#EnoughZA is the hashtag for meaningful change in South Africa. Use it whenever you've #HadEnough.

Small Step Strategy for Very Big Change

(or how we navigate the huge obstacles which lie ahead)

Strategic, NonViolent NonCompliance,
inspired by Nature

“We peacefully and consciously withdraw
from the collapsing social systems
that no longer serve us.”

While we know that the journey may be long and challenging,
we start with the one step immediately ahead of us.
We know that as we climb that step, the next step becomes clearer.

Let’s explore what each important word in our strategy means.

NonViolent

We adhere strictly to the practice of not causing harm to one’s self and others under every condition. We do not place ourselves in situations where there is a risk of harm.

This means that we do not promote or participate in marches, rallies, protests or any kind of public displays of resistance.

There was a time when protests were a meaningful way of raising awareness, but that time has passed. Now is the time for more strategic action.

Why? 

Because from a legal perspective, protests are actually acceptance of the thing you are protesting against. This is important as, when we enter the legal realm, we have to operate under the rules of that system. Here’s a summary:

  • Protestors think that when they are protesting, they are telling the government ‘no – we do not consent’.  
  • However, protesting is engaging in a legal activity that has legal ramifications.
  • A protest, legally speaking, means ‘performance without agreement or contract’. It’s saying, ‘okay; but I’m not happy about it’. It is a legal acceptance. 
  • This is from historical precedence. If someone ordered you to do something, you would ask to see the contract. If they refused to produce it but demanded you engage in the action anyway, you could perform, but do it under protest. If within 3 days they don’t bring a contract, then you get to determine the terms of that contract. 
  • Protestors don’t do this, because they don’t know it. They are, from a legal point of view, “acting within that 3-day period of acceptance”, and therefore, protest is legal acceptance.  

You can watch Robert Menard, Canadian truth-seeker and director of the World Freeman Society provide a full 4-minute explanation here

Dr. Aisling O’Donnell (PhD) is a Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Limerick in Ireland.

NonCompliance

South Africa, like any society, is made up of different building blocks: the money system, the education system, the health system, the legal system and many more. Whether or not we are happy with these systems, they are still legitimate systems. Legitimate does not mean lawful. It means accepted.

Our money system is the generally accepted way of trading. Our education system is the generally accepted way of teaching children about society. The health system is the generally accepted way of addressing health.

It’s important to understand that none of these systems are the best way of doing anything. They are merely the systems that everyone has chosen to generally accept.

NonCompliance is when we say that we no longer generally accept any or all of these systems. For example, we might say that:

  • We no longer generally accept that wearing masks is effective.
  • Or we might say that we no longer generally accept an economic system which is designed to increase poverty.
  • Or we might say that we no longer generally accept the country belonging to the UN, UNESCO, WHO, WEF or similar organisations.

There is nothing illegal about saying or wanting to accomplish any of these things. The only challenge lies in getting everyone to agree. If we want real change, we have to stop generally accepting any of the systems we wish to change.

Another way of saying this is that the systems we wish to change will continue to remain in place for as long as we accept their legitimacy. We reinforce their legitimacy every time we we use them. It is only when we question or withdraw legitimacy that we any chance of lasting change. And we MUST withdraw that legitimacy as a nation, rather than as small isolated pockets of activism.

This means that we must change gears from protesting to not complying with what we want to change.

Watch the 20min video above which explains Gene Sharp’s Theory of Power (skip to 1:44 unless you want to hear an explanation of the Trump presidency in 2017).

The social challenge ahead of us is not demanding change. Instead, we must build up citizen support for NonCompliance. (More about how we do this later).

Without our consent — either our active support or our passive acquiescence the South African president has little power and little basis for rule. In other words, once we come together, we are more powerful than the president.

Natural

South Africa, like many societies, is at a critical moment. What we do in the next 18-24 months will prove to be a moment of truth in our long and colourful history. That’s because we stand on the cusp of deep change. This moment is the equivalent of a 21st birthday: the moment of adulthood.

Biologists tell us that immature species compete, while mature species collaborate. All of our social systems are designed for the immature phase of competition, scarcity and extraction.

Watch Elisabet Sahtouris, evolution biologist, explain in 2 minutes how competitive cells in a caterpillar transform into collaborative cells of the butterfly.

Dr. Elisabet Sahtouris (PhD) is an internationally acclaimed evolution biologist, futurist, author and speaker. Her Butterfly Story has been an inspiration to millions.

This means that, if we are to mature as a society, we must withdraw from immature systems that promote competitive behaviour. We must exercise NonCompliance of systems that keep us trapped in immaturity.

This may sound extreme to you. Yet that’s exactly what happens in the transformation of the caterpillar into the butterfly.

The moment the chrysalis starts forming is the moment that the legitimacy of the caterpillar comes to an end. The system of the caterpillar has served its purpose. It is time for the system to come to an end. This is a biological certainty. There can be no debate. The caterpillar is finished. What lies ahead is the potential of a butterfly.

Sadly, not every caterpillar turns into a butterfly. Why is that?

Imaginal cells, which lie dormant in the skin of the caterpillar all its life, find themselves in a race against time. They must come together before the nutrient soup of the caterpillar runs out. If food runs out first, there is no butterfly. The potential is wasted.

As the caterpillar starts breaking down into a nutrient soup, there are some cells which cling to the idea of the caterpillar: Oh my god, the world is ending! What can I do to save it?! In their panic, they prevent imaginal cells from coming together.

There is an important lesson to learn here. As activists, our role is not to demand change, but to educate those who cling to systems which are no longer legitimate. We must frame what is happening in South Africa as a story of maturing. Part of that maturation is releasing our attachment to the legitimacy of immature systems. As we do so, a new possibility emerges: the idea of systems of collaboration.

Our challenge is to release our attachment to systems that might have been “legitimate” in the past, but which no longer serve us. These are old and dying systems, and we explain this next.

South Africa is maturing as a nation. As we do, we transform from competition to collaboration. We choose to no longer comply with systems of competition.

What does Withdrawal Mean?

These are the social systems we must withdraw from if we are to mature as a society. This is a non-trivial task and can only be accomplished by coming together.

Without a focus on withdrawing from the monetary system, meaningful change will never be accomplished.

  • We have a belief system based on competition rather than collaboration. As a result, we reward extraction and accumulation rather than regeneration.
  • We have an economic and monetary system which has been captured by financial engineers. It is designed to accumulate and concentrate wealth. As it accomplishes its goal, it perpetuates poverty, by design. Poverty and inequality will never be addressed within the current monetary system.
  • We have a media and judicial system which exist only to support the engineered economic system.
  • We have a political system which promotes the wellbeing of mega-corporations and corrupt politicians at the expense of the people.
  • We have a public health system built on misunderstandings of natural, healthy ecosystems.
  • We have a food system designed for commercial efficiency rather than ecosystem health. As a result, our food poisons rather than nourishes.
  • We have an education system which teaches conformity and survival of the fittest. It dissuades risk-taking and suppresses creative, independent thought.
  • We have a scientific system based on limited Newtonian physics and which teaches domination of Nature. This system emphasises visible matter over the invisible energetic realm.
  • We have global institutions like the UN, UNESCO, WHO, WEF. These organisations tell us they are working on the wicked problems of humanity. Despite their well-intentioned efforts, social and ecological concerns have never been higher.

How Do We Withdraw?

Withdrawing from any of the social systems listed above is daunting and raises all kinds of questions, fears and concerns. A more immediate focus is achieving strength in numbers. In other words, what activities can we undertake that builds support for the complex idea of systemic change behind the simple hashtag of #EnoughZA?

  • How do we quickly identify others who support the same idea?
  • How do we find each other?
  • How do we come together as imaginal cells?

Listed below are a number of examples. The examples are provided to spark creative ideas in your own mind. In other words, they are not prescriptive. Most of them come from Gene Sharp’s 198 methods of nonviolent action, which you can find here.

Step 1: Solidarity & Trope Spreading

  • Use the hashtag #EnoughZA when posting on all the social platforms.
  • Include the hashtag in your social cover image, name or headline.
  • Use a standard overlay (for example the South African flag) on your profile image.
  • Include the hashtag in your email signature or on your business card.
  • Weare a badge on your jacket.
  • Draw a symbol or hashtag on your mask.
  • Bumper stickers, stickers on street signs, graffiti on bridges, etc.
  • Include the hashtag on your business entrance, in your company or marketing emails or on any of your printed materials.
  • Purchase a research paper for more ideas: Producing solidarity in social media activism by Maya Stewart and Ulrike Schultze: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infoandorg.2019.04.003

Step 2: Taking Strategic Action

  1. Decide which Social System you want to withdraw from (from the list above).
  2. Start small and choose a very specific subset of the social system to focus on.
  3. Identify 6-12 steps that will take the nation towards the goal of withdrawing.
  4. For each step, set Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). An Objective tells you where to go. Key Results are the metrics you need to achieve to get to your Objective. You can learn more about setting up and measuring OKRs here.
  5. Set a Threshold Result for each Objective. A threshold result is the minimum number of people you need to show support for that specific Objective.
  6. Track the results and only proceed to the next Objective if a Threshold Result is achieved.

In other words, our efforts ripple outwards, reaching more and more people as the idea gains support and builds momentum. As more and more Withdrawal Initiatives get going, we create waves and waves of NonCompliance. Over time, we withdraw our support from all of the systems that no longer serve us.

Shown below are a handful of examples, with more to come. If you have any great NonCompliance ideas, please ping us!

Small Examples

  • Coordinated tweetstorms that target government and business leaders or celebrities with Calls to Action.
  • Community led re-education campaigns to explain each of the social systems and why they are broken. Resources to assist are being prepared. Conclude each training session with a course of action.
  • Social events (braai, dinner, drinks, coffee) set up to discuss the topics discussed here. Conclude each gathering with a course of action.
  • Employees pressure a CEO to back an #EnoughZA initiative.
  • Shareholders pressure a CEO to publicly back an #EnoughZA initiative.
  • An events company and/or marketing agency convene an online summit with the objective of encouraging South African business leaders to step into the leadership void left by politicians.
  • The twenty or so mayors of South African cities convene an online summit with the objective of building a network of self-governed cities.

Medium Examples

  • Boycott companies until a given objective is met e.g. boycott Microsoft until the Gates Foundation stops funding pharma and media companies.
  • Short a company’s stock to pressure them into taking a particular course of action e.g. Gamestop Strategy.
  • All South African retailers agree to make mask wearing voluntary in-store, starting on a coordinated date.
  • South African Tourism opens up the country to foreign tourists who wish to find their own way here for mask-free travel.

Big Examples

  • Coordinated non-payment of bank debt until a debt moratorium is implemented.
  • Pressure SARS into expenditure tax rather than income tax.
  • Overload government services to pressure them into taking a particular course of action e.g. coordinated multiple reports of water leaks within a 10km radius.

Huge Examples

  • All South African companies boycott any new taxes or penalties linked to COP26 and GFANZ until full transparency of ‘climate related disclosures’ is demonstrated.
  • Business and personal tax is paid into escrow instead of to SARS. Only when a particular demand is met will taxes be released.
  • All publicly listed companies send a letter to WHO (or other global institutions) demanding withdrawal of South Africa.
  • A grassroots rogue political campaign wins the 2024 national election and rewrites the constitution to remove all outside interference and dependencies.

An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come. – Victor Hugo

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