While HOA reforms require new legislation in every state to restore lost rights and freedoms resulting from the adhesion, authoritarian CC&Rs “contract,” advocates need to understand that reform activity has moved from a social and political movement to a war against an entrenched enemy. I have used terms like doing battle, the enemy, attack, etc. not lightheartedly.
The common quote from The Art of War (the James Clavell version is easy reading), “If you know yourself and your enemy, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles,” is just one of many that are easily applied to any organized civil, contentious movement. Just like we are facing in our attempts to reform the HOA concept and being faced with opposing forces led by CAI.
We must all toughen up for success!
I have selected several statements from Chapter VI that can easily be seen as applicable to our efforts. As a longtime student of history, especially military history, I offer my interpretations. Alternate interpretations are possible. The numbering reflects the sentence number as used by Lao Tzu.
- Whoever is first in the field and awaits the coming of the enemy, will be fresh for the fight; whoever is second in the field and has to hasten to battle will arrive exhausted.
2.Therefore, the clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemy’s will to be imposed on him.
5. Appear at points which the enemy must hasten to defend; march swiftly to places where you are not expected.
[Too often advocates have reacted to the CAI supported bills or positions rather putting their positions and bills on the “table” out first. They then need to catchup and defend against the allegations and not arguing their positions.]
[The following quotes advise the General (leader) to know the enemy — your opponent. Power negotiations is a two-party “game” and knowing the opposing teams’ strengths is important for success.]
10. You may advance and be absolutely irresistible, if you make for the enemy’s weak points; you may retire and be safe from pursuit if your movements are more rapid than those of the enemy.
[Taking some action regarding bills or any statements that need to be challenged.]
13. By discovering the enemy’s dispositions and remaining invisible ourselves, we can keep our forces concentrated, while the enemy’s must be divided.
14. We can form a single united body, while the enemy must split up into fractions.
[A failure of advocates to unite has hurt the reform movement. Each failure to unite allows CAI to boast, “See, they are nothing to be worried about.” Legislators, like everybody else including lawyers, want to back winners, not losers.]
19. Knowing the place and the time of the coming battle, we may concentrate from the greatest distances in order to fight.
22. Though the enemy be stronger in numbers, we may prevent him from fighting. Scheme so as to discover his plans and the likelihood of their success.
23. Force him to reveal himself, so as to find out his vulnerable spots.
[In summarizing these last 5 statements, advocates need spies, just like our military uses spies and sends out recon units in order to find out what’s happening. Lao Tzu stresses this aspect in his last chapter. With CAI closing ranks and restricting access to its websites, member spies must be recruited. I did well using spies in my early activist days.]