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News ::
Who's Direct Action? Not Boston's!
24 Nov 2001
Modified: 11:01:19 PM
What's it gonna take for lifestyle activism to go mainsteam?
Radicals' applause for the Peace with Justice coalition's recent shift into moderation is misplaced. Undoubtedly the shift created the neccesarry room for a radical platform - but after two years of Seattle hype no one seems to remeber who's platform it was to begin with. The hope, as the platform matures, is that radicals recognize the importance of lifestyle activism.

The radical's major beef with the Peace and Justice coalition was about: concensus vs. a closed decisionmaking process; radical vs. liberal/leftist politics; and legal vs. illegal tactics, all crucial determining elements of a movement. Perhaps.

Time is the true test, but if this new radical coalition continues the way it left Peace with Justice it won't get far. Why?

During the past two years of post Seattle hype radicals have routinized behavior. This is what caused the quick left shift to happen. By not questioning concensus, radicalism, and tactics they are plugged into a white-vegan-boy-wearing-gasmask hole. Props to the International Socialist Organization for recognizing this and acting before the radical cheerleader could yell "butt!". Their strategy to radicalize the movement into oblivion seems to be working; sorry, it's sad but true.

Concensus hasn't matured yet and is best avoided under dire conditions. Refusal to recognize this is suicide. It's a nice addition to the democratic variety and worth practicing but the concensus process isn't perfect. Decisionmaking by concensus is near impossible under time constraints. Besides, all too often an individual or small group within an organization decides when concensus has been reached, not a voting mechanism. Most importantly, even when a vote is taken for concensus the assumption that all interested parties are present remains thus skewing the process of democracy. No, this last critique is not very realistic but hopefully it gets the point of built in exclusivity across. See: affirmative action. Concensus should not be abandoned. It just needs a few grains of salt.

Radicalization is now a fourth party issue in the States. With the Nader tour pulling the Greens into the mainstream and DemocRepublican rule it's easy to justify another left shift but who does that leave radicals with? Themselves.

That's not what Seattle looked like.

Independent media is still defending the protestor's image from bashing by the corporate media. Sure we cover war torn places like Mexico, Columbia, Palestine, and now Afghanistan; tokens of solidarity. Just like our direct action, a relatively safe way of showing a care. That is why we cover direct action rather than the everyday struggle of compatriots and anonymous neighbors who's economic status we lement. It makes us feel threatened, repressed, and righteous. What about this war torn Dollacracy? How many black men are we going to let Spike Lee lead into Afghanistan for a paycheck? Saudi Arabia? Iraq? Korea? Palestine? Columbia? How do we plan to afford organic vegan food without spending more than a 'Southern' country's GNP?

We need real answers not factionalizing ideologies.

Seattle was successful because of the coalition's diversity. There have to be ways for radicals to engage the general public other than threatening them with a W-like 'you're either with Limbaugh or with us'.

Throwing rocks at cops like you've never thought of calling 911. Desroying something assuming the owner is richer than you and therefor carries more blame. Blocking streets. If we're going to have war let's have a war, there's no shortage of causes or weapons locally or globaly... but isn't that what the stand is against?

If you're already having a hard time getting arrested probably won't cheer you up - friends might. So while some don't mind free room, board, and a record, others do and their wishes should be respected. There are plenty of other things to bring forward... this is a start.
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Thank you ISO...
24 Nov 2001
... for saving the movement from direct democracy, radicalism and direct action!

Long live hierarchy, reformism, and marching around aimlessly in circles at demos!
You're Welcome
24 Nov 2001
For proving me right.

I'm not ISO, IAC, ANSWER, WW, or anything else but me.

Direct democracy? I said it should be practiced more; but it's not perfect. Do you think it is?

When 'radicalism's' successful it'll be newspeak for mainstream... right? So, what's wrong with exporting it?

Direct action can be helpful but when it's a riot it's not direct action. Direct action is peaceful whenever possible and clearly focused. So far most direct action in the States is limited to low-risk banner drops, shoplifting, etc. and riots Black and White. This means people are either really fed up, or really scared, or maybe both. There are exceptions like the blossoming LF's of all kinds, but for most something's missing.

The fact you're using a keyboard is hierarchy. And a set of rules on what reformism is - well, you get it.