-----Original Message-----
From:    Ben Seattle
Sent:    Saturday, May 06, 2006 10:44 AM
To:      edward (and SAIC)
Subject: Re: Letter to comrade Edward
         (The Road to Information War)

hi Edward,

Just a few brief comments.

> I don't have the time to give you
> an in-depth response right now

I hope that you decide that my letter is worth an 
in-depth response sometime when you do have time.

> 1. I do not judge SAIC's success by how many people 
> attend our meetings. I have NEVER said anything of 
> the sort and can only guess how you came to this
> conclusion.
>
> Yes, I would like to see more people come to SAIC 
> meetings.  And so should you.  But to frame it as
> "your concern" as if it was my *main* concern is
> completely dishonest.
>
> (This is not the first time you've completely
> misrepresented my views. Over time I've come to
> understand at least one of the reasons why so many
> people/"corrupt gatekeepers" are reluctant to
> satisfy your love of debate...)

Here is what I said:

> Your concern, as I understand it, is that you
> want to see more activists come to SAIC's local
> meetings.  This is how you measure success. 
> (I consider attendence at local meetings _a_
> measure of success -- but not the only one and
> not even necessarily the most important one.)

Apologies if I misrepresented your views.  I based my comments on
the discussion at SAIC's recent public meeting.  We were
discussing what we need to be doing.  I attempted to raise the
issue of increased national distribution -- but this topic was
considered as unimportant by others who were there (including
yourself -- as I remember it) in comparison to discussing what we
need to do to get more people to our public meetings.

Does this mean that my comments were "dishonest"?

My experience is that it is common for activists to misrepresent
the views of one another.  Sometimes this is deliberate.  More
often it is due to carelessness or neglect.

So what is important is that, as part of "polemical decency", we
make consistent efforts to exercize effort in how we represent
the views of others.

I will make every effort to avoid misrepresentation of your views
and to minimize errors of this kind.  And I will take steps to
ensure that you have the opportunity to correct me publicly if I
make an error.  Your reply (as well as Frank's) has been posted
to the web page at http://struggle.net/mass-demcoracy and the
pof-300, theorist and proldem-open groups.  (Pof-200 readers will
be notified when I make my next post to that list.)

In general, however, it is not realistic to expect me to be able
to represent your views as well as you can do yourself.  I have
asked you to clarify your views concerning how you measure
success.

It is extremely common in the movement for groups to measure
their success in term of their own growth (ie: recruitment).
There is nothing wrong with recruitment, by itself.  Recruitment
is necessary.  But I have often seen this distorted -- given a
priority that is out of proportion to what it should be.  I
believe that the predecessor organization to SAIC (ie: SAIA) was
liquidated because local activists were not coming around to us.
I disagreed with the decision to dissolve SAIA because I
understood that, once we reached a plateau locally, we could
continue our work on a national level via the internet to (1)
encourage an anti-imperialist orientation for activists in other
cities who would be receptive to our analysis and are frequently
isolated and surrounded by social-democracy and (2) make more of
a conection with the thinking of activists on the deeper issues
that are related to the crisis of theory.

I do hope that, eventually, you will clarify your thinking
concerning how you measure SAIC's work in the movement -- not
simply in terms of correcting how I characterized what I believe
are your concerns -- but in your own terms.

> 3. Let us also note that SAIC established a
> blog-style site where readers could leave
> comments because we decided to do so.  We made
> the decision. It wasn't a question of you
> "forcing" or "pressuring" us to do so.

I do not believe that I claimed, in my public letter to you, that
the blog was a result of pressure of me.  However I do believe
that, were it not for me, SAIC would not have a blog right now --
because I remember the history of how it came to exist.  However,
whether or not I am mistaken in understanding my own role in this
-- what is important is that we have the blog.  It will prove its
value over time.

> Could you elaborate a bit on what path
> the CVO comrades supposedly advocate
> for SAIC?

I will not elaborate much since I have written so much about this
already.

Much of the work they do is outstanding.  This is why I support
it.

However they also are unable to see the value of key long-term
tasks -- which I have also discussed at length.

Sincerely and revolutionary regards,
Ben