They Can Stop the Signal, but Only if You Let Them

This is intended as a bit of a companion piece to my prior article, “A Matter of Principle”. In it, I identified what the Three Percent actually is. Now, it’s time to tell you how to protect the movement from people who would destroy it from the inside.

I ran across a post on The Silicon Greybeard titled, How the Tea Party Was Killed Off. The second paragraph, quoted from another article, really struck me:

“What began as an organic, policy-driven grass-roots movement was drained of its vitality and resources by national political action committees that dunned the movement’s true believers endlessly for money to support its candidates and causes. The PACs used that money first to enrich themselves and their vendors and then deployed most of the rest to search for more “prospects.” In Tea Party world, that meant mostly older, technologically unsavvy people willing to divulge personal information through “petitions”—which only made them prey to further attempts to lighten their wallets for what they believed was a good cause.”

This is an exact description of what is happening in the Three Percent right now. Big money, big business, big politics, corrupt people or those too stupid to understand an organic movement always try to co-opt it for their own benefit. We see this every day in business marketing. Executives will see something that grew organically, then find a way to steal it and make a profit. Most of the time, the soul of the thing is destroyed in the process.

Organic objects grow naturally, changing based on the nearly limitless inputs and constraints of their environment. For example, how the human brain actually works is nearly incomprehensible to us. When we try to duplicate it mechanically it ends up hollow and a mere shadow of the real thing.

Like I mentioned before, there are hundreds if not thousands of “Three Percent” groups on Facebook or with their own websites. Every time I run across a new one I like to take a look around and see whether they are following the Three Percent Catechism, if they are soliciting donations and what those donations are used for. Honestly, if a group is asking for donations, they need to be providing a 100% honest accounting of where it came from and what it was spent on. If not, you end up with situations like the one in the linked article where the largest supposed Tea Party groups were only spending 10-13% of their donations advancing their stated goals. The rest of the money went to pay consultants, vendors and inflated salaries. As a general rule, our local group does not request donations without providing something in return. In those cases, the money is more of a “pay what you will” for the training and events we provide. We are not in the habit of preying on people’s fears then using their money to line our pockets. Hell, our entire fund contains about $200 right now.

The second thing mentioned above is the seeking of “prospects”. Many people like to call organizations like the NRA and Oathkeepers, “T-Shirt Clubs”. Now, there is nothing wrong with selling support gear itself. It can be an honest way to generate funds and promote your cause. The problem comes when people who buy a shirt or a patch are conned into thinking they are somehow “part of the cause”. These are generally the type of people who constantly post patriotic meme’s online, but never get off their butt to attend an event or actually contribute. Now, I’m not disparaging those who are physically incapable of doing more, sometimes money and moral support is all they can provide. I’m talking about the arm-chair warriors. Predatory organizations literally feed off these type of people. They get to count them as a “member” and spend their donations, while the member gets to feel like he belongs. If you’ve ever watched a televangelist, you know the type. It’s about the money, not the message.

As a counter point to this, our group is incredibly exclusive. When we started out I was trying to get every person I could to show up at meetings. After a while I realized that when you cast a wide net, you end up with all kinds of fakers, lunatics, power mongers and generally lazy people. We still hold public meetings, generally to provide some type of needed training or political action in the community. At every meeting we typically end up with a few new faces. Sometimes they come back, sometimes they don’t. From this group of regulars it’s fairly easy to figure out who the serious ones are. Those people end up being recruited to the inner circle. From this, we end up with a two pronged approach:

  1. Public meetings to spread the Three Percent principles as well as providing valuable preparedness training and political action for the general public.
  2. Using the public meetings to recruit for our smaller exclusive group, in accordance with the cellular structure that is core to the movement.

I talked a bit in the last article about building “tribe”. Our exclusive group is just that, people who share core beliefs and consider each other family. We may call ourselves “Coos County III Percent”, but that’s only because we were the first group in the area. The Three Percent concept is dependent on having thousands of other small groups all across the nation. I would be elated if more groups were created right here in my own county. I don’t need to be involved in them or have any say in what they do. As long as they stick to the principles of the Three Percent Catechism they are helping not only themselves but the rest of us by association.

To anyone reading I would ask this. Start your own group or join a small local one that seems to be on the right path. If you must donate to a larger group, make sure your hard earned money is spent wisely and accounted for properly. Do not provide assistance to any Three Percent group that does not follow the principles of the Catechism. In fact, do everything in your power to change their course. If they refuse to change, warn others to avoid them.

The Three Percent is much like a political version of a Church. The Church is not the foundation, the walls, or the roof, it is the PEOPLE. Two people meeting in secret in the woods, yet following the proper principles is a more true thing than 1,000 meeting in a fancy building but not knowing why they are there.

Don’t let them stop the signal.

-Matt Wilbanks

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