The Householder's Guide to Community Defence Against Bureaucratic Aggression


THE HOUSEHOLDER'S GUIDE TO COMMUNITY DEFENCE AGAINST BUREAUCRATIC AGGRESSION (A Report on Britain's Government Machine), by Antony Jay, London: Jonathan Cape Ltd., 30 Bedford Square, London W.C.1, 1972, Price: 50 p (about $1.25), Pp. 64, paperback.

The evidence trickles in that other people in other countries are making libertarian protests against their own State machines. In March of this year the quasi-libertarian Progress Party in Denmark rocketed out of nowhere to pick up 18 percent of a political poll. In England the bureaucratic planning juggernaut has evoked a massive public outcry. Antony Jay is a free lance TV consultant in London and has written a political action manual for British antibureaucratic protesters. This is a practical well written little handbook which suggests an organizational structure and the tactics to use against planners and their projects.

Part I includes 13 sections on "The Initial Organization." Part II has 10 sections on "Campaign Tactics." Part III has 5 sections entitled "Battle is Joined" followed by two brief concluding sections: IV the "Counter Attack" and V "The Decision." The cover, by the way, is an obvious spoof on the British Government official "White Papers."

Jay's brief is studded with sound advice. For example: "hit first and hit hard," because, he explains, you have your best chance at the very beginning of a project. Jay states the first rule of protest as: "know precisely who your true enemies are." While the organization charts are overly complex, this is a manual for protesters who mean business. Jay suggests "cells" for grass roots action, funds, legal, influential allies, experts (for the attack on the concept), publicity and campaign headquarters. There is an excellent section called the "attack on the facts"; inaccurate facts—the author claims—are the weak point of all planners' documents.

One obvious limitation of the book is that Jay is addressing himself to British protesters operating under British conditions and many of the names and problems have no relevance to current U.S. conditions. Who are Bobby Charlton and Ena Charples? I don't know. On the other hand, generalizations such as"public officials are terrified of adverse publicity" apply just as much to the United States as Europe. You will have to pick and choose useful nuggets of advice. One example of Jay's practical suggestions is his advice to focus on lack of general credibility by showing discrepancies between prior governmental plans and subsequent performance ("Concorde, for example, which looks like costing £1,000 million, was estimated as £135 million.").

Unfortunately several schemes are vastly overplayed. They would not work anywhere in the world without backfiring and harming the cause. For example, release of 200 sheep in the local town hall (to symbolize protest at the expected sheeplike behavior) or induce a naked girl to ride Lady Godiva like down Main Street in protest. These are schemes born of desperation rather than practical purpose.

The book has no philosophical underpinnings. It is a down to earth manual for protesters, not a philosophical discussion. In fact there is no indication that Jay recognizes "bureaucratic aggression" as part of the wider problem of the coercive state.

Putting such comparatively picky faults on one side, this is a wonderful, delightful booklet. It will reassure you that the antistatist fight is a world struggle. And practicing protesters will unearth many adaptable ideas.

Where can you find a copy? Maybe some enterprising States side libertarian will order a batch from publisher Jonathan Cape in London.

Antony Sutton is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. He has written several books, most recently NATIONAL SUICIDE: MILITARY AID TO THE SOVIET UNION (New York: Arlington House 1973).