[sixties-l] Re: Wesley Hogan on SDS film

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: Sun May 20 2001 - 19:17:30 EDT

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    Date: Fri, 11 May 2001 12:27:11 -0400 (EDT)
    From: Joseph Gabriel <anodyne@eden.rutgers.edu>

    Joe Berry has raised an extremely important point here. There is an
    obvious need on the left for new models of conflict resolution. I think we
    have probably all seen plenty of sectarian battles and the destruction
    they leave in their wake, and I for one am very interested in trying to
    figure out new ways of moving beyond them. To that end, I would like to
    offer a few ideas.

    It seems to me that there are a lot of people doing a lot of
    interesting things around this topic that the progressive left - narrowly
    defined - could learn from. When I say "narrowly defined" here I mean the
    labor/anti-racist/feminist/environmental/queer left - obviously a big,
    complicated group (?) of people. But there are also a tremendous number of
    people doing interesting work out there who may or may not consider
    themselves parts of these movements, and who are typically ignored by the
    progressive left as either not speaking to our concerns or as being some
    shade of reactionary or, perhaps, simply because we do not know about
    them. My point here is simply that these people have a lot of skills - and
    a lot of ideas - that we could use. Among the people I am thinking about
    here are the following:

    The Re-evaluation Counseling community - a very large, well-organized
    network of people who "counsel" with each other as a means of healing
    socially induced trauma, such as those caused by racism, sexism,
    etc. These people have excellent communication skills and a working model
    of how to help each other deal with a lot of the garbage that tends to rip
    progressive organizations apart.

    The alternative health movement and the New Age movement - two other
    large bodies of people, loosely organized, who are interested in healing
    and who tend have extremely good communication skills around interpersonal
    conflict. One of the great insights of these two groups (aong others) is
    that doing things that are body-centered, like Yoga, dance, and massage,
    can be extremely useful in resolving conflict, lowering stress, and in
    general helping people interact with each other in more positive
    ways. This is something the progressive left, which often seems to demand
    physical and emotional renunciation from its members, really needs to

    People interested in intentional communities and conflict resolution -
    another large, loosly organized group of people, interested in
    co-operative housing, alternative community structures, etc. Again, these
    are people who have developed a lot of skills and models around human
    interaction that members of the activist progressive left could really
    learn from. THey have come up with a lot of solutions to questions
    like: How do we decide who will do the chores, and what do we do when the
    person who is supposed to have cleaned the toilet hasn't? That may seem
    like an easy thing to deal with, but it isn't. Not when you and 10 other
    adults - not to mention a bunch of kids - live together.

    And finally, I'd like to point people to the work of CT Butler, one of the
    people involved in organizing Food Not Bombs. CT has developed a model of
    decision making called Formal Consensus for use in organized bodies. A
    lot of groups are actually using it successfully. I strongly suggest
    people take a look at it. (There are a bunch of web pages up about it - do
    a search on Yahoo for "Formal Consensus" and explore the links...)

    Joe Gabriel

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