this is long but please take the time to read it.
Ok everyone here is some news and updates. I think over the past few days we've all realized that our criticism only carries out so far,
until actuall action and change has to happen yes this weekend in Berkeley was a bit discouraging but that's not going to stop any of us from organizing against this tragic war. It's actually motiviated us more to work harder for a more collective and true democratic process.
So after this weekends awful experience in Berkeley and after talking this week to many many people all over so. cal, bay area, and Arizona a group of us calling ourselves so far "Progressive Radical Youth Against the War" are going to start organizing on a local campus, community level against the war. So far there are around 59 people from the Berkeley conference involved who are involved in this, the Long Beach info. shop has allowed the so. cal group a meeting space, and this group is open to ANYONE and EVERYONE who feels like the don't have a place or a voice within the liberal/ISOer anti-war movement.
another point that is important to make is that we are encouraging not only Students to get involved but for youth in general to get involved. Being able to go to a major college or university at many times is an extreme privilege, and there are plenty of youth within our movement who are extremely well organized and ready to help in the anti-war movement.. they just happen to not go to school. We want to push for more youth and especially youth of color,women, members of the queer community to become involved because these issues effect them directly, before it starts to effect the white priviledged class.
We have to realize just like the folks in Boston and Chicago have done over the past 2 weeks that IT is possible for us to have two anti-war movement. One for Liberal/Vanguard groups and one for more
progressive/radical/anti-authoritarian groups. Let's break the stereotypes and show that we can organize and we can allow for free
expression within this movement. Lets actually reach out to our middle eastern/muslim/south asian brothers and sisters in our communities and show them that they have a space and a voice in this movement. Instead of asking them to come to our meetings, and join our groups, let's go to them and take our guidance directly from them and help them in their struggle. Instead of going in and telling them how to organize and telling them what we think is the best way to organize, lets listen to them and take a bit of our direction and guidance from them.
We are a group of people who came out of the CSAW conference feeling a bit alienated and confused regarding the process of structure, and democratic process. For the most part we are youth from schools all over the West Coast who want to fight in this anti-war movement, in our communities and schools. Our group is a completely open group for discussion and dialogue and is going to be building and organizing around the anti-war movement from a non hierarchal, not patriarchal, anti-authoritarian standpoint. We want your input in every way possible, we have not set up the structure or decision making process of this group yet.
These are the points that we walked away with not wanting to repeat from the CSAW conference in Berkeley
Our main points were made and people brought up and had problems with were:
- the decision-making process in the conference was not agreed upon by the attendees, nor explained to us at any point
- the decision-making process before the conference was completely hidden from view - no one, including many Berkeley activists, had any idea what was being planned or had any input, even when they tried to participate.
- the ISO dominated many school delegations, dominated the speakers,
dominated the planning, and completely controlled the moderation.
- opposing views were almost always cut off "because we didn't have time" (At one point, an ISO woman named Leticia stood up and said "we don't have time for this, people want to go home. We can discuss this later! It's too late to bring this up anyway." Later? When would that be? It was the very last hour of the very last day of the conference! When she make this comment, a few people got furious and the rest tried not to laugh hysterically.
- speakers were often interrupted by ISO members
- an agenda for proposals was not public and information in general was tightly controlled by a few people, mostly ISO, who made little effor to get outside input or even let other people know what was going on.
-Women, people of color, and members of the queer community felt alianated by the conference, the moderator and structure that conference was set up towards.
-no explenation of consensus, majority vote, or any other decision making process was EVER at ANY point explained to anyone
-discussion were cut short, and voting was happening too quickly to the point that many stopped voting and felt a need to walk out
-3 conferences have been held at Berkeley, the first one anyone and everyone from schools was allowed to attend and participate in the decison making process, the 2nd Conference the decisions and voting was limited to only 5 delegates from each school, the 3rd conference that is now being planned took that even further and is planning on only allowing 1 delegate from each school to attend and make decisions. What's next? only one regional delegate representing 5 schools at a time?
we are going to be setting up meetings in So. Cal sometime a few days after Thanksgiving and that date will be announced, but this group is not going to be limited to So. CAl only because many people already involved are from Arizona, the Bay Area, and OR. So spread the message of this alternative setting trying to establish for people to plug into. We have a list server already set up that is not moderated and asking for discussion and organization within cities and groups to work autonomously and collectively.
If you would like to be involved, put on our list server, or know of people who would like to be involved and put on our list server please email:
firstname.lastname@example.org OR respond to this email
we always complain about not knowing where to plug in, well here is a forum now, and this group is young and just starting to organize. So we are all on the same page and equally need to be involved in the structure and decision making process.
Thank you all, especially those who helped with your words and guidance this past week to fully help this be organized and for progress to FINALLY be made.
please spread/circulate this email at will to those you think are interested