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Update, Sunday 1 July 2007
 
Friends,
      This morning started abruptly, a little before 6:30, with endless clanging of church bells, and reports that at first we sleepily tended to dismiss as fireworks but then, as the insistent clanging from the giant campaniles (bell towers) pounded away, we feared might be gun shots, then brought us fully awake. That’s how they sound the campaniles when there’s an emergency and a need to call the citizenry. I got up moments after Nancy, who was already in her study with her little hand-held radio searching the dial. There was reason to be worried, but Nancy will likely write about it in her update to the Oaxaca Study-Action Group discussion website, at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/oaxacastudyactiongroup/ , and since happily our fears seem to have been exaggerated, I’ll turn back to the SftP listserv.
      I found two good letters from comrades this morning. I’ve already written them for permission to use parts of their letters, which I anticipate I’ll get (a note from one that I just got says a revised statement is on the way, by tonight). But I want to let the rest of the group know what I’m thinking of doing. Here is an excerpt from my letter to them today:
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      My inclination at the moment is to take your suggestions, Xxxx, to make clear that I believe Jonathan did play a primary provocative role, and, had I had the energy to go back and search through the dungheap called SftP archives I probably would have removed him too (and maybe others). I will also remind my angry critics that not a single person came forward with a cited post for me to look at and consider acting upon. I'm also thinking of reinstating Balter's membership, but making it unambiguous that it is a response to your formulation, Xxxx, and not the angry demands of those who stood by silently for weeks and then went berserk when I finally did what I said I was seriously considering doing to put an end to unacceptable (to me) personal attacks. I would also encourage the shriekers to take action to have me removed from my co-ownership role. (I bet not a single one of them has contacted Steve Cavrak). And I would remind them that if I remain co-owner with the power to remove a member, and another intolerable personal attack happens, I will act again in the same way I did with Balter. How does this sound to each of you for a next step?

      For your private information, here are your two letters (except for the personal part of yours, Xxxx), and I'll follow that by a draft posting I had hoped to get done last night, but didn't complete. You are welcome to react to that too, of course.

Again, many thanks to each of you for your steady support.
All the best,
George

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Oaxaca, Saturday 30 June 2007

Friends,
      As you know if you read my post this morning, namely
007838 2007-06-30 07:25 163 Rome wasn't built in a day
I got some sensible advice from Herb Fox, who suggested I proceed step by step, not trying to be a perfectionist, insisting on dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s before posting my completed ‘manifesto’. Now back to my prior posting from last night, namely
007835 2007-06-29 22:28 550 Re: Balter's "charge with attempted murder"
which ended with Michael Balter’s two responses to me on 27 June. In his first note he acknowledged “You are right that I did not see all of this. Thank you for sending it.” My e-mail to him was explicit, including a note I had written originally to Alex Dajkovic, “I'm quite ready to act against others if they post the kind of personal attacks that I find unacceptable. You, or Michael Balter, or anyone is free to send me a flagrant attack and I will check it out and take action." Balter, in his second note said he would not cite attacks against him, that others had already spoken of them.
      I don’t contemplate any further removals because I think the temper of the list has altered. If I am still a list co-owner a month from now (which I hope not to be), I anticipate resubscribing Michael Balter without conditions. But, as long as I continue as a co-owner with arbitrary power, if anyone engages in personal attacks that are unacceptable to me, I will unsubscribe that person for a period of up to a month.
      Enough of negative stuff! Here’s a thought that might appeal to the group. Years ago a SftP delegation went to China, after which the members wrote, China: Science Walks on Two Legs. Copies are available through various booksellers, as shown on the site
http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?&isbn=0380001438&nsa=1 . One of the recollections I have from that delegation’s discussion back home was Eric Entemann telling us that in one of the factories they had visited, where he saw plenty of people smoking cigarettes, when he mentioned it to one of the workers the man replied to him saying that it was capitalism that causes cancer, not smoking. Eric of course didn’t buy that.
      The idea came from some correspondence in the last couple of days and from Dick Levins’ post today about Cuba and the control of information. Maybe instead of organizing a conference, as Larry Romsted (I think it was) suggested, it would be a more catalyzing action for SftP to organize a delegation to visit Cuba and Haiti. At first I was thinking of proposing to Jonathan that he visit the famous clinic that Paul Farmer set up in the impoverished central part of Haiti where he has developed world recognized protocols for treating tuberculosis and HIV-AIDS. I’m pretty sure I remember reading in one of Farmer’s books that antiretroviral agents were part of the protocol. I would have proposed Jonathan visit South Africa, but that would be very expensive. Then I thought maybe Jonathan and Michael Balter might go together to Haiti and Cuba. But a delegation would be much better. I’m sure that not only Jonathan and Balter could learn a lot, but, if the delegation prepared reports (and maybe even a book) it could be very valuable for all of us, and as a contribution to public awareness on the vital health and information issues involved.
 

The nature of the listserv
 
[This is as far as I got with the draft last night]