Ch 6: ENVISIONING A TRANSFORMATIONAL MOVEMENT

2005-03-21

Richard Moore

Sorry folks, two postings in one day! 

Also, I promised not to send out more drafts, and yet here's another chapter!

The fact is that I did a lot of rewriting here. The previous version just didn't
work anymore, given changes in earlier material. For those interested, enjoy, 
and let me know if holds together for you.

all the best,
rkm

--------------------------------------------------------
draft version 4.4

Chapter 6

ENVISIONING A TRANSFORMATIONAL MOVEMENT


            If only people could see each other as agents of each other's
            happiness, they could occupy the earth, their common
            habitation, in peace, and move forward confidently together to
            their common goal. The prospect changes when they regard each
            other as obstacles; soon they have no choice left but to flee
            or be forever fighting. Humankind then seems nothing but a
            gigantic error of nature.
            - Abbe Sieyes. Prelude to the Constitution, 1789, France


* In search of a path to social transformation

Let's review our quest so farŠ

    Chapter 1 concluded with Civilization in crisis, and the
    thesis that our entire society needs to be radically changed,
    both economically and politically. We need to rid ourselves,
    somehow, of elite rule, and we need to establish, somehow,
    democratic, peaceful, and sustainable societies.

This left with us an implicit question: "If we want a
different kind of society, what models do we have that might
guide us?"

    Chapter 2 looked back into our origins, and found hopeful
    models in the Old Civilization of Europe, and the partnership
    cultures that characterized the earliest agricultural
    civilizations. These societies prove that it is possible to
    have a stable, peaceful, and complex society which is
    egalitarian and which is based on harmony among people and
    with nature. The path of hierarchy was the path we eventually
    followed as a global civilization, but it was not the only
    path available.

From this we know that people are capable of living in a
partnership society just as they are capable of living in a
dominator society; human nature is capable of cooperation as
well as exploitation. Social transformation is not a hopeless
quest. The question now is not whether a better society is
possible, but rather how one might be created. We next need to
face the question of how transformation might be accomplished.

    Chapter 3 began with the observation that the dominator
    culture itself is the source of current crisis. Domination can
    only be ended when the dominated decide to change things: We
    the people, in seeking our own liberation, will at the same
    time be transforming our dominator culture into a partnership
    culture. We need to understand what it means for We the People
    to wake up, and as first step in gaining that understanding we
    examined several social movements, current and historical, and
    I suggested some preliminary observations. One observation is
    that capturing territory is important to any transformational
    movement. Another observation is that electoral politics is a
    quagmire that any successful transformational movement must be
    wary of. If such a movement is to prevail, it will need to
    recruit nearly the whole population to its cause, as Gandhi's
    movement was able to do.
 
We now have the basic skeleton of a transformational project:
We the People need to wake up and find our identity, and we
need to build a social movement aimed at transforming our
cultures and our societies; our movement must avoid the
political quagmire and seek to bring everyone into the
movement. In order to pursue such a project, we need to
understand just how deep the transformation must go: we need
to know which of our existing cultural paradigms must be
abandoned, as being incompatible with a democratic and
equitable society.

    Chapter 4 expanded on Chapter 3's preliminary conclusions,
    arguing the thesis that adversarial politics - the whole basis
    of liberal "democracy" - is a system that by its inherent
    nature facilitates rule by elites; it is a modern version of
    divide and rule. In reality we live in a plutocracy - we are
    ruled by wealthy elites. Only in the Matrix does democracy
    exist. If we want real democracy, we must invent it. Our new
    culture must avoid the factions and interest groups that pit
    us one against the other; we need to create a culture that
    enables us to harmonize our various needs and concerns.

We can now see that harmonization is the critical factor in
both our movement and our new society. In order to bring
everyone into the movement we need to learn how to harmonize
everyone's concerns, and we also need to base our new society
on harmonization. In order to transform our societies, we need
to transform our adversarial culture into a culture based on
harmonization, which is the same as partnership, but expressed
from the perspective of process instead of result. But how can
we go about pursuing harmonization and partnership?

    Chapter 5 argued that our culture suffers from a certain
    deficiency: when we gather together for discussions or to make
    decisions, we don't know how to go about harmonizing the
    various concerns and interests of the participants. We either
    suppress our differences in order to reach a compromise
    consensus, or else factions compete to impose their views on
    the whole group. This deficiency channels us toward
    participation in the quagmire of adversarial politics. As a
    remedy, we looked at some examples of gatherings that overcame
    this cultural deficiency, and discovered the dynamics of
    harmonization. In the microcosm of a face-to-face gathering,
    it is possible to find our common ground and realize our
    identity as We the People. The necessary facilitation
    techniques are proven, and with their help almost any group of
    people can go through this kind of experience, which is in
    fact already latent deep in our psyches, part of our
    primordial heritage. Harmonization is able to bring out the
    creative synergy and the collective wisdom that lie latent in
    any group of people.

We can now see the beginning of a path to transformation: we
know how to achieve harmonization in the microcosm of a
face-to-face gathering. We next need to understand how we can
use this knowledge to build an inclusive movement and to
transform our cultures and societies. That is the objective of
this chapter.


* Harmonization and cultural transformation

Let us consider for a moment, from a general perspective, how
cultural transformations typically take place. One common
historical example of a cultural transformation would be the
adoption of a new religion by a society. In this case there is
some kind of conversion experience, or a "seeing the light"
experience, that transmits the cultural transformation. It is
an experience that transcends words; it is an experience that
causes you to see things in a different way. That "different
way of seeing" is the essence of the new culture. If the shift
were not so profound, beyond verbalization, we wouldn't call
it a cultural transformation; it would be only the spreading
of a new idea, or a new fashion.

Another example of cultural transformation occurred in the
sixties and seventies, with the hippies, drugs, rock and roll,
protests, the New Left, and massive popular movements.
Clearly, compared to the fifties, this period brought on a
major cultural transformation in our Western societies. And
again, there were experiences, not explainable in words, which
were at the heart of transmitting this transformation. Timothy
Leary said, "Turn on, tune in, and drop out." He began with
"turn on," which means drop an LSD tab, an experience that
can't be put into words, and an experience that introduces us
to a "different way of seeing." Getting high, expanding our
sexual explorations, losing ourselves in tribal rock-and-roll
paganism, taking to the streets in rebellious protest, doing
everything our parents disapproved of - these were all
experiences of a similar character, all somehow transmitting
liberation from the barren fifties background culture.

By definition, a cultural transformation involves the
propagation of a shift in worldview. And a shift in worldview
is not something that occurs easily. It takes some kind of
special experience, as we saw in the two examples above. It
requires some kind of experience that takes us out of our
standard mindset, into a territory we don't have words for,
and enables us to see things in a way we didn't know was
possible. Such an experience is necessary for cultural
transformation; such an experience provides the energy that
can propagate the transformation.

Harmonization, as exemplified in the Wisdom Council session,
is that kind of "special experience." It takes people out of
their standard mindset, as regards social possibilities, and
enables them to see those possibilities in a way that they
didn't know was possible. Participants in such a session "see
the light" as regards their own empowerment, and as regards
the possibility of achieving mutual understanding and
consensus with their peers. This is an experience that enables
people to see social possibilities "in a new way" that didn't
seem possible before - as was expressed explicitly in the
declaration that the Michigan group came up with. And this is
an experience that our current culture doesn't really have
words for. In order to give a name to the experience, I found
it necessary to pick a word, "harmonization," and give it an
expanded definition. In order to describe the effect of the
experience, participants chose a phrase that would have had
little personal meaning for them prior to the experience: "We
the People."

The power of this experience, as regards liberation, reveals
to us the power that separateness has in our societies, as a
tool of subjugation. Separateness is multi-faceted: it
encompasses the factionalism of our political system, the
divisiveness of our ideological and religious beliefs, the
psychological sense of isolation that many of us feel as
individuals, the loss of a sense of community in modern
society, and the over-emphasis that our society puts on
individualism and competition. The cumulative effect of
separateness, in all these various manifestations, is
extremely disempowering. In a harmonization session the heavy
burden of separateness is lifted, releasing considerable
liberating energy - as was reflected in the empowerment and
enthusiasm of the participants in the sessions we have looked
at.

Imagine what it would be like if everyone were to undergo such
a transformation of consciousness. What if everyone went
through the experience of sitting down with others, some of
whom were considered to be "the enemy," and glimpsed for
themselves the "new vision"? What if everyone were to
experience the empowerment and hope that comes with the spirit
of We the People? What if everyone understood, at a deep
level, that that divisiveness in society can be overcome, that
We the People can harmonize our needs and concerns?

If everyone were to have this kind of experience, our culture
itself would be transformed. Not only would this fill our
"cultural gap" as regards meetings, but also our cultural
paradigms about competition and adversarial politics would be
neutralized. Although our societal systems would remain
unchanged, for a while at least, the culture that supports
them would be gone. The elite's divide-and-rule strategy would
be fatally undermined. No longer would we feel compelled to
choose sides among political parties; no longer would we feel
powerless and isolated as citizens. Our culture, beginning in
the grassroots, would be transforming into the partnership
category.

Harmonization is a transformational force. Spreading the
harmonization experience is equivalent to transforming our
cultures and our consciousness as individuals. Harmonization
is the means by which We the People can wake up, find our
identity, and undertake effective collective action.


* Cultural transformation at the level of community

Consider the public meeting that followed the Wisdom Council
session in Rogue Valley. The session participants were able to
communicate their experience to the people who came to that
meeting, and the whole meeting was characterized by a spirit
of enthusiasm and empowerment. Let us consider how this kind
of scenario might be further extended.

Instead of a single harmonization session, suppose that a
series of sessions were to be organized in a community, each
followed by an open public meeting - as envisioned by Jim as
part of the Wisdom Council formula. Suppose further that the
organizers of this series undertook to publicize the events,
and the outcomes of the gatherings, to the wider community. If
this were to happen, I suggest that a culture of harmonization
would begin to take root and grow within the community.

As the number of "graduates" (people who have participated in
sessions) increases in the community, the time will come when
nearly everyone in town knows someone, or is related to
someone, who is a graduate. Each graduate, based on the
transformation of consciousness that typically occurs, would
act as a kind of informal evangelist for the harmonization
culture, able to provide first-hand answers to questions, and
most likely willing to relate, with some enthusiasm, the
session experience to others. In this way familiarity with the
harmonization experience would spread on a word-of-mouth
basis.

Each harmonization session brings together some microcosm of
the community and its concerns. To the extent the various
concerns of the community find voice within a session, we can
expect the solutions and insights that come out of the session
to find resonance in the larger community. As the results of
each session are published locally, and people see those
results as being relevant to their own concerns, we could
expect interest to develop in the community regarding the
series of sessions and public meetings.

Presumably the public meetings would grow larger over time,
based on the interest generated, with people returning to
subsequent meetings, and inviting their neighbors along. We
could expect some continuity to develop, with certain issues
rising to the fore as recognized community concerns. This
might naturally add focus to subsequent harmonization
sessions, so that the breakthroughs reached in sessions would
become increasingly relevant to recognized community concerns.

A shared sense of the community and a sense of community
identity would begin to emerge. The growing sense of
empowerment in the community would be accompanied by a growing
understanding of the culture that enables that empowerment:
mutual respect and heartfelt dialog. Dialog would carry on
informally in the community; the spirit of We the People would
become palpable. The sleeping giant would be waking up on the
scale of one community. The culture of the community would be
transforming, not just for the duration of a single session,
but on an ongoing, community-wide basis.

Such a project would not be a formidable undertaking. With a
handful of local citizens sharing the work, and some modest
fund raising for facilitators and meeting rooms, it would be
possible to organize a series of sessions and publicize the
results locally. Cultural transformation, on the scale of a
single community, appears to be a quite doable project.

            Hope is a dimension of the soulŠ an orientation of the spirit,
            an orientation of the heart. It transcends the world that is
            immediately experienced and is anchored somewhere beyond its
            horizons . . . .It is not the conviction that something will
            turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense
            regardless of how it turns out.
            - Vaclav Havel


*Community empowerment and cultural transformation

As the sense of the community begins to converge around
certain shared concerns, to continue our scenario, community
attention would naturally begin focusing on, "What can we do?"
And in a community there are usually many things people can
do, when they are acting out of mutual understanding and
common purpose. People working together can deal with many
problems on a self-help basis: they can give the local school
a fresh coat of paint, create a community garden, establish a
local currency, or set up a childcare co-op or a crime-watch
network. There is also much that can be accomplished
politically. Local officials have a self-interest motivation
to listen to citizen petitions, when those are
enthusiastically backed by the general community.

When a whole community has achieved a harmonized sense of
itself, as an aware We the People, they can simply choose a
slate of candidates from among themselves and elect them, on
an essentially unanimous basis, to all the local offices. The
official political process, and the administration of the
community, can thereby be brought into the space of
harmonization. The policy decisions of the community would no
longer be made behind closed doors, but would come from the
people themselves, by means of harmonization. At the level of
community, it is possible for We the People to govern
ourselves on the basis of direct, participatory democracy. And
we can do this within the current political system. In a local
community it is possible for a sub-culture based on
harmonization to be established - a transformed oasis of
democratic empowerment embedded within the larger hierarchical
society. Consider the following example, which occurred
relatively recently in India.

    Four hundred years ago the village of Maliwada, India, was a
    thriving agricultural center, producing fruits, vegetables,
    and wines. In 1975, it had little water, no sanitation, few
    crops. Over 2,000 villagers barely eked out a subsistence
    living. Muslims and Hindus of many different castes lived with
    centuries of mutual distrust. The villagers knew about their
    prosperous past, but it seemed long gone and hopeless to
    recreate.
    
    The discussions began based on two questions: "What would it
    take to have prosperity exist again in this village? What can
    you do to make that happen?" Gradually, as ideas began to pour
    fourth, perspectives changed. Hindus and Muslims talked
    together excitedly about how to clean out the ancient well.
    Brahmins and Untouchables discovered in a joint meeting that
    all despaired at the lack of medical care for their sick
    children. They all wanted to create a health clinic in the
    village. Hope began to creep into their voices and eyes. What
    had seemed totally impossible suddenly became doable. People
    organized and tapped resources they had forgotten they had.
    
    They acquired loans from a bank and received government
    grants. They built a dam, a brick factory, and the clinic. The
    shared vision of what they wanted for themselves and their
    community allowed them to go beyond their personal and
    cultural differences and continued to motivate them. Each
    success made them stronger, more confident, more self-assured.
    Today, Maliwada is a prospering village.
    
    When transformation like this takes place, the news travels.
    Nearby villagers wanted to know how they could do this....
    - Quoted from Patricia R. Tuecke, Rural International
    Development, in Discovering Common Ground, by Marvin R.
    Weisbord, et. al. (Berrett-Koehler, 1992), p. 307.

Based on the enthusiasm generated, the emergence of a few
empowered communities might be expected to lead to a chain
reaction in the larger society. As in the above example from
India, other communities would be impressed by the
developments in the transformed communities, and local
activists and concerned citizens would be likely to want to
try it for themselves. Just as group empowerment can become
contagious in a community, so can community empowerment become
contagious in the larger society. If this begins to happen,
even on a relatively small scale, we would be witnessing the
emergence of a community-empowerment movement - a movement
engaged in spreading cultural transformation.

This would be a somewhat unusual movement, in that it wouldn't
have leaders or organization. It would not be guided by any
centralized leadership group, nor would it need any
centralized organization in order to maintain its momentum. It
would be a truly grassroots movement, inspired and guided by
local initiative, and propagated by grassroots enthusiasm.

In a society suffering under economic decline, an unpopular
war, the deterioration of its political system, and many other
ills, any ray of hope for democratic empowerment would be
likely to generate considerable enthusiasm. The chain reaction
could be powerful. Indeed, I strongly suspect that it would be
powerful; I could feel the strength of the potential energy
when I saw the faces and heard the voices in the Rogue Valley
videos.

The movement would also be unusual in that it would not be
characterized by any particular program or platform. The
movement would not be about rallying people behind noble
causes, such as world peace or justice, rather it would be
about communities discovering their own democratic
empowerment. Any particular policy platform would in fact
limit the propagation of the movement. Given a platform of
policies, there are always some factions, which for one reason
or another, do not subscribe to the platform. In that way
platforms, no matter how noble, are ultimately divisive, and
usually give rise to opposition movements. In the case of our
community-empowerment movement, the only "faction" that could
be expected to oppose it would be established elites, who
would rightfully see it as a potential threat to their own
continued hegemony.

Let us now consider how various kinds of activists would be
likely to respond to the emergence of such a movement. There
are many activist groups already focusing on community
empowerment, working with various constituencies, and pursuing
various agendas. There are also many activist groups who would
like nothing better than to find more effective directions for
activism. If our community-empowerment movement began to gain
a bit of momentum, I think it would be noticed by activists,
and I imagine some of them would see it as a useful direction
for their own energies, and even their own policy agendas. As
citizens in their communities, their ideas and visions would
be valid and useful contributions to the community dialog
process. In addition to the "chain reaction" aspect,
propagation of the movement would be likely to receive a boost
as activist groups begin to participate in various ways.

The focus on community gives the movement a territorial
quality, and a self-help quality, both of which characterized
the very successful Populist Movement. We can take that as an
encouraging and relevant precedent for this phase of the
transformational process. Indeed, I think we could expect a
harmonization-based, community-empowerment movement to develop
in a similar way. As the movement spreads, local governments
would be brought into the harmonization process, would become
agents of democratic agendas, as they rightfully should be in
a democracy. The Populists got even to the point where they
elected Governors of several States. Once a chain reaction
gets started, and once that energy begins to synergize with
existing activist energy, I suggest we could expect similar
results.


* What are the prospects for such a movement?

What I have been presenting, in this material, is my own best
estimation of what could be expected if we combine the Wisdom
Council vision with a focus on community empowerment. I showed
you what happened in Michigan, and the Maclean's event, and in
Rogue Valley. I shared the community-empowerment experience in
India, which is typical of many, many others throughout the
third world.

I have not been trying to sell you a formula. I have been
trying to understand for myself the potential of the
harmonization experience. Based on my own personal experience
with such events, my viewing of the Rogue Valley videos, and
my interviews with the organizers, I know that there is an
incredible potential energy that can be released by such
experiences.

When I anticipate a "chain reaction" among communities, I do
not have my fingers crossed; I am not saying, "if only." I
honestly believe, based on my overall experience of life, that
these are very likely outcomes. Nonetheless, I myself am taken
aback by the amazing magnitude of the anticipated outcomes, as
compared to the miniscule inputs that are called for.

What I have suggested, if you look back over this chapter, is
that a simple series of harmonization sessions, organized in a
few communities, would be likely to start a chain reaction
that could end up transforming cultures all over the globe! I
have looked, with my most critical eye, and I cannot find an
unlikely step in the scenarios I have presented. The
potential, I think, is there. But even I cannot believe my own
logic in such a case, not unless I can corroborate it by other
considerations. How can we explain so much energy, so much
democratic liberation - released by so little effort?

We can usefully compare the dynamics of the harmonization
experience to the dynamics of nuclear fusion. Atomic nuclei
are normally kept apart by very strong electrical forces; when
the nuclei are brought into proximity in a thermonuclear
device, they fuse into larger nuclei, and tremendous energy is
released. Similarly, citizens are normally kept apart by very
strong social forces (i.e., separateness); when citizens are
brought into psychic proximity during a harmonization session,
they fuse into a temporary community, and tremendous energy is
released.

When we were slaves in chains, it mattered little about our
"sense of community." We were allowed to sing our native songs
in the slave camps, dream of freedom, and all the time our
shackles remained fastened. When later we were serfs and royal
subjects, our class identity was acknowledged, and garrisons
were always on the ready to keep us in our place, should a
peasant revolt arise - as it often did. Under "democracy" our
chains are gone and the overt garrisons have disappeared. It
is now only separateness that keeps us down.

Humanity - based on everything we know about archeology,
anthropology, psychology, sociology, ethnology, genetics,
biology, and every other relevant science - is a social
species. We are attuned to body language; our faces are
transmitters of emotional energy; we would engage in social
grooming, if it were culturally acceptable in public. We are
natural huggers, and we seek lasting friendships. We like to
be part of a group - whether it be in a church or a social
circle - and we care about what people in our group think of
us. This is our nature, and we can see it expressed when
school children interact.

            It is not a sign of good health to be well adjusted to a sick
            society.
            - J. Krishnamurti

For such as us, isolation is like being in prison. We
experience it as stress, and perhaps we blame that on
ourselves, increasing our stress further. We seek release from
this unnatural isolation by pursuing the "perfect
relationship," or by making ourselves more attractive (via
hair coloring, breast implants, or the right car and
after-shave lotion) so that we'll be accepted socially. We use
our church, our club, or our place of work, to find a source
of community. These things help, at a personal level, but we
are still left with the larger divisiveness of our society.
Overall, we don't feel that we are part of a supportive
culture - and a psychologically supportive culture is the
primary characteristic of every social species. We are fish
out of water, thrashing about and gasping for life - all due
to separateness.

From this perspective, we can understand why so much energy is
released when separateness is overcome. It is indeed like a
thermonuclear reaction. In a harmonization session
participants are able to bond together as We the People: they
escape temporarily from their sense of isolation; their
spirits are nourished by the support and acceptance a
temporary community; they glimpse a "new vision" of how people
can be in tune with one another; they escape from the cave of
separateness and see the sunlight of democratic liberation for
the first time; they awaken within themselves a primordial
species instinct for cooperation, an instinct which dominator
societies have strived for millennia to extinguish.

Imagine that all your life you have dragged around a weight,
chained to your ankle. You have never been able to run, jump,
swim, or ride a bike. You cannot keep up with your friends or
your colleagues. Imagine, then, that one day you are released
from your shackles. Imagine how liberated you would feel, how
light on your feet, how full of energy and hope for a new and
fuller life. The energy has been coiled up during a lifetime
of suppression and resignation, and it springs forth all at
once with great force. Release from separateness, in all its
dimensions, is like that. We have carried all of our lives the
stressful burden of isolation as powerless individuals, and
our ancestors have carried that burden for millennia. It is
the burden of domestication, the burden of domination. When we
are released from this burden, the pent-up energy of our
long-suppressed liberation uncoils all at once, with great
force, inspiring us to enthusiastically declare our
liberation, as "We the People."

This is where the immense energy comes from that can drive a
chain reaction, propagate a community-empowerment movement,
and thereby bring about a cultural transformation in our
societies. It is the energy of a powerful sleeping giant,
awoken from long slumber, and eager to claim its rightful
heritage.

            In the late 1930s, David Ben-Gurion wrote: "What is
            inconceivable in normal times is possible in revolutionary
            times; and if at this time the opportunity is missed and what
            is possible in such great hours is not carried out - a whole
            world is lost."


* Political transformation and regime intervention

Because of the focus on community empowerment, which brings a
territorial quality to the movement, we can expect that
political transformation will follow in the wake of cultural
transformation. As the territory of the movement grows and
consolidates, levels of elected government will be gradually
integrated into the movement culture, as occurred with the
Populists. The political system, the planning process, the
policy initiatives, the trade-offs, the budgeting, the
implementation strategies - these will all be grounded in an
inclusive democratic process within movement territory. The
new, democratic society will be creating itself within the
shell of the dominator society, like a butterfly developing in
a cocoon.

If a movement chain-reaction begins to develop, as I have
suggested, then we must expect, sooner or later, a hostile
reaction from established elites, backed up by the resources
of national government and mass media. Our beautiful butterfly
represents a dangerous threat to their power. The more
territory that can be captured, and the more momentum that can
be generated - prior to evoking some kind of suppressive
response - the more likely the movement will be able to
continue growing despite opposition. The struggle will test
the power of the waking giant against the suppressive
authority of the dominator society. It will test the strength
of a people waking up to liberation against the power of the
state, a power which depends on obedience from civil servants
and military personnel - who themselves are likely to resonate
with the emerging spirit of liberation.

Such a scenario is not entirely unfavorable to a robust
democratic movement, despite the apparently limitless power of
the modern, centralized, state. We need only recall the
unexpected fall of the mighty Soviet Union, and the relatively
peaceful regime changes in Eastern Europe, to see how powerful
a people can be when it feels its own strength as an awakened
We the People. Such strength comes not from armed struggle or
sabotage, nor does it come from mass demonstrations or
confrontations with police. It comes rather from the inner
strength of a people united in their determination achieve
their liberation. It is a patient strength, reflecting a deep
confidence that We the People will ultimately determine our
own destiny.

Those who are at the top of our dominator hierarchies are very
savvy people. I'm not referring here to the figure-head
political leaders, but rather to those behind the scenes who
pull the levers of power, and who employ think tanks and
consultants to plan out strategies (e.g., the PNAC agenda) -
and to research all foreseeable scenarios. The management of
public opinion, and the orchestrating of media spin and media
story lines, are the front-line mechanisms of elite
domination. Focus groups are used frequently and regularly in
support of this critically important opinion-management
process, ensuring that media managers stay in close touch with
the various segments of public opinion, the various propaganda
markets.

Given such a sophisticated early warning system, we can
anticipate that any movement with dangerous characteristics
would raise alarm bells on elite radar screens sooner rather
than later. These alarms, presumably, would be relayed to
those consultants that specialize in tracking activist groups,
and in finding ways to deal with perceived troublemakers, such
as anti-globalization protesters and environmental activists.
These consultants are experts in social movements, and they
are well aware of the various ways in which movements
propagate. By the time our movement begins to achieve any real
momentum, these consultants would be blind not to realize that
action will be required, to squash this highly contagious
democratic virus before it becomes an unstoppable epidemic.

At the same time, however, these are very busy people and they
aren't going to jump every time they see a stray blip. They
see themselves as masters of the universe, in some sense,
given the ongoing success of their propaganda regime. They
probably laugh every time they see yet another bold manifesto
posted to the Internet, yet another enthusiastic movement send
out a hopeful call to action, or yet another book appear about
social transformation. And it's been more than a century since
a movement as troublesome as the Populists has come along.
With considerable justification, they are complacent in their
management role. I believe that we can assume our movement
will be able to develop a bit of momentum before the
opinion-management hierarchy begins to give us any serious
attention.

Meanwhile, if the movement is building momentum and generating
enthusiasm for democratic empowerment, it will show up on many
other people's radar as well, by means of the Internet. In
fact, the alarm bell that would be most likely to arouse Big
Brother's attention would be a surge of online traffic showing
interest in the progress and nature of the movement. Big
Brother will pay attention because we are paying attention. We
will have a head start. By the time Big Brother smells a
virus, the movement will have generated enough momentum to
attract the attention of all sorts of activist and
community-oriented groups. A de facto race will be underway
between the chain-reaction progress of the movement, and the
response mechanisms available to Big Brother.

I'm reminded here of a classic science fiction story. Galactic
imperial headquarters detects a small invading armada, and
sends out a battle cruiser to intercept it. The armada proves
stronger than expected, and repels the cruiser. Annoyed, the
commanders send out three more cruisers, still a relatively
minor force, confident of stopping the armada on the second
try. The armada just barely prevails again, and by this time
it is too close to headquarters to be stopped - it has broken
through the shields. Too little defense, too late, due to the
complacency of the powerful: the galactic empire is lost to a
small armada. This could very well turn out to be the victory
scenario of our movement.

The problem, as regards defending against such a democratic
movement, is that there is no particularly appropriate time to
intervene, and no particularly effective means of
intervention. With no leadership group, there are no leaders
to harass or arrest. As the movement is not associated with
any faction or platform, there is no target to demonize in the
media, no bad guy, no evil race or doctrine. Besides, in the
early stages, the movement would be of little perceived
consequence: the main activity will be nothing more than
community meetings (harmonization sessions), and these will
not be associated with political activism or confrontation.
Why would anyone feel threatened?

Only after several communities have become involved, after
some local governments have been brought into the fold, and
after a palpable sense of movement is in the air - only then
would it make much sense to assign an undercover team to take
a closer look. And by then, lots of other people would be
taking a look as well. If the movement unfolds in the way I
believe it will, it will be seen as a very exciting
development by activists and concerned citizens everywhere.

Because of the Internet, with all of its interlinked
distribution channels, our chain reaction could conceivably go
global overnight. Fertile ground for community empowerment can
be found in every part of the world. And any community
anywhere, which embarks on the path of harmonization, becomes
an independent center of movement propagation. The pattern of
propagation would resemble that of crabgrass, or kudzu, and
would be nearly impossible to contain - particularly if seeds
have been scattered to the four winds.

Let's consider some of the early counter-measures that the
regime might conceivably deploy. Surveillance and infiltration
by spies and provocateurs are very common tactics used against
movements of all kinds throughout the world. But a
harmonization-based movement is relatively immune to such
tactics. The movement has nothing to hide as regards its
activities, and harmonizing processes are characterized by too
much good sense to allow themselves to be sabotaged by a
provocateur pushing some counter-productive agenda. More
drastic measures, such as arresting organizers or banning
meetings among citizens, are unlikely to be undertaken at any
early stage. That would be a strategic error on the
establishment's part, as it would only bring attention to the
movement and generate support for it.

There are other counter-measures that might be deployed, but
the one I believe is most likely would be a demonization
campaign launched over various media and propaganda channels -
a counter-attack within the Matrix. Religious conservatives
would be warned, from pulpits and by radio pundits, that
harmonization is a cult movement, and that it seeks its wisdom
not exclusively from the Word of God: good Christians should
stay away. To the libertarian-minded would come the warning,
from radio chat jocks and online bulletin boards, that
harmonization is communistic and that it submerges the
individual in the collective: stay away and don't risk being
brainwashed. Liberals would read in the Op-Ed pages that
harmonization is undemocratic and that it would lead to
one-party tyranny. They would learn that it's hip to dismiss
harmonization, in the same way that it's hip to scoff at
"conspiracy theories".

If the general population adopts a variety of strong negative
attitudes toward harmonization, that might stifle or even
destroy the early movement. But if the movement can build
sufficient momentum in the meantime, and establish sufficient
roots, it should be able to hold its ground and respond
effectively to such an attack. We can take some comfort from
the fact that a demonization campaign would make little sense
until after the movement has made noticeable progress.

The movement would have no incentive to cause any kind of
trouble for the regime - until the time came when such
initiatives could be effective. Before that time the threat to
the regime would exist only in potential, and conflict would
be most likely to arise due to preemptive attacks from the
establishment, not all of which can be anticipated in advance.
We can only trust in our collective wisdom to deal with such
challenges as they arise.

Eventually, when we overcome the intermediate obstacles, most
of our society will be part of the new culture, and we will
have developed a coherent vision of a transformed society.
Only then does it make sense to initiate decisive engagement
with the regime. One form of engagement could be general
strikes; everyone stays home and the system stops operating.
Perhaps military units overseas refuse to engage in actions as
part of the strike, and police join in as well. This is
similar to how Soviet-era regimes were brought down in Eastern
Europe. Eventually elites will realize they no longer have
control. They can then either run and hide or express a
willingness to "negotiate." At that point we can invite them
to join us in creative dialog.


* Social transformation

Somewhere in this unfolding process, we can be sure that the
movement will wake up to the fact that's its inherent mission
is the total transformation of society. This was not the
mission of the Rogue Valley Wisdom Council, nor would I expect
it to be the mission of early harmonization events in a
fledgling movement. The natural and appropriate focus at the
beginning, as in the Rogue Valley, will be on overcoming
divisiveness in communities, and seeking solutions to
community problems. But as a culture of harmonization spreads
and becomes familiar to people on a daily basis, they will
become increasing unwilling to accept being controlled by
remote dominator institutions, a state of affairs that will
increasingly be perceived as being dysfunctional, uncivilized,
antiquated, unnecessary - and the source of our major
problems.

The movement will realize, at some point, that it represents
the leading edge of cultural transformation - and that this
transformation itself is the movement's most important
outcome. As the movement grows larger, and is able to maintain
its coherence via networking and harmonization, people will
begin to realize, based on their own experience, that large
social projects do not need to be based on centralization and
hierarchy. The development of the movement itself will point
the way to those social structures that are suitable to a
democratic society.

Rather than a centralized movement leadership deciding policy
for "the good of the movement," people will learn in this
movement that policies can come from the grassroots, that good
ideas and breakthroughs can be rapidly and voluntarily adopted
by other communities, and can become part of the movement's
"collective understanding." Only with the help of
harmonization can a movement be both coherent and grassroots
based. Without harmonization, a movement must be either
disorganized or centrally led.

I imagine that the "movement structure" would naturally evolve
toward a tiered arrangement of temporary councils, where
communities send delegates to regional councils, regions send
delegates to national councils, and so on up to global
councils - with harmonization being used at all levels.
Although this may superficially resemble the hierarchical
pyramids of our current representative governments, power
would flow in the reverse direction, and there would be no
permanent decision-making bodies. After a council meets, it
disbands and the delegates go back to the communities and
their regular activities.

Each delegation to a council would come in with a consensus
perspective that was reached in its community, and the
delegation would not be empowered to reach agreements outside
the boundaries of that consensus. If there seem to be
conflicts among these incoming perspectives, those conflicts
would be addressed as shared problems in the council sessions.
Perhaps breakthroughs could be found in the council,
overcoming the apparent conflicts, or perhaps delegates would
go back home better informed about the concerns of other
communities. Each community could then re-examine its thinking
in the light of that new understanding. Harmonization would
proceed, perhaps iteratively, while power, in terms of
movement decision-making, would remain based in the
grassroots, in the individual communities.

            I feel the suffering of millions, and yet when I look up at
            the sky I somehow feel that this cruelty shall end and that
            peace and tranquility will return.
            - Anne Frank


* Transformation: the means are the ends

There have been many major revolutions in history, but none
has succeeded in escaping from hierarchy and elite rule. There
are many reasons for this, and we could analyze them from many
perspectives. I'd like to offer one particular perspective,
because I think it gets down to the root of the problem. I
suggest that every revolution has been based on this
sequential model:

        (1) achieve victory, (2) create new political arrangements,
        (3) transform culture

This model seems to make a great deal of sense. If we want our
new society to be of the partnership variety, for example, we
certainly need to change our political arrangements first.
Right? And before we can do that, we must have the power to do
so, which means we need to achieve victory. How could there be
any other way? Yet, sensible and inevitable as the model may
seem to be, it has consistently failed to deliver the goods.

The flaw in the model, I suggest, arises from we might call
"cultural momentum." If victory is achieved within the
dominator paradigm, and if the new political arrangements are
designed by people still embedded in that paradigm, then the
old political arrangements are likely to be re-invented -
albeit under optimistic new labels (e.g., "liberal
democracy".) The dominator culture served to support the old
dominator systems, and from that cultural perspective we can
expect similar systems to emerge again.

We could also look at the flaw this way: if you've never lived
in a democratic society, then you are unlikely to understand
the dynamics of such a society, and hence you are unlikely to
know what political arrangements might support those dynamics.

Finally, we could look at the flaw in terms of means and ends.
The old question - Do the ends justify the means? - refers to
the compromises, the outrages, that have sometimes been
committed in the pursuit of a "glorious revolution." The
choice of reprehensible means arises naturally out of the old,
dominator culture. The culture of the revolutionary movement
itself becomes a dominator culture. What could we expect from
such a movement other than a new dominator society? The truth
is that the means always become the ends.

Our own transformational movement, based on harmonization and
community empowerment, reverses the traditional sequence. It
follows this model:

        (1) transform culture, (2) create new political arrangements,
        (3) achieve victory

Harmonization is the appropriate culture for a partnership
society, and the primary activity of the movement is the
spreading of the new culture from community to community. Each
community retains its autonomy within the movement and
operates internally on a harmonized, inclusive, democratic
basis. As empowered communities learn to work together,
harmonizing their concerns and activities as they network with
one another, they are creating the political arrangements that
are appropriate to a democratic and equitable society. When
victory comes, the new culture and political arrangements are
already largely in place. Cultural momentum is on our side; we
have already lived in the new culture; the means were the same
as the ends from the very beginning.

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