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Despite the unimaginable capacity for violence and coercion that they wield, states are far more vulnerable than they let on. This is not only true of the so-called “failed states” currently plagued by civil war and internal strife, but also the imperialist centers of global capitalism themselves. Their fatal weakness is built into their design; modern states are incredibly complicated and dynamic political constructions, yet at their core they remain what they have always been – vehicles of social organization aimed at facilitating the exploitation of the many, for the enrichment of the few. Without the active or passive consent of the many, the few are in serious trouble.
In order to seek out and manage threats to their legitimacy and authority, states invest a considerable amount of time, energy and resources towards the science of social control. This science, known as COIN or Counterinsurgency doctrine, is nothing less than a perpetual war, waged by states against their domestic populations. Their tactical repertoire spans the gamut from violence and covert assassination, to elections, community police liaisons, and the funding of pacifist non-profit groups. In addition to this, they pursue divide-and-rule strategies, relying on structural institutions such as nationalism, white supremacy, and hetero-patriarchy to fan the flames of reaction and keep us fighting amongst ourselves.
If revolutionaries hope to be successful in our efforts, it’s vitally important to understand the way our enemies view us, and the tactics and strategies that they will deploy against us. In this month’s episode of Trouble, anarchist media collective sub.Media interviews a number of individuals as they explain some of the main principles of counterinsurgency, and identify historical and contemporary examples of how they are put into practice.
In this episode we interviewed JoNina Ervin and Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin of the Black Autonomy Federation, Gord Hill, Author of 500 Years of Indigenous Resistance, Dawn Paley, author of Drug War Capitalism, Peter Gelderloos, author of The Failure of Nonviolence and Kristian Williams author of Our Enemies in Blue.