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"The key to organizing an alternative society is to organize people around what they can do, and more importantly, what they want to do." - Abbie Hoffman (from "Revolution for the Hell of It")

What guerrilla handbook would be complete without discussing leadership? We include the Cheap Thrills and Shoplifting as introduction for those who are just far enough outside the system that we can reach them. As you grow and realize the depth of the problem in the world and begin to solve problems you will realize that you have to take part in the repair or replacement of our system. We need to get beyond selfish consumption which has lead us to this dire situation. Our progressive predecessors in the 1960's became the 70's "me" generation intent on having lots of meaningless sex and getting as stoned as possible. We are not thieves, playboys/girls, or stoners; we are leaders.

Leaders are not born, they are trained. Some people come to the understanding of these basics through trial and error, but anyone and everyone should be able to learn how to lead people.

Remember who you are and what your beliefs are! This book has been written by anarchists who want nothing to do with formal hierarchy. Lead by your ideas and by the trust of your group, never by force or coercion!

Leadership Training[edit]

Take a job or volunteer in a position where you will be leading or managing people, any experience will begin to hone your skills, even if it is only shift lead at the burger hut. There are many outdoor leadership programs, volunteer firefighter and police programs all help with skill and get you insight on how the other side works. Military, national guard, and ROTC are excellent training spots for leadership but put a big red flag on your file if you become a prominent activist.


For people to want to follow you, you have to believe in yourself. Build your confidence by leading in sports and problem solving exercises. Volunteering gives many opportunities to become comfortable in leadership.


A leader at any level must be beyond reproach. If every member of the protest movement were to act as if there was a news camera crew following them there would be less of a chance for blackmail by outsiders or disappointment of your subordinates.

Problem Solving[edit]

See Problem Solving.


If you are loose with the time of others it indicates that you do not consider their time valuable. Keep appointments and show up on time, or better yet, early. If you show up with time to spare, you'll have a few moments to collect your thoughts and be better prepared for your work.


See Public Speaking.

Join In[edit]

Join in and help with the work in a motivated way, those following you will see your real commitment and be motivated themselves. This doesn't mean that you can't delegate, but it does mean you are not lounging in an air conditioned office watching TV while the troops are getting thrashed by pigs.


You must have at least a basic grasp on the task you are managing. If necessary, find trained assistants who you trust to help with specifics. Your ability to read people will help you assess input from trained assistants.

Delegate Authority[edit]

Do not personally manage the tiny details. Designate competent leaders and allow them to build a team and take care of the task. Oversee the efforts just enough to be sure that a competent job is being done your delegate leaders want to feel trusted.


Conflict management is a major problem in most organizations, and it is especially difficult in groups where individual opinions are highly valued. As a leader, you must learn how to take the aggrieved parties and create solutions. Know when to separate activists onto different teams and when you can work out a compromise.

Know your Troops[edit]

Do your best to learn the names and a few personal tidbits about every one of your activists especially in a large organization. If your troops feel that you think they are important they will be willing to go 110% when they are needed.


When a subordinate is discovered to be in an embarrassing situation from a mistake or personal history do all you can to keep this problem out of the organization and out of the media. Use common sense to decide if the activist's history or actions could be a blackmail threat from the pigs or a black eye to your organization. see Security Culture

Take Responsibility[edit]

Even if a subordinate makes an error, it is your responsibility to let the buck stop with you. When you delegate a job you have the responsibility to choose a competent manager to take care of the problem.


Think about the effects of your decisions on those working for you. Always have the safety of your troops at the top of your mind.


Have an open door and encourage your delegates to do the same. If there is a problem or an improvement you must be open to ideas, it is easy for the management circle to become a closed thought loop, outside comments from the troops will inject fresh ideas.