“Bear River Sessions” cont.


Jan Slakov

Dear rn list,   July 8

First, I think it is important to share some decisions we reached on

The name "CADRE", which was an interesting acronym for "Citizens for a
Democratic Renaissance" is no more. "CADRE" and the word "manifesto" have
too many unwelcome associations for many people so we felt it best to let
them go. the new acronym for "Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance" will
now simply be CDR. 

And we decided that we do not want to try to build a coaltion, but rather to
encourage the growth of a network of citizens and groups working towards the
realization of a vibrant democratic process. 

We visualized the vibrant democratic process as the "sun" which all our
efforts have as a common goal. This "sun" shines on the other goals we
strive for to greater or lesser degrees, eg. sustainability, peaceful
resolution of conflicts, equitable sharing of wealth & happiness...

Realizing a vibrant democracy, in and of itself, will not be enough. We need
also to evolve in ecological & systemic understanding.... To move towards
"adulthood for the species".

In my last message to you I asked:

" But did we have, as a group, the intelligence to identify and commit to a
strategy for bringing about real and positive change?" ... and said I would
give you my answer in this next message.

I think, actually, that the answer to this question depends on one's

If one insists that what is needed is a SINGLE united strategy, the answer
would likely be "no".

But we came to the conclusion that what is needed is not THE right strategy
but an awareness and appreciation of the multitude of useful strategies that
are being pursued by many activists the world over.

Without awareness of other efforts, we can end up feeling frustrated by the
puniness and futility of our individual efforts. And individuals can fall
into the trap of feeling we have to "do it all" ourselves, even if we know
very well that we are not able to effectively do everything that needs to be

But if we see our own efforts in the context of the wider efforts of other
activists, we can see that there is hope, that our efforts contribute to
moving things in the direction we hope to go in.

As Janet Eaton said, we'll never get a united vision in a network, but we
can have common principles. (Janet is very active in opposing the MAI and
working towards systemic and creative change here in Nova Scotia, but thanks
to her Internet presence she is known on other continents now too.)

And so we touch on the question of "consensus". At first we aimed to reach
agreement on our vision for a better future. But it became clear that
agreement on many specifics would elude us forever. Just one example:
Richard is convinced that world government would be a dangerous thing. On
the other hand, I have long felt that just as our legal system is there for
us to settle disputes without recourse to violence, and international
government would do the same thing, but on a global level.
In the end, our postitions are not that different, once we discussed the
issue. But there is still disagreement. However, there is so much we agree
on and so much potential for useful collaboration between us that we are
glad to let go of trying to reach absolute agreement.

So, the main strategy for Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance will be to
support and foster solidarity within and between activist groups throughout
the world, but most especially those groups represented on this rn list.

Meanwhile, each of us in CDR will also be involved in activities at a more
local level as well.

To further this work of coordinating and supporting activist efforts, I
repeat Richard's suggestion (from the rn list posting on "How to Achieve a
Livable World" of 15/6/98) that those of us who feel so moved introduce
ourselves to the others on the list.

I would suggest that you keep your introductions fairly brief and that you
answer these questions:

What are you/your group involved in? 
How did the work get started?
What have you learned from your work?
Where do you see your work heading?

We already have one introduction ready to go; but at the retreat it was
suggested that I avoid sending too many postings in one day so I will hold
my horses for a bit before sending it to you :-)

all the best, Jan