Sunday, 27 April 2014

1. First Contact

"May I help you sir?" asked the secretary.

"I hope so ma'am." said the visitor. "My name is John Smith and I’d like to speak to the Major."

Well Mr. Smith, you’ll need to schedule an appointment. What is this regarding?

I want to establish a farm/homeless shelter/soup kitchen in the City and I’d like to discuss the details of doing so with him.

You’ll need to talk to the City planning department first. The zoning here is very strict and you’ll not likely be able to do any of that.

So I figured. However, I have some special circumstances that I’d like to discuss with the Mayor first. So can I make an appointment to see him?

Are you a resident of this town?


Well, it would really be best if you go through the appropriate channels. You can go see the folks at the Planning Office down the hall.

Thanks, but I don’t think they’re in any position to give my special circumstances the consideration they need, so that’s why I’d like to start by discussing this with the Mayor.

I’m sorry Mr. Smith, but considering that you’re not a resident of this town, the Mayor cannot spare any of his time talking to you. We have channels for dealing with whatever issue you have and they start at the Planning Department.

Ok, ma'am. Thanks for your time and information. Oh yes... here's my card. Just in case the Mayor needs to talk to me. Have a nice day.

Ok Mr. Smith. You too.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

2. Second contact

"Ok men. As I expected, I got the brush-off at the Mayor’s office. So now it’s time for the next step." said John Smith.

To remind you of why we're doing this... In this step we’re going to do something minor that will get us arrested. We will use this as an introduction to the people in charge of the City, as well as the other residents, and as a means to calibrate their response.

What we’re going to do is to setup a food bank at the park. They will tell us to leave and we will refuse. Then we get arrested. Beforehand, we will notify the media that there’s going to be a show in the park.

Labor Squad. You all will carry the table and chairs and sign and boxes in the cart.

Media Squad. You call the local TV, radio, and newspapers and remind them to be sure to be there to film the fun. Tell them the basic purpose is that we want to solicit donations of non-perishable food. Determine a collection of supermarkets and other public spaces where we can post flyers.

Legal Squad. You stand by to ensure that we behave within our limits (ie. We break the small laws but not the big ones, that nobody interferes with our filming.) Make sure you properly document our property that is confiscated.

Latrine Squad. We need you there. Even though you are guardians of the Chamber Pot, we keep that pot near the food bank. Covered and discrete so it doesn’t disturb anybody but near enough so that it is seized with all the rest of the booth. We will want it saved as evidence.

Arrest Squad. You men run the boopth and get arrested.

Chuckwagon. You're needed.

Ok, so, here's the plan...

5:00 pm the day before. Media squad hangs flyers and alerts the media.

9:00 am the next morning. We all go to the park and setup the booth. As people come by and donate whatever food they have, some of it will be perishable. Chuckwagon takes the perishable food away because we’ll eat it for lunch or eat it soon. No need for it to be confiscated and spoil in the evidence locker. We also take a portion of the donated food away as well. Again, it’s good to stockpile this and we don’t want it tied up in an evidence locker. On the other hand, we do need some piles of non-perishable items sitting on the booth to remind people to donate as well as something to be seized with arrest.

We also introduce our organization in order to find interested and sympathetic outsiders.

10:30am park police come by and see what’s going on.

Hello, what’s going on here?

Good morning officer, nothing’s “going on.” Is there a problem?

There’s an ordinance against soliciting charitable donations in the park. You also need a permit from the City to setup your booth for whatever permissible purpose you might have. Do you have a permit to do this?


Then I’ll have to ask you all to leave.

"Before you ask us to leave I’d like to ask that we speak to the Mayor about this. Perhaps a brief chat with him will clear everything up" said the Legal Squad.

"This has nothing to do with the Mayor" said the police officer. "If you don’t have a permit then you’ll have to leave."

"What happens if they don’t leave?" asked the Legal Squad.

"Who are you all?" asked the police officer.

We’re their Brothers.

Then I’ll have to call for backup and they’ll be cited for trespassing.

The Arrest Squad does not have have a permit for doing this and the police tell the squad to leave. Legal squad argues with the police for a while, but in the end, the police demand that the arrest squad leave. The squad refuses to leave. The police arrest the four men of the Arrest squad.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

3. The Mayor and the Police Chief

"Hey Jack, you have a minute?" asked the Police Chief.

"Sure John, come on in. Have a seat. What’s up?" said the Mayor.

Remember those vagrants and the soup kitchen at the park last week?

Vaguely. Arrested for trespassing?

Yes, that’s it. But guess what?


We got eight more of them today.


Yes, they setup the same stunt as last time, refused to leave, so we had to bust ‘em all.

Didn’t they learn their lesson the last time? WTF are they doing? Any ideas?

Well, they had some “friends” with them who obviously have some legal background. We did not arrest the friends because they were not breaking any laws. However, the friends explained that they want to see you.

What for?

They didn’t say. But they did say something about trying to get an appointment before and being turned away, blah, blah, blah… They said this was the only way to get your attention.

Well, they have my attention now, but I’m fairly busy and I don’t think I have any time to deal with vagrants.

My men tried to tell ‘em that themselves. But you’ll never guess what their response was.


They said that they expected these arrests today to ultimately cost the city about $35,000, that they have many more volunteers looking to get arrested, and that their ultimate goal is to bankrupt the City!

What!? WTF for? What have we done to them? What is their beef with us?

I don’t have any idea, but perhaps it can’t hurt to talk to them and find out.

Yes, I’ll do that. One moment please…

Hey Doris, would you come in here please?

"Yes, Mayor, what can I do for you?" said the Mayor's secretary.

Have any homeless people come looking for me lately? Have you turned away any appointment seekers?

Hmmm… Actually, now that you mention it, there was a guy here a few weeks ago who wanted to see you.

What about?" asked the Mayor.

He said something about setting up a homeless shelter in this town." said the secretary.

What did you tell him?

I told him that the first step would be to talk to the Planning Department.

Did he ever go talk to them?

I don’t think so. He thanked me for my time and then walked out the front door. I haven’t seen him back nor have I heard anything about this from Planning. Have you?

No, I haven’t. Did he leave any contact number?

Ahm… yes. He left his card. Let me go find it. Be right back…

Hmmm… this is not good. Our finances are tight enough as they are. The last thing we need now is for protesters to make trouble here.

Yeah, I hear ya.

God… there’s 1000 things they could do that would burn money for the City! What if they start protesting in front of some of the business? Many of them are alive by the skin of their teeth as it is. I’ve got to nip this in the bud!

Here’s his card Mr. Mayor. His name’s John Smith.

Ok, thanks, I’ll give him a call now.

Ring, ring, ring….

Hello, John Smith speaking….

Hello Mr. Smith, this is Mayor Goff from the City of Baum Fauk calling. I understand you came looking for me the other day and was turned away?

Yes Mr. Mayor, that’s what happened.

Lately we’ve had some incidents in the park with some vagrants setting up a soup kitchen or food bank. Are you in any way connected to these activities?

Yes Mayor, I’m their leader. I’m the cause of all of this. I’m sorry I’ve had to go to such lengths to get your attention, but that’s how things have worked out.

Well Mr. Smith, you’ve got my attention now. I’d like to arrange a meeting with you to find out what your beef with us is and see if we can figure out a way to defuse things.

Ok Mr. Mayor, that would be great. What would be a good time for you?

How about 8am tomorrow morning?

Yes, Mr. Mayor that’s fine by me.

"Ok, great. I’ll expect to see you then." said the Mayor.

Yes sir, will do. Thanks for calling and I’ll see you tomorrow.


Well, well, well… looks like we’ll find out wtf is going on first thing tomorrow morning.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

4. The Mayor of Baum Fauk

"Mr. Smith? The Mayor can you see now. Please come on in." said the secretary.

"Thanks Ma’am." replied Mr. Smith.

"Hello Mr. Smith, Welcome to Baum Fauk. What can I do you for?" said the Mayor.

"Hello Mayor Goff, thank you for your time.

My pleasure sir. So, Mr. Smith... What’s all this business with these protesters you’ve brought here? Why Baum Fauk? What is it you want?

Would you like the long answer or the short answer?

Well, how about we cut to the chase and you start with the short answer first.

Very well. The short answer is that we are going to establish what I’ll call a “farm” inside the city limits of Baum Fauk and we’re not going to pay any taxes or fees or get any licenses or adhere to any rules that we do not explicitly negotiate.

Well Mr. Smith... I’m sure you realize that we can’t allow any of that.

Of course Mr. Mayor. I’m not surprised that's your first reaction to our idea. So perhaps you’ll permit me to give you the longer answer. This is a matter of extreme importance and I think that in the end you’ll agree that everything will work better if you and I can figure out how to cooperate.

Well, ok, shoot…

The bottom line is that…

  • We believe that the economic crisis is not going to pass. In fact, not only will it not pass, but it’s going to get much, much worse.

  • We believe that the upper layers of government are increasingly disconnected from we the people and are in fact profoundly hostile to our interests and well being.

  • We believe that any “help” that government can conventionally deliver to us is in fact sabotage in disguise and possibly by design. By paying people to do nothing the government deprives them of their power to live as human beings. They bribe us with trinkets and then bully and deceive us in order to relinquish our freedom and power.

  • We believe that the electoral process is so completely hacked and rigged against us that addressing our grievances via the ballot box is futile. Worse than futile. By participating in their game we give it legitimacy and must therefore graciously accept our inevitable defeat in that process.

  • Therefore we believe that the only way for us to deal with this problem is to engage in some serious non-violent civil-disobedience in order to force governments of all levels to accommodate us.

Well now Mr Smith… that’s a whole lot of believing. And I’m sure you’re aware that other people don’t necessarily agree on all or any of what you just said?

Yes, I’m certainly aware of that and that’s a major reason why we are doomed to loose at the ballot box.

But Mr. Smith, just because you don’t get what you want doesn’t mean you’re above the law. You can’t just say “fuck this” and take your marbles and go home. You have to engage the system not give it the finger.

Why not? Who says so?

Because if everybody just decided to obey or not whatever law suits their fancy, then we’d have chaos and anarchy!

Don’t you think that’s what we already have?

No, we don’t. This country has many big problems but we’re going to work them out and life will go on.

Oddly enough Mayor Goff, I agree 100% with what you just said. With the proviso that “work them out” is interpreted broadly enough. I do in fact think these problems are going to be “worked out” and that’s what’s happening right now on this grass roots local level with you and I discussing the matter.

I understand that you’re a busy man. In fact, you were too busy to book an appointment with me when I called two weeks ago. When your secretary heard what I wanted to see you about she she put me on hold for a few minutes. When she came up for air she referred me to the Zoning department. That’s a minor example of the bullshit that ordinary people deal with even on the local level. Imagine the impossibility of dealing with State, Federal, UN, or Federation of Planets officials. It was only when I came here with my protesters that you found some time to see me.

Ok... I’m not promising anything and you’ve yet to persuade me to change my mind.Nevertheless, please tell me more about this “farm?”

In order to properly address that question I’d like to first ask you a question. What’s your opinion about the “economic crisis.”How long do you expect it to last?

I don’t have any idea. I’m as concerned about that as you are.

Can we agree that endless and massive Federal deficits are probably unsustainable?

Yes we can.

Can we agree that there’s probably no chance in hell for an ordinary “political” solution?

No, I don’t agree. It’s going to be an ugly fight but in the end they’ll all find some grand compromise.

Like what? Give me a clue about what that might look like?

They’ll just have to raise some taxes and cut some spending. That’s going to make everybody squeal, but there’s no other choice.

But surely you can image that 1) anybody who votes to raise taxes will loose their job, and 2) anybody who votes to cut spending will loose their job? And even if taxes are raised, what good would that do? Spending would only continue to rise in order to eat any additional revenue.

You see, that’s one of the big problems. The machinery of spending in government on all levels is so out of control that it’s impossible to bring it back under control.

Ok, this is fun stuff to talk about, but what does that have to do with Baum Fauk and your farm?

The relevance is that we believe that one consequence of this economic crisis is going to be economic and political collapse of most governments. Especially the Federal government. At some point things are simply going to spin out of their control and the Feds are going to lose control.

Not gonna happen. Not in my lifetime.

Well, I suppose only time will will tell. In any event, that's our position and that's what were working from. And what happens if it does? Have the good people of Baum Fauk prepared for this eventuality in any way?

Let me guess… the first thing you would do in the event of a problem bigger than you can handle would be to call State and Federal officials, am I right?

Yes, of course.

Last I heard the State and Uncle Sam are both pretty far stretched for resources. In the event of an actual emergency the State will be pretty busy. Maybe you’d have to take a number and stand in line while the zombie hordes are pouring over your walls. What happens when you dail 1-800-FUCKMEUNCLESAM and all you get is do-de-da…I’m sorry... the number you have dialed is no longer in service…

The entire well-being of this town is dependent upon calling in reinforcements at the first hint of real trouble. And in fact, my little protest group has already overwhelmed your capacity because I don’t believe BFPD has the actual capacity to arrest even 25 of us without turning to other governments for help.

In fact, that weakness on your part reflects what’s happening to every person and organization in this country. Our individual power to live and manage our lives is being systematically drained from us. In its place we receive vague promises of help of dubious reliability, if we should ever need it. But how solid are those promises? What happens when and if the system goes tits up and we’re just standing here wondering what to do?

Hmmm…. I see your point.

As we’re fixin’ to find out, you’re soon going to tell me something like “Gee Mr. Smith, although I sympathize with what you’re saying, there are State and Federal laws that prevent me from….”

I was thinking exactly that.

You know, somehow this reminds me of a time when I was kid. I was fiddle-farting around in the morning and got off to a late start on my walk to school. When I finally arrived at the big street, there was no crossing guard! I was stumped.

"What on Earth should I do?" I wondered.

Wow! You were fucked!

I truly was. Guess what I did?

Uhhhh... You stood around for a while, crying and wondering what to do and then went home to find mommy?

Exactly! But although that’s perhaps reasonable behavior from a 7 year old, adults cannot live like that.

Ok, ok. Tell me about the farm.

The basic idea is that we’re going to find a suitable place in this city and were going to settle some to-be-determined number of let’s generically call them “homeless” people on the land. And we’re going to put them to work building a farm. They will live in tents and build a latrine. They will tend a garden, raise some farm animals, and do other farm like things that we think of. They’ll eat some of this food and maybe sell some of it. As I said earlier, they’re not going to pay taxes or suffer government rules in doing this.

How many people?

Well, that’s where your cooperation can be useful. If you play ball with us, then we negotiate the amount and we start very slowly in order to build rapport. But if you play hardball instead, then the number will be much higher and they will be mostly protesters instead.

Ok, Mr. Smith, this is all very interesting but, as you predicted earlier, my hands are tied in 100 places. And even if they were not, I personally don’t think this is a good idea and I cannot allow it.

I understand Mr. Mayor and I did not expect that I’d get your approval today. My goal today was to establish an introduction and start a dialog about these issues. That I have done. In the future, you’ll know what we want. Even though we’re seemingly on opposite sides of this issue I wanted you to understand that we’re not devils that must be destroyed at all costs. We’re going to play a political game and I hope we can do it with civility and professionalism. Speaking of professionalism…

I want to tell you a bit more about the Brothers.

Although they come from troubled backgrounds, please do not underestimate them. Although our Brothers have fallen from grace lately, they have remarkable diversity of sometimes impressive backgrounds. Our ranks include lawyers, engineers, doctors, veterans, and more. And we have gone to great lengths to train and discipline them for our work. We have some intellectual firepower at our disposal; we’re not just a mob of crazy people. When we settle in this city, there’s not going to be an epidemic of “ordinary” crime.That is, killings, beatings, rapes, theft, etc. Nor are you going to have problems with safety and sanitation of the farm.

Some of the Brothers have military backgrounds and we have organized “basic training” for all the men in order to promote their discipline, physical fitness, and their general ability to cooperate and defend themselves. Some of them even have various weapons. We expect that we can defend ourselves against private-sector hoodlums and troublemakers.

However, we have very strict training and doctrine to not use this physical power against government officials. In the event of arrest by your people, we will peaceably comply. I want to personally ensure that you understand this. And I ask that you communicate this to your police department.

Given this peaceful posture, I also ask that you make it your personal responsibility to ensure that your police force act with utmost professionalism. If it’s their duty to arrest us, then just do it by the book. There’s no need for brutality or theft or destruction of our property.

Ok, that’s reasonable enough, I can do that.

Another thing I’d like to ask is that you and the City Attorney and the police chief all agree that it is in fact legal for us to record our encounters with BFPD and other government officials.

Sure, it’s a free country.

Well, I suppose we disagree. But regardless, it’s important that the police officers at the scene know it as well. There’s a lot of controversy about police stealing and/or destroying recording equipment. In fact, there are even horror stories about the government bringing criminal charges against people who record the police.

Ok, I’ll make sure you’ll have no problem there.

Well listen Mr. Smith, it’s been a pleasure meeting you. I will carefully think about what you’ve said and I hope we can work something out.

It has been a pleasure as well Mayor Goff. Thank you for your time.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

5. Mrs. Nussbaum

Knock, knock, knock…

Yes?....Who is it?

Hello Ma’am, my name’s John Smith and I’d like to give you an information packet about an organization I work with called “The Brotherhood.”

The Brotherhood?

Yes, ma’am. As you’ve probably noticed, the economy is in terrible shape. There are many people who are suffering from this and our goal is to help them survive.

Oh that’s nice.

Yes. We think so. Thank you. What makes the Brotherhood special though is that what we’re really doing is helping these people get organized to help themselves. You know… “give a man a fish and he eats today, but teach him how to fish and he can eat forever?”

Yes, that makes a lot of sense.

Well listen Mrs...


Yes, Nussbaum. Thank you. Mrs. Nussbaum... If you have a few moments I’d be happy to explain what we’re doing in greater detail. Or if you’d like I can come back at a more convenient time.

Could you come back at 6 o’clock this evening? You can join my husband Bob and I for dinner. This sounds like something he might be interested in.

Ok Mrs. Nussbaum, that would be great. Thanks for your time and I’ll see you all at 6 o’clock this evening.

Later that evening...

Knock, knock, knock...

Good evening. You must be John Smith?

Yes sir I am. And let me guess... you must be Mr. Nussbaum?

That’s it. Come on in and have a seat. Dinner will be served shortly.

[lots of small talk omitted, Mrs. Nussbaum serves dinner and they all start eating]

So... John... Tell us about the Brotherhood.

Well... as I was explaining to your wife earlier this afternoon, the economy is in terrible shape and many people are hurting. So many people are loosing their jobs, their money, their families, and their homes. It’s really terrible. We the Brothers have had enough of this and are organizing to do something about it.

What can you do? This economic problem is so large nobody can fix it. With all due respect, what prayer do the Brother's have of changing anything?

I agree. And in fact, realizing the actual truth of that statement is the first step towards a solution. You see, the present economy is so totally built on unsustainable principals that it’s completely doomed. There is no solution for it. Our only choice as people is to either lie down and die now or stand up and try to adapt to the new reality.

Yeah, the system really is fucked, that’s for sure. But what can you do about it?

Our basic idea is that we take our Brothers and we teach them to work together in order to help themselves. This one simple step is the most amazingly powerful thing we can do. For example, let me describe the experiences of four of our recent recruits, Andy, Billy, Curtis, and David.

Before we found them, they were all individually homeless and lost. Each of them had to always carry their meager possessions with them, lest they be stolen. Each of them individually had been assaulted and robbed by the police. Individually, they had no encouragement and no direction so it was an uphill battle to pull themselves together in order to improve their lot. Finally, their isolation, boredom, and loneliness fed their tendencies to abuse alcohol and other drugs. Pretty grim situation, eh?

Yeah, sounds like a bleak life to me. So what did you do about that?

In the Brotherhood, as a starting point we organize our men into four man “squads.” The most able is the squad leader and he’s assisted by the assistant squad leader. The 3rd and 4th ranks are held by new recruits, in the order of their accession.

The four men I just spoke of were all individually in pretty bad shape when we found them. They would not be much better off if we tried to get them to organize together. None of them had sufficient skills, leadership, or self-discipline to contribute. But we didn’t just dump them together. Each one of them was assigned as the 4th member of an existing squad.

Oh! I see... so now the other three members of each squad can provide a stable foundation for the new member to heal and develop?

Exactly! And heal they do. To get them started, we give them a hot shower, a medical checkup, a hair cut, some clean clothes, and a lumberjack-special meal. They think they died and went to heaven!

Yeah, I bet they do. Hey, are there any of them Virginians in your heaven? <sly grin>

I can’t say for sure because I haven’t been there yet. Not even sure if I even qualify. But anyway...

Yeah, so what happens to the recruits? What do the squads do ?

The new recruit gets two nights and one day of rest and recovery. They usually spend most of their time sleeping.

But on the morning after the 2nd night, they wake up at the ordinary time that the rest of the squad does and they are given orientation. Now that they’ve rested and recovered some, and their heads have cleared a bit, it’s time for them to decide if they’re going to join us or not. As you might have noticed, one element of the cultural decay in today’s world is the lack of respect for freedom and free choice.

Yeah, anything not prohibited is mandatory, right?

Exactly. In today’s world “freedom” has been reduced to little more than a choice like "heads we win... tails you lose."

The new recruit is told that he is free to go at anytime. And he really is free to go. But while he’s with us, he’ll keep the same schedule that the other men do, he’ll do the same work that they do, and he’ll be subject to our rules and discipline during his time.

Wow, this sounds like the army, except for the free-2-go bit.

Yes, intentionally so. There’s a lot of benefit to be had in careful organization of a man’s time. You know, idle minds, workshops of Devils.

Yeah, I hear ya.

The Brotherhood has a model schedule for the squads to follow. Newly formed squads start with this schedule, but they have some discretion in adapting it to their circumstances. Also, the various squads are also deployed for various Brotherhood duties and their schedules must accommodate said duties.

What sort of duties?

I’ll get to that in a moment, but first, let me explain the basic schedule. It’s important that the men go to sleep and wake up at a regular time. Anybody who’s ever had the freedom to keep their own hours can attest to the fact that sleep can get major fubared when you can nap during the day, and stay up late at night. Then, when you need to rise and shine at 6:00am someday, it’s impossible to sleep the night before. We don’t let that happen and it’s the squad leader’s duty to lead the way.

When they awake, they do exercises, eat their breakfast, clean up their surroundings, shit, shower, ‘n’ shave, and generally get ready for the day. Depending upon the day’s agenda, they may do the shower later. We believe that maintaining physical fitness is important for both health and defensive reasons. Many people look at us a “bums” or some sort of sub humans that are deserving of abuse. We don’t start trouble, but we aim to end it quickly when it starts.

Yeah, that makes sense.

Then, it’s off to do the day’s work. As I said, each squad has different duties. Let me describe a few examples:

Physical Labor

One of the things we do to support ourselves is we hire out for physical labor. That’s usually some combination of hard, hot, cold, dirty, unpleasant, what have you, work. A labor squad is where most new recruits start. Unless they have a very valuable skill that we really need, then the labor experience serves as bonding/hazing for the recruits. It’s something anybody can do, no special training need apply. Labor is great for physical fitness and it's also an excellent method for the Brothers to develop good work habits. You know, come to work on time, just fucking do the work and not complain about it, don’t argue and fight about who has which perk or privilege, etc.

Yeah, I heard that before!

It starts them on their development path upwards in the organization. Although they start as Recruit 4, they eventually rise to Recruit 3, Assistant Leader, and finally Squad Leader if they can handle it. But they have to learn how first.


Hey Bob, what do you do if your company has a field of valuable supplies or equipment? Even a simple fence is expensive and something big ‘n’ bad enough to keep out the Marines costs a bit more. And fuggedabout video cameras. Those are easier said than done for too many reasons to rag on here and now. So how do you keep your stash secure?

Let me guess… hire one of your labor battalions?


If all you need is some men to stand around looking mean and ugly to keep the bad guys at bay, then you’ve come to the right place. But wait, there’s more! They can also do cleaning and yard work. Maybe you need somebody to inspect incoming shipments. Maybe… there’s 100 other things people are easily trained to do under these circumstances.

Finally, our men need a place to live and sleep. Being homeless kind of pisses all over that ideal and if the men can pitch their tents inside your compound during the night, then they and your stuff are much more secure.

Yeah, that sounds secure. But how do I know your men won’t just do the stealing themselves?

That’s a good question and a deep subject. Much of what we’re doing depends upon the systematic development of integrity and trust. But how about we defer that issue until later? I promise that I’ll address that issue much more thoroughly in a moment.

Ok. Go on…


Next, we have Farmers.

Some of our squads maintain gardens and farm animals. However, as you might guess, this takes some specialized skills and not everybody is suitable for it. Also, the idyllic life of the farm is viewed as a plum assignment so there’s a reward for brave and loyal service element built in.


Next, we have Chuckwagon squads.

We accumulate food and cooking utensils and instruments from a variety of sources. We find that it’s much more efficient and nutritious to organize a central kitchen that many squads dine at, than it is to deploy the men supplied merely with whatever random soft drinks, cigarettes, and peanut butter crackers they individually have.

Supply Depot.

Next, we have a Supply Depot.

We accumulate surplus and donated everything and somebody has to baby sit it and manage the flea market. Some squads are dedicated to that.

Barber shop and Laundromat

Other specialist squads include Barber Shop and Laundromat.


Oh yes, did I mention we have Hospital squads?

What? A hospital?

Eventually yes. But even now, you’d be amazed at how much bang-for-buck there is in simply organizing a medical squad. Anybody with any rudimentary medical / first aid training, armed with a beginning collection of aspirin, cold medicine, band aids, etc. can form the humble beginning of such a thing. I’m afraid we don’t yet have any Cat Scanners, Proton Beam thinga majingies, or nano celluar repair gear quite yet, but we do the best we can with what we have. Best of all, you sure can’t beat the price!

Hmmm… Is it even legal to do that? Isn’t somebody practicing medicine without a license?

Probably not, probably so. Matters not to us. But that’s a legal risk we’re taking. And while we’re on the topic, let’s discuss another important angle to this plan. You caught the bit about practicing medicine without a license. Maybe you didn’t realize you need a license to cut hair also. And there are probably some payroll issues and worker’s comp and unemployment insurance problems as well.

The bottom line is that almost all of what we are doing is in fact illegal according to the existing “law” of the land. And this, my friend, is the core of the problem. The existing law has been somehow hacked and converted into a weapon of mass oppression explicitly designed to disrupt our ability to live. It is our belief that all these rules and taxes are smothering we the people. Not merely smothering, but in fact have a more sinister purpose of intentionally fostering weakness and dependency in pursuit of the goal of control of the people.

We totally reject all of that and we are engaging in some heavy-duty non-violent civil disobedience in order to implement our plan. We are building our own systems and we will take care of ourselves. Which leads us to the next specialist squad of:

Liar, Liar

Yes, some of our men have legal expertise and they help us with our legal woes. With or with out a license.

Wow, John....This all sounds very interesting and you make a very persuasive case. Nevertheless, you left out a few details. Perhaps you can fill in some blanks?

Sure, shoot.

My biggest concern is the trust issue. These guys are not certified or licensed and, let me guess, some of them may even have, shall we say, unsavory pasts? Am I right?

Right on every point. Let’s see how we can deal with those issues. Let me start by asking you a simple question. Do you trust the government or banks or insurance companies?

Fuck no!

Funny you say that because those are three of the most highly regulated and licensed institutions in the world and they go to enormous length to try to persuade you trust them. How about doctors? If they remove the wrong kidney during an operation, who’s fault is it, your’s or theirs


Yeah, exactly…. When they accidentally hook your brain up to the Internet instead of the monkey’s brain, you not only get no apology or compensation but they bill you for the procedure because your insurance company doesn’t cover monkeys. And the Feds bust your ass for animal cruelty...

Hmmm…. Yeah, that’s exactly what would probably happen….

Exactly… yeah, your woes would never end if that happened.

So let’s see if we can find a better way to deal with trust. Hmmm... Hey, I know! Do you trust your wife?

Uhh…. Well, uh…. Most of the time I do. So long as I can see her that is <winks at wife>

Did you check her credit score or do a criminal background check before you married her?


Why not? How can you trust strangers? But seriously, I assume that in the beginning, you two were strangers and she probably had much more to fear from you than you from here, am I right?

Damn straight!

So you developed trust the old fashioned way. You informally started by taking small and simple risks. “Hey, will you watch my books while I go to the restroom? Sure” You return and the books are still there. This is an example of how trust starts and develops. Also, was she a total stranger or did you know her from school?

Oh, I knew her from school. I think all the boys knew her <grin> 


Another important part of the trust issue is an institutional commitment to ethical behavior. This is an important issue to the Brotherhood and we deal with it very seriously. When was the last time the government or a bank resisted doing evil because it was unethical? Do you think the big cheeses in those organizations deeply and sincerely care about the ethics of what they do and demand ethical quality from the lower echelons?

Confucius is alleged to have discussed the issue of legalism vs. personal self-discipline and responsibility. If people have self-discipline then they can ordinarily be relied upon to make reasonable decisions. But if they only have legalism, then they spend their days gaming the system instead. Sound familiar Bob?

Yeah, it sure does.

So we have a similar situation with the Brotherhood. First of all, we know who’s trustworthy and who’s not because we have much more experience in dealing with the men. Part of our development process is that we ask people to engage in trust building exercises. For example, let a crew come over during the afternoon and mow your lawn. You meet them, they meet you. You all begin to develop a personal connection to somebody you know, instead of remaining frightened by an abstract risk.

We also can provide numerous references for the particular people on any squad. Granted a new recruit will not have any references. So if references are important to you, then you won’t get a squad with new recruits.

Finally, consider the four-men-to-a-squad policy. The men start off as strangers as they join the squad, one-by-one. The men who behave themselves and keep their squad clean are the ones who rise to the leadership role. If a single squad member violates the trust of any of our outside clients, we dissolve the squad, assign the people to new squads, and start over with them. A man alone is susceptible to temptation. But if he’s working with other men, then collusion must take place. This of course can happen, but it’s simply less common than an individual going bad.

Well Mr. Smith. This is all very interesting and I appreciate you taking the time to explain all this to us. I'd like to help you all with your effort. I'm not quite ready to ditch the wife and join the org, but are there lesser methods of providing assistance?

That's great. No need to lose the existing life. If it's working for you, keep at it. We do need and appreciate all the help we can get, so why don't you take a peek at the back of our brochure. You can see the long list of things we need.

    We need work. We have men who can do yard work and security guard work. Also handyman and auto mechanic.

    We need donations of non perishable food.

    We need any surplus junk or garbage you don’t want. Call us and we’ll get rid of it for you.

    We need tents, sleeping bags, blankets, coats, and generally camping supplies and equipment.

    We need land to pitch our tents. Imagine the extra security you’ll have at night knowing that your trusted security squad is camping behind your home.

    We need land for gardens.

    We need storage space.

    We need use of a class room/meeting room.

    We need teachers to organize classes in everything there is to know. If you’re a doctor, nurse, lawyer, mad scientist, or whatever; if you know something and are willing and able to teach it, we have a squad who wants to learn.

    We need legal help.

    We need political advocacy. To the extent that you participate in any conventional political decision making, such as interacting with the City Council, we need friends who will say nice words on our behalf.

    We do not need financial donations. Our Brotherhood is a sincere effort to help our people. We do not want to taint our image by hustling you for money.

Well thank you Mr. Smith. I again thank you for your time and, rest assured, you'll be hearing from me.

Thanks you for your time as well Mr. and Mrs. Nussbaum. And thanks for the fine meal! Feel free to contact me at your convenience. Have a nice evening.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

6. Officer Obie

Knock, knock, knock...

"Yes? What can I do you for?", asked Officer Obie.

"Hello Sir. Are you Officer Obie with the Baum Fauk Police Department?", asked the visitor.

"Yes, I am. Who are you?"

My name is John Smith and these are my associates. We're from the Brotherhood and we have a problem with you that we’d like to discuss.

What sort of problem?

In February you arrested four of our Brothers at Baum Fauk park. Your actions were technically against our law and we’ve come to discuss this with you.

WTF are you talking about? The bums you are referring to were in the park illegally. I asked them to leave and they refused. So it was my legal duty arrest them. End of story.

Actually, it’s just the beginning of a fairly long story and we really hope you can take some time to discuss this with us. We’re not here in any threatening way but it’s very important that you discuss this with us. If you have time now then perhaps we can sit out here on the porch and have a civil discussion about our issues. Or perhaps you’d prefer that we return at a better time?

Ok... sure. Let's talk now. Have a seat. So WTF are you talking about? What’s going on here?

We work with an organization called The Brotherhood. Its mission is to reach out to the victims of the economic crisis and political repression that your country is presently suffering from, and to organize those people so that they can improve their lives.

In our opinion, the only way to improve our lives is to engage in peaceful protest and non-violent civil disobedience in order to obtain our demands. Although peaceful and non-violent, our methods will in fact often be illegal. We will therefore inevitably encounter people such as you.

Our purpose here tonight is to introduce ourselves to you and discuss how we may both do our duty with a minimum of trouble.

"There’s nothing to discuss." said Officer Obie. If you break the law in our town, then we will issue citations, make arrests, and/or call in reinforcements.

Yes, I thought that would be your first reaction. That’s why it’s important that we proactively discuss this issue now so that we may minimize trouble later.

As you are certainly aware, citations, arrests, reinforcements, air strikes, what-not, are not without cost. We are not afraid to deal with these methods and we think we can exhaust the resources of any government or person who deploys these methods against us. And that is what we intend to do.

Why are you telling me this? What do you want from me?

The first thing we want to accomplish is to put a human face on this problem. Look at us. We are just four ordinary men. We are unarmed and are not threatening you. In fact, we will leave here soon with you, your family, and property unharmed. But there is a vast economic crisis underway. It’s been festering for the last several years and its only getting worse. We have no money, no jobs, and no homes. There was a time when we each did have those things. But now those days are gone.

The economic crisis has taken those things from us. And not merely the "economic crisis" but the political choices and policies behind the crisis have taken them from us. And not merely the "political choices and policies" but the actual human beings who go to work everyday and just "do their jobs." They are the people who hold personal responsibility for harming our lives and livelihoods and have made it necessary for us to resort to extreme measures to rebuild our lives. And to quote our Dear Leader... "they will be held responsible."

Most people when confronted with this sort of situation would become very angry. Many would even resort to violence. For example, how would you react if you lost your job, home, and family because somebody somehow fucked around with all that? They fiddle the system for their personal gain and you and your family lose. How would you feel? What would you do?

I’d fuck somebody up, that’s what I’d do.

I feel your pain man. And here you are as a law enforcement office saying "you’d fuck somebody up." How do you think ordinary people would react? How about all the inner city ghetto people? They’ve never had anything in life except EBT, Section 8 and crack? You take their crack pipe away, what are they going to do? That’s right, they’re gonna go ape-shit!

Ok... I can see your point. But you still haven’t answered my question. What do you want from me?

Well... First, I wanted to make our introduction. Done.

Second, I want to discuss what I’ll call a "Scale of Aggression." And I want to begin a discussion with you about where we and you will meet on that scale. In fact, I have a diagram of it right here.

On the top of the diagram, nearest to heaven, we have friendship. Although you’re apprehensive about us and our motives at this time, there’s no reason we cannot become friends. That’s our ideal situation.

Moving down the diagram, getting closer and closer to hell, you can see that we’ve identified various actions that you and we can take. These actions take us further from friendship and push us closer to being enemies.

Maybe you have heard of us before. Maybe this is the first time you’ve ever heard of us. In any event, you know who we are now. And in the future you’re going to see more of us. As a government official you may be called upon to deal with us in an official capacity. So we must discuss how we will each react in these encounters.

As I mentioned earlier, we are peaceful and non-violent. We do however train and prepare to defend ourselves. Most of us have training in various forms of martial arts. Some us carry weapons, including firearms, as our right of self-defense allows. Some of us have military backgrounds and our organization engages in military style training for the purpose of maintaining discipline and physical fitness as well as to develop our ability to cooperate and work together.

It is important for you to understand that all of this is for defensive purposes only, against private sector hoodlums and troublemakers. However, when dealing with government officials, we have strict rules-of-engagement which prohibit using our training or weapons against them, even for self-defense. So for example, police would easily be able to arrest any us, despite our numbers, training, and armaments.

We are also trained to deal calmly and civilly with law-enforcement personal. That said, let me describe some scenarios of contact and how we should both ideally react.

For example, suppose somebody calls BFPD and complains. "There’s a bunch of bums camping in the forest lot behind the library.".

The best reaction on your part, from our POV, would be for you to simply turn a blind-eye. Look the other way. Play bureaucratic games and ignore us. That will buy a lot of brownie points with us, and that may come in handy for you someday.

"Maybe with some minor things we can do that. But in the example you give, we could not. Also, it depends upon the exact location of your campsite." said the officer.

"How so?" asked the Brother.

If you’re camping on the front lawn of City Hall, that’s City property and BF PD would deal with it. But if you’re camping in the green space around the clover leaf at Highway 1 and Main Street, then that’s the State Highway and that’s for the State Troopers to deal with. We’d call them.

Ok, I see. Yes, that makes sense. But why call the Troopers? If we’re not affecting City property, it’s not the City’s problem is it?

Well... when people call us we have to forward their complaint to whoever is responsible.


No why. That's what we have to do.

This is an excellent example of playing bureaucratic games in order to avoid aggressing against us and not being responsible at the same time.

Wait a minute... If the State Troopers are beating your asses, how is that my responsibility?

If you are the one who called them, then you share the responsibility.

But let’s stay focused on dealing with the City.

Using your example of camping in the front lawn of City Hall. I agree that doing so would be needlessly antagonistic on our part, so in deference to you, we could easily avoid doing that. And this is an example of how our dialog can minimize our mutual trouble.

So let’s find a more realistic example. How about we setup camp in the woods behind the defunct Sears store? That’s not even City property, that’s probably owned by a bank. And fuck the banks!

Yeah, you got that right! But it’s against City ordinances to camp inside City limits, so if somebody complained I’d have to ask you all to leave.

How much time would you give us to evacuate?


Ok great! You have some discretion there. Instead of ordering us out in 15 minutes, you could simply write up your report "asked them to leave." End of story.

That would maybe work one time. The next day when the same crazy lady calls back again, the Chief would insist on citations.

You are not responsible for the orders that your Chief gives. He is. And that’s why we’ll assign a squad to him also, and go have a talk with him. You understand that when you issue citations, we will ignore them?

Then I’d have to start making arrests.

How big is the BF PD Lockup?

We’ve got 8 cells.

That would fill up pretty fast, don’t you think?

Sure, but we also can send any extras to the surrounding towns and the County.

But you also have to pay per day?

Sure. Of course.

Probably cheaper to put us up at the Hilton instead?

Maybe. But that’s not my concern. I have to follow my orders.

I understand that and I have sympathy with your position. Nevertheless, you do understand that arresting us constitutes moving down the ladder of aggression, ever closer to hell?

I don’t have a choice! I have to follow my rules.

Calm down, we’re not going to make a big deal about that. How long does anybody get locked up for breaking the camping ordinance?

I don’t know. I've never seen it happen. I can’t imagine for too long.

We don’t expect to intimidate or persuade you to not do your duty. However, I’d like to re-iterate what I said earlier about civil treatment and non-violence. It works both ways. When the time comes to arrest us, we expect that you will do so strictly by the book.

Well of course.

Well not of course. As I’m sure you’re aware, there is a lot of police mis-conduct in this country. This is another example of trouble that we can avoid. Let me give you a few specific examples of things what would seriously escalate down the Chart of Aggression:

  • Interfering with our rights to record our encounter. You must not touch our recording equipment. You must not view or erase anything nor damage the recording media or equipment.

  • Stealing or damaging our property, including any of our firearms. If we are arrested, we expect that all of our property will be diligently accounted for and returned upon our release.

  • Any physical assault is unnecessary.

That’s how we handle any arrest.

Ok, that’s great. As long as we can play by the book, we can keep it civil. And I must state that an arrest is the upper limit of violence that you can indulge in before we must seriously escalate ourselves.

What are you talking about?

Although we would have little luck suing government officials who act in their official capacity, in your court system, we would have much better luck going after officials who engage in mis-conduct. Beatings or damage or theft of property are examples of mis-conduct and will result in endless vexatious litigation that is intended to bankrupt the individual persons responsible.

But wait, there’s more.

We won’t merely file complaints with the city, we won’t merely litigate in your court system, but we will also litigate in our own court system as well.


Yes, that's right. We have established our own court system complete with our own rules.

Hahaha. Very funny. What good is that?

I hope you don't ever get the chance to experience firsthand how effective this really is. You'd be unpleasantly surprised. Did you by chance ever see the movie Brazil?


Well, it’s kinda hard to explain, but the hero is one of us. He's an anti-bureaucratic kinda guy to say the least. But in the end there’s a scene where a piece of wind driven paper blows onto his foot. And then another and another and another... until he’s totally buried in paper. Whereupon he disappears. Presumably consumed by his enemy paper.

Our court system has similar properties. In fact, it's very much like your system.

You would be served with a complaint and invited to respond. It is your choice to respond or not. But if you don’t respond then you may receive a default judgment against you. We will report this to credit agencies, file these judgments in the county courthouse, and that sort of thing.

"Big fucking deal!" snorted the Officer. That’s all bullshit anyway. You can’t do any of that!

Sure we can can. Perhaps most of it will be deflected but some of it will stick. Wouldn’t it be hilarious if the next time you apply for a mortgage or a car loan there's a hold up because of one of our judgments? Or maybe you try to get a security clearance! And your name is mixed up with all this crazy stuff!

At this time, we cannot make arrests or seize certain property such as bank accounts. But we can come and homestead your front lawn.

Yeah, right... You're going to camp in my front lawn!? Better get ready to "say hello to my little friend!"

Understandable... But you better make sure you know the law, have the facts on your side, and make sure the encounter is thoroughly documented before you open fire. Rest assured we will do the same. We can also return fire in lawful self-defense. No, no, Officer Obie... there is no chance that killing any of us is going to provide any net benefit for you.

Think of us as like those little pieces of paper. Right now our demands are simple. Give us our fair share of natural resources and leave us alone. Apparently that’s too much to ask for so we attract a lot of heat. But as the individual people aggress against us, and we collect the evidence, litigate in our court system, and judgements accumulate, then our demands will increase to include compensation for these transgressions.

And we will continue to apply heat via protest, vexatious litigation, and a myriad of other nuisances that we are perfecting. So imagine when the day comes to negotiate a grand-bargain settlement with the City of Baum Fauk and our demands include your ouster?


Life’s a bitch ain’t it? How loyal is the Mayor to you personally? Maybe he expects that you’re the one to be kissing his ass, not the other way around? Sure would be a shame if political machination throws you under a bus. Nice life ya got here... Sure would be a shame if anything happened to it.

Ok! Ok... Uncle! I understand your point of view and I'll think about what you have said. I'm not going to be vicious with you but I do have my duties to follow.

I understand that this is a big and new idea for you Officer Obie. We're not going to push you to make any big decision today. Our goal today has been to make our introduction, and that we have done. I hope that when we next meet we can do so civilly and professionally, with a minimum of trouble.

Ok Mr. Smith. I can't say "it's been a pleasure meeting you." It's going to take me some time to digest this. I think our meeting is over now so I'll ask you all to leave now.

Very well Officer Obie. We'll be on our way. Have a fine evening.