Transformation: the means are the ends

2005-02-10

Richard Moore

Friends, 

I added a final section to the previous chapter, "Envisioning a 
transformational movement". 

here it is,
rkm

--------------------------------------------------------
draft version 3.13

* Transformation: the means are the ends

With the possible exception of Cuba, no victorious revolution
has ever 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:

        Achieve victory; create new political arrangements; 
        transform culture

This model seems to make a great deal of sense. If we want our
new culture 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. The dominator culture served to
support the 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 such
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:

        Transform culture; create new political arrangements; 
        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, they are creating
the political arrangements that are appropriate to a
democratic, partnership society. When victory comes, the new
culture and political arrangements are already in place:
cultural momentum is on our side; we have already lived under
the new culture; the means were the same as the ends from the
very beginning.

-- 

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Richard Moore (rkm)
Wexford, Ireland

"Escaping The Matrix - 
Global Transformation: 
WHY WE NEED IT, AND HOW WE CAN ACHIEVE IT ", somewhat current draft:
    http://www.ratical.org/co-globalize/rkmGlblTrans.html
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