How To Organize A Campaign Of Escalation

How To Organize A Campaign Of Escalation

The campaign of escalation is a series of organized actions that increase in momentum and scale towards a particular revolutionary goal. It is designed to build out popular support and activate the people to act on a mass level.

Campaigns of escalation are extremely important organizing tools that lay the foundations for mass movements. They can be used to escalate the current political situation and accelerate the radicalization of the people. Throughout history, the campaign of escalation has been used to prepare the people for a riot, general strike, mass occupation, armed revolt, guerrilla campaign or government overthrow.

Escalation campaigns usually consist of small scale street protest, leafleting, small scale boycotting, sabotage, and small scale strikes. At times, even localized rioting can function as a step in the escalation campaign that leads to larger actions. They are usually organized around a set of grievances, which might also escalate over time.

A key aspect of any escalation campaign is the build up of momentum. On a basic level, the small-scale protest is the basic unit of organization that make mass movement possible. The trajectory of the campaign begins with the smallest instances of agitation, which over time increase in scale and severity. The ground is fertile for a mass-level action when enough momentum and popular support has been generated and enough of the people have been politically activated. A escalation campaign is successful when the stage is set for the next phase in revolutionary action.

The succession of escalating actions requires consistency on the part of organizers and a sensitivity to the overall political situation. It is most effective when the space in-between actions is minimized and there is a coherent and steady direction towards the goal. The campaign must be readily adaptable to any changing circumstances in the political climate and be able to incorporate them into the organizing.           

It is important to realize that police repression also tends to escalate as the campaign reaches its climax. To prepare for this, a system for bail outs, and a network of legal advisers and street medics would be helpful to have in place before the campaign is even started. Anticipating militarized repression before hand will prevent the campaign from getting snuffed out before it reaches the climatic level.

Usually, the pigs are unable to detect that a escalation campaign is being organized until it reaches a noticeable level. If the militarized response doesn't kill the campaign, it in fact makes it stronger, since the people detest state repression and will be provoked to take more extreme courses of action. Any hyper militarized response by the police only exacerbates the already tense situation between the regime and the people. Stretching this relationship to its breaking-point is the basic goal of the escalation campaign.


Step One: Identify A Set Of Grievances

Begin by identifying your goal for the campaign and a set of grievances that a series of actions can be organized around. These grievances should be related to the ultimate goal of the campaign. For instance, if the goal is to overthrow the government you might start by outlining the failures of the current administration, the corruption and the repression in detail. These become concrete concerns that form the foundations of your campaign. 

You should also analyze the current political situation to determine if agitation is at a level where you can start the campaign at a later stage.   

Step Two: Leafleting                        

You will want to start the campaign at the lowest possible denominator, and none is a more appropriate starting point then the distribution of pamphlets and leaflets. The revolutionary literature you distribute should take the grievances you have outlined and present them in a accessible way to the people. You should make use of printed pamphlets as well as social media, email, phone, and door-knocking to get your message across. Organizing a team of leafleters will help accelerate the process and move the campaign to the next stage. Leafleting should be apart of every level of the campaign. 

Step Three: Sit-ins, Die-ins, and Picket-lines

These are temporary, small-time occupations that are usually staged at private establishments or public space. These actions offer a platform for continued leafleting and briefly disrupt the everyday flow of commerce. For the purposes of the escalation campaign, these actions help to broadcast your message to the people and increase popular support. Organizing a few of these actions in succession will prepare the people for the next level of the campaign.         

Step Four: Rallies     

The rally is your basic-level street protest that is conducive to momentum building and small-scale enough not to provoke suspicion from the pigs. It is adaptable in size and scale depending on the needs of the campaign and can basically be staged at any location, even indoors. Rallies are excellent places to distribute leaflets and its political nature makes it ideal for mobilizing. Your rallies should build and expand on previous points made throughout the campaign.

Step Five: Organizing Marches and Occupations     

At a certain point in the campaign you may escalate the agitation to full-scale marches and occupations. These actions will usually require a large amount of people and if the campaign has been successful so far, you would have already built enough popular support to sustain them. The mobile nature of marches energize and excite the people, while the stationary occupations build a community of resistance that is committed to prolonged struggle. Both are actions where leafleting is necessary. These actions should once again take the work already done throughout the campaign and expand on it.

While police presence may have existed before, here is where repression begins to become an issue. These are major disruptive protests that will ultimately catch the attention of the pigs and inspire state repression. At this point you should have already anticipated this and planed accordingly.

Step Six: Escalating to Small-Scale Strikes and Boycotting          

At this level of the campaign you should have enough popular support that you may begin to place economic pressure in key areas related to your ultimate goal (if it is applicable). Small-scale worker strikes temporarily disrupt production and allow for the movement to gain a foothold among the workers which lays the foundations for a general strike. Small-scale boycotting among consumers temporarily disrupt the flow of enterprise and has similar effects on consumer mobilization. These actions are done in conjunction with the street protest already being organized through the campaign.

Step Seven: Escalating to Small-Scale Rioting and Sabotage    

Not all escalation campaigns are designed to reach this level of agitation. These actions may or may not be necessary depending on the ultimate goal of the campaign. However, in instances where the goal is government shutdown or armed movement, small scale rioting and sabotage are necessary steps in the escalation process. These actions are insurgent in nature and can expect to come up against extreme repression by the pigs.

Small-scale rioting introduces methods of insurgency to a people who at this point in the campaign are fed up with police repression and have a palpable anger. What a series of small-scale riots amount to is usually one general riot or large-scale revolt. Sabotage is a method of resistance with its own levels of escalation that rage from small-time worker sabotage to large-scale sabotage of bridges and power grids.

The popular support and momentum you have generated throughout the escalation campaign, as well as the increased repression from the pigs, will help establish the necessity of these methods in the eyes of the people and allow you to move to the final phase.   

Step Eight: The Climatic Phase        

The climatic phase of your escalation campaign is where all of the previous events culminate into the climax of your campaign and the realization of your ultimate goal. At this point, the popular support you have generated is sufficient enough to bring the struggle to the next revolutionary level. For small-scale campaigns this might mean the inciting of a riot, a mass-scale march or a significantly disruptive occupation. For more ambitious campaigns it might mean a general strike, large-scale revolt, government shut down, government overthrow, or armed insurrection.