Antistasiology: The Study of Resistance
A brief introduction



What is Anistasiology?

At this juncture, I believe it has become necessary to define exactly what antistasiology and, perhaps even more more importantly, what it is not. Antistasiology is the comparative study of various types of tactics, strategies and organizational structures used by various resistance movements, both in history and those which are in present use. The information garnered by such study can be particularly useful in ascertaining which approaches have been most effective where there has been a state of insurrection.

What Anistasiology is not

Anistasiology is not an attempt to posit the idea that resistance is a 'lost art' that was perfected in a dim, mythical past with the goal of returning to some sort of idyllic primitive lifestyle. It also is not the uncritical applauding of any group declared to be in 'resistance' by the Left (or the Right for that matter). Antistasiology is also not partisan to any ideology and in fact we have found that acceptance of rigid ideologies tends to lead to failure through dilution, supplantation or recuperation.


In a sense, I have been studying resistance in its various forms for most of my life. In fact, I remember when my father brought home an 'authentic Apache headress kit" when I was about 8 years old. My sudden love for all things Apache sent me to read everything I could get my hands on regarding the tribe, particularly regarding their fighting tactics. There I learned how Geronimo and 24 men managed to evade 5,000 troups plus their Indian scouts that were hunting them for over 6 months. This kind of success is more than a little impressive for someone of any age, and the thought that so few could have such a great effect against so many was absolutely overwhelming to my 8 year old mind. Some of the tactics I read about were soon put into practice during playtime, and it quickly became impossible for my playmates to find me during hide and seek and I found the art of the ambush to be very effective when playing 'war'.

Although I had studied various indigenous people with an emphasis on their forms of resistance for most of my life, it was not until I was working on a series of papers with Tara Humara on certain indigenous peoples in Mexico that the need for a new field of study became clear. In these papers we were comparing the resistance tactics used by various indigenous people in the Northern Frontier in Mexico,particularly the Yoeme (Yaquis) and the Raramurí. We not only compared and contrasted their battle tactics but found their social structures played a significant part in their successes as well , which we contrasted with the Mexica's (Aztecs) rigid, heirarchic structure which we posited helped lead to their speedy downfall and surplantation by another heirachic structure, the Spanish. We found the much more egalitarian cultures of the Northern Frontier were not only immune to replacement by other heirarchic social groups, and that these non-heirarchic social structures prevented the collapse of their societies upon the loss of key leaders as had happened with the more rigid, and therefore more brittle, cultures such as the Mexica, the Maya and the Inca. The Yaquis and the Raramurí, on the other hand would place themselves under generalized leadership only temporarily and for specific reasons such as war, which made their societies much more mobile and resistant. We found that alternative approaches to direct democracy used by groups such as the Yoeme, such as the gaining of consensus as opposed to voting, are likely to have played a part in their successes . Once we expanded our comparitive studies to include not only other indigenous groups such as the Inde (Apache) and the Zapatistas, but also such events and groups such as the May Occupations Movement of Paris in 1968, the Muhaiyaddeen in Afghanistan, as well as spontaneous resistance such as the L.A. Riots. During our dicussions, we realized our area of study was not easily included in the present forms such and the need to create a new discipline became apparent to us. At this point Antistasiology was born. The word 'antistasiology' itself came about when I simply took the greek word for resistance antistasi adding ology "the study of".

The Future of Antistasiology

Antistasiology, being the study of the strategies, tactics and internal structures of resistance, is a necessary point of departure for a serious study of rebellion, as it is by studying the history and the present that we can see our way to the forms that will be used and created in the future.