Re: revolutionary strategy, cars & coaltions


Richard Moore

 Originally To: Bill Ellis <•••@••.•••>
            Cc: •••@••.•••, •••@••.•••, •••@••.•••

6/3/98, Don Chisholm wrote to gaiapc and others:
>>Tony Judge - >>An interesting thought experiment: suppose we had a range of
>>groups each with skills analogous to different systems of an automobile: the
>>engine group, the wheel group, the braking group, the fuel group, the
>>chassis group, the steering group, the gear-changing  group, the lighting
>>group, the security group, the upholstery/decor group, the ignition group,
>>etc. Now suppose that, despite all this expertise, none of them had ever
>>seen an automobile before. How would they go about getting there act
>>together and building one? That is about where we are at. The braking people
>>are fighting the steering people, the engine people are fighting the decor
>>people, etc, etc.

6/06/98, Bill Ellis responded:
>We have all the sub system groups.  Organic farmers, peaceniks, human riths
>groups, etc. etc.

>What is missing is the the assembler of the vehicle.  The parts laying
>around the floor won't take us anyplace no matter how good they are.
>And he [who] designs alone will not transport us any place.

Dear folks,

You've done it!  You've stated the political "prolematique" exactly right, imho.

And the automobile metaphor is lovely, it captures the essentials of the
problem in a way that hits home in the gut.

We came to this same conclusion over in our `cadre' group a few months ago,
and on the ides of March (beware, Caeser!) we published our manifesto,
which included:

      (3) Political activists must rise to the challenge of this
      strategic opportunity -- it is time to move beyond our special-
      interest causes and find a path to solidarity and the collab-
      orative pursuit of shared objectives. Foremost among our tasks
      is to build bridges cross the gulfs dividing factions such as
      liberals & conservatives, believers & non-believers, labor &
      environmentalists, etc.

                     We are all in this together!

Our `mission' at cadre, and we're admittedly rank beginners, is to help
build the bridges between activist groups -- to get the fuel group and the
wheel group to talk to one another.

True, we probably need some special skills in the auto-design business, but
more important, perhaps, is to get all the parts people to talk to each
other _about the car as a whole.  People aren't so specialized as you might
think... in fact, in the real world of cars, many innovative product ideas
have come from the supposed Joe (or Jane) Six Pack's who work on the
assembly lines.

If you want to seek coalition, then that will mean talking to people who
have a different focus than your own.  If you're a wheel person, talking to
a brakes person, then it is all too easy to fall into debates of wheels vs.
brakes.  It takes special `attention to mission' to detach yourself from
the temptation to debate, and to build toward collaboration on a larger

Hope to hear more from you,


                  "Seeking an Effective Democratic
                     Response to Globalization
                       and Corporate Power"

                             etc. sigs