Power Politics of the "undead left"
I have found memories of fighting the Power Politics of the "undead left" during the London Social Forum many years ago - lots of knotted strings of organic garlic around the top "taking the power table" to highlight the uncomfortable "undead left´s" grasping for power.
Then the ad hock crew taking away the top table altogether during the lunch break and arranging all the chairs in a circle. Their faces were a delight, coming back after lunch and it kinda/might have worked... but the splits of "not thought of here" took over and the undead were permissioned to take back the space at the next meeting.
The ESF movement faded and now is a shadow - no alt was built.
The use of cultural myths and traditions will mediate and disempower "power politics" but it's a chicken and an egg to get these embedded in groups that are already ensnared in "power politics".
The rainbow gatherings used to work this way till they were "disrupted" by the digital shift and capture by the #dotcons now the gatherings themselves are broken due in part by being organized through #failbook
The #OMN could fail from the same issue. The myths and traditions are in place PGA and #4opens. But the project does not have deep roots to weather the inrush of success. And on the other hand will likely not last the slow growth needed for the roots to dig deep.
Humm doing this expo project is unsettling.
Power politics - In activist organizing prioritizes self-interest over outcomes
The is a lot of self destructive behavior in left/progressive organising, an old example the Monty Python sketch
Am looking at concepts that describe this. Power politics is a state of international relations in which sovereigns protect their own interests by threatening one another with military, economic, or political aggression.
Power politics is essentially a way of understanding the world of international relations: nations compete for the world's resources and it is to a nation's advantage to be manifestly able to harm others. It prioritizes national self-interest over the interest of other nations or the international community.
Techniques of power politics include, but are not limited to, conspicuous nuclear development, pre-emptive strike, blackmail, the massing of military units on a border, the imposition of tariffs or economic sanctions, bait and bleed and bloodletting, hard and soft balancing, buck passing, covert operations, shock and awe and asymmetric warfare.
Can people think of examples of how this manifests in smaller world of activist organising?
A personal perspective of trade union organising - the NUJ DM
Some feeling about my personal experience of old school democratic trade unionism.
Had an interesting, disquieting conversation tonight at a social event after the work of the NUJ delegate meeting. I had been visiting the delegate meeting room every so often to dip in to try and engage with the process, and each time I had failed, due to bad sound, complex and obscure timing, and the opaque and ritualistic language used. Being me I looked around for a space were I could help out and found the students making media about the event – joined in there and worked with different students to make and distribute 6 video reports that day.
Back to the conversation in the bar, the overly serious youthfull man I was talking to, seemed surprised and a bit disapproving of my action. His convincing argument was that I had been mandated and “paid” to participate in the DM process, travel, accommodation and food being covered by the union. Its a strange feeling for a horizontal like me am I obliged to do work through this process?
Am more interested if the traditional union is flexible enough to work with a diversity of strategy as the current one is simply inappropriate for many people’s view of a contemporary union. As I see it my “work” at the DM is to see if I can work in this space and perhaps more importantly can this space work with me and people like me. The old problematic divide between the horizontal and the virticalist, think, the NUJ might be one of the few union's that has wiggle space, we will see.
I'try again to engage with what am now appreciating is "power politics" the ritualistic fight for notice, resources and power. After a nights sleep, understanding, of my own aversion, and the democratic nature of this anti-consensuses process. Today it is the funding debate, get up early to be there on time, lets try and make it work as good to respect the attempt.
Going better, helps to talk to my fellow delegate sitting next to me. Much of the noise has the flavourer of sectarian infighting. By asking members you CAN find your way around the process. But its a Q. of motivation to engage and stay engaged. Is this the best we can do as the left?