Richard Moore


Over the past month or two I've been sharing with you
sections of the Guidebook as they were drafted. Your
feedback and responses have been most appreciated.  The
first chapter, about the world today, was a refinement of
earlier ideas, and I'm fairly satisfied with that chapter as

There were to be two more chapters in the Guidebook, one
about new-world visions, and another about the movement. 
But as I worked on those ideas, and began to debate them on
lists such as WSN, I found that the two topics could not be
separated - their themes naturally interweave.  Neither
could come 'first', just like the chicken and egg.

I'm now planning only a Chapter 2, covering both the new
world vision and the movement.  This MANIFESTO is a first
attempt at that material, adapted from pieces posted
recently.  I beg your indulgence, if you can spare the time,
to read through this formulation and send in your thoughts. 
Criticisms of content or presentation are always welcome, as
well as suggestions for references or for additional
examples.  And even a simple statement of "I agree,
especially with blah blah blah" can be helpful reassurance
that the material is doing its job.


[7700 words]

        (c) Richard K. Moore, 2001
        Wexford, Ireland

        > The Revolutionary Imperative
        > Decentralization - a paradigm for self-rule
        > What kind of world do we want to build?
        > What kind of movement can overcome the elite regime?


> The Revolutionary Imperative
    "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just
    powers from the consent of the governed... whenever any Form
    of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the
    Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to
    institute a new Government, laying its foundation on such
    principles and organizing its power in such form, as to them
    shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and
    - U.S.  Declaration of Independence, 1776

The course of world events, for the first time in history,
is now largely controlled by a centralized global regime.
This regime has been consolidating its power ever since
World War II and is now formalizing that power into a
collection of centralized institutions and a new system of
international "order".  Top Western political leaders are
participants in this global regime, and the strong Western
nation state is rapidly being dismantled and destabilized.
The global regime serves elite corporate interests
exclusively.  It has no particular regard for human rights,
representative government, human welfare, or the health of
the environment.  The only god of this regime is the god of
wealth accumulation.

Our elite rulers did not lead us into tyranny and
environmental collapse because they are evil people, but
because they were forced to by the nature of capitalism.
Capitalism must continually grow in order to survive.  If
investors have nowhere to increase their funds then they
stop investing and the whole system collapses like a house
of cards.  Each phase in the development of capitalism,
including those of imperialism and globalization, has been
required to enable successive cycles of capital growth.

Humanity can do better than this - much better - and there
is reason to hope that the time is ripe for us to bring
about fundamental changes.  For the past two hundred years
capitalism has employed an unbeatable formula to maintain
its stranglehold over the world.  That formula has been
based on the relative contentment of Western populations,
particularly the middle classes.  Popular support maintained
Western regimes and those regimes had the military might to
dominate the rest of the world.  That formula reached its
culmination in the postwar years when Western prosperity
reached unprecedented heights.

With neoliberalism and globalization, this formula has been
replaced by another.  Western populations have been
abandoned to 'market forces', and capitalist elites have bet
their future on the success of their centralized WTO
new-world-order regime.  Maintaining the status quo is no
longer an option for us - the nature of capitalism is
forcing revolutionary changes.  In a few years the global
regime may be so thoroughly established that it will be
invincible.  The people of the world have a choice.  On the
one hand we can surrender to global tyranny so that
capitalism can continue its insane growth.  On the other
hand, we can assert our rights as free peoples - we can oust
the elites from power and reorganize our societies so that
they serve the needs and wishes of people instead of
facilitating the endless accumulation of wealth by a few.

This is our _Revolutionary Imperative_.  Not an imperative
to violent revolution, but an imperative to do something
even more revolutionary - to set humanity on a sane course
using peaceful means.  The current regime is serving the
interests of only a tiny elite, the rest of us have nothing
to lose but our chains - and we have a livable world to gain.

> Decentralization - a paradigm for self-rule

    "The original Buddha-nature of all living being is like the
    bright moon in the sky - it is only because it is covered by
    floating clouds that it cannot appear."
    - Zen Master Fenyang

For the last ten thousand years, ever since the discovery of
agriculture and herding, societies have been increasingly
dominated by hierarchical power structures.  Nations,
empires, corporations - these are all hierarchical
organizations, controlled from the top.  In the past two
centuries, elected governments have been adopted in the
West, but control of government hierarchies continued
largely in elite hands.  Governments have gone under many
names, but they have all amounted to one form or another of
tyranny.  Globalization represents the ultimate hierarchical
tyranny: a centralized global government under firm control
of the capitalist elite.

Humanity has been dominated by hierarchies for so long that
we might assume hierarchy is inherent in human societies,
perhaps part of human nature itself.  But ten thousand
years, though it seems like a long time, is less than one
percent of the time homo sapiens has been living in
societies.  By evolutionary standards, civilization has been
but the blink of an eye.  For essentially _all of our
history as a species, we have lived in small hunter-gatherer
societies.  If we want to understand something about human
nature, and about naturally-occurring societal structures, we
learn more by looking at hunter-gatherer societies than we
do by investigating our behavior during our recent
confinement in hierarchical cages.  Today we may pace back
and forth in a confined space, or run a treadmill all day,
but that is not our nature, that is our cage.

We have an immense amount of information about
hunter-gatherer societies, and some of the most useful is
about the Native American societies, because they were
studied extensively and documented while they were still
functioning on a large scale.  The Aztec and Inca empires
are of no interest to us here, nor are any other societies
based on agriculture.  What we're interested in are the
examples that match 99% of our hunter-gatherer history.

There was a striking degree of diversity among these
pre-agricultural societies, even among ones which interacted
with one another regularly.  There were warrior tribes,
peaceful nomadic tribes, and even settled communities, when
fish were plentiful enough.  A considerable number of these
tribes had egalitarian, non-hierarchical structures of
non-trivial complexity.  The one I've looked at most closely
was the Oglala Sioux.

There were elders, and there were chiefs, but they had no
authority to command.  They were looked to for guidance, but
they were only followed when their suggestions met with
general approval.  When a tribal decision was to be made, it
was made by consensus, and the chief didn't have more weight
than others, unless through persuasion or wisdom.  Perhaps
women were left out, and this would indeed be an unfortunate
micro-hierarchy within that society.  But the
macro-architecture of the tribe was nonetheless
non-hierarchical, and it was stable.

Perhaps more interesting, since we must deal today with the
problem of scale, is the manner in which the Sioux Nation of
tribes reached decisions for collective action.  The
invasion of the European colonists forced the Sioux to make
frequent use of this collective mechanism, but it was
already in place - the result of millennia of societal

A tribal council would be called by one of the tribes.  Each
tribe would then hold its own consensus session to decide
its position regarding the issue at hand.  A contingent from
each tribe, led by the chief, would then go to the tribal
council -  where another consensus session would be held.  A
chief had no authority to agree to anything contrary to what
had been established locally.  If he exceeded that
authority, his tribe would simply not back him up.  On the
other hand, if the tribe had agreed to pursue some venture,
then the chief knew he could promise the tribe's cooperation
and that they would follow through.  Trustworthiness was a
cardinal virtue in most Native American societies, and
mutual trust is what permitted their decentralized systems
to function reliably.

In this way, collective action could be effectively planned
and coordinated, without there being any centralized
authority.  What was delegated to the chief was not
all-important distinction: it makes the difference between
hierarchy and local control, between centralized and
decentralized power - between tyranny and self rule.

The Sioux were not an isolated example, by the way.  The
pattern was a common one, and the interaction between
unrelated tribes also exhibited the success of various kinds
of consensual relationships.  The Iroquois Nation was
studied by the Founding Fathers, and some historians believe
this influenced the design of the U.S. Constitution.

These kinds of non-hierarchical, non-federated tribal
nations persisted stably for long periods of time.  They
were able to function collectively as nations with
considerable effectiveness and coherence when the need arose,
without the need for hierarchical government of any kind. 
Rather than being contrary to human nature, I submit that
self-rule may be at the very heart of human nature, and that
it appears prominently on every page of human history,
except for that most recent page which began only an
evolutionary instant ago, and which is called 'civilization'
(and which might be better called 'domestication of the

Once stored surpluses came into existence, with agriculture
and herding, then it became possible to maintain
professional soldiers, and so the tools of conquest and
empire building became available.  It required only one
society to pursue this path, and then all the rest were
doomed - sooner or later - to either abdicate or emulate. 
Once the infection of hierarchical domination begins, the
dynamics of its spread are all too apparent.

But people have not forgotten how to cooperate, despite
every attempt of our culture to inculcate competitiveness
and selfishness, both in education and in the societal
reward system.  There are all sorts of organizations and
associations that are entirely voluntary and for mutual
benefit.  Some are hierarchical, and others are not.  The
recent (10,000 years) conditioning has not unlearned the
lessons ingrained by millions of years of evolution.  We may
have forgotten the social structures we invented formerly,
because those can only be passed on culturally, but our
ability to function in freedom within decentralized
structures remains intact.

> What kind of world do we want to build?

    "Moderation in all things."
    - classical Greek wisdom

    "The future arrives of its own accord; progress does not."
    - Poul Henningsen, Danish designer and social critic

It would be easy for me to write down a description of my
own personal utopia, or to wish for a world in which
everyone has magically become enlightened and public
spirited.  It is much more difficult to come up with a
vision that can appeal to all segments of the world
population, and which accepts that people are unlikely to
change their basic natures or beliefs in the near future. 
It is even more difficult to make that vision one which is
coherent and which lays the foundations for a system that
can work effectively in practice.

Permit me to offer my humble proposal for such a unifying
vision.  It is based on seven fundamental principles, and it
has been developed through dialog with hundreds of people
and groups, in person and on various email lists.  The seven
principles are:

      * Personal liberty
      * A voice for everyone in society's governance
      * Decentralization
      * Harmonization instead of factionalism
      * Economic vitality
      * Sustainability
      * World peace

    * Personal liberty
    Within the limits of respecting the liberty and well-being of
    others, every individual should be free to pursue their
    lives more or less as they see fit.  If they choose to submit
    themselves to the dictates of a religion, to cultural
    traditions, or whatever, then so be it - but such choices
    should be voluntary.
    No single principle, however, can be interpreted in
    isolation - each must be kept in balance with the others.
    'Personal liberty' does not mean that a community has no
    right to prohibit anti-social behavior, according to local
    customs.  Nor does it mean that an individual can choose to
    do sit around all day and then demand that society support
    them.  Personal liberty must be balanced against personal
    responsibility, and it must be kept in reasonable harmony
    with the welfare of society.
    At the same time, the principle of personal liberty serves
    to counter-balance an excessive application of other
    principles.  In China for example, large numbers of people
    have been forced against their will to work on agricultural
    labor crews, so as to fulfill the central government's
    economic objectives.  And in the United States, men have
    frequently been forced against their will to fight in
    imperialist wars, on the pretext of 'defending national
    interests'.  The principle of personal freedom aims to
    protect the individual against such excessive intrusions by
    society-at-large, and from any tyranny of the majority.  In a
    livable world, society may protect itself from anti-social
    individuals, but it does not seek to accomplish its
    objectives through coercion.  A livable society is _for the
    people, not _over the people.

    * A voice for everyone in society's governance
    A livable society is not only _for the people, but also _of
    the people.  Our current societies have a pretense of
    representation, but that does not in practice provide a
    voice for the people.  We get candidates who sell themselves
    on television, debating 'issues' which have little relevance
    to essential matters - and then when they're in office they
    generally ignore their constituencies and devote their
    energies to promoting the corporate neoliberal agenda.  This
    may be less true in local elections, but it is very true at
    the top levels of the major Western governments, where the
    big decisions are made.
    Our supposedly 'opposing' political parties go to great
    lengths to convince us that they differ in their
    philosophies, but in practice the 'bipartisan' corporate
    program is what gets implemented, regardless of who gets
    elected.  When it comes down to it, what could we expect from
    a system where the only input from the people is an 'X'
    every four years, next to the name of one personality or the
    other?  How could that possibly convey the will of the
    The word 'democracy' comes from the Greeks, who were the
    first to study governmental structures in a systematic way.
    Their basic categories of governance were 'aristocracy',
    'tyranny', and 'democracy'.  In fact, these three are all
    forms of tyranny, as far as the the man in the street is
    concerned.  The only difference between them is who
    administers the regime.  With 'tyranny' it is a
    self-appointed dictator; with 'aristocracy' it is a
    property-owning class; with 'democracy' it is some party, 
    or candidate, which has convinced voters that it is
    less-objectionable than the alternatives.
    The literal translation of the Greek 'dêmokratia', 'rule 
    by the people', is basically a good idea.  But the
    implementations of 'democracy', starting with the Greeks,
    have emphasized the 'rule' and left out the 'people'.  In
    fact, electoral politics always becomes a game of
    power-brokers and demagogues, leading to a tyranny of the
    majority - which really means tyranny by the party that best
    succeeds in fooling the people.
    For 10,000 years our lives have been increasingly dominated
    by hierarchies.  After such long-term subjugation it may be
    scary to think of running society ourselves.  But who else
    should we trust instead?  Even if your answer is "God", then
    it is up to _you to represent her wisdom in the body
    politic.  With the dawning of the 21st Century, it is time
    for humanity to grow up and take responsibility for itself.
    We are now 21.
    There are many precedents, both historical and current,
    which provide effective models for involving people in the
    decisions that affect their lives - for putting
    responsibility where it belongs.  These models are based on
    the harmonization of interests, rather than on competition
    among political parties and societal factions.  And they are
    models which begin the problem-solving process at the local
    level - not in the halls of some remote central government.

    * Decentralization
    In a livable society, local communities should be free to
    make the decisions that affect them directly.  Why should
    someone else tell them how to live their lives, how late
    they can keep their pubs open, or what kind of schools they
    can run for their children?  Why should that be the business
    of anyone outside the community?  There have been cases, to
    be sure, where local minorities have been suppressed, and
    central governments have come to their rescue.  But in a
    livable society, where everyone has an effective voice in
    their communities, and the liberty to express it, there
    should be little need for that kind of central
    And again, this principle needs to be balanced against
    others.  A community cannot pollute the water source of other
    communities, nor can it be allowed to squander its resources
    recklessly - forcing its people eventually to make demands
    on the resources of others.  And the community cannot be
    allowed to violate the liberty of its citizens, to ignore
    their political voice, or to use its children as cheap labor
    instead of giving them an education.
    There are clearly problems that need to be dealt with on a
    larger scale than a single community, and there are problems
    that can only be dealt with on a global basis.  But in a
    livable society, decisions are made locally whenever
    possible, and larger-scale decisions are made in
    participation with those affected.  In our societies today,
    decisions by unaccountable centralized bureaucracies have
    become the _primary means by which society is run.  In a
    livable society the power-and-responsibility pyramid is
    turned the other way around.
    Consider how the international postal system operates.  Each
    nation has full sovereignty over how it delivers mail, and
    what kind of post-office system it wants to set up.  There is
    no centralized global postal authority which has
    jurisdiction over the internal operations of national postal
    systems.  All nations (except in time of conflict) have
    always agreed to deliver the mail passed on to them by other
    nations - based entirely on mutual benefit and trust.  The
    Internet works the same way.  Each Internet provider is like
    a local post office, and the providers voluntarily
    collaborate in the exchange of mail - based on mutual
    benefit and trust.  The international rail system is yet
    another familiar example.
    These are all examples of decentralized, non-hierarchical
    systems.  Because they are based on mutual benefit, each
    party can trust the others to implement their part of the
    transactions - in whatever manner best suits them.  As these
    examples prove, such a system can be very reliable, and it
    can evolve over time as new circumstances arise.  The
    administrative burden is decentralized, where it can be more
    efficiently optimized for local conditions.  The overall
    administration overhead is less than in a centralized
    system; administration is closer to its users; and different
    societies can choose to have different qualities of local
    service, depending on what they can afford and what their
    needs are.  In a decentralized system, unresponsive and
    inflexible bureaucracies are minimized.
    In addition to these many advantages, decentralized systems
    provide something even more important - they facilitate
    innovative evolution.  Let's suppose that the Swedish Post
    Office develops a mail sorter that is more efficient than
    those used anywhere else.  Very soon, other nations will
    emulate Sweden, perhaps modifying or refining the design in
    the process.  In a centralized system, the research &
    development function is also centralized, and innovation is
    constrained through a narrow pipeline.  In a decentralized
    system, each party can take risks on their own with new
    ideas, and if they fail, no one else need emulate them.
    In a livable world, decentralized systems are to be
    preferred, wherever they can be successfully employed.
    Besides their advantages in terms of system performance and
    evolution, such systems provide a political benefit: they
    transfer responsibility and control to the lowest possible
    level, in many cases to the local community itself.  To the
    extent that liberty and responsibility can be successfully
    combined and concentrated at the community level, we can
    hope to achieve a livable, humane, world - where everyone's
    voice is expressed and listened to.  Such a society would be
    very well ordered, but that order would be a harmony of
    individual voices, not the regimented order imposed by a
    central government.  There is every reason to believe that
    individuals and societies would thrive under
    decentralization - for that is how all humans have lived
    during nearly all of our time on Earth.

    * Harmonization instead of factionalism
    Our current political systems are based on competition among
    societal factions.  Different factions (workers, gun owners,
    gays, ethnic minorities, etc.) each identify their
    own interests, and then they compete in various ways to
    promote their interests in preference to those of other
    groups.  Political parties seek to enlist the support of
    these factions, and then the parties go on to repeat the
    factional competition in our legislative bodies.  In
    practice, the societal factions are betrayed - the parties
    follow the agenda of a tiny super-rich minority instead of
    listening to their electoral constituencies.  Politics in the
    Roman Republic degenerated into 'bread and circuses', and
    that has been the story of 'democracy' ever since.  But even
    if the competitive system worked as it is ideally supposed
    to work, it would still be a very dysfunctional system.
    Consider the decision-making process that is followed in our
    legislatures - some call it "Parliamentary Process" and
    other call it "Robert's Rules of Order".  Under this system,
    discussion continues until some faction feels that it has
    assembled a majority for its proposal.  A vote is then
    called, and if a majority assents, the matter is settled and
    debate is ended.  The focus is not on discussing problems,
    listening to alternatives, and working out solutions.
    Instead, the parliamentary process provides a forum where
    deal-makers try to assemble support for prepackaged partisan
    It is no surprise that such a system does a poor job at
    solving societal problems.  The problems of our society are
    complex, and coming up with solutions requires that all
    viewpoints be taken into account.  Instead, each party
    proposes narrowly conceived solutions, based on its own
    partisan perspective, and designed to provide relative
    advantage to its own constituency.  This process is not
    conducive to generating effective solutions.  The relevant
    information is simply not being taken into account.
    Consider the story of the blind men and the elephant.  None
    could see the whole elephant, and each got a different
    impression depending on which part of the elephant they
    could touch.  Our societal problems are like that elephant,
    and our politicians are like those blind men.  What the blind
    men need to do, in the case of the elephant, is to talk to
    one another, compare their observations, and figure out that
    the Big Picture is about an elephant.  What our politicians
    need to do is to listen to one another, and come up with
    solutions that work for society generally.  But our system is
    not set up that way - the politicians (with some notable
    exceptions) perceive their role as promoting one set of
    interests over another.  Thus our societal problems, like the
    elephant, are only partially understood and partially
    addressed - even when the system works ideally and without
    A livable society cannot afford to entrust its governance to
    such a dysfunctional system.  When people come together to
    make decisions, whether locally or on a larger-scale,
    society needs its problems to be addressed collaboratively,
    with all relevant information taken into account, leading to
    solutions which harmonize the interests and desires of the
    various constituencies.
    There are proven processes which facilitate this kind of
    collaborative harmonization, and they are not at all like
    the parliamentary process.  Instead of debate, they emphasize
    listening.  Instead of focusing on partisan solutions, they
    focus on understanding the problems, and identifying the
    kinds of outcomes different people would like to achieve.
    These are creative, problem-solving processes, where people
    learn from one another, and solutions are developed which
    none of the participants anticipated.  Furthermore, the
    processes help build a sense of community, and help develop
    a cooperative spirit generally among those who participate.
    Such processes, I suggest, are the appropriate political
    processes for livable societies.  Whereas factionalism works
    effectively to manage top-down hierarchies, harmonization
    works effectively in support of bottom-up decentralized
    systems.  Trust and mutual benefit are what enable
    harmonization, as we noted before in the case of the
    international postal system, the Internet, and the Sioux
    Nation.  By contrast, partisan conflict and exploitative
    relationships are what enable hierarchical control.
    In a decentralized world based on liberty and a voice for
    all, interests are harmonized first at the community level,
    and then delegates are selected to go on to regional
    councils - empowered to EXPRESS THAT WHICH HAS BEEN AGREED
    LOCALLY.  This means that _all fundamental issues must be
    discussed at the local level, including matters of overall
    societal policy.  At regional councils, and on up to global
    councils, the same process is followed.  Delegates speak
    with the voice of the constituency which sent them, and they
    work together with their fellow delegates to harmonize the
    interests of all.  Delegates are ordinary citizens - not
    professional politicians.  Nowhere is there a central
    government or bureaucracy that dictates the policies of
    society.  As with the Sioux Nation, large-scale coordination
    can be effectively pursued without the creation of power
    hierarchies at any level.
    Does this mean that every citizen must spend time studying
    every problem, and engaging in endless 'town meetings'? 
    Must everyone become an expert on every global issue?  How
    many people are motivated enough to devote significant time
    to public affairs?  Isn't some delegation of responsibility
    necessary, just for the sake of efficiency?  Don't we need
    experts to deal with certain kinds of problems?  Should we
    not apply decentralization with a healthy dose of
    To deal adequately with these questions, and others like
    them, we would need another article, devoted to that topic. 
    I suggest to you here that these problems are not
    insurmountable, and that in a harmonious, decentralized
    society there would be a lot less 'government business' to
    be taken care of.  Instead of a central government, spending
    its time trying to actively run society, we'd have a civil
    society running along by itself.  Policy discussions would
    be about fine tuning the system, and about collaborating in
    larger-scale endeavors.  When people's voices are actually
    listened to, and when the issues under discussion make a
    difference to their lives, I believe we will find that
    people are less apathetic than they seem to be under our
    existing tyrannical 'democracies'.
    And there is another kind of answer to doubts about
    decentralization.  In the next section, we will be talking
    about the movement - the rising of the world's people in
    response to the Revolutionary Imperative, in pursuit of a
    livable world.  In that section I will suggest that a
    decentralized model is also appropriate for the movement
    itself.  The means always become the ends: if we want a
    self-rule world, we'll need to get their by means of a
    self-rule movement.  If we build a hierarchical movement,
    then we'll have a hierarchical power structure in place when
    victory is achieved.  If instead we build a decentralized
    movement, based on collaboration and harmonization, then we
    will emerge into the new world with solid experience using
    decentralized structures.  We won't be trying something new,
    we'll be continuing with a system that has proven itself by
    accomplishing a momentous task: overcoming the most powerful
    centralized regime in history.

    * Economic vitality
    A healthy society cannot exist without a healthy economy.
    Under capitalism, we tend to think of 'the economy' as being
    employment figures, stock market levels, and interest rates.
    In fact, the 'economy' is everything you and I do, each day,
    as we make a living, and acquire the things we need.  The
    economy is the sum total of the ways people interact, as
    they carry out their business in life.  An economy is
    healthy - vital - when people's work is directed toward
    things that are needed by society - when supply and demand
    are allowed to interact naturally and directly.  People, out
    of their own self-interest, generally seek to maximize their
    economic reward for the work they do.  A 'vital' economy is
    one where economic rewards are closely linked to societal
    benefit.  In that way, the economy naturally facilitates the
    welfare of everyone, with little need for central
    coordination.  Such an economy, by the way, is precisely
    what Adam Smith was talking about in "Wealth of Nations".
    Under capitalism, most people maximize their economic reward
    by taking a job in a corporation for wages.  Their work then
    serves whatever agenda the corporation might have in mind.
    Instead of work being linked to societal benefit, work is
    linked to corporate profitability.  To the extent that
    corporate prosperity benefits society, then the system works
    well enough.  It worked well enough, in fact, that most
    Westerners were happy with the system up until neoliberalism
    raised its ugly head.  It is now abundantly clear that a
    capitalist economy is ultimately an unhealthy economy - it
    directs people toward work which pollutes our environment,
    wastes our resources, and which fails to meet the basic
    needs of most of the world's people.  Under capitalism,
    economic reward is separated from societal benefit, and the
    pursuit of economic gain becomes ultimately an anti-social
    A livable society, given our finite resources, cannot afford
    capitalism's wastefulness.  We need economic arrangements
    which take into account the fact that our children will need
    to live after us, and which don't reward farmers for
    poisoning our food and depleting our topsoil.  We need a
    fair-competition marketplace, with effective measures to
    prevent speculation and the emergence of monopoly operators.
    We need to structure our monetary and financial system so
    that it facilitates market competition and encourages the
    development of healthy businesses.  Instead of giant private
    banks, whose only objective is maximizing their returns, we
    need something more like the credit-union model, where funds
    are available locally at rates that enable businesses to
    develop without a punitive debt burden.  We need to remove
    the artificial growth imperative by which capitalism has
    infected our economies.  Societies benefit from stable,
    profitable businesses, rather than businesses which must
    grow and exploit in order to survive at all.
    Under such conditions, competitive markets can be a very
    effective way to achieve a healthy, vital economy.  There are
    some cases, however, where other economic models have a role
    to play as well.  Highway systems, for example, are best
    managed by public agencies, as they are in most of parts of
    the world already.  The actual work might be contracted out
    to efficient private operators, but the infrastructure
    should be managed so as to serve society generally, rather
    than to line the pockets of a private owner.  Co-ops are
    another useful model, provided they are not allowed to grow
    into exploitive monopolies.  Competitive markets, societal
    management, and co-ops are all available in our 'toolkit for
    a healthy economy'.  Which to apply in each case depends on
    circumstances, and on the preferences of those affected.

    * Sustainability
    Whatever definition of 'livable world' we might come up
    with, I think it is safe to say that all of us want to build
    a system that will last - a system that can be sustained
    over time.  Why would we squander our rare opportunity by
    building something that will fall apart and cause a crisis
    for our grandchildren?  I suggest that _sustainability is a
    principle we can all agree must be observed a livable world.
    This means that we need to move as rapidly as possible to
    harvesting methods which don't take more trees or fish than
    nature can replace.  It means we need to adopt agricultural
    methods and livestock practices which do not deplete the
    water tables or the soil bank.  Sustainable methods require
    more labor than industrial methods, but labor is something
    we have an abundance of in this over-populated and
    under-employed world of ours.  Labor-intensive, sustainable
    agriculture can produce as much food as the industrial
    alternative, and it can do so using organic practices.  In
    addition to providing increased employment, and using less
    water and energy, such methods avoid the need for expensive
    pesticides (which are made from non-renewable resources) and
    the food is healthier for those who eat it.
    Achieving sustainability will be a major societal project.
    Under capitalism, our economies have become dependent on
    excessive long-distance food transport, on extensive use of
    automobiles, and on similar extravagances that are not
    sustainable - but which cannot simply be abandoned
    all-at-once.  There needs to be a well-orchestrated
    transition program, in which current systems are gradually
    phased out, and new sustainable infrastructures are
    developed and established.  This transition program will in
    fact be a major development project, and it may require the
    use of a considerable portion of our remaining fossil fuels.
    Obviously we want to keep green-house emissions to a
    minimum, but what better use for fossil fuel, than to
    establish energy-efficient systems that don't depend on
    non-renewable sources?
    In the literature today, there is already a considerable
    understanding of ecosystems, sustainable methods, and
    energy-efficient technologies.  Considerable work has been
    done as well into sustainable economic systems, using a
    different basis for issuing money and credit than under the
    capitalist system.  There is little doubt that adequate
    solutions can be developed once they become high-priority
    societal projects.  After the victory of the movement, we
    will still have all of our engineers, scientists,
    economists, etc.

    * World peace

        "To the size of states there is a limit, as there is to
        other things, plants, animals, implements; for none of these
        retain their natural power when they are too large or too
        small, but they either wholly lose their nature, or are
        - Aristotle

    I doubt if anyone would disagree that a livable world must
    be a world without war.  But, we must admit, humanity has
    been at war nearly continuously, in one part of the world or
    another, for thousands of years: Is it _possible to achieve
    lasting peace?  Is warfare perhaps inherent in human nature? 
    I'd like to suggest some reasons why the achievement of a
    stable peace may not be nearly so difficult as it might
    first appear.
    Let's consider the history of the major Western European
    powers - Germany, France, Great Britain, and Italy.  For
    centuries, up until 1945, these powers were at war time and
    time again, with all sorts of shifting alliances and
    balance-of-power games.  Competition for markets and
    territories continued even during intervals of peace, and
    the next war was always brewing on the horizon.  World War I
    was supposed to be the "War to end all wars", but nothing
    had really changed, and World War II followed only twenty
    years later with even greater ferocity.
    But after World War II, something entirely new and different
    happened.  As Europe recovered from this particular war, it
    began to build a cooperative framework instead of rushing to
    rearm and enter a new cycle of conflict.  After only a few
    years the idea of war between these powers had become nearly
    unthinkable, it is still unthinkable today, and there is
    little reason to expect this to change in the near future.
    This example proves rather conclusively that a cycle of
    perpetual warfare _can be broken, and that a successful
    cooperative regime _can come suddenly into existence.  And in
    this case, the reasons for the transformation are easy to
    What European powers had been fighting about, for the last
    few centuries at least, had been their empires - their
    spheres of influence.  After each war there were _minor
    adjustments of European borders, but the basic map of the
    four major powers has remained recognizable.  The wars were
    wars of competition over empire, rather than wars of mutual
    conquest per se.  What brought peace to Western Europe after
    Word War II was a shift in the nature of imperialism,
    brought about under firm U.S.  leadership.
    Whether Europe liked it or not, Uncle Sam had decided to
    claim and defend the exclusive right to manage global
    geopolitical affairs.  In this endeavor, America employed
    both carrots and sticks.  The Marshall Plan, NATO, the UN,
    and the Bretton Woods institutions were carrots - they gave
    Europe positive reasons to enter into collaborative
    arrangements.  America's willingness to deploy fleets
    worldwide in support of imperialism (Pax Americana) was also
    a carrot, in that it relieved Europe of that burden.  But
    when Britain and France launched the Suez invasion, then
    America made it clear that coercion would be used if the
    carrots didn't do the job.  Europe was persuaded and coerced
    into engaging in a cooperative system of imperialism, and to
    leave competitive imperialism behind.
    Once imperialism had become a cooperative venture, then
    there was no particular reason for European powers to fight
    one another.  Instead, the advantages of cooperation came to
    the fore - pooling their coal resources, reducing their
    mutual tariffs, and evolving toward an integrated Europe.
    Once the cooperative regime got a good start, it became
    self-stabilizing, and in every year that passed, war became
    less and less a possibility among these powers.
    In a livable world, a community is made up of free
    individuals collaborating in harmony for their mutual
    benefit.  Similarly, at the international level, a livable
    world is a community of sovereign nations collaborating in
    harmony for their mutual benefit.  No central authority is
    needed for the world, anymore than it is for a nation.
    Again, as with decentralized governance in general, more
    needs to be said about world governance, and that would
    require a different article.  But, as the experience of
    Europe demonstrates - when people or nations are cooperating
    in collaborative endeavors, they tend to build bonds and
    community, rather than pursue conflict and competition.
    There will of course need to be a very carefully managed
    transition program, in which most weapon systems are
    destroyed, and only balanced National Guard and Coast Guard
    forces are retained to protect against any aberrant
    aggressor or pirate force that might arise.  And there would
    need to be arrangements for collective action against
    aggressors, and for humanitarian interventions in extreme
    cases, with effective protections against misuse.   Larger
    nations will need to be split up (voluntarily) into smaller
    chunks - the bigger the scale of a society, the more likely
    are hierarchies and tyranny to arise.  This is another
    reason why a central world government is not a good idea.

> What kind of movement can overcome the elite regime?

    "How well we know all this!  How often we have witnessed it
    in our part of the world!  The machine that worked for years
    to apparent perfection, faultlessly, without a hitch, falls
    apart overnight.  The system that seemed likely to reign
    unchanged, world without end, since nothing could call its
    power in question amid all those unanimous votes and
    elections, is shattered without warning.  And, to our
    amazement, we find that everything was quite otherwise than
    we had thought"
    - Václav Havel, 1975

When we consider how powerful the current regime is, with
all of its weapons and helmeted storm troopers, we might
think the biggest problem for the movement is achieving
sufficient strength to prevail.  Clearly the struggle itself
will a formidable undertaking, but I suggest that is not the
best place to focus our attention when we think about what
kind of movement we want to build.

The fact is that the conditions are right for a global,
transformative movement.  The current regime, in its
power-bred arrogance, is trampling on the welfare of nearly
everyone, in every nation, and every walk of life.  Very few
people are happy with the way things are going in the world,
even those who are comparatively well off.  People are
generally aware that our environment is being wasted, our
food poisoned, our communities destroyed, and our economies
undermined - and they would like to see something done about
it.  I believe that if the 'right kind' of movement comes
along, with the right kind of organization and vision, then
it has the potential to spread like wildfire.  The very
success of the current regime, as it implements its
globalization project, creates the conditions which give us
considerable hope for movement success.

Once, after I had bent several nails in frustration, a Zen
carpenter explained to me how to hammer a nail in straight. 
It was simple.  Instead of focusing on the head of the nail,
you think about the point of the nail, and getting _that in
straight.  After that, the task was easy.  Similarly, when a
karate expert smashes through a brick, her strike is aimed
_below the brick, not at the brick itself.  In the same way,
if we want to help launch the 'right kind' of movement, I
suggest our attention should be on the _post victory
activity of the movement, rather than the struggle against
the current regime.  As the movement grows, it will either
evolve successful engagement strategies, or it will fail.
But if it succeeds, we want to be sure it leads to a livable
world, and not some new form of dysfunctional society.

In a socialist revolution, the 'worker class' supposedly
gains dominance over the 'owner class'.  Such a revolution,
even if it stays true to its rhetoric, stays within the
'competing factions' paradigm, and usually leads to
centralized authoritarianism as well.  A movement for a
livable world is not about one class or group dominating
others.  It is about everyone participating in liberty and
harmony with their fellow citizens, using decentralized
processes to coordinate collective activities.  If that is
the kind of society the movement is trying to achieve, then
I suggest that the movement itself needs to be structured
along identical lines.  In that way, the struggle of the
movement will give us the experience we will need to build
the kind of societies we seek to achieve.  The medium is the
message; the journey is the destination; the means are the
ends - these, I suggest, are wise maxims for our movement.

The 'target constituency' of the movement is everyone,
everywhere.  The 'issue' that draws people to the movement
can be almost any issue - because all of our problems are
caused or worsened by capitalism and by the policies of the
global regime.  It is not only the IMF protesters that are
part of the the current movement.  Farming cooperatives in
India, Zapatistas in Mexico, environmentalists in Britain -
even those on the right who have been driven to embracing
narrow nationalism - each of these groups is struggling in
its own way, in its own backyard, according to its own
understanding, against the oppression of the global regime. 
What is lacking is a  'sense' of a global movement, and a
suitable organizational process to bring these
constituencies - and others - into communication, so they
can work out their differences and achieve mutual synergy.

I suggest that what we need is not a new movement
organization, but rather a new organizing _paradigm.  We
need to find ways to get groups of people to listen to one
another, and to discover that they are - on all sides -
mostly sincere people trying to make life better for their
families.  Once people, and groups, can communicate beyond
their differences, and begin to find what they have in
common, then they can begin to find consensus solutions to
the problems that face them in their lives, and as movement
activists.  One person might be a bio-ethical vegetarian,
and another an avid hunter, yet they might both agree that
we want our environment to be free of pollution.  We need to
embrace a paradigm of inclusiveness, and of systematic
consensus building.  The paradigm is itself decentralized -
the harmonization process can begin anywhere and everywhere,
by diverse methods and with varying success - and without
any central organization.

The _growth of the movement is simply the spread of this
harmonization paradigm throughout the global society.  The
_progress of the movement is the evolutionary process by
which harmonization techniques are refined, and
higher-levels of decentralized coordination become possible.
The _victory of the movement will occur when the entire
global society has been mobilized, and when it is capable of
taking decisive and coordinated action everywhere at once,
without any central authority, and without allegiance being
sworn to any single ideology or religion.  When that day
comes the old regime will fade away, and we can then welcome
the last few elite hold outs to join us in building a world
that we can all be proud to hand on to our descendants.

Maria Sandoz, "Crazy Horse: Strange Man of the Oglalas", 50th
Anniversary Edition, University of Nebraska Press, 1992.
    An account taken from the recollections of a Sioux who lived
    in the time of Crazy Horse - provides an insider's view of
    Sioux society and its decision making process.

Peter Farb, "Man's Rise to Civilization", E.P. Dutton, New York, 1968.
    This book investigates several of the Native American
    societies, with detailed accounts of political structures
    and decision-making processes.  Especially interesting are
    the adaptive changes these societies went through under the
    influence of European traders and the pressures of colonial 
Tree Bressen, "Dynamic Facilitation for Group Transformation", 
    This article describes 'dynamic facilitation', one of many
    processes which facilitate collaborative problem solving in
    non-homogeneous groups.

Jared Diamond, "Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fate of Human
Societies", W.W. Norten & Company, 1992.
    This masterful tour-de-force redefines our understanding of
    how societies and civilization developed.  I am highly
    skeptical of reductionist historical theories, where all
    developments are explained in terms of some single
    principle.  But in this case I am forced to make an
    exception.  The scope of evidence presented is compelling,
    and the reasoning is detailed and irrefutable.  Jared shows
    how environmental factors alone account for why cultures
    evolved at different rates in different places, and why some
    cultures never advanced beyond the neolithic era.  The kind
    of book you can't put down, and which on finishing you
    immediately loan to a friend.