How to Start a Revolution in Ten Steps

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

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Written by Chris Carr

Recently Russell Brand has made headlines with his speech about the inevitable revolution of the 99 percenters. The gone, but not forgotten, occupy movement elite are simply gathering their resources, checking their lists and shifting pawns waiting for the revolt, it seems.

But starting a revolution is more than fliers and spray paint. Momentum is the revolutionist’s most critical weapon when aiming to overthrow the current regime. But where to start?

The following is a step-by-step framework for how a proper revolution could happen. So dust off your Guy Fawkes masks, it’s time to march.


Step 1 - Know your goal.

A march without a goal is a riot. Riots do not get things to change, they get things broken and free TVs. March 50 people down the street with no goal in mind and you’re little more than a congested outdoor step-class.

Your goal should be boiled down to a single slogan, something memorable and rhymes never hurt anyone. That way when the cops are handcuffing protestors, the news organizations get a catchy little sound bite to coin the cause.


Step 2 - Build Support.

Get people quick and get them interested. Protesting for the cure for pancakes won’t go over well. If you can’t tell non-informed bystanders your major malfunction in ten words or less, your need to prioritize. The easiest thing for a possible-supporter to do is stop listening. So concocting a simple, straight-forward gripe is the best way to get the people on your side. The more people who support you, the more voices, the more voices, the more ears will hear.

Building support is as easy as having a discussion with a neighbour, handing out fliers, inviting friends to like pages and generally being an authority on the matter that you are trying to change.


Step 3 - Be an Authority.

How many times have to met that drunk girl at a party that says some kind of pseudo-political catchphrase and demands that WE all do something to save the pandas from Somalian pirates? Know your shit. The only way to educate someone about a cause close to your heart is to know it by heart.

It’s all-too-easy to dismiss a cause based on the integrity of the person conveying said message. So if you pronounce nuclear, “nuculer” I don’t want your crappy button.


Step 4 - Know your crowd.

The quickest way to lose support is to not understand your goal, sure, but also not knowing what the people who support you want to hear. It can all fall apart if your supporters start to loose faith in those who organized the cause in the first place—I’m looking at you KONY guys.

Is this placation? You bet your ass it is. The people who support the cause hold the power so it should be the organizer's job to keep those people happy at your organization and angry at their message.


Step 5 - Market Properly.

There is a reason Cialis commercials are on during football games. Men watch football and they are also exclusively victims of erectile dysfunction. This is called nano-marketing and it’s a tool great marketers use to advertise their product exclusively to those who would use it, while not wasting time or energy on those would wouldn’t.

You cause—your revolution—is a product that needs consumption to gain momentum (even is your revolution is anti-capitalist). So when considering the people your campaign wants to reach, consider those who would benefit the most.


Step 6 - Congregate.

Simply, just get together with like-minded people, even if only in an online space. Here is where organizers can find their voice: through the comments and concerns of like-minded people. Here is where KONY went wrong, they were too in-house, unconcerned with their supporters.

A sounding board for your revolution could mean the difference between a flash in the pan and a strong authoritative front.


Step 7 - Do Something.

Don’t be an armchair protester. You know the type: “I hate the bourgeoisie,” they say while waiting for another rerun of Extreme Home Makeover to come on. Faces under signs, words on a page handed out to everyone and angry phone calls are the only way to grab the attention of the people who can enact the change your revolution aims at. A “like” on a Facebook group helps as much as a passing thought about the plight of Dolphins in Japan. Instead, write a letter and send it, then you can go back to the kind of apathetic pacification only MTV can provide.


Step 8 - Reach.

William Shatner, Hulk Hogan and Michael Jackson—do you know what they have in common? They are all universal. You go to the deepest, darkest part of the Australian outback and find someone. They might not be able to tell you what year it is, but they can certainly sing every word to Billie Jean for you.

A proper revolution never truly ends, if the message is a good one. If your organizer ever says that they’ve reached enough people or there is no more that can be done, just ask them, “What Would Shatner Do?”


Step 9 - Do Something. Again.

One protest is great to get people motivated. Two protests get people to check up on your cause. Three protests get on peoples’ nerves. Four protest get people to take you seriously.

Tenacity creates a revolution, not impulsive anger. A real revolution speaks to the core character of its activists and burns their soul at all hours of the day. Che Guevara wasn’t just “kind of upset” with capitalism. Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t just sharing a dream he had last night for entertainment. Ghandi didn’t just think he was getting fat. These people kept at their goals, even at the darkest times.

So keep at it.


Step 10 - Remember Your Goal.

At their core, a proper revolution is about freedom; the freedoms being stifled by the tyrannical authorities they revolt against. This is important to remember, especially when organizing people as by its very nature a revolt is against rules so to corral these people can be tricky. But as long as the central idea of personal freedoms of choice and rights are always considered, your revolution should go over just fine.

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  1. Posted by: PaddyO on Oct 30, 2013 @ 5:50pm

    Spoken like a true veteran of a successful revolution. Oh wait...

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