Dialog re: the coalition & strategy


Richard Moore

To: •••@••.•••
From: Ed Deak <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: follow-up thread> re: `leadership'
Date: Fri, 24 Apr 1998

I had a friend, unfortunately put into early grave by cigarettes, who used
to say: "Call me anything, just don't call me late for dinner!"

May not be very original, but seems to fit the occasion.

Here, in the Cariboo backwoods we solve the problem by calling everybody by
their first name, be they bums, or corporate directors, or prime ministers.
Come to think of it, what's the difference anyway?

All the very best, Ed. (Ed Deak, Big Lake, BC, Canada)

Date: Thu, 30 Apr 1998
From: Robert Gold <•••@••.•••>
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: misc re / strategy

Thanks alot for resending the article.

I am very happy about the material in the last two articles.  They
give me some more hope.

In the article you made a statement that gives me a good opening
to present some of my most important thinking about strategy.

You wrote:

'Imagine you are in a room with the representatives of the elite..
and your job is to negotiate a win-win settlement.'

I believe we have win-win proposals for strategically situated
members of the establishment.

There are two groups of establishment individuals we have to win
over to the idea of establishing a progressive world.

One general group of establishment are intelligent people who can
be shown that a progressive world is healthier, more sustainable,
more socially and personally rich, and there is less risk of being
stabbed in the back by either a reactionary powergrabber or an
aggrieved commoner, or some other lunatic that the present
system spawns.

The second group are very strategically situated individuals and
groups, who can be offered strong social and material benefits.

All this is possible because the existing system is extremely
wasteful in some important ways, and changing the system can
free up alot of material and social resources.

anxious to hear everybodys' response to my thoughts.


Dear Robert,

Thanks for your suggestions... they seem like sound `win-win' ideas.

Even leaders of the establishement, or what I tend to call the elite, are
human, and have children, and should be ulitmately `reachable'.  They're
just all caught up in the current system, building their careers, and
believing the neoliberal propaganda because it also serves their short-term

One place we could begin immediately to recruit converts from
`establishment' circles, I suggest, is small businesses.  Small businesses
are the `little fish' that the TNC megacorps (the `big fish') are all set
to gobble up, in the same way MacDonalds gobbles up local food retailers
all over the world, or shopping centers gobble up our high-street shops.

broaden solidarity!

        The big fish eat the little fish
            and chew on 'em and bite'em
        The little fish eat the littler fish
            and so ad infinitum
             - folk assessment of capitalism

Date: Fri, 01 May 1998
From: [name withheld]
To: "Richard K. Moore" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: The strategy dialog continues...

Dear Richard, overall an outstanding contribution in strategic analysis!

> But just suppose Maude Barlow
> and other leaders of the anti-MAI movement were to endorse the manifesto
> (or better yet suggest an improved version we all could endorse) and
> declare solidarity with the coalition.  That would expand the scope of
> the anti-MAI folks to include the full elite threat and it would all-
> at-once increase considerably the credibility of the coalition, and
> could be expected to attract additional organizations.

The Council of Canadians, 'led' by Barlow, is a consistently ineffectual
organization that I'm proud to say I've never been a member of -- even
though they ostensibly work for all the right things.  In the vernacular
of a close associate, they function as assets of the oligarchy -- the
only question being whether witting or witless.

Nonetheless, your point is well taken that this and many other
progressive NGOs should be fertile ground for building the broad
solidarity the movement will require -- and our analyses and messages
should resonate with their membership.  Regarding their leadership, to
me that's rather questionable;  I suspect that a number of NGOs have
been compromised at the top.


Dear rn-list,

I left the contributor's name off of this one because it was sent to my own
email address, and given the content, the contributor might be upset at me
for making his (or her) comments public, with their name on it.

But I believe it is necessary to be open about which groups are worth
supporting and which aren't.  Whether the above assessment is correct or
not, I have no idea, but it should be `out there' for us to consider...
`Barlow defenders' are welcome to set the record straight if they so
desire, but the rn-list won't be hosting an extended debate on this topic!
(lest you were worrying)


From: JFadiman <•••@••.•••>
Date: Thu, 30 Apr 1998
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: Re:  The strategy dialog continues...

I love your answers to the few who are whining at the gates. It feels as if
you are truly able to be so clear that you don't need to raise your voice just
point out the truth.

nice couple from Pakistan as well.


Date: Sat, 2 May 1998
To: •••@••.•••
From: •••@••.••• (Jan Slakov)
Subject: Re: * Important * workshop responses needed * Bear River *

Dear Richard (and other list partners),  May 2

It seems you are getting antsy to get feedback from us on how we see
ourselves contributing to the workshop sessions.

I think we agreed that I would put a special focus on the "Getting on with
the revolution" session (although that e-mail is one of those which
disappeared in the recent computer problems I had :< )

Here are a few initial ideas, although I hope we will all be thinking in
terms of follow-up throughout the workshop, and that this session will be
modified and enriched as a result of that reflection.

Each of us should be able to think of other constituencies they could reach
out to.

And how we will keep up a means of communication given the strong
possibility that net communication will one day become impossible or

We should also identify publications we should approach to ask for a limited
amount of space for coalition information/inspiration sharing. This would
have the immediate benefit of giving us more presence for those without net
access (as well as other benefits, of course).

As part of our effort to build a "sensible world" and also in order to
ensure our viability, we need to wean ourselves off of dependence on

For instance, we should be making the effort to buy and/or grow our food
locally and organically and to reduce our use of non-renewable energy
sources (which usually come with a very high ethical "price" as well).

                               - - -

In a recent message you wrote:

"Gandhi was primarily an astute strategist."

My dear Richard, I do believe Gandhi would not agree!

He wrote, in the introduction to his autobiography:

"What I want to achieve, - what I have been striving and pining to achieve
these thirty years, - is self-realization, to see God face to face, to
attain Moksha. I live and move and have my being in pursuit of this goal.
All that I do by way of speaking and writing, and all my ventures in the
political field, are directed to this same end."

I know that not all (or even any?) of us are this committed to spiritual
self-realization, but I think we do need to affirm our connectedness to each
other, to the Earth, to those who have gone before and those yet to come...
to recognize our limitations and to make room and time for guidance and/or
renewal as we continue the struggle.

        We shall not, we shall not be moved, (2X)
        Just like a tree that's planted by the water,
        We shall not be moved.

        For we're Black and White together, we shall not be moved (2X)

                               - - -

        No, no, no nos moveran (2X)
        Com[o] un arbol firme junt[o] al rio
        No nos moveran.
                - originally a gospel song

Date: Sun, 3 May 1998
X-Sender: •••@••.•••
Mime-Version: 1.0
To: •••@••.•••
From: "John H.St.John" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: One Way

There is only one way we are going to get Democracy. There is only one way
we are going to end the pollution of the planet. There is only one way we
are going to ensure equality for women, and minorities. There is only one
way we are going to get control of our population. There is only one way
that we are going to get universal medicine for all people. There is only
one way we are going to retrieve the earths cultures and promote the arts in
our life. There is only one way that we are going to return sports to where
all youth can participate. It is simple:


John H. St.John


Dear rn,

I include this message because it typifies, and more concisely than most, a
very standard kind of `single solution paradigm' which one finds being
pushed around the net these days.

Several such were sent in as panel proposals for the workshop (Yes- I'm
logging all the panel proposals - more later).  There was one `solution'
based on adopting a new kind of money, and another based on a
`micro-finance movement', and I've seen others, such as `stakeholder
representation on boards', and _countless varieties of `election reform'.

To be sure, many of these proposals come from sound social/political
thinking, and I hope we will see such ideas presented and discussed at our

     * TOWARD A SENSIBLE WORLD - panel reports and general dis-
     cussion of ecosystems, economics, technology, sustainability,
     and prosperity; discussion of reform agendas and priorities;
     discussion of how to implement reform incrementally, without
     causing chaos in the process; discussion of international
     relations based on the paradigm of collaboration

But given the context in which such proposals are typically presented -- as
a _means of overcoming the defects of our current system -- I must point
out that they make no strategic sense whatsoever (sorry guys, (:<) you know
who you are).

The strategic thinking, such as it is, seems to go something like this...

       "This is such a simple, obviously great idea, that _if _only we can
        get _everyone to buy into it, then we can get it enacted into law,
        and then the whole system will be undermined and liberty and justice
        will prevail!"

The problem with such a strategy is that it completely overlooks how our
political systems operate.  If an `idea' _does succeed in getting promoted
to national prominence, as was `health care reform' during one of Clinton's
campaigns, then it becomes a political agenda item, to be redefined,
emasculated, loopholed, etc, and finally implemented as a measure that ends
up fixing nothing, and usually makes things worse.  As long as it's a
fantasy floating around the net, there will be no objections, but if it
becomes serious, then the opposition becomes serious as well; and the
opposition are the ones who pay for the candidates.

There just isn't any magic bullet -- it is a _system that needs to be
replaced, not just incremental aspects that need to be _tuned, or indiviual
`bad guys' who need to be removed from office.

And the system can only be replaced by a general electoral `sweep' that
brings a whole new slate of candidates into office who are sincerely
_dedicated to radical democratic reform.

Does anybody have a serious alternative to propose?  Does anyone really
believe a `magic bullet' can sneak through legislatures without anyone
noticing its consequences?

Is there any feasible strategy which doesn't, in the end, come down to
electoral victories?

still to be enlightened,

btw> the next item continues this thread...

Date: Tue, 5 May 1998
From: Robert Gold <•••@••.•••>
To: "Richard K. Moore" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: [Re: the electoral-victory concept...]

I wonder if you really understand what you are saying.

I don't know if there have been any revolutionary elections in recent
times or ?

Do you have any idea what is involved in winning one major election
and then making it have any impact.  The elite know how to control and
rig elections and undermine any supposedly good governments.

I don't see how you are going to get anywhere like that.

(I really wish you would explain your strategy.It just doesn't sound
right.  (Is anybody feeding you this stuff?)

Dear Robert,

There have been many times in the history of `democratic' nations when
citizens have gotten seriously roused up and organized, when they were
aware of their power and determined to make sweeping changes.

I lived through one of those myself.  In 1968, when I saw a speech by
Eugene McCarthy, I could feel it in my bones, it was in the air, _he was
going to be the next President and it _was going to make a real differnce.

I could have been wrong, but I think our elite establishment agreed with
me, for before you could blink they dusted off RFK, used him to derail
Eugene, and then after Eugene was a non-candidate, gave RFK an abrupt
exit-stage-rear (or you can write the last off to chance if you suscribe to
the `blind-luck' school of historical analysis).

So you're quite right, the elite _do know how to control and rig elections.
But most often it is the movement itself which cuts its own throat by the
choices it makes when it begins to achieve prominence.  With the Populists
in the US, they allowed themselves to be engulfed in the `trappings of
power' by joining with the Democratic Party.  That was the last they were
heard of, with their name surviving as a symbol of demagogery, one of those
cruel meaning-reversals, like "Indian giver".

We can avoid such traps by keeping our eyes on the prize: the prize is a
democatic sweep of government; it's not a `voice'; it's not a `consulting
role' -- it's the _power to work through our governmental structures to
implement what we the people want and need.  That's democracy, and it's not
impossible.  "We" have been at the gates of Rome before, it's not as
impossible as you think, but we didn't know what to do with the


From: "Gareth Barkin" <•••@••.•••>
To: <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Academic Discourse
Date: Mon, 4 May 1998

Hello again,

After looking over the last few messages, a question occurred to me: Is this
list meant to have any room for genuine academic discourse about the subject
of global systems, capitalism, and the like? Or are we supposed to be only
planning the "akido moves" which we will later pull on the 'global
capitalist elite'? Don't get me wrong -- I have nothing against action --
but if one has disagreements with the agenda, it can be difficult to get

Also, would RKM please explain his role as "moderator" a little more, i.e.
how, when and why messages from people like me do or do not get sent on, by
him, to the rest of the group. I've never been on an e-mail list that had
this kind of format, and I find it somewhat disconcerting. Considering the
theme of this organization, it seems a tad hypocritical to have one person
controlling the flow of information.

Gareth Barkin

Department of Anthropology  (Box 1114)
Washington University in St. Louis


Dear Gareth,

Thanks for bringing up questions which I'm sure are of interest to others
as well.

Let's take the `moderator' issue first.  It sounds like you have always
been on `unmoderated' lists.  Those can be lots of fun, can sometimes be
productive, and are typically encumbered with high traffic, especially at
the beginning of a new list.  Often one sees exhanges of long debate
messages going back and forth between two or three `frequent posters', and
often everyone else routinly hits `delete' when they see any of those names
on a message.  That's one kind of `online commuity' and there are hundreds
to choose from if that's your preference.

This particular list has been set up in support of certain objectives, and
it is my role as moderator to support those objectives as best I can, and
anyone is always welcome to send in `moderation suggestions' either to me
privately or addressed to the list.

Lots of messages have been coming in addressd to the rn-list, many more
than subscribers would tolerate, even if they were on topic, which many
aren't.  Some group called the "American Patriot Friends Network", for
example, has been sending about six right-wing news articles per day, which
I promptly delete.

You sent in a longish and somewhat rambling `theory piece' which for
several reasons, in my opinion, happened to be off-topic.  Similarly many
of the panel suggestions which have been submitted, which may in fact be
good panel ideas, aren't really suitable to send to the several hundred
busy people on this list.  Instead, I'll batch up panel proposals,
summarize them, and present them back that way. We'll get the detail `on
the day'.

I posted John H. St.John message because it was typical of many others, and
I wanted to give `air-time' and a response to at least one of them.  If
there's a groundswell of requests for `more of those', I can dredge up the
others from my files.

I've made a commitment to the list that traffic won't be heavy, and that
we'll focus on coalition-building and workshop-preparation up until the
workshop at the end of June.  Those are the ground rules for this list at
this time.

There is a companion to this list, and it's called PPI (Peoples Press
International).  It _does carry a thread on "genuine academic discourse
about the subject of global systems, capitalism, and the like"; it's
carried that thread for quite some time.  You might find it of interest,
and if you have some useful discourse to offer, academic or otherwise,
please send it in.

        To subscribe to ppi-network, send any message to:

I wonder if you've seen Cadre's "Manifesto".   Most of the people on this
list became interested in the workshop and the coalition through some
degree of agreement with this manifesto, as it was presented in our
Workshop Announcement.  Please take a look at that and send in your
comments; discussion of the manifesto is always on-topic, as I'd _like to
think it represents a kind of base-level consensus by the list as a


By the way, what would people say to renaming this document "Call to Global
Democracy" or some such, to get rid of the marxist connotations of
"manifesto", which were originally intended as a kind of humor, but which
some may take seriously.



                  "Seeking an Effective Democratic
                      Response to Globalization
                        and Corporate Power"
           an international workshop for activist leaders
        June 25 <incl> July 2 - 1998 - Nova Scotia - Canada
                  Restore democratic sovereignty
                  Create a sane and livable world
             Bring corporate globalization under control.
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