Jan Slakov dialog, re: hope & the movement…


Richard Moore

Date: Wed, 29 Aug 1956 18:09:21 -0700
To: •••@••.•••
From: Jan Slakov
Subject: a comment on recent postings

Dear Richard,

I just thought I'd like to give you some feedback on
your recent postings; I generally like to hear from
people who get my postings.

It strikes me that we can see how differently you and I
perceive the situation now, partly from the type of
postings we're sending out.

I still believe, as you clearly do, that the US
government was not innocent in the Sept. 11 attacks,
which have been trotted out as the pretext for this
war. But I think the importance of getting that
information out now is much less so than before.

It seems quite clear that the US empire is on its way
out. the information you're sending out about how
horrible that empire is will help motivate people to
bring about the end sooner rather than later.... But
people need other information too. I think people need
to hear about the encouraging things that are
happening. Then people will be less afraid of the
collapse of the empire they have been depending on...
and they will see where they can direct their energies
in positive ways.

Actually, I'm kind of surprised that your comments
about the upcoming war are so disheartened. You
suggest, at the end, that people do something to
prevent this war. That is precisely what is so
exciting: people are doing all kinds of things, even
organizing general strikes, even a high level US
diplomat resigning, ... many, many more people than
would have before now think this war is a war for
power/oil and they are opposed to it... It's true that
all our efforts may not be enough to prevent the US
from this horrific attack (and the other night, when
the truth of that hit me, I was in tears) but still,
what is happening now is truly historic and thrilling I

Remember we once wrote about the importance of not
being too attached to the outcome. This is a case in
point, I think. All these anti-war efforts may not
succeed in the short term, but they are so important
nonetheless... I actually believe that things like
intention and thoughts and love do count, all by
themselves... Whether or not people are actually killed
and countries destroyed counts too but so do the
un-measurable things...

Anyhow, I hope this message might help you allow
yourself to feel more hope and excitement... I am sad
that it is taking such terribly stupid actions on the
part of the US regime to wake people up, but I am still
very happy that people really are waking up. You too?

Luv & all the best, Jan


rebel jan,

Very nice to hear from you.  As usual, you speak
eloquently and from the heart.  I am pleased to be able
to share your words with our lists.  It's been quite a


I am always amused (as we used to say) when people
assume I'm "disheartened" or that I don't feel "hope
and excitement".  There's always someone who responds
that way when a posting outlines How Bad It Is.  The
reasoning seems to go like this... "If things are
really that bad, then there is obviously no hope".  Or
perhaps it's something like, "If one articulates how
bad it is, one must be hung up on that, constrained by
that."  Or something similar.

From my perspective the issue is, "What is my role as a
communicator?", or "What is the best way to spend those
moments that I can devote to the list?".

That is, I'm not using postings to express how I feel;
rather I'm striving to Say What Needs To Be Said, based
on What I Understand To Be True, and my perception of
our readers' State Of Understanding.

All of us worldwide are being deluged by an intense and
shifting propaganda campaign.  Right before our eyes a
matrix world is being created and managed.  It is a
world that 40% or so of Americans believe in.  They
really believe Sadam ranks top on the worldwide list of
Bad Guys [He doesn't], that Iraq will be helped by
military intervention [It won't]... and they assume
that the sincere mission of the troops will be to
eliminate weapons of mass destruction and liberate the
Iraqi people [Not a chance].  And they believe
"collateral damage" is accidental [Almost never].

Even those who sneer at the "consensus view" (those who
aren't trapped in the matrix) find themselves shifted
by that matrix.  They must go out of their way to
preface their remarks with a tribute to the myth, "Well
yes, Sadam must be replaced, but...".  The matrix is
like a magnetic field that pulls the whole fabric of
public discussion toward one side of the spectrum.  If
we even talk about Sadam, we are being coerced by that
matrix.  He's not the point at all.  There is no Iraqi
crisis, there is a Washington crisis.  Sadam is just
the evil face on TV, like in Orwell's "1984".  A
manufactured cartoon figure designed to focus our
attention.  He's the colorful handkerchief that distracts
us while the rabbit is being slipped under the tablecloth.

In such a situation, I think it is important that Radio
Reality broadcast frequent Reality Bulletins on its
Pirate Frequency, tapping into the Internet Mainframe. 
That is, there need to be voices that articulate the
meaning of these momentous, historic events in their
real context.  Without bending to the warped fabric of
the matrix construction. Within my limited capacity, I
try to be one of those voices. And I do get feedback
frequently from people who say things have been
clarified for them, they are grateful for that, and
they have forwarded the material on to others.


This has nothing to do with being hopeful or being
disheartened. It is simply a matter of documenting the
current state of the world, based on the latest reports
that have come in and been deciphered.  It is a matter
of being realistic about what we are facing, staring
right into its heart, and seeing the full scope of what
needs to be overcome.  It is a matter of being sure we
don't bury our heads in the sand as a way to find false


You say, 

    "It seems quite clear that the US empire is on its way
    out. the information you're sending out about how
    horrible that empire is will help motivate people to
    bring about the end sooner rather than later."

This is the kind of comment that shows me the necessity
of issuing these Reality Bulletins.  With no
disrespect, I see no evidence of any immanent or
inevitable end to the "US Empire". And yet in the final
analysis, you will see that I basically agree with you!

We do seem to have an unprecedented breadth and variety
of global and vocal opposition, which is certainly
significant. Lots of Internet traffic is about that
opposition these days, and several recent cj/rn
postings have been devoted to that topic.  But we must
keep in mind that this opposition is in response to a
provocation (Washingon's lawlessness) which is equally
unprecedented in its arrogance, it's level of violence,
and its immediacy.  Unfortunately, when the dust
settles and CNN tells us that democracy has come to
Iraq, then this global uprising is likely to fade away.
Sad but likely.  The precedents are numerous. It could
be different this time, and we'll get back to that.

The US Empire will not be dethroned by any sudden
Storming Of The Bastille.  Nor will it be dethroned by
Responding To Crises.  "They" manufacture all the
crises, and they can pace their crises so as to stay
just ahead of the curve of critical-mass opposition.
It's a simple matter of listening to focus groups,
tuning the propaganda, and implementing mid-course
corrections to operational missions - all orchestrated
by highly paid professionals.  Even now Bush could pull
back from the Gulf - if his handlers told him he needed
to.  And then the world would back anything else he
demanded out of gratitude and relief.  That's not a
position of weakness.

It is also important to remember that the Nazis would
never have been overthrown from within The Reich.  If
Stalin hadn't defeated them, then only the US could
have done it - with the A-Bomb. The combination of
police power and propaganda provided the Nazis with a
secure grip on internal power.  Our situation today is
very much like that.  Indeed it is an intentional
carbon copy, following even the same sequence
(Reichstag Fire, removal of rights, ultra-patriotism,
stripping citizenship, aggressive imperialism, etc. etc.).


Does this leave us in a state of despair?

Not unless you believe no effective action is possible
in such a scenario.  What causes despair for me is when
people say, "That's all too much, I choose to believe
instead that things are better than that."  That's the
head-in-sand response, it takes one out of the game,
makes ones actions more likely to be futile.

Real change can only begin when we understand that
stopping the war will not help, electing progressive
candidates will not help, election reform will not
help, media reform will not help, restoring the
Constitution will not help.  All of those things simply
put us back to where we were a few decades ago - a
situation that has led us inevitably to where we are
now.  I saw it coming and that's what I've mostly been
writing about all these years.

We need to change the basic relationship between the
people and governance, and we need to change the
relationship of humanity to the world around it.  We
need democracy and we need sustainability.  Not because
they are Desirable, but because they are Necessary For
Our Survival as a Healthy Species.  Exploitive
Economics is a fatal diseases on a finite Earth.  Elite
rule obscures that fact - those in control can see to
their own survival and sacrifice everyone else in the
gears of the system, like so many scalped redskins. 
Only genuine grass roots democracy can end elite rule.


How does the current wave of global opposition relate
to the kind of movement that could really change

When people begin mobilizing, for whatever reason,
there is only one positive outcome that is possible -
if we are seeking real change.  That outcome is the
emergence of a Sense of Popular Empowerment, and
Popular Identity - We The People as an alive and able

If the mobilization has an objective - ending the war -
and that objective is achieved, then there is little
chance of the positive outcome - the movement fades
away. Ironically, and unfortunately for the millions
that will die, the aggressive attack on Iraq could be
the catalyst that transforms the anti-war movement into
an empowerment movement, a global democracy movement. 
Out of misery is born hope.  Such is the nature of
Shiva, Hidu god of both Destruction and Creativity,
two sides of the same coin.

If Bush goes ahead, as he is likely to do on the 18th
of March (according to secret orders issued last week
to the commanders), then it will be abundantly clear to
all that the global regime has no concern whatever for
public will.  All these top-to-bottom, round-the-world
protests and resignations mean nothing to them.
They no longer see the need to even pretend that
democracy exists, that international law exists, or
that human life has any value.  Barrels of crude oil
are worth more than millions of Iraqi lives.  That will
be the clear meaning of Bush's fireworks.

There are some very promising ingredients in this
horrible but likely scenario.  We have a global
movement which is being ignored, and we have the
televised horror of the attack.  The response of the
movement is likely to be one of serious outrage - not
only at the violence but also at the arrogance of the
regime. The regime is in some sense laying down the
gauntlet.  It is saying "Fuck you all!", which can also
be heard as, "So, what you gonna do about it?".

That kind of outrage - in the face of ongoing
provocation on daily television - could be a powerful
unifying force.  If enough people feel strongly enough
that outrage could be turned into effective collective

But effective at what?  Not at making noise. That's
like a whining baby begging for attention. It is a sign
of dependency.  Effective action means doing things
that COMMAND the attention of the regime, things that
demonstrate the power of the people.  The most obvious
example is a general strike.

Students cannot have a general strike; they can only
have a student strike.  A general strike is when
EVERYONE - or a reasonable approximation - stops
running the system for an agreed period.  For ten days,
let's say, no ship sails, truck rolls, or plane flies -
unless the military are doing it themselves.  No one
goes to school and no one shows up at the office,
except for utilities and medical & emergency services. 
Instead there are discussions, celebrations, and
teach-ins.  That's a General Strike.  And on a global
scale it would get the attention of the regime.  It
would cut into profits.  It would threaten their
arrogant and all-too-easy control.  It would scare them

This leaves us with two questions which I would like to
say something about in closing...

  (1) "Will the current protest movement - boosted by
      arrogant US provocation - be strong enough to
      carry off actions at the scale of a general strike?"
  (2) What would be the appropriate follow-on, after
      Commanding the Attention of the regime?"

I don't have any good information or even intuition
about the first question.  How strong is the movement?
Those of you more in touch with the on-the-ground
organizations might have some insights for us.  When I
hear a spirit of hope from an activist like Jan that
gives me hope as well. The spirit itself is the thing,
really, even if Jan & I disagree on some of the finer
points of debate.  In the end, we share the same vision
and hope.

My role in this is to write what I'm writing. If anyone
reads this who has any inputs to the organizations at
work out there, my advice is to focus on Building
Empowerment Through Solidarity, and organizing around
those Collective Actions that Command Attention - as
opposed to begging for attention. I would also
emphasize the use of consensus in movement
deliberations. That's all I can say about Question 1.

As for "follow on", I can say something more useful,
with your indulgence. The follow on is quite simple:
More of the Same... General Strikes, Plant Takeovers,
Monkey Wrenches in The Gears, Blockaded Freeways,
Disaffection in the Military Ranks - all those sorts of
things.  More experience of Empowerment through More
Collective Actions, leading to Command of the regime's
Full Attention. 

That is to say, we create a situation where the regime
cannot move on to anything else until it deals with the
empowered and aroused populace, the global movement.

We would then be entering into a stage I would
characterize as Power Dialog.  The movement can take
actions and the governments can take actions.  How that
plays out depends on many things.  The movement has the
greatest chance of success if it learns to be
Intelligent in its Actions and its Responses - if it
can carry on an Intelligent and Assertive Dialog with
the Regime.

Intelligence, in this context, has to do with Accurate
Information, Coherence of Action, Understanding the
Adversary, Strategy, and Tactics.  Don't ask me what
the details of that should be.  An Intelligent Movement
will evolve those things as it comes into being,
exercises its powers, and interacts with its
environment.  There are certainly some time-proven
guidelines for such Power Dialog.  Such as: Never back
your adversary into a corner, Always offer a mutually
beneficial alternative to confrontation; Always be open
to verbal dialog, Always tell the truth, Always mean
what you say, etc. The simple laws of effective
business negotiation, also practiced by Ghandi.


My final postscript is about Objectives.  If we really
want to change things, and if these scenarios should
come to pass, then what should be the goals of the
movement?  Eyes on the Prize - Yes! - but which prize? 
If the opportunity arises, we must know which is the
gold ring and which is the brass imitation.

My answer once more is: More of the Same!  The movement
itself is the thing, the goal.  The fundamental message
of the movement to the regime is: "We are in charge
now."  "You don't believe us?, OK, nothing moves for a
week."  "You are ready to talk?  OK, everything is back
up operating - for the time being."

The regime cannot be reformed.  Elections and political
parties can never be democratic.  The whole apparatus
of the modern state, both administrative and physical,
is like the dinosaurs.  When the dinosaurs perished,
the little scurrying furry mammals were able to come
into their own.  When the gigantic centralized state 
is dismantled, then the emerging sprouts of empowered
democracy can come into their own. 

We want nothing more or less from the regime than its
cooperation with the movement. It has a very important
role - to dismantle itself with the least harm to the
environment and with the greatest attention to a smooth
transition away from capitalism and toward sustainable
economics.  They are the experts in their own systems,
and they know how to take them apart and turn them into
museums of the bad old days, before civilization
finally got civilized. Back when governments existed
and made the people do horrible things to the world and
to one another.  Back when people fought one another
instead of collaborating for mutual benefit.
One shudders at the memory.

luv & hope,


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