rkm> Empowering the movement: unity through harmonization


Richard Moore


Empowering the movement: unity through harmonization
          rkm - http://cyberjournal.org

    "...if the world is saved, it will be saved by people with
    changed minds. Not by programs. By people with changed
    - Story of B, p. 73.
    "We don't have to change HUMANKIND in order to survive.
    We only have to change a single culture."
    - Story of B, p. 255.

When the Takers decided that the world was theirs to
conquer, a 10,000-year process was unleashed which first
created civilization, and then brought that civilization to
the brink of collapse. We got as far as the Industrial
Revolution, and beyond, without recognizing that we were
going down a cul-de-sac.  Thomas Malthus raised the alarm in
1798 when he pointed out that geometric population growth
cannot be sustained. But it is only in the past fifty years
that we have fully understood the implications of the
irresistible force (human growth) colliding with the
immovable object (the finiteness of the Earth).  Until very
recently we were like the slow-boiling frog, lulled into
ignorance of our impending doom.

In some sense we can be thankful to industrial capitalism
for bringing things near the boiling point, and for
neoliberal globalization - which has turned the heat up all
the way.  The goal of neoliberalism is to maximize growth,
which pushes us toward our apocalyptic collision at the
fastest possible speed. Thus the frog has been wakened from
his slumber, and we see the beginnings of a global

Currently, the movement expresses itself as thousands of
separate sub-movements, each responding to one symptom or
another of our civilizational crisis - and each with its own
ideas of how to bring about change. Some of these movements
are beginning to find common ground, as we saw in Seattle
between labor activists and environmentalists.
'Anti-globalization' and 'sustainability' are serving to
some extent as unifying rallying cries. Nonetheless, the
movement is for the most part fragmented. The potential
energy is there, but there is little sign that the movement
is moving toward any kind of effective coalescence. At the
end of each big protest, everyone goes back to their own
group and continues as before. How can we help the movement
move toward coherence?

The first thing we need to be clear about is that only a
total and global transformation of society is capable of
dealing with the problems that confront us. Election reform,
Tobin taxes, international courts of justice, restraints on
corporations and the IMF, monetary reform - all of these
amount to little more than rearranging the deck chairs on
the Titanic. We need a full change of crew and a complete
change in course - not a few minor adjustments. If our
movement does not have such transformation as a central
goal, then whether it succeeds or fails is of little
consequence to the fate of humanity. If we truly seek a
sustainable society, then we seek to harmonize humanity with
nature - and nothing could be more radical. Such an agenda
amounts to a rejection of capitalism, our current political
regimes, and Tak mythology - and it leads us away from our
10,000-year cul-de-sac.

The second thing we need to realize is that our political
and economic institutions can be of no help in achieving
social transformation. The upper levels of our business and
political leadership are deeply committed to capitalism and
to the pursuit of growth. Those at the top will be the last
people to abandon the Taker myth. As conditions worsen,
millions of us are realizing that further growth is not the
answer. But our leaders can think only in terms of 'still
more market forces' - as a medieval doctor might have
prescribed 'still more leeches'. In the endgame, when the
movement is very powerful, then it will be possible to work
with these people to arrange for an orderly transition. But
in the meantime, lobbying for changes from the top is both
futile and dangerous. The most that can be achieved are
offers of co-optive reforms or pseudo-progressive candidates
- the very shoals upon which many a previous movement has
gone aground. We must always beware of elites bearing gifts
- and the closer we get to victory, the more enchanting will
be the refrains of their siren song.

Third, we must recognize that this movement has an entirely
different kind of mission than previous social movements. We
are not seeking to change the policies of the current
regime, nor are we seeking to replace the leadership of the
regime. Our goal is to abolish centralized regimes
altogether and to establish a new kind of global society -
locally based, harmonized internally and with the world, and
organized around sustainability and stability instead of
growth and change. Overcoming the current regime is actually
the easier part of our task - more difficult by far will
be the establishment of our new society.

If the regime were to announce tomorrow that they were
handing over the keys of power to 'us', 'we' wouldn't know
where to begin!  Indeed the word 'we' would have no meaning.
_Who would accept the keys of power on our behalf?  _Who is
ready with a suitable program and implementation plan?  _Who
has been granted 'our' authorization to establish a new
society - and _who has shown us the blueprint for that
society?  _We, I suggest, are far from ready to seek victory. 
_We have a bit of homework to do - and therein lies the key
to bringing the movement into coherence.

The establishment of a new society is in fact a _project.
There are a variety of problems to be solved, and tasks to
be carried out, in order to complete that project
successfully. And surprisingly enough, the current regime
has an important role to play in the project!  The role of
the movement, I suggest, is to build the political
infrastructure of the new society. The role of the current
regime is to keep the world going until we have that new
infrastructure in place. The role of that new political
regime will be to build the new society. There's not much we
can do to influence the current regime's actions in any
case, so we might as well let them get on with their
business while we get on with ours. And we can't decide how
to build the new society until an appropriate societal
decision-making structure is in place. Hence building that
structure is where we can most productively invest our
efforts as a movement.

I have suggested that the political regime of our new
society will need to be locally based and to operate by
harmonization. In order to build the infrastructure of that
new regime, the movement itself must learn to operate by
harmonization and it must strive to become locally based. In
that way, the movement _becomes the new political
infrastructure!  The first task of the movement, I suggest,
is to begin a process of internal harmonization. As the
movement begins to achieve harmony with itself, it can then
extend that harmonization process outward to the rest of
society, and it can develop its roots in local neighborhoods
and communities.  When the whole global society is in
harmony in this way then 'we' will be ready to dispense with
the current regime, and no one will be motivated to defend
it. There will be no final battle, just as there was none in
Eastern Europe when the people unanimously decided they
would no longer tolerate the Soviet-era regimes.  With that
kind of unanimity in opposition, no regime can stand.

In order to pursue internal harmonization, the different
sub-movements of the emerging movement need to begin meeting
with one another, developing a sense of a larger movement
community - and working out how they can collaborate toward
social transformation. Harmonization is a holographic
process - it can proceed wherever movement people meet, and
it spreads like a web, with no center and no hierarchy.
Productive ideas spread as memes, just as they do today on
the Internet.

There is no need for a centralized movement structure, and
such a structure would in fact work against the
establishment of a locally based society. And there is no
need for any agreed ideology - not even an ideology based
around sustainability or the rejection of the Taker myth. 
REALLY ABOUT. Of course we will choose sustainability, once
we start taking our problems into our own hands - how could
any reasonable person choose otherwise? Who wants a society
that cannot be sustained, leaving a bigger problem for our
grandchildren to deal with? Environmental awareness now
permeates our culture, and that is sufficient assurance that
that as we chart our new course, we will be steering out of
the Tak cul-de-sac.

The key to successful harmonization is the use of
appropriate process in movement sessions and councils. We
need to learn how to work together effectively to solve
problems - so that the movement can succeed, and later so
that the new society can operate effectively. Such processes
are not rocket science, but most of us are not familiar with
them. We will need the help of experienced facilitators to
get started, and then through practice the knowledge of how
to achieve harmonization will become part of the movement
culture - as it has always been part of every non-Tak
culture. A good starting point - for those who wish to find
out more about process techniques and the growing network of
facilitators - is Tom Atlee's Co-Intelligence website:

Recommended reading

Daniel Quinn, 'The Story of B', Bantam Books, London, 1996.

Jared Diamond, 'Guns, Germs, and Steel', W.W. Norton,
London, 1997.

Maria Sandoz, 'Crazy Horse: Strange Man of the Oglalas',
50th Anniversary Edition, University of Nebraska Press,

R. Buckminster Fuller, 'Operating Manual for Spaceship
Earth', Simon & Schuster, 1970.

John Ralston Saul, 'The Unconscious Civilization', House of
Anansi Press, Ontario, Canada, 1995.

Michel Chossudovsky, 'The Globalization of Poverty - Impacts
of IMF and World Bank Reform's, The Third World Network,
Penang, Malaysia, 1997.

Jerry Mander and Edward Goldsmith, eds., 'The Case Against
the Global Economy and for a Turn Toward The Local', Sierra
Club Books, San Francisco, 1996.

David C. Korten, 'The Post-Corporate World - Life After
Capitalism', Kumerian Press, West Hartford, Connecticut,

Frances Moore Lappé, Joseph Collins, Peter Rosset, 'World
Hunger, Twelve Myths', Grove Press, New York, 1986.

Richard Douthwaite, 'The Growth Illusion', Lilliput Press,
Dublin, 1992.

Hans-Peter Martin & Harald Schumann, 'The Global Trap,
Globalization & the Assault on Democracy & Prosperity', St.
Martin's Press, New York, 1997.

Jerry Fresia, 'Toward an American Revolution - Exposing the
Constitution & other Illusions', South End Press, Boston,

Holly Sklar ed., 'Trilateralism - the Trilateral Commission
and Elite Planning for World Management', South End Press,
Boston, 1980.

Howard Zinn, 'A People's History of the United States',
HarperCollins, New York, 1995.