We had a server outage, and we're rebuilding the site. Some of the site features won't work. Thank you for your patience.
imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

After LA?--Suggestions on Movement Strategy and Tactics

by Rick Stahlhut Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2000 at 11:11 PM
stahlhut@net-link.net

Although the multi-message RNC and DNC protests have been helpful, a single-issue focus could strengthen our media penetration. Getting Nader into the debates is the obvious choice, since his strong, inside attack on the status quo would be very helpful to the movement. Numerous targets and tactics, both legal and disobedient, can promote this agenda. [This follow-up to "After LA? Force Nader into debates!" tries to answer the question "What tactics?" in some detail.]

The movement that got its big start in Seattle has accomplished much in eight short months. Any doubters should review Gore's acceptance speech. Do you think he would have mentioned "universal health care" or "fair trade" if it weren't for us and Nader's Raiders? Would he have attacked healthcare-for-profit?

Gore was talking to us and the Raiders. Make no mistake about it. Not that I believe him....

So we've made progress and we've helped set the election agenda, despite the media distortions that have plagued protest coverage.

In addition, we've built relationships, encouraged each other, taken chances, learned a lot. With the help of the police, some people have been radicalized by mistreatment. They will be even stronger forces for justice now.

Great. What's next?

We could get Nader into the debates. [Don't sign off, anarchists! This isn't as boring as you think.]

Why Focus on Nader?

The multi-issue protests at the RNC and DNC were good for movement building, but not-so-good for penetrating the media barrier. So the question is: is there anything coming in the next few months (that many in the movement could agree upon) that would send a clear, unmistakable message--something the media would find hard to ignore? Is there any single travesty of democracy that we could fix with our combined efforts--that would broaden the coalition and send our messages to the people? That travesty is the closing of the debates.

The problem: in 1996, you only had to register 5% in the polls to make the debates. Ventura only had 10% in Minnesota before his debates. Now the threshold has been changed to 15% to keep third parties out--completely undemocratic--and it happened because the "Commission on Presidential Debates" is completely controlled by the BushGore party.

I realize some of you only want to fight the system from the outside--and I understand that sentiment. But consider the effect of Nader in the debates. First, many of our concerns get voiced on national TV loud and clear. Second, we drive Gore further away from the corporate agenda--at least in word. Third, in the less-likely event of a Nader presidency, he might be able to make democracy a bit more safe for dissent--like the Bill of Rights intended. Think of what that would do. And by focusing on Nader, we pull the Green machine, with thousands of petition-signers in every state, right into the game.

I've written about this once before at LA Indy Media, but I didn't offer many suggestions. So now let's discuss strategy--how do we get Nader in? The Nader site offers civilly-obedient ways, as they must in their position. (See http://www.votefornader.org for details--including a lawsuit they've filed). We are not as limited.

Targets

A popular book on community organizing (Organizing for Social Change by Bobo and others) says there are two types of targets when you are trying to make change--the primary and secondary targets.

The primary target is the person who has the power to make the change. (Saul Alinsky, author of Rules for Radicals, said it's best to personalize the target. Don't go after the "Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD)", he would have said. Go after the HEAD of the CPD.)

The secondary targets are the people/groups who can influence the primary target better than you--but you can reach the secondaries.

So, who is the primary target? Depends on your strategy. If you want to force Nader into the existing debates, the primary is probably the head of the CPD. [You could, instead, try to get the League of Women Voters (the previous holder of the debates, before they saw the CPD was corrupting the process) to hold a different set of debates, but then you've got to reach the League (probably not too hard) AND you have to get BushGore to attend (harder). Let's stick with forcing Nader into the CPD debates for this discussion.]

Who are the secondary targets--the ones who could influence the head of the CPD? Now we have more choices: the neighbors of the head of the CPD, the minister of the head of the CPD, the RepubliCrat Party (they control the CPD), BushGore, the corporate sponsors of the debates (general sponsors--Anheuser-Busch, The Century Foundation, The Marjorie Kovler Fund, 3Com; Internet sponsors--AT&T, Sun Microsystems , 3Com, Harris Interactive, Alteon WebSystems, ZoneOfTrust), the national media who plans to cover the debates, the mayors in the cities where the debates will be held, and others. Again, personalize the target if possible.

Tactics

What tactics could be used against the targets? There are both legal tactics and civil-disobedience tactics--helpful, since the more mellow Greens could focus on legal tactics.

Well, of course, there's in-the-streets non-violent direct action. This would be most applicable, perhaps, to the debate sites themselves, but if 20,000 people were to suddenly show up at the Anheuser-Busch headquarters, I bet that could work. Where does the chairman live, I wonder? Personalize, personalize.

Other tactics? Boycotts (of the corporate sponsors). Phone calls/letter writing campaigns. Electronic actions at any or all relevant Internet sites. Paid advertising that shames the personalized targets.

How strong is labor at the corporate sponsors and the mainstream media? What if the workers at Anheuser-Busch called for a nationwide strike? Could the mainstream media or AT&T function at all if the Communication Workers of America went on strike? Think big. [Yes, I know much of labor has signed onto Gore. But even if they are afraid to vote for Ralph, they would do well to drive Gore hard with the threat.]

The tactics will need coordination to be effective. Perhaps they could be organized using the same model of affinity groups and spokescouncils. But consider that decentralized electronic civil disobedience could put you at risk--jail solidarity would be difficult.

Closing Thoughts

Remember, we're fighting the corporate machine. I suspect we can reach the corporate sponsors much more easily than we can directly influence the CPD or the candidates or the two branches of the Corporate Party. Neither the CPD, nor the candidates, nor the RepubliCrat Parties have anything to gain by listening to us (unless the targets can be personalized)-- and they know what will happen if Nader gets into the debates. But if they or the media lose their sponsors....

Now, let's go for it. The time is short to make history and strengthen democracy. Be courageous.

In Solidarity,

Rick Stahlhut, MD

stahlhut@net-link.net

http://www.net-link.net/~stahlhut

[Anticopyright, 2000. Circulate widely.]

Report this post as:

LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 9 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
If Nader is NOT allowed into the debates Tim Thursday, Aug. 31, 2000 at 2:20 AM
Calling all Hackers Jeremy David Stolen Thursday, Aug. 31, 2000 at 3:27 AM
Counter-inaugural Demonstrations in DC? D. Reilly Thursday, Aug. 31, 2000 at 4:29 AM
Nader and Penetrating the Media Barrier Chuck0 Thursday, Aug. 31, 2000 at 12:52 PM
how do arrests in LA affect Prague ? idiot Thursday, Aug. 31, 2000 at 1:55 PM
Prague? George Friday, Sep. 01, 2000 at 12:37 PM
Nader and Penetrating the Media Barrier Paul Rosenberg Friday, Sep. 01, 2000 at 4:48 PM
Multi-Activism Complex Activist Friday, Sep. 01, 2000 at 8:13 PM
This Anarchist is for Nader bob w Saturday, Sep. 02, 2000 at 9:37 PM
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy