How to Establish a New Political Party – Part 3

Part 1 covered:

1) A party needs a leader – and leaders

2) Naming the Party

3) Balance is the Goal

 

Part 2 covered:

4) Key Functions of a New Party

5) From the Name – Signs, logos and Rituals

6) The Insane Importance of Press & PR

 

And now it is time for Part 3 of our developing series on “How to establish a new political party”.

7) Accelerating ‘Adoption’ rates – how to build up followers

You need to have a strong grassroots movement to gain supporters on the ground. This means finding people to spread your message person by person, group by group.

I would recommend delegating this task within the new structure. I mean, just imagine poor Col. Gaddafi when he had to find some girls to listen to him read the Koran. Picking up girls is a skill and art (I recommend ‘The Game‘ by Neil Strauss as a beginners version, just avoid ‘negging’ as it is nasty, unkind and unnecessary). The poor colonel flies into Rome and wanted an audience, and so even he found that it was easier to hire an expert at hiring people quickly and at scale (true story – here in the Independent from Nov 2009).

Your organization should select people who are attractive and approachable, whoever they may be (boys, girls, young, old), to hand out leaflets and start conversations.

Encourage them to start in groups of people, be a little fearless. Ideally if they enter into a large group (fastest way to reach the masses) they should have some confederates working with them who would stand in the crowd opposite you, not at the front, so when you start talking, they immediately say “YES, Yes! Listen to him / her, he/she’s right”. This is, of course, a basic tactic used by street hustlers selling perfume on Oxford Street, or playing dice games world-wide.

 

8) Spread through Network Hubs

On the ground, I would target and immediately get on side the people who everyone go to as a central point: the mobile phone rechargers, and the folks selling or distributing food, cigarettes and medicine. In the network structure these are hubs, with lots of people coming to them to get things. If they are willing to support you, even if it just posting your flyers at their venues, you can propagate your message much faster, with almost no effort.

 

Phone charging station in Tahrir

 

If you wanted to get the wealthier classes on side, you might think about putting flyers next to ATM machines (as they try to get their cash out of the banks).

The key to spreading the movement will be tapping into networks of all types. Beyond physical hubs, I would look for trade association, local chambers of commerce, scout groups, alumni associations, Facebook groups. In short all kinds of groups where like-minded people someone aggregate together.

The goal will be to cloak your message into the activities and communications already conducted by the targeted network. In this way, if you persuade the network owners or coordinators to spread your words, you get effective community endorsement, and people are more likely to take action based on who the message is from.

This technique, by the way, is a BIG ONE. It is worth taking some time over this to make a good list and go target folk. I would also be quite creative in building up my master list. No point ignoring folk that might help you… at massive scale.

 

9) Targeted from Afar – and how to protect yourself

In all likelihood, there will be surveillance tactics underway if authorities suspect you and your new gang of political friends . This is hard to accomplish in a huge crowd like Tahrir in Egypt but it would be plausible to assume that key ‘leaders’ are under watch, and there will be crowd experts to observe unusual movement patterns.

Any kind of new political movement will therefore be likely to exhibit patterns that will catch people’s attention. So, how do you get round this?

Well, you could always meet in darkness, or use disguises. You could bring in several people with look-alike outfits, so it would be hard to impossible to work out who is who. You could use the masses to crowd around a core group, protecting the anonymity of the ringleaders. Or you could use a tent – as more and more tents are set up as part of the emerging ‘tent city’.

 

10) Need memorable moment

The leader or leaders in the party need to do something memorable, and ideally something recorded for posterity. This may have been in the past, allowing the movement to take credit for some past well-known act. Or it may need to be planned out as a stepping stone to crafting a larger movement.

It does not have to be at the extremity of a putsch, but it should be more than just donating $20 tip to a cute flower seller.

I suggest I will let you take this item as a springboard for your own creativity. And, to be honest, if you as a leader and a new political party cannot come up with something inspiring and televisual, then you probably don’t deserve to be in the running for a top spot at the political table.

 

Working on Part 4… and on techniques to use the power of the masses to support regime change (will include strikes, blockades, bank runs, boycotts, etc)

 

2 Responses to “How to Establish a New Political Party – Part 3”

  1. I appreciate the information on this blog. I’m one of the persons interested in forming a political party in Mozambique, a Party that will truly bring change to this country ulike frelimo and renamo who have failed the people disimally. However my challenge is the finance, are there international organisations that can assist? Please reply to my email.

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