumans killed. There were substantial risks for taking decisive action, risks that caused most people to stick to safer symbolic forms of action. But the risks of inaction were far greater and more permanent."

Implementing DEW "Decisive Ecological Warfare was able to accomplish its objective within a suitable time frame, and in a reasonable sequence. Under DEW, decisive action was scaled up as rapidly as it could be based on the underlying support infrastructure. The exact point of no return for catastrophic climate change was unclear, but DEW and other measures were able to head it off. Most other proposed measures in the beginning weren't even trying to do so."

Implementing DEW "Although a fair amount of context and knowledge was required to carry out this strategy, at its core it was very simple and consistent. It was robust enough to deal with unexpected events, and it could be explained in a simple and clear manner without jargon. The strategy was adaptable enough to be employed in many different local contexts."

Implementing DEW "Action and inaction both have serious consequences. A serious collapse—which could involve large-scale human suffering—was frightening to many. Resisters in this alternate future believed first and foremost that a terrible outcome was not inevitable, and that they could make real changes to the way the future unfolded."

DEW Overview