Re: movement divisiveness (was: `Bear River comments’)


Richard Moore

Dear rn,

David Cameron/Nancy Sherwood wrote in earlier post:
  >I really appreciated rkm's comments about how activists discount one
 >another & play the internal political game. If everyone in CDR can avoid &
>discourage this tendency, that alone will be a big service to the
 >"movement". Of course, along with the great tolerance this entails, it also
  >begs the creation of boundaries and defined limits to that tolerance.

Thank you David and Nancy, for raising important issues for us.  Even
between Jan and I, there has been a necessity to work out disagreements
about activism strategy and about CDR "internal politics".  Perhaps the
paradigm we need to keep in mind is "mediation" -- mediation amongst
activist and societal groups, mediation of interests and perspectives, and
of agendas.  Perhaps _mediation is what achieves effective _consensus in
large populations.

All is not sweetness and light in the world of mediation.  Before people or
groups can come to agreement, they must first, experience indicates,
express their true feelings about one another, to "let it all out", and
clear the air for honest and open exchange.  This seems to be the necessary
"dark before the dawn", and can inolve temporary feelings of hopeless
frustration, of wanting to "give up those guys, they're hopeless".

South Africa and Northern Ireland were both situations that seemed entirely
hopeless of resolution.  Mediation played an important role in both
resolutions, and there was much bitterness expressed in the process.

I've been having some "bitter exchanges" with one individual about movement
strategy.  I haven't given up, but we still haven't turned the corner
toward achieving any agreement.  I'd like to share with you my most recent
attempt to build some positive communication.


Dear x,

I'm glad we heard from you again, I was sorry you had decided to stop

I couldn't agree more with your emphasis on deep thinking, on getting the
program right, on thinking through our problems before pursuing solutions.

And I couldn't agree more that collaborating with others, and synergizing
with other efforts, is essential and advisable.

We see our efforts with our lists, and our work with CDR, as being simply
our small contribution to a wider movement, a movement with many
wellsprings of activity, and each wellspring has its own special focus, its
own special understanding and agenda.  We are making every effort to reach
out to other people and groups, and to learn from them.

Do you see a conflict between "getting it right" and "working with other
groups"?  If "getting it right" is adhered to religiously, then there would
be _very few we could work with... on the other hand if "working with
others" is fully emphasized, then "getting it right" is sacrificed, as many
of the "others" have a faulty analysis.  How does one choose the right path

I am disturbed by the degree of negativity you express toward our efforts.
I wish we could get to the heart of the disagreement.  When I read over
your long list of complaints, I can't think of a useful way to respond.  I
could respond to each point, which would take me the better part of a day,
but somehow I don't think that would accomplish anything.

I'll try responding with the following, in the hopes that it addresses
central issues, and that we can make some progress toward understanding one
another and developing a greater degree of mutual respect for what each is
trying to do.


I, too, see sustainability as being a mandatory requirement for a livable
world, a world I can proudly offer to my progeny as their heritage.  But I
also see other conditions as being mandatory, such as an end to
imperialism, to nuclear weapons, to domination by elites, etc.  Would you
be happy, for example, if our economy was sustainable, but we lived under
an Hitlerian regime?  Do you not also find other principles as being
mandatory, besides sustainability?

Once one reaches an understanding of ones goals, of what kind of livable
world we want, then there is the question of how to pursue its
implementation.  This a question in the realm of politics, and of political

Over the years, I've investigated many approaches to achieving political
change, including electoral reform, encourgement of third parties and
proportional representation, tax reform, electronic democracy, and many
many others.  Only after much thinking and analysis (and dialog with
others) did I come to my emphasis on bottom-up / vibrant democracy.

I see bottom-up democracy as being the way to create a movement _and the
way to implement a vibrant democratic system.  I see creation of democracy
as being "humanity growing up and taking responsibility for itself".  Not
only would democracy enable us to fashion the world we want, including
sustainability, but it would seem to be necessary for us to grow into
"species adulthood".

To me, after much consideration, democracy takes on literally a _spiritual
dimension.  In a world where we take responsibility or ourselves, from the
community level up to the global level, and where we live collaboratively,
instead of exploitively, person to person, and society to society -- this
would be a world suportive of, nay _based on, personal liberation and
empowerment.  I think this could lead to a general spritual enlightenment,
as personal liberation would proceed both externally and internally.

Respectfully yours,


                  Create a sane and livable world
                  in vibrant democratic societies.
             Bring global corporate power under control.
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