more on strategy


Jan Slakov

Dear rn list,   June 5

Bill Ellis, of TRANET, wrote to continue the discussion of strategy:

Date: Sat, 30 May 1998 05:53:50 -0500
To: •••@••.•••
From: Bill Ellis <•••@••.•••>
Subject: The Second Phase of Democracy

[In an earlier rn list posting, Greg Moses expressed concern at these
statements of Richard's:]

>Richard--I want to note two sentences from your reply to my message:
>  1) But we no longer live in more-or-less democratic societies, at least
>     not in North America.
>  2) We must replace our oppressors across the board.
These are disturbing statements, and at least partially true.
On gaiapc list serv we've come to talk of the emerging "second phase of

Society is ... "on the edge of chaos." Government became the handmaiden
of the corporations by fiat of the courts in the 1880s.  The Founding
Fathers had been leery or corporatism and had made the corporate charter a
limited right under the will of the states.  In 1884 the Supreme Court
ruled that the artificial corporation had all the rights of a flesh and
blood person.  Since then there has been a slow shift of power from the
government to the corporation.

But in the last two decades there has been a proliferation of NGOs rising
at the grassroots around the world.  Hundreds of thousands of GROs
(Grassroots Organizations.)  At the same time a Civil Society has been
growing in EuroAmerica. There are hundreds of new citizen created "social
innovations which empower people at the grassroots and promote local
community self-reliance." (e.g., CSAs, LETS, local scrips, LTCs, Co-ops,
ESOPS, Co-Housing, Intentional Communities, homeschooling, Community
Life-Long Learning Centers, Folk Schools, Grameen Banks, Credit Unions etc.
etc.)  These are the cells of the second phase of democracy.  The are
self-organizing as they proliferate into organs, and we can at least
envision the emergence of a new political body.  A global governance of (in
Daly and Cobb's [in the excellent book, _For the Common Good_ ?] words) "A
global community of communities".

Senator Bill Bradley pointed out that there were three legs to the stool of
governance.  The first the nation-state, the second the private sector
(corporations) and the third Civil Society.  I would only suggest that
Civil Society is the First leg of the stool.  All other social institutions
come together to serve the people.

1) Today the first phase of democracy has reached in climax and started to
disintegrate, "we no longer live in more-or-less democratic societies, at
not in North America" is almost true.
and Yes
2) "We must replace our oppressors (the partial democracy) across the board."

But, let's recognize the good news.  *The second phase of democracy is
happening.* The tools -- the Internet, Civil Society, the disintegration of
the old, The gridlock in Washington, the will of the people for change, the
millennium -- are here.   We can move the transition forward by creating
more and more cells of democracy in our communities.  We can link
communities together in mutual aid to create a global governance.  We do
not need to fight the system just ameliorate it with community action.  As
our alternative system grows it will self-organize or be co-created into a
new form of participatory democracy.

That is a quick summary of our exchange on <giapc>

In another message, Bill Ellis insits further on the need to emphasize
positive actions we can take:

To: •••@••.•••
From: Bill Ellis <•••@••.•••>
Subject: re: "divide & conquer"; revolutionary strategy

Richard Wrote:
>Our ultimate revolutionary goal must be a _positive one, and to me that is
>clearly the establishment of democracy under our constitutions.

I just downloaded rkm's statement with a red underliner in one hand and a
green in the other.  Red for negative stagtements. Green fro positive ones.

The above is ab out the only green line on the pages.
It was nearly 80% red  --  against something.
That was the attitude of the '60s.  Demonstrate, destroy, dropout.
We have intllectually moved beyhond the anti stage.  Even corporations,
banks and the wealthy, today see that civilization is in deep trouple and
deep radical change is necessary.

But no one has clearly enunciated the positive things we can to to move
from the dominant and domineering home-centgric Industrial Culture to a
global network of eco-centric Gaian Cultures. ...

It is time to see the positive side of this coin.  I'm looking for ideas
and actions I can undrline in green.

Bill Ellis
PO BOX 137
Rangeley ME 04970-0137 USA

A "yes but" from Jan: Definitely, me too, I'm eager to know how best to act.
But, we find out partly by a clear-headed analysis of where we are now, a
sober evaluation of both positive and negative. (Let's not forget Dion
Giles' admonition to activists to banish the word "instead" from their
language! (cf. rn list posting of 31/05/98 "different audiences")