Thursday, November 21, 2013

How To Master Secret Work

This was donated by an anonymous poster.  --LB



This is a pamphlet about the role of secrecy in solving the tasks of the Revolution. Secrecy gives us protection by starving the enemy of information about us. Secrecy helps us build a strong revolutionary movement to overthrow the enemy.

There is nothing sinister about using secret methods to help win freedom. Through the ages the ruling classes have made it as difficult as possible for the oppressed people to gain freedom. The oppressors use the most cruel and sinister methods to stay in power. They use unjust laws to ban, banish, imprison and execute their opponents. They use secret police, soldiers, spies and informers against the people's movements. But the people know how to fight back and how to use secret methods of work.

Secrecy has Helped us Outwit the Enemy:

The enemy tries to give the impression that it is impossible to carry out illegal work. The rulers boast about all our people they have killed or captured. They point to the freedom fighters locked up in the prisons. But a lot of that talk is sheer bluff. Of course it is impossible to wage a struggle without losses. The very fact, however, that the South African Communist Party and African National Congress have survived years of illegality is proof that the regime cannot stop our noble work. It is because we have been mastering secret work that we have been able, more and more, to outwit the enemy.

Discipline, Vigilance and Self-Control:

Secret methods are based on common sense and experience. But they must be mastered like an art. Discipline, vigilance and self-control are required. A resistance organizer in Nazi-occupied France who was never captured said this was because he `never used the telephone and never went to public places like bars, restaurants and post offices'. He was living a totally underground life. But even those members of a secret movement who have a legal existence must display the qualities we have referred to.

Study and Apply the Rules of Secrecy:

Most people know from films and books that secret work involves the use of codes, passwords, safe houses and hiding places. Activists must study the rules of secrecy and apply them seriously. This enables us to build up secret organizations linked to the people. This secret network becomes a vital force in helping to lead the people in the struggle for power. In our series we will discuss such topics as:

How to set up a secret network;
The rules of secrecy;
How to overcome surveillance (i.e. observation);
Secret forms of communication;
Technical Methods such as secret writing, hiding places etc.;
How to behave under interrogation (i.e. when being questioned by the enemy).

These are among the main elements of secret work.

To organize in secret is not easy, but remember: The most difficult work is the most noble!


We have said that secret work helps us overcome the problems created by the enemy. This helps in the vital task of building an underground organization or secret network. The network must lead the people in the struggle for power. It does not compete with the progressive legal organizations but reinforces them. Let us look at some of the main measures involved:

Only serious and reliable people can be included in the secret network. The leaders must study the potential recruits very carefully. They are looking for people who are politically clean, determined, disciplined, honest and sober. People who can keep a secret. People who are brave and capable of defying the enemy even if captured.
Recruits are organized into a unit or cell of three or four people. The number is limited in case of failure or arrest. The cell leader is the most experienced person. The cell members must not know the other members of the network.
Only the cell leader knows and is in contact with a more senior member of the network. This senior contact gives instructions from the leadership and receives reports.
A small committee of the most experienced people leads the network. This is a leadership cell of two or three persons. This cell might be in charge of a factory, location, township or city. A city network takes the form of a pyramid. The city underground committee is at the top. Local cells are at the base. Middle command cells are in between. Start with one cell. Gain experience before building more. (diagram 1)
A rule of secret work is that members must know only that which is necessary to fulfill their tasks. Everyone, from top to bottom, must have good cover stories to protect them. This is a legend or story which hides or camouflages the real work being done. For example: a secret meeting in a park is made to look like a chance meeting between friends. If they are ever questioned they give the legend that they simply bumped into each other and had a discussion about football.
All members of the network are given code names. These conceal their real identities. They must have good identification documents. Especially those living an illegal life. A lot of time and effort must be given to creating good legends to protect our people. There is nothing that arouses suspicion as much as a stranger who has no good reason for being around.
All illegal documents, literature, reports and weapons (when not in use) must be carefully hidden. Special hiding places must be built. Codes must be used in reports to conceal sensitive names and information.
The leaders must see that all members are trained in the rules and methods of secret work . It is only through this training that they will develop the skills to outwit the enemy.
Technical methods such as the use of invisible writing, codes and disguise must be mastered. Counter-surveillance methods which help check whether one is being watched by the enemy must be known. Secret forms of communicating between our people must be studied and used. This is all part of the training. These methods will be dealt with later.
Specialization: Once the network has been developed some cells should specialize in different tasks such as propaganda, sabotage, combat work, mass work, factory organization etc.

In the meantime you can start putting into practice some of the points already dealt with. Begin to work out legends in your work. What innocent reason can you give if a friend or a policeman finds this journal in your possession?

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