Brady Russell's post, on his personal site (This Too Will Pass), calling for a new underground leader, was entirely his own idea. It began highly critical of no one so much as MYSELF. Despite this, I supported the idea. Through my experiences with the ULA, and my readings of history, I've come to believe that for a rebellion to succeed, strong leadership is necessary.
I entered into the discussion without knowing what the outcome would be. The discussion, for the most part, turned out to be a good thing. Diverse members of the underground were able to exchange views honestly, in a neutral setting. Such a discussion depends on the honesty and good will of those who participate. For me it was a way to see which of the younger writers in the movement would display leadership qualities. The movement can progress from here only with new faces.
Some, like both Pats, acquited themselves well. (Both are consensus-builders for their respective teams.) Brady has to be commended for convening the "conclave" in the first place.
Most important was that Brady began the thread. That rare thing: an undergrounder stepping back from the endless petty feuds and micro-level obsessions to examine the larger picture. The underground is a small part of the literary scene as a whole and has to be viewed within that context, for us to understand what steps need to be taken on a strategic (broad) level for our cause to expand its base and raise its profile.
A major part of this for all of us has to be abandoning personality conflicts in the interest of following that larger strategy.
But what is that strategy? Who will implement it? How do we harmonize the various elements of the literary Resistance to follow it, even once it's articulated and agreed to?
There are many steps yet which have to be taken; that can't be done in an atmosphere of chaos (underground chaos-- I'll accept societal upheaval, am well adapted to crisis and conflict). We can't proceed without direction or directors, or directions, amid inertia, ostriches, lone wolves and loose cannons.
Above all we need ambition-- artistic ambition and ambition which dares to want to change this society. I could lock myself in a garret to "just write"-- but shit-disturbing is far more exciting. I spent many years of my life as the happy guy at the end of the bar-- at some point saw that as not enough. For a few years, for someone like me-- an ordinary working guy-- I helped accomplish some amazing things. We shook the lit establishment to its foundations. This was merely a taste of what we can potentially achieve-- if we have the desire to achieve.