Don’t be intimidated, part 1 wasn’t that long and this won’t be either.
So when speaking of “the swarm” I mean a type of “organization-that-is-not-an-organization”, but is more like a fact of human existence.
The swarm include the entirety of humanity that has tends to periodically get rowdy, stand up for itself, create problems for the system, question capitalism, and long for a deep and meaningful freedom. Imagine a list of everyone who pours out into the streets at critical junctures like 1968 or Occupy Wall Street. Everyone there is the swarm.
And then there are those who are political ALL the time, even during the worst times. So not everyone is equally swarmy. But the swarm doesn’t work if it is reduced to its full-timers; its existence is always dependent on bridging the gap between the few radicals and the broad majority.
(This is critical. If you’re a member of some specific political group, and in some other cases, there is typically a pull toward viewing yourself as part of that group only. I think you should view yourself as part of the proletariat, and any other group is a secondary identity which should only be a tool to assist your first identification. Membership in a specific political group should NOT put up walls or create tension between you and other swarmlings, but unfortunately in reality it often does. Political “tendencies” should be exactly that — tendencies or factions within the movement, not walled-off units unto themselves.)
THE GREATER SWARM (LOW CONSISTENCY)
Most humans. They usually don’t go to protests, but when they do, they turn the place upside-down with mass-attendance. They don’t usually follow politics, but when they do, it’s usually for one main reason: their wallets are hurting and they want class warfare.
HIGH-CONSISTENCY SWARM MEMBERS
Political organizers and activists. We could be seen as the bug-alien queens, tending to the eggs, trying to bring some coordination to this rag-tag mob of freaks, and it is seriously like herding kittens.
This is why our methods of retention have to be more fluid than solid. In a movement against society’s compulsive, repressive nature, we’re not going to organize our side by putting down hard walls and enforcing the rules. We’re going to attract our side with honey, not vinegar. We have to make people feel excited about the ruckus we can create. We can also excite people by helping them find a radical mental clarity through the muddled muck of mixed ideas we are all raised with. (This can raise their consistency, and we need more consistent people to better reach the Greater Swarm.)
Most of all we have to speak to people’s most organic sensation: their pain. This is the best method for bridging the radical-majority gap and activating the swarm.
SEMI-CONSISTENT SWARM MEMBERS
These are activist types who aren’t particularly dedicated about it – drift in and out of the loop, show up when they feel like it. In non-revolutionary times, this may be the bulk of a demonstration. Unlike most people, they show up, but they didn’t organize the thing.
There’s not much that can be done about it, and after all, who can blame them? They are only following their biological impulses. You could try having a pointed conversation about the necessity of consistent organizers for our collective liberation, but that might just drive them further away. It’s a tough call; play it by ear.
These are people who have not yet fully overcome their weakling human/reactionary programming and, at times serve both the system and the revolution, or suffer relapses. Potentially everyone could be perceived as having a degree of this trait.
You need to watch your ass around these people, not because they’re intentionally traitorous, but their confusion makes them effectively so.
These people are like when Anonymous attacks Bank of America one day and then North Korea the next. (I’m not a fan of the NK regime but it shouldn’t be attacked by superpowers either.) These people are like the Ron Paul supporters who demonstrate to free Bradley Manning but then attempt to channel all dissent into support for capitalism. Another example would be paid staffers in an activist group who set up a good movement but run it like a dictatorship and sometimes channel the group’s time and activity into Democratic campaigns. March side by side with them when it makes sense but don’t be afraid to publicly debate or disgrace them – their propaganda is like pesticide to our spread. Treat them like friends when they’re friends, treat them like enemies when they’re enemies, and watch carefully because they can shift quickly in either direction.
Also don’t try to wrap your head around it logically. Some people are just contradictory. Don’t try to understand them, because they are beyond (or below) comprehension; just treat them as part of the political landscape that you have to deal with.
PILLARS OF ORDER
The thing about the swarm model of organization is that it has very few true enemies. Everyone has some of our dark side in them. Everyone is potentially a member.
Then there are people who make it their job to consistently be detrimental to our efforts. (In StarCraft this would be a bunker full of marines or a wall-off.)
They can play a wide range of roles – a voice for anti-worker Republicanism, a Democrat hack who excuses their party for all cuts, wars, and lack of forward motion by pointing at Republicans, a metro police department which “contains” demonstrations, all manner of bureaucrats and authority figures, and ultimately the super-rich themselves who spend their lives cannibalizing us and whom we must ultimately eat.