Revolutionary Judo

Working Notes on Vietnam No. 10

by Daniel Ellsberg


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A preliminary draft from 1970 intended to evoke comment and counterexamples by analyzing the tendency of an existing authority to "cooperate suicidally" with insurgents by actions that alienate the public. Using "judo," the rebels (R) act as the controller in a servo-system in which A (Authority) and P (Public) are the main energy sources. Small-energy inputs from R (assassinations, small attacks, sniper fire) evoke large-energy responses from A, such as airstrikes on the snipers' villages. These responses, in turn, cause significant shifts in P's support away from A. One of the most useful aids to Communistic insurgents is for A to suppress the noncommunist opposition. If A won't cooperate, if (as in Bolivia) it suppresses any tendencies to alienate the population under R's stimulus, R's efforts alone cannot rouse P to overthrow A.

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