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News ::
Alternative to ISO run Conferences for Progressive Anti-War YOUTH/Students
15 Nov 2001
Modified: 16 Nov 2001
sick of the vanguard groups hijacking the anti-war events you attend, well don't just complain about it, GET INOVLVED! show them who the true democratic process can work, and that we don't need to be told what to do by the white privildged youth of America
this is long but please take the time to read it.

Ok everyone here is some news and updates. I think over the past few days we've all realized that our criticism only carries out so far,
until actuall action and change has to happen yes this weekend in Berkeley was a bit discouraging but that's not going to stop any of us from organizing against this tragic war. It's actually motiviated us more to work harder for a more collective and true democratic process.

So after this weekends awful experience in Berkeley and after talking this week to many many people all over so. cal, bay area, and Arizona a group of us calling ourselves so far "Progressive Radical Youth Against the War" are going to start organizing on a local campus, community level against the war. So far there are around 59 people from the Berkeley conference involved who are involved in this, the Long Beach info. shop has allowed the so. cal group a meeting space, and this group is open to ANYONE and EVERYONE who feels like the don't have a place or a voice within the liberal/ISOer anti-war movement.
another point that is important to make is that we are encouraging not only Students to get involved but for youth in general to get involved. Being able to go to a major college or university at many times is an extreme privilege, and there are plenty of youth within our movement who are extremely well organized and ready to help in the anti-war movement.. they just happen to not go to school. We want to push for more youth and especially youth of color,women, members of the queer community to become involved because these issues effect them directly, before it starts to effect the white priviledged class.
We have to realize just like the folks in Boston and Chicago have done over the past 2 weeks that IT is possible for us to have two anti-war movement. One for Liberal/Vanguard groups and one for more
progressive/radical/anti-authoritarian groups. Let's break the stereotypes and show that we can organize and we can allow for free
expression within this movement. Lets actually reach out to our middle eastern/muslim/south asian brothers and sisters in our communities and show them that they have a space and a voice in this movement. Instead of asking them to come to our meetings, and join our groups, let's go to them and take our guidance directly from them and help them in their struggle. Instead of going in and telling them how to organize and telling them what we think is the best way to organize, lets listen to them and take a bit of our direction and guidance from them.

We are a group of people who came out of the CSAW conference feeling a bit alienated and confused regarding the process of structure, and democratic process. For the most part we are youth from schools all over the West Coast who want to fight in this anti-war movement, in our communities and schools. Our group is a completely open group for discussion and dialogue and is going to be building and organizing around the anti-war movement from a non hierarchal, not patriarchal, anti-authoritarian standpoint. We want your input in every way possible, we have not set up the structure or decision making process of this group yet.

These are the points that we walked away with not wanting to repeat from the CSAW conference in Berkeley
Our main points were made and people brought up and had problems with were:
- the decision-making process in the conference was not agreed upon by the attendees, nor explained to us at any point
- the decision-making process before the conference was completely hidden from view - no one, including many Berkeley activists, had any idea what was being planned or had any input, even when they tried to participate.
- the ISO dominated many school delegations, dominated the speakers,
dominated the planning, and completely controlled the moderation.
- opposing views were almost always cut off "because we didn't have time" (At one point, an ISO woman named Leticia stood up and said "we don't have time for this, people want to go home. We can discuss this later! It's too late to bring this up anyway." Later? When would that be? It was the very last hour of the very last day of the conference! When she make this comment, a few people got furious and the rest tried not to laugh hysterically.
- speakers were often interrupted by ISO members
- an agenda for proposals was not public and information in general was tightly controlled by a few people, mostly ISO, who made little effor to get outside input or even let other people know what was going on.
-Women, people of color, and members of the queer community felt alianated by the conference, the moderator and structure that conference was set up towards.
-no explenation of consensus, majority vote, or any other decision making process was EVER at ANY point explained to anyone
-discussion were cut short, and voting was happening too quickly to the point that many stopped voting and felt a need to walk out
-3 conferences have been held at Berkeley, the first one anyone and everyone from schools was allowed to attend and participate in the decison making process, the 2nd Conference the decisions and voting was limited to only 5 delegates from each school, the 3rd conference that is now being planned took that even further and is planning on only allowing 1 delegate from each school to attend and make decisions. What's next? only one regional delegate representing 5 schools at a time?


we are going to be setting up meetings in So. Cal sometime a few days after Thanksgiving and that date will be announced, but this group is not going to be limited to So. CAl only because many people already involved are from Arizona, the Bay Area, and OR. So spread the message of this alternative setting trying to establish for people to plug into. We have a list server already set up that is not moderated and asking for discussion and organization within cities and groups to work autonomously and collectively.

If you would like to be involved, put on our list server, or know of people who would like to be involved and put on our list server please email:
antiwar (at) disinfo.net OR respond to this email

we always complain about not knowing where to plug in, well here is a forum now, and this group is young and just starting to organize. So we are all on the same page and equally need to be involved in the structure and decision making process.

Thank you all, especially those who helped with your words and guidance this past week to fully help this be organized and for progress to FINALLY be made.

please spread/circulate this email at will to those you think are interested



From: xantiglobaliaztionx (at) yahoo.com
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Comments

Like Dominoes (they will fall)
15 Nov 2001
We need to be leading the vanguard of reformist lapdog youth, liberal white kids, progressive radical rich, anti-authoritarian collectives and true democratic youth of privilege, persons of color, collective women, members of the rich queer white priviledged class, gender, anti-imperialist, anti-racist, anti-capitalist bosses, liberal, anti-communist, pro-capitalist anti-war movement (i.e., an anti-war movement which is under their control; by the way, this kind of movement fits into the general liberal peace/pacifist movement so forces like Quakers, etc. push to stifle political discussion about the capitalist roots spreading marxist thinking to masses of workers and students, pseudo-revolutionary elitist, dominating anti-imperialist, anti-racist, anti-capitalist, pro-communist war and oil and imperialism and capitalism, be bold, When we lead class struggle on the
campus, fake revolutionaries like the will only be further exposed. They will play into our hands, victory is near commrades, we will lead the class struggle ha ha yes hmmm...
some thoughts in response
16 Nov 2001
I think I agree with the general thrust of this posting, but here are a few thoughts in response . . .

I donít think itís fair to lump all liberals together in with the same category as the ISO and other sectarian groups. Yes, some liberals may operate in a very authoritarian way, but many liberals are animated by genuinely democratic sensibilities. They just honestly believe that popular democracy can be achieved by reforms.

While it would probably be wise to avoid working with the ISO given their behavior at recent conferences, it would be very unwise to refuse to work with all liberals. We will not get very far in spreading an anti-authoritarian message if we isolate ourselves from other groups. Peopleís heads are filled with preconceptions and they wonít necessarily listen to reasoned arguments. Rather, the best approach to spreading our ideas seems to be to work with liberal groups (at least those animated by democratic sensibilities). As radicals work with reformists (and we should recognize that there are also many people who fall into a gray area between radicalism and reformism) and the latter see that we are trustworthy, sensible people--then they may become interested in our ideas and arguments. This means we have to build coalitions where people are willing to tolerate a wide range of tactics--from lobbying to nonviolent direct action--and seek to use them in ways that complement each other. It may not be easy, but Iíve seen it done.

One very wise suggestion in this proposal is broadening the youth wing of the global justice and peace movements so it doesnít just include those privileged enough to got college. Of course, poor youth and youth of color already have their own movements and are working on these issues in their own way. Privileged youth should seek to build bridges between these groups.

In terms of building a broader movement beyond those who identify as radical--I think again, we need to be willing to work with more moderate groups. Coming out with a blatantly radical message may attract some people, but my sense is that it will alienate many more. Too often, itís like speaking an alien language. The best approach is usually to address the issues from a relatively moderate stance--using language that is meaningful to the audience and not anarchist jargon--get these folks involved with social justice movements, and *then* expose them to radical ideas as they work beside radicals and see that we are actually sensible people. It may be a frustrating slow process, but thatís the way it works.

Finally (I said this in an earlier posting but itís worth repeating), itís easy to point fingers at sectarian groups like the ISO or Workers World Party/the International Action Center/ANSWER. They represent extreme cases--extreme cases of problems that can be found in all leftist groups. We have all been socialized in an authoritarian society and we bring the baggage of that into our radical groups. Iíve seen plenty of anarchist or democratic groups internally recreate the same dynamics of domination and submission that we critique. Iím sure most people reading this have been in supposedly democratic groups where a few people--probably white men--dominated the decision-making; where people have engaged in pointless in-fighting; where non-sectarian member groups of coalitions competed for power within the coalition. Iíve seen all these and been guilty of some of them. Yes, we should criticize the sectarian groups, but we need to remember we are not pure. We have to get our own acts together--to unlearn our authoritarian socialization and try to do things differently. It wonít be easy, but we canít expect to change the world if we donít change the way we treat each other first.