A river that needs crossing political and tech blogs - On the political side, there is arrogance and ignorance, on the geek side there is naivety and over- complexity

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Entries with tag liberal .

Problem on the left “the is no alternative”

In grassroots movements

Social media tarts

Capturing the grassroots and building a career in NGO land for them selves from activists movements/agenda’s. They are fine as far as they go, every campaign needs some, but they tend to be competent anufe to unbalance movements towards the “soft”. For them to be useful the need to be a healthy alt to keep this from happening.

Alt-media primadonas

Individualism the issue of churning projects with falling outcomes is all that exists, some projects are a bit more together than most if they networked the could be a real start of a alt-media.

In the mainstream

Good will Liberals

Their support for dangerously naive lost course of the soft centre left makes them unbalancing “friends” with out a healthy alt movements will fall over to the “soft”

The Liberal Democrat Party

Its selling out is now obvious. It played the “bad role” of shifting focus away from a real left when needed. Many good will liberals lapped this up till they got a good sound kicking in the teeth during the “alliance years”

The labour party

Is a real left alternative, but it has hard coded DNA in its libryem rules and regulations to foul this out come. And the left in the party has a core “nasty” left who have a long blood soaked wrecking history. The influx of naive “soft” liberalism will be moulded by the bureaucracy on one hand and dispoled by control freaky on the other, this is not a stable mixture for a good outcome. This could be over come by real soughed community but I cant see one.

The Green Party

Has the same issues internally as the labour party, though the top is more soughted. They have a real loon issue to deal with at the grassroots.

The nationalists of all flavourers

Are looking like the ONLY hope of a differences as they push a open loon issue of a sense of belonging agenst the over-wash of globalisation. Not a good outcome but better than the rightwing war happy, poor kicking loons who are the Torys.

The EU

A disaster in and a bigger disaster out…

What would alt/grassroots/21centery left look like?

If anyone is interested I would wright a outline of what a few strands of a real alt/grassroots/left network project would look like :)

Hamish sailing away on a lifeboat, this is not a metaphor

 

Lets look for a moment at “sanity” in grassroots terms

The are a lot of “insane” people in activism and counter-culture, its what makes it exciting, dynamic and affective. However with everything its a question of balance, lets look at how a movement stagnates, fails or growes and blossems.

A short off the top of head list

NGO'ists push limited bureaucratic thinking over everything, they get into bed with anything that can be shaped to their mind set and is fashionably fundable. They take up mind space and squander resources. The vast majority of “institutional” money goes into this.

Encryptionists – service the paranoid fuckists, they have a strong tendencies to reduce usability and create dangerous fantasises of security and anonymity. The are a lot of these as this has been a dominate way of thinking for the last 5-10 years.

Traditional media panderers have there uses for a companion, but soon start to misshape the movement to mainstream agenda’s – hard not to have this outcome.

Horizontal dotcom'sts try to use our movement to jump start their dotcom, fine if its built with the 4 opens, if its not then distraction if  failur and disaster if people use it – so bad outcome both ways.

Insecure and nasty lifestyles are endemic and are attracted like fly's to any successful grassroots project and they are feed by the felandering of the Traditional media panderist – this can easily tip into being a movement death spiral.

Hidden careerist are good for movement building as tend to be the competent ones, but start to drift to NGO and media philanders to build their careerer rather than the grassroots movement.

Paranoid fuckwists are the bedroock of most grassroots campines and in small doses help hold things together, get to many of them in places of responsibility and you have out of control infighting.

Dogmatic liberals are lovely people, but a strong force for blocking sustainable alternatives, its imposable to meditate the breakdowns with a few of these at the core of any counter-culture.

Now for a corresponding “good” list of activist “insanity's”

On this subject it helps to be a bit "mad" to stay in grassroot movement for any leaghnth of time

The hand's off NGO's the is a long (hidden) history of healthy NGO/atavism synergy

The user focused KISS per2per'ists are working on the uphill project of (re)booting the open web.

Traditional media outreach'sts are promoting grassroots media and technology by linking it into traditional media narratives to build the world rather than misshape it.

Horizontal dotcom's are working on “open” federated sustainability rather than closed client server “solutions”

Lifestyles are though opening up in the campaigning lifestyle flow and learning to let go and build healthy connected lives.

Open careerist, are bootstrapping the campaign while bootstrapping themselves, they take the open energy like a trosion horse into the belly of the traditional beast. Some one has to do this...

Secure organising crew is everyone job to keep it carm and focus, and help out with the very real “offline” security and communication that activism needs.

Liberal liberals the calm and the balance of “common sense” that’s needed to keep things from going horribly wrong.

Activism is a dynamic and crazy place full of “insane” people doing fantastic things, its a balancing act to hold it all together, to much of the top and not anufe off the bottom and it quickly slides into something few people wont to be involved in – then disappears with little trace.

 

The ecology of hash-tag organising (DRAFT)

A look at ideas around Ukuncut, which grew from the winding down of the climatecamp movement.

The ecology of hash-tag organising
 
A group of driven people get together in a pub and come up with a strategy and a hash-tag – they then build a aggregating website to display the hash-tag and self organise around it. This facilitates exciting, dramatic and dynamic actions, which draw in more dynamic and active crew, the aggregating website allows fast feedback.
 
Mainstream media pick this up, a group of media savey crew start to feed this media. The mainstream media coverage brings in a flood of more “liberal” activists and normal people, this swells the actions and makes them much more affective. This swerles round for a while.
 
The targets start to recognise the damage that is being done to them and the threat that they might have to change – and start a two prong strategy
 
* PR offensive to show how they are changing
* Use of private corpurtae spy’s, the courts and the police to repress the demonstration strategy
 
The problems of hash-tag organising start here, as the mainstream media outreach has seceded in bring in many more less experienced (and more liberal) people there attitudes start to dominate the hash-tag organising space. And the more experienced activist voices are submerged in this flow. The effects of this are 3 fold:
 
1) Actions start to follow a narrow predictable pattern which quickly becomes stale
2) The forces of repression create strategy’s for dealing with these static ideas/actions
3) The voices of change are submerged under the voices of flow, and the flow cercals to 1)
 
This leads to the inflexible liberal elements wilting under the focused repression and the movement stagnating and often turning on it self. It seams to me that hash-tag organising has no way out of this cyclical.
 

Collective statement from some individuals affected by recent infiltrations Various 2011-03-02

This statement has also been published at http://dysophia.wordpress.com

A group of people involved in radical action around the environment and other social struggles who have been involved with and been affected by recent exposes of infiltrators have come together to create a joint statement on how the issue has evolved and been represented in the media.
We are issuing this statement in solidarity with all those, in the UK and beyond, who are facing charges or have been affected in any way by the work of the undercover agents recently discovered.
We are a diverse group of individuals who have been involved in radical action, including actions based around the environment, for close to 20 years. This has included organising the Stirling Eco-village, the Camp for Climate Action, Earth First! Gatherings, anti-GM decontaminations, as well as many other forms of social struggle. We have been up trees, down tunnels and on the front line. We have taken beatings from the police and received convictions for the pleasure, and we make no apologies for our belief in direct political action.
The media frenzy that followed the collapse of the second Ratcliffe trial was met with an equally frenetic flood of articles and comments in the alternative media. Many of these were infuriating and/or very depressing, particularly as all the anti-media comments posted on Indymedia seemed to conveniently forget the fact that the site was one of the main sources of information used by the journalists covering the story.
It is difficult to convey what we feel without falling into the same contradiction. Many of us who were very close to the situation wished to remain anonymous and refused to join in the flood of opinions and speculations. This was an attempt to avoid or at least not to feed into the media (and Indymedia) craze. This refusal to take a public position seems to have been interpreted as acceptance or even active participation in the media strategy.
Historically we have always tried to rise above the 'society of the spectacle' and it is has proven to be an important strength. We hope that comrades in other countries can comprehend the complexity of networks and political positions within the UK, and understand that the very public position taken by a few individuals in no way represents us all.
The environmental movement is not the only network affected by the recent exposures. We are all involved in different struggles beyond environmental concerns. Many movements, from animal rights, to migrant solidarity struggles have been targeted. Marco Jacobs was connected to the No Borders network, Lynn Watson to the peace movement. Mark Kennedy began to make connections to the animal rights movement, and had a ongoing interest in anti-capitalist struggles within the UK and across Europe. These are just some examples.
Despite this diversity, there is a tendency to refer to 'the Movement' without distinguishing that there is a broad range of social struggles taking place in the UK and elsewhere. These struggles often overlap, as is the case with our own activism. It is a mistake to suppose that the environmental movement is capable of representing all of the other social movements that have been targeted by the police in this case, and there has been little recognition of this by the people dealing with the media. This has shown not only a lack of solidarity with these struggles, but has explicitly played into the rhetoric of 'good' and 'bad' protesters.
Now that the sensation seems to have died down, we are making this statement in the hope that it will undo some of the damage that has been done.
How the ecological movement is being portrayed in the mainstream media We feel that self-selecting individuals and groups have gone to the media with a strategy that presents a movement of gormless idiots, that is totally ineffective and of no threat to the State, in order to argue that the placement of undercover officers is 'unjustifiable' and 'over-policing'. This is a very dangerous position to take as it facilitates the repression of those who are being identified as a genuine threat.
Regardless of the intention behind them, the statements that have been made in the mainstream press appeal to a narrow sector of middle-class, left-wing liberals. Downplaying our radical tendencies is not a way of broadening the appeal of radical environmental demands. If anything, the very opposite is true, as anyone who has done stalls in the street is able to tell you.
[Indymedia does blah. Content is good, and free to use for non-commercial purposes under the Open
Content license. if you have questions, email someone.]
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We are angry at the way the movement we have been so involved in has been portrayed, with such a profound lack of basic political understanding. We want to be clear we that are not trying to make things 'a little bit nicer' or tweak the system, we are challenging capitalism and the dominant ideology as being responsible for the ecological destruction of the planet.
The very nature of what we aim for is in direct opposition to the system, and it is therefore no great surprise that the State and corporations target us. The more economic damage that is done, or the more successfully the dominant paradigm is challenged, the more inevitable infiltration becomes.
As anarchists, we believe in solidarity, and autonomy. When we take action, we do so because it is an appropriate response, a valid tactic. We reject, therefore, the way in which several individuals have presented their 'story', in connection with infiltrators, as having been persuaded to act by them.
State informers have been used for hundreds, or even thousands of years. We have been dealing with and exposing police and informers as long as our movements have existed. Our aims are radical, and repression from the powers-that-be has always been expected and dealt with. We object to the way history is being re-written.
Relationship with the mainstream media We are concerned that the relationship with the media is coming to define the eco-defence movement and its actions. It is clear that the media has been given preferential treatment on access to materials
and this is breeding distrust (as clearly demonstrated in recent clashes on Indymedia). We reject the notion that the likes of
The Guardian and The Independent newspapers can ever be part of the solution to the problems we face.
Our story is strong enough that we will get the media attention regardless. We do not have to change who we are to satisfy
the wishes of these for-profit companies and their advertising agendas. High profile liberal journalists are not our natural
leaders or spokespeople. While the media is (at times) an important tool for activism, pandering to it is a dangerous spiral to
ineffectiveness, damaging the integrity of the movement in the long term for shallow, short-term goals.
Relationship with the police and the State The tone of many of the statements made to the press implied the need for
'reforms' or better regulations for undercover policing. We would like to stress that we do not want 'better' or 'more ethical'
police infiltration.
Some groups and individuals have used the mainstream press to call for police reform. However, in reality, the actual
result is an ongoing consolidation of power within the Metropolitan Police who have taken control of the 'domestic extremist'
units, including those which ran various of the infiltrators. The police exist to protect the State, private property and profits. To
do this they use infiltrators and sleep with militants to get information. They also beat people in police cells, and frame people
for crimes they didn't commit, etc. etc. Superficial reforms will never change that. Even if a public relations battle has been
won against the police and other infiltrators, they will no doubt regroup and continue their activities. Pretending that they can
be reformed is not just dangerous but serves to legitimise their on-going existence.
The victories of our movement will not
be won through The Guardian nor in the plush offices of civil liberty NGOs. They will be won on the streets, in our
communities, in the fields and in the forests. The ecological defense movement and the other struggles we are involved in
have grown strong because they have stepped outside the political campaigning/lobbying box and sought change from
multiple directions, such as working directly with communities, taking direct action and causing economic sabotage. Today,
lobbyists with very different agendas from our own, are using the space we forced open, and we should stop helping people
co-opt our work.
“Those most affected” The press and others have placed a morbid emphasis on sexual relationships in these cases. This
totally ignores the complexity of human interpersonal relationships and the range of emotions and experiences involved
here. We have all had different kinds relationships with one or more of the undercovers recently exposed, and feel very
uncomfortable by the assumptions made in statements and actions that took place in the wake of the media frenzy. Attempts
by third parties to define the abuses of trust experienced by the people who were close to these infiltrators (often in the name
of 'solidarity') have been extremely disempowering.
Unfortunately, some people (not just from the UK) have put pressure on people to act and to talk to the media without
considering their own personal well being, and the impacts this could have on others. We call for practical solidarity through
awareness; respecting everyone's individual boundaries. We want to discourage people from talking publicly (or encouraging
others to do so) about relationships (again, of any nature) without considering the wider implications for others who are also
[Indymedia does blah. Content is good, and free to use for non-commercial purposes under the Open
Content license. if you have questions, email someone.]
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dealing with this. We request that people make no assumptions and only talk from their own experiences.
Moving on This has been a difficult time, but it has also made us aware of how lucky we are to know so many people who
continue to act with dignity and integrity, and to be part of networks of resistance which stretch across the globe. The process
of the wave of exposures has revealed many false unities in respect to our politics. We call for solidarity and respect across
networks, we need to consolidate our allegiances and to support each other. The State will continue to use surveillance and
infiltration, and we hope that valuable lessons are learnt from this process, and not forgotten.
Notes [1] This statement was put together through a collective process that involved approximately 15 people, the majority
in the UK but a number across Europe as well. It includes people who were close to the exposing of various police infiltrators.
The point of contact is dysophia@riseup.net - comments & feedback can be sent to this address.
[2] For more background on the story as it appeared in the Guardian see http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/mark-
kennedy http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/surveillance http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/activism
[3] There are many threads on Indymedia relating to this, however, some key 'debates' are at
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2010/10/466477.html
http://sheffield.indymedia.org.uk/2011/01/472102.html
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2011/01/471865.html
[4] BBC coverage of Ratcliffe trial & interviews http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDttEnl8r34&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsr-V5Bqt9E http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12148753
This statement has also been published at http://dysophia.wordpress.com/
 

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