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Talks nearly broke down

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Jul. 27th, 2006 | 02:44 pm

Last weekend I went to my first green party county council meeting out in Santa Monica.

I was warned ahead of time that it was likely to be contentious, and that various factions wanted to change the agenda.

There's this one guy (call him Mr. O) whose a stickler for detail and organization and appears to have some trouble rapidly adjusting to changes in his structure. I was informed that he can come across as being somewhat condescending. Unfortunately for him he made some kind of legal mistake that caused all sorts of internal controversy.

I suspect that gave the people who didn't like him a focus for their anger so they now had something to constantly criticize him over.

Mr. O, being they kind of person who likes to write by-laws and the like was one of the "co-coordinators" (CoCos) from the previous council. (CoCos are responsible for writing the agenda for the next meeting.)

What then happened is though he tried to write a fairly boring and non-contentious agenda that focused on just administrative stuff, a swath of the anti Mr O contingent were desperately unhappy that he wrote the agenda.

The result of that is we spent most of our business meeting arguing about moving Point 6 "approval of the meeting agenda, and adding emergency items" up to the first substantive position.

Eventually we managed to agree to select two new people from the new county council to write the agenda for the next meeting--one from the two major factions.

After suffering through that I now have a much better understanding what something like "The talks at the WTO summit broke down mean".

It means things like America doesn't want to sit next to Syria, and that the allotted time for lunch is to short or too long, and what do you mean by "simple" on line 37 of page 13 of the agenda, and just who did you contract for printing these agenda on anyway.

I'm of the opinion that if there are difficult differences between people, its vastly easier to argue over the petty stuff.

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Comments {6}


stupid, eh?

from: pacotelic
date: Jul. 27th, 2006 10:51 pm (UTC)

This is the 80/20 rule all in effect: 80% of your time will be spent on 20% of your goods. It sux, and the only way to avoid it is to keep your eyes on the prize.

The thing I"ve always hated about Green party politics is the ratio of fanatics to sense in the people assembled. When everybody's trying to prove how righter than thou they are, nothing gets done, and molehills become mountains.

Humility was lacking 2 years ago, looks like its still in short supply.

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no, YOUR mom

(no subject)

from: theinfamousmom
date: Jul. 27th, 2006 11:16 pm (UTC)

The "peace talks" in Paris in the 70s, that were allegedly to figure out a way to end the Vietnam war, spent the first 14 months arguing about the shape of the table they were going to sit around to do the actual talking.

When people really don't want to talk about something, they can find endless other things to argue about.

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(no subject)

from: clynne
date: Jul. 28th, 2006 04:51 pm (UTC)

Wow. ... No, seriously. Wow.

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It's a funny world.

from: dilinger
date: Jul. 28th, 2006 05:15 pm (UTC)

I have been reading more about the Lost 9 billion dollars. Apparentlythere is another 12 billion dollars that was shipped from the reserves directly over to Iraq. Where reportly "Infantry were playing football with blocks of $100 dollar bills"

Now that would be a site to see. Where was I going with this, O yea, imaging future generations trying to figure out why the president was able to stop an investigation into any corruption in Iraq. Now figure how we as a country are ever going to solve any of this if we only want to argue on tables or printers. (crazy!)

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I worry...

from: prof_reed
date: Jul. 29th, 2006 12:03 am (UTC)

I worry that our inability to do some of the most important things on the left stems from the inability to come to a consensus on the little things. If we can't agree on a board agenda how can we possibly agree on ending the war, or stopping global warming. Plus, the smaller the group the more personal politics (meaning I side with my friends and oppose the people I don't like--regardless of the issue) seems to come in to play. When will we learn what the republicans learned, its better to win.

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Re: I worry...

from: markcronan
date: Jul. 29th, 2006 07:25 pm (UTC)

I agree. I think I heard it often from Shannon concerning University politics. Ultimately she seemed to have come to the conclusion that, for group politics, given the choice between a group run by a strong dictatorship and a group run by seeking consensus of the members, the dictatorship ultimately achives the group goals much better. Because you can always count on SOMEONE to muck things up with a concesus, and usually several someones.

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