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April 24 March against Police Brutality - I'll be there, but.........

.....But here it is : I have terrible reservations about it.
April 24 March against Police Brutality

April 24 March against Police Brutality - I'll be there, but.........

I'll be present at the protest for 2 reasons:

1. The people who have been working day and night to organize this protest are genuine, committed, anti- racist radical activists.

They have good hearts, and they really do care about our communities. They really honestly want to see the racist police disarmed, and want to see this event in the context of larger and deeper struggles for revolutionary social change in the country, one more thorn in the heel of the brutal Empire under which the planet lives and dies. They are genuinely pure in their motives for this work, and they are especially hostile to the hijacking of the police brutality issue by petty electoral and other corporate interests, or by personal careerist manipulations.

2. The demands of the protest are correct, and feasible.

.....But here it is : I have terrible reservations about it.

I've had the honor and pleasure to be close enough to the organizers of this event to respect them and I really do want to work with them on political projects. I repeatedly keep finding though, that there is no room for co-operation.

The campaign to put together this protest has at least two flaws, which the organizers either don't seem to understand (and there's nothing wrong with that, but we need to keep trying to cultivate understanding when our comrades are good people), or seem as if they "don't wanna to hear it" - even though they are wonderful people, they really do believe that the way in which they do this is a revolutionary style of work, and that all other approaches are "liberal" or "reformist". That's why they "don't wanna to hear it":

1. There are no structures for democratic imput in this campaign so that those of us who support it, or who want to work for it, may participate not only as mindless workers but also as political beings, with our questions, opinions, thoughts, suggestions, resources, experiences, insecurities, fears, etc. There's only a directive given, by sources unknown and unaccountable to anyone, and you are given the choice to either follow that directive, that particular job, stick to the arbitrary deadlines, do it, or risk being called "counter-revolutionary" or "liberal".

We all know that aiming for revolutionary change means that alongside those of our organizations which are built for struggle (our militias, affinity groups, underground structures, etc), we also need to build structures of direct democracy, political organizations in which we can be interactive and accountable to ourselves and to others within them, and to the wider community, for our politics and for our actions. These are the embryos of community self- government and self-administration, which we hope will one day replace the system of corporate control and authoritarian state power over our lives. We intend to see that these political structures and organizations for struggle, both, embracing a multiplicity of tactics in the service of the revolution, become more and more permanent features of the alternative and radical community as the liberation movement expands and deepens. But we can not have one without the other.

The group of activists working for this April 24 March against Police Brutality refuse to discuss the building of these structures, even as they invite people to work on the project. But what other way is there to ensure that all activists and supporters, radical coworkers on a project, can have equal imput in the direction and navigation of a campaign, if there is no forum for doing the work and the politics together?

2. The most glaring mistake of the campaign so far, is the total lack of initiatives to invite community organizations and community leaders from among those who are most affected by the recent racist murder by the police.

The recent mobilization of thousands of people against police brutality would not have been possible if it were not for the initiative of primarily faith-based community organizations, churches and congregations in the African- American community, and also initiatives from within other ethnic and cultural groups from among the communities which are most often the targets of racist killings and abuses. Without an alliance with this leadership, which is capable of bringing inspiration and the courage to keep on living day after day under the whip, what kind of anti-racist community mobilization do we hope to achieve?

The numbers and cultural identities of the people who attend the April 24 protest will illustrate this clearly. Even if there were a thousand phone calls from people in the North/ NE Portland neighborhoods to say thanks for the poster, it still does not change anything: the community was not invited to participate as a community, but only as individuals who saw a poster on a street.

Revolutionary- minded and radical activists whose origins are mostly in the European- American communities, need to ask themselves: "Do we value the community organizations - as they exist today - within the African- American community?" If yes, why not invite them to help put together the protest? And of course, this holds true for building alliances with community organizations within all of the communities which are oppressed because of ethnic, cultural, religious, or sexual identities. Why not invite them to help put together the protests? Would it be liberal to do that?

In fact, when members of the KKK -oops, of the...... police, wrongfully and criminally harassed the organizers of this protest, they lectured at them saying that "All the blacks are really mad at you for doing what you're doing. You're riding the coat-tails of their tragedy". Believe it or not, in saying this, the cops were voicing a part of the truth which as radicals we need to be aware of. The Empire knows so well how to divide and conquer: mistrust between all oppressed communities and especially between them and the mostly European- American dominant community, is very powerful. It is poison. Our first concern, always, before beginning to fight, is to build trust and solidarity - so we can fight together! Why did this protest go wrong in this direction?

Will it not be justified if on the day of the protest, community leaders explain their absence and the absence of large numbers from their communities if they say "we were not invited"?

The organizers of this protest really are good people, and I know for a fact that they are committed to all the values of good community organizing, genuine anti-racist work, coherent examination of goals, strategies and tactics. In fact, I know that if we had a chance for ongoing dialogue in the context of working together on projects like this, they would probably not only agree, but they might even come up with some of these concerns on their own.

I emphasize the above because I know that the blunders of this campaign are really well-intentioned mistakes, by good people. But they are mistakes, preventable, and ease to solve, but still mistakes.

Unfortunately, for now, they have adopted a policy of seing any effort at dialogue as undesirable. This is a symptom of a wider and generalized policy within a certain network of mostly European- American anarcho- autonomist, direct action oriented community of activists, some circles of indymedia included, to see dialogue among comrades as "unproductive", or "liberal". I know that the particular individuals involved in this campaign would be doing things differently - and be happily doing so - if they had opportunities for real ongoing exchanges together with radical comrades from all walks of life and from all the cultures which are trapped under the Imperial dominion.

So, I'll be there at the protest, but a little shy about it because of the blunders built into the process. I hope that our comrades will open themselves up to democratic co-operation and dialogue, so that the risks they are taking now, taking on the Beast armed only with courage, will result in better mobilizations in the future in which we can all work together, and be armed with politics, as well.

Petros Evdokas
from within the Belly of the Beast

Related Articles:

Portland Police Tear Down April 24 March Posters, Arrest Two More People

March for Justice and Police Accountability

not marching 16.Apr.2004 21:34

psu kid

this is an interestingly written article.

now all us good hearted white anti racists:

what if instead of focusing on this silly insular march which will do little good (you know: marches are super revolutionary) and INSTEAD

we actually consistently reached out to support local groups that *support the vision and leadership of orgnanizers of color* fighting for concrete improvements in the lives of targeted communities such as Sisters In Action and EJAG and ROOTS and PCUN and VOZ etc

I personally know several amazing revolutionary organizers of color who have left or have basically stopped working with the radical white left in pdx cuz they felt so unsupported

A huge part of white supremacy on the left (ARISSA) is chosing to pursue your vision for social change as a majority white organization instead of trusting and supporting the radical and revolutionary people of color around you.

Not marching. going back to real political work....

Give it a rest, Petros 16.Apr.2004 22:00


Thanks for that totally self-indulgent public undermining. Listen, if people want to do something differently than you do, you're free to participate or not participate as you choose. Why take paragraph after paragraph after paragraph to explain why you have "reservations" about participating, but will participate anyway? Do everyone a favor and just don't participate, and stop trying to undermine what others are doing.

If people are calling you "liberal" and "reformist," maybe it's because you ARE.

I, for one, am happy that Arissa is doing this. The demonstration down at the justice ctr was a start, but not nearly enough. Thank God people are willing to keep the pressure on the pigs. Petros, if you want to wallow in your touchy feely-ness, go wank off in private. This is not the time. Are you TRYING to be counterproductive? Or does this just happen to you.

I hear you 16.Apr.2004 22:23

Lucy Parsons

Thanks for speaking out, Petros. I completely agree with you -- you've given words to how I feel about the organizing for this march and how I've felt about actions in the past with Arissa members. Their goals are awesome, their rhetoric interesting, their tactics blase but uncompromising -- and their work uninclusive, anti-community, and vanguardist.

This action doesn't complement or stimulate the radical organizing going on in communities of color. It happens without connection to it -- and, because of that, in possible conflict with it. This action/campaign also fails to allow me to participate in its planning, and I appreciate Petros's words to that effect.

Sounds like just another excuse for not doing anything 16.Apr.2004 23:02

George Bender

I haven't worked on this issue, but I have tried to organize around other issues. And found it enormously frustrating. You get 20 people together in a room and try to arrive at a consensus about what to do, and you can't. It's like herding cats. People often seem to be into the process at the expense of getting anything done. They just want to talk. When it comes time to DO anything they're not there.

Aside from mass marches, only a small percentage of "activists" are actually activists. People come to meetings to say no to whatever is proposed, because it's not their idea, and because they don't feel like doing anything. I don't have the patience for that anymore. I want to work with people who have a plan and are going ahead with it. I'm willing to go along if it makes sense to me, and contribute what I can. Usually I volunteer to do some supporting job.

I believe in:
Those who do the work make the rules.
Lead, follow or get out of the way.

Meetings just drain energy. Best to meet in action.

An Arissa Organizer 16.Apr.2004 23:51

Craig Rosebraugh craig@arissa.org

After reading the lengthy shit spouted by Petros, I am choosing to engage in the all-to-self-destructive pratice of Indymedia debate. Because I wish to remain brief, my comments will appear in short numbered statements.

1) As an organizer with the Arissa organization I can boldly state that yes we indeed have our own vision of the revolutionary process and the means to get us there. We believe in creating a revolutionary movement in the United States consisting of people who actually want to do whatever it takes to change the political structure of the country. This process falls outside the norms that are shared by most within the "activist" community, not only in Portland but across this country. We are not a "Leftist" or "liberal" organization and believe that social and political revolutionary change is greatly hindered in this country by people who are stuck in the single-issue, 100% consensus mindset. Everyone loves to believe in the utopian world, and even pretend to live their lives in a perfect utopian state, but we must realize that it is our privilege in this country that allows most of us to do that.

2) Owing to the fact that we have different political and social goals than liberal organizations, we do not practice the same organizing strategies. We believe that working with liberal individuals, whether white, black, red, brown, yellow, pink, etc. not only compromises our ultimate goal of revolutionary building, but continues us on a path of ultimate failure. It is a misconception to suggest that we do not want or value the input of the community. But we are as much a part of this community as anyone also (even you Petros who, after being here just a few months may be a bit premature in your local community analysis), and do not believe we have to ask permission from those in the community we disagree with before taking action in our organization.

3) It is also quite mythical to suggest that we refused to conduct any community outreach for this event prior to its organizing. Just because you Petros and other liberals in this community were not consulted first doesn't make our action wrong. In fact we made a conscience decision to initially contact those we wanted to work with, who shared our revolutionary message, and then to continue the outreach up until the March on April 24th.

4) We believe it is ridiculously racist to assume that we must contact the "Black Community" before planning and engaging in an action against the police - an arm of the government that plagues not only the Portland community with terror, but also other communities on a national level. As whites we have a responsibility to take care of our own people, our own racism, and not be foolish enough to believe we have to stand behind liberal black leaders in order to act.

5) We chose to organize this March after attending yet another liberal rally downtown, where politicians, religious leaders, and other liberals told a caring public that they should just remain calm, have faith in the system, and somehow justice would prevail. Someone needed to step up and begin speaking the truth to people. Believing in liberalism, believing that someone justice is just going to miraculously come by trusting the system, has historically prevented change from actually occurring in this country. Until people understand they have to stand up for themselves and defend themselves there will be no change. The liberals will still take on their pet causes for a week, a month, or year, and then move on to the next cause. The religious leaders will still tell people that faith in God will save the day, and the politicians - well they will continue to say anything to get your vote. But things will keep getting worse. No matter how much better token liberal events may make us feel about ourselves, ultimately things just keep getting worse. The Arissa organization seeks to break this self-defeating, suicidal path. I do not apologize for that.

6) If individuals or groups support the building of a revolutionary movement and our March pressuring the City of Portland to finally hold its police officers accountable, we encourage you to get involved. If not, then organize your own event and quit whining because we are choosing to do something you did not approve of or you cannot control.

7) Contrary to the rumours of our lack of organizing (or blunders as Petros put it) we are expecting quite a large turnout. With our outreach to selected individuals and organizations, our postering of the City, our very sizable bulk mailing to Metro area addresses, our large ad next week in Willamette Week, and our flyering of community events, we are very hopeful that our numbers will be sizable enough to kick off a successful campaign to pressure the City into police accountability.

8) And lastly, as Petros has speculated Arissa is not a completely open, utopian democratically-run liberal organization. Again, our goal is to actually build a revolutionary movement in this country using a methodology that we believe will be successful. If you do not agree with that, you are entitled to your opinion, but isn't there more you could be doing with your time than attempting to put us down for organizing an action in OUR community?

Maybe I'll see one or two of you on April 24th...

(503) 972-1140

thank you 16.Apr.2004 23:51

this helps

i wondered what Arissa was about- and if true, the anti-democratice style of "organizing" is really a mess and i'm tired of it, too.
When do we get a chance to discuss and plan and really be listened to? And when do ideas come that are really new and different? Very rare.

ok... 17.Apr.2004 01:26

Michael b mb@resist.ca

We didn't ask political other political groups to organize with us. For the most part I agree. We activly seek out people who share common points of political unity. Currently organizations or individuals that don't support building a revolutionary movement are simply not asked to participate in the work we do, in a leadership capacity.
Yes I feel betrayed by the manner in wich you act on assumptions about this organizations long term strategy and goals. No I don't assume that makes you a liberal. I honestly think you would and could contibute to democratic efforts in a revolutionary struggle. It's also clear that you'd stand in the way of any authoritative efforts to build a democratic world.
Currently for lack of better democratic dialogue between proponants of social justice, or acceptance of authoritative stands against political and economic tyrany, there is no effective response to authoritarian efforts by nationalist organizations to undermine revolutionary work. I appreciate your efforts to point out the need for democracy in social justice struggle. I do not appreciate your assumptions. Namely that the organization we are now is the organization we will become. I understand the philisophical underpinnings of this assumption. I dissagree. You were not privy to the game plan cause we don't know you. We do not have a relationship built on trust. I and we made a considerable effort to build that. Hell we could post the meeting notes for the Anti Imperialist group we both organize and the world would see that we both clearly took steps to build that trust. The sociopolitical context in wich we exist lead many of us to act for the change we seek. Our actions have not kept pace with our dialogue. This I regret.
No we will not allow ourselves and our work to be co-opted by pprc's of this town. It's clear that you grew impatient with the pace of our dialoges together. Your not alone. No I do not believe that organizations that have failed to deliver the change we ALL seek will in fact deliver this change.
No I don't think that these polemics are ALWAYS constructive. Yes I do feel that polerization can be an important tactic in social justice struggle. No I do not believe polerization should be viewed as a strategy. I feel the need to sharpen the contradictions, so to speak.
No I do not feel that I have begun working with a group that has as its political goal any intent to be a vanguardist group hellbent on "only" working in quantitativly seperate or leadership positions. Yes I feel that leadership is often a nessecary and even desirably quality to find in proponants of change, regardless of race. No I do not feel that state repression is a single race, or single issue concern. Yes I am interested in working with others in an open and democratic process. No I am not interested in working in any process weither democratic or not that does not EXPRESSLY seek to build a revolutionary movement for radical social justice, work for equality, and embrace a diversity of tactics twards reaching it's goals.

good reply Craig 17.Apr.2004 01:29

Once again

Thank you for a straightforward reply.

I have little idea of your approach and thinking as far as 'creating a revolutionary movement', but I certainly appreciate a no bullshit attitude. The slimy liberal ideology is sickeningly pervasive. Liberal organizations do not appeal to me at all.

Go do what you are trying to do. A fine aim. Not sure if I agree with your approach, but good luck! In the meanwhile, I'll be doing things in the manner that seems right to me.

Group therapy? 17.Apr.2004 01:46

George Bender

Maybe leftists need to organize discussion groups so they can be "really be listened to." That would keep them out of the hair of the organizers.

Or maybe we're already doing that with Portland IndyMedia. I know it makes me feel better. Hours and hours of reading and typing. I'm starting to itch, though, for some action. This isn't it.

Myopia 17.Apr.2004 02:22


Although I am more pleased than I can say without being accused of maudling that Arista is, finally, organizing their own march, not crashing some bourgeois party, complaining all the while; I really think, Craig, that before disparaging others for being "stuck in the single-issue, 100% consensus mindset" you should consider whether your single solution is functionally equivalent to a 'single-issue', with the name changed to avoid suspicion; and whether "[y]our own vision" (especially the intolerant way you express it) is yet another "100% consensus mindset".

You say, "It is a misconception to suggest that we do not want or value the input of the community." However, you also say, "people who actually want to do whatever it takes to change", as if the people with whom you disagree do not want change or hesitate to commit -- instead maybe of simply disagreeing with you over what it takes. You say you value others' opinions. Everthing else that you say above belies it.

To me, this is the same disagreement I expressed with Jemma here a short time ago. I see you dedicated, intelligent, courageously taking the unpopular stand you need to take. I see also you victim to elementary errors in logic and perception, purblind by faith in the correctness of your analysis.

Go Arissa 17.Apr.2004 07:35

gonna be there

I've talked to many, many people about this march, including African American people in N pdx, and they're SO down with this event. I haven't heard one negative comment (other than this wallowing critique from Petros). There isn't just one "Black community," and it seems that radical people of color were as disenchanted by the liberal demostration at the justice center as radical white people. I think their voices are every bit as important as the elite pastors and politicians who spoke at the more liberal event.

I'm not dissing the people who put on their Sunday best for the justice ctr thing. I went to that too, and I support a multitude of approaches for dealing with this problem. But I was troubled by the repression of rage so evident there. I heard a woman give the most impassioned speech. In the midst of it she said with fire in her voice, "Oh, I'm angry." But then she pulled back and said, "But we not gonna do that. One should never deal in their anger." Why the fuck not? I heard an awe inspiring speech from a man from the Nation of Islam, followed by the MC laughing it all off with, "Damn. You're making me mad now. We knew how this would shake out, so we're gonna take it down a notch now."

Call me crazy, but I don't want to be taken down a notch. That rage is real, and it deserves expression. Those pigs are KILLING PEOPLE.

A question 17.Apr.2004 09:19

For Arissa

Do you only want people who support "the building of a revolutionary movement" at your march? This is a sincere question.

rage empowers 17.Apr.2004 11:57

your enemy

ask any self-defence instructor

watch any cop
they spend half their training-time learning to provoke anger

when you are angry, you are stupid

blood drains out of your brain
into your large muscles
so you can fight stupid

narcotic hormones anesthetize pain
and intelligence

when you see red
you can't see your enemy

lets see the goods 17.Apr.2004 12:30


A lot of people understand the idea of working together to accomplish an objective for the betterment of all. Talking with each other, crafting solid ideas with integrity that presiding government structures will have to acknowledge, and demonstrating to convey the importance that they be implemented, or at least that a change in the status quo is imminent, is how this can be accomplished.
Resolve, emotion, anger, and rage, can effectively fuel the effort to do this, except in the absence of reason. Without reason, it's just hysteria that gets a lot of people upset for a while, causing temporary emergency measures to be implemented with either no constructive change accomplished or an even more blind or repressive situation taking its place.
It would be something if a person flying the banner of revolution was actually working, or at least attempting to work in established government. Locally would be a great start. There seems to be a lot of smart heads around talking about revolution, but what they really seem to want to do, rather than construct some kind of viable plan for change that can be taken seriously and present it before the people, is let a lot of adrenaline fly wild, be self absorbed and obnoxious, leading occasionally to the destruction of other people's property and lives. Throwing out all the old is fine, but then what are you going to do? Something will replace it. Do any of the fired up local revolutionaries have even the slightest concept of what that may be? Have any of them served effectively on so much as student council, a neighborhood organization, non-profit board, or aide to a city counselor?
The reappearance of a periodically high profile figurehead of "revolution" certainly does nothing to inspire the prospect of any substantive change. What form is this revolution supposed to present rather than a format for some center of attention craving figurehead? Certainly nothing is stated in the "brief... numbered... statements". Though it sounds like so much hot air, and an excuse to encourage the gullible to tear up other people's stuff, we'll see if anything of consequence comes of the upcoming march on the 24th. Better, let's see something solid on the table, presented before the people where they can see it, like in local government for a start, rather than some national arena.

non-sequitor 17.Apr.2004 14:52

April 24th

Is Mumia Abu Jamal's Birthday, there will be a march in San Francisco that day, to try and raise public awareness of the dire situation Mumia is in this year. It may be his last birthday.

HI Craig Rosebraugh 17.Apr.2004 15:04


HI Craig Rosebraugh
I agree with your idea of starting revolutionary movement in the US but if you dont get the comunity
on your side the state is just going to marginalize you (IE WW made you the rogue of the week) or if your you become a threat to them they will kill you.
I'm sure you know this far better then I do, and maybe your like me and more then willing to give yor life for a better world but the least you can do is pay lip-service to the librals because they are the closest thing you have allies right now.

The Librals are also the most likely demographic to realize that democracy is over (if it ever existed in the first place) in this country, there for they are the most likely to be the first large group of people to really start fighting the state. Remember the election is coming and Bush is ether going to steal it or his skull and bones buddie is going to continue his policys of Pax Americana. Iraq is going to keep going bad for the state (or good depending on the state's motives) and the draft may be in place by summer of 2005.

Events may be on your side in the sense that the state seems to be getting sloppy with there own apeasement of the librals. People like you can take the libral demographic failures and channel there frustration in to productive revolutionary course of action.

You don't need to respond to this Hell you probably know it all any way but nomatter what happens in the weeks and months to come good luck Mr.Rosebraugh.

!! 17.Apr.2004 15:06


Rage empowers your enemy?
Ask any self-defense instructor?

What sanctimonious crap!

Get out from behind the TV and stop watching Karate Kid!

Anger and rage and even precipitous action are far better than fear, apathy and resignation, which is driving the agenda you would espouse.

Storms, lightining, and fires are part of whole nature. So to, there is a time and place for anger and rage and the action which springs from them.

The liberal psyche is driven by fear, and what it is most afraid of is self autonomy, self responsibility, and self action.

This corrupted society needs a storm to wash it clean

Onthe 17.Apr.2004 15:09


Let's see the goods you say, then before there is a chance to, you talk a bunch of shit about what you do not know.

What a hypocrite. Living in fear, and hiding in your hole.

Anger phobia 17.Apr.2004 21:26

George Bender

I've noticed that middle-class liberals are afraid of anger and won't permit it to be expressed, either in themselves or in others. Ignore them.

Just a reminder... 17.Apr.2004 21:44


"In the struggle between the oppressed and the oppressors, those who are neutral side with the oppressors."

Paolo Friere, Brasilian educator

Yeah, unless 18.Apr.2004 00:00


Yeah, unless they are neutral because they can already see the oppressive beast awakening in the oppressed.

It happens.

watch out 18.Apr.2004 00:12


Paolo Friere sounds sage in a cynical way...of course things have been a lot worse in brazil than in the land of luxury...but neutral is not the same as holding your head...anger is energy to be kept in reserve for when it's needed and when it can be utilized to best advantage, not pissed away on cheap, sophmoric outbursts that are so much hot air....none of us knows everything, but all of us know something that others are not aware of unless we share it respectfully and rationally....So, see you on the big march day where it sounds as though everyone will be, to start the revolution.

another reminder 18.Apr.2004 02:07


those who advance the oppressor's cause also side with the oppressor

Just a thought... 18.Apr.2004 11:53


Perhaps, just perhaps, we can march at one another's protests without having to endorse every tenet of one another's various platforms.

Much in this discussion depresses me. The Left, or whoever the hell we are, seems to spend a lot of time & energy nursing its schisms rather than its coalitions.

Coalitions, even temporary ones, are stronger than schisms. The NoPo-African American community will be heard from, definitely, & I would hope that Arissa stands with them when they speak out.

While Craig's choice of non-democratic structure for Arissa definitely will keep me away from his table during Pledge Week (thanks for the info Craig... good to know where you're coming from), I'm willing to put aside fretting over the nature of his little Revolution. My real concern is his ability to maintain a peaceful demonstration.

Hothead rhetoric puts off the general public & attracts other hotheads and eventually Troopers, who are hotheads at heart. Troopers by strict definition are uniformed, armed, & trained to deal with hotheads. Troopers are very good at violence. They practice a lot. They practiced on Craig pretty good a few times already.

Can we, all of us (and you know who "we" are), manage a massive, peaceful demonstration April 24, in spite of Troopers/Cointelpro/falangist schisms?

Or is there a "we" here at all?

it's either democratic or it's totalitarian 18.Apr.2004 12:23


The Arissa model

seems to be Democratic Centralism.

This is where the core group (or leader) decides everything and individual members either agree or become the enemy. Lenin changed the revolution from democratic to the totalitarian "democratic centralism" that Stalin ruled with. (We've seen this occasionally in PPRC and CNPJ, too, over the very same issue of police behavior.) All it takes is a cult of personality to develop, or for the leaders to be unquestioned and membership passive, or for some to be quicker and more ruthlessly manipulative with the rules than those who disagree with them, and you get the tyrany of de facto or genuine democratic centralism.

The emphasis is on the "centralism" bit, and not the "democratic."

Democratic Centralism is always justified by necessity. Concensus takes too long, we have to respond immediately, unity is strength and we can't afford to be weak, petty bickering will destroy us, our cause is greater than the needs of any individual, etc. All of these things may be more or less true, but people of good will and persistence will lead through democratic processes, and not resort to tyrany. It always, always, always comes down to a means-ends issue. The means ARE the ends.

Those who enjoy fauning, ass-kissing, or being fauned upon or ass-kissed and other S & M roles will get off on being part of a democratic centralist or totalitarian organization. It's safe. You always know the real rules: don't fuck with the leaders; and the real agenda: whatever the leader wants.

Of course there are benificent tyrants, but you can't count on it. They must always test their power by being particularly procrustian, changing the rules arbitrarily to see who jumps and who questions, etc. Loyalty is everything, and absolute loyalty becomes the first law. After a while, the only way to test loyalty is to demand that members do things that are increasingly against their nature, just to demonstrate their loyalty.

Don't for a moment believe that such leadership behavior is based on insecurity, or assume that the schoolyard bully is really a coward. These people have very strong egos and a solid sense of entitlement. They really believe they have the right to be top dog. Only petty tyrants bother to justify their behavior with extensive rationalizations and theories of revolutionary necessity -- spouting this bullshit is what underlings do best. Real tyrants just do their thing and assume it's good and wonderful because they are doing it. (G.W.Bush is beautiful example of a tyrant who uses the flimsiest of democratic veils to justify his behavior. If he's re-elected, he may drop the veil entirely.)

love & hugs,


You have to be this tall to ride this ride 18.Apr.2004 15:58


Re-read Craig's post, 'cause he can't seem to get his arissa.org thingy to work. I'm trying to sort out whether I should join this march. I believe in the specific cause, & I want coalitions to grow on the issue, but I'd like to know more about what to expect from Craig as he "leads" this thing, & what he expects from us.

"We believe that working with liberal individuals, whether white, black, red, brown, yellow, pink, etc. not only compromises our ultimate goal of revolutionary building, but continues us on a path of ultimate failure": That sounds like Craig doesn't want me there, in fact doesn't want coalition at all with anyone who falls short of his revolutionary checklist of Purity. Revolutionaries tend to use highly specialized dictionaries, so I probably am a "liberal" in his book, and that liberalism is a Bad Thing. Revolutionaries like to line counterrevolutionaries up against walls if their revolutions succeed. Maybe that's why so many revolutionaries hide their faces when they gather in public.

"Believing in liberalism, believing that someone justice is just going to miraculously come by trusting the system..." gives a partial definition of "liberalism" for Craig, and it seems to be closer to what I would call "magical thinking." Again, arissa.org will eventually have his lexicon, which I encourage everyone to read REAL CAREFUL-LIKE if you intend to have anything to do with his organization.

"...has historically prevented change from actually occurring in this country": This just flies in the face of history, although change hasn't "actually" occurred as fast as anyone would want.

"Until people understand they have to stand up for themselves and defend themselves there will be no change." No details in how "they" (notice he says "they" not "we") are to "stand up for themselves and defend themselves" against well-armed, well-trained, hopped-up Troopers with horses, humvees, pepper spray, machetes, wolverines and dung-bombs.

"If individuals or groups support the building of a revolutionary movement and our March pressuring the City of Portland to finally hold its police officers accountable, we encourage you to get involved": There it is -- support his revolutionary movement AND his position on police accountability, and you're Pure Enough to march. March with Craig, & he'll count you as one of his Revolutionary Horde sooner or later. Don't expect him to march with you, you backsliding liberal, you.

I'll watch it on teevee, thanks just the same. I'm sure Craig will find a way to make a nice bloody splash on the evening news. Be careful out there.

i intend to be there 18.Apr.2004 18:59

marching with everyone else

guffman,come on down and march with me and everyone else.i'm a 'liberal' but i intend to be there marching with everyone else.i am against violence upon another person but i intend to be there marching with everyone else.i do not share all of craig's views but i intend to be there marching with eveyone else.i march to my own music but i intend to be there marching with everyone else.maybe between the two of us we can help tear down some ill conceived barriers while we march with everyone else.if you see me there please come up and introduce yourself and maybe we can march together with everyone else.

My brother -- 18.Apr.2004 20:12


I can't. But it's always nice to be asked.

Craig will consider you a revolutionary comrade-in-arms, and his track record does not make me comfortable. Violent shit seems to happen around him. It's the darndest thing. Plus, he has specifically stated that he does not want coalition with "liberals."

It's a dilemma. Craig seems to say that if I represent for a cause I believe in, I'm his soldier. I choose not to put my ass on the line for Craig's resume.

Perhaps I will show up as a witness for indymedia, for the inevitable hearings and/or trials which will follow this march. Prediction: If Craig is indeed at the head of this march, people are going to get hurt.

March well. Be careful.

Democratic Centralism 18.Apr.2004 20:43


By the time a kid is tall enough to reach the 'M' shelf and pull Marx down on his head, he already thinks the way the two Joes, McCarthy and Stalin, want him to think.

There is not much difference between imposing "freedom and democracy" and imposing "dictatorship of the proletariate".

i intend to be there 19.Apr.2004 01:57

marching with everyone else

guffman,I do not concern myself with what or how craig sees me.what matters is how i see myself.i have marched and stood beside craig in the past and i will do it again on saturday and will most likely do it again in the future.i do not fear craig's control.i can say no to him and he accepts it.i do not follow blindly.i walk along side of those who i trust and respect.craig is only a man.he has and will continue to make some mistakes but he is a man who is strong in his convictions.craig has never asked or expected me to do anything more then what i am comfortable with and i respect him for that.you must remember this march is not about craig it is about us.i really hope you will reconsider and come march with me.

YOU'RE concerned with democratic centralism!?! 19.Apr.2004 08:46

Michael b -an arissa organizer mb@resist.ca

I challenge Craig. Anybody that has a problem with a tactic he's boosting for does. We're empowered people. We do not act from a position of subservience. People in Arissa act from a position of political unity. When I challenge a tactic that Craig, or anyone else calls for I am not shot down as an enemy or a "counter revolutionary/liberal/republicrat" Why? Because we've already developed a rough political consensus on our political Vision, Goals, and Strategy. When I question a tactic he supports I'm not challenging his right to spearhead a project, or voice an opinion. The same goes for me. This political unity has developed through years working together. It's developed enough that new people that begin to organize with us can quickly grasp on what our politics are, and contribute to our work. We're excited to work with other organizations. Organizations that share our desire for fundamental radical change in this country, and embrace our desire to support a "by any means necessary" approach to reaching our goals. We expect that after this step in our campaign other radical organizations will express greater unity with the work we do.
Simply put individuals that do not share this political unity with us will not be put leadership positions in our organization, or efforts. Don't like our politics? Want to see change? DO YOUR OWN THING! More power to you!
Last night ten people worked more than eight hours strait getting the bulk mailing stuffed. We're about to spend the next 5 hours getting the address labels on. Radicals that have joined in the process of our work, have been arrested by cops, and ostracized by their peers. People that join in our efforts have been warned by friends and collogues to stay away from us. Despite this they tell me that they're rearing to get out there and go! Why many newcomers and I ask? They say "Because the liberal politics as usual hasn't worked, and I think that what you're doing will."

Now in regards to people that are trash-talking Craig for the way this group makes decisions- Check yourself. Again and again Arissa organizers are posting to these threads and they are IGNORED by you. You focus on Craig to the detriment of this dialogue. The focus of your criticism of him and well, our organizing tactics is that he functions in an anti democratic manner that excludes free expression both inside and out of this organization. Yet here you are attacking him for not respecting a dialogue you refuse to engage in. I saw this same behavior in projects we worked in before we developed what some groups call "points of unity" together. Someone else would do something like say, take someone's bikes out of our collective space and put it outside (they were blocking the door!) All the punks would band together (usually after a party.) and come blame and harass him. Craig is a lightning rod. He attracts your hatred because he stands up for political ideas and strategy that don't make us comfortable. People fear what they don't understand. For some good reasons. EXPECT that we will address politics relevant to you. Revolution is not a "comfortable process." Understand that the politics that Craig is targeted for expressing ARE the tip of a large and growing political iceberg. He speaks to political vision, goals, and strategies that many of us have been working towards for years. We don't "like" liberals because we've shared the ostrasization that he's experienced. This attracts us and allies like water to the common ground. You have no fucking idea, how frustrated people are with the hidden leadership expressed by liberals. Questioning our own ideas is prerequisite to questioning others. We've done this. It's your turn.

Check yourself,

Checking myself here, boss 19.Apr.2004 09:55


Apologies for being long-winded & persistent. But I think this is vitally important stuff.

Good for Arissa for empowering its members. Good to hear it's not a Great Leader cult. I will check arissa.org eagerly to learn more about organization. All I got right now is what is posted here.

"We're excited to work with other organizations. Organizations that share our desire for fundamental radical change in this country, and embrace our desire to support a "by any means necessary" approach to reaching our goals." That excludes a lot of organizations out. That leaves out the vast majority of Americans who would endorse the first clause ("desire for fundamental radical change in the country") but not the second ("a 'by any means necessary' approach").

Coalitions are stronger than schisms -- but this is a chasm.

If What The Mainstream Calls The Left finds a way to unify -- coalition politics -- we can do that first clause peacefully. I believe that. Can't do it if most of us have to endorse violence. "Utopian"? Sue me.

"...ostracized by their peers": This should not happen. Peaceful "Left" should find a way to dialogue & work with Any Means Necessary "Left." It should go both ways. This requires compromise, both ways.

"Questioning our own ideas is prerequisite to questioning others." I'll continue to do both at the same time, as will most of us here, I'm sure. This is the difference between conversation and pronouncement.

"...points of unity..." We need some of those, people, if there is to be a "we." We need compromise, dialogue, coalition. Otherwise we're pissing in the wind.

Maybe we need a mixer....

reply 19.Apr.2004 14:00



What is the chasm?

By any means necessary, does not automatically mean violence. What it means to me (Arissa may have a different opinion) is that one is willing to do what it takes to bring positive change. Much more than violence, I think the idea of doing what it takes means opening the mind to step outside the established game with it's rigged rules. It means dedication, focus and sacrifice.

One of the things about the liberal mind is it's lack of self examination and consistency.

How many times have I talked to someone and they are advocating non-violence and are aggressively, and in my opinion automatically closing their mind to really discuss the matter. Real discussion only starts when at least two people engage in dialog with a mind open to be changed by the others expressions.

It is usually a knee-jerk reaction and it is inconsistent.

For example, if you are somewhere with your son, or brother, or wife or mother... and they are attacked and in imminent danger, you then have the choice to defend them or not. You might start with STOP!, maybe a threat and then try to push the attacker away. If that person is persistent, finally you will have to use whatever force you have to stop them, or leave your loved one to their mercy.

99.9% of all non-violent advocates will immediately say that self defense is okay. They will even say, if you tried everything you could, that it is okay that you killed the attacked to save your loved one.

So the truth is, you and all those coalition you refer to are already endorsing violence. The only real question is when is it justified and when is it useful.

The chasm comes from the unwillingness to accept this truth. The liberal mind is afraid of it, because it cracks a door open that is scary and dangerous.

Any course of action that has the capacity to bring real change, IS scary and IS dangerous. The unwillingness to face this is what makes the left impotent. You cannot be safe, and bring change at the same time... not personally, not socially.

So the real question is - What is a useful course today, to meet the challenge we face? The only way to find a real answer is with the mind open to all possibilities.

Dialogue 19.Apr.2004 14:13


conversation between two or more persons ...
communication or exchange of ideas or opinions ...

I think, Michael, youshould check with Craig before speaking foe him. "After reading the lengthy shit spouted by Petros, I am choosing to engage in the all-to-self-destructive pratice of Indymedia debate." sounds to me more like the introduction to a pronouncement than to a dialogue. Craigs absence from this thread confirms that.

It certainly is nifty-keen that Craig tolerates people like you who share his political unity. Many of us do not share that blessed unity; and we are complaining that Craig, and Arissa, does not tolerate us.

Not that I expect, or even want, Craig's respect. When a recognized activist leader disrespects other activists, we will challenge him, lest his opinion appear to be the consensus of the activist community.

On the top of 'democratic cenralism', I leave you with a quotation from Chairman Craig : "And lastly, as Petros has speculated Arissa is not a completely open, utopian democratically-run liberal organization. Again, our goal is to actually build a revolutionary movement in this country using a methodology that we believe will be successful."

forms of involvement 19.Apr.2004 18:19


I am another organizer with Arissa. I have something to say about a bunch of stuff people have said on this strand.

For those of us who seek to address the systematic and fundamental injustices in this society, activism is not about simply being active, conversations are not to serve an end of filling the air with talk, and coalitions are not for the sake of larger numbers of people at our events. We wholeheartedly seek to build principled and honest alliances that actually create dynamics of mutual aid, instead of guilt-infused cathartic politics. As a revolutionary, I recognize that "any means necessary" is not the catchy psuedonym for "fuck shit up". What is necessary is to build an actual movement built on shared goals, strategy, and concern for our communities and future. What is necessary is a HUGE amount of different things, a few of which Arissa hopes to contribute. NO revolutionary organization, or even a small group of organizatons, can hope or aspire to fullfill all the needs of a revolutionary movement. In a similiar way, NO tactic can be the totallity of a strategy. To successfully break the most powerful imperialist government in history, and to create a freer and healthier society, we need the ability to think strategically, adapt to changing conditions, and stay strong where we need to.

Speaking of staying strong where we need to-since when is it up for debate if we have a right to defend ourselves and those we care about? For me, it's not up for debate. I cherish life, and find the idea that it is not "pc" for me to say that I'll defend myself and my community by any means necessary- well, I find it pathological. Isn't death, or at least capitulation, the only other alternative? Really, I mean that question as a question. It seems to me there's a lot of violence going on, but it's one sided- by the power system, against the people.

If petros had wanted to get involved, he could have. He could have called our number, written to our address, written to our email, or just talked to me. But he specifically told us he was NOT interested in working on this project. I don't know why he's saying we have no method for involvement, because it has been developing well with the involvement of more people. No, we had no "leadership" position ready and waiting for him, or for anyone, because we are all doing what we can, self-motivated. A bunch of people are working their asses off. A bunch of other people are calling it undemocratic,even though they could work their asses off if they wanted to.

The main problem I can see people having with Arissa taking this action is that there are certain givens that are not up for debate. And these are different givens than are usually apparent at marches.

Usually, the message of a given march is arrived at by a kind of least-contentious-issue formula. Take the issue or event that people are reacting to, throw all the related social and political issues on the table, and then sweep off the table anything that anyone objects to. This usually leaves an obvious, partisan-liberal, washed out message that the protestors then try to sell to the media.
Arissa is trying something different. Our city is struggling with a pivotal and personal fact (that cops can and do murder with impunity, that we have the right and responsiblity to do whatever is necessary to hold them accountable, and create working systems of accountability). Arissa has publicized this message to our city, and is now working in coalition with those who share common cause, to both address this issue and to build counscienscious alliances, all in a revolutionary context. Everyone determines their own method and level of involvement, without having to bow to implicit leadership and veto-power of the liberal leaders (or even just meeting-hoppers) in the left.
We intend to build a focused and effective movement for fundamental change. We intend to fulfill specific needs of a growing revolutionary movement. There are different kinds of leadership- and if being focused on building a revolutionary context puts Arissa in some kind of "Vangaurd", then anyone who considers themself a revolutionary should realize that this shows a LACK of focused revolutionary work in general, instead of signifying a vangaurdist approach by Arissa.

Strawmen 19.Apr.2004 23:31


"since when is it up for debate if we have a right to defend ourselves and those we care about?"

Since _you_ claimed that is the "liberal" position. It isn't, by the way.

"By any means necessary, does not automatically mean violence."

No, but you don't seem to have noticed that many people have an opinion different from yours about what means are necessary. It is especially ironic that your knee-jerk reaction, having set up this strawman, is to outline a situation unrelated to political activism, claim people will react in the way you imagine, leaving unstated the further claim that people ought to react the same way in political situations.

Before you all run out to glean some more straw : Arissa should do whatever it is Arissa does. The bourgeoisie with their baby-buggies should do what they can. I should do what I do. Arissa will fail if it acts alone. The bourgoisie will fail if they act alone. There will be no revolution unless we all respect each the value of the others' persons and politics.

Nor will there be a revolution unless we all know each what our own politics are.

To me it looks like the chasm is 20.Apr.2004 01:43


originating from those who are overthinking the philosophy of the organizers, and looking for ways to opt out of potentially meaningful action. I see time and time again that people are burned out or unwilling to act, and they pin their apathy on the personalities or the philosophies of the organizers of an event. Look--you support the cause of the march or you don't. It doesn't have to go further than that--it's a community event. You go to it or you don't. Or you organize your own, if you want to see a different one. You don't have to support everything Arissa stands for. You're not going to stand on the sidelines and have some perfect organization that you can support 100% pop up, ready to chauffeur you to the perfect march. You get in, get your hands dirty, figure out what works, change your tactics as need be--but sitting at the computer criticizing others' efforts at real action is ultimately meaningless in terms of changing the world. I don't really think the chasm is tactical. I think the real chasm is between action and those who support it, and inaction and those who by their words and behavior support that.

anticipation buids 20.Apr.2004 02:09


When those determined to head up a new movement towards change devise phrases to spell out what form it may take, it would be helpful to consider what meaning those phrases convey to those subject to this change. Whatever it may mean to the arrissa crowd, attempt to imagine what it means to those of the status quo. Numbered amongst the status quo are both those who favor change and those who are happy with things just the way the are, thank you very much.
Point is, that even though arrissa might not necessarily intend to use violent means, that is what the organization may be unwittingly applying. This bull in the china closet strategizing just wastes a lot of people's energy.
It would be helpful if those suggesting the imminent arrival, coinciding with this new organization and their April 24th march, of so many great ideas for substantial change, would attempt to be at least a little specific, so that the hoped for hordes of people don't find themselves showing up and voicing a collective "say what ?!!?" What's the big secret? Or, don't the organizers have a clue?
Those who want to see big changes would be well advised to think about who they might conceivably hope to represent. These are most likely working people, the majority of whom are not seen riding around on funky bicycles and wearing cutoff carharts with blanket-stitched patches on them. Many, many working people in this area, potentially represent the constituency of a movement possessing, or able to craft a coherent, credible, platform that has the mechanics for true change. They are not going to jump at some vaguely stated frustration only to risk what they currently have for something worse.
In a peaceful scenario, they will be presented with an unequivocal, believable, workable plan for change that elected officials will have to ponder very carefully, and implement, realizing the infinitely worse consequence of declining to do so.
Using history as a guide, in a not so peaceful scenario, conditions and incidents will get much worse, and working people will rapidly lose what they currently have. Even as they do, they might be stymied, recognizing the need for change in a desperate situation, but unable to move in the absence of any, peaceful, unequivocal, believable, workable plan for change. This is the scenario in which "by any means necessary", rings quite a familiar bell to many out there, both friend and foe of change. Historically, radicals have inevitably filled the vacuum here, busting stuff up with the support of the population, either throwing the governing class in a tizzy and out or getting them to revamp everything. This is messy and not pretty... .intelligent, conscientious, people dedicated to working together towards something better, should be able to circumvent this.
We'll see what arrissa has come up with. Wouldn't it be something if they actually had even just one good idea come the day of the march?

What are you willing to do? 20.Apr.2004 10:07


How do you stay peaceful when the state attacks you. This goes straight back to the can you ever defend your self comment. If it was a person attacking us there would be no one around saying walk around in circles with a sign, or beg the person to stop. But it's not a person it worse. It's the state with it's endless budjets, guns, planes, and cannon fodder soldiers. They attack people everyday and you would have us beg them to stop? I don't think that will ever work, or could ever work. We have to be ready to stand up for our selfs and each other. Be willing to call a wrong a wrong and fight aginist it with all we have.

Will this march bring the revolution? Most likely no, but no one said that it would. This is a time for us to come together in common ground and say We will no longer accept any of you fuckin pigs hurting one more person, innocent or not. I don't know if most of you remember or not but this is being done because they are killing us in the streets! You can ponder all you like on the exact perfect non-voilent stragity but in the end people are dying while we stand idle and watch.

Did Arissa get consensus from the community for this march? Well that depends on how you see the communiy. Did they send a e-mail describing there idea for an event to all group that self identify as left groups? No, there were fliers that went up all over town and people said they wanted more. That they were tierd of begging for change while cops killed more and more people. They said we are ready to take the steps necessary to reach for justice. Does anyone really think that the state will of it's own free will take away a tool that has worked for so long? I don't. If we stand strong and can show that we will not back down and will take the next step if need be then they will have to fold or fight. Then it will be up to us to decide how much this really means to us. I hope you can all be strong enough to fight this battle. If we fail who is going to get murdered next?

"We"? 20.Apr.2004 11:47


Deva, consistency is a hallmark of ideologues, whose minds are never open. Some days I'm consistent, some days not. How about, "by any means necessary, someday, maybe, if it comes to that"? I'd march under that banner.

Lots of contempt expressed on this thread -- revolutionaries vs. "liberals," on both "sides." The right has a knack for combining disparate interests & getting results. Three words: Log Cabin Republicans. "We" don't have that knack, haven't for decades. To the extent that "liberals" have ostracized the "revolutionaries," they have created a serious obstacle for all of us.

There is a HUGE spectrum of people on What The Mainstream Calls The Left. "We" are Al Franken Democrats, Howard Dean Democrats, cynical independents, Greens, anarchists, Great Leader cults. We agree without question that when a Trooper shoots a motorist while the motorist's seat belt is fastened, it's wrong. We agree that when Troopers colonize Iraq, it's wrong.

I don't care if Arissa runs its meetings with Roberts Rules of Order or rock-paper-scissors. Not until they try to impose it on me. If I follow Arissa on Saturday & they take the opportunity to try to fight Troopers, they are imposing their organizational values on me. I -- we -- are not ready to fight them with any hope of success, not Saturday, not soon. That's not washed-out liberal thinking. That's reality. Getting a limb busted advances the cause not a whit, as Craig might attest.

I would love to hear from Arissa that it does not intend to seek forceful confrontation with Troopers on Saturday. I would love to hear them declare their intent to run a nonviolent protest this time. That's not co-opting. That's not selling out. That's a practical step toward a mass movement. None of the comments from Arissa organizers give me hope for this, and at this writing the website's still not up.

Dio: "Arissa will fail if it acts alone. The bourgoisie will fail if they act alone. There will be no revolution unless we all respect each the value of the others' persons and politics." I agree. They should not act alone, on this issue at least. But they have set a serious obstacle to participation by "liberals," with whom they have more in common than either side cares to admit.

Good karma to all on Saturday.

re: Guffman 21.Apr.2004 10:22


we is humanity along with all the other animals and creatures who inhabit the earth... certainly not left or right which are almost meaningless demarcations at this point

You call yourself a liberal, and then defend the term against criticism that may not apply to you personally, but which is apt as a generalization.

I will stand behind my criticism of liberals. The liberal anti-war movement decries war, but is virtully silent about the gross consumption patterns which are an integral part of why there is war in the first place. There is a profound state of denial in the liberal mindset. It is pathological.

Say to most liberal minded people that we need to stop driving cars by at least 80% and they will say it is a laudable goal, and then strongly resist actually doing something about it saying, 'people need time to change' or other such crap.

If the house is on fire, you stand up and do something. If you do not, you will burn. Our house is on fire.

The liberal left, and it's institutions are in a state of denial. The pentagon does a report that talks about the possibility of catastrophic environmental change, and worldwide war and famine and it is little more than a footnote in The Nation. The so called left needs a hard slap in the face because at the moment it is doing more for the status quo than for real change.

Hi, Deva! 22.Apr.2004 08:07


See, this is dialogue. Two people (we're down to two on this thread, it seems) with different positions, trying to understand one another through the free exchange of ideas.

"(W)e is humanity along with all the other animals and creatures who inhabit the earth..." So, Deva, no politics, only biology? No distinctions between human ideas?

"...certainly not left or right which are almost meaningless demarcations at this point": I suggest that a cross-section of people at marches tomorrow & Saturday will show some distinct consistencies of thought: on Trooper violence & accountability, on capitalism/empire maybe, on Iraq certainly. Differences on some issues, but enough similarities to work together in a bunch. You won't find Karl Rove fans, neocons, WTO supporters. Those people are FOR all those things, & more. You WILL find like-minded people, from the spectrum I already outlined in previous comment. That's *not meaningless.* The people in that spectrum would at least listen to Arissa's revolutionary argument, think about it, read the literature, visit website (or try), ask questions, maybe even come & stuff envelopes for Arissa. Your average human on the street would probably laugh or take a swing at Arissa. There are like-minded human organisms out there, & that's important.

I mean this in the nicest possible way: The argument that there's no difference left vs. right does not bear logical scrutiny. If I said there's no difference between Arissa organizers & Karl Rove, I could make that case, but it would be labored logic, ultimately sophistry, ignoring politics/world view/class/human culture as a whole. It's a sort of Utopian argument, seeing humans on the Earth from a lofty height, like ants in an ant-farm. It's an ideologue's argument.

"...apt as a generalization": When we generalize about a group, we make it easier to dehumanize them & fight them as if they were not human. This is what Troopers/bombadiers/ideologues/et cetera are trained to do. I did it a couple times writing here about "revolutionaries" -- forgetting that Craig is a human, it's easier to get hot-blooded & mean about him & his little club -- & I regret that now. Dangers in generalizations. Why? He is on the same political side as I am, more or less, for the moment, & we need each other. "Heavy underground direct action mixed with an above ground base of public support" -- Craig Rosebraugh himself defining most effective tactics in war against status quo. Public support, if it comes, will start with the left, because there's a base of agreement there already. Peaceful progressives need revolutionaries looming to make peaceful ideas more palatable to the vague center. Thus a mass movement grows.

It's one thing to argue over ideas, another to generalize about humans. Hold contempt for "liberal" ideas but not for people who eat, shit & sleep just like you. You, Deva, have been a civil & thoughtful voice here, which I appreciate.

"I will stand behind my criticism of liberals": And I will agree with you, point by point right down the line, & then stand behind central points of my argument, which you don't address as I am trying to address yours. I hope I am at least clear in what I am trying to say.

"If the house is on fire, you stand up and do something. If you do not, you will burn. Our house is on fire": And we're back to my central point, still unanswered: What is the plan for Saturday concerning violent response?? If Arissa leads Unitarian/Mennonite wing of well-meaning fellow travelers into a chapter of his book on political violence, it will not be a good thing. It will not be a "hard slap in the face" to the left in any constructive way, unless you can reduce/redefine those innocents into something Other Than Human -- "collateral damage," "acceptable losses," "martyrs to the Revolution" -- & still look at yourself in the mirror.

Could you do that, Deva, if it came to that?

Deva -- 22.Apr.2004 10:26

guff man

Posted a reply to yours two-plus hours ago, & it's not there. I think I'm being filtered out, here, because I'm not sufficiently revolutionary. If IMC is filtering me for political correctness, IMC should be a mensch and say so, & check its principles.

Your post, Deva, suggests a willingness to dialogue, so I'll try again:

"we is humanity along with all the other animals and creatures who inhabit the earth... certainly not left or right which are almost meaningless demarcations at this point": No politics, no human thought of importance, only biology. This defines away the possibility of a Movement of any kind. This equates the So-Called Left spectrum previously outlined, indeed all of non-revolutionary humanity, as helpless bunnies who need ALF, er, Arissa, to rescue them. This is also Utopian, ignoring the reality on the ground.

Arissa will find MUCH more public support among What The Mainstream Calls The Left than it will among any given collection of Republican committee members, Bush White House insiders, WTO officials or international corporate CEOs. Arissa needs public support to build prerevolutionary conditions, 'cause we are not ready yet. Peaceful activists need revolutionaries lurking about so they can tacitly do good cop/bad cop marketing thing with centrists, to make peaceful progress more palatable. None of this is "meaningless." This is the symbiosis of likeminded activists on the SAME SIDE, with differences, certainly, but in agreement on many important points & with many ways to help one another.

To say no difference left vs. right does not bear logical scrutiny, Deva. Sorry. Both are part of a sick system, but the differences matter.

"...apt as a generalization": Generalizations reduce humans to abstractions. Troopers, bombadiers, ideologues are trained to do this, because it's easier to cause harm to abstractions than to other human beings. Generalizations allow innocent bystanders to revolution, such as peaceful demonstrators, to become "collateral damage, acceptable loss, martyrs," rather than fellow suffering humans. I generalized Craig earlier into a revolutionary abstraction. Made it easier to verbally bitch-slap him. Shouldn't have. Sorry.

"...a hard slap in the face" does not occur if Arissa ignores need for nonviolence on Saturday. It will just make a bad situation worse by widening the gap between likeminded activists who need each other. The house-afire metaphor only is useful if you can identify an extinguisher or an exit route. Premature violence just throws gasoline about.

You are welcome, Deva, to examine main points of my argument as I have tried to do with yours -- if IMC will allow this to continue.

How to make more revolutionaries 22.Apr.2004 22:57


1. Pick a critical event and declare yourself the most extreme solution to the problem.
2. Name those who are not revolutionary enough by your standards. Criticize and denigrate accordingly.
3. If no one responds strongly enough, create an attack, like burning your dumpster. (Where is the fire dept report?)
4. Criticize the enemy in terms strong enough to require them to respond.
5. If the enemy does not respond strongly enough, fabricate an encounter (where are the police's incident and arrest reports?).
6. Arrange a mass confrontation between supporters and the enemy by calling for a public rally.
7. If the enemy cannot be made to attach the supporters, arrange for some supporters to attack the enemy. (The enemy is, of course, the police.)
8. Leverage the resulting publicity into a larger following.
9. Keep step one in mind, but now YOU are the critical event, and all who have been caught up in confrontations become your greened supporters.
10. and start again with step two.

I'm sorry folks, this one is a little too predictable. After the march, little things like verification of actually harassment and arson will not matter any more, because Arissa will be it's own cause. Remeber that Buffy told you about it here first.

love & hugs