Building a Resilient Resistance

By advocating non-compliance and resistance, the nascent Resist movement is calling into question the legitimacy of this administration’s authority. Such erosion of government authority is intolerable to any state, particularly one with a long history of disrupting social movements. As such, Resist will be a target for state disruption, either through direct targeting of visible leadership or by disrupting specific relationships and associations within the movement.

By existing within a legal framework, grassroots nonprofits are particularly vulnerable to disruption. The drive to oppose unjust policies, in conjunction with limited capacity and burdensome regulations, can quickly lead to (real or alleged) “non-compliance”. This can lead to lawsuits, audits and/or loss of funding, disrupting their operations—a DDOS IRL. This is an everyday reality of working within a legal framework, but a clear weakness for the Resist movement, that appears to be gravitating towards the authenticity that grassroots leadership brings.

Avoiding Disruption Through Distributed Responsive Resistance

A way to avoid or minimize this disruption is to intentionally create a resilient, horizontal structure: a coordinated network of independent and autonomous neighborhood-based mutual-aid groups mostly made up of vulnerable people. Such a network may still be tactically and logistically supported by groups that either exist within legal frameworks or that are made up of less vulnerable people that often lack the same level of long-term investment an effective social movement will require.

Contact me on Twitter if you’re interested in exploring this idea.