Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Dissent within political organizations is nothing new. My question here is why are we letting happen within organizations that shouldn't be viewing there message as political?

The reason I say that many of these groups shouldn't be viewing there message as political is simple; human life is not about politics. The occupation of Iraq is not about politics. Health care is not about politics. Gay marriage is not about politics. Now I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "Well gee mister veteran, I could have sworn all those issues were political?" Well maybe they are in Washington, but they shouldn't be among activist groups.

There is a fair amount of internal problems arising in groups that I work with. One of those groups has taken to moderating a troublesome member as of late. Now, I'm all for free speech, but I'm also all for constructive speech. If someone is attacking and insulting without posing a structured, logical argument to support there basis of opinion then they are merely wasting the groups time with there blind and empty rhetoric. There is of course the problem of deciding when such moderation is acceptable then. When does a group member cross the line and become problematic to the point of needing to be censored for the health of the group? Unfortunately this is not a straight forward question. It is a challenging decision to make in any circumstances. These sorts of decisions also inevitably lead to discussion about the actions taken. So even by censoring a member you are left with more time being spent discussing internal policy rather then performing constructive actions.

The other problem I am facing right now is group members opposing certain ideological backgrounds operating within the group. To explain further; there is a growing issue within the group on a national level of anarchists, socialists, and sometimes republicans being discriminated against on an internal political level. Anarchists are just too radical, republicans are just too conservative. You get the idea. This is hampering the groups ability to focus on it's primary objectives of saving thousands of lives overseas. Should a republican who has turned against the occupation be viewed as too conservative? I don't think so. What about an anarchist who opposes having decisions made for them and insists on a collective decision making process? Should they be views as simply too radical? One of the arguments I have been hearing is that the actions taken by certain people may taint the media or political image if the organization. Well excuse my French but bull fucking shit. I can't think of a single activist I have ever met or worked with who would think poorly of a group for including these sorts of individuals. If anything they would be applauded for being a non-exclusionary group.

Several of these problems have grown to a point where even my wife has become frustrated with the internal policy bickering. The amazing thing here is that she is normally quite tolerant of my ranting and raving (except at dinner time of course) and even though she was not directly involved in these disputes she recognized that they were becoming a source of increasing stress. Why bother working with groups that are only going to stress you out? It was a valid argument. If I could be doing these things on my own or through a group of my own design (in the works I'll keep ya'll posted) then why should I continue to tolerate a politicized mindset where we should be thinking only of our objectives? It took some serious pondering on my part. A decision was finally reached that a chance would be extended. If the conflicts continues unabated then the split would occur and I would keep on trucking on my own. "An Army of One" in the war against tyranny and oppression and the valuation of property and death over life and health.

Progress is being made. That's all that one can ask for. Focus on the goals and not on the means (well unless you oppose violent terrorism which I would have to say is a valid viewpoint and reason enough not to associate with a group. Violence is never ok, neither is hate or discrimination, but barring these factors) and reach towards a new world.

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