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effective use of discussion forums

Dear Ali and all,

All the best to you, Ali, in this new responsibility, and thank you for
moderating and maintaining this service.

Since we may be discussing the best-purpose of this list, allow me to
share some information about two other discussion-forums on anti-sanctions
work on Iraq.

* The IAC-Discussion Forum (
        -- a discussion forum for activists opposed to the sanctions
        and bombing of Iraq; does not have a strictly national focus
        of any kind, although many of its members are from the US; 
        currently there are 283 members, and membership is increasing
        on a daily basis (12 joined just yesterday alone); 410
        e-mails in the month of April (Note: by joining this
        list, one is implicitly stating support for the immediate
        lifting of the sanctions.)

* The CANESI Discussion Forum
        -- a newly-formed discussion forum geared specifically towards
        Canadian anti-sanctions activists; currently 20 members; 88
        e-mails in the month of April

As you know, there are numerous informational lists on Iraq (such as the
FOR list, Voices in the Wilderness list, Iraq Action Coalition list,
Education for Peace in Iraq Center).  Those lists each have a few thousand
members, and, typically, their messages contain an action-alert and/or an
informational summary on recent events.

In the discussion forums, (speaking specifically about CASI and the
IAC-Discussion Forum), much of our energy is currently devoted to
distributing information and discussing tactics (in this order). Both
tasks are useful and important, but I seriously think we could be
utilizing our potential for action more effectively.

Last month, another activist discussion forum was formed -- the Al-Awda,
The Palestine Right To Return List, a forum for grassroots organizers and
activists involved in the Palestine right to return campaigns regardless
of organizational affiliation, if any (See: The discussion forum encouraged its
members to create committees devoted to specific tasks and initiatives
related to the Palestinian Right of Return campaign.  Consequently, the
following committees were formed - a lobby committee, a mass-rally
committee, a petition-committee, a documentation-committee, and so on.

Would such a structure be suitable for our work?  I think that we need to
work on a more consistent, and step-by-step basis, and to work together
more effectively.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this issue -- of more
effectively and productively utilizing our discussion forum.

- Rania Masri

On Thu, 18 May 2000, Ali Draper wrote:

> Dear list members,
> I'm the new list manager of soc-casi-discuss.  You'll be encouraged
> to know that the messages are now received by 250 people worldwide and a
> further 570 subscribe to the lower volume CASI announcements lists.  A
> significant number live or study in Cambridge, where CASI is based, and the
> majority (by a small margin) are UK residents, but there are subscribers in
> countries including Germany, Australia, Italy, Canada, the US, the Arab
> Emirates, France, Cuba, South Africa, Switzerland, Finland, Spain, and
> Russia.
> We have always intended to keep a broadly UK focus for the list, mainly to
> avoid
> duplicating the work of the various US lists.  Perhaps we should be
> reviewing that
> policy and I would welcome members' comments at
> As things have got unusually out of hand over the last few days, I'm also
> writing to ask subscribers to be careful about how they use the list:
> -We ask that neither messages with attachments nor excessively long messages
> should be sent to the list, and that the tone of discussions should remain
> respectful.
> -When replying to a message, please make sure that the original did actually
> appear on soc-casi-discuss rather than being sent to you personally,
> otherwise we only get half of conversations.  It is often more appropriate
> to respond personally to a subscriber than to everyone.
> -If you wish to be removed from the list please send a message to
> (as it says in the footer of each
> message), rather than to the whole list.
> This is the largest UK-based list on the sanctions and we think it usually
> carries a high level of discussion and information.  As a result, it is read
> by
> people from the activist community, the interested public, academics,
> journalists,
> NGOs, politicians and religious communities. Please bear in mind the bulging
> inboxes of your fellow list members so that the list will continue to be the
> useful
> resource I hope you find it.
> Thank you for your co-operation, Ali.
> ******************************************************
> Lists Manager, Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq
>               fax: 0870 063 5022
> ******************************************************
> Ali Draper                               tel: 077111 30570
> Girton College
> Cambridge, CB3 OJG
> -- 
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq
> For removal from list, email
> Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website:

        ".. not to believe in the possibility of dramatic change is to
forget that things have changed, not enough, of course, but enough to show
what is possible. We have been surprised before in history. We can be
surprised again. Indeed, we can do the surprising."
        - Howard Zinn, 'You can't be neutral on a moving train.' (p.83)

This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq
For removal from list, email
Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website:

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