Indymedia Economies

How to support each other - the 'people' economy

  • how to be here in 5, 10 20 years time
  • understanding that people have different views
  • can go over the top and be too enthusiastic leads to burn-out
  • need to have space for people to withdraw or lower their energy level, but still to come back
  • not getting too personal - not importing personal arguments, issues into discussion; recognition of this by other people and telling eachother this.
  • keeping activist 'work' time separate from activist 'personal' time - like still getting a beer at the end of a session
trust making
  • important to set realistic achievable goals
  • important to establish early on what the ground rules are.... need some point of reference when "it comes to the crunch"

individual v. collective needs...
  • what happens when you disagree with the collective?
  • sometimes there are times when the collective need is different from the individual need.

  • having other interests and spaces outside of activism
  • having a different arena for exercising control

  • being aware of the 'individualistic' way that we live in the westernised, anglo-saxon world.
  • need to understand the process of concensus and how we do things, times and places when concensus may not be the most appropriate or efficient or safe way of working.

  • having a good rapport amongst different members to start with!

  • having duplicity - no one person being essential to the project, having others around with the same skills
  • Aotaeroa example of having different 'cells' around the country....

  • problem is maybe bringing people on board.
  • transmitting the history of the struggle so far... new people coming on board do not know about stuff that has been previously discussed - issues are often just re-hashs of what went on before.
  • loops - main Aotaeroa loop = main email list

  • redundancy is really important - and important to skill-share to build that up

  • concensus - linked into on-going concensus. For example, decisions may not be absolutely vetoed because they have ongoing solidarity with the group
  • utilising peoples expertise and skills is important also
  • building alliances - even between different political groups, using the organising abilities of different groups - e.g. getting the trots to organise the march! - but overall working within the non-hierarchical model

  • Phillipines - different culture. People tend to treat eachother much more as a family - being an activist in the country is much more like married life - without the crucial contact, of course! Always try to make a point for the activists to explain how their specific lives relate to the wider issues and campaigns.
also always trying to communicate with the masses - always asking and listening to what people want much more usual in the Phillipines for activists to stay on for 20 or 40 or even 60 years

if there are disagreements, give the person as much space as she or he needs, then try to listen and hear what the disagreements are

  • very difficult to criticise other people
  • very difficult to deal with criticism directed at yourself *==> all linked in to this "pride" feeling inside, feeling of pride being wounded and attacked so try to respond by attacking other people
  • need to recognise this sometimes.
  • really difficult to deal with!
  • need to be able to give and take criticism
  • there is a difference between criticising the behaviour and criticising the person
  • also in how you receive criticism
  • suggestion of combining it with affirmation: try to give some positive feedback as well

  • activism gives people confidence - to be supported by people and to support other people
  • sense of 'wow' when you feel this solidarity
  • honesty is crucial - essential for people to be honest with each other
  • also important to understand that people are on their way - we all are!! we are all on the journey to being a better person...

  • also good to actually have dispute sometimes - can loosen tensions - 'verbal fisticuffs'
  • mediation can also be really useful


groups which have been going along, but haven't got clearly defined membership ==> led to big problems amongst the collective when there were no guidelines to follow. Actual examples are the situation in Sydney 15 years ago with Jura and Black Rose bookshops. People learnt a lot about the process, about themselves, etc. Very draining process on a personal levels. Now, there are only 2 of the founding members from 20 years ago who are still involved in alternative politics. Why? Tried to keep at sustainable levels of energy. Had to withdraw from high levels of activity. Also personal support at home - shared house etc

adelaide - S11 crew. May first protests... resistance collective was insistent on voting and thus some time was spent discussing concensus... which was eventually agreed upon.

Reference Material:

Using Structure in Collectives by John Englart
On Conflict and Consensus - a handbook on Formal Consensus decisionmaking by C.T. Butler and Amy Rothstein (1987)

-- GarconDuMonde - 18 Jul 2004
-- TakveR - 18 Jul 2004 Added reference Material
Topic revision: r4 - 20 Feb 2005, GarconDuMonde
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