Canada is Free and Freedom is Its Nationality

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Monday, November 16, 2009

How to Run a Coalition...

Lessons I learned from the Wilberforce Weekend Ottawa, more or less.

1. Form a governing body that oversees smaller sub-committees covering a full range of departments: communication, organization, ethics, legal, finance, etc, etc, etc.

2. Expect and prepare for division and internal fighting. You can either be into cage fights or you can have a coalition. Not both.

3. One coalition - One issue/project. Otherwise you will not only have cage fights but WW3. Either that or a coalition of one.

4. Don't get distracted. Focus is essential.

5. Let's repeat it again, focus. Repeat I am focusing, I am focusing, I am focusing... Twenty times before breakfast.

6. Use the enemy's weapons and outwit them at their own game. The Bible commands us to be serpents.

7. Whatever your budget projection is, multiply it several times.

8. Learn to use language like loaded weapons. C.A.R.E.F.U.L.L.Y (Bloggers that goes for you to)

9. Find the most credible spokesperson for your cause. In other words a sympathetic figure. If you think that is a cheap trick and all debates should be argued on pure logic and principle, I hear there is a nice Ivory Tower in a remote spot for sale.

10. Analyze your enemy. If he has semi-automatic Uzis and you don't, raid his weapons dump.

11. Expect your opponents to fight really, really dirty. If you can't handle misquotes, abuse, name-calling, slander, why aren't you gardening?

12. Expect someone or other in the group to shoot their mouth off sooner or later and prepare to play damage control. Just remember that we still jail people for assault so take some emotion-control therepy before you confront them.

13. Communication is the quintessence of any activism.

14. The devil is in the details. You thought lawyers were into precise language and interpretation? You have to make them look like the Little League. Particularly when reading your enemy's documents.

15. Remember that the enemy will be using point 14. Use a thesaurus when you write.

16. Young people like to get involved in stuff, on their own terms. Reading between the lines that means social media.

17. It's not just who you know. It's only 99% who you know.

18. Meet your audience where they are at and with what they will understand.

19. Feed people, it makes them happy.

20. Know what you're doing. If you don't know, learn.

21. Did I mention the word accountability yet?

22. If you want to play the game like a stupid, vicious, amateur, bigoted.... Please join the enemy. We need you there, not here.

23. People are only robots in sci-fi movies. In all other dimensions they tend to burn out and need copious amounts of encouragement and support.

24. If you dislike asking people for money you might as well put yourself in handcuffs.

25. What is your objective for tomorrow? Next week? Next month? Next year? Next decade? Next century? Why don't you know?

26. Figure out who is ahead and by how much when it comes to influencing public opinion and getting their message out. If the difference is big you can afford to take more risks than if it is 50/50.

27. Don't be afraid of law courts. After all your opponents are going to drag you into them if you don't drag them in first.

28. Oh and you aren't supposed to say opponents, instead you could try fellow citizens of the opposing viewpoint. Personally I prefer enemy forces of evil... but they are probably right that there are more helpful ways to phrase it.

29. Study history... then study it some more.

30. Please don't reinvent the wheel, please?

31. If you can shortcut, do so. That is the basis of progress after all.

32. Identify the moral high ground. Then take it. Quickly.

33. Actions speak louder than words. Well, almost. Don't let the opposition get the words but don't let them monopolize actions either.

34. You have the support of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Regardless of what your position is seemingly. So use it.

35. If your neighbor can't understand and support your position in under 90 seconds, you're dead. You just haven't finished moving yet.

36. Be gracious. It helps.

37. Don't let your opponents pick the battleground.

38. Have your facts. Know them. Deploy them. Put them into fortune cookies if you have to.

39. The only place where it is all mountain tops is the Himalayas, and even they go up and down. You will have setbacks. Promise.

40. Use every available means to get your message airtime (within reason....) and invent new ways if you can.


  1. Thanks Rebekah for the wisdom/rules of engagement.

    Would it be more helpful to reduce it to just ten 'Commandments', given our new-age busy attention span? OK.....a dozen?.

    I kept them all.

  2. It was great meeting you at the weekend. Your 40 points made me realize that I learned a lot more underneath all of the hustle of the weekend. Thanks!

  3. Rebekah,

    Just found your writing through Mark Steyn and am thoroughly enjoying it. Keep it up.