rn> Carolyn Ballard re: Leadership Essay


Richard Moore

From: "Carolyn Ballard" <•••@••.•••>
To: "Richard (cyberjournal) Moore" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Leadership Essay
Date: Mon, 11 Dec 2000 21:22:13 -0800

     I was absolutely delighted to read the essay you
forwarded on leadership by Rosa.  Since becoming involved in
the activist movement over the past several years, one of
the things that's disturbed me is the horribly negative
reaction to the role of leaders within the movement.  So
ubiquitous was the anti-leadership thinking of those within
the movement (particularly among the youngest members), that
I began to re-examine my own thoughts on the topic.  I
realized that I had always taken leadership for granted as a
necessity, whether in business, government of political

     However, I could never come to agree with this new
thinking and reject my own notions about leadership. 
Instead, I continued to believe that leadership was and is a
necessity.  This became crystallized in one of those brief,
illuminating incidents of life, when I participated in the
A16 march in Washington.  Our little band of university
protesters had gathered outside the hostel that Sunday and
began marching and chanting our way to the Ellipse, where
the main protest event was occurring.  Accompanying us on
this approximately 8 block march was one of the legal
observers.  After a block or so, it became apparent that no
one knew exactly which route we should be following.  I was
at the tale end, along with the "leader" from UNC-C and the
legal observer.  At that point, the observer became
frustrated and told the UNC-C leader:  "Your group needs a
leader to show the way!"

     And that is precisely what Rosa has pointed out.  In
group actions -- whether as small as a family unit or as
large as a nation -- we need leadership.  True leadership is
not authoritarian, heavy-handed or independent.  It is
collaborative, democratic, interdependent, facilitative and
even visionary.  Unfortunately, this current movement (and
generation) has formed its notions of leadership from the
model used in American business, which in turn took its
model (and post-WWII leadership) from America's
military-style of leadership.  THAT kind of leadership is
authoritarian, heavy-handed and independent and
disempowering to all but an elite group.

     I applaud Rosa and you for bringing this very crucial
topic before the RN-CJ members.  In my opinion, it is a
topic that deserves our imminent and focused attention, if
we hope for any success in turning back the neo-liberal
revolution.  I also concur with Rosa's observation that
there's a distinct difference between the terms leadership
and leader, with distinctly separate and opposite meanings. 
Too often, we see looking back on the history of
various popular movements -- from the feminist to the
environmental movements, for instance -- that they have
indeed thrown the "baby" of proven means or ideas out with
the "bathwater" of the new.  The anti-globalization movement
today cannot afford that in the case of the proven role of

In peace, solidarity and best wishes 
for a meaningful holiday season,

"Truth does not change according to 
our  ability to stomach it."
  - Flannery O'Connor -

Richard K Moore
Wexford, Ireland
Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance 
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