The skill of being able to intentionally and strategically disrupt existing patterns, discourses, behaviours, in ways that will help transform them into something more useful to our purposes is known as transrupting/being transruptive. Failing to transrupt effectively condemns you to the endless Groundhog Day cycle of activism.
|Able to transrupt one particularly small meaningless and unloved bad behaviour after extensive planning.||Able to transrupt one or two relatively well-embedded behaviours and narratives which have a certain amount of political or emotional valence and use to entrenched “powerful” actors within a given subculture.||An expert transruptor would, with minimal preparation be able to constructively undermine cherished viewpoints, behaviours. institutions that had resisted all previous efforts at reform and emerge unscathed without becoming the villain.||Banned from every known organisation because they will radically, undermine and improve it, forcing incumbents and followers to do better, ninja transruptors … do not exist.|
Element Overview Essay
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Being transruptive is what activism is or should be all about. But usually we fall into patterns of blank, blind bleak, futile non systemic ritualised bullshit. Trust me.
If you don’t have transruption skills, you will find yourself embedded and enslaved by hoary senseless rituals, like the Sevateem on that planet in Doctor Who and the Face of Evil. And within two or three years, you will be asking yourself, “why am I even bothering?” And unless you’re being paid to do your activism, you will probably quit.
So what can be done to get better at transrupting? That’s a really good question. And if I knew the answer, I’d tell you it. In the short term, I would say that you have to understand the mechanisms by which the existing order defends itself against challenge and reproduces itself. And this isn’t brainwashing This isn’t a USB port in the back of people’s necks. This isn’t indoctrination on the level of the drill sergeant in the first half of Full Metal Jacket: this is far more supple, and subtle. This is the creation of common sense, and hegemony. And if you don’t understand these things, and how they play out within social movement organisations that you may be a part of, as well as within the enemy, then you will probably get nowhere.
So crucially, you have to understand that you have to understand how previous efforts unfolded and were defeated. And you have to experiment and you have to challenge yourselves and you have to build teams of like-minded people who will support you in your challenges.
If you do not do these things, you will not succeed. You probably won’t succeed anyway. But hey, ho.
See blog from 2010 .
See video here