Rethinking LabourNetworking
Source Peter Waterman
Date 99/05/13/09:24

I wonder whether it isn't time to radically rethink LabourNet, even if this
means suspending activities for a year.

There is more personal animosity being expressed here than seems
tolerable for such an operation. I find myself both confused by the exchange
of remarks-relating-to-other-remarks and alienated by the intense personal
hostility being expressed.

Practically speaking I think that Chris Bailey would do much better running
some kind of operation such as that of Eric Lee! Maybe he could find a
couple of people who would agree with him, follow him or behave according
to his desires. Chris has all kinds of qualities and capacities, but leading a
collective is evidently not one of them. I am confident he could design a one-
man operation that would contribute to the general LabourNetting taking
place internationally.

I do not, incidentally, think that Chris is the only LN individual with a `bad
attitude'. It's just that he started the show and obviously wants to direct it with
everyone else in second or third place. I am quite literally unaware of anyone
who could play this central role. Those I DO know personally seem - other
evident qualities apart - to be either individualistic or conflictive (and I do not
here exclude myself).

I do not honestly think that closing down, or simply resigning from, the current
LN - even closing down those parts operating without friction - would leave
an enormous and visible hole in the sea. What would actually be lost?
`LabourNet' is a nice title but site names are two a penny...

A one-year rethink, possibly including a face-to-face conference or
workshop, at which one or more general proposals could be presented,
could hardly be worse than stumbling forward as we do at present. Maybe
taking the pieces apart, and each running his/her personal or small-group
section, would make a better contribution to LabourNetting than pretending
to be a collective when we are a bunch of conflictive individuals.

What we need, it seems to me, is to start afresh, on the basis of some
political and personal compatability, as well as an idea of what
LabourNetting (worldwide) and LabourNet (our contribution) could or should
be, how it should be structured, governed and supported (sweat capital,

My hypothetical contributions could be of two sorts.

On the one hand I might be able to do some kind of overview paper on
`international labour communication (by computer)'. Or maybe something
broader, such as `international social movement communication by
computer'. In both cases I could end up with proposals for action. I might
anyway have to do some such paper in connection with a conference in
December and/or a book project I am discussing with a friend.

On the other hand I might be able to both make a proposal for and to run (on
my own or in collaboration) an `international labour movement and media
discussion site'. This would relate to my Global Solidarity Site, which
concentrates (when up and running) on `analysis, theory, strategy'.

That's it. Back in Eurospace May 16.

Jacob v.d.Doesstr. 28, 2518xn The Hague, Netherlands. Tel: +31-70-3631539.Fax: +31-70-4260-799 (ask them to alert me at phone n
o.3631539). Email:

Check for my books: `Globalisation, Social Movements and the New Internationalisms' (1998) and `Labour Worldwide in
the Era of Globalisation' (1999).

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