Friday, January 11, 2013

When You Lose, You Don't Win - You Just Lose

Even though the BDS initiative at the Park Slope Food Coop was soundly defeated last March, one pro-BDS Coop member continues to submit a letter to each issue of the Linewaiters' Gazette. These letters portray purely innocent, powerless Palestinians oppressed by a purely evil, guilty Israel. The content is inaccurate and incomplete. After about 8 months of this I submitted my own letter to the editors suggesting the development of clear guidelines for BDS letters.  If instituting fair guidelines is too onerous for grocery store newspaper, then perhaps a moratorium on BDS submissions is more appropriate for the Gazette.

My letter generated 2 responses; one from a "David", one from a "Naomi."  Both objected to my characterization of the BDS defeat in March 2012 as an "overwhelming rejection."  The BDS proposal obtained the support of less than 4 percent of the membership.  Among the self-selected, highly motivated 10% of the membership who attended the March General Meeting, BDS was defeated by a margin of 3 to 2.

BDS supporters are hardly the first people to try to spin a loss into some kind of victory. The "even though we lost, we won because...." meme is well documented at the Divest This! blog.  BDS supporters hate to be told they have lost.

But, what about the remaining 90% of members who, for whatever reasons, chose not to attend.  Can we assume anything about that?  David speculates it reflects “fatigue and burn out over the drawn-out debate, the desire that the issue just go away.”  That sounds like a rejection to me.

Naomi comes to a different conclusion:
I think this vote showed us how the General Meeting system of decision-making is flawed as a democratic process. About 6% of members were able to prevent the whole Coop from voting on this issue.
Really? 6% stopping the referendum is bad, and 4% pushing it forward is ok?  Really?

Can anyone say "sore loser"?

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