How can the movement succeed?

2002-02-11

Richard Moore

Bcc: contributors

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Date: Fri, 08 Feb 2002
From: N [private communication - name withheld]
Subject: RE: Another World Is Possible
To: "'Richard K. Moore'" <•••@••.•••>

yes, I see what you mean...the people are the movement
etc... but there's still a lot of diversity among the
groups, and people will group and be individuals as well,
and well, some people's feet will always be stepped upon
because they may well be selfish and want something for
personal gain...like we have at present, funnily
enough....so, if that were reversed and only the present
rich people's toes were trampled, it would be a miniscule
price to pay!

But I worry about the human nature of people...the movement
may well get impatient with itself, and split, or collapse
etc.  Although, to tell you the truth, I'm obviously coming
from the perspective of the developed world, although I've
been to developing countries and have seen true poverty. 
So, when I talk of impatient people, I probably think of the
middle-class/lower class of the developed nations who may
well get impatient if nothing much happens quickly...but
actually the real poor, can't have it any worse, and for
them the choice is made...a total change is the only way.

So, if tomorrow, we abolished the arms-trade and all the
money could be handled by the workers in developing nations
for short-term and long-term plans, the funds available
would be extensive!  Money corrupts...and people have
instincts of self-preservation which become twisted into
self-gain...these are all worms wiggling in my brain...do
you think the world is ready for equality at all levels?
Just because you're poor, doesn't mean you're fair with
morals.

have a nice weekend!

N

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Dear N,

We can't predict the future and we can't 'make' a movement
by design.  These are points that many people have reminded
me of, given the kind of things I have written.  But what we
can do, I believe, if we look at things from an appropriate
perspective, is to understand some of the things that will
need to happen ~if~ a movement is going to succeed in today's
circumstances.

For example, the movement must succeed in the US if it is to
succeed globally.  This is clear from the overwhelming
military power of the US, and the willingness of Washington
to push its advantage to the max.  Similarly there are other
conclusions that I am convinced are equally valid.

Some of these conclusions are that a successful movement can
only be base on ~inclusivity, community, and facilitated
consensus process~.

By ~inclusivity~, I mean that the movement needs to reach
out to all segments of society, not just those on the left,
progressives, or activists.  This is the only defense to
'divide and rule'.  And the objective fact is that 'we are
all in this together' when it comes to responding to
globalization and elite rule.  As Carolyn Chute puts it
(paraphrasing): "There ain't no left and right, only up and
down.  All the fat cats are up there having a good time,
while the rest of us are down here struggling to survive".

By ~community~, I mean that the movement needs to move
toward a focus on bringing people together where they live,
rather than mostly networking over wide areas.  This is the
only way to overcome the dominance of the media. 
Face-to-face communication is the bottom-up antidote to
top-down propaganda.  Face-to-face gatherings are the
antidote to media-distributed pseudo experiences.  And
community is the antidote to the isolation and powerlessness
that our media-dominated society fosters in us.

If the movement doesn't evolve in these directions, then one
can see from clear historical precedents (as well as from
present-day dynamics) that it will be thwarted.  On the
other hand, it cannot evolve in these directions without the
use of appropriate ~processes and sensitive facilitation~. 
Otherwise, the kind of movement I am describing would, as
you point out, degenerate into divisiveness and
advantage-seeking.

The anti-globalization movement has been using various
consensus processes in its internal decision-making and
planning.  I think this is in the right direction, and the
results have been good in practice.  There are advanced (but
learnable) facilitation processes that have been developed
partly in movements, and partly in the corporate world.  The
best one I know of is called 'dynamic facilitation'.  A
description can be found at:
    http://www.co-intelligence.org/P-dynamicfacilitation.html

The point about such a process is that it can enable a group
of people - who have different values and beliefs - to work
together to come up with creative solutions to problems
despite their differences.  It can help them understand that
they really have more in common than they have
differences... that right-left divisions are about
(media-encouraged) abstractions, and that our real problems
are of a more practical nature.

This is the perspective that my investigations have led me
to.  From this perspective, it appears that our lack of
progress is due less to the power of the system - or to
popular apathy - than it is due to a lack of appropriate
focus on the part of the activist community.  There are
hundreds of thousands of activists out there, and so much
energy is wasted with demonstrating, and with petitioning
elites for reforms that will never be granted willingly.  If
all that energy could be focused on a path that had
strategic promise, I'm convinced we have the 'resources' to
succeed.

Inclusive, locally-based, facilitated gatherings is the
general path that looks promising to me.  And of course, any
movement pursuing that path would at the same time
presumably be using the same kind of processes to facilitate
collaboration via councils over wider geographic areas.

many thank for your comments,
rkm
http://cyberjournal.org
   
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