dialog re/ Transformation


Richard Moore

Date: Sun, 13 Apr 2003 18:29:51 -0400
Subject: recent posting on transformation
From: Robert R. Holt <•••@••.•••>
To: Richard Moore <•••@••.•••>

Dear Richard,

Both the German and the Indian piece were moving, in a
way, giving the heartening feeling we all got by the
huge global turnouts of Feb. 15, summarized in the
catchphrase, a second superpower.  But what is missing
so far is a) some concrete steps we can take to begin
harnessing all this power for peace into something that
can grow and last and become politically powerful, and
b) once someone invents the new system to supplant the
old one based on violent power and wealth, a practical
technique for transmitting it to the millions who truly
want a new, benign way.

Rather than go back to the dawn of civilization and try
to build on the ways of hunter-gatherers, I am
persuaded that Thom Hartmann and David Korten point to
less truly radical and perhaps more practical ways of
transforming our culture and social institutions,
starting with denying corporations personhood.  That's
only a start, and needs to be preceded by practical
political organizing taking over the Democratic party
(as, again, Thom H. has argued) and undoing as much of
the harm that Bush's junta have done as possible.  Only
then might it be possible to take concrete steps
towards a more peaceful and viable world.




Dear Robert,

Thanks for your comments.  

I too once had faith in our political institutions.  I
thought that if only we elected better people, then it
would be easy to fix things.  But then I learned from
personal observations, and from reading history.  I saw
LBJ elected on the pledge of staying out Vietnam, and
then watched him launch the longest war in American

I read about the long history of political struggle in
the US, and how the political system has always
succeeded in absorbing and dissipating popular
movements.  I read about the Constitution, and the
people that wrote it, and came to understand that the
Constitution itself was designed to maintain elite rule
and to contain uprisings from below.  Republics were
not democratic revolutions except in rhetoric.  They
were the displacement of an old elite by a new one,
and the promotion of propaganda to being a central tool
of social control.

Practical is that which works, not what which seems
easy to undertake. I'm in favor of doing the easiest
thing that works.  I dismiss the political-power route
not because I want to be radical, but because it is a
strategy which has never worked and which cannot work. 
Not if we seek a real transformation of society.

best regards,

From: "Brian Hill" <•••@••.•••>
To: <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: Transformation from War to Peace
Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2003 22:26:32 -0700
Organization: Institute for Cultural Ecology


When you say, 'Our civilization has lost its way.'  I
feel that I must remind you that all civilizations have
ended, almost all go through similar stages of cultural
evolution, much as all living organisms do.  Ours has
flowered, seeded and is ready to become the fertilizer
for the next stages of human culture.  Civilizations
don't go wrong any more than plants do. Disintegration
is a natural stage for all civilizations. 
Centralization becomes localization, tribal cultures
revitalize, and for this reason I agree that we should
use the UN.  Here's a proposal for a peoples' summit at
the NY UN which is gaining momentum:

...I would like to suggest that a global tribal nation
(and band) summit/peoples' summit be organized at the
UN in NY to;

 1. put together grass roots networks of tribal nations
    and band cultures with full recognition within the UN. 
    United Nations means all nations, not just nation
 2. in light of the obsolescence of nation states today,
    the summit could also consider possible avenues for
    re-integrating global cultures with each other and with
    their respective bioregions.
 3. the main focus of the summit should be to back the
    UN to carry out its charter and bring US imperialism to
    justice by all nations of the world.

I would suggest that we discuss this with accepted
representatives of tribal nations to facilitate the
summit.  We would have to meet with other NGOs to plan
this once we have agreed on how best to proceed.  I
would help organize this part if there is interest.

If others have anything to add and want to help bring
this to fruition please do.



Dear Brian,

Thanks for tracking cj and for sharing your
contributions with us.  My spirits are always lifted by
your sense of immediate optimism.

You and I both want political forms that take their
power from the grassroots.  You emphasize 'tribalism',
while I emphasize 'community'.  Perhaps you could
explain what you mean by tribes, and tribalism.  I
suspect you have abstracted out certain elements, and I
would probably agree with their desirability.  But the
raw word 'tribal', in common usage, has connotations of
racial alignments, uniformity of beliefs. and perhaps
even rule by a chief.

Could you say more about who these tribal nations are
who would be gathering at the UN?  Do they already
exist, or would we need to create them?   Would the
idea be to somehow represent everyone at the UN, or
only those who share a basic world view?  What does the
UN, as an institution, add to the notion of a global
tribal gathering?  The UN was, after all, set up by the
US as part of its postwar imperial strategy... isn't it
too tainted to be central to a transformed world?

You often bring up this point about 'all civilizations
collapsing'.  Would you please give some examples of
what you're talking about?  By comparison to imperial
systems, what followed collapses may have been more
dispersed and decentralized -- but was it really a
transformation to something better?  And how long was
it before the pieces were joined back together in some
new hierarchy, perhaps imposed from outside?

When I talk about 'civilization losing its way' I'm
referring to EVERYTHING that has followed since
agriculture was first developed in Mesopotamia and
China.  I'm talking about the course of the
world-as-a-whole since then.  I see a steady growth of
hierarchical structures. Particular hierarchies may
have risen and fallen, but the overall pattern has been
to greater centralization. In this sense, there has
never been a collapse of civilization.

Hoping to hear from you,

To: •••@••.•••
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2003 07:04:26 -0500
Subject: Re: Transformation from War to Peace
From: T K Wilson <•••@••.•••>

I only take one exception to any of these statements;
  > We have the United Nations already, let's use it!
The so called "United Nations" was formed by, and
pursuant to, the needs and desires of the predecessors
of those who now believe they rule us. "We" _have_

We need united nations, certainly, united in spirit and
purpose; but not one global superpower that seeks to
rule by disempowering and disarming the people while
maintaining a standing army in our midst. This is the
way of Rome; it is the way of the Wasicun, the hungry

The people must be trusted. The people must trust
themselves and each other. "He who does not trust,
cannot be trusted". These words are three thousand
years old! Has anyone heard them yet?       -T

Date: Mon, 27 Aug 1956 16:35:37 -0700
To: •••@••.•••
From: Jan Slakov <•••@••.•••>
Subject: wonderful to see

Dear Richard,

I really liked the new direction, as I see it, of the
most recent "transformation" posting.... Actually, just
today at our peace vigil I was saying that it seems to
me that the peace movement has evolved. Earlier on we
focused more on what we objected to, and that is a
necessary step in any evolution. But now we seem to be
more and more focused on what we want, on what we are
for. As Peace Pilgrim (an elderly woman who walked for
many miles through the US for peace years ago) said,
"You have much more power when  you are working for the
right thing than when you are working against the wrong

it's neat to think that you are seeing the same thing.


Dear Jan,

Nice to hear from you, as always. I don't know about
you, but I still feel I'm marching under the same
banner which we raised in 1998, "Citizens for a
Democratic Renaissance".  The particular projects we
dedicated ourselves to at that time may not have been
the wisest, but our spirits were looking in the right
direction.  I am not surprised that our paths continue
to cross.  I consider that we are still working together.



Date: Thu, 17 Apr 2003 02:35:08 +1000
To: •••@••.•••
From: Robin Gaskell <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: Transformation from War to Peace

Hi to Richard Moore and Friends,

4/13/03 +0100, you wrote:
  > This transformation thread is not something I dreamed
    up on my own. It is a response to a change in the kind
    of mail I've been receiving.  Since the Iraq invasion
    started, people in many parts of the world have been
    inspired to dig deeper, to think harder, to listen to
    their hearts -- seeking solutions to our crisis.
    ...the war cannot be opposed on its own, rather the
    direction of our civilization must be shifted.
    ...I'm not sure why these kinds of realizations are
    being inspired by Iraq in particular, but they are.

It is no mystery that this particular war has caused a
global rethink! For decades, or even centuries, The
world has watched the frontier of civilisation moving
in America.

And now we are finally faced with the reality that this
development of civilisation is really off into a blind

If centuries of culture and civilisation have led to
the concept of "pre-emtion" in diplomacy, and to the
ideology of "The clash of civilisations" in
international relations, we have to have been following
a wrong direction into a dead end.  We suddenly look at
the gunslinger wearing the sherrif's badge, and notice
that he is, in fact, wearing a black hat, not a white

We are apt to cry out, "My God, George Orwell was right
all along!"

And the declaration of the War on Terrorism, with its
Axis of Evil really is the 'continuous war' of Big
Brother come back to haunt us. So all of the Winston
Smiths of the world are standing up to say, "NO!
Enough!"  We, that is the aware, Winston Smith
look-alikes, realise that the world has gone too far
down the wrong path; and, suffocating in a nausea of
"Pax Americana," we urgently want to back-track to seek
a better way.

    >    A Transformation from War to Peace

This poetic alegory says it all.  It carries the
lessons of history, and says we must show our humanity
to the seemingly evil ones, and lovingly teach them to
grow up, to learn to share the beauty of this world -
with wisdom, not hatred.

Sadly, it is hawks of the new world we must teach to be
chickens: this promises to be a great challenge.  How
do you teach a bully to 'love his enemies'; and, how
much harder to teach him he has no enemies?


Robin Gaskell


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