Friday, August 10, 2007
Call for Mediation : Non-violent w/ or w/out Civil Disobedience as a 9/11 Truth Practice?
Truthlings want to shut-up Dave Slesinger: promoter of discussions about Civil Disobedience and Non-violence.
Dave was banned from dc911truth.org - meetings, events and listserves and (not surprisingly, who hasn't been?) from 911blogger.com
Here's is Dave's writing on political strategy of non-violence and on what happened to him:
Call for Mediation
By Dave Slesinger dslesinger[at]alum.mit.edu
Please post public responses at 911courage.org
I have been removed from the 911truth.org grassroots contact list after having been an active truther since 2002, having given out over 55,000 deception dollars and having spoken on nonviolence at national 911 conferences in 2005, 06, and 07. The reason is that I’m seriously considering taking nonviolent sanctions against dc911truth.org, a group I co-founded, and against Webster Tarpley, a DC area resident. Before I take action, I will give the rest of the movement a chance to mediate.
I do this out of respect for the rest of the 9/11 truther movement, which could experience some problems as a result.
All I ask is a full discussion with Webster and the DC group (separately is acceptable) of the issues I have attempted to raise for over a year. I do not require that others agree with me. I only require FULL discussion.
To give perspective to this problem, wouldn’t most truthers be ecstatic if those who refuse to examine the evidence of government involvement in 9/11 were to agree to a full civil discussion of the evidence? If truthers refuse to discuss nonviolence, an approach to social problems based to respect, why should defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory (OCT) be respectful enough toward 911 skeptics to discuss 9/11?
Webster has repeatedly spoken in my presence against the example of Gandhi and King. He has stated in my presence that there is no such thing as moral force. (Even Lee Hamilton acknowledges the Jersey Girls had a lot of moral force.) He has stated that the oligarchs wanted Ellsberg to release the Pentagon Papers. (He doesn’t go so far as to say that Ellsburg, one of the greatest moral figures alive in the US, was a pawn of the oligarchs). He has stated more than once that people who do civil disobedience have low self esteem. Since no one is perfect and most people can have higher self esteem, is using such a psychological put down a reasonable way to dismiss a legitimate political tactic? Using personal attacks has been the stock and trade of debunkers. Am I out of line for expecting truthers to act better than these misguided people who substitute venom for evidence and logic? Sadly, Webster uses personal attacks regularly.
The sanctions I am considering against Webster are to contact the mainstream media wherever he has been scheduled to speak so that the local reporters are more likely to ask him questions he has been unwilling to answer in the past.. For him to prevent this, he will need to discuss his background with Lyndon Larouche in depth and explain why he should not be held at least partially responsible for many of Larouche’s misguided activities. Webster was Larouche’s intelligence chief until the mid-nineties. In addition, He needs to show why we should not be concerned about his use of Larouche’s demagogic tactics. Keeping in mind Webster’s psychological tactics mentioned above against those who might potentially practice civil disobedience, Larouche used to counter political disagreement by accusing youths in his group of projecting their unresolved conflicts with their parents onto him. Everyone has unresolved conflicts with important people in their life. Is that a reason to avoid discussion of political issues on their merits? In addition, Webster has shown himself to be contemptuous of the democratic process repeatedly in my presence.
Lastly, he needs to discuss the relative value of facts versus concepts, and why at this stage of our 9/11 truth organizing that he emphasizes concepts. While the evidence versus theory issue might be categorized as more of a content issue than a process issue, Webster’s penchant for theory over evidence is part and parcel to the demagogic style he learned from Larouche. An emphasis on theory without evidence implies the speaker is deserving of a sort of unquestioning faith it his veracity and ability.
On July 4 in Philadelphia after waiting at least five hours to speak for 3 minutes, and after the facilitator announced that I was to speak next, Webster ordered the facilitator to let him speak next (for hours). He had already spoken before that day. I had called THAT facilitator, Paul Deslauriers, the night before (he had left a message for me earlier that night referring to me as “buddy “) and checked in with Paul minutes after I arrived at 1:10PM. My presentation was clearly the most daring of any proposal made that day. It called for setting up a website listing both the suspicious and laudable FBI activity regarding 9/11 and standing outside the Hoover Building in DC as FBI workers leave for the day holding a banner with the website’s URL in order to weaken the will of FBI employees to support the cabal. It has so far proved to be too bold for the dozens of truthers in the room. (See accounts of similar past activity at 911courage.org.) Because Webster’s lecture was so long, there were no breakout groups (as promised by Paul), and no one has even contacted us anonymously by mail, it is unlikely such effort will proceed.
I have also been banned from posting on 911blogger.com for giving criticism of Paul Deslauriers’ post listing the agreements from July 4 in Philly. My offense was to note that my friend Cindy Sheehan had been abused in her support for the July 4 meeting since civil disobedience (CD) is not considered an option in the statement coming out of that meeting. She has stated in a post to me that she doesn’t work with people who oppose CD. I’m open to the possibility that she and many of the organizers of the conference did not anticipate Webster’s opposition to civil disobedience and ability to intimidate the facilitator. Reprehensor, of 911blogger.com seems to feel that since there was no previously agreed ban on CD in formulating the meeting, it is unfair to suggest Cindy was abused. I’m willing to agree that Reprehensor and others were not necessarily acting in bad faith while they were planning the conference. Nevertheless, a statement from the conference which doesn’t include embrace of civil disobedience is a slap in Cindy Sheehan’s face.
I support 911blogger.com’s decision to avoid the vicious mudslinging that has been so prevalent in our truther movement. I suggest that banning civilly stated disagreement is going too far and does not serve the movement. I like to think that an approach to conflict resolution which gives the adversaries credit and does not set a vicious tone is a contribution to rather than detraction from our movement. There must be acceptable ways to resolve conflict other than the person being abused agreeing to surrender. Even if the person abused wants to turn the other cheek, how can we be sure the contribution that person raises should be dismissed? Doesn’t such behavior invite more heat and less light?
Matt Sullivan, who facilitates most 911truth meetings, wrote after the July 4 incident that he supported the decision to preempt my speaking. He stated in a post saying that people didn’t come to Philly to listen to me. I consider this contempt for fairplay as being a version of “the ends justify the means.”
The sanctions I am considering against dc911truth.org include appearing at any and all their events with a sign or pack of leaflets asking why they won’t discuss nonviolence. I am also prepared to escalate beyond these sanctions. Such sanctions could result in serious implications for the rest of the movement.
Nonviolence is much more than civil disobedience. It affects normal public education efforts. It also involves fairplay within a group’s local process. As the modern women’s movement taught as far back as the 70’s, “the personal is political”.
As an example, allow me to review the discussion surrounding the eventual lack of public action by dc911truth.org on 5/11/07. I proposed we repeat the very first action that dc911truth ever did. We (Matt Sullivan, Lou Wolf, Clay Harris and I) had gone during lunch hour to the Washington Post in the spring of 2006 with a 7 foot banner (ask me how to make a plastic banner for under $10) stating “Courageous Reporters Work Here, dc911truth.org”. We gave out Steven Jones at UVSC on 2/1/06 DVDs, deception dollars, and Ken Jenkins’ glossy 11 points cards. We were well received by many, especially nonjournalists.
I proposed at the May 2007 meeting that we do a similar action giving out our new 4 in 1 DVD (9/11Mysteries, Loose Change II recut, Terror Storm (edited) and Griffin in Copenhagen). Lynn Bacaj suggested we avoid the Post with their terrible attitude toward exposing the lies of 911 and focus on the City Paper. Someone noted that the City Paper is an office in a larger building where most of the pedestrian traffic would not be from the City Paper. Instead of returning to the original proposal, Matt Sullivan, the facilitator, unilaterally moved to a new topic and no action occurred on May 11. We claim to use consensus, but Matt, who as a Quaker is well aware of basic consensus process, never went through the process of asking in sequence for questions, concerns, objections and blocking objections. A few months before, Greg Jenkins was denied the right to attach the dc911truth.org name to a project of his ostensibly because we “use consensus.” The group NEVER uses the consensus procedure of moving from questions to concerns to objections and to blocking objections. There is no evaluation at the end of the meetings, though I have requested such procedure. There are no minutes at any meeting, and I, even though I’m co-founder of dc911truth.org, am not allowed on the group listserve. This is because I have twice leafleted dc911truth.org events criticizing the group. Before I did this leafleting I pleaded with the group to discuss the issues internally so I wouldn’t have to raise them externally. At the Barrie Zwicker talk Barrie even praised me for the issues I raise. Copies of such leaflets are available.
The suppression of the Washington Post action is an excellent opportunity to show how an understanding of nonviolence could help our normal public education efforts.
My friend Gene Sharp, considered the Clausewitz of nonviolent warfare, delineates in his 3 volume set The Politics of Nonviolent Action, how a violent conception of power differs from a nonviolent conception of power.
A violent conception of power sees the adversary as a monolith, incapable of penetration. The phrase “Talking to him is like talking to a brick wall,” is an excellent example of this conception.
A nonviolent conception of power sees the adversary as ultimately dependent of the cooperation of its subordinates. This is significant because it suggests nonviolence can be used against the most seemingly intransigent adversaries. Sharp goes on to describe three ways nonviolence can win. These are conversion, accommodation and coercion. The further away from conversion and the closer to coercion, the more the adversary’s decisions depend on the lack of cooperation by his subordinates.
To quote Sharp, “In conversion the opponent has been inwardly changed so that he wants to make the changes desired by the nonviolent actionists. In accommodation the opponent does not agree with the changes (he has not been converted) and he could continue the struggle (he has not been nonviolently coerced), but nevertheless he has concluded that it is best to grant some or all of the demands. He may see the issues as not so important after all, the actionists as not as bad as he had thought, or he may expect to lose more by continuing the struggle than by conceding gracefully. In nonviolent coercion the opponent has not changed his mind on the issues, and wants to continue the struggle but is unable to do so; the sources of power and means of control have been taken away from him without the use of violence. This may have been done by the nonviolent group, or by opposition and noncooperation among his own group (as, mutiny of his troops) or some combination of these. (Italics by the author)
The lesson for the Washington Post DVD giveaway is that even if every journalist and editor actually spit on us, the other workers there are their associates and friends. Such an action would undercut the respect and possible cooperation the Post’s management has from their workers. Such action, while eminently legal, is a textbook example of the use of nonviolence.
Ultimately, it is crucial that any movement for social justice examine the history and philosophy of nonviolence. The most important reason that nonviolence can be valuable for everyone is because it shows how courage with honor has such great potential.
Those who can tell no difference between business as usual and nonviolent resistance are essentially saying the 911 truth movement has all the power it needs. Compare this to the antiwar and impeachment movement’s assumption that they have no need for evidence from the 911truth movement. This comparison is what got me banned from the dc911truth.org listserve originally.
It is with great sadness that I admit that I doubt the courage of American citizens to prevent the cabal from establishing full martial law. The fact that it is so rare to witness civil discussion of the evidence about the lies of 9/11 is testimony to this assertion. If we don’t exercise good citizenship skills on this central issue, history is being encouraged to remove our freedoms.
I also doubt the courage of the 911truth movement to earn the full truth. Truthers need to EARN the willingness of other citizens to consider what we say. While many citizens are readily open to question the official story, courage with honor can make significant inroads with fellow citizens who are captured by fear.
Because the cabal has successfully generated such deep fear throughout the population, a focus on courage becomes that much more essential for the truther movement. Courage vs. cowardice is a more important dimension than plane vs. different plane vs. no plane, and it is more important than thermate vs. space beam weapons.
Too many truthers misunderstand nonviolence to mean either a lack of disagreement or to mean civil disobedience alone. Those who dislike civil disobedience need to delineate which historical CD protests they consider counterproductive. Maybe we can design activity which respects the kernel of truth they present. This lack of clarity exists in a movement where almost everyone calls those who disagree with them either liars or disinfo agents.
While we know there is a mass psychosis among Bush supporters who fall prey to his claims of being a Christian, we have our own version of mass psychosis infesting the truther movement. If you can’t imagine someone can disagree with you in good faith, you are acting PARANOID. Do you still WANT to act PARANOID? Most citizens avoid politics with sane people, much less people committed to irrational words and deeds.
The culture of calling anyone who disagrees a disinfo agent is the greatest weakness in the truther movement.
This does not suggest I believe there is no government infiltration. I have no doubt there is more infiltration than in most movements. However, I agree with Sharp when he warns that the primary danger of police agents is not their lying or their spying, it is their ability to generate mistrust between genuine activists.
I’m tired of hearing lip service paid to Gandhi and King. Help generate a real discussion of our own hardest questions or risk nonviolent sanctions. We ask those in power to address hard questions. Though the hardest questions we neglect facing are different than those we present to our adversaries, we need to prove our own courage to ourselves and each other.
I’m sad that it looks like I could be losing so many of the truther friends that I’ve built up over the past 5 years. Nevertheless, you need to realize that I’m prepared to be hated by every 911truther. Gandhi insisted that satyagrahis be willing to hold fast to the truth even if it means death. That is the mindspace I am in.
Gandhi once suspended his activity for Indian independence and called for purification. I’m a pale shadow of the mahatma in part because I have yet to transcend my anger. However, I don’t call people names, I don’t threaten violence, and I seek broad counsel on significant issues. (Can you think of another conflict within our movement where one of the adversaries goes by these guidelines?) Nevertheless, I’m coming to the conclusion that 911truth requires significant purification. I’ll wait a while longer before taking action.
Discussion with me will be welcomed, but Webster, the 911truth.org steering committee, Reprehensor of 911 blogger.com and the DC group probably need to be communicated with if there will be significant hope of avoidance of these sanctions. Many people advise me that Webster is unlikely to respond. I believe if enough truthers let Webster know they love him and appreciate him and want him to work things out, he will respond positively.
Before the 911 truth conference this past February in Arizona I had to threaten to hold a press conference criticizing the conference for not allowing me to hold a workshop on nonviolence. Kent Knudsen granted me that workshop and we eventually had good relations by the time the conference was ended. Many truthers might have concerns that I insist the philosophy and tactics I propose must be central for everyone, which I don’t.
I do recognize that some conferences have a narrow enough focus that discussion of the problems I discuss in this statement are off topic. However, you can assume that if Webster speaks at a conference and the issues I raise here are not allowed to be discussed, that conference is inviting me to contribute nonviolent sanctions against the conference. It would be nice if more truthers had the depth of background in nonviolence that I have. It looks like I have just recently found one, Rebecca Campbell of Washington state. (Hope I got your name right, sister) Maybe more are yet to become involved. Maybe I have missed a sister or brother who others can help me find.
One refreshing aspect of the 911 truth movement is that so many people, even though they may not be young, are new to political activism. I say refreshing because historically, people have not usually gotten involved in idealistic causes after their youth. In particular, most anti-imperialist activists seem to become involved in their youth and have remained active their whole lives. Thus many activist groups are cannibalizations of similar groups from a decade before. Many participants in civil disobedience are people who came to this tactic after years trying other tactics. I’m suggesting activists new to their activism are less likely to embrace civil disobedience.
Some friendly critics ask why I don’t focus on creating a good nonviolent example rather than opposing others in the movement. Does than mean I should accept being shut out of forums like 911blogger.com, the 911truth.org grassroots contact list, Philly in July, Chandler in February, dc911truth.org meetings, events and listserve? If the rare person who sees value in courage doesn’t hear my call, is that acceptable? Some say start another group in DC. I’ll be lucky to find anyone else nationally to give more than lip service, much less in the city of which Harry Truman once said,” If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” Doesn’t the complete absence of assistance in our whistleblower efforts at the FBI and other venues mean the truther movement has clearly spoken? Its message would be, “Rather than do something bold, we would rather be in complete denial that anyone who does 911 truth public education efforts is risking their lives in the event the cabal makes its move.”
Who thinks giving out deception dollars at the HQ of the Bureau of Engraving in DC would be fun?
How people could think the general strike being advocated by Webster would not be aided by training in nonviolence is beyond me. Each of us needs practice trying to speak to the hearts of police, homeland security or military officials in order to be better prepared for a general strike. It will be quite a challenge for the cabal to get their storm troopers ready to impose martial law on people who remind them of their neighbors. Our greatest protection will be undercutting the will of the cabal’s minions to follow orders! Sharp notes that when the Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968, the Czechs were so effective at touching the hearts of the European Russian occupiers that the Kremlin replaced them with soldiers from the Asian part of the USSR.
Practice at this does not take a PHD. It’s easy enough to set up a “hassle line” An exercise can be practiced by separating yourself into 2 lines facing each other. Generate a description of a situation to be experienced (i.e. talking to a homeland security official coming to take you to the camps or talking to a local police officer about why they should look at the lies of 9/11). One side is the official, one side is the truther. Talk for 2 minutes. Then shift so you face the person who was catty corner to you before. Have a hassle line on a regular basis. Brainstorm situations for hassle lines. Send those brainstorms to us at 911courage.org so we can compile them. BE SURE TO HAVE A DISCUSSION OF THE EXPERIENCE BEFORE YOU STOP EACH TIME.
As the 9/11 truth movement gets closer to such broad support that the criminal traitors who run this country realize their time in power is threatened, they will go even more on the offensive than they already have. Sharp calls it,” Challenge brings repression.” Since elements of our own government killed the 3000 people on 9/11, and because they got away with it, they can do it again in another form, declare martial law, suspend elections, and round up EVERY dissident (including the left gatekeepers, ironically) and put us in camps built by KBR.
In order to round us up, the cabal will designate 911truth activists as terrorists. The best way to prove we are NOT terrorists is by regular training and discussion in nonviolence. Many truthers believe we need no discussion of nonviolence if we are not actively using physical violence. I BELIEVE THESE PEOPLE ARE NAÏVE.
This naiveté particularly concerns me because of my past experience. The longest part of my experience as an activist was 15 years opposing nuclear power, primarily at Seabrook, NH. The greatest lesson for me from these years is that activists should not be surprised when the authorities use repression to counter a successful movement.
My dear friend No Guns, who I met organizing for Seabrook, has proposed other activity to discourage roundup. She proposes that local groups arrange a permit for area next to some central location (city hall, the TV station, the newspaper) to be camped at 24/7 in the event of martial law. It would be suspicious for the authorities to drag people away from such an encampment, while it would be too easy for people to disappear from their homes. I also suggest prepaying for a port-o-potty. We at 911courage.org are eager to list whenever someone gets such a permit.
Those who know they could never get arrested on purpose could still benefit from learning more about nonviolence. Whether it be to learn how to make sure civil disobedience actions do not fall prey to what you consider imprudent, to learn the value and role of support in civil disobedience actions, to learn how the philosophy of nonviolence can improve the activity of truth groups or other public education, or to just learn how courage is a crucial ingredient in any struggle (watch the Beit Shalom Denver to DC walkers get the police to modify their stance), education in nonviolence can benefit our movement.
Ultimately those who can not see themselves getting arrested need to realize that public education efforts on behalf of 911truth could be sufficient grounds in the cabal’s mind to be rounded up for the camps. In jail, it’s reasonable to expect to survive. In the camps, the outcome could be different.
Kevin Barrett has requested that I show compassion for Webster and the DC group. The way I have always been able to show compassion is by giving people credit where credit is due.
As for Webster, he has provided a valuable service to the truther movement by introducing the concept of the false flag operation. As I told Webster when I greeted him warmly with a handshake in Philly, I quote him regularly. The idea of his I use regularly is when I make a concise plea to leftists and antiwar activists to consider the evidence of 9/11. I say “You’ll never get out of Iraq without 9/11 truth because the president’s supporters do not care about the use of torture or about the disappearance of the right to dissent because they are so frightened of foreign terrorists.” I add, “There may be foreign terrorists (that part of what I say would not be supported by Webster), but they didn’t do 9/11.”
In my opinion, Webster is not nearly as misguided as Larouche. I’ve heard him state several times that because we are facing nuclear war, we have to work with people we don’t completely agree with. Larouche, the demagogue, would never say that. Webster cannot be said to be put in the same anti-Semitic category with Larouche because he regularly denies the primacy of Mossad involvement in 9/11. He is also one of the rare truther luminaries who do not fan the flames of hostility between the no planer/ plane hugger factions.
The DC group should be applauded for the excellent 4 in 1 DVD made by Greg Jenkins, for the bonding generated by their regular meetings over dinner, for Matt and Elaine’s Rock Creek Free Press and for their willingness to discuss the 911truth.org “A Commitment to More Civil and Effective Collaboration within the 911 Truth Movement.” from 2/5/07 which I initiated but was embellished by Fred Burks and the steering committee of 911truth.org.
Let me also state that Janice Matthews, executive director of 911truth.org, who removed me from the grassroots contact list, is still one of my favorite people in the world.
Dave Slesinger 240-221-3293 (h) 410-499-5403(c) dslesinger[at]alum.mit.edu
Webster Tarpley-Call Dave for Webster’s phone or check the listing in whowhere.com. He lives in Gaithersburg, Md. I’m told he often does not respond to email. Maybe calling him before posting to him would work.
The FBI criticism and applause project-Dan Nalven email@example.com PO Box 1132 Ossining, NY 10562
rebeccaphb[at]yahoo.com Rebecca Campbell
Posted by Peggy Carter at 9:26 AM