- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Yeah. We were, and we are.

Posted by: Farinata ( L'inferno ) on December 02, 1999 at 11:42:21:

In Reply to: Did someone mention a 'small group of thoughtful committed citizens'? posted by Stoller on December 02, 1999 at 10:52:41:

: : -"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead.

: Oh my god, Farinata---NOW you've done it.

: Lark and all the other liberals are going to tar Margaret Mead with the 'vanguardist authoritarian' brush...

Not at all, Barry.

A vanguard is a group that rejects the idea of participation by the "common people"; they see it as their sacred duty to bring the Bright New Dawn to the workers; the workers have no say in what the Bright New Dawn actually *is*.

As one of the original two dozen people involved in J18, I can vouch that this has never been the case with J18 or N30. Meetings were *public*; anyone was encouraged to come along. We knew that this would probably include police infiltrators; but we have *never* encouraged decision-making out of the public eye; that also goes for the 3 London groups that were involved; Reclaim the Streets, People's Global Action and London Greenpeace. All of the groups involved in J18 were open to all comers; and all decisions were made in public; and all the information and resolutions passed in meetings were put up on the J18 website.

The decision to invite other groups to make common cause was decided upon in public in a community centre in London; groups like the Zapatistas and R.T.S. US were involved of their volition with as much information as any of the London groups had.

At no point was any line drawn between the organizers and the public; the original idea came from a small group of people; but all contributions were welcome. And in under a year, we managed to mobilize groups in 43 countries to mount a co-ordinated protest. It worked so successfully that the groups involved decided to do it again to coincide with the WTO meeting on November the 30th. And that's whats currently hitting the headlines.

There might have been some sort of action without the meeting of a couple of dozen people in a community centre a year and a half ago; but there might not. The thing that keeps them from being a vanguard is the fact that they never tried to stop the public taking part in decision-making; they encouraged it.


(who is still pleasantly surprised at how big the Seattle protests have been; there's still some backbone and fire in the Yankees after all...)

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