Backfire manual: tactics against injustice

Brian Martin

Brian Martin, Backfire manual: tactics against injustice (Sparsnäs, Sweden: Irene Publishing, 2012), 112 pages. ISBN 978-91-978171-4-1

Printed copies available from

This book is available as a free download, by courtesy of the publisher. Irene Publishing is a non-profit operation, committed to providing works relevant to grassroots social change. I do not receive royalties, and the publishers are not paid for their work. If you would like to contribute a few dollars to support this venture, click on this button.

Entire book in one pdf file (112 pages)

Entire book in one pdf file (56 pages, 2 book pages per sheet)

Chinese translation (82 pages)

Russian translation (211 pages)

Bahasa Indonesian translation (107 pages)

Arabic translation (62 pages)

Brazilian Portuguese translation (81 pages)

French translation (104 pages)

Spanish translation (80 pages)

Tagalog translation (98 pages)

Thai translation (135 pages)

Turkish translation (81 pages)

Urdu translation (113 pages)


From the back cover

In 1991, protesters in Dili, East Timor were massacred by Indonesian troops. This turned out to be a political disaster for the Indonesian government, greatly increasing international support for the East Timorese independence struggle. The massacre backfired on the Indonesian government.   The Backfire Manual explains why.

Imagine you're planning an action and think you might come under attack. Maybe it's a rally and there's a risk of police brutality. Maybe you're exposing government corruption and there could be reprisals against your group. To be prepared, you need to understand the tactics likely to be used by your opponent, for example covering up the action and trying to discredit you and your group.

The Backfire Manual provides guidance for this sort of planning. It outlines the backfire model and gives examples and exercises for using it. This is a practical handbook for being more effective whenever you face a powerful, dangerous opponent.

Brian Martin is professor of social sciences at the University of Wollongong, Australia. He is the author of numerous books and articles on nonviolent action and is vice president of Whistleblowers Australia.

Go to

Brian Martin's publications

Brian Martin's website