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Re: Dimensions of alliance

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  • thekoba@aztec.asu.edu
    ... Then let us say it prevents unity. ... Which they are. ... The struggle against the concept of guilt by association will aid your struggle against the
    Message 1 of 9 , Jan 3 9:45 PM
      >> >There is a significant difference between appeasing public
      >perception
      >> >concerning the true nature and consequences of your own ideas, and
      >> >the avoidance of negative public perception resulting from other
      >> >people's ideas that you DON'T agree with. I'll gladly take the
      >> >public perception hit for being associated with the unpopular idea
      >of
      >> >total separation of school and state because it's an idea that I
      >> >truly agree with. I'll do everything possible to avoid taking the
      >> >public perception hit for being associated with the unpopular idea
      >> >that the 9/11 hijackers were heros, because that is an idea I find
      >> >repulsive.
      >>
      >> That notion only leads to breach of unity.
      >
      >You cannot breach something that does not exist.

      Then let us say it prevents unity.

      >> No one is expecting you to
      >> defend or even refrain from criticizing an idea with which you
      >disagree.
      >> What is expected is that we recognize our common interest and act
      >> together.
      >
      >I suppose such behavior is indeed expected by collectivists. It is
      >not expected by individualists such as myself unless the interests we
      >have in common are significantly more important than the interests we
      >are in opposition over.

      Which they are.

      >> If the public has a negative reaction to the concept of
      >> alliances with those with whom we have disagreements, we definitely
      >> need to struggle against that concept and the whole concept
      >of "guilt
      >> by association" in general. I do as much for David Duke, though I
      >disagree
      >> with many of his ideas. I do the same for you, and I'll do the
      >same for
      >> pacifists and Islamic fundamentalists.
      >
      >A struggle against the concept of guilt by association is far less
      >important to me than a struggle against the concept of acceptable
      >initiation of force.

      The struggle against the concept of guilt by association will aid
      your struggle against the concept of acceptable initiation of force
      at least in as much as it will hinder the ability of the USA to wage
      war.

      >> The founding fathers, whose views were far closer to Libertarianism
      >> than they were to Communism, said "We must all hang together or we
      >will
      >> surely hang separately." We may be facing the same peril.
      >
      >The founding fathers were relatively Libertarian when compared to
      >modern Americans or Communists. However, they made several fatal
      >errors for which Americans and the world have been paying ever
      >since. They declared as "self-evident truths" matters about which
      >anyone with an open mind and a room temperature IQ or above can see
      >require evidence and reason to derive, even if true. They claimed as
      >self-evident truth the demonstrably false assertion that all men are
      >created equal, an error that is even remotely excusable only by
      >understanding its context - their intention was primarily to reject
      >the concept of the divine right of kings. Then, after making such
      >bold declarations of supposedly self-evident truths they proceeded to
      >contradict their own statements repeatedly and egregiously, by
      >instituting in law slavery, taxation, and other forms of non-
      >consentual, rights-infinging government.

      True, there were many internal contradictions in these documents.

      >The "hang together" comment was made in the primary context of an
      >armed rebellion rather than a primarily public opinion campaign such
      >as the peace movement is now engaged. The effectiveness of many
      >individuals or small but highly cohesive groups attempting to
      >influence the public is apt to be much higher than the effectiveness
      >of a monolithic "peace organization". Individuals and small groups
      >don't waste time and resources on political battles over strategy and
      >tactics like large groups do, particularly when large groups are
      >composed of people with widely divergent views on matters they
      >consider to be extremely important.
      >
      >Furthermore, the reality of the need for even the founding fathers
      >to "hang together" is of dubious historical validity. Most of the
      >revolutionary battles against the British by the regular military
      >were failures for the rebels. It was the independant militias (who
      >had no need to "hang together" with more than a small group of like-
      >minded individuals) who really gave the Brits hell and won the
      >American revolution.

      True, but the small militias acted together. If one had chosen to
      rebel in 1775 and another in 1777 and another was more patient and
      waited until 1785, it's doubtful they would have been as successful.

      >> The major
      >> enemy we face, even if you prefer not to call it imperialism, is
      >very
      >> powerful and no more respect for your life than for mine if we get
      >in
      >> the way of its wars.
      >
      >I agree. We disagree about the most effective way to oppose it.
      >
      >> >> As for not trusting those who don't think you have a right not to
      >> >> be killed, obviously someone with a common goal with you would
      >have
      >> >> no reason to have you killed. On the contrary, such a person
      >would
      >> >> have reason to defend you.
      >> >
      >> >Not if the goal that we have in common is less important than the
      >> >goals regarding which we are opposed, or if my usefulness to you
      >in
      >> >furthering the goals we have in common is less than my harmfulness
      >to
      >> >you in furthering the goals regarding which we are opposed.
      >>
      >> I can assure you that what we have in common is far more important
      >than
      >> that in which we are opposed (for the time being, and for quite a
      >long
      >> while). Any actions you take to oppose the ability of the
      >government
      >> to make war are extremely useful.
      >
      >So...you essentially agree with my statement; you just wish to
      >convince me that I'm really, REALLY useful to you for the forseeable
      >future by opposing Iraq and US military aggression in general, so I
      >really don't have anyting to worry about. And I'm saying, I don't
      >trust people as "allies" who think like that.

      I don't understand why you would distrust such allies.

      >> If you do it on the basis of promoting
      >> private property and destroying the government, that's fine also.
      >I agree
      >> that the government needs destroying.
      >
      >I am not out to destroy the US government per se, I am simply out to
      >get it to stop initiating force against myself and others. You may
      >argue that this is mere semantics, since such a change would
      >effectively end the government "as we know it." While this is true,
      >the real difference lies in the focus of my activity. I am
      >interested in changing the ACTIONS that are taken by the US
      >government, not in destroying it as an entity or the individuals that
      >make it up.

      You will. If you succeed in ending taxes, you will destroy the
      government.

      >> If we succeed in destroying that
      >> government, then we become enemies, but that won't be for a very
      >long time.
      >> Then again, if you still think I can't be trusted, whom will you
      >trust
      >> as an ally? Mr. Bush?
      >
      >I have a more than ample source of allies in Objectivists and
      >Libertarians for the projects which I choose to undertake.
      >
      >> Or do you think you can accomplish much against
      >> the war in a fragmented state?
      >
      >Actually, yes.
      >
      >What you are suggesting is that a big alliance exist, made up of
      >Christians, Islamists, Atheists, Libertarians, Communists, Racists,
      >Isolationists, Pacifists, etc. etc. all who share the goal of our
      >government NOT invading Iraq.
      >
      >Suppose that such a group exists and I decide it would be beneficial
      >to have a big peace march down Broadway. So I speak to my local head
      >honcho of "Peaceniks, Inc." who magnanimously agrees to bring up the
      >idea at the next big honchos meeting. Whereupon the topic of the
      >protest is hashed out:
      > The Pacifists insist that the official stance of the group should be
      >that no one coming to the protest is to be armed. After all, even if
      >you're not a pacifist, being armed could get the organization in
      >trouble with the law. This pisses off the Libertarians, who insist
      >on coming armed.
      > Most of the people think Sunday is the best day for the march, but
      >this pisses off the Christians because Sunday is the day of rest, not
      >political marching. The Atheists in the crowd call that silly before
      >the gavel comes down for order.
      > And so it goes, on and on. These issues and others are hashed over
      >time out in some kind of political/voting process, which is itself
      >subject to much consternation and wrangling.
      > And of course the inevitable fed mole in the group makes note of
      >exactly what plans are decided upon, who's coming and who's not, how
      >to drive a wedge in the group, which leaders need to be arrested on
      >trumped up charges beforehand to have the most impact, etc.
      >
      >What we end up with is a peace march, which some people go to and
      >some people don't, but also some people driven away permanently
      >because they were "losers" in the internal battles that raged over
      >the mechanics, tactics, and strategies. If you don't think this
      >happens in real organizations...you haven't seen many real
      >organizations. :-)

      I know this happens. Nonetheless despite these struggles these large
      demonstrations are possible and are effective, and demonstrations are
      not the only possible activities.

      >As an alternative, I propose that the Christians, Islamists,
      >Atheists, Libertarians, Communists, Racists, Isolationists,
      >Pacifists, etc. etc. not view themselves as "allies" at all, and not
      >form any kind of umbrella peace organization.
      >
      >If I think there should be a peace march down Broadway, then I simply
      >tell everyone I know and post to the internet lists that I'm going to
      >be marching down Broadway at such-and-such day and time with a sign
      >advocating that the US not invade Iraq, and anyone who agrees that
      >the US shouldn't invade Iraq is asked to consider walking down the
      >same street at the same time with a similar sign, and publicize the
      >date and time to folks they know. If I picked a particularly bad
      >time, then maybe I walk down Broadway alone. :-) But unless I'm a
      >moron in my choices or tell very few people, more than likely what we
      >end up with is also a peace march, which some people go to and some
      >people don't. But there are a number of upsides to my approach:
      > Neither I nor anyone else wastes any time in political wrangling
      >over the details of what to do.

      The major disadvantage is the poor communication power of the
      individual as opposed to the large ability of a large group to
      get out the message. Another disadvantage is that this approach
      disperses the efforts. You have several tiny demonstrations instead
      of one large one.

      > No one is driven away from peace activism by feeling that they lost
      >some political battle or had their core values trampled by those who
      >don't share them.

      Nor would anyone be driven away by the alliance approach. Sure they
      might be driven from the alliance itself, but if they are determined
      to engage in activism, they will do it as individuals anyway.

      >If the Christians don't want to come because it's
      >a Sunday, maybe one of them decides to have a march down Broadway the
      >following Saturday. This is a good thing.
      > There is no group of "head honchos" for the feds to target and
      >arrest or smear with bad publicity. Anyone can do what I did and
      >call a march or any other activity.
      > There is NO organization name to target with bad publicity. I'm
      >just an individual who decided to walk down the street carrying a
      >sign, and some people decided to show up and walk at the same time.
      >If one of them is a Racist, or a Communist, or an anything-else-the-
      >media-hates-ist, so what? We aren't associated.
      > And what if, uh-oh, some people/groups who are in FAVOR of the war
      >find out and decide to walk carrying pro-war signs? So much the
      >better, as it reinforces the idea that the issue is under fierce
      >debate, and that there is not a cohesive organization to be tarred
      >with one brush. Plus it's likely to attract more media.

      Tiny fragmented demonstrations are certainly not likely to attract
      media and are less of a threat to the establishment. Further, if
      they are still enough of a threat, it is easier for the establishment
      to get away with suppressing several tiny demonstrations rather
      than one large one.

      >And this hypothetical situation is a MARCH, which is about as
      >collective an action as is needed in the peace movement. Letters to
      >the Editor, Signing/stickering public places, one-on-one persuasion,
      >etc. are all even better suited to individual/small group initiative
      >than they are to a unified organization.

      No, collective activity is more effective in mass mobilization. There
      are only so many people even the most determined and dedicated
      individual can reach.

      >I suspect you will argue that the cohesive approach will still be
      >more effective than the fragmented approach. That just leads us
      >right back to the whole collectivist/individualist disagreement that
      >underlies our communism/capitalism discussion. This is why I made
      >the original statement that philosophical differences _are_ important
      >in making alliances. Ideas matter, at least as much if not more than
      >interests and goals. I am quite convinced that my activities are far
      >more effective if you and I make no alliance, and the coordination of
      >our activities does not extend beyond perhaps walking down a street
      >at the same time and place (and maybe then only if I'm armed :-).
      >This is based on my understanding about how human interactions best
      >function, just as your call for universal alliance is based on your
      >understanding of the same. The mere fact that we are having this
      >discussion is ample evidence to me that an alliance/coordination
      >between us would be very ill advised.

      On the contrary, such open criticism and self-criticism is very
      healthy for an alliance. It is good that we have this discussion
      and certainly is not evidence that an alliance would be unsuitable.
      If you want to be armed when engaged in activities, I encourage it.
      If it is because you are more afraid of me than of the establishment,
      it shows you do not have a materialist understanding of where our
      interests lie, but nonetheless I have no objection.

      --Kevin
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