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Political and other manipulations… March 23, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.


I enjoyed this piece by Chekov Feeney from a while back, not least the following section about meeting manipulation:

I should say that these types of manoeuvres are not at all confined to the left – they are common wherever people act collectively. I have a management book with a chapter devoted to using such tactics to manipulate a company board and I recently attended a meeting given by the head of Science Foundation Ireland, in which he skilfully deployed a sequence of orchestrated interventions from representatives of state agencies in order to defuse a rebellion against his policy by a room full of senior scientists.

Years ago at a meeting in an educational institution where I was the students union general secretary I remember while sitting in the hall listening to the head of the institution fend off various attacks by staff being asked by a staff union rep to ask a question. Like a fool I did without thinking it through only to find myself a lightning rod for the head of the institution where he could wax lyric about how he would protect the staff from gratuitous attacks etc.

It was a learning experience, one which taught me never ever to do someone else’s work in such a context. They want a question asked, they can ask it. And I’ve also wondered subsequently whether the person who asked me despite being seemingly a good union rep themselves was in on some subtler machination. Though that way lies madness.


1. Michael Carley - March 23, 2016

Worth reading what the masters of disruption recommend:

Here’s a list of five particularly timeless tips from the Simple Sabotage Field Manual:

Managers and Supervisors: To lower morale and production, be pleasant to inefficient workers; give them undeserved promotions. Discriminate against efficient workers; complain unjustly about their work.

Employees: Work slowly. Think of ways to increase the number of movements needed to do your job: use a light hammer instead of a heavy one; try to make a small wrench do instead of a big one.

Organizations and Conferences: When possible, refer all matters to committees, for “further study and consideration.” Attempt to make the committees as large and bureaucratic as possible. Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done.

Telephone: At office, hotel and local telephone switchboards, delay putting calls through, give out wrong numbers, cut people off “accidentally,” or forget to disconnect them so that the line cannot be used again.

Transportation: Make train travel as inconvenient as possible for enemy personnel. Issue two tickets for the same seat on a train in order to set up an “interesting” argument.


Liked by 1 person

2. benmadigan - March 23, 2016

I attended one such meeting once, ending up with the same impression as World by Storm. Management, trade union reps, members and non-aligned workers were involved in a work issue. Every attempt to accommodate diverse views was blocked and only one line of action (ultimately a failure) was voted through. The manoeuvres were very obvious but hard, if not impossible, to counteract when seeing them for the 1st time and realising what was going on.
As World by Storm said it was a learning experience.
At a later date I spoke to an old-hand about the experience, asking for advice. He clammed up, leaving me in doubt, again like WBS, about “some subtler machination” that us plebs were not party to and doubting his credentials as a “man of the left” or at least as a “fellow traveller”.
Like many others I would appreciate any tips on how to circumvent the manoeuvres which probably go in in a more subtle fashion in many meetings.

Liked by 1 person

dmoc - March 23, 2016

Don’t know if they were using the Delphi technique (it can be used openly, therefore honestly, or be scripted/hidden, and used a form of manipulation). Some variant of this is probably being used. The wiki is predictably neutral:


You’ll find anti-Delphi articles on left and right US sites, which are extremely hostile to this method.





benmadigan - March 23, 2016

thanks a lot Dmoc – I’ll definitely have a read of all those articles over the easter break – Forewarned as they say is forearmed.


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