Complex Systems and Political Capital

I have recently finished reading the new book by David Kilcullen entitled Counterinsurgency.  This groundbreaking work sets a very different focus than his other excellent book The Accidental Guerrila. I have been reading Kilcullen since 2006 when I came across his outstanding “28 Articles,” that he wrote while consulting for the United States government in Iraq as a collection of “what to do and what not to do” ideas for junior officers in the Middle East.  What he suggests for wartime situations is almost perfectly applicable for peacetime parallels in a political and social movement.

David’s audience for the book are the war fighters and policy makers involved in fighting what he calls the “global Islamist jihad” and he makes a very sophisticated description of radical Islam’s role in world affairs today.  However in order to fight a “global Islamist jihad” conventional counterinsurgency theory leaves a lot wanting.  Classical counterinsurgency theory was not designed to the task of waging a counterinsurgency in the globalized world we live in today.  So he attempts to address those shortcomings by sharing his own knowledge and first hand experience of insurgencies waged throughout the world.  Personally I think the subject of counterinsurgency theory is an extremely interesting subject.  I think the whole “canon” of this literature should be required reading for any political activist worth their salt for the telling reason is that is is the guidebook for governments to respond to movements (like ours) that challenge the fundamental values of the government we live under.   Incidentally reading David Kilcullen is like following a map to the often bewildering variety of ideas presented by John Robb at his Global Guerrilas blog.  I won’t delve into to much about what the rest of the book is about other than mention I am rereading and underlining all the important parts.

For me one of the mind expanding concepts in the book was the authors affinity for complex systems theory as a tool to better understand the basis of social movements on a systematic level.  A system is defined as:

“A complex system is a system composed of interconnected parts that as a whole exhibit one or more properties (behavior among the possible properties) not obvious from the properties of the individual parts.[1]

Complex systems doesn’t stop there, there is a class of “Complex adaptive systems are special cases of complex systems. They are complex in that they are diverse and made up of multiple interconnected elements (and so a part of network science) and adaptive in that they have the capacity to change and learn from experience.”

It should be obvious that a social movement or a race of people can be seen as a complex adaptive system.

With my technology background I have long been a fan of network theory as a means to better understand the dynamics of a social groups.  Complex systems is like a meta-network in that it is another abstraction of real world events to understand not just competing social networks but competing systems in a political struggle.

So with this theory we can understand how systems (e.g., social movements) become stronger or weaker over time.  According to Kilcullen insurgencies require a certain kind of “food” in order to grow that he calls Inputs.  Inputs include grievances, ideology/culture, doctrine/techniques, money, material, and people (recruits, supporters, specialists, leaders).  In an insurgency these Inputs create Outputs including: propaganda, doctrine/techniques, further grievances, climate of insecurity, and casualties of physical/economic damage.

These actions can be analyzed according to the local, district, national, regional, and global level and a feature of a complex system is an “emergent” adaptation and evolution of behaviors.  For example, Kilcullen describes how bomb making techniques in Iraq appear to have originated from Pakistani and Chechen groups.

One of the most fascinating lessons from historical examples covered by Kilcullen is the descriptions of how and why an insurgency is successful or how it becomes defeated by a government.  I don’t have the time to summarize all of his conclusions but the most telling is exactly how insurgencies appear to win.

He calls this the Theory of Competitive Control: “In irregular conflicts (i.e., conflicts in which at least one warring party is a nonstate armed actor), the local armed actor that a given population perceives as most able to establish a normative system for resilient, full-spectrum, control over violence, economic activity, and human security is most likely to prevail within that population’s residential area.”

For the purposes of our political goals I have elsewhere called a liberated area a National Autonomous Zone (NAZ) where the self-determination of a nationality is sacrosanct over all higher authorities.

Counterinsurgency is the theory a government applies to make sure a NAZ does not become established and if it does to utterly destroy its threat to State hegemony in the area.

A primary principle of counterinsurgency strategy that you are sure to have heard before is to “win hearts and minds” of a given population.  The way governments do this is through construction efforts, community services, addressing grievances, and other actions designed to make sure the people will actively encourage loyalty to the regime or at the least not oppose it.  Invariably it is vital for insurgents to do the same thing.  Kilcullen stresses that knowing the language and culture, including customs, of the population in an insurgency is vital for government forces.  Just because insurgents may share the same ethnicity, religion, or other values that is not enough to get the Political Capital from a given group of people.  Even Mao admonished the revolutionary cadre of the Communist Party of China to be kind and considerate to the people and going so far as to pay peasants who had livestock confiscated for Communist consumption.  For Nationalists in a modern Western society that would translate into not intimidating the population with speech, styles, or manners that are unacceptable in civil society.

I called this article Complex Systems and Political Capital because complex systems are like a map on how to deliver political capital, the “goods” that define leadership of a given community.  Mao has a maxim that the revolutionary is “a fish in the sea of the people.”  If the fish is taken out of the sea, it dies.  The means that being ostracized has the real world effect of denying you leadership over a given community.  For comparison see the vast numerical difference between the ethnic supporters of Al Sharpton compared to the ethnics of David Duke: one has distinctly larger appeal among his ethnic group than the other.  An example that had lethal consequences was how Al Qaeda became isolated from the Iraqi people when in 2007 certain tribes they tried to dominate turned to the government for support.  The effect that essentially isolates the insurgents from there community is an essential goal of counterinsurgency that is designed to isolate, weaken, and discredit the political objective of a social movement.

In order to gain Political Capital words don’t account for much.  Think about it, a given population will support and even help protect a foreign nations occupational troops due to them helping build a school or a hospital and fix or improve things in their lives.  Soldiers (and the civilian counterpart of political activists) are not well received by repeating talking points to the natives but by the delivery of Political Capital.  We need to be doing the same thing in our communities and we can do that with a better understanding of the complex society we live in.  The inspiration that our beneficial actions can provoke with the current generation can and will be world shaking if we do our job right.  Let’s not fail them by being unequal to the task.

Thank you.


  1. What do this lot have to say about changing government behavior? E.g., inducing the federal government to allow freedom of association, rather than carving out an autonomous zone?

  2. “changing government behavior”

    This would require a few steps:

    1. Permanent local organizing at the county level, and precinct level in urban areas.

    2. Implicit loyalty to one of the major parties (for White people, obviously the Republicans) and moving the fight away from the general elections to the primary, with the general elections being a last chance veto (i.e., voting for a third party (Libertarian, Christian) to veto a hostile faction in the GOP)

    3. Focusing on appointed positions, perhaps especially in the judicial branch, and control of graft.

    4. Significant representation in the domestic law enforcement and general military (and at least veto power over special ops)

    5. Protection from buys outs and bribery from Fed-connected sources of money; strong local protectionism of economic niches.

  3. “What do this lot have to say about changing government behavior?”

    That is not the topic of this article but you can read about Kilcullen’s views in his book.

    In my opinion governments are irrelevant to our survival.

  4. ‘Mao has a maxim that the revolutionary is “a fish in the sea of the people.” If the fish is taken out of the sea, it dies. The means that being ostracized has the real world effect of denying you leadership over a given community. ‘

    Not only that, but it also suggests that unless one has a presence in some community, one is incapable of politics. A key question is to what degree geographical proximity is important to community “presence.”

    For example, Twitter is not exactly local to Iran, and yet it has a political impact. Likewise French thinkers had an impact on the American 1776 revolution even though they never got on boats and sailed to America.

  5. Interesting article. Having been in both Afghanistan and Iraq where the military employs the counter-insurgency strategy, I have the experience to say that for our struggle as WNs in America, we are not the insurgents and neither is the US Government.

    The current insurgency is illegal immigrants -Mexicans primarily. Their goal is to Balkanize America and destroy the cultural heritage of this country. La Raza is an insurgent organization in that it seeks to remove the current White population through violence and overthrow elected governments that do not support their end-state Blacks are a parasitic race that require a host for them to survive and are therefore incapable of mounting an effective insurgency against us or the US. Blacks need Whites us more than we need them and they know this.

    In the military, we use what is called the “Center of Gravity” analysis to identify and target the enemies critical requirements and critical vulnerabilities. This analysis also provides the systems approach which identifies key nodes that the insurgency requires to continue their agenda.

    For the Mexican Insurgency, their Center of Gravity are their support zones such as LA or other large cities in the US which they have taken over, not only block by block, but also in the political arena as well.

    A major critical requirement for the Mexican Insurgency is the progressive liberal movement -anti-White establishment- that has infested the Federal Government. The inability of the Federal Government to do anything constructive other than fly Predator Drones along the border for surveillance. Interesting to note that their are over 2,300 candidates running for Congress this November -the progressives are going down in flames after two years of ObaMAO.

    I am open for suggestions on their critical vulnerabilities. The one that comes to mind first is the fact that these illegals ARE criminals -how do we increase their exposure to the US populace? What happens to illegals in Mexico? They disappear into a black hole until they can pay their way out. Where is the comparison on the MSM with our laws and those of the insurgencies support base in Mexico? What about the ongoing race war in LA as MS-13 forcibly removes the historic black population from their neighborhoods?

    We are still the majority and we have to continue the Great White Awakening while destroying this Mexican Insurgency.

    Just a thought..


  6. Justin,

    You raise good points on the Center of Gravity doctrine. However I think you make a couple statements that are very arguably untrue for us to be able to win political capital:

    “A major critical requirement for the Mexican Insurgency is the progressive liberal movement -anti-White establishment- that has infested the Federal Government. ”

    The Federal government has been demonstrably anti-White since Lincoln and arguably anti-White since the very beginning by allowing black slaves to displace the white working class. To think that the Fed could ever become pro white in the current day and age is a fantasy best abandoned.

    Since your loyalty seems to be rooted in the ideals of the United States you consciously legitimize both the liberals in power and the entire democratic process that is doing everything in its power to keep your views out of official state policy (i.e., your views are under assault of a government counterinsurgency but your loyalty to the idea of the United States seems to make you unaware of that). In other words you are supporting a system that is consciously grinding your type into extinction and your response is to blame liberals when in fact all the dominate forces of the democratic and civil society you live in including conservatives are in on the game.

    “We are still the majority and we have to continue the Great White Awakening while destroying this Mexican Insurgency.”

    Majority status is meaningless without a systematic movement that can effectively challenge the other systems. You seem to infer that ethnic majority status (in some parts of the United States, not where I live) equals a pro white or explicit political dominance but that is clearly not the case. More whites will oppose your solution (a government led counterinsurgency against the Mexican invasion) than the non whites themselves. There will be no “Great White Awakening.”

    Furthermore, since the majority of whites will never accept your agenda, claiming that we have some sort of democratic legitimacy of hubris by appealing to our rapidly declining majority status doesn’t mean anything in real world political terms.

    My thesis is that we don’t need government to solve these problems.

  7. Andrew,

    is the focus then on the tribal aspect of building up our communities or infiltration into the political arena? I argue that we do in fact still need government to solve these problems. We can affect the local governments and then bring about a change in the federal government. Otherwise, we become more isolated and easier for a corrupt federal government to attack.

    To use counter-insurgency doctrine requires the defense of an established government against the insurgency. The insurgency seeks to overthrow the government and put their forces in power. Counter-insurgency is the strategy we employ in OIF and OEF which requires a functioning government to provide essential services while we conduct security operations with host nation military forces to disrupt and defeat the insurgency. In America, use of this doctrine would be counter to your thesis in that we as WNs would be the insurgency. I will go back and re-read your article as I must have missed your points of how this strategy is applicable in the US.

    You did enlighten me on a few points with regards to loyalty to a government that does not care about our tribe. I have been in the employment of the federal government for several years now and it is not some collective that wholeheartedly supports the current administration or the current congress. We are people just like you and we have not given up hope on the idea of America. There are over 2,300 people on the ballot for November. A large percentage of the voting population is fed up with the progressive attack and will stop this Marxism -change WNs can believe in! Once the progressive majority is removed from congress, we can isolate the affirmative action abortion called ObaMAO. I haven’t given up hope on the democratic process.

    If your argument is to employ a similar strategy in our country for how we fight an insurgency in OIF and OEF, government is still necessary and we can change it through activism to build the political capital you discussed in your article. I just don’t want WNs to think that we must become the insurgents and the enemy of the government. WNs are still a force to be reckoned with and we are already inside the government. We still need the awakening to bring in our brothers and sisters to build the legion.


  8. Andrew,
    I am curious to know your thoughts on the Free State Project in New Hampshire. It is a Libertarian movement that seems to have a strong Anarcho-Capitalist undercurrent.

  9. Justin,

    I recognize that there are several valid fronts to approach the project of obtaining political power including taking over the system already in place. I’ll also warrant that people tend to advocate the methods that they are most familiar with and what they view as the quickest path to realizing their goals.

    I know that government employees views are not monolithic and that there are many in the military and law enforcement who agree with our outlook. But they don’t make the policy decisions that would help us, congress, the executive office, and the judicial system do that. With demographic trends being the way that they are I can only conclude that there will never be another David Duke in political office and nor would one be that helpful.

    With my background and experiences I have long came to the conclusion that obtaining offices of the government will not allow us to change the policies that we are interested in. The tribal approach I advocate is designed to subvert and displace the hegemony of existing authorities into that of the tribe. I have elaborated on my views about Tribal Nationalism in the article at

    You’re right about the correct use of counterinsurgency doctrine. However by understanding the theory and practice of COIN we can reverse engineer it to provide a guidebook for the best practices of a political and social movement for a peaceful movement such as ours and in the case of government collapse what steps to take to win our demographics loyalty. Our end goals are inherently viewed by the US system as a low intensity conflict and quasi-government groups such as the SPLC are financed (by the government no less!) to keep our movement a dysfunctional and ineffectual social ecosystem.

    So to recap my focus is not in reforming vertical institutions but to establish local horizontal networks that are flexible, reliable, and fully capable of winning the hearts and minds of our people. For that reason I don’t support third parties, career paths, groups, media companies, or websites that I feel undermines this task.

    Thank you for your thought provoking commentary so far!

  10. “[G]overnments are irrelevant to our survival.”

    Local armed actors are not irrelevant, though, right?

  11. Andrew,

    I read your article on Heathenharvest and will do my part when I get back to upstate New York. Reading your article on Tribalism made me think of the large Amish Community where I live and I have always admired their lifestyle. The Amish community to very close knit and they help each other collectively. They coexist in our world and we share the boundary you discussed in your article here on OD, but we do not dare interfere with their system and they obviously do not care for ours.

    While I am not advocating a model for the horizontal network based on how the Amish live, there are some lessons they can teach us about building our tribe.

    I live in a small town with the potential to build the horizontal network and link into the next one -strength in unity. I don’t think I will have a shot at getting elected to local council though! I am still viewed as an outsider by most town folk although my family and I are increasing our contributions and efforts to town activities and we are making more and more friends.

    Time will tell, but I will do my part for the WN cause and I appreciate the COIN discussion! I have been employing COIN doctrine in the military since 2006 and your article immediately got my attention.


  12. One interesting fact is that official U.S. armed forces COIN doctrine states that in order to be successful, there has to be at least one soldier per 25 civilians in the theater of operations.

    That would mean that somewhere along the timeline we could reach a critical mass of “civilians” (us) versus “soldiers” (military, law enforcement etc.), wouldn’t it?

    As far as the debate about “tribe” versus “political influence” I believe that they go hand in hand. Political activism on the precint and county level will build personal and tribal relationsships between us and the not-yet-enlightened masses.

  13. “In other words you are supporting a system that is consciously grinding your type into extinction and your response is to blame liberals ***when in fact all the dominate forces of the democratic and civil society you live in including conservatives are in on the game.***”


    This is the major point William Gayley Simpson hammered home in his “Which Way Western Man?”

    It is the entire mentality of modern day whites that is destroying us. Until we reject virtually ALL of our most cherished ideas and what we think is right, we are pounding sand. It is our mentality, not our elections, that have killed us.

    And this is why no matter if Liberalism loses elections by landslides, they still keep coming on and winning anyway.

  14. I do not believe that we as white nationalists can ever achive ANY of our goals through mainstream politics (i.e., elections). The republicans and democrats are NO different from one another – they just pretend to be. BOTH parties favor racial equality for non-whites, destroying the white middle class through job outsourcing and race replacement through “cheap labor” immigration.

    The republicans PRETEND to care about Mexican invasion but if they were serious they would favor hitting the race-traitor businesses that hire them with crippling fines and jail terms for the CEO’s in charge. They don’t because they are in fact not any different from the democrats – they merely SAY that they are.

    The reason for this is of course the jews who run BOTH major parties and probably the libertarians as well. Trying to achieve power through mainstream politics is a dead end for WN’s, as it has been for the last 65 years.

  15. “The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one perhaps of the Right, and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can ‘throw the rascals out’ at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy…. [E]ither party in office becomes in time corrupt, tired, unenterprising, and vigorless. Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party, which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same policies”.

    Carroll Quigley

  16. On topic. I’d suggest reading Petraeus’ manual on counter-insurgency as well. Although both of them are about counter-insurgency in the process they both say more about practical politics than anything else i can think of.

    “Not only that, but it also suggests that unless one has a presence in some community, one is incapable of politics. A key question is to what degree geographical proximity is important to community “presence.””

    An anecdote related to this. Many years ago when i was involved in left-wing activity we’d go some place something was happening and try and stir it up. There were conditions there that were boiling the kettle and what we did was try and add some heat. Sometimes something happened and the papers would say “left-wing agitators” were behind it and we sort of were but…

    we were *always* away somewhere else doing something else when it went off, we never led it and we were *always* surprised.

    In reality what mostly happens is enough heat gets applied to a situation and when it hits critical, local networks of family and friends who have known each other all their lives and trust each other completely are the ones who actually do it.

    No doubt it’s possible to lead a political movement as well but if for some reason you aren’t in a position to do that then adding heat to a situation from a distance is better than nothing.

  17. We don’t have to be the enemy of the government? That assertion presupposes that the US goverment, “our” government, is doing everything in it’s power to protect white citizens from the depredations of illegal aliens and immigrant/third world crime networks operating on our soil. If that were true it would be worthy of our support, but that clearly isn’t the case and anyone who thinks otherwise is sniffing some wild shit.

    In case I missed the train the U.S. government has become the biggest impediment to white racial survival and the archenemy of white people. This is the same government that has issued celebratory missives about whites becoming a minority in 2050 although it can’t happen soon enough for many of them. It funds La Raza, a militant latino, anti-white advocacy group, to the tune of 15-20 million dollars annually and 2-3 months ago announced it would end it’s longstanding surveillance of the Nation of Islam.

    No, the government is no longer worthy of our support. It has become the chief enabler of groups (like La Raza) and policies that seek to dispossess and disenfranchise whites. While it may have people who sympathize with WN they obviously haven’t been able to effect any policy changes favoring white interests. What are they waiting for?

  18. Brutus, you are zeroing in on the real miasma that afflicts most White Americans. As you note, the befuddled, warped mindset of most Anglo Americans is the biggest problem of all.

  19. BRUTUS:

    “…This is the major point William Gayley Simpson hammered home in his “Which Way Western Man?”

    It is the entire mentality of modern day whites that is destroying us. Until we reject virtually ALL of our most cherished ideas and what we think is right, we are pounding sand. It is our mentality, not our elections, that have killed us. …”

    Yes, a mentality largely constructed by our enemies in concert with the ignorant, greedy, and even the well-meaning but blind.

    I thought this article was talking about being active in the community. I envisioned groups of our people helping in the community — doing cleanup projects, helping the elderly, having readings at the library, etc.

    I also thought this article meant promising to people and showing them clearly that things DEFINITELY WILL be MUCH better off if we have leaders looking out for our white interests… and how we are more truthful, honest, and compassionate than the opposition.

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