1. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Running into a logistical plot problem

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Mallory, Aug 9, 2010.

    Hi,
    I'm at a point in my novel where one of the characters decides to start up a secret resistance group against a dystopian fascist government that's expanding its power during the time period of the story.
    The thing is, I'm running into some problems with how he would actually be able to do this. The Internet has been shut down completely for "security concerns," so I don't see how the character would be able to network or contact anyone anonymously. Obviously using real names and real contact info for such a purpose would just lead to being caught and arrested.
    So how would mobilizing a resistance group, even a small one, under such circumstances be possible?
    The only thing I can think of right now would be if he contacts people he knows, such as very trusted friends. This seems like the most plausible option, but I was wondering if and how it would work to reach out to other people and expand, and maybe get some new people on board.
    Thanks in advance for any suggestions -- I'm not trying to get anyone to think of ideas or write my story for me, but I'm just in a bit of a rut with how this aspect of my plot could work.
     
  2. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Have you read 1984? This exact problem is addressed (and subsequently solved) by Orwell. The great thing about how Orwell treats the situation is that he perfectly captures the paranoia, uncertainty and fear that go along with this scenatio.
     
  3. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Yes I have, it was an awesome read. :)

    I think I have it figured out now, thanks!
     
  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I remain dubious about shutting down the Internet. I think that you're thinking of the Internet as a network for relatively free and uncensored communication. But that's pretty much just policy, not the inherent nature of the technology. A government that's eager to spy on and feed propoganda to every citizen would, IMO, want rapid flexible communication.

    But of course, that government wouldn't dream of allowing anonymous communication, so my quibble doesn't help with your problem much. :) So my next suggestion would be to research anti-Nazi resistance during World War II.

    ChickenFreak
     
  5. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Robert Heinlein addressed this in The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress. It's worth a look.
     
  6. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Hi guys!

    I did some research on pre-Internet resistance groups, such as anti-Nazi organizations and the like. They used a lot of elements like underground newspapers and sabatoges, all of which my story includes.

    It was great research, and helped me with certain aspects, but there's still this thing that I'm really having a hard time with.

    Without being able to anonymously communicate OR openly advertise, how would these types of resistance movements be able to recruit members in the first place? Do they just rely on people spreading word to people they know? How can new people join if the group must stay undercover and be discreet?
     
  7. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are anonymous peer-to-peer networks that work by sitting on top of our current, non-anonymous Internet. So far, China hasn't been able to shut them down within its borders (although it's probably not at the top of their priority list). Google for "Freenet".

    As for advertising... the resistance group announces its existence to the world through its sabotage. For this reason, the government may want to hide that sabotage has even occurred (as in "V For Vendetta").
     
  8. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Thank you!

    I did some research just now and I see that it's a monitoring-proof internet network, which could be just what I need. But what if the government completely shut down Internet across the country (except for themselves of course), would such software enable Internet access anyways? Sorry if I sound idiotic, I'm just a little confused and not very high-tech-computer savvy lol.
     
  9. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I see. This is a lot clearer now. I think I'm where I need to be to start writing again, thank you so much everybody!!! :cool:
     
  10. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    One thing would be the 'cell' concept, though I get that from movies rather than any knowledge of history. :) As I understand it, Joe recruits a few people, and then sends one of them, let's say Frank, to some new area to recruit a few new people. None of the new people know anything about Joe's group, so if Frank chooses badly and recruits someone who betrays their group, only Frank's group is arrested.

    And in fact, it would probably be good for Frank to select a leader for his group and then move on, because then _nobody_ in the new group knows anything about Joe's group. But before Frank moves on, some method of top-down communication can be established. Maybe someone working at a newspaper could insert classified advertisements with a hidden meaning, for example. Or messages could be inserted in radio or television broadcasts, or illegal encrypted ham radio transmissions, or some other public communication.

    Bottom-up communication would be messier, because you really don't want anyone to know anyone above them. But I'm sure that those problems are solved, in both history and spy movies. :)

    ChickenFreak
     
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  11. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    No, it just hides the secret communications among your ordinary Internet traffic.

    A fascist government may want its citizens to keep Internet access for two reasons:

    1. It's so important to the economy. People use the Internet to buy and sell things online and get information for their daily lives. It's also used a lot at people's workplaces.
    2. If people do everything on the Internet, they can be closely monitored. Who needs two-way telescreens, when the government can just force the Internet service providers to log every website you go to. (In real life, government organisations can already eavesdrop on a lot of the Internet traffic in their country, and phone conversations are logged,.)
    I wouldn't be surprised if the next fascist government rubs their hands in glee over the possibilities provided by the Internet, like logging people's communications in databases and cross-referencing them. For example, going to website A may not mean you are a resistance fighter, but if you go to website A, B and C, they'll keep a close watch on you. Or if you have ever placed phone calls to two different people who are known to be resistance fighters, etc.
     
  12. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Or just buys a classified advertisement. This could be used for bottom-up communications as well.
     
  13. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Thank you!

    One of my MC's does work at a newspaper, so that's perfect.
     

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