I think protest movements don’t find, create or acquire enough leverage to use on the people who have the power to make change. So, how do we do that?
I watch a lot of Kilgore Trout TV. That’s TV I named after a SF writer character in Kurt Vonnegut’s books. He had great ideas but his books were poorly written.I also watch The Wire TV. Smart people nod and forgive you for watching The Wire TV shows. But Kilgore Trout TV brings up the more interesting ideas.
Most Americas won’t see the third episode of Sherlock season three for a few weeks. I won’t spoil it, but when it comes to PBS remember the questions I raise today. The show suggested to me questions for strategists and actions for activists.
In Leverage our heroes are a former insurance fraud investigator with a drinking problem, a con artist, a hacker, a thief and “the hitter.” Each week they help someone who has been ripped off by the rich and powerful. (They entire season could be going after banks for mortgage fraud, but that would be boring.)
The team obtains leverage by stealing, hacking or conning their target. They regularly break the law and often some jaws in the process. Powerful people do the same things, but because of their power they aren’t subject to the law anymore, or their actions are technically legal.
In the season three, episode three of Sherlock there is a character who knows how to use leverage on powerful people. He calls the information/dirt on them “pressure points.” Because of his knowledge of influential people’s pressure points he gets more power and money. Sherlock has to figure out how to defeat him. The relationship to Rupert Murdoch is clear (Read Martin Hickman’s Dial M for Murdoch to show just how clear).
What Are Their Pressure Points?
Activists need multiple strategies and tactics for success. One strategy is figuring out what can be used for leverage. I often ask myself, “‘What can I use for leverage? On whom should I use it? What are the barriers to acquiring and using leverage? Who will be my allies in the process?”