cj#1167,rn,sm> ENVISIONING A SUCCESSFUL MOVEMENT

2000-12-18

Richard Moore

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           ENVISIONING A SUCCESSFUL MOVEMENT 
                   rkm - 18 Dec 00
           http://cyberjournal.org/cj/guide/

          (sketches for gudebook - chapter 3)
            (feedback & discussion welcome)


CONTEXT: The seeds of CHANGE
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
(1) The latent components of a radical global mass movement
ALREADY EXIST. They exist as many different movements
pursuing various objectives, with differing constituencies,
analyses, and models of change.  Some of these movements
cooperate to some extent; some view one another as
adversaries.

(2) The political truth is that these movements will either
succeed together, or else fail separately.  Only in CONCERT
can the movement be strong enough to overcome capitalism and
build a livable world.  From government-hating 'militia'
types, to urban blacks and the rest of the human rainbow, to
the greens and the progressives, to the imperialized nations
- WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER and we all want a humane world
for our children.

(3) If we want a democratic, inclusive, non-hierarchical
world, then the movement that builds that world must itself
be democratic, inclusive, and non-hierarchical.  If we want
a diverse, community-based world, then the movement must be
diverse and locally based.  The MEANS ALWAYS BECOME THE
ENDS; that much is clear from history.


HARMONIZATION: The emergence of movement IDENTITY
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
(1) In order for the larger movement to come into existence,
a systematic process of organic, non-hierarchical
HARMONIZATION must be undertaken.  Aware activists must
begin to focus their attention in this direction.

(2) We don't need or want a centralized, single movement.
Instead we need a COLLABORATIVE PARADIGM ... a "WAY" in
which different groups can come together, learn from one
another, build a sense of common understanding and purpose,
and learn how to synergize their activities.  ORGANIC
communication happens in a decentralized way, just as cells
interact with one another in the body.

(3) One of the most promising collaborative paradigms being
used today is something called 'DYNAMIC FACILITATION'.  This
and other approaches are described on Tom Atlee's website: 
    The Co-Intelligence Institute  *  Eugene, OR 
    http://www.co-intelligence.org

(4) Such processes have proven to be extremely effective in
bringing groups into harmony, building mutual understanding,
and in enabling collaborative thinking - even when initially
viewpoints are strongly conflicting.  The outcome of such
sessions often turns "US & THEM" into a larger, more
creative, more inclusive - but STILL DIVERSE - "US".  It is
on such a basis that productive communication can begin
regarding visions for the future, shared agendas, and
strategies.

(5) If we can get this harmonization process started, I
believe it will SPREAD LIKE WILDFIRE.  The means are
available; the inherent commonality of purpose exists
(THANKS to global capitalism)  - what is lacking is a
general PERCEPTION in the movement that such broad
collaboration is possible, and that there is a means of
pursing it.

(6) As existing movements begin to come into harmony, this
will generate an ELECTRIFYING SPIRIT of hope and energy -
and that SHARED EXPERIENCE will mark the awakening of the
larger movement as an entity with an IDENTITY.  In
Post-Seattle demonstrations we have seen ad-hoc alliances
whose business has been the demonstrations themselves. 
Imagine how much more meaningful those demonstrations will
be when they are part of the ongoing EXPRESSION of a
coherent growing movement... whose participants can try, 
and learn, and celebrate together.


ENGAGEMENT: ACTION as DIALOG
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
(1) Once the movement has an identity, and a process, then
it can ACT and COMMUNICATE, and GROW - in its understanding,
its self-awareness, and its ability to function coherently.

(2) From the perspective of the BIG PICTURE, there will then
be three actors on the stage: the capitalist REGIME, the
fragmented PUBLIC, and the MOVEMENT. 

(3) Toward the PUBLIC, the role of the movement should
clearly be to extend an INVITATION, to communicate a vision,
and to provide a growing example of the concrete reality of
an empowered civil society.  WHO, after all, is AGAINST a
livable world?   And WHO does not have a useful contribution
to make? ORGANIC means - FACE-TO-FACE means, FOLKSY means -
of large-scale communication need to be developed.  Many
media are available - from travelling carnivals to be-ins to
raves to barbecues to celebrity appearances to town meetings
- whatever fits organically with whatever constituency.

(4) Toward the REGIME, the role of the movement must be one
of assertive, strategically-informed ENGAGEMENT. We must
know what we are striving for; we must be aware of the
pitfalls that will be enountered; we must have a game-plan
for success.

(5) Movement actions are a form of DIALOG with the REGIME.
Our goal is not to DESTROY anything, nor to KILL anyone, nor
to CAPTURE any territory - our goal is to lead the regime to
UNDERSTAND that we will prevail, and to accept that their
best option is to COLLABORATE in the dismantlement of the
current hierarcical system and in the transition to a human,
locally-centered world.

(6) DEMONSTRATIONS can be a form of DIALOG - but only if
there is a clear understanding what the MESSAGE is, WHO is
issuing it, and TO WHOM it is directed.  In Seattle, we got
the regime's ATTENTION, and the public's, even if WE didn't
exist yet.  We need to find our identity, and then we can
begin dialog in earnest.

(7) The difference between DIALOG and PROTEST is that DIALOG
is from a coherent ENTITY - an entity which has the ADAPTIVE
ability to AMPLIFY the communication or to INITIATE new
forms.  A PROTEST is pereived by the regime as an ISOLATED
outburst by a SCATTERED mob, to which no response is
required - other than suppression and empty rheotoric.
    
(8) DIALOG from a coherent and determined movement compels
the regime to think more deeply about its response options -
lest it lose control of the pattern of ESCALATION.  As the
movement grows in maturity, it expands its creative
repretoire of expression - and in the realm of creativity, a
distributed mass movement is far more competent and
effective than any centralized, reactionary regime.

(9) Many FORMS of dialog are possible.  General strikes,
widespread boycotts, and other such PEOPLES MESSAGES have
successfully communicated to regimes in the past that they
would be better off recognizing unions, giving women the
vote, declaring a 40-hour work week, and the like.  Gandhi
was a genius at devising ACTION MESSAGES that left Britain
with limited response options - each of which undermined in
some way Britain's long-term position and credibility. The
American colonists PERSUADED King George, mostly in the
LANGUAGE of the guerilla fighter, that he'd be better off
taking the Redcoats home.  The IRA dropped Britain an
explosive NOTE to let it know that without a peace process
in the North, there would be economic costs in London's
financial district, Docklands, etc.  History is full of
relevant examples and lessons - not all suitable to our
needs, and some that are.  (See for example Acherman &
Kruegler's "Strategic Nonviolent Conflict", or Zinn's
"People's History of The United States", or for an
allegorical treatment, Abbey's "The Monkeywrench Gang.")
(More titles anyone?)


STRATEGY: EYES on the PRIZE
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
(1) The PRIZE is the peaceful abdication of power by the
existing capitalist regime and phony financial system. 
NOTHING LESS. We can be developing our visions and
understanding of a livable world in the meantime, and even
practicing new ways in microcosm.  These things will help bring
us together.  But these visions cannot be realized under the
inherently exploitive capitalist economic system nor under
our inherently elitist system of party politics. Capitalism
can be reformed no more than can cancer.  Same for
competitive, win-lose politics.

(2) From an historical perspective, capitalism is simply the
most recent incarnation of HIERARCHICAL domination - and it
has been on the scene for only two centuries.  Hierarchy has
been EVOLVING for about TWELVE THOUSAND years, ever since
humans began learning how to herd animals, raise crops, and
accumulate storable surpluses.  For the past two thousand
years or so, history has been dominated by the rise of
EMPIRES, and by COMPETITION among empires.  Our MOVEMENT
will be accomplishing much more than the DETHRONING of
capitalism - we will be finally putting an end to twelve
millenia of ELITE DOMINATION.

(3) Our STRATEGY, it seems to me, should be to evolve a
language-of-action, and of words, and to use that to
establish an intentional dialog with the regime.  We need to
let them know that we exist, and that we aren't going away. 
We need to show them that we can force them into costly
no-win scenarios for themselves, if that is all that will
get their attention.  We need to show that we can escalate
locally and globally. We need to show them that we are not
interested in their inevitable offers of reform and
participation - that we have learned from history about
co-option, and that we can accept no degree of hierarchical
cancer in our societies.

(4) Our TACTICS - our modes of dialog - will evolve
organically, and creatively.  We will learn from one another
and from the responses of the regime, and of the public.  If
our movement is about dialog, then we must strive always to
increase the reach of our collective voices, and the scope
of our communication channels.  Not only Internet and
demonstrations, but home-grown newspapers, rallies, study
groups, community self-help organizations, local currencies
- all of these initiatives and others have infinitely more
meaning when expressed in mutual synergy as part of a larger
coherent movement.

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