26 October 2015
How the "South African Spring" will be fought
By Mike Smith
27th of October 2015
Seven years ago on the 21st of November 2008, I wrote an article for SA Sucks asking the question, How will World War IV be fought?
In that article I mentioned how battlefields and warfare changed throughout history, driven by the search for “amplifiers” or “force multipliers”.
Physically, we went from swinging clubs and chucking spears to muskets, to rifles, to cannons, to rockets to chemical and nuclear weapons.
I also mentioned the symbiosis between soldiers and engineers who develop these force multipliers. The First World War was basically a war of chemists, the Second World War was a war of Physicists and the Third World War (Cold War) was a war of information researchers which saw the development of spy gadgets and information gathering technology.
None of it is gone. We still have chemical weapons, rockets, spy technology, etc, but we have moved into a different realm since the birth of the Internet and the development of “Cyber Warfare”.
I mentioned how the world has changed and warfare has changed.
“The world today is just too sensitive and politically correct. The Fourth World War will be fought by another breed of scientists, Social scientists. It is now the turn of philosophers, psychologists, anthropologists, criminologists, et al, to battle it out. Capturing the geographical high ground has made space for capturing the moral high ground. Cultural awareness and empathy are nowadays deciding factors in war. No longer is technological advantage the Schwerpunkt of conflict. Sweeping maneuvers has made space for the stacking of moral successes.”
“The question to ask is whether we are intellectually, culturally, sociologically and psychologically prepared for such a war.”
I even mentioned how we should train our “soldiers” for such a war.
“Our educational institutions are where the soldiers are trained and armed and where we have to shape and form their minds, arm them with the best and sharpest tools.”
I mentioned seven years ago what we are seeing today…
”The weapons the soldier is armed with is not geared towards wounding or killing the physical, rather the mental. The soldier no longer wears a uniform and firearm, rather an avatar and a keyboard. No more are armies of hundreds of thousands of physical bodies needed, rather a small unit of intellectuals that can wreak havoc on the minds and perceptions of people. No longer are civilians sitting back and soldiers fighting the war, rather soldiers are sitting back as “Peace Keepers” and civilians are fighting the war in cyberspace.”
Back then when I originally posted my article, I took a lot flack from people who refused to acknowledge that soldiering and warfare have changed as technology changed. Most of them were dreaming of some heroic past and a war of attrition like the three ABW’s…The two Anglo Boer Wars and the Angolan Border War. They told me that I was wrong and that I was trying to muster an army of “Keyboard warriors” and that I want to be a “Keyboard De La Rey”.
Then, two years later in December 2010, The “Arab Spring” started and swept through Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen deposing dictators everywhere. Major uprisings in the rest of the Arab world like Algeria, Syria, Bahrain, Morocco, etc. followed.
Were these dictators deposed by armed Tuareg fighters from the glorious times of Lawrence of Arabia? No. They were students with smart phones organizing on Twitter and Facebook and keeping in touch via Skype.
Two and a half months ago after acknowledging that South Africa was developing into a dictatorship and a tyranny of the majority, I kicked off a defiance campaign by asking a question.
How do we want South Africa to be after the ANC is gone?
The article was thought provoking and received 143 comments to date.
I followed it up with a summary of those comments known as Our vision of tomorrow
I then started a series of articles educating people about non violent political defiance and gave them several tools in the form of links to free literature in the right hand column of my blog Exploring the usual options of struggle against a dictatorship
Non-violent political defiance as the only viable option to change in South Africa
So far the campaign has been received mostly positively, but several nay-sayers and detractors from the heroic Boer War and Angolan War brigades have expressed their doubts that large scale civil disobedience and political defiance could ever work in South Africa despite the evidence that it already did during the 60’s,70’s, and 80’s.
They called me a dreamer, a “Walter Mitty” with a pipe dream and God knows what else … According to them, whites and blacks would never stand together against the ANC and the black police would beat up peaceful white demonstrators and support the blacks. They also said that “The rest of the world won’t allow it”…claimed that the USA, Russia, China and even Zimbabwe would invade us. They said that in no time we would have the entire African Union against us with 50 million soldiers…
I told them how the Serbian revolutionary and disciple of Gene Sharp, Srdja Popovic started out his book “Blueprint for Revolution” with this exact theme. Srdja Popovic is the man who trained the Tunisians, the Egyptians the Syrians and the Maldivians for their revolutions. He even trained the MDC for their fight against Mugabe here in South Africa.
Every single group told him the same, “Srdja…We hear what you are saying, but it will never work in our country…”
Then they tried it and it DID work.
The principles of dictatorships, their support structures, how they stay in power and how to pull those structures out from under them to support true democracy are universal. It works in EVERY country.
Then came the “African Spring” in the form of the #FeesMustFall student protests as if someone has read my articles and we saw that the whites and blacks CAN and DID stand together against the ANC just like I suggested. Last Wednesday in Cape Town, we saw how white students were shielding and covering their fellow black students against the
baton blows of the police.
Whites students form human shield to protect black students from South African Police
Where are all these Super Powers that would come and invade us? None of them has interfered, not even stupid Mugabe.
Gene Sharp mentioned this in “From Dictatorship to Democracy”. He said that when the people wage a non-violent, political defiance campaign against a dictatorship, there is very seldom interference from the outside and the dictatorship will fall even with very strong allies.
In fact for the trained eye, it is quite simple to spot that this student defiance campaign in SA is a textbook revolution straight out of the pens of Gene Sharp and Srdja Popovic.
Srdja Popovic in the CANVAS literature says that the students must form the core of the revolution, because they are spirited, tech savvy and have the least to lose. To unite them you must find a common theme that affects them all and they all feel passionate about. Well, what better than the fees?
You also need a common symbol/slogan and idea. Today we see the students all over the country forming cells and uniting around a common idea (FeesMustFall) rather than a single leader.
Srdja Popovic also mentioned how important it is that the students DO NOT align themselves politically. Last week we saw the DA, the ANC and the EFF trying to hi-jack the revolution, but in all cases the politicians were chased away and told to “Voetsek”…Afrikaans for “Fuck-off”.
When they faced the police, the white girls and black girls were put between the male students and the police in riot gear. Immediately the white parents were crying, “Get our children out of there, they are using our children as shields to hide behind…etc”.
Absolute rubbish. It serves mainly two purposes. The police are less likely to club girls, especially white girls, in front of national and international media. Besides cell phones were filming everything. Pictures and films can be uploaded in seconds. But also the girls help to keep discipline by separating the more aggressive male students, who would probably hit back if struck, from the riot clad police.
This is all textbook stuff. These strategies and tactics are well known to trained revolutionaries.
Believe me…These are no random student uprisings. It has been well planned.
The students have behaved fairly well so far. I just have a problem with a few students from Fort Hare who broke discipline and resorted to looting . This is a big “no-no” when it comes to peaceful revolution and a revolution it certainly is. Even the most ardent liberals like Adriaan Basson and Tim du Plessis are acknowledging it.
Adriaan Basson: Is a revolution at hand?
Tim du Plessis: Ask not for whom the bell tolls, Mr Zuma…
As the revolution picks up steam and more people join, we see that it has now developed into the #ANCmustFall
We have also seen how vulnerable the ANC and their goons are. The moment the people start to realize that the ANC can be defeated, they will lose all fear. We have seen this during the protests last week. The students completely lost their fear of the police and were even arrested and put into prison.
Losing the fear of the dictatorship is a crucial point in overthrowing it. The revolution will now escalate exponentially. Another crucial point is the transfer of the allegiance of the intellectuals as we have seen with liberal academics, newspapers and the media turning against the ANC.
The next major point is when the police join the students or simply go home and do nothing. THAT is the precise point at which the ANC will be chased out. They will lose all support and will come crashing down and we shall say, "Why did it take us so long."