How to achieve a livable world?


Richard Moore

Dear friends,

Tomorrow is `departure day' for three weeks in N America, a chance to meet
lots of wonderful new people, and hopefully the beginning of a new kind of
momentum toward our goal of a `democratic renaissance'.

Below is an excercise in `endeavor analysis', starting with an assumption
of a particular goal, `achieving a livable world'.  I hope you will find it
useful, and you are invited to send in your comments.  I also invite people
to send in self-intros... ie, let other people on the list know who you are
and what you're up to, especially as regards political activism.

We never went through any introduction process, and I think it would be
appropriate for this particular list, if it is ever to get `in gear' and
become relevant to the purposes for which it was established.  That
purpose, in my mind, is the development of a poltical movement based on
coalition-building among the hundreds (thousands?) of movements and causes
that are operating all over the world.

all the best,


        goal: achieve a liveable world

        exploration:  there needs to be an `us' that `thinks' and `plans'
        and is capable of `doing' and `achieving'.  some people think this
        means creating an `enlightened think tank', based on gaia priciples
        or whatever.  i think this is an elitist approach, leading to rule
        by a new elite, as with Plato's `philosopher kings'.  i don't like
        it.  i think we need the `us' to be everyone, i think democracy is
        the path to follow.  this means there needs
        to be a `popular consciousness', a sense of `popular solidarity and
        will'.  (this is different than just being a `citizen' in a
        `society' run by some remote _government.)  i say that genuine
        democracy is humanity waking up, growing up, and taking responsibility
        for itself and for the future of the world.  it is not something
        someone else can do for us.

        objective: create a stronger `civil society', what has been called
        a `social revolution' based on partipation in commuities,
        associations, activist groups, unions, etc, on scales of local,
        regional, national, and international, as appropriate.  this is a
        `solidarity' project, a `consciousness-raising' and `colletctive
        empowerment' endeavor.  this `civil society' would work in terms
        of voluntary collaboration of the different `associations', and
        the `coalition' would be a kind of general networking mechanism
        for the overall movement.  through the coalition, it should be
        possible to select candidates and win elections.  _not based on
        competitive parties, but based on the concept of candidates which
        represent the population and use office to represent the will of
        the consitituents faithfully.  Elections, per se, become minor
        affairs, not a battle over competing candidates who tell lies to
        get elected.

        obstacles: there are many: determined elite opposition; mass media
        in control of elite; factionalism in population and in movement;
        infiltration by spies, disruptive elements, and provocateurs (people
        who create or encourage violence); draconian conspiracy laws and
        other repressive meaures that have been designed to destroy movements
        and suppress democracy.  the elite can easily create economic
        chaos, mass unemployment, etc, which causes people to revert to
        their primitive needs for food and shelter, and seek `stability'
        rather than change (even though `stability' is an illusion in the
        current system).  the most serious obstacle, in my opinion, because
        it is so seductive, would be for the elite to pretend `they have lost',
        as with the MAI, and agree to implement our new society for us.
        this is the `FDR' option, or even the `JFK' option -- following some
        sweet-talking leader on a white horse, making revolution seem so
        easy and painless.  this is co-option and it is a way to keep the
        elite in power.  it has been used countless times and typcially the
        agent is the Democratic Party.

        plan: seek out and build relationships with activist leaders of
        all stripes, as well as educators, writers, and journalists. Begin
        to develop a `movement consciousness' and a sense of momentum
        and coaltion building.  identify, gandhi style, pivotal actions
        which can be taken on a mass basis, which are non-violent,
        and which force the system to _shift: either they back down,
        in which case we press our gains, or else they become repressive,
        which, if we are strictly non-violent and honest in our cause,
        only serves to strengthen and broaden the movement.  this has been
        called the `jiu-jitsu' approach, although i prefer `aikido', because
        aikido is a non-violent martial art and the metaphor is more
        accurate.  we need to be always aware of the obstacles, and the
        elite strategems and counter measures, and not be caught off guard.
        as the movement builds, we need to make the communication channels
        robust, and there needs to be dedicated effort put into overall
        coordination and facilitiation across the whole movement.  care
        needs to be taken that his does not itself become an `organization'
        or a bureaucracy or a top-down governing structure.  that would kill
        democrcy and re-introduce power-brokerage and elite rule.

        work: carry out the plan... as the movement grows, those who start
        it may become less and less significant as stronger leaders begin
        to take the movement seriously and add their weight and participation.
        but we don't want to become a leader-based movement, and especially
        not one built around a personality, some `white knight'.  democracy
        is a process of ongoing participation by everyone.  i suggest we
        study closely the cuban model, as a starting point for discussion.

        realization: with a vibrant civil society and democracy achieved,
        it is possible to move toward changing our systems, moving away
        from high-energy use (particularly dependence on highways and
        internal combustion engines), moving to sustainable agriculture
        and sustainable everything, changing the parameters of our
        economic system, breaking up TNC's, reorganizing along smaller-
        scale models, building a peaceful and collaborative international
        regime, transforming education to being an awakening of concsiousness
        and nurturing of child's native curiosity, not a programming of
        static paradigms, `lessons', and `information'.  re-apportionment
        of societal resources to encourage development in desirable
        directions.  transformation of `health industry' into a free
        and effective `well oriented' service infrastructure -- again
        cuba deserves serious study.  transformation of the notion of
        `employment', getting away from `work' being something that
        makes money for someone or an institution.  is it not socially
        useful and valuable to make it possible for people to produce
        art, or to do research, or to make music, or write, or work
        with children, or design a city park, or whatever?  do these
        kind of things need to be defined and measured in economic
        terms?  why can't society be more like a family, or a community?
        these are serious
        projects, comparable in maginitude to space programs, or the
        infamous `five year plans', or FDR's New Deal, they are not just
        a signing of the pen on some enlightened piece of legislation --
        they are _societal projects, needing the participation and
        understanding of everyone.  it needs the kind of overall
        societal solidarity that, unfortunately, in the past, has most
        often occured only in wartime.

        application: here we move into a whole new realm of considerations,
        and there are too many intangibles to get very precise.  assuming
        we've got democracy, sustainability, universal health and
        enligtened education, etc, etc, then what do we _do with it?
        if 'making money' ceases to be the raison d'etre of life, what
        _is the raison d'etre?  perhaps it is to `live nobly' or
        whatever... an interesting discussion.


                  Restore democratic sovereignty
                  Create a sane and livable world
             Bring corporate globalization under control.
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