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24 Interim Thoughts on Interim IOPS

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24 Interim Thoughts on Interim IOPS


1.       Base truism: IOPS is not a global self-federation from below of strong grassroots movements

2.       Thus maybe the IOPS paradox: top-down encouragement of bottom-up self-management?

3.       I’m wary of ‘organizing’. ‘Organizing’ is subject-object and authoritarian, self-organizing spontaneous and free. Self-organizing can’t be organized, democracy dictated

4.       Should we be madly ‘recruiting’ or attracting by passionately ‘doing our own thing(s)’?

5.       As with narcissists, it would seem the more you strain to attract, the less attractive you are

6.       Just personally, I’d rather be a tiny germ of yeast than a big vat of dough

7.       I didn’t join IOPS because I agree with every word of the Parecon Vision

8.       I joined because IOPS seems to be a politically coherent expression of radical One World Consciousness, the next step in human spiritual evolution needed for humane survival

9.       I joined IOPS because the Vision was close enough to mine to not care about the details

10.   Rather than argue now, I’d leave the details to the movements out there in the real world

11.   I love reading the bios of each new member arriving from all over the world like a lost friend

12.   For most, Lonnie Atkinson’s tunes are probably a greater turn on than Michael’s tomes, but we need both

13.   Let not the theoretical letter of IOPS kill the living Spirit, o ye brothers and sisters in the faith

14.   Given the present and future social and ecological storms, maybe some of the blog forum stuff is a proverbial storm in the teacup. Maybe that’s just human, but maybe we should try to talk about the former storms more than we do about the latter

15.   When details or the ego ping-pong get too much of a hold, maybe we should focus on the Big Pic, e.g. the collapsing system, the planet and One World Consciousness

16.   Like Walt Whitman, we are large, we contain multitudes and contradictions, and that’s great

17.   2000 members, 1% with an inclination for talking online, 99% heavily involved in life itself and IOPS-silent online. That’s OK. I’m also spending too much time online

18.   Thought for the future: when we get that far, could we formalise the right to dissent by having publicised majority/minority positions on non-consensus issues?

19.   Left brain/right brain: in IOPS, as in deep social change,  the non-rational and imaginative (‘utopian’ symbols, images, artwork, music, poems) could be seen as equally important as the rational and verbal; so could a moral emphasis

20.   As we old fogies used to say: Be realistic, demand the impossible, and l’imagination au pouvoir. Does the IOPS utopia need more utopian juice and spirit (beyond The Simpsons)?

21.   The time paradox: we’re in it for the long haul, but we don’t have time for the long haul

22.   Paradox, irony and humour all help humane discourse, even among the politically engaged

23.   Maybe all the above is pissing beside the pot and as useful as putting legs on a snake

24.   And a big thanks to Jason for running the site

Discussion 19 Comments

  • 3rd Jun 2012

    Completely love this. Thank you!

  • LedSuit ' 3rd Jun 2012

    1-tick-at moment at least

    2-Maybe not a paradox but a little weird. Used to it though.

    3-I wouldn't know how to do it. Does seem that way. Freely improvise my insane friend.

    4-Perhaps both. Do you want to play the chord changes or fuck 'em off? Both are pretty cool.

    5- Ring of truth here. Eyes glazing over. Depends who your hangin' with.

    6-Not sure if I'd like to be a germ. Photon? Big fat of dough reminds me of John Sudholz. Played with Sth Melbourne in 60's.

    7-Nor did I. But it's pretty bloody good. Didn't feel like I needed a degree, suit, and 150 years of left history to get it.


    9-Tick. Sort of care about the details.

    10-Tick. Who's arguing??

    11-Tick and tick. Same.

    12- Tick. Probably would have gone with Skip James or FZ( he wrote melodies you know!).

    13-Big tick.

    14-Yeah. Teacups. The good ones are fragile beasts! Break easily.


    16-In Japan in the spring we eat cucumbers.

    17-Tick. Where's the third class?

    18-Shit, now my head hurts.

    19-People are a waste of food and don't bother learning Chinese
    Thou shalt find oneself perturbed by less verbose calamities
    Just get some Heinz baked beans,a 12 gauge, Bandoleer and tinned dog food
    We'll eat your dog, bury our dead or eat them instead
    That's entirely up to you. Gareth Liddiard- The Drones.

    20-French. Exasperated sigh.

    21-See 19

    22-"I worked for about ten years of my life in areas of extreme poverty in the Sierras, in the jungle, in urban areas in different parts of Latin America. And at the beginning of that period, I was one day in an Indian village in the Sierra in Peru. It was an ugly day. It had been raining all the time. And I was standing in the slum. And across me, another guy also standing in the mud — not in the slum, in the mud. And, well, we looked at each other, and this was a short guy, thin, hungry, jobless, five kids, a wife and a grandmother. And I was the fine economist from Berkeley, teaching in Berkeley, having taught in Berkeley and so on. And we were looking at each other, and then suddenly I realized that I had nothing coherent to say to that man in those circumstances, that my whole language as an economist, you know, was absolutely useless. Should I tell him that he should be happy because the GDP had grown five percent or something? Everything was absurd." Borrowed your quote David. Thought it had all those elements.

    23-How the fuck would I know!!


  • Paulo Rodriguez 3rd Jun 2012

    1. Not yet, but efforts underway (Equal Rights Council, Islamic Relief, Natuurpunt being contacted and interacted with).

    2. Encouragement is not necessarily dominance is it?

    3. Are all forms of organising "subject-object"? The initiation of an effort doesn't seem to imply dominance from the organisers to the organised, in my opinion, unless the structures within the organisation dictate that organisers should be inquestionably followed.

    4. Both.

    5. So f'ing true :) hehehe. See above, doing your own things inspires a heck of a lot more, if only because we break the pattern of expectations held in most people's mind about the left being about lots of blahblah instead of perceivable changes in people's environments.

    6. As a non-native english speaker, this points eludes me completely, sorry! Care to elaborate?

    7. I joined IOPS for starters due to a wholehearted support in the vision, but discovered much MUCH more within IOPS, the fact that I'm not alone in the world believing in it. Truly seeing you are not an isolated whackjob does wonders for morale. :)

    8. Agreed.

    9. Agreed with nuance, I find my views represented in the details as well.

    10. Depends on which details, and context. Not in a million years would I keep membership if we started thinking about choosing reformed markets or static hierarchies of organisation as the end goal.

    11. Big BIG check on this one.

    12. I love both equally. One's got to love Lonnie's voice in "Fuck'em", reminds me of a radical Samuel L. Jackson hehe. But one's got to love Michael Albert's writings that, in my opinion, humanised activism the way we should have done DECADES ago.

    13. It doesn't, to me. Sometimes, clarity of language and goals is needed. This is one of those moments.

    14. Agreed. Still a lot of work to do. On the other hand, we shouldn't lose out of sight that if those "storms in a teacup" are symptoms that we aren't able to make people feel at home, we should address this pronto!

    15. Agreed.

    16. Great in its diversity sometimes, a freaking headache and a challenge some other times.

    17. I should write more myself, but given my previous "attempts", more in the real world and less in here is a good thing in my own specific case to keep momentum going for myself.

    18. Seconded.

    19. This depends on context, again. If our choices reflect personal leftist lifestyle choices that might repel the very people we are trying to reach, then it's an unwise choice. If those choices inspire these people, and not just activists, then it's a wise choice.

    20. To me it strikes the perfect balance between rationality and humanity/emotion.

    21. To that I reply, do what you can with full commitment, and try not to worry about what you can't control. That's energy wasted in worrying, which takes precious time off changing things, time which you correctly stated is getting short.

    22. Oh God YES. Let's stop being so humorless. Oscar Wilde had a point: "Life is too important to be taken seriously". Let's do what we do with commitment, but with a smile, patience, and a good laugh once in a while. :)

    23. Actually I think that those are important matters to think of. Also, maybe snakes wouldn't be so pissed off at the world and wouldn't bite people if they had legs. Trust me, when I recall how it felt to be stuck in a bed for a year, I wished back then I grew fangs full of toxin. :p

    24. Seconded!

    • Paulo Rodriguez 3rd Jun 2012

      Damn, sorry about the typos. That should have read "unquestionably".

  • Peter Lach-Newinsky 3rd Jun 2012

    Thanks for the fun responses, amigos. Appreciated. Finding a common language across generations (Drones meets Dylan)? Tick tick tick. Tock. James, loved the Zen reappearing under 16. Paulo, re query re no. 6: dough doesn't rise without yeast (or baking soda). A few grains of salt can change a soup. A small group of people can change bla bla (Margaret Mead). Is it all about numbers (2000 or 5000 or 10000) or can small often be beautiful, I guess? Just asking. Gotta get back to me poems. Venceremos.

  • Paulo Rodriguez 3rd Jun 2012

    Gooootcha! Thanks for the clarification. Yeah, I'll go for yeast :)

  • 3rd Jun 2012

    Me too! Count me in as yeast! Hic!

  • LedSuit ' 3rd Jun 2012

    Yeah, of course, yeast. Still not sure about the germ thing!!

  • Peter Lach-Newinsky 3rd Jun 2012

    Well then how do 'lumps of porridge' take your fancy, James? Quote from Alex Comfort (intro to Harold Barclay, People Without Government 1982)who says it better than me:

    'The challenge 'go run a modern state like a pigmy village and see what happens' misses the rather unusual cast of mind which anarchists seek to impart. Unlike Marxism or democratic capitalism, which are institutionalised theories, the rejection of authority as a social tool is AN ATTITUDE, NOT A PROGRAMME. Once adopted it patterns the kind of solutions which we are disposed to accept.

    Nor in order to be an anarchist does one need to wait until society shares the same attitude. Anarchists DO NOT PLAN REVOLUTIONS - but when they become numerous [...] the thinkers constitute active, unbiddable and exemplary LUMPS IN THE GENERAL PORRIDGE OF SOCIETY. If numerous enough, they begin to affect the types of choices which societies make. Mutual aid begins to constitute a serious alternative to administrative services, general dissatisfaction begins to turn to civil disobedience. If 'revolution' occurs in consequence it is in the form of an assault by alarmed authority, loath to see its kingdom fail, on the increasingly ungovernable public, in other words counter-revolution. [...]

    To advocate it [anarchism] one must practise considerable self-abnegation, because the type of community it envisages CANNOT, for obvious reasons, BE PRESCRIBED. One cannot say with Colonel Blimp 'Dammit, if the blighters can't be democratic we must make 'em.' It is the blighters themselves who have to choose.'


    • 5th Jun 2012

      i'm just so bloody relieved to read something inspired and humorous. maybe some differences on some points - not keen on yeast, so i'll go for salt, and i do like my vegan/gluten free gravy ;-) - but not by much to disagree with (very little, in fact). and love the itemised responses too :-)

      we can form connections, appreciate one another (including our differences), explore challenges and assumptions we share as concerned members of a reckless species, and not necessarily become all heavy, formal and strict with the economic ideology. no gate keepers! it amazes me that such a thing needs to be said here, and yes! 'self-abnegation' would go a long way at times too.

      thanks guys :-)

      (warning, dont go near the kinship forum - i visited last night for the first time and, as a woman, was horrified ... then again, perhaps people could start posting appropriate/relevant points and topics there, but dont expect women to hang around after all the stuff thats been dumped there.)

    • 5th Jun 2012

      Like Caragh's blog post, and her question, "why here austerity and no dancing?":


      Apollo is necessary, but without some Dionysus in the mix (even without yeast!), the whole thing will become dessicated, dry up and blow away.

      To quote Bjork: "Inside, we're all still wet".

  • LedSuit ' 4th Jun 2012

    Don't eat porridge. Don't like it much. I'll go with Lumpy Gravy in keeping with the musical theme of number 12. It was going to be a ballet but didn't quite make it! Yes, much better. All the blighters round here are sick at the moment. Trying to keep germs at bay much like alarmed authority.

  • Verena Stresing 4th Jun 2012

    Hi Peter,
    I LOVE Number 11. (I love reading the bios of each new member arriving from all over the world like a lost friend), exactly how I feel!

    And 17. (2000 members, 1% with an inclination for talking online, 99% heavily involved in life itself and IOPS-silent online. That’s OK. I’m also spending too much time online)

    Me too (spending too much time online), but this is just because there's so much interesting stuff going on, I can't wait to read what people have to say.

    As to the 1% active and 99% silent: I think this is pretty normal, and also, it doesn't mean that it is the same 1% who is talking and the same 99% who are silent. Not everybody is intersted in every issue or online all the time. I think the 1% is a fluctuating crowd. I myself am active (writing or commenting) whenever I find something that I feel I know something about, in my case anything to do with science.
    I don't usually comment on parecon issues, because I just don't know enough yet. I might have an opinion, but it's still forming, so I just read all the stuff for now and learn. Other people might do the same with other issues. So being silent doesn't necessarily mean people are not active.
    I'm still very hopeful about the whole adventure, let's get to 4000 soon!

    • 5th Jun 2012

      For those of a scientific inclination, I highly recommend this inspiring talk. It is a vision of a New Enlightenment:


      Put aside the elitist aspects, and consider how enlightenment values drove so many anti-elitist revolutions around the world.

      When one thinks about the extent of anti-science attitudes today, the Enlightenment Project is far from over.

      For balance, I would also argue strongly against the knee-jerk dismissal of all religious language as merely 'ignorant' or 'superstitious'. I love religious language for its mythical, metaphorical, poetic, psychological power. Science aims for objectivity and literalism, while religion should accept its (communal) subjectivity and poetic nature.

      Again, I am writing this in the interests of transcending divisions, and being as inclusive and accepting of other discourses and personal ways of expression as possible.

  • Peter Lach-Newinsky 5th Jun 2012

    Big thank you all for the comments, camerados/cameradas (?). Feels warm and friendly. What a breakfast diversity we'd have in the parecon commune though: haters of yeast and germs in general, porridge dislikers, vegan gravy... Glad we don't have to find consensus or call in the neighbourhood consumer council to adjudicate. I'm sticking to muesli and yoghurt.

    Alison, agree totally. (Will be interesting to see how strictly a parecon orthodoxy is maintained or not...e.g. I can see some legit points in some of the critique of Parecon made by Staudenmaier and Schweikhart in the debates with Albert reproduced on the main page...just by the by).

    Verena, really good to hear from you again. Agree totally with your surmises re the silent 99%. Just the way it is. (BTW I imagine you speak both French and German? How come your English is so fantastic? I'm in awe of all those expressing themselves here in the lingua franca of English although it's not their first language!)

  • Alex of... 6th Jun 2012

    damn australians. there's 3 out 6 on this on this thread before me. 50 percent???

    feels like they are taking over. i thought we were about equal representation. i saw the south park movie and used to 'blame canada' for everything going wrong in my great nation. now i have a new enemy... grrr!

    (blame canada) link if Rupert Murdoch allows


  • Alex of... 6th Jun 2012

    1. where i come from you get assassinated in your own bed for saying such things

    2. bottom up encouragement to shut the hell up now and then

    3. i can't even organize my own closet but it keeps asking

    4. word

    5. double word

    6. i like to break bread :)

    7. far from

    8. i'd rather pick up a shovel than a gun

    9. i like potatoes

    10. some serious shit

    11. ought take care here not to lose our friends

    12. LOL!

    13. i always seem to miss the memo

    14. i love the rain but i still need shelter

    15. will our grandkids look back and ask why we couldn't settle our petty disputes?

    16. i think derrick jensen is beautiful, does that make me unpopular?

    17. use the master's tools but don't get lost

    18. "Shit, now my head hurts." (James)

    19. spray some graffiti on IOPS, have some heart

    20. the Simpsons flick makes me angry

    21. i'm holding middle ground

    22. "the personal is political"

    23. depends on if the pot is full of soup and if i'm outside, but i prefer to let snakes be snakes

    24. hey! where's our vote options? no, really, thanks

    • 8th Jun 2012

      number 16 - NO!!!! at least, not with this aussie =)

      great iteration to original post. really enjoyed this.

      i think i might be getting into a more optimistic mood again after some truly lovely outreach (private messages, after probs in another part of iops).

      thing is, i've been a bit sensitive to some communication styles and content, but everything else has been so incredibly encouraging - some of the most respectful and supportive discourse i've seen in an online environment, even where ideas diverge. im not helping by retreating to individualist thoughts/experience if support exists where i am frustrated by something here. and i appreciate the diversity and contradictions, its just some things are felt more sharply than the others.

      so i have to break the usual approach of retreat (self protection), and instead look for support - perhaps thats an essential embodiment (lived practice) of this participatory thing :-)

  • LedSuit ' 6th Jun 2012

    Nice one, dude!!