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Friday freedom question: monkeywrenching

Monkeywrenching seems sadly neglected these days. Do a search on the word and you’ll mostly turn up references to Edward Abbey’s The Monkey Wrench Gang or various acts eco-defense (or eco-terrorism, depending on who’s writing about it).

Since the Homeland (Achtung!) Security State has gotten us in its grip, it seems the peasants are afraid to toss their sabots into the machinery of tyranny. Then, too, things are different in a non-industrial society. You could say that Anonymous is a champion of monkeywrenching — just on a technological level.

Monkeywrenching, in one form or another will always have a place in the eternal struggle of the small and free against the big and unfree. But it seems a neglected art at the moment. So the question for today is: What are some great monkeywrenching ideas and/or resources for Freedom Outlaws of the twenty-first century?

And remember, keep it theoretical. The management of the Living Freedom blog doesn’t endorse any particular forms of crime, even while recognizing that three felonies a day is something most of us accomplish before finishing off our morning Rice Krispies.


I also invite everybody to keep visiting and participating in the continuing story of “Tansy Shrugged,” which is wandering off in strange new directions via the comment section.


  1. UncleFrank
    UncleFrank March 22, 2013 4:29 am

    A GREAT resource is the book “Ecodefense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching” which is available at amazon and other outlets. While it’s intended audience is the environmental activist “:Earth First!” folks – the tips, techniques and suggestions are applicable across a broad range of motives, craft and potential threats. Happy hunting!

  2. Stryder
    Stryder March 22, 2013 6:17 am

    I would say, when the state demands you serve it on a jury trial, instead of trying to get out of it….serve. Just because the judge says you must vote “only on the facts presented” doesn’t mean you “have” to do so. If the state wants to convict someone nowadays it just “might” be a good thing to acquit.

  3. rickd
    rickd March 22, 2013 7:01 am

    I’m wondering about that “Turn in your neighbor” line up there in NY – you know the one about guns? I would think that there are monkey wrenches one could throw into 800 numbers, but I don’t know about such things myself.

    Though I have heard of phone systems being used to “SWAT” people. Apparently someone makes an anonymous call to, say, 911 saying that they are hiding in a closest and some Russian bad guys broke in, shot his wife and are now robbing the place blind while he was in the closet (Yes, this actually happened a few days ago to someone, I DID see it in the news).

    I suspect that’s probably a form of “monkeywrenching” in it’s own right. I’m sure there are government officials somewhere who have illegal guns, maybe in New York…..

    You know, just thinking out loud here.

  4. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal March 22, 2013 8:00 am

    I am “too nice” to automatically think of monkeywrenching activities. I am not a generally destructive person. Now, I know that what we are talking about here is the opposite of destruction- you have to break something to build anything, and if I want a free society, that means the State needs to be ground up- or at least broken- and used as raw materials. But I am usually very short on monkeywrenching ideas, and even hesitant to use the ones I could employ. I need to get over it.

    The closest I have come to monkeywrenching ideas recently is one that echoes “rickd”s idea above. I smile when I think how amusing it would be to report Bloomie’s bodyguards for possessing automatic weapons, and to report “a man carrying a gun” every time a person sees a reaver/cop in public.

  5. Concealed Carrying Cyclist
    Concealed Carrying Cyclist March 22, 2013 8:41 am

    Demand a trial by jury for traffic citations (well, anything over $20).

    Refuse to consent to searches without a warrant.

    When a police officer asks you a question, answer the exact question asked; don’t volunteer additional information (e.g. “Do you know how fast you were going?” – “Yes”, not “Oh, about 60mph.”)

    Here’s one from my CPA relative: Apply for and get EVERY possible government gimme you possibly can. Yes, I’m opposed to them; so is he. His philosophy is to speed the day that it becomes blatantly obvious to everybody that the welfare state is unsustainable. I’m not sure I agree with it: the thought of willingly taking money that somebody else earned and I didn’t is too repulsive to me. But his idea makes sense, in a twisted sort of way. If you feel bad about taking the money, you can always turn around and give it to a charitable organization* that’ll do some good with it.

    * – if you’re looking for one, I’m always looking for sponsors for the ADA’s annual “Tour de Cure” fundraiser for diabetes research.

  6. jorge
    jorge March 22, 2013 9:43 am

    The tactic of applying for government programs is attractive on one hand (given the logic), but I dislike it from a practical POV because you end up in a database. I understand that the questions they ask are very invasive, and that you are answering under penalty of perjury.

    Screwing up the databases with false data is always a good thing. It was a good thing in the 80’s and is still a good thing today. I work under the assumption that anyone who asks me to fill out a form will eventually turn it over to the gov goons.

    Make sure the data has nothing to do with the real you. Makes you and everyone else a little harder to find.

  7. rickd
    rickd March 22, 2013 11:12 am

    I was just reading the rest of the comments and it occurred to me, having a tiny amount of experience with the subject that an old saying goes, “To catch a terrorist, one must think like a terrorist.”

    The same goes for catching bad guys of any type, mode or genre….

  8. Pat
    Pat March 22, 2013 12:20 pm

    Maybe that’s why it’s hard for Freedom Outlaws to come up with monkeywrenching ideas – we’re not the bad guys, and we can’t think like one!

  9. rickd
    rickd March 22, 2013 12:49 pm

    Probably true, Pat.

    I just had another thought. MSDS.

    Material Safety Data Sheets. People ought to read those things. Chemicals can be nasty stuff requiring masks, rubber gloves, and stuff like that can eat electronics, wires, and who knows what else?

    Be safe out there!

  10. MB
    MB March 22, 2013 2:28 pm

    First, I would never advocate doing anything illegal.

    Theoretically, if a person wanted to they could read up on the tactics employed by the agents of the worst surveillance states in history, use those tactics and supplement them with modern surveillance technology to really stir the pot.


  11. Thomas Lombardi
    Thomas Lombardi March 22, 2013 4:12 pm

    On the “file your taxes” line, how about DONT file your taxes! I owe federal tax, so im filing for my extension. I would suggest anyone who owes do the same.

  12. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit
    The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit March 22, 2013 4:34 pm

    Of course, be prepared to take the consequences of your theories and internet advice – for instance, Cyclist up there suggests asking for a trial in a traffic case. Don’t be surprised if you walk out with, say, a $260 ticket converted to a $1,000 conviction plus – depending on attitude – some possible jail time for contempt. Plus subsequent jail time for contempt in case of failure to pay. In Oregon. YMMV elsewhere.

    In other words, monkeywrenching – or any other form of trying to screw with the system – is not a “game.” It’s for real. It can be for keeps. So make sure you do it with your eyes open and with Actual Thought, because there are no “takebacks” or “do-overs” in life.

  13. JWG
    JWG March 22, 2013 6:40 pm

    The tyrants do a better job these days of protecting themselves from sabotage. Damaging the physical products that tyrants build is counterproductive. It’s generally the underlings, the people whom you would like to have switch your side, who bear the damage. Destroy a bridge, the only people hurt are the people who use it to get to work and the taxpayers who are robbed to pay for a new one. The overlords demand more than their usual tribute because “terrorism”. As the overlords become better at self preservation, the saboteur needs to become better at hitting them where it hurts, in particular the systems used to transfer wealth from the general population to their own pocket or systems that are used for enforcing their wills. Then, when the tyrant is unable to levy taxes to pay for new terror-toys, it becomes practical to sabotage them.

  14. JWG
    JWG March 22, 2013 6:45 pm

    Sabotage works best as one part of a multi-pronged offensive in which sabotage of an item is coupled with the threat of interpersonal violence against the party responsible for replacing it. This can be used to ensure the sabotaged item remains in a state of disrepair.

  15. Karen
    Karen March 23, 2013 6:06 am

    Seems to me like TPTB are doing a fine job of monkeywrenching themselves with all the new crap they’re coming up with.

  16. Richard
    Richard March 23, 2013 12:52 pm

    Ad Karen says, they do a fine job of messing themselves up. As previously stated above, use they’re own programs against them. Hell organized crime does all the time. Apply for every gimme. Flood them with paperwork, emails, and become a downright sack of dead weight. It requires the patience of Job but it can be done. Never make it easy for them. And yes, be prepared for possible consequences if you fib a little.
    one delicious thought I’ve been toying with lately is a digital car tag. Have the screen change to a politicians tag and run every red light cam you can.

  17. ff42
    ff42 March 23, 2013 4:11 pm

    I use Ghostery to block trackers, but I wonder if there is some technology to feed these trackers false information?

  18. Matt, another
    Matt, another March 23, 2013 7:51 pm

    Most monkey wrenching I can think of are technology based. Moats would be considered hacker techniques and therefore illegal. The best monkey wrenching that could be done right now is exposing the government to the light of day and ridicule.

  19. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau March 23, 2013 8:01 pm

    “Apply for and get EVERY possible government gimme you possibly can.”

    This is a meme that is floating around the libertarian tribe some. It is based on some false premises, e.g. “we must hasten the end of the state” rather than, for example, “we must get ourselves free”. It also has the drawback of corrupting your soul. Go read “Isaiah’s Job”, then imagine a member of the Remnant sucking down and getting dependent on every government bennie he can get. You can’t imagine it. Such a person cannot be a member of the Remnant.

    As to monkeywrenching generally, the practice was always directed at a specific outrage (or perceived outrage, depending on one’s point of view). Watersheds being sprayed with herbicides, that sort of thing. It doesn’t make a lot of sense for us now, perhaps, but when the Revolution starts it will come into its own again.

  20. Old Printer
    Old Printer March 23, 2013 8:52 pm

    There is a difference between passive non-compliance and active sabotage. Monkeywrenching is a form of sabotage and can be directed at individuals, businesses, and government. It is as immoral as the evil it is allegedly trying to combat. Two evils do not make a right.
    Unless and until the time comes that civil war or massive civil unrest is called for, any attempt to undermine government through sabotage amounts to terrorism.
    I’m all for having a sit-down strike, going Galt, “losing” paperwork, refusing to answer intrusive questions, practicing fully informed jury principles, and in general getting away with as much non-compliance as possible. Especially when dealing with non-elected bureaucrats.
    Unfortunately, we may be getting near a time when sabotage will be justified. But we’re not there yet.
    (I know, tell that to the people who lost a family pet to police brutality. I still believe those are isolated instances. Way too many of them, but not to the point that we should declare open warfare. As long as we have freedom of speech we can expose it. When the day comes that we really lose our rights, not just crimped or limited, then that is the day for hell to break lose. And that includes losing the 2nd Amendment.)

  21. KenK
    KenK March 24, 2013 7:41 am

    @individual audience member
    These kind of legalistic tricks and such are fun to read but the day when they’ll save you is rapidly fading to black, esp. in Cali. Without independent witnesses/cameras watching them how hard would it be for the reavers to just toss a couple of oxys, or an 8-shot ammo mag, or whatever item of contraband that it takes to raise this traffic encounter described above into a full-bore felony arrest into your car? And given who they recruit as pigs nowadays (Dorner, et al), and how they train them, this “style of policing” is coming.

  22. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal March 24, 2013 8:27 am

    Old Printer says “Monkeywrenching is a form of sabotage and can be directed at individuals, businesses, and government. It is as immoral as the evil it is allegedly trying to combat.

    That is like saying it is as immoral to shoot a home invader as it would be for him to shoot you. You are correct in saying “Two wrongs don’t make a right”, but self defense- even when you kill the attacker- is NEVER wrong. Just remember that “collateral damage” is always wrong. Target the one stealing or attacking the innocent and you haven’t done wrong, no matter what the “law” says.

  23. IndividualAudienceMember
    IndividualAudienceMember March 24, 2013 11:49 am

    Seems to me the word, terrorism didn’t even exist when I was growing up.
    If anything, it applied to what one sought after when going to a haunted house during Halloween, but no one used ‘terrorism’ to describe it.
    Now the word terrorism creates the new boogieman made to scare children and adults who refuse to grow up, or dive into the dark side and enjoin it. No?

    I wonder if when the Obama tank-limo was fueled up with diesel in Israel recently, rather than with gasoline, did someone switch the labels on the pumps, or was that just a snafu?

    Also, in the film, American Graffiti, in the scene where the rebel boys wrapped a chain around the axle of the police car (for those who might not know: when the cop took off in a hurry chasing after the heroes the car was disabled) was that an act of terrorism?

    Seems to me no one thought so then.
    But now certain people would.
    My how times change?

  24. AmericanInsurgent
    AmericanInsurgent March 24, 2013 1:21 pm

    how about combining some .22 LR. any strategically located transformer. No power = ???? computers, cell towers, LEO comm, tv/radio station….

    From small beans to monumental proportions, man make, man break.

  25. Mari
    Mari March 24, 2013 2:21 pm

    You may be monkeywrenching your own life by applying for those government “entitlements” – especially if you don’t have a clue how bureaucracy works in the current century.

    Bureaucrats thrive on paperwork or the electronic equivalent. When you apply for benefits, you are dealing with people who are paid to process applications. Every morsel of data you feed them contributes to their growth.

    Hopefully, you are really eligible for your goodies because receiving benefits also means your SSN is now included in the never-ending hunt for red flags, overpayments and fraud. The really serious career bureaucrats are richly rewarded for collecting repayments for benefits dispensed in error. For a person on the fast track to the corner office, no salary, bank account or house is too small to seize. The ideal target has enough assets to make the effort worthwhile, but not enough to hire a team of lawyers. Even if Sally Sweetness the Social Worker provided you with the incorrect info, you are still liable for repaying any benefits you received in error, plus interest and penalties.

    The technology for detecting overpayments improves every year. It’s no big deal to dump mainframe data into a powerful database on a desktop server and then search for patterns and matches. This is routine work, often done quite successfully by people with very little formal database training.

    Beware of any benefit that involves monitoring your income, assets, health or lifestyle – especially if there are children involved. The least intrusive may be Social Security taken after full retirement age. All the info required is already on file and there are no limits on income or assets. Be careful out there!

  26. Matt, another
    Matt, another March 24, 2013 5:41 pm

    If one is truly interested in monkeyn wrench opportunities, I would suggest learning to fly ultralights or similar. Building and operating your own UAV could provide opportunities as well.

  27. Old Printer
    Old Printer March 24, 2013 7:00 pm

    @Mari – Beware of any benefit that involves monitoring your income, assets, health or lifestyle…

    Good advice. I found out the hard way by signing up for VA benefits. The Veteran’s Administration is a bureaucratic nightmare. And they have some really lousy doctors.

  28. Gregabob
    Gregabob March 24, 2013 11:45 pm

    How about practicing non violent non cooperation? For example, as a Diesel mechanic I will refuse to repair any Gov’t vehicle that is used by an agency such as DHS,DEA, etc. Will I pay a price? Maybe–up to being fired is possible. That’s just one way to slow ’em down some. Or go after what I call the ‘enablers’–private companies who supply these rogue agencies with all their neato ‘toys’. Refuse to work for, buy from or sell to these companies. Here’s an example: Aerovironment. Drone manufacturer. Based in Monrovia, CA. They have to buy materials from someone. The people who work there need to have their cars fixed, plumbing repairs done, lawns mowed. Their building needs maintenance. Someone needs to ‘enable the enablers’ in order for the oppressors to succeed. Don’t be that someone.

  29. just waiting
    just waiting March 25, 2013 7:01 am

    Why not become a mole, and monkeywrench from within?

    As younguns, I taught my kids you’re voice will never be heard if you stand in a mob and yell, it’ll be heard if you get asked inside, then whisper.

    I moled for a time in my local govs. Being part of the machination and watching how it works from the inside was quite surreal. While nothing I did amounted to much, there were some things I did have a voice in, and a couple of things I had a direct impact on. The way I figure, at least someday, if someone ever looks up the records, my words are part of it.

  30. Ghandi
    Ghandi March 25, 2013 9:58 am

    Stop playing their game. Banks and big government are the same thing. We can legally oppose their machinations by non-violent means such as unbanking (

    Gregabob’s non-copperation is a good idea. Think of the Amish practice of shunning. Refuse to socialize with any of your neighbors and soon-to-be-former-friends who work for any level of government. “I love you, but you are trying to destroy my life so we arre no longer friends.”

  31. Chris
    Chris March 28, 2013 7:42 am

    Given that most government employees are products of the government education system, it’s likely that most government plans will be self-monkeywrenching.

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