Not only did the organizers devote the vast majority of the scheduled time to the usual fare -- preaching to the choir -- their minimal allotment of time for deep dialogue concerning possible movement in solidarity reflected their refusal to conduct any discussion PRIOR to the conference. They were clearly not interested in really coming up with solutions. Their exclusive concern was to parade a number of high profile names before the public, breaking no new ground for their gathering. And "breaking new ground" is clearly what's going to be needed to deal with the rising, horrid momentum pushed by the powers that be.
Problems with the conference on this count were not limited to what the organizers did or didn't do, however. The main speakers must also shoulder the blame. Permit me to point out a few personal experiences with them all, in an effort to provide an instructive article here.
First of all, I had offered to help the organizers secure a large audience for their conference, but I they did not respond to my missives. Did not respond to emails or calls, even when I underscored that I had a new paradigm for action (See below) to propose in their solutions segment, proposals for action which I suggested would enliven any "solutions discussion" that might take place on their final day. NO RESPONSE. Regardless of what they might have thought of the specifics I had put on the table for their consideration, if one is interested in building grassroots solidarity one does NOT dismiss such communications out of hand, one does not neglect to nurture such offerings to some degree.
Speakers like Ellen Brown and Peter Phillips and Michael Parenti, who have provided their imprimaturs for about a year now to TOSCA (our Taking Over the State of California project as per http://oxtogrind.org/archive/483) were particularly puzzling. For me, it was inexplicable that they wouldn't want to include something about TOSCA in the conference's solutions segment. Or that they wouldn't at least explain why not prior to the conference.
There was a distinct feeling -- so sadly familiar these days -- that no one had the time to discuss anything, let alone go back and forth in any kind of depth. People who attended the conference have told me that the format for handling questions from the audience precluded any Discussion in Depth. Again, so much for Deep Politics.
Please note that concerned citizens can rally people around moral indignation and the like anymore. Those days are quite dead. And it's in that sense that the Deep Politics conference was beating a dead horse from its very foundation, conception.
As an alternative, I ask people to consider Ecstatic Poltiics. I submit that if we embrace something along the lines of what's suggested at http://oxtogrind.org/archive/596 we'll be a lot better off, with a much greater potential for meaningful organizing and action.
We do NOT want to continue documenting ourselves to death as per http://oxtogrind.org/archive/438. Though you'd never know it judging from the arthritic snail's pace which is characteristic of so many conferences, WE HAVE DEADLINES.
Blessings in solidarity,
Richard Martin Oxman
http://oxtogrind.org/archive/565 (for contact info and bio)
P.S. PLEASE note that I have GREAT respect for many of the souls cited above. This piece is not a matter of foul-mouthing, or being unappreciative for efforts made. Rather, it is a plea -- on bended knee -- for one and all to acknowledge that we must move in solidarity on a single angle ASAP, and not remain in our little corners of activism following obsolete paradigms for institutional change.