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We Need Mass Democracy
                Real organization cannot be built on a foundation of sand
If we can create a mass anti-imperialist organization where decisions and struggle are based on mass democracy -- then we will capture the imagination of serious activists everywhere -- and be in a position to change the dynamics of the entire antiwar movement. Ben Seattle

Activists have the right to know
what the fuck is going on

Ben's main criticisms of SAIC -- is that it is not sufficently open politically.

Ben would like SAIC to have a page on its website where activists could go to learn
about the various political currents
in and around the organization (ie: so that they
can find this out without having to read an Indymedia post). And Ben would like the group
to give readers the ability to post comments on its website about its agitation
(ie: so that readers could do so there as easily as they can do so on Indymedia).

Ben thinks that Indymedia is great. But any organization that is serious about
mass democracy will send a clear signal to activists everywhere that they do not
need to google ancient indymedia archives in order to know what the fuck is going on.

Ben replies to
Ezekiel's rant about SAIC

Posted by Ben Seattle November 9, 2005

Excerpted from:
http://seattle.indymedia.org/en/2005/11/249752.shtml

I don't have time to clear up all the ways in which you are
confused -- including having confused me with the Seattle
Anti-Imperialist Committee (SAIC) which put out the leaflet that
you criticise. I thought it was a great leaflet but I only wrote
about two percent of it: my contribution to the SAIC leaflet
amounted to a few sentences. I support the work of SAIC but I am
not a member (more on that below).

[...]

5. Now -- about SAIC: 

Your confusion in thinking that I am SAIC -- has made it
difficult for readers to follow your rant -- but this is partly
the fault of SAIC itself -- which, unfortunately, made a
deliberate decision _not_ to place on its website any
easy-to-find information about the various political tendencies
in or around it -- on the excuse that to do so would be to pander
to a supposed "petty bourgeois" sensibility that was more
concerned with personalities than politics. 

I have a different view. 

Each individual political activist earns his or her reputation on
the basis of actions which conform to a set of personal and
political principles. 

For example some activists are responsive to questions while
others are evasive. Some activists embody a commitment to calm
and serious discussion while others are full of hot air. Some
activists are deserving of attention while others are not. In
each case the reputation is based on action: by the fruit you
shall know the tree. 

And this same principle, writ large, applies to political trends
-- which represent the combined energy of individual activists.
Some trends work hard to oppose the influence of the Democratic
Party while other trends refuse to do more than write an
occasional article on a back page somewhere -- because they don't
want to piss off their social-democratic allies. 

So when a new organization comes on the scene -- one of the first
questions I want to know is: "Who are those guys?" The answer to
that question will often save a lot of time -- because people, as
well as political trends, are remarkably consistent from day to
day even as they follow a long-term political trajectory or
evolution. 

The individuals and political trends which come together in an
organization carry their principles and politics with them. And
so the composition of any organization is a political matter
which I believe activists have a right to know. 

So, to get to the bottom line -- you won't get this info from the
SAIC web site -- but you will get it from me: 

SAIC represents a joint effort by a number of activists
including: 

(a) local supporters of the CVO
    (ie: the Seattle Communist Study Group) 
(b) Edward, who like you is a maoist, and 
(c) to a lesser extent a few others, including myself 

I have my criticisms of SAIC -- mainly that it is not, in my
view, sufficently open politically. 

I would like the group to have a page on its website where
someone like you could go to learn about the various political
currents in and around SAIC (ie: so that you can find this out
without having to read an Indymedia post). And I would like the
group to give readers the ability to post comments on its website
about its agitation (ie: so that you could do so there as easily
as you can do here on Indymedia). 

I think that Indymedia is great. But any organization that is
serious about mass democracy will send a clear signal to
activists everywhere that they do not need to google ancient
indymedia archives in order to know what the fuck is going on.
Activists have the right to know what the fuck is going on.
Activists should not have to rely on Indymedia or rely on google.

If and when SAIC gets serious about being accountable to
activists and gives activists: 

(a) a clear window into its internal contradictions and 
(b) the right to post comments on its website 

-- then (and only then) will I take it seriously as an
organization -- and help distribute its leaflets and ask to
become a member. 

Until that time I will give a lower level of support to SAIC --
and I will criticise SAIC as a non-member. 

My criticism of SAIC (and its predecessor SAIA: the Seattle
Anti-Imperialist Alliance) and my idea of what an organization
that is committed to mass democracy would look like is posted at:

http://struggle.net/ben/2005/mass-democracy/proposal.htm

I would be very interested in your opinion of it. You are welcome
to post your views on that page as well as here. The comments you
post here will fall off the Indymedia front page in a few hours.
Your comments on the mass_democracy page will have a longer
shelf-life. 


Sincerely and revolutionary regards, 
Ben Seattle

Isolated from one another we are easily defeated. 
Connected to one another no force on earth can stop us 
MediaWeapon.com

 
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