A comment by Walt prompted a few thoughts:
beyond that and fwiw, Smokers Liberation Army actually says what you’re talking about and what you want the antagonists to know you’re about, so why get cute or symbolic or go for mystery. Not, I add with my pragmatist’s hat on, that I think this’ll go very far, but let them know (that like other oppressed minorities–or other minorities they’ve purposely oppressed) that “we’re mad as hell and we’re not gonna take it any more” or at least not take it lying down.
One difference I keep finding between myself and a lot of other people is that they all want to to take the fight to the enemy, and I want to unite smokers in a political unit.
In more or less everything I do, I’m thinking about smokers. Back when we all did the ISIS survey of smokers, we were trying to find out how smoking bans had affected them. In writing my blog, I’m writing for smokers. In the Smoky Drinky Bar, I’m trying to get them to meet up and talk to each other online. And not necessarily talk about smoking and smoking bans. And share ideas and experiences and interests.
The way I see it, if you’re going to build an army, you need to have an esprit de corps
Esprit de corps is a feeling of loyalty and pride that is shared by the members of a group who consider themselves to be different from other people in some special way.
I’ve never been in any military organisation (perhaps others have), but it’s always been my understanding that there needs to be a certain spirit and pride and sense of their own worth in any military organisation. I think military commanders actually regard this as imperative. For example a general like Montgomery devoted a lot of his attention to the morale of the troops under his command. In fact, I think every successful military leader has always devoted a lot of attention to this. – because confident soldiers are much more likely to win any battles they fight than demoralised soldiers who think they’re beaten.
And smokers are a demoralised bunch of people. In fact, you might even say that a state of demoralisation is the norm for most of them. They’re ashamed and apologetic. And they think they’ve lost.
If they could all stand up – all 1.5 billion of them scattered all over the world – they would defeat the antismokers in very short order. They’d all be gone in a day.
Morale is everything. If you have no morale, you have nothing. You can be armed with all the latest weapons, but if you think you’re beaten, then you’ll lose to a man who simply points a finger at you and says “Bang. You’re dead.”
Same if you have all the answers to the antismokers’ claims. If you think you’re beaten, and things can only get worse, then it doesn’t matter whether you have any answers: you’ll lose. And you’ll lose because you decided that you were going to lose.
And that’s why I think it’s imperative to get smokers together, and get them talking, and get to build up a new spirit, a new sense of pride. “Yes, I’m a smoker. And I’m proud of it.”
Only then can you march off to meet the enemy in the field. Because only then have you got a chance of beating him. And, when the enemy sees your confidence, he’ll quite likely lose a bit of his.
So I say: First you must build the army. And then you must imbue it with pride, and confidence, and conviction. It’s only when you’ve done this that you can consider meeting the enemy in the field. Because if you rush there in ones and twos, you’ll just be a rabble, and you’ll be mown down like grass.
And what I see, all the time, is a determination to meet the enemy as soon as possible, without first uniting into an effective army with your own people.
So I don’t give a damn right now about Deborah Arnott and Stanton Glantz and all the rest of them. I want to see smokers coming together, and binding together, and building up the kind of esprit de corps that is indispensable to win any conflict.
The antismokers know the importance of building and maintaining that spirit. That’s why they keep having all these conferences. They probably have nothing new to say to each other, but the conferences give them an opportunity to get together and renew their conviction in their inevitable victory. In fact they have so many of the bloody things that I find myself wondering whether they’re beginning to lose their morale, as they sense that opposition to them is mounting.
And needless to say, if we are trying to build up smokers’ confidence and morale, we should also be working to undermine the morale of the antismokers in every possible way.
So yes, the Smokers Liberation Army (or whatever it gets called) is indeed about sending a message to our antagonists, but far more than that it’s about sending a message to each other.