rn- re: PGA


Richard Moore

Dear rn,

Jan has posted several promotional messages recently for events sponsored
by PGA  (Peoples Global Action).  She included this proviso:

        While Richard and others, including myself, have had some
        reservations about the way the PGA reported on
        demonstrations Richard participated in while he was in
        Geneva last year, another RN list correspondent, Andreas
        Rockstein, in Germany, has kept up ties with the PGA and
        assures us that this effort is a worthwhile one.

I want to first revisit this PGA issue, and to re-emphasize that I do not
think PGA is worthy of our support.  After that, I want to discuss my PGA
attitude in terms of movement divisiveness.  One of the principles I've
most strongly promoted (in fact today's cj posting is on this topic) is
that we need more movement collaboration and solidarity, and less
competition and divisiveness among different movements.  Is my PGA attitude
in contradiction to this unity-principle?  I think not, but your comments
on this will be welcome.

First, about PGA...  My knowledge of PGA is not limited to what I
experienced in Geneva (last May), and my objections go far beyond PGA's
reportage of those events.  I'm on several PGA mailing lists, including
Andreas' own posting list, and I've been tracking PGA's efforts and
pronouncements.  I've written several critiques, many of which you've seen
on this list, and most of which have been copied to the PGA address and to
Andreas personally.  No one from PGA, nor Andreas, has made any attempt to
respond my comments or to defend PGA in light of my criticisms.  I would
welcome any such response, and in light of PGA's evident competence at
organization, I'd like nothing better than to be convinced they're "good
guys"... but so far the evidence, as I've seen it, continues to be

Here's a copy of the most recent message I sent to Andreas (which was not

    Date: 3 March 199
    To: Andreas Rockstein <•••@••.•••>
    From: •••@••.•••
    Subject: Re: PGA
    Cc: Jan Slakov <•••@••.•••>

    2/3/99, Andreas wrote to Jan (who forwarded to me): I think you
    mustn't have any scrupulosity if face of PGA. We are'nt more or
    less than a network of grassroot movements, but not an
    organization in conventionally sense. Even this is the reason
    for police repression. "Grassroots-globalization" is a new
    apparition, which they never have seen bevore. Their exaggerated
    reaction is to be seen as "globaphobia" - they are afraid about
    the fact, hat peoples all over the world began to resist from
    "grassroots-level" - that they are building networks among
    themselves and coalitions with NGO's and that they are beginning
    to resist not only several treaties or agreements but capitalism
    generally. They are afraid that their system might begin to
    stagger. They couldn't realize, that there don't exist any
    hierarchical structure - they are searching furthermore
    "manipulators" - believing that we are a terroristic association
    - let them search - so they will be occupied with absurdnesses

    Dear Andreas,

    I'm sorry Andreas, but I cannot share you enthusiasm for PGA.  I
    have seen them in operation personally in Geneva last May, and I
    have read their subsequent reports on those events.  I met with
    Sergio Hernandez for several hours, and was at first quite
    impressed with him.  But as I saw how their "Manifestation"
    unfolded, with its unproductive violence, and when I later read
    the slanted and deceptive reports that PGA put out about the
    events, I changed my mind.  I also met with Ronnie Dugger, who
    was present when the manifesto was being hammered out, and he
    said Sergio was manipulative about the manifesto language...
    Ronnie said he'd never have anything to do with Sergio again.

    PGA has accurately identified who the enemy is, and it has much
    good language in its manifesto.  But by its actions PGA
    discredits those who oppose globalization, and betrays its own
    supporters.  If I were a globalist executive, I'd be contributing
    to PGA's coffers -- such an enemy is a friend in disguise.


None of PGA's messages, and I don't just mean the ones immediately
following the Geneva events, have ever acknowledged the violence that
accompanies PGA's demonstrations.  They always complain about police
actions, and always pretend those actions are completely unprovoked.  This
is devious propaganda, both inapproriate and counter-productive in any
democratic movement.  Furthermore, violent confrontation, in the context of
current Western societies -- where a majority are not yet awakened to the
justice of the movement -- only serves to discredit the movement and
inhibit others from joining it.  It is a self-limiting strategy.  If there
were a larger following, and if the movement was being suppressed, that
would be a different kettle of fish.

It is also deceptive to pretend that "there don't exist any hierarchical
structure[s]" and that there are no "manipulators".  The energy of the
rank-and-file certainly arises from the grass roots, as well it should in
the face of globalization, but that doesn't mean that energy isn't being
manipulated by the top PGA organizers.  Sergio is in fact a very skilled
manipulator, as I saw in the organizing sessions he ran in Geneva.  A
phalanx of his PGA followers in Geneva were wearing balaklavas over their
faces and were pushing shopping carts full of paving stones which they used
to smash windows in shops and automobiles and to throw at police.  I heard
comments from Genevans the next day expressing such sentiments as "They
pretend to be against corporate power, but they smash the windows of small
shops".  This hardly the way to promote awareness of dangers of corporate
power or globalist centralizaiton.

Sergio is not stupid, and I find it hard to believe the consequences of his
actions are inadverdent.  Ronnie Dugger raised the question, when I met
with him in Boston last July, about where Sergio gets his funding.  That's
a question that I think deserves an answer.  One cannot rule out the
possibility that Sergio's mission is in fact to betray the movement and
prevent it from becoming effective.


How do these comments fit in with my philosphy of movement solidarity and

What I think is necessary is for all of us to look beyond our own causes,
and to consider the movement as a whole.  By "movement" I refer to the
various efforts to promote a more sensible, human-centered world, and to
overcome our current domination by "market forces", centralized corporate
power, and poltical parties that have sold out to those forces.  But
considering the movement-as-a-whole does not imply carte-blanche support of
every intiative that claims to be counter-establishement.  Quite the

One can think of the overall movement as being a commmunity of smaller
movements.  Looking beyond our special causes to the larger community is
only the first step.  The next step is for communication to be fostered
among community members (the different smaller movements).  In that
communication process, which is what this list is about, the goal is to
become more effective as a community, to promote synergy, to share
knowledge about what works and what doesn't.  Mutual criticism, mutual
support, and mutual learning, are all part of the process.  Identification
of counter-productive community members is also part of the process, as is
alertness to _inevitable co-option attempts by the forces of reaction.

PGA is especially dangerous _because of their brilliant manifesto and their
superb orgnaizational skills.  They talk the good talk, and manage to
channel the energy of thousands onto their path.  But to the larger
millions in the West, PGA's actions proclaim that those who oppose
globalization are hooligans.



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