How do you fight back – nonviolently – against the explosive growth of totalitarian enactments, not just in the Fifty States, but worldwide? How can you act in defiance of arbitrary, immoral, and illegal mandates and prohibitions? Especially when not just the government and ITS goons, but the media, big (and small) corporations, health care givers, and much of the general public are in cahoots with the regimes?
One way? You monkeywrench.
The term “Monkeywrenching” usually applies to nonviolent disobedience and sabotage carried out by environmental activists against those whom they perceive to be ecological exploiters. (The term came into use after the publication of author Edward Abbey’s novel The Monkey Wrench Gang (1975), which described the activities of a group of “environmental warriors” in Utah and Arizona.)
In the last two decades, the term is used occasionally to indicate other forms of global activism, usually considered as “anticapitalist.” And sometimes as “anti-fascist” or “anti-establishment.” The dictionary tells us an equivalent term is ecotage (a portmanteau of the prefix eco- and the word sabotage).
I view it as one stage in a spectrum of actions to defeat tyranny. Not “resistance” – but to defend ourselves in a productive manner by interfering with the ability of hostile agents and entities to attack us. Resistance is commonly used, but not truly descriptive of what is really needed to establish (or restore) liberty.
What is that spectrum? Very quickly and with not nearly enough thought, here are the stages:
- Warning (private)
- Refusal to obey (private)
- Warning (public)
- Refusal to obey (public)
- Spreading the word and gaining allies
- Encouraging aggressive actions (attacks) by the tyrants
- Responding to the tyrant’s actions by interfering with their ability to take action
- Responding to the tyrant’s actions by destroying their capability to take action
- Destroying the tyrant (and minions, as appropriate)
Monkeywrenching is one way to describe stage 7, and even stage 8.
We have many examples of such actions, especially in fiction. For old TV buffs, many of the antics of Hogan’s Heroes fit into such a category, as the writers and producers tried to avoid bloody killing and mayhem – at least on screen.
But I prefer to relate this to science fiction, which has some outstanding examples.
Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is one of his classics, and the actions of Mannie, Mycroft, and Wyoh with their rebellious comrades provide many examples of monkeywrenching, both nonviolent and then with extreme violence, in fighting and winning against exactly the sort of tyranny that the UN, WHO, and Tranzis seem to be working towards today.
Eric Frank Russell’s Wasp (available free here: http://projectavalon.net/WASP_Eric_Frank_Russell.pdf) and his short story “And then there were none” (available free here: https://www.abelard.org/e-f-russell.php) both also offer many examples of this kind of action – but eschewing violence almost completely: destroying the enemy’s capability to impose its will on society and those fighting against tyranny. The two pieces of fiction are in very different settings, but have much to offer.
These books together spark the periodic interest in “Simon Jester Says” campaigns in the Fifty States, themselves a possible form of, or cover for, monkeywrenching. (Some people refer to “Simon Jestering” as “subvertising” and “culture jamming.”
But there is a lot more to monkeywrenching that putting stickers with subversive memes up – against either Big Business or ANY Government (not just “Big Government”).
And this month, in the pandemic panic, we are seeing some great examples.
Foremost is the response of New Yorkers (and anyone with access to NYC’s 3-1-1 text and call in system) to the blatant call for a ramp-up of the Police State by the infamous De Blasio. It seems the tyrant’s plan backfired when thousands of texts and images were sent instead: people making rude gestures, showing better-hidden body parts, and telling him what they thought about him and his goons. The system crashed under the strain.
However, the increasingly-common “Gridlock” protests are just another form of monkeywrenching. Filling the otherwise mostly empty streets of state capitals – and some county seat towns – prevents the authorities from doing their thing: they can’t respond to break up the protests and arrest people for violating the decrees.
The only way I see to beginning to repair our society and our economy is to take action, to take matters into our own hands. And if that means taking action to prevent the authorities – at whatever level – from continuing to lord it over us, so be it. They will not obey their own constitutions and laws; they refuse to discipline themselves. So we as private individuals and families need to do it. And monkeywrenching: denying them the ability to take effect action – can be one of our tools to do that.