Discussion on political organising – and how to make it better – Part 1

This is the first part of a discussion I had with one Marc Hudson, co-editor of Manchester Climate Monthly and person who has been involved in political activism – mostly of the environmental persuasion – for a few years.

I asked him about the ups and downs of political activity and why he thought they happen:

Marc Interview 1 from preorg on Vimeo.

We quickly got on to the topic of political meetings. I made some of my typical (see here) comments on consensus (on hearing my own voice so much in this video I had to change the title from ‘interview’ to ‘discussion’…) and then we then talked about the cliques that tend to actually run ‘horizontal’ organisations.

Here is the Meetings Charter that Marc mentions. I really like the comments encouraging discussion rather than lecture-style meetings but I also think it is important to emphasise that decision-making meetings are – or should be – different. I think there are actually good reasons to put boundaries around who can take part in those, in order that the people taking the decisions are the same people who will act on the decisions or be bound by them.

2 Comments

  1. grumble

    Them comments about “ok if you’re a student, unemployed, trustafarian, but not if you’re a wage slave” seems a bit of a needlessly divisive and bigoted generalisation? It also seems a bit moralising – like if I have the time (by some measure), I *ought* to just accept meetings, etc.. Seems to close down scope for critically evaluating the role of meetings…

    “to find out what they think because often that’s why they open their mouths hoping that inspiration will strike them” – Seems like a bit of an arrogant statement.

    Reply
  2. preorg

    Perhaps the way I would phrase it is that much political activism is done by people who have few other responsibilities and is therefore difficult to enter for those who have a family/mortgage/other heavy financial or personal responsibilities. I think people who do not have those responsibilities should be aware that a very large part of the population does, and if that is a ‘moralising’ thing to say, so be it. I think the implication was meant to be not that those people *should* go to all the meetings but that they should organise differently – and probably with less meetings – so that more people can join them.

    I didn’t think the second comment was meant to be an insult. Many people aren’t used to speaking publicly on their own behalf so it is quite experimental when they first get involved in political discussions. But perhaps Marc will clarify what he meant.

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