Tom, and others who may read this. Again, I got carried away – ideas leading to ideas, insights leading to insights.
Just read the two pieces about Gayle McLaughlin , from the urls below; and her promotion letter to Tom. I applaud her for her innovative work, and wish I could imagine a route where a new-politics might be able to transform our disintegrating system. Driving out corporate sponsorship is a commendable achievement and a very worthy objective. As we look beyond the surface of money and economics, we need to look beyond the surface of politics: it is far from what it appears. We both seek deeper essences, but possibly not enough.
After devoting about 8 hours to composing part of what follows, I re-read Gayle and realize that her goal is not being elected as Lt-Gov of California. Her campaign is primarily a means for her to UPLIFT the communities she engages. She might even “ignite tinder”, mobilize virally, and be elected. Mobilizing, UPLIFTING, and Organizing citizenry is our common goal, towards which achieving many, diverse objectives, lead.
How might I contribute/participate? As I ask this about any human endeavor, I run up against our inadequate knowledge about how we vary very significantly in our cognitive functioning and how these effect our changing – and how our cognitive systems might themselves change and be changed. Unfortunately, most “social projects” attempt to re-organize (transform) patterns of human behavior that involves minimal change in an individual’s cognitive system. At most we ask persons to learn a few facts and to perform a few skills. Indeed, for those elites seeking to maintain control over populations, this minimum is their maximum change to permit. Fundamental improvement in the cognitive processing of populations seriously threatens rulers who depend on masses with limited capacities.
For human change activists, such as Gayle, the cognitive diversity of humans presents a formidable challenge. We currently lack the knowledge needed, in requisite detail, to ensure viable programs. Projects can easily “go wrong” due to unexpected consequences. Effective strategies must be long term and experimental. Learning to do better next time must have as high priority as achieving behavioral objectives, this time. This is very difficult in real-time politics.
Queries, which my long comments, below (about my personal experiences with innovative politics) relate: What does a mobilized, uplifted, and organized citizenry DO? Do they “play politics” with their contemporary systems? Do they attempt to fix, reform, or transform – themselves, communities, organizations, countries & populations, and the whole of humankind? What are some speculative strategies to do this? What if our Crisis-of-Crises blocks all transformation, but requires “metamorphosis”? How do we explore these queries, while facing our daily challenges?
When in Minneapolis (1964-1970) I was deep participating in innovative election politics. My conclusion then, and now, is that THE SYSTEM is structured so that the types and levels of significant change we desire are impossible to achieve – without very radically changing the WHOLE SYSTEM.
Small innovations may appear, but the gains are eventually lost. More is needed, from beyond the political system, to spread and sustain innovations. This doesn’t mean we don’t work to improve, to give us better foundations for more significant, future changes (and to avoid greater suppression of political activity). Sometimes, we may simply experiment, to learn about tactics. But, we cannot look to a growing accumulation of small innovations to “magically come together and do the big job”.
I probably have shared my own experience with politics, elsewhere – but am motivated to record it here, again. After, I return to discussing current politics.
Minneapolis in the late 1960 was a hotbed of new political innovation, where I was very active. We had quite a few mavericks running for different offices as well as radical type activity organizing from the precinct level upward. My involvement started when a contingent from the DFL (Democratic Farmer Labor) party (the main democratic party in MN) attended (as MN State Representative) the National Conference for New Politics convention over the Labor Day Weekend, 8/31 to 9/4, 1967 in Chicago.
DFL : Through WWII Minnesota had a socialist state government, through the Farmer-Labor Party. Hubert Humphrey deceptively organized a merger of the small Democratic Party with the much larger FL party. Then he red-baited the FL leadership. HH was much hated in Minnesota, so I learned after moving there.
For a mix of reasons, I had been invited, in the summer of 1967, to be part of the steering committee for that convention; but primarily because of my creating The Minnesota Peace Cooperative (with 4 others). The MPC was a social media org before the computer. MPC attempted to organize ARM CHAIR ACTIVITY mediated by phone and snailmail. We started this when we discovered that a 1966 poll indicated that one-third of Minnesotans favored unilateral withdrawal from the Vietnam War. We provided a monthly mailing of an 8/5×11 envelop full of info sheets contributed by the MPC membership and a list of scheduled activities to a exponentially growing membership. The mailings were funded by the sale of Peace Stamps. Our mailing list was enormous, when we turned it over the The Clergy & Lay Against the Vietnam War. We asked each new member to pay for the mailing to four others. Initially the membership grew exponentially. But, we lacked the dialog exchange between members, which needed computers and an internet. The growth rate slowed.
National Conference for New Politics was a “national” org, hosted from from New York (later we learned of their “Marxist” orientation – which was not obvious during the convention – which got those of us on the steering committee later being investigated by Congressional committees – the hearings were abandoned before I was called). Representatives (with voting ability) came to the convention from all radical organizations: peace, non-violence, black, Chicano, women, labor unions, farmers, immigrants, and organizations such as SDS, SNSC. We were charged with impacting the 1968 presidential election.
Prior to the convention, our Minneapolis contingent canvased house-to-house, informing residents about our (contingent’s) platform for M.L. King and Ben Spock as POTUS and VP. We asked, if it were possible to get them on the ballot, would they vote for them. A great many said yes. We drove to Chicago, very excited.
The NCNP (National Conference for New Politics) at Chicago was a circus. First off, A black Chicago gang (gangs were going “political” at that time) set up their own Black Caucus and siphoned off ALL black representatives to “their” convention at another location in Chicago. They sent their black psychopaths as representatives to our steering committee meetings – as we tried to progress with our own convention – without black.
The blacks joined our convention in the last day and shifted the program for the elections to their preference: NO NATIONAL TICKET. New York and California had their own separate, and different tickets. I was part of a group that pushed for an independent King/Spock ticket – with my personal strategy to leave many candidate posts vacant and invite progressive (& liberal) Democrats and Republicans to run with the King/Spock ticket. Fre comprehended this. For the radical blacks, MLK was far too conservative. SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) opposed ALL political activity.
I have enjoyed, just now, . exploring NCNP at Chicago on The Internet. I learned much that I didn’t know, having been immersed in the process – daytime at the conference and much of each night with the steering committee, trying to make the conference meaningful. The ending of the conference was high farce. Whites gathered in the main auditorium to wait the return of the blacks. They arrived in colorful African regalia, marching down the aisles and up on the stage. James Forman of SNCC (recently returned from a secret trip to South Africa – Mandala was serving his 8th of 27 years in prison), a large man, gave a long and passionate speech surrounded by a body guard of massive black men. After the speech, we were asked to stand, raise our fists in the air, and shout “EE-KU-RU”. I, and most of the Minnesota delegation remained sitting; but the vast majority of the white (and other ethnics) rose to their call.
I just now learned that this was the time SNCC and The Black Panther Party were exploring merging – which explains a lot. The NCNP may have provided an “environment” for the dialog about the role of “violence” in the movement. Most of us white Minnesotans were grossly unaware of the diversity and struggle within the Black Movements at that very time.
If I remember correctly, Stokley Carmichael was a member of the steering committee (the meetings before the conference). Quoting from within: “Declassifed documents show a plan was launched to undermine the SNCC-Panther merger, as well as to “bad-jacket” Carmichael as a CIA agent. Both efforts were largely successful: Carmichael was expelled from SNCC that year, and the rival Panthers began to denounce him.”
Reading reports now, I realize how very much was missed and masked by these theatrical antics. The discussions and dialogs over the many days were as exciting and informative as any I have experienced in scientific conferences. Contrary to the reports I have just read, and as part of the steering committee, this was a serious attempt by most participants to explore our options. Skimming Forman’s speech, a few minute ago, I realize that we “whites” were more attentive to the Vietnam War and not yet tuned to the oppression of blacks in the USA and South Africa.
I visited Capetown in 1962 on my return from Antarctica (the year Mandela was arrested, but I saw very few blacks). My attention then was how Capetown was bilingual, English and Afrikaner, with very sharp divides between the two white populations – which appeared to hate each other. For years I felt South Africa would be the last nation for the whites to share governance with the blacks. I, and my fellow white Minnesotans had not experienced the personal suppression experienced by the blacks. We seldom feared for our lives.
In the 1968 presidential election, I pulled the lever for Nixon. I walked from my apartment to my voting site in Minneapolis. I pulled the curtain and began shouting about having no choice but criminals to vote for. I said I might vomit over the voting machine. Poll managers asked if I was OK. I pulled the lever for Nixon and left. The Humphrey Machine had to be stopped. Nixon was bad, but Humphrey might have been worse. Analyses of The Deep State claim that who is POTUS makes little difference on many issues. Things Obama permitted happen and what he failed to do (and could have done), in retrospect, make me wonder at my luke-warm “support” of him during his two terms. Today, Barak and Hillary are probably guildy of war crimes re Libya.
Woodstock August 1969, was a welcome interlude – although it was full of political overtones. My youngest brother David flew from NYC to Minneapolis and we drove back to attend the Woodstock Festival, before a family reunion in Boston.
To make this events list more complete, I also attended the 8/28/1963, March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where I was fortunate to be near MLK when he delivered his famous “dream” speech. I was in a contingent accompanying Rev. William Sloane Coffin from Yale – going to DC from New Haven by rail. Although the event planning began in 1961, as it approached many of us saw it as a protest to JFK to “get serious”. Many judgeships were being appointed to racists. When JFK was unable to stop the march, he gave his famous 6/11/1963 “civil rights address” – attempting to co-opt the march to be viewed as supporting his policies.
I have a “memory” of an earlier march, that I cannot find reference to online. I think data for an event in late 1962, a march from Harlem to the UN, in protest to the Vietnam War, although it might have been early 1963. USA involvement in Vietnam dates back to 1954, although the first protests are dated in 1963. What I have long “remembered” was that the New York City Police were very friendly to the march and supported our leafleting. I had returned to the USA in May, 1962, after more than a year in the Antarctic. Actually, I had been our of regular news from Sept 1960 to May 1962. News for the whole of 1961 was via ham radio, and that was reduced to garbled Morse Code for two months mid 1961. However, I took many books with me and kept informed. On my trip back to the USA, Spring 1962, as only civilian passenger on the icebreaker USS Arneb, I got on the wrong side of the captain by defending Castro in Cuba. This led to minor concerns about being “disappeared” overboard – as I was “educating” the Naval officers. I can’t determine whether I was reading about Vietnam while in the Antarctic.
My earliest source for Vietnam was journalist Bernard Fall. Fall warned against US involvement in 1954. The very first protests against U.S. involvement in Vietnam were in 1945, when United States Merchant Marine sailors condemned the U.S. government for the use of U.S. merchant ships to transport French troops to “subjugate the native population” of Vietnam. I own the first edition of Fall’s Two Vietnams, published 01/01/1963 – so I obviously didn’t have it in the Antarctic. However, I did take a collection of back issues of the journal, The Minority of One, to the Antarctic, and Fall may have published there – and which might have been what motivated me to buy his book.
I am reminded of another encounter I had with black militants. On my was from Minneapolis to Boston for the 1970 Christmas holiday. I went to Washington,DC., to attend the Black Panther Constitutional Writing Convention. I was to meet my first wife, Cyndy, there – before our divorce. As I tell about it: They appeared not to be interested with white participation, and seemed quite disorganized. We went to the rally in the park the first evening, not being able to find out how to register. There, the audience was divided into square blocks standing close together; each block surrounded by rows of large, black men in military garb. Before the speeches the music started, with a song KILL WHITEY. Cyndy and I left, without hearing the speeches. This “memory” (I have no remembrances) probably contains confabulations.
AGAIN, research now reveals my naiveté about these matters. It appears the major constitutional writing convention was in Philadelphia on the Labor Day weekend of 1970, had high white participation and was considered quite successful. The December convention in DC, a followup for ratification, was a disaster, as claimed in the above full report, part quoted here.
Considering the success of the (August) RPCC, plans were announced by the Panthers at its end for a second meeting in Washington DC to ratify the new constitution, tentatively scheduled for November 4. On November 7 an advertisement was run in the Panther newspaper declaring a second Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention to take place November 27–29. Difficulties plagued the Washington convention from its inception, with the newly formed DC chapter of the BPP, simultaneously struggling to find a space for the event and suffering from disorganization as a result of the arrest of several of their leaders. The Panthers first attempted to rent space for the convention at the University of Maryland but were rebuffed, and later sought space at the DC National Guard Armory but were once again turned down. Ultimately the Panthers settled an agreement with Howard University for the convention space. However, due to a last minute price dispute with the school, the Convention was set to commence with no clear space for it to take place. Despite this, registration continued at All Souls Unitarian Church. That night a concert was held in Meridian Hill Park (also known as ‘Malcolm X Park’) with approximately 5,000 people in attendance. The Panthers made their dispute with Howard University public and DC Panther leader Elbert Howard called on Panthers and their allies to “liberate Howard University and to make that institution serve the needs of the community.” However Panther pressure was ultimately unsuccessful in getting Howard to yield their space. While some small meeting spaces were offered up around the city, the event was ultimately disorganized and largely unsuccessful. At the end of the weekend Huey Newton spoke at St. Stephens of the Incarnation Church and assured attendees that another convention would be held where the constitution would be discussed and finalized. This promise never came to fruition however, as soon after the second RPCC the BPP began to fall victim to internal divides and external law enforcement efforts, and ultimately retracted much of its national efforts to focus on solidifying the Panther base in California. Simultaneously, the deescalation of the Vietnam War brought to a close one of the largest focuses of protest in the 60s and early 70s, and further weakened the power and human numbers wielded by the New Left. Ultimately, the vision set out by attendees of the Philadelphia Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention was never fully completed.
Reading this today, I understand how angry many of those working hard for their goal might have felt in face of what was experienced by many as an obstruction by the white establishment. Although it is not reported in the above, there may well have been deliberate sabotage by Federal Agencies. My old theory, was that there had been coup in Panther leadership, which rejected white participation, between Labor Day and Christmas. It was the far-sighted goal of writing a new constitution that interested me, as well as the “rainbow” welcoming attitude of the invitation. I had hoped to share some of my longer-term insights, as I had tried to do at NCNP in Chicago in 1967. I had also been impressed by the early Panther attitude towards guns and violence: they demonstrated their non-violent right to resist police violence by being armed, as it was their legal right – and their service programs for children and communities.
I am not a pure pacifist. I will do what is needed to defend myself against violence. Another event, poorly remembered. During one evening at a 60’s anti-war protest in Washington, DC (busloads from Minneapolis), in “our” hotel room, we hosted a meeting between two groups with different approaches to “violence”. One group was pure non-violence, trained for passive resistance. The second group supported forceful resistance by the Vietnamese against American violent aggression. I “know” the gathering was peaceful and each group appreciated the other. I have no memory as to how this happened to occur in “our” hotel room – I doubt that I was the organizer.
There was a strange twist about NCNP, in a url. AlternateHistory.com considered an alternative history: WHAT IF the NCNP (Chicago, 1967) Conference HADN’T BEEN DISRUPTED BY THE FBI. This speculates on what might be different IF the conference had been successful in its political objectives. I fully expect that the FBI was present, but we were never concerned about it at the time. The big disruption was the Black Caucus and the SDS. The Black Caucus occupied many floors of a hotel, spent lavishly, and charged it all to the NCNP. It is difficult to believe the FBI was behind the Black Caucus. Yet, WHAT IF the conference had gone as we had seriously hoped, and we left Chicago united and energized – as those in the Bernie movement were recently.
NCNP was my first great disappointment with politics – but gave it little thought. We Minnesotans returned to Minneapolis, disappointed by Chicago, but ready to “make big waves”. The DFL system in MN built up from precincts; who then controlled districts. We organized and won in all Twin Cities precincts for a radical DFL platform: immediate withdrawal from Vietnam, legalization of abortion, prison reform, economic reform, etc. These platforms were then adopted by the districts in the The Twin Cities. We were flying high. But then we confronted the reality of Hubert Humphrey and THE OLD DEMOCRATS. Somehow, at the state convention, the rural districts had been captured by the HH wing and actually won most of the MN seats at The National Democratic Convention in Chicago (1968) for the HH wing. [Today I don’t remember that I knew or was concerned about the other cities in Minnesota.] Part of this defeat was a very low participation at the MN State convention by many of the DFL delegates from the cities.
In conflict with the conference, a major rally was held in support of those draft resistors fleeing to Canada, with the help of a strong Minnesota support group (underground railroad) – many who were also delegates to the DFL state convention. Thus, I avoided the Police Riot in the Parks at the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention. Strangely, we were not very strong for McCarthy either. This was my second great disappointment with electoral politics.
Minnesota was also very active when “students” occupied the University for many weeks in response to the Kent State experiment (Would American troops shoot American students? = yes) and the bombing of Cambodia. At the UofMinn, most normal undergraduate courses were suspended and a 300 course Peace College was implemented – until the active support waned and the police raided the student center and the Peace College was shut down. My paper, The Technology of Non-Violent Revolution, was read in some of the Peace College courses.
Soon after we moved to Tucson, I discovered that local politics was totally different. Hardly any precinct activity. To me, Tucson was DEAD, POLITICALLY. I didn’t look too deeply, nor did I know whom to ask. What I did find was of no interest. My naive objective, in coming to Tucson (unemployed) was to establish an LLL community: Living/Loving/Learning – which I had been talking about in Minneapolis. I couldn’t find anyone in Tucson to comprehend me, and my teaming with Eloise and Stephanie (just prior to moving down) gave me no support there. Employment was needed.
I was fortunate in Minneapolis to have become active with many communal processes and groups. I later discovered I don’t have the requisite competencies to create community. I can provide insights to community, but cannot lead. I never actually lead in the political scene in MN and Chicago, although many of my ideas were comprehended and adopted.
During dinner tonight (07/31/17), I had a relevant insight:
Societal systems (e.g., economic/political systems) “exist/function” within a larger “environment”. If this environment is stable or homeostatic, then the societal system will attempt to keep it so – gaining from it while sustaining it. Or, the societal system may be stupid and not know that its behavior within its environment is forcing the environment to change irreversibly. In the past, societal systems usually tried to tame their environments, or understand them only as much so as to navigate within the changes for optimal benefit.
What happens when the environment becomes highly disordered, turbulent, and uncertain? Societal systems in such rapidly changing and unpredictable environments may develop SURFING behavior (ride the waves, don’t try to change the waves). They abandon attempts to control their environments, or even to forecast and plan ahead. Instead, they learn how to “stay on top”.
The USA, since WWII, has attempted to control their environments (which includes the rest of humankind). They were successful in some domains; and have failed greatly in other domains – driving their environments to uncontrollable and unpredictable dysfunction and collapse.
Trump and crew are the new surfers of this instability; indeed they profit from it. They may have gained some help from the “just in time” economy, which also surfs their “economic environments” – with specific (but limited) competencies. Russia under Putin and the oligarchs still attempt to control (my assessment). China may be a different form: launching major longterm changes (building cities without people) that will cause other changes (attracting the rural population) with surfing management. This fits with my recent insight that societal systems have/are shifted/ing from being primarily SYSTEMS to becoming primarily NETWORKS. Societal SysNets.
BACK TO SUPPORTING CONTEMPORARY POLITICIANS. I will vote for Bernie, should he run again. I hope Gayle is successful. I support the BRAND NEW CONGRESS movement (an organization to run a single, quality slate for every congressional office). One of my models for transition (not transformation), in THIS GREAT DAY, has revolutionaries infiltrate most management positions in societal institutions; marking time – as they also work within UPLIFT. On THIS GREAT DAY, the functional society decouples from the elite FINANCIERS AND POWER BROKERS – who are suddenly ignored. A new coordination of functional management, already developed and ready to implement, shifts in gear and there is NO COLLAPSE. Transformating the material infrastructure becomes a well considered “behavior” of a newly emerging HUMANITY.
Imagine what we would be doing, if all this madness existed BUT there was no threat of disastrous Earth Changes. Humankind would have many more millennia to mature. This is the “reality” of the Climate Deniers. Many philosophers over the ages have believed in the inevitability of human conflict and suffering. Our religions are based on this belief: No Heaven On Earth. Many argue that without the challenges of conflict and suffering, humans would cease to be creative.
PEACE IS DEATH.
TAKE, IF AND WHILE YOU CAN.
The almost universal dismissal of
UTOPIA IS IMPOSSIBLE,
screams the media,
It depends on how “utopia” is defined.
Utopia is not a future state without challenges,
nor a future state of perfection –
as it is so believed, by most.
? FANTASY or POTENTIAL ?
Pictures / Scenes / Stories / Scenarios
================ emails between Tom an Gayle
On 7/29/2017 8:49 PM, Thomas Greco wrote:
> Larry, a case in point.
> I’m forwarding this to you because I’ve met Gayle a couple times, and have great admiration for her abilities and her dedication to social justice and economic equity.
> As the former mayor and Councilperson of Richmond, CA she has demonstrated great ability to lead, and has a remarkable record of achievement.
> She is the kind of unconventional politician we need more of. As Lt. Governor in California, she can have a big impact and I’m doing my small part to get her elected.
> I would encourage you to learn about more about her character, her approach to politics, and what she has managed to achieve. Other politicians might find something there worth emulating. You can find some background on her here, http://www.eastbaytimes.com/2017/06/07/richmonds-bernie-sanders-of-the-east-bay-to-run-for-lieutenant-governor/, and here, http://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/Richmond-s-Gayle-McLaughlin-running-for-11292321.php.
> I do not agree with all of her proposals, but I do admire her for the empathy she shows for everyone.
> Best wishes,
> Subject: How Californians Change Everything
> Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2017 17:51:28 +0000 (UTC)
> From: Gayle McLaughlin <email@example.com>
> Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> To: email@example.com
> Our special interest foes are formidable, but as we continue to organize on a statewide level, they will find that our people power is a match for their corporate cash.
> When reporters write about the race for Lt. Governor in California, they often like to focus on the ceremonial nature of the position. Is the Lt. Governor position even needed?
> My opponents for this position have their own reasons for running – one promises to use it as a bully pulpit to take on Trump. Another is termed out of the legislature.
> My goal is simple but far-reaching. I am using our campaign for Lt. Governor as an opportunity to organize 100 or more California communities for progressive change. And in office, I will continue to do the same. City officials, community leaders, and activists throughout California – up, down, across – are advocating for policies that will transform our environment and our economy. We’re stopping fracking, enacting rent control, protecting immigrants, and creating local living wage laws.
> But we’re fighting divided! Every time a city works to enact rent control, statewide interests can focus their attention on stopping local leaders. When we aim for local environmental regulations, Big Oil focuses its might on stopping change from taking hold. And while corporate-funded state politicians laud their new cap-and-trade bill, we know that it won’t stop dirty fuel extraction and refineries in our towns and cities! Even after one of the greatest environmental disasters in U.S. history at Porter Ranch, where more than 109,000 metric tons of methane gas spewed into our air, state regulators have given the green light for the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility to reopen – forcing Los Angeles County to sue for ongoing closure.
> It’s obviously time for Californians to band together for our future!
> As your Lt. Governor, my job will be work channel the work of leaders across the state to ensure that Sacramento hears US and not just the corporations! It’s time for thousands of local leaders to have a real voice in the Capitol, and for corporate-free candidates to take over the executive and legislative branches of our state government.
> Our foes are formidable, but as we continue to organize on a statewide level, they will find that our people power is a match for their corporate cash. I know that this race will not be easy – polluters, the landlord lobby, private prison profiteers, big insurance, and other special interests are rightly afraid of our combined organizing power and will do everything they can to stop needed reforms.
> Can I count on you today to join my campaign with a grassroots donation? Click here to give.
> Thank you,