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News ::
Progressive Radicals Against War
13 Dec 2001
Modified: 17 Dec 2001
tired of the vanguards/secterians shutting you out?
This is going to be long im sorry... :( but i had a lot on my mind

Hi we are a group of students that came out of the Berkeley Anti-War Conference feeling a bit confused, and isolated. A group of about 69 of us gathered out on the steps and decidrf to have a small meeting. Out of that this group was formed. We decided we canít just sit here and complain about the ISO and complain about the process but we actually have to do something.

Over the past few weeks wonderful ideas on how to bring us closer together and truly organize ,and amazing anti-war movement have been pouring out. We decided to take our newly formed empowering session to the people. In Southern CA we called a meeting for anyone to come, ANYONE and that included people who were not in Berkeley. We had our first meeting this past Monday Night Dec 10, where 35 people showed up, and said that they had been looking for a space like this to organize within. We have a list server going with around 156 people who actually want to be on it, and contribute to it. So far there are people from NY, Boston, CA, OR, Nevada, WA.. but we want your input because like we said earlier we think over the past few weeks we've all realized that our criticism only carries us so far, until actually action and change has to happen. Yes what happened in Berkeley was a
bit discouraging but that's not going to stop any of us from organizing against this tragic war Right? RIGHT! It's actually motivated us more to work harder towards a more collective and true democratic process.

Progressive Radicals Against the War want to help bring together anti-authoritarians who oppose military occupation that is presently going on in the Middle East and the War that might be spreading. Also we are dedicated in educating and building awareness around the humanitarian aspect that is effecting the Middle East right now. We are committed To Organize against this from an Anti-Authoritarian standpoint in our schools, workplace, homes and communities.

This group is open to ANYONE and EVERYONE who feels like they don't have a place or a voice within the
liberal/Vanguard 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 class and race 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 encourage 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 privileged class.

We have to realize just like the folks in Boston and Chicago have done over the past 2 weeks when dealing with certain sectarian and vanguard groups shutting out inviduals at the East coast/midwest Schools Against War
conferences, that IT is possible for us to have two anti-war movements. 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 REALLY and HONESTLY reach out to our middle eastern/muslim/south Asian brothers and sisters in our communities and show them that they truly do have a place, a space and a voice in this movement. Instead of asking them to just 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. This list server/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 plan on working within in this group and organizing from an an Anarchist/Anti-Authoritarian perspective. At the same time we plan to join and work with many other coalitions across the country for actions, events, educational programs and to also work with many other organizations in our communities. We just see a need for this space to be created for us to be productive and to work strongly with other people who would like to do their organizing and work from an anti-authoritarian perspective.

We want your input in every way possible; we have not set up the structure or decision making process of this group yet. We personally don't know if this group will become an organization, a club, coalition, whateverÖ thatís now our main objective.. actually we think the more autonomous the groups work, the better. but we think it's a wonderful place to start. A place that can be where we can come for discussion, organizing, ideas, support to be involved in any way that we can to organize in our schools, work place, community against this racist
war, but do it from a more progressive, anti-authoritarian, non hierarchal, and non patriarchal view. We are missing this type of space in our movement, and I personally think that it's something that can be used as a helpful tool for many of us to start organizing with people that share some of our views that way we are not being
mislead or misrepresented.

Just to re-cap. These are the points that we walked away with not wanting to repeat from the CSAW conference in Berkeley. These points were made when the group of about 69 students gathered outside on the steps after the
CSAW conference, these are the notes basically.Our main points were made and people brought up and had problems with were: Consensus was reached on these points.

- 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 makes 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
effort 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
alienated by the conference, the moderator and structure that
conference was set up towards.
-No explanation 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
decision 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 donít think that more middle eastern people are not getting involved just because WE think they have personal reasons they donít want to. We think that the most productive form of outreach has not been done towards them.
-Conesus does and has plenty of times worked for large groups and coalitions in this country and others. Look at the Quebec FTAA organizers, the WTO organizers, the RNC and DNC organizingÖ all were done through consensus and worked as a better model of decision making process than majority vote.
-We donít think that Berkeley conference was the sole messed up conference, we donít think that certain people just happened to make mistakes.The same things happened in Boston and in Chicago, the same events with the same group, the ISO. Now since they played such a large role in making the mistakes, they need to play the biggest role in the clean up. Thatís part having credibility and being accountable for your own actions. The ISO is claiming that groups who are splitting are at fault for breaking the movement in two. What they donít realize is that we would not have a need to split, if it was not their for their blatant disregard and respect of people, and peoples beliefs. We hope that they realize what they did wrong, that they acknowledge and take steps forth to not have those mistakes repeated. So far we have not seen that, we have just seen ISO members making excuses and denying as much as they can.
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 MandarinOrangeEssence (at) yahoo.com
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.

Updates on things that we are doing. We are going to be working directly with the North American Middle Eastern Students Against the War in planning their 2nd conference. We are also helping do direct outreach to the middle eastern community. We have days of action planned during Christmas in forms of Street theater and also one rally. Also in the month of January we are putting together workshops on Middle Eastern culture and history, and having this rotating workshop move from school to school, and also into community spaces to help educate not just activist but also community members about middle eastern history and culture.
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Comments

Amen
13 Dec 2001
About time somebody outflanked the ISO and dumped them on their Socialist (Non)Worker Asses...
What?
14 Dec 2001
I'm down with you being against the war, but...
The CIA and FBI must love this message, we are doing their work for them!
m
14 Dec 2001
Iso memebers like the one who posted above and has been going all over the IMC posting shit about our new group, they are saying shit cuz they think it's hard for a group of anarchist to work together and to actually organize, they think this so bad that they need to call us rats. No babes we are just don't keep secrets meetings, and private coordinating groups that exclude people. Transparent and honest. A true anarchist way of life. Live it everyday. I know it's hard for you minds to grasp it, that's exactly why this group was spelled out clear, just so you would know for a fact that you are not welcome within this cricle. Theres nothing wrong with putting out a message like this. lets you know where we are coming from, we are here for our communites and for each other. but we will not work with sectarian groups in any way shape or form, you are not welcome.Miams first meeting is next Wed night if anyone wants to check it out email me at Historyvegancat (at) yahoo.com
Feds can't spell
17 Dec 2001
One way the feds liked to cause confusion (from
declassified Cointelpro documents) was to write
anonymous letters with really bad spelling and
grammar, to sow confusion and discredit the movement.
Now I'm not too happy with the ISO style myself, but
the post above is really scary. If that's really how
you write, you're better off spending your time in school
rather than in politics. Trust me.