Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Agents of Discord

Now that New College of California is closed and bandits are
busy looting the remains, the Gabel coterie is probably
getting nervous about having to return ill-gotten gains.
Should a class-action lawsuit materialize against them, that
is a real possibility.

So what better way to derail the alumni than to drive a wedge
between the alumni leadership? After all, the tactic of
divide and conquer was standard operating procedure for the
Gabel gang in preventing democratization of the school for
three decades. They've honed the technique of infiltrating,
rumor-mongering, and back-stabbing to an art. (There is now
evidence pointing to a recent undercover operation, by a
true-believer of the Gabel cult, to cozy up to some of the
alumni leadership in order to undermine the most vocal of
Gabel's critics.)

In social conflict, there are always those who intentionally
sow discord as part of psychological warfare.
There are also
those who unintentionally create disharmony due to their
ignorance or argumentative nature.

In order to prevail against enemies of social justice, both
intentional and unintentional subversion of authentic
activism must be dealt with. Whether those who disrupt
productive organizing do so as a result of being misguided or
malevolent will determine the manner in which they are dealt
with, but due to the limited energy available for these
distractions, needlessly indulging them is strategically

People get emotional under stress, and even civil discussions
can get heated. But better that discussions take place than
not. Otherwise, no learning. I could avoid criticism by
flattering the ignorant or cajoling the delinquent, but that
requires sacrificing the goals we've set.

Over the years I've discovered that teaching and mentoring
means that students and proteges sometimes turn on the
messenger. It's unfortunate, but it happens.

But with agents of discord, I find it's best to point out
their game straight off before they can do much damage. A
good policy is that everyone's welcome who participates in
good faith. Those who don't can suffer the consequences.


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