Here are a few lessons I’ve learnt (the hard way) about living in very oppressive conditions:
1) Never talk back. Even if you don’t agree, keeping quite doesn’t mean you’ve give in, there are more tactful ways to get your opinions, views and feelings heard and recognized. After all actions speak louder than words!
2) The Underground movement is effective! Lay low, the more you try to raise your head the harder they push you down. If you keep the surface calm you will get them off your back, hence giving you a better chance of carrying out whatever you gotta do!
3) Don’t let them get to you. Despite how sharp the tongue or hard the slap, let it slip off you. Emotional involvement will compromise your efforts! Especially negative emotions, they shall take you over and under. Keep it strictly business, nothing personal. Also helps balance the karma…eg. You may put them down, but not kick them while they’re down too!
4) Don’t react, whatever torture technique they try out on you! Just smile…and swear on the inside. It helps, honestly. If you dying to shout back or sucka punch them in the nose, don’t, just do it in your head! …if it gets intense, and you find yourself in the enemy camp as a prisoner of war, mentally distance yourself…it shall pass. Never act in the heat of the moment.
5) You must always be one step ahead of the game! This means learning to lie on the spot, especially when under interrogation, studying their behavior and tendencies and systems as to see the loop holes. There are always loop holes.
6) You must remain fluid, like water, one of the strongest elements, because it tends to be underestimated. Water is often thought of as weak, yet it can penetrate walls. Its flexibility is the secret behind its indestructible nature, whether frozen or boiled…it simply assumes a different structure, ice or vapor, but always remains water.
7) Going head on against the system is futile. To successfully ‘fuck the system’ you must work from within the system. This means getting inside the head and heart of the whole operation, sucking up, kissing ass, using ‘parliamentary procedures’ till you have gained enough power to bring it down. A bit like Hitler’s rise to power (mwahahaha!) Beside the point, what we can however learn from this technique is that force is not always the best way to do something. If you can not get out of a tight position, get in deeper…
8) Pride comes before the fall. Once you’ve succeeded in carrying out any guerilla operation, never boast or brag, even to allies. Why? It gets to your head, and you make to noise and attract unwanted attention. Eventually, being over successful shall lead your to downfall. Give yourself a pat on the back, but although you have won the battle, you have not one the war.
9) A few techniques borrowed from the communists (namely Lenin and war communism), use all your resources: siblings, house-help, neighbors if you can, trusty boda boda guys, the few shillings you found in the couch!! Collectivized efforts make a bigger impact and bring about a greater change! However this is not a long term policy as it easily drains you and your resources.
10) "Check yourself before you wreck yourself", don’t get carried away! Revolution is like a wheel, once it stops moving it falls…what you have to know is when to park the revolution, because as Castro found out in the Congo, revolution cannot last forever…you have to know when to quit while your ahead. It’s hard not to get carried away though, people always do, but you gotta always rethink why you are in it in the first place. In my case, I am not trying to ‘overthrow the totalitarian regime’, or even try to achieve a ‘collateral government’, I’m just trying to survive living at home until I can get the hell outta here!