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Ella Taught Me: Shattering the Myth of the Leaderless Movement


Ella Taught Me: Shattering the Myth of the Leaderless Movement

Barbara Ransby

Who gets to tell the story? This is a question implicit in the work I do as a historian. But the question I have been wrestling with lately is more immediate: Who gets to shape the narrative, define the history-makers, and capture the words and images of the current black-led, anti-state violence movement evolving in the United States right now?


When a movement’s power is concentrated in one leader, the opposition has only one person to target to defeat the movement. One great advantage of “no leader, all leaders” is that it is much more difficult to destroy a popular movement.

A decentralized movement is taking place online. Electronic direct democracy is achieving bigger gains such as the defeat of the TPP.

Making the laws by popular electronic initiatives and referendums that bypass Big Money and corrupt politicians is next. Impossible? This has been happening in Nordic democracies, among the best, for many years without electronic aids.


Permit me to posit a pair of aphorisms

True leaders don’t have followers

But fellow travelers

True leaders don’t accept being held accountable

They demand it


What movement? First, we would need to figure out who “The People” are, and then what they want. Reality is, we’re profoundly divided and subdivided today, by class and race. The over-riding theme appears to be middle class vs. the poor, black vs. white. Who are at the bottom of the social pecking order? Our desperately poor, the homeless What is “justice” for them? Movement for what? And whom?


“Electronic direct democracy” excludes the masses of poor, and is concentrated in and on the middle class. The middle class have waged a hell of a war on the poor. Not much of a democracy, is it?


To not exclude the masses, EDD is used as an adjunct to standard voting methods. Most people today have smart phones. As e-technology becomes ubiquitous, more will have online access. The future is now.

Jesse Ventura and Peter Joseph:


I’m surprised that you had nothing to say about that poster (or whatever it is). The guy pictured is, I presume, Joseph. It certainly isn’t Ventura. Yet nominally it’s about Ventura and his going off-grid. Sounds like tail-wags-dog.