cj#805> re: building a movement


Richard Moore

Dear cj,

We will continue a thread about movement building on cj, but I'd like to
recommend joining the renaissance-network if you want more depth on this
topic.  You can join by sending any message to:

The point is that cj has many threads, and there's no sense in duplicating
all of the rn postings here on cj.

Also, my apologies for labelling two different postings with "cj#804".


Date: Fri, 17 Jul 1998
To: •••@••.•••
Mime-Version: 1.0
Subject: Re: cj#800> ripples on the right against globalization

In a message dated 98-07-14 08:41:10 EDT, you write:

 Mark Whitaker sent in this interesting article from the LA Times, which
 I'd like to share with you.  It talks about a growing opposition from 'the
 right' to corporate globalization.  It reminds me of one of Carolyn Chute's
 favorite expressions... "There is no left and right, there is only up and
 down.  The fat cats UP there having a good time while the rest of us are
 DOWN here struggling to survive."

 I'd be interested in feedback from others on the sigificance of this
 article, and on the possible political implications.  Is the 'Halloween
 Coalition' a trick or a treat??

The article and the phenomenon it describes are very interesting, but I don't
agree at all about there not being a left and right.  It's very easy for the
conservatives quoted in the article to say what they say -- they're out of
power and are looking for an alternative, populist platform to attract voters
and propel them back into power.  What can we expect of them once back in
power?  Very little I'd say.  They're in no way socialists.  They wouldn't
play around much at all with the structure of things.  The fact that Buchanan
still sees Reagan as "a conservative with a heart" -- the man who impoverished
America -- offers a clue that he's not an entirely new Pat Buchanan.  US
history is full of politicians who championed populist/alternative ideas they
thought the public wanted to hear, but who showed their true colors later.
Remember Gene McCarthy, the darling of the 60s anti-war movement, who said all
the right things?  In 1980, McCarthy came out in support of Reagan.  You
simply can't trust these people.

Bill Blum


Dear Bill,

I agree largely with your points, but I think there's more to be said.
I've made the point in previous postings that prior to 1945 there was a
strong bond between capitalism and nationalism, due to the fact that
competitive imperialism was the primary means for one group of capitalists
to gain advantage over another group.

This meant that nationalists, who were often conservatives, found
themselves typically on the same side of the fence with those pushing the
corporate agenda.

But since 1945, as competitive imperialism has been gradually replaced by
collective imperialism, the corporate agenda has diverged radically from
nationalism.  Hence many genuinely conservative nationalists _do find
themselves on the other side of the fence from those pushing the corporate

True they aren't socialists, but I think we need to look for allies more
broadly than just among socialists.  (I don't really consider myself a
socialist.) Buchanan himself may or may not be someone we want for an ally,
but I think among the broad range of people who call themselves
conservatives, there are many who could work with us to build a democratic
movement.  I think there is a lot of sense in what Soros says about "open
societies", for example.   I've been making a habit of talking politics
with people I meet in airports and other public places, and I've found many
conservatives who want the same things I do, including a vibrant democracy.


Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998
From: Antonio Rossin <•••@••.•••>
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: Re: cj#804> re: building a movement for a Democratic Renaissance

David Cameron/Nancy Sherwood wrote:
 >  Everywhere there are alternate presses, niche journals, private zines, and
> many, many websites for alternate thoughts.
> I suggest compiling contacts for these grass-root resources and
> cross-posting analysis articles, objectives of CDR, etc.
 > I guess the place to start this activity would be where-ever we
  > individually are now.


did you ever mind, that the effectiveness of communication is a function of
the listener's Critical Thinking and Flexibility, rather than the speaker's

If you did, you now were dealing with the know-how to increase CT and F in
people - and not struggling an unlikely battle against the mass-media owners
for the control of communication tools.

For instance: we, who want to build a democratic renaissance, have already
the control of the whole internet: suffice it to each one of us forwarding
RKM's cyberjournal throughout the lists, and the terrific amount of the net
users would [receive] plenty of our democratic messages *in no time*.

  >The public is _already much more enlightened (despite constant
 > propaganda) than the policies we live under.  In poll after poll, large
> majorities express a desire to bring corporate power under control, to
> have stronger environmental protections, to stop reckless genetic
> engineering, to support human rights strongly in foreign policy, etc.
 > Imagine if the mass media told the truth instead of lies?  How much more
  > enlightened would public opinion be then!

My point is, the mass media compete each other in selling to the public
the "truth" that the public want to buy.  Do not forget the rules of the
market, RKM, where the demand is what counts.

  >My point is that we do _not live under a democratic system, that
 > our polices are decided by the elite corporate agenda, and educating the
 > public still further about _policy issues has little if any political
  > consequence.

If I understand well, RKM, are you saying that we should replace the existing
Top-to-Down policy decided by the existing "elite corporate" agenda, with a
democratic Bottom-to-Up policy decided by... another elite corporate agenda?
Explain please this point more.

However, I recall, the reason and the power of the existing elite corporate
agenda is already Bottom-to-Up built by the public -- who demand for buying
just the soap-lie they sell.  According with real democracy and the market.


Dear Antonio,

Thanks for your comments.  You have an interesting theory about
"effectiveness of communication", but I think there's more to it than that.
Certainly the clarity and spin of a message also plays a role, as well as
the reader's perceptiveness.  And effectiveness needs to be defined.  Your
usage suggests that effectiveness means "amount of truth transferred",
which is not a bad notion, but an advertiser (or establishment
propagandist) might define effectiveness as "amount of deception

Many of my postings to cj, by the way, have been aimed at increasing
people's "Critical Thinking and Flexibility", and I agree this is is
centrally important to democracy.  It's also a difficult struggle, since
the education system and mass media devote so much energy to dumbing people

I must disagree, however, with the notion that the mass media sells the
public the "truth" that they want to buy, that "market forces" determine
the news.  The "marketing" part of the news, in my opinion, has to do with
the glitz of the broadcast, the personal appeal of the presenters, the pace
of the show, the use of graphic images, etc.  The news _content (or lack
thereof) is determined by what its corporate owners and advertisers want
the public to believe.  I believe that a hard-hitting news show that told
what I would call "the truth" would find a ready audience, although it
would probably need to be packaged with some of the glitzy "production
values" of the corporate media.

You ask:
  >If I understand well, RKM, are you saying that we should replace the
 >existing Top-to-Down policy decided by the existing "elite corporate"
 >agenda, with a democratic Bottom-to-Up policy decided by... another
  >elite corporate agenda?  Explain please this point more.

My notion of genuine democracy would be that bottom-up policy should be
determined by the people themselves, and that accurate information must be
available for this to work.  But in our current regime, based on
establishment-controlled parties and politicians, educating the public
about policy issues has a point of diminishing returns.  People already
know, for example, that species are being killed off, and people care about
that, but their concern doesn't effect government policy in any significant

I think we've reached the point where activist energy should be devoted
_more to organizing for effective democracy, and _less to policy issues.
I'm not saying education about the environment, or agricultural policy, or
whatever is not important, I'm just saying it's not enough, we've got
devote a lot more attention to the process of politics and of organization.

Date: Thu, 23 Jul 1998
To: •••@••.•••
From: David Cameron/Nancy Sherwood <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: cj#804> re: building a movement for a Democratic Renaissance

an unnamed person wrote:
  >>Dear Richard,
 >>In applying one's energies and resources to activist endeavors, a sort of
>>triage occurs. Priorities are analyzed using value criteria that we each
>>bring to the table.
>>In reviewing your papers and posts since our meeting in Boston, I've come
>>to the conclusion that you, like Ronnie Dugger, place an equalization of
 >>the pie slice at the top of your agenda, along with usurpation of excessive
  >>corp. power. Although I don't argue against the latter, the former is

Dear Richard, indeed! This is similiar to what you noticed about the way
activists slough one another off very short-sightedly & dismissively. X
doesn't have time for YOUR alliance-his issues being ever so much more
appropriate & closer to the top of some REAL agenda. The rest of what he
offers is what we call being "mealy-mouthed" in the Appalachians where I
was raised.

Now this person is undoubtedly doing important parallel work. What IS the
useful response, other than the reiteration of your position? Anybody got a
little communications gizmo that works on this fairly common problem?

David C


Dear David,

Thanks for your question, and I hope people have some good suggestions.
Reducing divisiveness among activists has certainly got to be central to
building a movement.  I do think that face-to-face discusssions, if set up
appropriately, can have major advantages over email, which is why I've
proposed "solidarity workshops".

And it seems to help if we can acknowledge the contribution someone is
making first, before we try to broaden their perspective, and I am trying
to get better at that myself.



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