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Anti-networking strategies

Notes towards a fuller understanding of how networks may be vulnerable to damage or sabotage and how to guard against such eventualities

prepared by David Horton Smith and Anthony Judge

Printed in Transnational Associations, 30, 1978, 11, p 490


(1) Weaken systematically all links or nodes then selectively strengthen the key ones supportive of your position. (Destroy and pick up the pieces approach)

(2) Weaken links to central (preferred) nodes or weaken such central nodes (Weaken the active or motivating structures).

(3) Insert new nodes or support selected existing nodes such that they become central (preferred) nodes (Alternative leader approach)

(4) Create new links that favor the development of selected existing nodes into central (preferred) nodes

(5) Weaken links or other nodes to each other while strengthening links of other nodes to the preferred (central) node (Centralization approach)

(6) Emphasize node activity and de-emphasize linkage activity (Ignore network)

(7) Create nodes of sharply unequal strength and recourse bases (Unbalance network)

(8) Make nodes of sharply en differing purposes, methods, outlooks, geographic scope, etc.

(9) Make nodes homogeneous to reduce richness and variety of potential resources for problem solving.

(10) Offer substantial funding to create a ", new, network (including an old one) for some " new ~ purpose, with strings attached: then, after a few years, withdraw the funding or delay the initial funding time long enough to weaken the whole network

(11) Encourage network norms of non-criticism of nodes or linkages in the network

(12) Depreciate key, facilitating, contributory nodes by false and negative rumour-mongering to major nodes and contacts linked to given node. Or do the reverse for weak nodes (i.e., emphasize the great value of poor nodes)

(13) Encourage norms of general network-relevant information transmission on a need-to-know basis, emphasizing existing information overload and need for speedy decision-making

(14) Encourage infra-network competition and special recognition for certain nodes in the network.

(15) Prohibit the network from using any of its funds to facilitate participation by poorer, weaker nodes through reimbursement of out-of-pocket travel and communication costs of network participation.

(16) Provide the network with an expensive and extensive secretariat to "facilitate" the network.

(17) Reduce participative plenary meetings (face-to-face or electronically mediated) to a minimum on the grounds of expense.

(18) Encourage links via butt-trips, ego-trips, perfectionism -trips, power-trips, etc., at network expense.

(19) Encourage in-fighting among nodes for subcluster participation and against other subclusters in the network.

(20) Encourage constant turnover of node representatives to minimize learning and continuity.


Anthony Judge. Wrecking an international project: notes from a saboteur's vade mecum. [text]

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