Friday, December 26, 2008

Sen. Ben Dictor Speaks!

TheRadiKaL: Please tell us about yourself. When did you arrive at UF, what year are you, what major, and what organizations you initially got involved with at UF.

Senator Benjamin Dictor:

Benjamin N. Dictor
Political Science Major
European Union Studies Minor

I came to UF as a transfer student in the spring of 2007. The first group I got involved with was the Industrial Workers of the World through the Civic Media Center. Through the IWW I was introduced to many of the organizers of other organizations and we began to organize the University of Florida Progressive Caucus.
It was more or less an umbrella organization for many of the progressive organizations, on and off campus. It is a shame that the Caucus has, as of late, been inactive with the transition of many of the leaders of the organizations and my involvement in the Senate. I am in the process of jumpstarting the Caucus again under new, less senior leadership that will ensure its continued existence.

I am also serving my second term as the Vice President of the Political Science Honor Society.

TheRaDiKaL: How did you come to learn of Student Government. Share with us your journey from beginning to present. What obstacles did you meet along the way?

Senator Benjamin Dictor: I voted in the Fall 2007 election for the Progress Party having never met anyone from the organization throughout the entire month of campaigning. They were essentially invisible to the average student; huddled behind their tables in Turlington and the Reitz. After I voted, I finally met Ben Cavataro and a number of other Progress Party people behind their table on the colonnade. I inquired as to their ground strategy and organizing efforts only to find that the organization was so small, the network so limited and the strategy so defeatist that their ground game was essentially developing a mythos in contrast to the Greek party and assuming the average student cared.

I started meeting with Sam, Ben, Mark, Tommy and a few other members of the Old Guard at Maudes on a weekly basis and brought various members of progressive organizations to the meetings to help me evaluate the situation and get them involved. The purpose of these meetings was, at the time, discussing Online Voting as it had not yet been struck down by the Court. Joe Richard and I brought along Charlie Gapskie to one particular meeting where he stressed the importance of classical political organizing.

What these meetings accomplished for the independent party
movement was making a much needed connection with the progressive community and making us feel like we had a stake in the outcome of the student government elections. While some members of the then Progress Party surely wanted to be that connection for these organizations, others appear now in hindsight to have seen the progressive community solely as a means to an end.

This period of time gave me the opportunity to reach out to these organizations for slating and volunteers in the Spring. This was an incredibly important aspect of the Orange and Blue party's success. Although only a few of us ran in winning seats, almost our entire ground game was comprised of members of progressive organizations. Where the Greeks use unwilling and unmotivated pledge classes to hand out fliers, we brought a dedicated and experienced group of activists to the independent party, the majority of whom were not even slated but simply wanted to see the mission succeed. We would not have won a single seat without their dedication and tireless work. I would not be in the Senate if it was not for their hard work and I will never forget that. If it wasn't for their boots on the ground, it would have been bodies behind the table just as it was for the Progress Party.

The last day of campaigning brought a sight that I imagine many independent parties have never seen; the orange shirts far outnumbered the blue Gator Party Shirts in Turlington by the end of the day. We were beyond a political party at this point. Simply put, we had inspired and organized a movement. I'll never forget Tommy Jardon's amazement at the number of people we were able to organize; he was truly astonished. To this day, however, Will Foster and others criticize my conceptualization of what we do as a 'movement' and ridicule the notion of mass politics that has been key to our success.

theRadikal: Talk to us about that historic Fall 2008 campaign when an independent party, sans of any official Greek or Multi-Cultural support, split District D, split the on-campus vote, and nearly took District C. Indie Students and Alums will celebrate this monumental campaign for years to come.

Senator Benjamin Dictor: Fall 2008 was in many ways simply a continuation of the strategy used in Spring 2008. On the first week we were able to campaign, I invited everyone out to the Lakeside residence hall for on-the-job-training in how to phone-bank and campaign. 20 or so volunteers and candidates came out. I sat down with Gary Benedix, our Lakeside candidate, and his roommates and explained that if they simply spent time outside the laundry facilities and common areas collecting names and emails of supporters, the election could be won handedly. In spite of the criticism I received for from the old guard for spending time and energy at Lakeside (presumed by them to be a lost cause) Gary did win and by some of the widest margins of the election.

I never wavered on my certainty that we would win Lakeside and other residence halls if we simply stopped relying solely on the Alligator to print stories in our favor and became our own best advocates on the ground. This is how I became acquainted with Dave Schneider (the only person who slated from Rawlings) who immediately impressed me with his conviction and dedication to winning. Everyone in our party told him from the day he slated forward that Rawlings was a lost cause and that he had no chance whatsoever of winning. Dave refused to give in to the cynicism and defeatism that had become a hallmark of the independent party, staying up until 3am with me spray painting campaign signs on the back porch of the CMC. Dave, ever the organizer himself, put together a fantastic team of volunteers in his residence hall and put up one hell of a fight. Needless to say, against all odds, Dave was successful and has been a fantastic addition to the Senate.

Off campus, our District A and B candidates were as dedicated as those who actually had a chance to win. While A and B encompass frat and sorority row, and are therefore near impossible, many progressive activists along with others went door-to-door and simply refused to give in. Our C and D candidates did the same and the results of the election show the effectiveness of boots on the ground as opposed to the classic strategy of bodies behind the table. Alden Gillespy, Donte Hargrove and so many others were relentless in their campaigning.

El--RadiKal: Once elected, what was your take on concessions that included a 'civil first meeting' to ensure the confirmation of senior senator Ben Cavatero (Hume)? Were you fearful of future 'concessions?'

Senator Benjamin Dictor: Cavataro is an absolutely essential part of the Orange and Blue Party. That being said, the last line of the Billy Bragg version of the Internationale is "Though they offer us concessions, change will not come from above."

Thumbs Up!

TheRADIKAL: Describe to us the overall mutual cooperation and overall Party' coordination of Orange & Blue senators in chambers. What would you say was the term's high and low points, & why?

Senator Benjamin Dictor: There is very little coordination.

High Points: 1. Getting over three and a half hours of public debate from progressive organizations to speak out against the elimination of minority party rights. 2. Getting enough votes to kill Gator Party legislation that would have eliminated the minority protections in the Senate. 3. Sitting down with many Gator Party senators who vote their consciences in spite of increasing hostility from their own party for doing so.

Low Points: Finding out precisely how coercive the Gator Party is towards its own senators as a result.

The RADIKAL: Breakdown the current roster of the UF Student Senate Allocations Committee. Please name each member of the committee you serve on, sharing with us their individual strenghts, and also giving us an objective assessment of the committee's work for the Fall session 2008.

Senator Benjamin Dictor:

The RadiKaL: What is your take on having a non-student Senate secretary in chambers? This question does not refer to Glenda's day-time functions (which are very needed), but only to the her role within the student body.

Senator Benjamin Dictor: Sometimes I can't believe she stays there until midnight, haha. Because the current political situation on campus leaves us with student officials who are entirely unreliable and inept at their jobs (Greek patronage) I don???t mind having a non-student fulfill the role of secretary in the Student Senate. Her role in the chambers is needed and she provides some historical knowledge of the institution having been there for so long. Perhaps, under different political circumstances, a student could fulfill the role.

Thumbs Down!

The RaDiKaL: Please tell us about SDS.

Senator Benjamin Dictor: Students for a Democratic Society is an organization of incredibly thoughtful and passionate individuals who attempt, more than most organizations I've observed, to practice what they preach. SDS is often misrepresented in the press and even more often invoked to over generalize about the progressive left in Gainesville. I have been vocally supportive of many of their projects over the course of the past two years and have absolutely no qualms about publicly voicing this. So long as SDS stands against mandatory hand scanners, for Socially Responsible Investing, against the war in Iraq, and for democratic principle, I will stand with SDS.

The RadiKaL: Though it's been often dismissed as rhetoric, to what degree would you say "the Left" assisted O&B in the historic Fall campaign?

Senator Benjamin Dictor: Absolutely essential. The progressive community was the cornerstone of the O&B victory in the Spring and laid the foundation for its success in the Fall. This is not to say it is the only reason we won, but the Orange and Blue Party simply cannot win without the support of Gainesville's progressive community.

The RaDiKaL: As of December I've begun classifying members of O&B into two groups, factions if you will. The classifications have worked very well for me and every single member falls almost perfectly into either class. What do the terms "Official" and "Progressive" mean to you?

Senator Benjamin Dictor:

Official: Old guard. The corrosive and defeatist mythos of the old "indie party" mentality.

Progressive: The strategy and mentality adopted since the Spring of 2008 elections. The only way Orange and Blue will continue to win.

The RaDiKaL: As leader of what I've dubbed "the Progs" and as a viable candidate for the O&B nomination in Spring 2009, what message would you like to send to those members of your party supporting Mark McShera?

Senator Benjamin Dictor: I'm not sure I am the leader of 'the progs.' I like Mark a lot and always have. He has the institutional knowledge and money needed by the party, but I am not certain that this alone makes a good candidate.

TheRadiKal: If you won the O&B nomination, would be some early objectives you'd like to declare in a Dictor presidency for the University of Florida?

Senator Benjamin Dictor:
1. Online voting

2. End Jacksonian patronage in all aspects of student government. This includes within the independent party movement itself. (Don???t be fooled, Sam even tried to write it into the bylaws with Article IV.)

3. Reform the budget process to end the economic stranglehold it allows over student organizations. Boss Tweed used potatoes, Gator Party uses Accent co-sponsorships among other things.

4. Begin plotting the Hebrew socialist revolution against the fascist national Golgotha (Thanks Ginsberg!)

THE RADIKAL: Name association, no word limit:

Dave Schneider: Dedicated, leader, organizer

"Grasshopper:" Respected, intelligent, worldly, patient (very proud to call my friend)

Stacey Gray: Optimistic, calm, committed

Sam Miorelli: Relentless

Joe Trimboli: Ideology

Skeet Surrency: ----My Pick for Student Body President!!!!!!----

Ben Cavatero: Statesman

Matt Goldberger: Only talked to this guy once. Read about him in the papers quite a bit though. Typical Gator Party kinda guy, you know? All variations on a theme???

Frank Bracco: Selfless

Joshua Simmons: Dynamic, Republican Alinsky, principled above all else

Jordan Loh: Ronald Regan (interpret as you wish, haha.)

Beau Frail: Sustainability

Jonathan Ossip: Brilliant.

Joe Bennett: Considerate, intelligent, leader

Thomas Jardon: Always a very nice guy to me.

Liz Stinson: Veteran.

Mark McShera: Knowledgeable, seasoned


Anonymous said...

It's spelled Reagan you douche

Will said...

I received two text messages notifying me that my name appeared on this page.

To this day, however, Will Foster and others criticize my conceptualization of what we do as a 'movement' and ridicule the notion of mass politics that has been key to our success.

Let me start out by wishing happy birthday to Ben Dictor.

Now, let me set the record straight. I mocked the "mass politics" that elevated Ben Dictor to godhood because he insisted that O&B's win was a product of standing in Turlington and handing out handbills. Several people pointed out that was wrong, it was that they focused on turning out the vote instead of converting the vote, but Dictor explained that none of us had any experience in politics–let alone mass politics. Dictor talked about how the turnout wasn't high because of the leaked letters or increased the student participation because of Obma, no, the real explanation was that Ben Dictor was involved.

Let me reiterate: Ben Dictor explained O&B won big in the fall because he stood in Turlington and talked. So Christian, if only you had stood in Turlington then Voice would have rocked the vote.

I am also unaware of what I have done to mock this man "to this day." I've done next to nothing with UF SG this semester other than respond to a few threads here and there, decide I didn't have time for your Q&A, and help Josh get your phone number for Ben Dictor.

If Ben Dictor really believes I am part of some conspiracy to undermine him, I would encourage him to visit . They may not be staffed to handle whatever he has, but i'm sure they can point him in the right direction.

Marry Christmas/Happy Holidays,
Will Foster

BTW: "Republican Alinsky?" I like Josh a lot but please explain to me what he has organized or changed? I can't think of anyone at UF connected with UF that i'd use Saul Alinsky's name to describe.

BTW2: Who is Ronald Regan? Please ask Josh how to spell the name of the 40th President of the United States of America.

Anonymous said...

this whole article wrongly assumes that dictor is running for the orange and blue presidential nominee or is still part of our party, has he withdrawn his second resignation?

Christian Duque said...

The guy used U.S. taxpayer dollars to commit crimes against humanity. Fuck him. & Fuck how his name is spelled.

Happy Holidays.

Anonymous said...

He may have used tax payer money in an illegal war but his name is still Reagan or Raygun instead of Regan. There are people with the surname Regan that do not want the taint of that man.

Anonymous said...

I'm from SDS. Benjamin is right, Skeet would make a fantastic student body president.

Benjamin Dictor on the other hand would be an awful SBP and has just outed himself as King Of the Posers by quoting BIlly Bragg. No real leftist would ever be stupid enough to quote a reactionary like Bragg much less his horrible version of the great International.

Benjamin has embraced the capitalist's version of communism.

Is he next going to quote Billy Bragg's awful version of Red Flag?

Real folk singers like Phil Ochs would never give the fake leftists like Bragg the time of day. Just look for the contempt he had for leftists, like Benjamin, who listened pop folk singers, like Bragg.

I go to all the Pete Seeger concerts
He sure gets me singing those songs

-- P Ochs "Love me, love me, i'm a liberal".

Of course Benjamin probably only knows of Phil Ochs from the awful Bragg song "I dreamed I saw Phil Ochs" last night.

For future reference you too cool for skool poser: if the international doesn't talk about shooting generals on the singer's own side, it is capitalist propaganda.

God. You are so fake. First you treat Alinsky like it is a quality instead of a superlative. Then you quote a neutered version of the International. Next are you going to spell labor with a u?

Christian Duque said...

Good point 9:32.

Will Foster - wonder who texted you, lol. I already buried the hatchet w/ you long ago.

12:56 is an Official. Do I get 5lbs? How does that work? Lol

Anonymous said...

My last post may have been to hard on Billy Bragg. Is work with WIlco on Woody Guthrie songs were exceptional. But those were followed up with English, Half English, which had too many songs about how the NWO was going to invade England through the Euro.

Anonymous said...

Christian, why would the capitalist officials know anything about the music a no talent ass clown works for when they all listen to the pop crap from MTV? No, i'm with SDS and can't stand that Benjamin has badmouthed Skeet for so long and now pretends to actually respect him. I know we, Skeet's people (AKA SDS) put the attention starved Benjamin in his place, but couldn't Benjamin at least do his 180 with subtlety?

Anonymous said...

12:56 is Graham Clark who seldom comes to SDS and frankly most of us hope he doesn't come back. I claim my five pounds and all my copies of Adbusters that he stole.

Christian Duque said...

Ok, cool! I get to comment too!

I think Dictor is starting to act like a prospective executive candidate. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not, but it's good advice take heed of.

It will be interesting to see which candidate will be more dangerous. McShera w/Miorelli (trained by Jardon, likely still in contact with LW, AC, & AK) or Dictor w/Simmons (who is surely in contact with Kim Cruts, Ben Grove, & Ryan Day).

But back to the Q&A.

I was very generous to Dictor. I gave him a very vague set of questions in the hopes that his advisers would let him divulge something, anything.

But Dictor takes the title for Most PC Q&A from Bracco, in fact it's a TKO in the ninth round. Great Q&A, lots of good background info. I was really pleased with his campaign objectives, his insightful albeit concise take on the Cavatero-Deal, and his ingenuity in opposing my stance on Glenda-in-Senate by positing a plausible contra argument for her role in chambers.

Overall, Dictor's Q&A gets a B+.

I think Ben Dictor would make a fine Student Body President and hope that the O&B Party will give him the same opportunities it will give his opponent, Mark McShera.

Anonymous said...

This should be a reoccurring series of posts called Rhetoric vs Action.

If Ben Dictor thinks Skeet should be president why did he and his minions trash Skeet with posts on the radikal? Those posts contained far more details about SDS meetings than the officials could have provided.

Anonymous said...

Duque, we have given Dictor every chance Mcshera has been given, but time and time again dictor refused; if he wants to rejoin our party, we will have a primary to decide who gets the nod, the real question is Why do you, duque, continue to push dictor when he has stubbornly refused to participate in any sort of primary, any still hasn't offered an alternative to our primary suggestions, other than Mcshera drops out

Justin Wooten said...

Duque, please stop letting people make posts pretending to be SDS people. No one in SDS cares about folk singers.

Get a life, 12:56 and 5:38.

Anonymous said...

Cruts and Grove hate Dictor, they wouldn't help Simmons with his campaign. Day just likes to mindfuck people.

Anonymous said...


How can you say you like skeet when you've been telling us that "anarcho-stupidity" is on the way out with Skeet?

SDS members

Graham Clark said...

5:38: Haha, wtf? Sorry, but I don't know nearly that much folk singer trivia. Thanks for making me aware of the unelected SDS cabal and their anti-Graham Clark slander campaign, though. I'll be sure to make a huge stink about it at the next meeting.

Christian Duque said...

To be honest 2:52, it's b/c I think he's the better candidate.

If you put Dictor next to Miorelli, I'd lean towards Sam, but this election is about MARK and BEN.

Initially I was for McShera b/c he had Sam, Tommy, Frank, and a few others. Then I started thinking about what Mark McShera - the man - offered and...I wasn't really impressed.

If Dictor wins, SG will never look the same again. If Dictor loses, SG will never look the same way again.

A Dictor candidacy will effectively mobilize Gainesville radikals in ways no other SG campaign has ever been able to. An entirely new, militant column will join the base of the Indie movement.

You ask me why do I push? Because the notion that Mark will move CMC'ers to SG polls is laughable.

McShera is an Official, worthy of both my respect and gratitude as an elder GDI. He's fought the hard fight, but much along the same lines that I'm pushing Dictor to run, so too others pushed McShera to run for SBP.

As recent as October, all McShera wanted to do was win re-election and graduate. Is that what he's doing now?

Anonymous said...

Duque, you still failed to answer why you back him when he's point blank refused to win the nomination and instead he just demanded it, and when it was apparent that we wouldn't bow to his demands, he left the party....twice; now the only option he has left us all with is a three party race where the indies split and the Greek win all; at least when you split to run voice there was not only already three parties but none of the others were indies; i'm hereby asking for dictor to participate in an orange and blue primary with the loser remaining in the party ensuring an independent victory

but If dictor refuses, as I fear, I want your pledge duque that you will back Mcshera in the general election

Justin Wooten said...

To 3:16, who I doubt is really an SDS member.

Dictor didn't write that. In fact, the majority of posts attributed to Dictor and/or Schneider on this blog have been written by me, including the comment you mentioned. I think people under a cloak of anonymity are more willing to write nasty things about other individuals, and this includes myself.

If there is one comment I would want to take back that I have made on this blog, it is that one. Skeet is a great guy who has done a tremendous amount of work for the SDS, probably more than any other single individual. I've also made comments to the effect that Skeet also doesn't show up to a lot of SDS meetings anymore. This is a recognition of the fact Skeet is very important to the success of SDS, and without his presence, our organization clearly suffers. I like Skeet a lot and consider him a friend, but that doesn't make him immune from criticism, though not in the manner I did in that post (which I wrote while angry about something completely unrelated to Skeet). I apologize to him if he is reading this and anyone else who was offended by that stupid, offhand comment I made.

The comment is basically about some grievances I have with some of our methods of struggle we have adopted in the past and with the general organization of SDS, stuff which I have brought up to Skeet and others in private conversation. I'm not going to go into those issues on this blog.

Anonymous said...

When skeet stopped showing up at meetings Ben Dictor said it was the end of the "anarcho-stupidity" with SDS.

Justin Wooten can't throw himself under the bus for quotes everyone HEARD Dictor make.

I do love these Dictor cultists. Why don't they go off and join Scientology?

Anonymous said...

The SDS endorsement has already been discussed. The only person wasting his time here is you Mr. Wooten.

Justin Wooten said...

At this point, the only question is whether people like 8:04 are Gator Party kids trying to stir up trouble, or if the "Officials" are purposefully lying in order to drive a wedge into SDS for their own purposes. For the moment, I am inclined towards the latter.

I can tell you that it isn't going to work, so you need not bother trying.

I deleted the other comment, in an attempt to edit this one.

francisco said...

To address 4:52: Christian, no one has Frank, not Mark, not Dictor, not Sam! Frank...I mean I...have not made up my mind of who I would vote for. See, you have me speaking in the third person!!! As I have said in previous posts, I have likely spoken to Dictor the most about his potential run (other than Simmons). So don't state how you believe my vote will be cast. Ask Dictor what my problem has been during this entire process and he will tell yuou it isn't him or Mark, it is about running an unqualified VP.

Now, I refuse to give up my most PC Q&A title! Let me have a second chance with this recording :lol:; I will be available again Friday evening, Saturday afternoon/evening, and Sunday afternoon/evening...lets get this done Christian :-).

francisco said...

Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wooten,

Are you posting these comments on your own or will you later claim it was your 'friend' Toto?

Justin Wooten said...

9:29, you are somewhat confused. The person I yell at on the bus is not Toto, as your agents may believe, but Tito. I believe someone from the netherworld sent this old Yugoslavian partisan to pester and torment me, especially when I think I am alone but really not. Hence my ravings about seemingly incomprehensible nonsense (which is actually quite meaningful, if the hearer so understands). Please locate the nearest ouija board to summon the spirit of Djilas and make him go away.

Yours in solidarity.

Christian Duque said...

Justin, ignore these trolls.

Anonymous said...

Still haven't answered the question duque, will u continue to support dictor if he goes third party?

Christian Duque said...

I have made my thoughts on the idea of a 3rd party abundantly clear.

Anonymous said...

Duque, do you realize that Dictor withdrew from the party before Winter Break and has already demanded that O&B withdraw Mark as a potential candidate or else he will run a third party?

Christian Duque said...

I wouldn't honor said requests from anyone. I have been told by both sides that there will be a primary after Winter Break.

Dictor & McShera are student body senators with important work before them. These are tense times to be measuring who's more in party than the next. The party is only as good as its members.

If Dictor runs a third party and blows off the O&B Primary, I will then endorse Mark McShera.
Running away has never been one of my strong suits and its antithetical to our most basic Indie core values.

Anonymous said...

If a decision within the party can not be reach on who would be the best SBP you should just let the student body pick in the general election in February.

Anonymous said...

I'm also running for President.

Anonymous said...

genius 1044, have them both run and then we get a JJ presidency, whoo, the differences between Mcshera and Dictor are minor compared to the differences between and orange and blue candidate and a Jordan Johnson, let's have the primary asap during the spring semester and put this all behind us, with one unified front to face the gator party

Anonymous said...

10:44AM, thank you crazy person. Clearly you have not done any research on all concerning how seats and positions are actually won. You should e-mail Duque, even he understands what is required to win and that doesn't mean a third party.

Anonymous said...

I'm voting for Anon 2:56. I think a great write-in campaign will come from CLAS, engineering, and some of the rogue houses near 2nd and 13th. I see Anon 2:56 pulling about 25% of the vote without the endorsement of anyone outside of this block. If he can swing KapSig, Sigma Nu, and some of the non-political sorority houses, he should get about 45%.

Anonymous said...


Does this mean I have your support? We can do this!

- 2:56

Anonymous said...

Rumor is that JCB is calling around about running Anon 2:56's campaign.

Anonymous said...

O&B is destined for failure. It's a shame they don't have a prospective candidate like Armando Ramon Grundy Gomes.

Anonymous said...

4:46 does bring up a good point: if O&B is serious, it may pay to court a Greek house or two. And I don't see Dictor doing that.

Anonymous said...

I received an anonymous phone call today from Anonymous 2:56's Presidential Exploration Committee. At first I was asked several simple questions about SG and the upcoming election... after some discussion and debate, I found myself completely wowed by the ideas this candidate had. At this point, I cannot even imagine running anybody else... Anon. 2:56 is a new, brilliant, charismatic, excited, and progressive-minded individual ready to represent the students of UF. I would love to have him post his platform on the blog... it would certainly turn a lot of heads!!!

Anonymous said...

If only his dictor were as big as his ego, or as big as the empty verbage he spits out in a vain attempt to impress. If this is progressivism, count me out.