By RK MOORE
CONTEXT: The seeds of CHANGE
(2) The political truth is that these movements will either succeed together, or else fail separately. Only in CONCERT can the movement be strong enough to overcome capitalism and build a livable world. From government-hating ‘militia’ types, to urban blacks and the rest of the human rainbow, to the greens and the progressives, to the imperialized nations - WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER and we all want a humane world for our children.
(3) If we want a democratic, inclusive, non-hierarchical world, then the movement that builds that world must itself be democratic, inclusive, and non-hierarchical. If we want a diverse, community-based world, then the movement must be diverse and locally based. The MEANS ALWAYS BECOME THE ENDS; that much is clear from history.
(1) In order for the larger movement to come into existence, a systematic process of organic, non-hierarchical HARMONIZATION must be undertaken. Aware activists must begin to focus their attention in this direction.
(2) We don’t need or want a centralized, single movement. Instead we need a COLLABORATIVE PARADIGM ... a "WAY" in which different groups can come together, learn from one another, build a sense of common understanding and purpose, and learn how to synergize their activities. ORGANIC communication happens in a decentralized way, just as cells interact with one another in the body.
(3) One of the most promising collaborative paradigms being used today is something called ‘DYNAMIC FACILITATION’. This and other approaches are described on Tom Atlee’s website:
The Co-Intelligence Institute based in Eugene, Oregon, USA
(4) Such processes have proven to be extremely effective in bringing groups into harmony, building mutual understanding, and in enabling collaborative thinking - even when initially viewpoints are strongly conflicting. The outcome of such sessions often turns "US & THEM" into a larger, more creative, more inclusive - but STILL DIVERSE - "US". It is on such a basis that productive communication can begin regarding visions for the future, shared agendas, and strategies.
(5) If we can get this harmonization process started, I believe it will SPREAD LIKE WILDFIRE. The means are available; the inherent commonality of purpose exists (THANKS to global capitalism) - what is lacking is a general PERCEPTION in the movement that such broad collaboration is possible, and that there is a means of pursing it.
(6) As existing movements begin to come into harmony,
this will generate an ELECTRIFYING SPIRIT of hope and energy - and that
SHARED EXPERIENCE will mark the awakening of the larger movement as an
entity with an IDENTITY. In Post-Seattle demonstrations we have seen ad-hoc
alliances whose business has been the demonstrations themselves. Imagine
how much more meaningful those demonstrations will be when they are part
of the ongoing EXPRESSION of a coherent growing movement... whose participants
can try, and learn, and celebrate together.
(1) Once the movement has an identity, and a process, then it can ACT and COMMUNICATE, and GROW - in its understanding, its self-awareness, and its ability to function coherently.
(2) From the perspective of the BIG PICTURE, there will then be three actors on the stage: the capitalist REGIME, the fragmented PUBLIC, and the MOVEMENT.
(3) Toward the PUBLIC, the role of the movement should clearly be to extend an INVITATION, to communicate a vision, and to provide a growing example of the concrete reality of an empowered civil society. WHO, after all, is AGAINST a livable world? And WHO does not have a useful contribution to make? ORGANIC means - FACE-TO-FACE means, FOLKSY means - of large-scale communication need to be developed. Many media are available - from travelling carnivals to be-ins to raves to barbecues to celebrity appearances to town meetings - whatever fits organically with whatever constituency.
(4) Toward the REGIME, the role of the movement must be one of assertive, strategically-informed ENGAGEMENT. We must know what we are striving for; we must be aware of the pitfalls that will be enountered; we must have a game-plan for success.
(5) Movement actions are a form of DIALOG with the REGIME.
Our goal is not to DESTROY anything, nor to KILL anyone, nor to CAPTURE any territory - our goal is to lead the regime to UNDERSTAND that we will prevail, and to accept that their best option is to COLLABORATE in the dismantlement of the current hierarcical system and in the transition to a human, locally-centered world.
(6) DEMONSTRATIONS can be a form of DIALOG - but only if there is a clear understanding what the MESSAGE is, WHO is issuing it, and TO WHOM it is directed. In Seattle, we got the regime’s ATTENTION, and the public’s, even if WE didn’t exist yet. We need to find our identity, and then we can begin dialog in earnest.
(7) The difference between DIALOG and PROTEST is that DIALOG is from a coherent ENTITY - an entity which has the ADAPTIVE ability to AMPLIFY the communication or to INITIATE new forms. A PROTEST is pereived by the regime as an ISOLATED outburst by a SCATTERED mob, to which no response is required - other than suppression and empty rheotoric.
(8) DIALOG from a coherent and determined movement compels the regime to think more deeply about its response options - lest it lose control of the pattern of ESCALATION. As the movement grows in maturity, it expands its creative repretoire of expression - and in the realm of creativity, a distributed mass movement is far more competent and effective than any centralized, reactionary regime.
(9) Many FORMS of dialog are possible. General strikes, widespread boycotts, and other such PEOPLES MESSAGES have successfully communicated to regimes in the past that they would be better off recognizing unions, giving women the vote, declaring a 40-hour work week, and the like. Gandhi was a genius at devising ACTION MESSAGES that left Britain with limited response options - each of which undermined in some way Britain’s long-term position and credibility. The American colonists PERSUADED King George, mostly in the LANGUAGE of the guerilla fighter, that he’d be better off taking the Redcoats home. The IRA dropped Britain an explosive NOTE to let it know that without a peace process in the North, there would be economic costs in London’s financial district, Docklands, etc. History is full of relevant examples and lessons - not all suitable to our needs, and some that are. (See for example Acherman & Kruegler’s "Strategic Nonviolent Conflict", or Zinn’s "People’s History of The United States", or for an allegorical treatment, Abbey’s "The Monkeywrench Gang.") (More titles anyone?)
(1) The PRIZE is the peaceful abdication of power by the existing capitalist regime and phony financial system. NOTHING LESS. We can be developing our visions and understanding of a livable world in the meantime, and even practicing new ways in microcosm. These things will help bring us together. But these visions cannot be realized under the inherently exploitive capitalist economic system nor under our inherently elitist system of party politics. Capitalism can be reformed no more than can cancer. Same for competitive, win-lose politics.
(2) From an historical perspective, capitalism is simply the most recent incarnation of HIERARCHICAL domination - and it has been on the scene for only two centuries. Hierarchy has been EVOLVING for about TWELVE THOUSAND years, ever since humans began learning how to herd animals, raise crops, and accumulate storable surpluses. For the past two thousand years or so, history has been dominated by the rise of EMPIRES, and by COMPETITION among empires. Our MOVEMENT will be accomplishing much more than the DETHRONING of capitalism - we will be finally putting an end to twelve millenia of ELITE DOMINATION.
(3) Our STRATEGY, it seems to me, should be to evolve a language-of-action, and of words, and to use that to establish an intentional dialog with the regime. We need to let them know that we exist, and that we aren’t going away. We need to show them that we can force them into costly no-win scenarios for themselves, if that is all that will get their attention. We need to show that we can escalate locally and globally. We need to show them that we are not interested in their inevitable offers of reform and participation - that we have learned from history about co-option, and that we can accept no degree of hierarchical cancer in our societies.
(4) Our TACTICS - our modes of dialog -
will evolve organically, and creatively. We will learn from one another
and from the responses of the regime, and of the public. If our movement
is about dialog, then we must strive always to increase the reach of our
collective voices, and the scope of our communication channels. Not only
Internet and demonstrations, but home-grown newspapers, rallies, study
groups, community self-help organizations, local currencies - all of these
initiatives and others have infinitely more meaning when expressed in mutual
synergy as part of a larger coherent movement.
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