Cultivate a Warrior Spirit: Crowd Control & Riot Manual

2011 has been a year of worldwide resistance, and with no end in sight to the draconian austerity measures, the retreating or complete disappearance of the social sector and the propping up of dictatorial regimes rebellion will inevitably metastasize. Whether in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, or the US all popular demands and challenges to the dominant system have one thing in common: physical confrontation with State power. But how should these confrontations materialize? What, if any, are the rules of engagement? Do State forces have a gameplan? These are some of the questions the Warrior Crowd Control Manual directly and indirectly addresses.

The manual does this by teaching readers both how to control an “unorganized crowd” of aggressors, and how to address police forces actively engaged in riot & crowd control (in essence, the idea is not to be a headless, unorganized mass when dealing with State or Police forces). Although the booklet falls short on a few new developments1, it covers most of the weapons used by modern police forces: chemical agents (tear gas, pepper spray, etc.), 40mm and 37/38mm launchers (for chemical agent canisters), pepper ball guns, batons, shotguns, tasers, water cannons, etc. The text also discusses tactics employed by government forces – namely surveillance, containment, and dispersal – and it describes the mechanics of the various containment methods they utilize (e.g. snatch and grab, baton charge).

Not solely focused on the methodologies of State forces, the manual also explains general guidelines for organized citizens to employ – such as surveying the action zone, setting up rendezvous points and escape routes. Hand signals to describe formation patterns for citizen forces are highlighted, the basics of barricade erection, first aid kits and treatment, and the anatomy of tactical equipment (Molotov cocktails, slingshots, paint bombs, etc.) are detailed. Additionally, necessary gear is discussed (gas masks, vinegar-soaked bandannas & goggles, body armor, uniforms, civilian undergarments, etc.).

Regardless of the type of action one is willing to engage in, the Warrior manual is essential reading –
mainly because one major issue with most marches and protests is that the participants have no knowledge of the capabilities of the men and women the State has pitted against them. Another issue with American mass gatherings is the lack of coherent, material goals outside of the immediate task of physical and visual defiance: i.e. group en mass, do not disperse, and display your placards! Without fully addressing the first issue, active citizens cannot hope to build a sound repertoire of tactics, while neglecting the second issue will always leave the movement devoid of strategy.

[1] The Manual was written before the invention of the LRAD (Long Range Accoustic Device) – a device that fires acoustic blasts that can deafen an aggregated crowd from up to 1000 feet away. This weapon has been deployed in Iraq and against organized citizens in the US (e.g. 2004 Republican National Convention in New York, 2009 G20 Convention in Pittsburgh).

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