I don’t join angry mobs too often. I’m not saying I wouldn’t, but it just doesn’t happen regularly. But if I did, I probably wouldn’t grab a pitchfork. Or even a torch.
When we talk about angry mobs, why are these still the tools and implements we envision?
I think it’s time for an upgrade, at least, technologically, to our concept of angry mobs. Most people wouldn’t even know where to buy a pitchfork or a torch.
Here’s a quick list of things I think you should take if you find yourself joining an angry mob in the future. If you can think of other things, please add in the comments below. Leave your pitchforks and torches behind:
- Logic 101 – A textbook on constructing a logical and rational argument without emotion and fallacies. It’s easy to get caught up in the crowd and the momentum. But make sure you don’t end up losing the focus in the sea of energy. If someone confronts your angry mob and asks you probing questions, this textbook will keep you from calling them bad words and making ad hominem arguments or appealing to emotion.
- A list of demands that were democratically voted upon, appealed, amended, ratified, and adopted. You want the group to know what it wants. In some recent protests, the media interviewed 10 different people regarding the point of the protest, and 10 different people said 10 different things. Make sure everyone knows the talking points and why you are all joining together. The press of the opposing side is looking for cracks in your group. Don’t offer them any.
- A knowledge of yourself. How do you fit into this movement? Who are you beyond it and outside of it? If you’re going to say things like, “This movement is the first thing that has given my life meaning and direction,” you won’t seem like a credible witness. Make sure you know who you are, why you’re there, and how you and the mission fit together, even after the protest ends.
- Don’t speak in statistics. They’re hard to remember, hard to get right, always mutating, difficult for your audience to get the full picture, and easily disprovable by the other side. Tell stories that are easy for your audience to envision. Don’t speak in numbers.
- An understanding of Systems Theory and The Law of Unintended Consequences – Systems are complex. Government, policy, enforcement, etc. . . . are hard to understand, even for PhDs. You need to know that no “wrong” has a simple solution. To stop X, do Y. Well, yeah. Sort of. Adopting a new policy, or rescinding an old policy, will cause unforeseen waves. Who will those waves impact? Are they the predetermined target? If not, can you maybe think of a better demand or policy?
- Who are you leaving out? To join an angry mob, at least in North America, means you are likely in some position of privilege. You may not be the richest person in your apartment complex, but you have a day off from work. You have transportation. You’re connected enough to know about the gathering. You made signs and packed a lunch. Etc. . . . . . So, look around your angry mob. Who didn’t make it? Why didn’t they make it? Can you be their voice?
- A theme song – Do you want to gather with hundreds of other people with a shared goal and not have a marching tune? Not me.
- Misc: granola bars, bottles of water, suntan lotion, bail money.
- And for f%$k sake, keep it peaceful.
I hope this list helps you next time the citizens of your little burg are gathering.
If you can think of anything else, I’d be happy to hear from you in the comments.
Until then, Happy Angry Mobbing.