More Sabotage

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Monday, March 29, 2010 | Published in

If you are one of the half dozen long time readers that I still have left then you will no doubt remember my ground breaking post on the OSS Simple Sabotage Manual from last year. According to StatCounter it is the most popular post that I have ever written and still gets hits via Google every couple of days. (My post on The Book of Dirty Tricks, not so much.)

Since everyone in the audience loved the sabotage post so much I decided to share another little gem with the class. While browsing through Scribd recently it suggested a short pamphlet entitled "Sabotage: The Conscious Withdrawl of the Workers' Industrial Efficiency" by Elizabeth Gurley Flynn. Flynn was a labor leader for the International Workers of the World and feminist who helped found the ACLU. (And later in life, chairwoman of the United States Communist Party.) As you can imagine, she was full of spunk and probably accused of being uppity many times.

In 1916 she wrote "Sabotage" after being arrested during the Paterson, NJ silk strike. In it, she showed how sabotage can be used as an effective protest strategy instead of, or in conjunction with, workers' strikes:
The strike is the open battle of the class struggle, sabotage is the guerrilla warfare, the day-by-day warfare between two opposing classes.
I happen to like her definition of sabotage:
Sabotage means primarily: the withdrawal of efficiency. Sabotage means either to slacken up and interfere with the quantity, or to botch in your skill and interfere with the quality, of capitalist production or to give poor service. Sabotage is not physical violence, sabotage is an internal, industrial process. It is something that is fought out within the four walls of the shop. And these three forms of sabotage -- to affect the quality, the quantity and the service are aimed at affecting the profit of the employer. Sabotage is a means of striking at the employer's profit for the purpose of forcing him into granting certain conditions, even as workingmen strike for the same purpose of coercing him. It is simply another form of coercion.
She then goes on to give examples of how to effectively use sabotage to your advantage including "an unfair day's work for an unfair day's wage", interfering with the quality/durability/utility of the product, being brutally honest with the customer you are providing service to, and one of my personal favorites, "Work-to-Rule".

Reading through this gives you a real feel for how bad class struggles were even in the early 1900s. It's hard to imagine a day when workers had to fight for not only decent wages and benefits but also adequate sanitation, ventilation and even lighting. Say what you want about the sometimes bloated union organizations of today but a hundred years ago they were still very much needed for the health and well being of the everyday worker. If you work in a safe work environment with good pay and a 40 hour work week, then you have people like Elizabeth Gurley Flynn to thank. If you don't, then...
I am not going to attempt to justify sabotage on any moral ground. If the workers consider that sabotage is necessary, that in itself makes sabotage moral.
You can read "Sabotage" on Scribd, on IWW's website, or even listen to the audio version on Librivox.


(As always, ChaoSkeptic does not explicitly endorse the use of sabotage in everyday situation. If legal troubles should arise due to the use of techniques from this or any other work posted on ChaoSkeptic then you are on your own, Mister)

Discordian Hymnal #026

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Thursday, March 25, 2010 | Published in

Let us all rise and open our Discordian Hymnal to Page #026 "From a Balance Beam" by Bright Eyes.

Rebecca Watson: Sooper Sekret Discordian

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Wednesday, March 24, 2010 | Published in

You all know who Rebecca Watson is, right? A#1 Skepchick,the only female Rogue on The Skeptics Guide to the Universe, married to that Sid guy. Yeah, her. In a ChaoSkeptic exclusive, I have uncovered incontrovertible evidence that Mrs. Watson-Rodriguez is secretly an Agent of Discord!

For those that are unable to watch Youtube video (or too lazy to sit through a three and a half minute long clip), long story short: some charismatic quack wrote an article in the Daily Fail saying that "molecules exposed to happy or loving environments form beautiful, symmetrical crystals, while those exposed to unpleasant influences are misshapen." Whatever that means. And to prove her point she talked nice to an apple for a week while also talking mean to another apple. Naturally the apple that had sweet nothings whispered to it was in better shape after the week is over. Wait, did I say "naturally"? I meant to say "stupidly". There is no rational reason for an apple to know or care what words you are saying to it. It doesn't even have ears ferchrissake!

Of course, every experiment needs to be repeatable in order for it to be considered scientifical so enter Rebecca Watson. She got an apple from the story, cut it into quarters, and placed three of them into jars (and ate the fourth). She is going to talk to each apple for a week to see if being kind makes them more beautiful and if being mean makes it ugly. Plus there is the control group: THE APPLE OF INDIFFERENCE. Each apple jar also go their own fake mustache, because, hey, fake mustaches are awesome.

This brings me back to my central point. Rebecca Watson playing with apples AND false mustaches at the same time! If this isn't a single to us Discordians that she is in our ranks then I don't know what is. Sure, she isn't throwing the apple at anything or snubbing anyone. And the false mustache thing is a very recent Discordian meme that has only been propagated by New England Spagland Erisians. But wait! Rebecca Watson formerly lived in the Boston area and is obviously sending a shoutout to the New Spagland Cabal! I've made all of the connections on the Glenn Beck Patented Dry-Erase Board™ in my basement. I always knew one of the Skeptics Rogues was one of us, but I just assumed that it was Evan.

You are The Man

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Monday, March 22, 2010 | Published in

That's one of the big things you notice when you get older. The Establishment looks just like you. The Man is a middle-aged fat man that looks vaguely like one of your uncles. Right now, The Man has long hair. (Specifically, that weird look where he's bald on top with a long pony tail in the back.) In twenty years, The Man will have tattoos all up and down His arms. That's the strangest thing to learn: The Man is just a man. The world isn't ruled by a powerful cabal of Illuminated Ones or alien Reptiloids. This planet is ruled by a bunch of dumb stinking apes.

And The Machine isn't even a machine. The Machine is us. We are the Machine. Every single one of us is a slightly off balanced cog in The Machine. There's no way to get out of it. Eventually we will all end up ground down by the normal wear and tear of everyday use. And the worst part is that there is no way to destroy the Machine. It will just replicate itself with even more broken-down people.

There is no escape, make your time.

Place Holder

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Thursday, March 18, 2010 | Published in

I've been working too much lately and can't be bothered to post anything interesting. Instead, let's all sit around and make fun of libertarians:


Happy Pi Day

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Sunday, March 14, 2010 | Published in

Today is March 14th, (3-14) which means that once again it is time for math nerds to come out of the woodwork and remind you how awesome the constant π is. Some will even show you how cool they are by reciting the first 100 digits of pi. Me, I'll just post a bunch of random stuff about pi and hope something sticks.

Top Ten Secret Provisions Added to Texas's Social Studies Curriculum

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Saturday, March 13, 2010 | Published in

As you may have heard by now, lately Texas's Board of Education has been debating their social studies curriculum. Since it is Texas you know that there have to be a majority of wingnuts on the board and they want to re-write history with a more conservative point of view. Thanks to a ChaoSkeptic exclusive undercover investigation, I have discovered some super secret additions to the new social studies curriculum that you won't find anywhere else:

10. "Joe McCarthy, Great American or Greatest American?"

9. Wall of Separation of Church and State officially the first one-way wall ever.

8. César Chavez, Thurgood Marshall, Anne Hutchinson. All godless Commies that hated American and didn't do anything important in the first place.

7. New forensic evidence showing that after the fourth amendment James Madison wrote in invisible ink, "Feel free to ignore this if scary dark-skinned men start blowing up buildings."

6. Thomas Jefferson? Never heard of the guy.

5. General Lafayette called a "cheese eating surrender monkey" who ran away from battle during the Revolutionary War.

4. New chapter added to 8th grade textbooks on famous dentists of the Old West.

3. Confederate president Jefferson Davis, not that bad a guy after all.

2. FDR revealed to be a Manchurian Candidate sent into the future by Karl Marx, thanks to Nikola Tesla's time machine, in an attempt to destroy America from the inside.

1. Students now required to bow to a bronze bust of Ronald Reagan every morning.

The Myst-Eris Stranger

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Wednesday, March 10, 2010 | Published in

Mark Twain has long been considered one of the greatest of the Discordian saints. His biting wit has charmed readers for over 120 years and his always skeptical mind makes him one of the most famous atheists the United States has ever seen. Little known until now, Twain did actually feature the goddess Eris in one of his final pieces of work. Here is a sample chapter recently unearthed from the final notebook of Mark Twain:

It was wonderful, the mastery Eris had over time and distance. For her they did not exist. She called them human inventions, and said they were artificialities. We often went to the most distant parts of the globe with her, and stayed weeks and months, and yet were gone only a fraction of a second, as a rule. You could prove it by the clock. One day when our people were in such awful distress because the witch commission were afraid to proceed against the astrologer and Father Peter's household, or against any, indeed, but the poor and the friendless, they lost patience and took to witch-hunting on their own score, and began to chase a born lady who was known to have the habit of curing people by devilish arts, such as bathing them, washing them, and nourishing them instead of bleeding them and purging them through the ministrations of a barber-surgeon in the proper way. She came flying down, with the howling and cursing mob after her, and tried to take refuge in houses, but the doors were shut in her face. They chased her more than half an hour, we following to see it, and at last she was exhausted and fell, and they caught her. They dragged her to a tree and threw a rope over the limb, and began to make a noose in it, some holding her, meantime, and she crying and begging, and her young daughter looking on and weeping, but afraid to say or do anything.

They hanged the lady, and I threw a stone at her, although in my heart I was sorry for her; but all were throwing stones and each was watching his neighbor, and if I had not done as the others did it would have been noticed and spoken of. Eris burst out laughing.

All that were near by turned upon her, astonished and not pleased. It was an ill time to laugh, for her free and scoffing ways and her supernatural music had brought her under suspicion all over the town and turned many privately against her. The big blacksmith called attention to her now, raising his voice so that all should hear, and said:

"What are you laughing at? Answer! Moreover, please explain to the company why you threw no stone."

"Are you sure I did not throw a stone?"

"Yes. You needn't try to get out of it; I had my eye on you."

"And I—I noticed you!" shouted two others.

"Three witnesses," said Eris: "Mueller, the blacksmith; Klein, the butcher's man; Pfeiffer, the weaver's journeyman. Three very ordinary liars. Are there any more?"

"Never mind whether there are others or not, and never mind about what you consider us—three's enough to settle your matter for you. You'll prove that you threw a stone, or it shall go hard with you."

"That's so!" shouted the crowd, and surged up as closely as they could to the center of interest.

"And first you will answer that other question," cried the blacksmith, pleased with himself for being mouthpiece to the public and hero of the occasion. "What are you laughing at?"

Eris smiled and answered, pleasantly: "To see three cowards stoning a dying lady when they were so near death themselves."

You could see the superstitious crowd shrink and catch their breath, under the sudden shock. The blacksmith, with a show of bravado, said:

"Pooh! What do you know about it?"

"I? Everything. By profession I am a fortune-teller, and I read the hands of you three—and some others—when you lifted them to stone the woman. One of you will die to-morrow week; another of you will die to-night; the third has but five minutes to live—and yonder is the clock!"

It made a sensation. The faces of the crowd blanched, and turned mechanically toward the clock. The butcher and the weaver seemed smitten with an illness, but the blacksmith braced up and said, with spirit:

"It is not long to wait for prediction number one. If it fails, young lady, you will not live a whole minute after, I promise you that."

No one said anything; all watched the clock in a deep stillness which was impressive. When four and a half minutes were gone the blacksmith gave a sudden gasp and clapped his hands upon his heart, saying, "Give me breath! Give me room!" and began to sink down. The crowd surged back, no one offering to support him, and he fell lumbering to the ground and was dead. The people stared at him, then at Eris, then at one another; and their lips moved, but no words came. Then Eris said:

"Three saw that I threw no stone. Perhaps there are others; let them speak."

It struck a kind of panic into them, and, although no one answered her, many began to violently accuse one another, saying, "You said she didn't throw," and getting for reply, "It is a lie, and I will make you eat it!" And so in a moment they were in a raging and noisy turmoil, and beating and banging one another; and in the midst was the only indifferent one—the dead lady hanging from her rope, her troubles forgotten, her spirit at peace.

So we walked away, and I was not at ease, but was saying to myself, "She told them she was laughing at them, but it was a lie—she was laughing at me."

That made her laugh again, and she said, "Yes, I was laughing at you, because, in fear of what others might report about you, you stoned the woman when your heart revolted at the act—but I was laughing at the others, too."


"Because their case was yours."

"How is that?"

"Well, there were sixty-eight people there, and sixty-two of them had no more desire to throw a stone than you had."


"Oh, it's true. I know your race. It is made up of sheep. It is governed by minorities, seldom or never by majorities. It suppresses its feelings and its beliefs and follows the handful that makes the most noise. Sometimes the noisy handful is right, sometimes wrong; but no matter, the crowd follows it. The vast majority of the race, whether savage or civilized, are secretly kind-hearted and shrink from inflicting pain, but in the presence of the aggressive and pitiless minority they don't dare to assert themselves. Think of it! One kind-hearted creature spies upon another, and sees to it that he loyally helps in iniquities which revolt both of them. Speaking as an expert, I know that ninety-nine out of a hundred of your race were strongly against the killing of witches when that foolishness was first agitated by a handful of pious lunatics in the long ago. And I know that even to-day, after ages of transmitted prejudice and silly teaching, only one person in twenty puts any real heart into the harrying of a witch. And yet apparently everybody hates witches and wants them killed. Some day a handful will rise up on the other side and make the most noise—perhaps even a single daring man with a big voice and a determined front will do it—and in a week all the sheep will wheel and follow him, and witch-hunting will come to a sudden end.

"Monarchies, aristocracies, and religions are all based upon that large defect in your race—the individual's distrust of his neighbor, and his desire, for safety's or comfort's sake, to stand well in his neighbor's eye. These institutions will always remain, and always flourish, and always oppress you, affront you, and degrade you, because you will always be and remain slaves of minorities. There was never a country where the majority of the people were in their secret hearts loyal to any of these institutions."

I did not like to hear our race called sheep, and said I did not think they were.

"Still, it is true, lamb," said Eris. "Look at you in war—what mutton you are, and how ridiculous!"

"In war? How?"

"There has never been a just one, never an honorable one—on the part of the instigator of the war. I can see a million years ahead, and this rule will never change in so many as half a dozen instances. The loud little handful—as usual—will shout for the war. The pulpit will—warily and cautiously—object—at first; the great, big, dull bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to make out why there should be a war, and will say, earnestly and indignantly, 'It is unjust and dishonorable, and there is no necessity for it.' Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will have a hearing and be applauded; but it will not last long; those others will outshout them, and presently the anti-war audiences will thin out and lose popularity. Before long you will see this curious thing: the speakers stoned from the platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men who in their secret hearts are still at one with those stoned speakers—as earlier—but do not dare to say so. And now the whole nation—pulpit and all—will take up the war-cry, and shout itself hoarse, and mob any honest man who ventures to open his mouth; and presently such mouths will cease to open. Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception."

Motivate Your Fallacies #1

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Friday, March 5, 2010 | Published in

For a long time I've been meaning to do a little series on logical fallacies. Knowing your logical fallacies is an extremely important part of critical thinking. It helps to know what pitfalls there are along the way to making convincing arguments. (And, of course, abusing logical fallacies is one of the all time best trolling techniques).

I decided against doing the straight forward approach of listing and explaining some logical fallacies to you. There are already a ton of sites that do that much better than I ever could. Instead I have decided to use the art of interpretative dance Motivational Posters. Yeah, I know, not very original. But I haven't seen anyone else do a good series on it. It's something that's been needed to be done for awhile though. Hopefully this will be useful for people to drop into online debates whenever a jackass starts heading down the wrong path.

So here ya go, my first foray into memehood: Poisoning the Well. If the pic selected for it doesn't make sense, see here.

Discordian Hymnal #025

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Thursday, March 4, 2010 | Published in

Let us all rise and open our Discordian Hymnal to Page #025 "Greg! The Stop Sign" by TISM (This Is Serious Mum)

The Holy Pokey

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Tuesday, March 2, 2010 | Published in

It turns out that the Hokey Pokey REALLY IS what it's all about:

Yeah, I'm completely confused by that. I guess it goes to show that it doesn't matter what words you use in your magical incantations. All it takes is music, the proper tone of voice and a large group to induce religious fervor. Stuff like this always creeps me out because it feels like at any second the leader could say "Fly my pretties! Kill!" and the audience would do it unquestioning. Hopefully there is a kill-switch in the brain that stops that from happening though.

h/t to Unreasonable Faith.