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A Do-Gooder's Guide To Sabotage

React To Everything, Change Nothing

generic office worker holds head with clownish 'panic' face. hey hero: always leap into action! react to everything for an interesting and neverending stream of fun challenges

Welcome to Sabotage for Do-Goodery

In this discussion series, we examine common ways we self-sabotage progressive movements.

Sabotage for Heroes

Always Be Willing To Leap Into Action!

Excerpt from the CIA Field Manual on Simple Sabotage:

“When you fix a flat tire, you can simply leave between the tube and the casing the object which caused the flat in the first place.”

As you plod along the long road to justice, you may find yourself constantly interrupted by natural disasters, fascist attacks, and last-minute calls to contribute to the school bake sale. 

So annoying! How are you ever going to get anything done at this rate?!

Not to worry – today we learn how to take advantage of these unwelcome intrusions, completely upending your long-term plans and dragging everyone into a wake of hysteria alongside you.

First, let’s look to the wisdom of nature to inform our quick response strategy – the adaptive behavior of livestock birds.

Known for their rapid reaction times to sudden threats, guinea fowl are famous for their loud, panicked calls and erratic behavior. When encountering a predator, a loud noise, or even a scary bug, guinea fowl react in the moment by screaming and scattering in all directions, sometimes running into each other, sometimes into walls.

At first glance, you may think this type of startle response is haphazard, counter productive, and silly. This is not a strategy to survive predators, either natural or legislative!

But bump into enough walls and you start to recognize the similarities between us colonial-era Instagram humans and these highly social birds bred for their meat and utility as a grain-powered gate alarm.

Like guinea fowl, those of us accustomed to domesticated comfort get real loud and scramble inefficiently at the first sign of a threat.

Why not weaponize this instinct to confuse and overwhelm our collaborators? 

Run fast and scream loudly at every opportunity. Predators will see you’re too much bother, and eat your dazed and wounded comrades instead.

Sure, this instinctive, rapid responses to perceived threats ensures we’ll all slowly get slaughtered and land on the dinner table eventually. But we’re not here for revolution and the liberation of our children – we’re here to sow mayhem for the ultimate downfall of our community.

Haha, j/k. We have no long-term plans. We’re here to… OH SHIT is that a FOX?! 


Oh whew. It was a log. The same log we freaked out about 6 minutes ago. Anyway – what were we talking about?

How to get everyone too riled up to think straight

Today, we explore methods to stay over-scheduled and under-prepared by slapping urgent fixes on long-term problems.

By channeling the unpredictable and frenetic behavior of hysterical guinea fowl, you can become an unstoppable force in the fight against, say, book censorship.

Focus on temporary band-aids gussied up with a big performance. Using the steps below, any parent juggling a family, a career, community care, and the twenty horrors that just showed up on your newsfeed can truly have (and be responsible for) it all!


Step 1: Always Be On Gate Duty

Guinea fowl are known for their hyper-vigilance, constantly on the lookout for threats. As a parent responsible for everyone in the universe and all their problems, you must stay equally alert.

Stay Vigilant

  • Monitor News Feeds: Sign up for alerts from all the news sources to stay informed about any developments related to book censorship regardless of how far or irrelevant. Yes I said ‘all’ of them.
  • Camp on Social Media: Follow anti-censorship activists, authors, and organizations. Actively engage with their content to boost the algorithm and show how invested and helpful you are.
  • Read Banned Books: Read every single book that has ever been banned. This will provide you with quick comebacks to imaginary debates you will probably never have.

Awareness is Key

  • Non-Stop Scrolling: Let dinner burn and stay up late. Spend all day pecking through your feed until you’re fully satisfied. News feeds are designed to be helpful and easy to tell when you’ve learned enough, so trust the process.
  • Deep Dive Reading: Don’t just skim headlines—read articles thoroughly to grasp the complete context. Missing even a single development or aspect of historical context could mislead others into thinking you have other things going on in your life.

Have Your Hot Take Ready

  • Act Before Absorbing: If you take time to understand multiple perspectives and gather comprehensive information, you’ll be too late to the conversation and no one will think you are smart.
  • Strategic Urgency: Act quickly so your reaction sets the tone for everyone who adds to the conversation next. By being a first voice, you cultivate a norm of rapid-fire screaming so no one has time to create a coherent response.

Step 2: Turn The Dial To 11

When guinea fowl sense danger, they make a loud racket to distract predators and save their own asses. Similarly, you need to make noise everywhere you can to fight… what was the thing we cared about? Oh right, censorship.

Get Loud and Convincing

  • Create Your Own Media: Don’t just share and amplify people with experience and a long-term strategy. Get loud about your personal opinion and never miss a chance to criticize folks who move too slowly or quietly. Squabble in the comments, post endlessly, and scatter your content like droppings so nobody within screaming distance ever feels fully caught up and properly informed.
  • Be Loud: Get loud about every issue and all your opinions about them at city hall meetings, school board sessions, and other public forums. Don’t stop there. Rant at the DMV, your local library, and in the fruit aisle of your grocery store. The louder you are, the more right you must be. (This is psychology).
  • Fundraising: Donate generously or go fuck yourself. Sure, you can afford $5, but everyone will judge you for being cheap. Either skip a month of groceries and donate beyond your means, or don’t donate at all.

Be Everywhere

  • Learn to Run: I don’t mean run for an office that gives you influence on policy, I mean learn to run fast with your two skinny legs, because you need to be everywhere all the time. Attend every protest, double-book yourself at every opportunity, run five simultaneous Zoom meetings at once. Create the sense that you are omnipresent and unavoidable to confuse your opponents and make your collaborators feel like they aren’t doing enough.
  • Engage at All Levels: No wait actually yes – you should also be running for office. Don’t just pay attention to elections and appointments to strategically influence the right people. Be ready to run for school committee, library boards, superintendent, crossing guard, and mayor – all while climbing the corporate ladder to influence the private sector. Unless it’s legally unfeasible, there’s no excuse not to run for all of these positions simultaneously, which brings us to our next step…

Step 3: Scatter & Multitask

Guinea fowl scatter in all directions when threatened,  overwhelming their predators and entertaining onlookers. Adopt a similar strategy by pursuing multiple methods simultaneously.

Diversify Your Tactics

  • Drag your family along: Regardless of their interest or how accessible this issue is for them, involve your children in protests and activities, stressing the importance of being actively involved in every single issue from an early age and…
  • Join Too Many Organizations: Sign up for newsletters, attend meetings, and participate in various groups dedicated to fighting censorship and…
  • Organize All The Protests: Make your voice heard at every event, organize your own demonstrations and…
  • Meet And Intimidate Legislators: Set up meetings with policymakers to discuss the importance of fighting censorship. Vow to defeat them in the next election if they don’t succumb to your will and…
  • Donate and Fund-raise and Quit Your Job: Support anti-censorship organizations financially, create fundraising initiatives to bolster their efforts, and quit your job to volunteer your time and…
  • Take The Lead: Everyone moving too slowly for you, or you just don’t want to settle for being a cog in someone else’s initiative? Launch your own newsletter, petition, or campaign to spread awareness and rally support, eventually creating your own organization, product line, and lobbying group and…
  • Don’t stop there: If you hear of a new way to support the effort, it’s your job to do that, too.

Relentless Engagement

  • Never Stop Moving: Guinea fowl don’t settle in one place, they’re always searching for a better perch (probably, I didn’t look it up). Constantly shift your efforts to so no one is sure what you do or how to collaborate with you effectively.
  • Collaborate and Provoke: Offer to work with other activists, but also be willing to zig and zag so they can’t tell whether you’re fulfilling your end of the responsibilities. Never skip an opportunity to subtly suggest they are under-performing and should do more, like you. Let impatience guide you and peck at them when they’re moving too slowly for your comfort.

Avoid these common mistakes

Avoid Pausing & Planning:

Remember, a plan is just a four-letter word with too many letters.

Who needs a clear vision when you have squawking hysteria? Guinea fowl don’t have the cognitive capacity to think about the consequences of their actions, so neither should you.

Keep busy, stay stressed, and don’t waste time minimizing harm or creating contingency plans. If you’re not highly visible in your advocacy, what is the point?

Avoid Missed Opportunities:

Don’t let the haters dissuade you from the power of FOMO – they just want you to miss out so they can get the good seats. If you’re not in every protest, meeting, and social media argument, you’re slacking off.

Better to slow down the revolution with your constant interruptions and derailments than have nothing to brag about to your grandkids.

“I was there, kiddo, at every single library board meeting, screaming my head off and drowning out every negotiation!”

Avoid Acknowledging Failure:

Admitting mistakes is for people with long-term memory – but we are birds now. Have you seen the size of a guinea fowl’s brain? Not much space for reflection.

If you never admit you’ve caused harm, you’ll never have to change course, prioritize, or cull your workload. Keep running until you hit a wall, and if that wall happens to be a vulnerable person, bounce off or trample right over them.

Sabotage Strategy Pitfalls

As with all strategies, you’ll face some risks and challenges along the way. Here’s how to accept your fate as a semi-feral resource for the overlords who will eventually eat you.

Submit to This Draining Sense of Hopelessness

It’s normal to routinely find yourself in a pit of despair after patching up some emergency only to have it burst in a new horrible way months later. But we pay good cash money to play whack-a-mole, so grab this thrill for free!

While your personality may rot into a damp bog of critical contempt for others, rest assured that your noble cause will keep you warm long after your loved ones have gone no-contact.

Embrace Your Guarded Paranoia

With enough hypervigilence, you’ll develop a second nature tending toward suspicion and hyper-criticism toward anyone suggesting long-term strategies. They’re just trying to one-up you and ruin the only thing that keeps you running – constant drama.

Keep that guard up, and cherish the compulsive obligation and frustration that drags you out of bed every morning.

Real Heroes Sacrifice What They Love Most

Nothing says dedication like straining your family and social relationships to the breaking point. There’s always another family dinner you can attend later. You wanted an excuse to skip the kids’ mosquito-filled soccer games anyway.

Those who truly love you will understand why your neck is perpetually craned toward your phone – the world NEEDS you! And by ‘the world’ I mean strangers on the internet who might notice your hard work and write about you in a history book some day.

Don’t worry about it too much

I guess I’m contractually obligated to mention that joining the virtual Summer Luminator helps you develop a simple counter-sabotage practice. With a few conversations and trainings,  overworked parents like you gain a genuine sense of perspective and get personal help prioritizing impactful work so you have guilt-free time for rest, joy, and raising a family.

But instead you should wear this cloud of obligation and overwhelm as a badge of honor. You don’t want your care work to be energized by play and openness to opportunity. What would you brag about?!

Don’t join the Summer Luminator if your prefer accolades over structural change. After all, the best way to get a bronze statue cast in your honor is to sacrifice yourself and your loved ones for the cause.

Which do you want more – a quick and effective revolution, or a cool statue? Now that’s what I call a legacy.


Reclaim Your Time & Energy

In the Summer Luminator, we stop spinning our wheels and learn how to make a deep impact without derailing the revolution. By creating a responsive plan of action and learning to delegate the work, we find easy ways to say 'no' to derailments and reclaim our time, energy, and attention.

Sabotage for Do-Goodery

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