Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Colliery Dam Struggle - Leadership – Theirs and Ours

A strong people need no leader – Benaventura Durutti

True leadership is obedience – Sub Comandante Marcos

There are two ways of looking at leaders and leadership:

The first is that of Durrutti's, leaders as bosses, people who can force their way on to others, people who have power over us, but not necessarily our respect. This form of leadership, their leadership, is that of the Council majority and the city bureaucracy.

The second form of leadership, that of Marcos, where leaders have little or no power over us and can lead only by example and moral suasion. This leadership grows out of  respect. Our leaders clearly articulate the people's wishes and have no personal agenda other than that of the people. They have no police or army to beat us into submission if we disagree with them. If they were to lose our respect, their leadership would crumble and they would fade back into the masses.

Such is the leadership provided by Dave and Jeff. (And even though they have legislative powers, our "Fab Four" City Councillors and Chief Douglas White clearly share these moral attributes)

Our leaders are not the only source of ideas. We are not receiving gifts from on high from some know-it-all elite. Where our leaders have special skills, they use them to the public benefit, yet at the same time they articulate the viewpoints expressed by the populace. Many ideas come from "below" and through our spokespeople become public conversations.

Durrutti's concept also means, "we don't need leaders because we are all leaders." In large measure this is true with the Colliery Dams struggle. A multitude of people have come forward and played leadership roles by taking on tasks or acting upon their own ideas. Think of the fund-raisers, the Colliery Dam float, the Silly Boat race, the Colliery Dam Singers, the tee shirts, posters, the speeches to Council, the petitions, the people handing out fliers and so on and so on, all done by people who have taken leadership. Our movement would have not gotten very far without this form of leadership.

Finally, in a system based upon maintaining alienation and passivity, just by standing up and getting involved at any level, you are a leader.


Anonymous Josh Wapp said...

It seems like folks that go on to management positions in municipalities are those who pulled the wings off flies when they were children.

The whole system should change. Democracy should be direct and participatory, rather than having a bunch of idiots at the wheel, steering the ship into every available iceberg.

Municipalities are perfect places for more participatory democratic practices to occur. People know their own town, and have a vested interest in it's well-being. Enough of the little emperors running around naked!

10:29 AM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

Very true, Josh. Municipalities - especially smaller ones like Nanaimo or Nelson - would be ideal places to expand into participatory democracy. The old system is plainly broken and we have to move on to something more inclusive...

12:06 PM  

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