101 Things to Do 'til the Revolution

by Rick Gee

When I wrote my 4th of July "On Liberty" column for The Valley News last year, I titled it "Time for a New Declaration?" and ended it with this straightforward statement: "Someday, it will take a new revolution for enslaved men to regain their liberty."

I can't tell you how much derision that column earned me. "A new revolution? That could never happen here," said my detractors. Either they are unaware of the cruel reality that history dealt to the Ottoman, Roman and British Empires (to name just a few), or they can't imagine their own Empire crumbling. Either way, they're wrong.

As Claire Wolfe says in the foreword to her classic book 101 Things to Do 'til the Revolution, "America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards…. The 'revolution' of the book title may never be a shooting war. I hope to hell it isn't…. (but) it will happen."

So if we concede that the hegemonic behemoth that is the US State will fall at some point in the future, what can we do to hasten it, or at least prepare for its inevitability? What to do if you care about freedom and aren't willing to be sheared along with the rest of the sheep? Wolfe provides some answers in 101 Things, an informative and entertaining piece of work that should be on every market anarchist's shelf.

In the One and Only Chapter, Wolfe breaks down her ideas into three main categories:

  • Self-liberation – things that are a good idea no matter what the government does or doesn't do;
  • Monkey-wrenching – little irritants to help wake people up and bring the system down (bit by bit);
  • Preparation – things that could help you survive the worst of the mess, once the government's shit hits the fan.

Some of the ideas are probably obvious to most an-caps: don't vote, visualize no government, take your kids out of government school and question authority. Nonetheless, all three sections contain sage advice and much food for thought.

Wolfe offers sound counsel in the self-liberation department, much of which pertains to privacy issues. She advises using pre-paid calling cards (Sam's Club sells them for just over four cents per minute) and adds the caveat that one should assume that all phones are tapped. Remember the old government lie that the Social Security number would never be used as a unique identifier? According to Wolfe, one can refuse to divulge the number in all but four cases, but if you're the type of anarchist that eschews taxes, welfare and the legal requirements of operating a motor vehicle, you can forget your personal bar code. I have successfully refused to reveal mine in several instances in which it was asked for and expected. The resulting flabbergasted reaction of the functionary is enough to make your day. And it makes your week if you can involve a supervisor before exalting in your victory over the mindless pen pushers.

The way the book is designed – with 101 items in 190 pages – lends itself to one of the special touches Wolfe uses to enhance the reading experience: the timely and germane quotation, sprinkled in judiciously for maximum effect. While citing quotations from the likes of Machiavelli, Jefferson, Thoreau, and Heinlein may not be unique, Wolfe uses them to drive home the points she is making.

If you're like me, you've spent some time considering ways that you can combat the onslaught of regulations, bureaucrats and would be do-gooders. While you might balk at sabotaging a police car or blowing up a post office, you may be willing to turn the tables on a bureaucrat by making him fill out your paperwork or throwing key words like "Osama Rules!" into your email. Or if you're really inspired and mischievous, you might create a fake plot or organization, preferably one that mocks PETA. Whatever it is, monkey wrenching can be fun and allow you to exact some harmless revenge on those that get off on telling you what to do.

As a suburban white guy growing up in the Midwest (think Tom Cruise in Risky Business minus the Porsche and Rebecca De Mornay), I never had to think much about surviving in unconventional circumstances. Wolfe upbraids the people in Florida who were inexplicably unprepared when Hurricane Andrew hit, then whined on the news about who (read: government) was going to take care of them. This passage was a real wake-up call for me:

Every adult should be prepared to take care of him or herself through a time of crisis … (y)ours could be a short-term crisis, like a flood or hurricane, or a long-term crisis such as a war, depression, sustained unemployment, major illness or social collapse. If you claim to believe in independence, it's up to you to be as prepared as possible to survive whatever nature, life and the government throw at you.

Wolfe covers everything from the three-day grab-and-go kit to detailed instructions on how to bury gold, guns and supplies. And she tells you where to find the crucial items and information you need in order to facilitate a true state of preparedness. Yes, some of the links and resources she cites are obsolete (the book was published in 1996 and revised and updated in 1999), but if even half of them bear succulent fruit, the cover price of $15.95 will seem like a tip at Denny's.

The book is not without its faults. For example, Wolfe argues that you can cultivate cheap tastes and should avoid letting your possessions imprison you.  But to acquire all the items that she advocates would require you to either be independently wealthy or solicit funds from fawning followers for your presidential library. Some of her "Things" contradict one another, but like a master salesman, Wolfe answers that objection before it arises by asserting that contradictory counsel is required and beneficial in a free society composed of individuals.

Other tips range from the ridiculous (writing in Count Lithium von Chloride for president if you must vote) to the sublime (fly the Gadsden flag).

Though it's hard to point to a single most important thing to do 'til the revolution, three items stand out.

You can't kill the beast while sucking at its teat:

You cannot untie yourself from the apron strings of the nanny state while scarfing up nanny's goodies. Do not accept: food stamps, welfare, housing allowances, Medicaid, Social Security benefits, government jobs, independent government contracts, business subsidies or any other government handout, privilege or special consideration. You say you've paid for all this with your taxes? Then stop paying! But don't take other people's money under the thin justification that it's really your money coming back to you.

She goes on to dismiss the roads and post office canard. Remember, those are State monopolies that are unavoidable for nearly everyone. But in addition to shunning handouts, you can also avoid working for the government, which Wolfe correctly points out includes you indirectly if:

  • Your company sells its services chiefly to government agencies
  • Your company markets a product primarily directed at the government market
  • Your company makes a product that, though marketed to the private sector, would not have to exist if the government didn't require it

 Visualize Vermont carry:

If the government issued permits for free speech, would you get in line for one? If your state allowed you to hold a political meeting, but only if you obtained the proper license and consented to having your name entered in a government database, would you lay your money down? If you ask the government for a permit, you are admitting you don't have a right.

The same principle applies to the Second Amendment: "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Therefore, Wolfe advises, "don't — ever — get a concealed carry permit. If you have the courage, bear your gun as you wish. It is your right. Think of it as an act of civil disobedience."

"Vermont carry" refers to the only state that recognizes the rights of gun owners, with no restrictions on the right to carry firearms. If and when I ever carry a handgun (or maybe I already do), I shall laminate the text of the Second Amendment and stick it in my wallet: "Here's my concealed carry permit, officer."

If you're unwilling to be so bold, or the penalties in your state are harsh, perhaps you can support one of the gun rights groups Wolfe recommends. No, the NRA is not one of them.

If you can risk it, don't pay income taxes. The author lists some of the justifications typically trotted out by federal income tax opponents: the 16th Amendment was never ratified, wages are not income but rather a simple trade of time for money, filing tax returns violates our Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, and others. While allowing that these and other arguments may be valid, Wolfe zeroes in on the only real reason needed to resist the income tax:

Because I am not a slave. What I earn belongs, by right, to me … no institution on this earth has the authority to claim my labor, my time and my life as its right. These things belong to me, now and forever. … We can fight and fight for freedom, but as long as we continue to feed the destroyer of freedom, we are fighting against ourselves. 

I couldn't have said it better myself, which is why Claire Wolfe is a published author and I am writing a review of her work for this publication.

101 Things to Do 'til the Revolution provides everything you could want from a how-to book: general information, specific resources for further edification, humor, wit and wisdom. It's short enough to be read in an evening, but substantial enough to provoke many hours of thought. It inspires as it educates and entertains as it persuades.

* * * 

If you are interested in more of Claire Wolfe's work, read the sequel Don't Shoot the Bastards (Yet): 101 More Ways to Salvage Freedom or visit her website.

March 12, 2002

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Rick Gee is a freelance writer. He is a regular at anti-state.com, Strike-the-Root.com and LewRockwell.com, where you can find his popular series "The Great Anti-War Films." When not applying his meager talents to scorn the State, he plays basketball and dreams of a winning an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

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