UPDATE 2018-08-15: some links broke since publishing this post; I fixed them insofar possible. Current version of Davies’ Ideas for Change is here (.odt, March 2017; mirror); the file does not properly open on my system; but maybe it will on yours.
On December 3rd 2014, Simon Davies (@privacysurgeon) presented and published Ideas for Change, a comprehensive guide to privacy campaigning consisting of 100 tactics & principles — also available in one file
here (.pdf; mirror). For my own referencing purposes, I hereby list all 100 tactics & principles without Davies’ annotation and explanation.
WARNING: to understand the below, read the full original by Simon Davies.
General principles of influence
- Focus on the ‘Big Five’ emotional triggers: hypocrisy, unfairness, deception, secrecy and betrayal.
- A truly influential campaign will not only disrupt bad initiatives, it will also shift underlying beliefs.
- Your size isn’t as significant as how you use it
- The lone maverick can have more punching power than large institutions.
- Power is not only what you have, but what your opponent imagines you have.
- Imagining the scale of a threat is rarely accurate and can be infinitely manipulated
- The bigger they come, the harder they fall
Principles of conduct and integrity
- Be scrupulous with the truth
- Check your facts until it hurts.
- Develop a profile of quiet confidence.
- The strength of your argument depends on the integrity of your commentary.
- Lawbreaking must rest on a solid ethical foundation.
- Never make a threat you aren’t prepared – or aren’t able – to follow through.
- Never breach your own ethos
Guiding strategic principles
- Robust activism is driven by goals, excited by tactics and calmly guided by strategy.
- The rationale for conflict is rarely self-evident; it must be strategically and ethically tested.
- Risk-assess your strategy to anticipate turbulence.
- Never decide the nature of engagement with an opponent until you’ve looked at all the options.
- Your campaign target may not be what you first imagine – and the targeted opponent rarely is.
- Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of your opponent.
- Make the opponent live up to its own book of rules.
- A campaign won in the blink of an eye can be lost in a heartbeat
- There is rarely an outright victory, only an outright shift.
- Any criticism by a major opponent can be turned into a campaign endorsement.
- When big organizations respond in frustration, they usually fail.
- Engage real people at every opportunity.
- Use the legal system, but with caution
- Create win-win situations against your opponent.
- Know your opponent and know their past.
Ideas for strategy and tactics
- Overload the system
- Think global, act local
- Build an ethical framework.
- Information is the new gold
- Don’t be afraid to make it personal.
- Timing is the most important and least understood factor in campaigning – and often it’s the only factor that matters
Specific campaign ideas
- Ridicule and satire are potent weapons
- Use complaint processes whenever possible
- Where possible, create tangible or physical evidence of an assertion
- Be a stakeholder manager
- Make your opponent an offer it can refuse
- Re-brand the opposition’s brand
- Become a shareholder
- My enemy’s enemy is my friend
- Never underestimate the power of prayer
- Conduct Comparatively good research
- Strike an emperor, strike to kill
- The great walk-out
- Slur by association
- Use the party political system
- Follow the money.
- Create strange bedfellows
- Leverage the police
- Target influential people
- What you don’t know can be as important as what you know
- Publish unanswerable technical questions
- Test the system.
- Guilt by association
- Find a victim, any victim
- Trap your opponent in a double loss position
Negatives to positives
- If you push a negative hard and deep enough, it will break through into its counterside…
- Plan for a victorious defeat
Critical campaign risk factors and risk mitigation
- Understand the elastic limit of your supporters.
- Don’t risk staking everything on media coverage
- Keep your messaging consistent and real.
- Never concede or confess anything to the opponent.
- Always respond to an accusation of inaccuracy with a counterclaim of secrecy.
- Negative campaigns should conceive a constructive alternative to avoid a perception that they are destructive.
Media and Communications strategy
- If your issue can’t be expressed in a nine-word headline, you have a thesis, not a campaign.
- A successful first strike in media offers opportunity to the opponent.
- A good media strategy ensures you’ll always be quoted, but a great media strategy hands you the headline.
- Use active language and don’t be afraid to speak your mind.
- Images can be more powerful than words.
- You are what you write
- Get real about the value of media coverage.
- Viral a conspiracy.
- Do all the running for media
- Make your website more than a soap box.
Guiding principles for campaign planning and formation
- Strategically brand your public identity
- A good tactic is one your supporters enjoy.
- Become academic
- Always ensure your campaign lifespan is sustainable.
- Create partnerships to empower the campaign
Critical risk factors for the campaign organization
- Avoid the hothouse
- Democratising a campaign can lead to dangerous waters.
- Build and discreetly support a network
- Maintain humility in leadership.
- Protect the organisation from castration
- When planning a campaign, never assume continued support from any quarter unless you’ve considered all possible circumstances for its withdrawal.
- No matter how highly you rate your value as a campaigner, your symbolic worth is greater to the opponent.
- Take full risk and contingency measure to protect your infrastructure.
Guiding principles for managing and sustaining a campaign infrastructure
- “Keep the pressure on,
- Do something surprising
- Know the difference between the need to keep control for your campaign to win and the need to let go of control for the issue to win.
- Create a project-resource program.
- Love your team, but fear them equally.
- Do conventionally good things.
- Lighten up
- Know your technology
- Protect your info and your supporters.