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[Imc-lwg-general] conflict resolution within imc-uk confession&apologies
Felix Gill felix at newsvalues.com
Mon, 27 May 2002 08:10:23 +0100
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Or as Karl Marx would say 'there is only the here and now in politics and
that is where you start from'
From: imc-london-wg-general-admin at lists.indymedia.org
[mailto:imc-london-wg-general-admin at lists.indymedia.org]On Behalf Of
Sent: 26 May 2002 21:39
To: zcat at ametrika.com
Cc: imc-uk-process at lists.indymedia.org;
imc-london-wg-general at lists.indymedia.org
Subject: Re: [Imc-lwg-general] conflict resolution within imc-uk
Thank you very much for writing your mail, and for the explanation; please
know that i'm very grateful.
I don't think it is the best thing i can do to reply specifically 'point for
point' to things you have written, for the reason that i feel that this might
somehow reflect back a different color onto your straightforward mail, which
i want not to do.
So I wrote a few thoughts, that i would be happy if you would read and know
what i think generally, just to explain myself if i can a little. Thanks.
I think that Indymedia has _enormous_ potential.
If Indymedia is to continue to develop into its (growing) potential then
amongst other things, it must _really_ incorporate diversity.
This is what i wrote in an earlier mail:
Not everything within the London collective's umbrella of preferred way of
working, collaboration: is/will be communication back and forth -
* between various basic underlying ways of working *.
This is obvious becuase it is also the basis of actual real, real world,
real life collaboration between diversity of life on the planet. Everyone
will just have to get used to this, whether sooner or later, until it
One group works this way, another groups works a different way, no judgement
involved, but the 'middle ground' where real collaboration takes place is in
the _space between_ the *different ways of working*.
For the easiest example i can think of, there are a lot of people in Indymedia
that describe themselves as 'anarchists', or come from certain backgrounds of
other similar 'activist' activity, like London Reclaim the Streets for example.
They usually get on, from their points of view, tolerably well together. But,
to continue the example, real diversity does not mean diversity between different
groups of anarchists who work similarly, it means diversity between different
groups _altogether_. That's what i meant in the sentence above with the **s.
This is the key key point i think that it would be very helpul if understood.
Otherwise people talk about diversity, and then as soon as something different
comes along to them they are defensive like crazy and resist. The point is in
our circumstances, no one attacked. LWG never attacked anyone.
I talked a few times about 'systems' approach. In systems approach to
describing and thinking about things, which goes a good way to describing
the complexity of interacting systems, like the solar system, the organization
of Indymedia UK, the way the human body works and regulates itself, etc, there
are no dividing lines; what you do affects me and what i do affects you;
so there is no question of a 'them and us' viewpoint on anything.
We are in a system together.
The 'rich' and 'poor' are part of the same system. Maybe it was fear throughout
the whole human system that led to materialism which partly led to capitalism
that led to 'rich' and 'poor', for example. The writer, D H Lawrence, a very
politically-minded man who grew up in the mining towns, said that "there is
no [outside] system, that the system is within us".
I think its also very important to understand that Marx and all the other
political philosophers took from the most advanced knowledge [information],
science, analytical methods, philosophies available to them at the time. If
they were alive today they would do the same again, but today they would
take from the more advanced data available today about planet earth and its
populations. The problem is, and has/does happen many times today and in
history, is that people take 'the word' and not the spirit [you might say
the underlying process of discovery], and so change the studies and theories
that political philosophers made into stale dogma that doesn't 'catch' the world
anymore anywhere very well. So you get Marxist, Leninists, Anarchists, and
lots of other 'ists'. All these ideologies lead people to want certain similar
fixed results in all processes. For example, anarchists often look towards a set
of concentric circles in organization - the 'spokescouncil' model, even if
their reality is obviously and massively not like a neat set of concentric
circles. When i wrote in a mail recently "lets try a triangle" i was only half
And if you are not moving forward then you are moving backwards becuase to
world does move on all the time, things change. All the political 'stances'
like non-hierarchical, anarchism etc, are all 'them and us' dualisms, and
that don't say anything actual about the world at all. They are really very
limitedly helpful descriptions. And they actually chain people to the ideas
that they don't like! Becuase you have to set the idea in your mind first in
order to conceptually negate it. For example, you take the word 'hierarchical'
that you dont like, put a big X through it (as if you were crossing it out),
and then think that is has gone away! But it hasn't, it just has a big X
through it, but it still exists in your mind and still influences everything
you do as before you put an X through it. Maybe even more. Only when you
create something different, new, and positive, do you start to take up room in
your mind with something different to the thing you don't like. You then stop
having an 'anti' mind-set, and become the creator of something better. The French
philosopher, Henri Bergson, analysed this trick of the mind that people very
often get caught up in, in his book Creative Evolution.
So we set up London working group (LWG) with its charter in order to work
completely differently, based on what we had observed with our own eyes, and
also from the best thinking we could come up with - and drawing from all
sorts of sources: everything from scientific/ecological 'systems' approach,
political thinkiers, to Eastern philosophy, computer programmers' functional
methods, friends' experiences in groups in Australia, and many more sources.
And we patched it all together.
We did this to see if we could improve, to our minds, on what we had
experienced, what we had observed and come up with explanations for. By the
way, i read recently an essay in a book by a scientist who did a lot of work
to popularize science, Stephen Jay Gould [maybe you read him too], who passed
away yesterday, where he explains from examples that 'Nature' does not 'design'
new functional limbs or organs etc from purpose-built parts, but makes use of
and patches together the already existing parts available, and combines them in
new and ingenious ways to come up with what is needed for a new particular task.
In LWG we used this method, which is a purely organic method. That also
means that we did not base what we did on any ideology - political or otherwise,
we based everything only on function. If it works, and works best from all the
alternatives we can find, then lets use it! Ideologies cripple the world in
many ways. They can be helpful, but they are very dangerous.
The only overall aim we kept in mind is how to make Indymedia, in the UK and
globally, as powerful as possible, to fulfill its growing potential. And to
do this we believe we understand that it is very important not to set a future
idealistic goal (ie an ideology) which leads to [the danger of] ignoring
what is going on and how we do things right here right now in the present - which
is a big mistake that people make a lot; but that we do work on both what and
how we do things right here right now as most important. When you look to the
future you miss the present.
And it's probably expected that there will be lots of misunderstandings and
inertia to change, when people have preconceived ideas, beliefs, experiences;
as you say people think they or the things they value are being attacked
when they don't understand why. That's one reason the world is full of wars and
armies. A close friend of mine says that power [negative sense] = fear of change.
I think it's true.
I replied a mail to Marion a while ago where i wrote that the "general
pattern of reception of innovation on this planet amongst homo sapiens is/has been:
rejection and massive defence of old(er), gradual contested acceptance, general acceptance
as commonplace." Basically this is what has happened in our situation in the UK.
This is what i believe too, which sort of sums me up in this respect:
"I must create a system
Or be enslav'd to another man's
I do not reason and compare.
My business is to create!" said William Blake.
"Hell is paved with good intentions, not bad ones" said George Bernard Shaw.
"One shot. One life." from a poem for Zen archers.
Hope i explained myself some way,
If you got this far then thanks for reading
lwg (of imc uk)
- 15 Feb 2004