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Commentary :: Organizing
March 18th Feedback Meeting?
20 Mar 2006
Modified: 09:30:21 AM
So that brings me to my question- when is the sum-up meeting for March 18th? I would like an opportunity to provide feedback in a venue other than this post.
The undemocratic and non-transparent process of the Boston Rosa parks Human Rights day Committee was justified on the basis of "moving forward" and "unity".

Political questions (and all questions while building an action are political) were all settled beforehand by a steering committee that nobody voted for. People who raised questions for debate were labeled as disruptive.

Now that the action is over there is NO EXCUSE for stifling debate. Criticism should not be feared and is a necessity for movement building.

So that brings me to my question- when is the sum-up meeting for March 18th? I would like an opportunity to provide feedback in a venue other than this post.

I would also like to use this as an opportunity to invite everybody to check out the Greater Boston Stop the Wars Coalition. We got together while building for October 29th on the basis of democratic decision making, non-exclusion and political independence from the war parties. We have discussions/debates, vote on everything and usually come to a near consensus on our decisions. *

check our website for meeting times/location
http://stopthewars.org/

The top down model of organizing has proved to be a failure. Saturday was not all it could have been. The majority of the people who attended had little or no say in the shaping of the action and that kills the initiative of people who are new to the movement. We need real unity. This means standing together, not UNDER a particular organization or politician.


*I should add that i am speaking as an individual in the Stop the Wars Coalition and not for the Stop the Wars Coalition. Some coalition folks will definitely not agree with my opinion but that is what makes us democratic.

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Re: March 18th Feedback Meeting?
20 Mar 2006
i'm on the rosa parks committee and you'll probably remember me from the oct. 29 meeting about district 7's principles of peace, when the stop the wars coalition rejected chuck turner and the african american community's proposal to join the antiwar movement on some bullshit technicality. at that oct 29 meeting i was also called disruptive, and my friend was slandered repeatedly, both at the meeting and on the internet. i found the stop the wars coalition to be a group that was more concerned with supporting their own political parties and less concerned with actually stopping the war. it was more concerned with protecting their privilege (i could underline that) than sharing and diversifying the anti war coalition by holding an open forum and following a democratic process. there is nothing democratic about bullying my friends and excluding district 7.

i will also say, speaking as an individual, that the rosa parks committee is a cominbation of many different political organizations, with different concerns and different issues, all united against the war. that said, i believe the rosa parks committee would welcome constructive feedback and would welcome more participation from other groups. i have already brought other groups into rosa parks meetings.

if the anti-war movement will ever succeed we will all have to put our political differences aside and focus on being effective. old conflicts must be forgotten. don't people understand? the powers that be want us to be divided, along all the regular bullshit lines of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, political ideology, etc. they want us to fight amongst ourselves. it's time to put all that aside and begin the social movement that will not end when the war is over, but will continue to struggle against the social injustices that plague our society.

i'll email you as soon as i hear a date for the meeting.
Re: March 18th Feedback Meeting?
20 Mar 2006
As an activist who's never been to an anti-war planning meeting but have been to many protests, I have to say that this protest was one of the most diverse (in gender, race, & ideology) I've been to, so I congratulate you for it. I also think you did great outreach in poor communities and the march itself thru town was inspiring. I really loved the party... did a lot of networking, yes I did.

Not as many people showed as I would've hoped, but I'm not surprised. People are feeling hopeless out there, especially when it comes to protests.

I do agree that a horizontal decision making process is important, but I also agree with pepe that unity vs. division in the struggle against the war machinery is important. We have to be respectful of all activists groups, and offer constructive criticism instead of just bitter criticism.

I would love to see people at the meeting focus on What Went Wel instead of what went wrong (for both protests) and capitulate on the positive.

Good work everyone (specially me, who hasn't done a thing except walk, drink, and cheer on, ha-ha)
Re: March 18th Feedback Meeting?
20 Mar 2006
points of clarification-

"...district 7's principles of peace, when the stop the wars coalition rejected chuck turner and the african american community's proposal to join the antiwar movement on some bullshit technicality."

The "bullshit technicality" was the explicit endorsement of U.N. "peacekeeping" operations such as the one in Haiti that seem to kill lots of people. We gave you lots of time to present your case a mere 2 weeks before our action and we voted against it. We could have used that time to actually build the action.

Chuck and D7 knew we were planning this action way back in the summer and waited until the last minute to bring this in. We could have taken the Rosa Parks route of shutting you up completely in the name of "unity" and "moving forward" but we gave you a shot.

It should also be mentioned that the D7 Principle of Peace were delivered as an ultimatum. By that I mean that we were told that if we did not endorse it that there would be a boycott of October 29th led by Chuck Turner and the District 7 Advisory Committee. I have often wondered since then if Chuck made the same demands of John Kerry when they were together at the October 30 march where no anti-war signs were allowed.

"...my friend was slandered repeatedly, both at the meeting and on the internet."

Exposing is not slandering. The person you are speaking of is Eve Lyman. I encouraged everybody to google her name (as well as my name) so they could see her connections to a creepy cult and the Karzai puppet regime in Afganistan.

I would like to know exactly what you mean by:
"a group that was more concerned with supporting their own political parties and less concerned with actually stopping the war."

We had a lot of parties and unaffiliated individuals in the room, all committed to stopping the war. In fact, we had far more parties represented in the decision making process than the WWP dominated Rosa parks Club. (don't accuse me of red-baiting, I'm a "red" and honestly no longer consider WWP to be "red".)

"...it was more concerned with protecting their privilege (i could underline that) than sharing and diversifying the anti war coalition by holding an open forum and following a democratic process. there is nothing democratic about bullying my friends and excluding district 7. "

Please underline what you mean by privilege.

We had an open forum. We gave you over an hour of our second to last meeting before the demonstration. We discussed. We debated. We smelled bullshit and you lost the vote. Democracy means you lose sometimes. And threatening a boycott and attempting to get endorsements is "bullying".

I hope you are right about Rosa Parks welcoming feedback. But when I suggested that they have an agenda at their meeting I was subjected to a tirade by UN Steve Kirchbaum. I won't hold my breath.

"...we will all have to put our political differences aside "

Recent history has taught me that most people who say this want you to put aside your differences with them. If you really believe that then you should have put aside your differences with October 29th and put some effort into building it instead of undermining it.

When I realized that I could not work under the Rosa Parks misleadership I didn't start organizing a boycott, I built it in the streets with my own leaflets, emails, internet postings.
I even continued to support this event after the Rosa Parks Club vetoed the Stop the Wars Coalition choice of me as their speaker.

...and you won't catch me hanging out with John Kerry.

UNITY WITH... not UNITY UNDER...
there's a big difference.
Re: March 18th Feedback Meeting?
20 Mar 2006
Modified: 07:51:03 PM
I know and like both Nick and Pepe. I'll say this: Nick, you're right about the UN peacekeepers. Pepe, I like you alot but I think you're wrong on this one, especially given (as Nick said) the situation in Haiti. That's not a bullshit technicality, that's a point of principle. I spoke to a few guys at March 18 who were Haitian, and were marching with Haitian flags. I don't think that marching under Turner's 'Principles of Peace' was necessary to bring out the black community, and it would certainly have been offensive to those particular members of it. From what I've heard, it sounds like Turner made the ultimatum--if that was a bullshit technicality to him, why didn't he back down from it or drop it from the program?

But Nick, exposing Eve's very old links to a cultish group is entirely in bad taste. She got out decades ago, and that was a low personal blow, especially to make in a public forum. On the other hand, it's totally fair to expose her work for the Karzai government, because that's a public, political issue. But what do you expect? The people at Mobe are nice and honest, but it's a liberal organization, and it works with the Democrats, just as Turner does. Don't sound so surprised, and keep in mind that Chuck Turner does speak for a large number of people, even if he isn't really independent and works with a big business party. Expose him, but don't alienate his supporters.

Of course, I'm speaking as someone who wasn't really involved in the organizing effort for October 29th at all. I'm not trying to patronize anyone, I'm just putting this out there for what it's worth. And on a final note, while the Rosa Parks committee is more democratic than other 'WWP fronts', it's still mostly controlled by the WWP. I was at the front of the march, and they tried to cut off a young woman from the ISO when she made a plug for Stop the Wars from the truck. Just because Stalinists have a slice of support in black working-class areas doesn't mean they're right. And I hate to say it, but be careful on that committee--who knows how much the WWPers are using the other groups involved (not to say that their ends are particularly terrible, but they do have shitty politics, act like assholes sometimes, and are still committed to tying the antiwar movement to the Democrats, for all their protests to the contrary.) To those of us who are still sympathetic to independent socialism, the sight of liberals and Stalinists working together is all too familiar...Let's try not to make the mistakes of the past.

I'd welcome responses, and I hope this sounds as well-intentioned as I meant it to...

Poulod
Re: March 18th Feedback Meeting?
20 Mar 2006
I've been with Stop the Wars and appreciate Nick's work for that group and for March 18. I attended a March 18 meeting hosted by the Rosa Parks committee and saw that important antiwar outreach was being organized there. I heard one of the chairs, Dorotea Manuela, explain the notion that all groups are welcome to build the action in their own ways in their own names and to participate in the building meetings, but that polemics on issues not directly related to the action should be conducted outside the meeting. I agreed with that principle. A third group, UJP, supported the action and has more mainstream connections than either Rosa Parks or Stop the Wars. I was happy to march beside Eve Lyman in front of a sound truck Saturday, asking people not to get too close to the front wheels.

I think that these three groups (RPHRDC, STWC, UJP) could work together and with others to decide on summer and fall activities. Future activities should build on the strengths of March 18 and October 29 and should address deficiencies of past work. Congrats to all groups on the success Saturday. Everybody seems to be going together toward April 29 NYC.
Re: March 18th Feedback Meeting?
20 Mar 2006
Not STWC. They are too secretive, too self-righteous, too cellular. Reclusive organizations give me the creeps.
Re: March 18th Feedback Meeting?
20 Mar 2006
David,

Dorothea's comments were not only about unrelated polemics but all political debate.

There was no political debate allowed.
A meeting without political debate is not a meeting it's an indoctrination.
Re: March 18th Feedback Meeting?
21 Mar 2006
Poulod--Eve Lyman got out of the Lyman Family in 1999, if memory serves, and only at about the same time her Dad died, and she probably inherited some money--which would explain how she can do full time work in Afghanistan and here with no visible paycheck. It's also possible the Lyman Family gave her money, too. They became quite wealthy from their rich converts and their construction business.

Protest@r--STWC is secretive? Please. Shutup and sign up for their email list.
Re: March 18th Feedback Meeting?
21 Mar 2006
well - first, the bullshit technicality in terms of the un peacekeeping forces is bullshit because it was the main factor in the decision to stop negotiation with district 7. then and now, i am not endorsing the un, but i explicitly remember saying at that meeting that if it's something we disagree on that it could probably be taken out of the document in a revision, and that it was a techincality that was not in the spirit of the letter. all i knew at the time was that involving the african american community in the anti-war movement would be a move towards the better. i'll be honest - my experience in the anti-war movement and knowledge of the recent history / political problems between groups is limited. i've only been a part of it for a year, so if you have more explanations, i'm reading and listening and am open. if it leads to a better understanding, even just between the people on this list, i'm all for it.

pepe.
Re: March 18th Feedback Meeting?
21 Mar 2006
p.s. nick - i don't think it's worth our time to go through a line by line response to your response to my response (there must be a better way to put that). i'll just say at the time i wrote it i was just pissed because i put all this work into the march and got a lot out of it and find it upsetting to have people shit on all that effort. i'm willing to build a better more inclusive anti-war coalition with more dialogue - i mean - the goal is to actually stop the war, so the more cooperation between groups the better.

pepe.
Re: March 18th Feedback Meeting?
22 Mar 2006
i just got done slogging through the entire 76 comments on the demo article in the center column, and must say the tone here is a vast improvement. there's obviously still some bitterness and whatnot, but listen people, there's a rabid empire on the loose, and we're all there is holding it back in the boston area. personal attacks against other activists are usually unnecessary, and definitely in poor taste in public forums. sometimes we need to hold individuals in the movement accountable for their actions, but burning bridges to them on everyone's behalf is just counterproductive. i mean, like chuck turner for god's sake- he might have been seen shaking kerry's hand, but how often do you see elected officials going to every last conscious community event, supporting militant prisoners, taking personal political risks to expose the system? i've spoken to him before about his role as a politician, and whether he can really stay out of the cesspool, and i'm satisfied that he's down for the oppressed people, he's using the system to get good people special access we never would have otherwise (and there are many grateful people for that). he's ready to take a bullet for the movement when necessary, but it means having to hold his nose and shake the man's hand once in a while. he's not trying to get the roxbury community to vote for kerry is he?

if we can't even allow experienced and proven allies to make a mistake once in a while, then maybe we need to examine our own effectiveness as organizers, a role which requires much patience and foresight. i say we separate our legitimate criticisms of each other's movement from all the vicious personal animosity, and prepare ourselves to accept the other side's criticisms of us, in an honest exchange. seriously, there's no point in any meeting if it's just an excuse to send spitballs flying again, and plenty of people have better things to do than mediate between offended egos. if there's a serious interest in reconciliation for the sake of a strong united front against the common enemy, then maybe this can go ahead, but remember you will have to be accountable to the larger activist community after the meeting. please try to use this opportunity to strengthen our hand, not to weaken it. patience and self-control go a long way.
Re: March 18th Feedback Meeting?
22 Mar 2006
Dude. Seriously. It was an IAC/WWP front-group event. WTF did you really expect? If you keep lying down with the dogs of the IAC/WWP, you are going to just keep on getting flea bites.

I completely sympathize with your being upset about being fucked over like this, but at some point it becomes our own responsibility for choosing our associates more carefully. The ANSWER/IAC/WWP has a very, very long track record of doing exactly this over and over and over again.

I know you personally, Nick, and I know that you know about their track record, and I know that you and I have also disagreed in the past about whether or not we should work with authoritarrian scum like ANSWER/IAC/WWP before. To be honest, man, and in complete sympathy with you, some of the responsibility here lies with you folks who allowed yourself to get fucked over again by associating with these scumbags in the first place. You all knew better and yet you still put yourself out there for the WWP cadre to fuck over anyway. I thought when that shit ya'll had with Eve Lyman went down that alot of people had learned their lessons, but I guess not. Ya'll just keep on working with Mobe and WWP even though they fuck you over time after time after time.

So, basically, what I'm saying is, yes I completely agree. The ANSWER/WWP/IAC fuckers suck and they suck hard. They ARE a problem and they ARE parasites who destroy good anti-war work and alienate everyone around them. BUT, the reason they can keep doing that shit is because WE let them. We keep working with them and holding our nose, trying to ignore the fact that they are scumbags. Years of track record has made it clear that they are not going to stop doing this (And why should they? Look how our being stupid and being "allies" with them gets them so much money in their orange buckets and time on C-SPAN and shit!), so if we want to stop them fucking over both us and new people who come into the anti-war community, then we have to stop putting ourselves and new people into that situation in the first place by working with them.
Re: March 18th Feedback Meeting?
22 Mar 2006
so . . . everyone's solution to building a stronger anti-war effort is by saying fuck you to mobe, fuck to wwp iac and answer, and fuck you to me, who seems to be the only person who wants to bring about some sort of compromise and solution to all this bad blood.

it's not worth it. i'd rather try to resolve the problem rather then have multiple anti-war movements working against each other. nobody has given me an explanation for the bad blood. nobody has convinced me that the stop the wars coalition is better. i don't know what lesson i was supposed to learn by stwc attempt to humiliate eve lyman. the message i got from the shit that went down with eve was: instead of focusing on the anti-war movement, in order to get its way stwc would rather resort to character assasination and the silencing of those who criticize or have a difference of opinion with stwc. you're either with us or against us - that's how you play. sounds a lot like bush.

now i don't know who started it or how it got worse, but i think it's time that everyone learned to respect each other and work together. i'm willing to. i don't have any hidden agenda. i'm not trying to fuck anyone over but the bush administration. and if i'm being overly idealistic or stupidly naive and gullible, you better tell me why. all i'm trying to do is make things better.

pepe.
Re: March 18th Feedback Meeting?
22 Mar 2006
Yo Nick, I think you need to layoff Chuck. He is a true radical, regardless of the fact that tactically used the democrats from time to time. Plus D7 is doing alot of amazing work that is largely ignored by the privileged white activist community.

I also think there are more issues here than just some endorsement of U.N. "peacekeeping”.
Re: March 18th Feedback Meeting?
22 Mar 2006
...regardless of the fact that he tactically uses the democrats from time to time...