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Then And Now

by Ted Glick Thursday, Aug. 03, 2000 at 2:48 AM

I began to think of the differences between the new pro-justice movement of today as compared to the peace and justice movement of the late 1960s.

Date: Tue, 1 Aug 2000 23:21:51 -0400

From: Ted Glick

Subject: [LAAMN-NEWS] Then and Now

Future Hope

August 1, 2000 (No. 13)

Then and Now

By Ted Glick

It was hot as I walked back and forth on the Ben

Franklin Parkway in the heat and humidity in

Philadelphia on

July 30th, at the Unity 2000 demonstration on the day

before

the opening of the Republican Convention. As I walked,

between the stage where people were speaking and the

block-

long street fair with tables, food, street theatre,

floats,

drumming and more, I began to think of the differences

between the new pro-justice movement of today as

compared

to the peace and justice movement of the late 1960s.

One difference is the widespread acceptance of

a multi-tactical approach. In the '60s there were often

serious political arguments between those who wanted to

organize non-violent civil disobedience and those who

believed that large, legal, peaceful protests were THE

tactic. Today, there is a much more widespread

understanding

that these two approaches can be complementary.

It's similar in regards to electoral activity. There

is much less opposition to involvement with elections

than

was true 30 years ago, in large part because of the

Nader/

LaDuke campaign and other progressive third party

activity.

Indeed, at the demonstrations over the first three days

of

the Philadelphia actions, July 29, 30 and 31, there were

many people wearing buttons and carrying signs in

support

of Nader and LaDuke, in particular.

Another difference a more widespread use of humor.

One of the most creative and popular contingents at the

July

30th march was Billionaires for Bush (or Gore). Dressed

in

suits, ties and evening gowns, they chanted slogans

like,

"Who needs day care, hire an au pair," "Big money united

shall never be defeated," and "Make a smart investment,

buy

yourself a President." And this is but one example of

the

use of humor in a more extensive way by the new

pro-justice

movement.

It is also significant that this is a movement with

many leaders.

In the late '60s, there were particular individuals

who were seen as the peace movement's leaders - Dave

Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, Abbie Hoffman and

Jerry Rubin being among the most prominent. Major

national

demonstrations didn't happen unless at least one or two

of

these or other well-known individuals were major,

on-the-

scenes organizers.

The actions that have taken place in Seattle,

Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia, on the other hand,

involved a wider range of leadership, a greater mix of

individuals playing leadership roles, and a much more

collective organizational process. Njoki Njehu, the MC

of

the April 16th demonstration in D.C., has commented on

how,

"in the months and weeks leading up to the mobilization

in

Washington, for the first time that I've seen at a

larger

level, we worked by consensus. We had a collective

method

of work involving literally hundreds of people in

Washington

organizing meetings and working groups, making decisions

and

respecting them, empowering people. We were creating the

kind of world that we want."

This, perhaps, is the most significant of all

the differences. There is a widespread appreciation of

the

necessity of a fully democratic and respectful political

process as we organize our actions. We can't say that we

are against an undemocratic and oppressive political and

economic system and then function within our own

meetings

and events in a top-down, hierarchical way.

But it goes even deeper than this.

Possibly the most amazing experience at a political

meeting that I have ever had took place in Washington in

April. It was the night of the 16th, following a morning

and afternoon of blockading, marching and demonstrating,

and in the sweltering basement of a local church five or

six

hundred people were trying to figure out what to do the

next

morning. It was too much for one young man, and he

pretty

much "lost it" as he tried to make his contribution to

the

long, difficult process of coming to a decision. He

began

attacking the chair of the meeting and airing his

frustrations in a very antagonistic way.

All of a sudden, as if on cue, the entire room

was filled with 15 to 20 seconds of a long

"ooooommmmmm." I

looked around, trying to grasp what was taking place.

Then,

as the frustrated young man grew silent and sat down,

and

as the "oomms" died away, the chair of the meeting

smoothly

transitioned back to the issues at hand.

Back "in my day," there would have been a very

different reaction. There would have been calls for the

speaker to shut up. At least one person, almost

certainly

another man, would have taken offense and indignantly

responded to one of the points that was made. Or someone

would have taken advantage of the momentary disruption

to try to push a particular point or alter the agenda.

This time, however, the desire on the part of the

group as a whole to stay centered and focused and the

use of

a spiritual tactic in a political meeting by large

numbers

of young people led to a very different outcome.

As our movement grows and develops, as we address

our continuing weaknesses and become increasingly

stronger,

we will be faced with many roadblocks by our corporate/

government enemies. But if those of who are older can

learn

from the maturity and dedication that many of our

younger

leaders are demonstrating, we stand a fighting chance to

accomplish our objective of bringing into being a truly

just and peaceful country and world.



Ted Glick is the National Coordinator of the Independent

Progressive Politics Network (www.ippn.org). His first

book,

Future Hope: A Winning Strategy for a Just Society, has

just been published. He can be reached at P.O. Box 1132,

Bloomfield, N.J. 07003, or .

- -30-



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