rn-re: movement strategy; Quebec


Richard Moore

Date: Sat, 21 Aug 1999 16:01:30 -0400
To: •••@••.•••
From: Jane Scharf <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: rn- Quebec's "silent revolution" -- a model?

Dear Members:

Sorry to burst the bubble but this silent revolution in Quebec is nothing
but a plesant fantasy.

Prime Minister Trudeau and others waged an all out attack on the Catholic
Church to weaken its strong hold on Canadians with the biggest effect in
Quebec where the biggest strong hold was.  They introduced laws restricting
the church in business, raising donations, tax exeptions, and make salaries
mandatory for all nuns and priests and just generally used the federal
political mechanizms including the law and media to discredit the church
and discourage membership. Among other things they encouraged scandal and
prosecution of clergy and so on and so on. This campaign was not silent it
was very loud and well focused and it had the desired effect.

Jane Scharf

Date: Wed, 25 Aug 1999 15:09:44 +1200
To: •••@••.•••
From: Robert Gregory <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Quebec and sudden change

What I am thinking about, given the Quebec sudden change by individuals,
was a little south pacific island where a missionary set up shop and
proseletized for many years.  Many of the people converted to Presbyterian
beliefs, and gave up their traditional ways, including clothing styles,
dances, traditional exchanges of pigs and kava, use of kava altogether,
house styles and so on.  The conversion efforts were heavy, but the
disciples of the missionary proved hard enough to force others, willingly
or not, to become believers.  They went on for a number of years, and the
government of the day even supported and backed the missionary efforts.

The churches were filled to overflowing every sunday, and the missionary
wrote back to report how well everything was going.  However, an
undercurrent of discontent was present.  The missionary was not aware.  The
people, however, found that what they had given up was not being replaced
and their life style was compromised.  In fact, they were doing poorly.

Various writers have focused on specific themes:  a trader noted that the
economic declines made life more difficult, a religious person noted that
the rigid beliefs imposed by the mission were filled with contradictions,
an anthropologist noted that the changes imposed by the mission on the
social relationships, especially the control of marriages, nearly wrecked
the kinship system, and another anthropologist noted that by banning kava,
the mission created conditions ripe for a cult.  Well, sure enough, a cult
started, promising better economic conditions, advocating traditional
beliefs, promoting repair of the kinship system, and focusing on use of
kava as a traditional and important symbol of the culture.

The interesting thing is that one day, on a Sunday, the missionary showed
up for church services, and not one person, not even one!, showed up to
take part.  Well, the gap between rich and poor, politically powerful and
politically left out, is such, that the people are not going to have much
choice but to go in their own directions.  The leadership does not provide
anything for the people, they are too busy enriching and empowering
themselves.  The time has come . . . and we, the people, must redeclare
with our own constitution, bill of rights, and vision.  There is no point
for spending one's life without any rewards, while the rich and powerful
take and take and take and take.

How to begin?  Perhaps, just perhaps, each of us who gains awareness and
insight, must begin to stop honoring the powers that be, and stand up for
ourselves, confront rather than suck up to power, and stop playing their
games with their rules.

Cheers - bob g
Pacific Means Peace

Robert J. Gregory
School of Psychology
Massey University
Palmerston North, NEW ZEALAND

Phone 64 6 350-5799 extension 2053
FAX   64 6 350-5673
E-Mail •••@••.•••

From: Paul Isaacs <•••@••.•••>
To: cyberjournal <•••@••.•••>
Date: Thu, 26 Aug 1999 00:28:58 -0500
Subject: Re: cj#973,rn-> re-2: movement strategy

On 15-Aug-99, cyberjournal wrote:

>Dear friends,

 >If we want a better world, we can't think in terms of minor perturbations
>on what we have now.  We've been living according to a paradigm, and that
>paradigm has outlived its sell-by date.  The whole paradigm has to change.
>Changing paradigms is quite a different proposition than 'reform'.  You can
 >fix a car for a while, and then at some point you need a new car.  Same for
  >PC's.  Same for world systems.

I am not sure that we need to "change paradigms". That implies that somehow
"the system" will be changed and people will either like it or not.

I propose that two things are needed:

1) an ongoing critique of the shortcomings of the current system


2) proposals for an alternative system or systems.

If the alternatives are better than the current, people will migrate
naturally. I anticipate that the change could occur quite rapidly if the
current gets into trouble - and that will not be long coming.

The alternatives have to be moral, ethical and easily comprehended. If they
are so constituted, they will be readily accepted.

For example:

Point out that the current system is fundamentally a consume and discard
system and that it is consuming the needs of future generations so rapidly
that very soon utterly inadequate resources will remain.

Propose instead a maintain and protect system whose primary purpose is the
stewardship of the resources necessary for the well-being of future

As a measure of stewardship propose a "National Waste Index" which is computed
by taking the amount of material discarded divided by the amount of material
consumed per year and multiplying by 100%. That is, if everything that is
consumed is also discarded, then the NWI is 100%. If nothing is discarded the
NWI is 0. The NWI would be able to track progress away from a consume and
discard system and towards a maintain and protect system.

I believe that the main purpose of any proposed change must be to shift
people's thinking away from the notion that their actions are of no
consequence and towards always thinking of the future consequences of their

The planetary population is now so large and the technological capacity for
damage now so huge that all of our actions have to be predicated on their
consequences if there is to be any future at all.

Consequential thinking at both the individual, societal and global level is
the most fundamental paradigm shift of all.

Paul Isaacs


Dear Paul,

You wrote:
  >I am not sure that we need to "change paradigms". That implies that
  >somehow"the system" will be changed and people will either like it
  >or not.

If the system isn't changed, then the future of humanity is a bleak one.
The system is not simply the sum of everyone's individual actions... it
would be closer to the truth to describe it as a hierarchically controlled
machine in which most of us function as cogs.  People can migrate to
whatever awareness or state-of-mind they want to, but in the end they need
to serve the system in order to feed themselves, and their means of
effective political expression are marginal.

I don't really see consequential thinking as being a scarce commodity, at
an individual level.  Recycling has been institutionalized, television
presents countless enviro-documentaries, and most people seem to have some
level of enviro-sustainability awareness.  People could be even more aware,
and they could do even more, at an individual or family level, but that
doesn't stop the destruction of the rain forests, the misuse of our
agricultural lands, over-dependence on internal-combustion engines, etc.

The big decisions, the ones that make a difference, are taken at a societal
level, not at an individual level.  And the way our political systems
operate is such that 'enviromentalism' becomes one of many 'constituencies'
that fight it out for influence.  No matter that it is of critical
importance to our survival... in the political balance 'greenness' comes
far down on the priority list, long after seeing to the prosperity of
corporate interests, and the expenditures necessary to maintain imperial

Consider one of the things Robert Gregory said:
  >The interesting thing is that one day, on a Sunday, the missionary
  >showed up for church services, and not one person, not even one!,
  >showed up to take part.

This is an example of a _community decision, not an individual decision.
The community got together, talked over their situation, and decided to
take collective action to do something about it.  In the end, that is how
things get done.

I agree with your proposals:
  >1) an ongoing critique of the shortcomings of the current system
  >2) proposals for an alternative system or systems.

But it seems to me these must eventually lead to organizing and
mobilization - not just migration of mindset - if anything is going to



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