Strategy considerations; purpose of workshop


Richard Moore

From: Robert Gold <•••@••.•••>
Subject: misc
To: •••@••.•••
Date: Sat, 25 Apr 1998


Sorry to bother you, but was wondering if there is some way of
understanding your strategy better.

Do you believe that simply having alot of different groups supporting
your movement will make it successful?  Will that be enough to change



Dear Robert (& list),

Cadre, and I, are not starting `a movement', and we're not asking groups
to `support us'.

We are endeavoring to build a _coalition among existing movements
so that energies which are now widely fragmented can become more
harmonized, begin to support one another, and begin to have a
cumulative political effect.

I read an article just yesterday where some savvy-sounding journalist
was offering an interpretation of the labor unrest (trucker's strikes
etc) in France.  From his pundit-perch he explained how the French are
`undergoing an identity crisis', and weren't sure yet how they fit into
the `new world'.

That's bullshit.  French workers, like Australian dockers, and Canadian
anti-MAI'ers, are saying they've had enough of globalization's
destruction of their economies and societies, and, in desperation,
they're trying to make their democratic voices heard through actions of
various kinds.  They know their elections and `democracies' have
betrayed them, and they're trying to become politically effective in
other ways.

In a non-propaganda media, such strikes and protests would all come
under the headline "People worldwide are rising up against globalization
and corporate power".  Instead, the corporate-controlled media outlets
report each as a separate, local affair, tied to unique local

Is it `starting a movement' to try to point out what these actions
really mean?  Is it `starting a movement' to try to get the groups
sponsoring those actions and movements to talk more to one another?
I see it more as a `community building' exercise than a `movement'.

If the activists behind these diverse movements begin to communicate
with one another, and begin to interpret one another's initiatives as
being simply different approaches to dealing with a common root problem,
then a sense of global _solidarity can begin to crystallize.  The
historical experience of labor movements, peace  movements, and every
kind of movement, is that a sense of solidarity is _itself very
powerful.  It lends hope, it `gives heart', and it even, on occasion,
helps people identify means of concrete mutual support and assistance.


What cadre is trying to do is to look at this whole business from a
strategic perspective, to undertake _conscious _strategic initiatives to
promote a sense of global solidarity, and to then build on that sense of
solidarity to achieve effective collaboration among movements and groups
which are now fragmented and isolated.

PPI (Peoples Press International) is aimed at building the basic
communication links, by taking information _from activists everywhere,
and distributing it back _to activists everywhere.  PPI articles and
essays are selected so as to illustrate the _diversity of responses to
corporate power, to point out that they all _are _indeed responses to a
_common problem, and to encourge those involved to think more _globally.
Thus PPI aims to encourage the _evolution of `solidarity awareness'
among people who are focused on specific intitiative `on the ground' in
various parts of the world.

RN (renaissance-network) is for those activists who want to move up to
the strategic level of thinking and participate at that level, in
addition to whatever movement they're participating in `on the ground'.

PPI is about tactics, and RN is about strategy.


So with your indulgence, I'd like to say a few word about revolutionary

How can ordinary people hope to have an impact on the entrenched power
of the capitalist elite... the strongest, best-funded, best-coordinated,
and most well-armed center of power that has ever existed in human

What models do we have of a weaker force overcoming a stronger force?
...Don't lose hope, we have in fact _many models and precedents to look

The most directly relevant, I'd say, is the movement Ghandi led for
India's independennce.  At that time, the British hold over India seemed
invincible, just as corporate power does today, and yet without resort
to armed resistance, Ghandi was able to overcome it... how did he
accomplish that?

Ghandi was primarily an astute strategist.  He was able to identify and
articulate the vulnerabilities of the British system of imperialism, and
to devise strategems that could exploit those vulnerabilities.  He put
the British in a position where they lost ground if they ignored his
efforts, and they lost ground if they opposed his efforts.

If they ignored him, he used that breathing space to systematically
build up the movement and to apply it against the imperial vulnerable

And he built the movement in such a way that for the British to oppose
it, they had to escalate their oppression in a way that roused more
people to the movement. He had them between a rock and a hard place, and
they knew it, but all the Kings horses and all the King's men couldn't
do anything about it.  Even putting him in jail didn't help, because he
had attained enough public stature that his imprisonment itself was a
spur to greater independence mobilization.

He created a situation where intelligence, adroitness, and intitiative
could become effective against raw power.

I suggest that this is exactly what we need to do...  except that a
reliance on a single charismatic leader is not a sound strategy today:
we need a larger group, an ever-growing group, that is aware of the
strategy being employed and who can carry on with it even if individual
leaders are `neutralized' by one tactic or another.  In fact, such a
`spreading' of leadership is the best defense we as individuals have
against being the targets of `neutralization' tactics, such as were
applied agaist Martin Luther King, JFK, Dag Hammerskold, etc.


This strategy (intelligence and adroitness overcoming raw power) can be
seen in a purer form by looking at the martial arts, and in particular,
I'd like to draw your attention to the art of _aikido.  First I'll give
a brief description of aikido itself, and then I'll show how we can use
its principles to overcome corporate power.

Aikido scenario: `Thug' attacks `Aik'...  Thug steps toward Aik and
attempts to hit him with a powerful punch.  Aik gives full attention to
the approaching Thug, and at the very last moment, _after the direction
of the punch has been committed, Aik steps back with one foot, pivoting
sideways to the punch, so that the path of the punch is passing in front
of him (or her).  Simultaneous to the pivot, Aik raises both hands and
grasps Thug's passing wrist -- _without trying to stop the punch, but
instead actually _amplifying the energy of the punch, pulling Thug
forward and off balance.

Thug may try to retract the punch, or to shift it to the side to follow
Aik, but Thug's muscles are weak in the sideways direction, and even a
smaller Aik, using both hands, is able to control the direction and
velocity of the punch better than Thug is able to.  With Thug off
balance, Aik is able to deftly twist the attacking wrist, apply pressure
downward on the arm, and easily force Thug down to the mat immobilized.
There are subtle techniques to be learned, clearly, but almost no force
is required.


In our current circumstances, `Thug' is the corporate elite,
globalization is their current general attack, and we can take the MAI
as the `punch' currently underway.

The anti-MAI movement, without being aware of the fact, is actually
using the aikido defense, as follows...

The elite set out to make a quick, stealth punch -- to get the MAI
passed with anyone noticing.  But the anti-MAI activists grabbed the
wrist and _added to its energy -- they did this by publicizing the MAI
initiative, turning the punch from a stealth affair into a public
affair.  The elite were thus pulled off balance, and just like `Thug',
they've been trying to back-paddle their punch and redirect it in new
directions (put it under the WTO or whatever).

But the elite attack has been identified now, and the anti-MAI activists
are not letting go of the `wrist'.  They are keeping hold of it,
publicizing elite attempts to redirect the punch, and keeping the
attacker off balance.  They're demonstrating strategic wisdom by _not
rejoicing at minor victories, but rather intensifying the determination
of their defense and expanding their constituency.

In order to complete the aikido scenario, and immoblize the attacker --
ie, to overcome elite corporate power -- it is necessary to generalize
attention from the narrow issue of the MAI, and focus the roused
attention toward elite corporate power generally.  The MAI is an attack
on sovereignty and on constitutional democracy, but so is globalization,
and so is corporate power generally.

We must make those connections, perservere in our defensive measures,
turn every elite move to their own disadvantage, and force them down to
the mat.


From: •••@••.•••
Date: Sat, 25 Apr 1998
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: Re: Workshop business: Delegate selection, accomodations, *
Organization: Sambhavna Trust, Bhopal.

dear friend/s,

i do not know how you got my address, but i can say
your message reached home.  almost everything you say
and propose to do resonates with my own concerns.  i still
dont have a grip on what is expected to happen at the
workshop in nova scotia but get the feel it would be
something hopefull.  please keep me informed about the
workshop.  as you can immagine it is impossible for me
to come for the workshop. sheer travel please
do keep me posted.

with best wishes from a rabid optimist,

Satinath Sarangi (Sathyu)
Sambhavna Trust / Bhopal Peoples Health and Documentation Clinic
44 Sant Kanwar Ram Nagar
Berasia Road
Bhopal 462001
Tel: +91 755 - 530 914

Dear Satinath,

As for `how we got your address', that is from the outreach efforts of
Jan Slakov, whose name is perhaps more familiar to you than is

The point of the workshop is to build a nucleus of activists and others
who have a common understanding of the problems we face and of the
strategy necessary to overcome them.  This nucleus can then become the
seed of a growing coalition.

There are three phases to the workshop process, which are aimed at
answering the big WHAT, WHERE, and HOW questions...

The first phase, from the `OPENING CEREMONY' to the `INTERNATIONAL
RELATIONS' session, is aimed at mutual education and understanding of
_WHAT the problem is.

In a vague sense, we _all know what the problem is... excessive elite
power and the destruction of our democracies and sovereignty.  But in
order to be effective at strategic counter-measures, we need a more
strategic understanding of our `attacker'.

_Why is the elite pressing its globalization attack at this particular
moment of history?  _How are the elite able to overcome the power of
nations, which only a few decades ago we thought were themselves the
ultimate seats of power?  _Why is overcoming national sovereignty so
central to the elite strategy?  How is the elite media able to spread
divisiveness among those whose self-interest should be pushing them
toward unity?

These questions have definite and specific answers, and understanding
them is critical to our defense and couterattack.

The second phase of the workshop process is to understand _WHERE we want
want to go _instead of toward elite subjugation.  This phase is
concentrated in a single session, `TOWARD A SENSIBLE WORLD', which can
be longer in duration than the other sessions if necessary.  A purely
reactive defense can never succeed -- there must be something positive
we are aiming for, a vision of a better world.  Otherwise our energy
will dissipate at early victories, just as the New Left in the USA
dissipated at the end of the Vietnam War and the resignation of
scapegoat Nixon.

The third phase of the workshop is aimed at understandoing _HOW we can
overcome the elite attack, establish democracy in our nations, and move
toward that  better world we have, in general terms, envisioned in phase
two.  Phase three runs from the `ADOPTION OF CONSENSUS MANIFESTO'
session through the `CLOSING CEREMONY'.



From: JFadiman <•••@••.•••>
Date: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 12:30:45 EDT
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: Re:  Workshop business> Sessions & Panels; (response needed)

Thanks for the wonderful poems bracketing the setting up of sessions. It
reminds one what the purpose is- to restore the best of humanity to
itself and to keep the planet, not only livable, but to have the dominant
species be one might wish to live with.



*-> Please _do send in your topic(s) for panel(s), your registration
fee, and your accomodation requirements.

We've gotten several topic suggestions so far, and when we get several
more, I can post back to the list a summary.  Several of you had already
agreed earlier (before this list was established) to participate in
specific sessions, and I'd appreciate it if you'd go ahead and send in
those agreed topics again at this time.



                  Restore democratic sovereignty
                  Create a sane and livable world
             Bring corporate globalization under control.
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