Open source insurgency is John Robb’s term for self-organizing groups sharing information, as in open source software, who create unexpected political, social, and economic impacts, punching way beyond their size. It’s a non-ideological tool that can be used by any ideology or group. The Trump campaign almost certainly was an open source campaign.
Robb (who says he “has no politics”) says the same strategy and tactics can and may well be used against Trump to force him out of power. There is however, a big caveat. What comes after that?
I’ll have more in future posts on specific tactics we can use. The article gives a general outline. Here’s what Robb sees coming. He was completely correct and very early in saying Trump would win, right down to saying the Rust Belt states would flip.
This uptick in insults directed at minorities blamed on Trump, may be the tinder for setting off this next insurgency.
Social media amplifies every incident, spreading the anger it evokes like contagion across the country. Just watch. This suggests that the next open source protest we are likely to see will form to force Donald Trump from the Presidency before the next election — a Tahrir square moment in cities all across the US. A massive and diverse open source protest that has one simple goal: the immediate removal of Donald Trump from office.
Unfortunately, an open source insurgency that forces a sitting President from office without the benefit of an election could result in the same outcome as Egypt (or worse Syria).
How to start an open source insurgency.
Superempowerment. an increase in the ability of individuals and small groups to accomplish tasks/work through the combination of rapid improvements in technological tools and access to global networks — has enabled small groups to radically increase their productivity in conflict.
Open source warfare is an organizational method by which a large collection of small, violent, superempowered groups can work together to take on much larger foes (usually hierarchies).
High rates of innovation.
Increased survivability among the participant groups.
More frequent attacks and an ability to swarm targets.
Create a plausible promise. with an enemy, a goal, and a demonstration of viability.
The precepts are Relinquish, Resist, Share. The founding group must stay small, and Relinquish control about how goals are met, once the insurgency grows. Resist becoming a hierarchy. Share what it is doing with others and learn from them.
Relinquish, Resist, Share in particular struck me. This is almost exactly what Saul Alinsky did. Small organizations. They helped start them, then deliberately got out of the way and let the locals run them. “We never stay more than 2-3 years and never overstay our welcome.” This is completely different approach from socialist and communist organizers, who have ulterior motives, which oftern muddies and screws up their ostensible cause.
Open source warfare defined:
Need a missile-guidance system? Buy yourself a Sony PlayStation 2. Need more capability? Just upgrade to a PS3. Need satellite photos? Download them from Google Earth or Microsoft’s Virtual Earth. Need to know the current thinking on IED attacks? Watch the latest videos created by insurgents and posted on any one of hundreds of Web sites or log on to chat rooms where you can exchange technical details with like-minded folks.
Robb calls this new type of conflict ”open-source warfare,” because the manner in which insurgent groups are organizing themselves, sharing information, and adapting their strategies bears a strong resemblance to the open-source movement in software development. Insurgent groups, like open-source software hackers, tend to form loose and nonhierarchical networks to pursue a common vision, Robb says. United by that vision, they exchange information and work collaboratively on tasks of mutual interest