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Global Transformation Website

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Just an idea for a new global dialogue/transformation website, separate from IOPS but perhaps in its essential spirit (?) There are now first steps being undertaken in this direction. To me personally IOPS itself is not important, the urgent need for global transformation is. The rest is in the text below. Happy New Year, folks.

Conspectus for a Global Transformation Dialogue Website

AIM

To find, through dialogue, common ground and narrative among activists and concerned individuals regarding changing the system in order to save the planet and humanity by creating a global democracy and self-managed, fair-and-sharing economy within the ecological limits of the biosphere

PREMISES  (Why do we need global transformation?)

·        We are heading towards total climate and ecological collapse and this would mean the collapse of global civilization and the beginning of a dark age in human evolution

·        Our global economic system, its dependence on fossil fuels and its lack of social justice and true democracy, is the main cause of this threat

·        We need ‘system change, not climate change’: we need to gain democratic control of the global economic and political system so that ‘another world is possible’

·        To do this we need to come together globally in order to create a true democracy, a participatory democracy, where the people themselves rule and decide on the material and political conditions of a good life for all on an ecologically sustainable basis

·        To come together globally we need to start with all those already active democratic grassroots movements fighting and/or building alternatives on many fronts

·        To come together as a Global Movement of Movements and Network of Networks, these movements need to support each other across national boundaries, share ideas and, most importantly, begin to develop a strong, coherent  and inspiring narrative focussed on what needs to be done to transform the system and save the planet and humanity

·        This coming together needs to happen urgently to better cope with the effects of already dangerous climate change, avoid a rise in global temperature above 2 degrees Celsius, bring CO2 levels back down to 350 ppm, and thus avoid the increasing possibility of runaway climate chaos

·        We are a broad spectrum of grassroots movements: we should both celebrate our diversity and work towards finding common focus and narrative in our dialogue, mutual aid and supportive direct actions to transform the system and realise the people power of participatory democracy

VALUES (Implied by the above Premises)

·        Ecological sustainability as the key material condition for all viable social institutions

·        Ecological stewardship and regeneration as key global tasks

·        Elimination of fossil fuels, nuclear power and WMDs as unsustainable threats

·        Democratic discussion and control of technology and innovation

·        Climate justice (transition support for workers, reparations from rich to poor)

·        The need for a ‘fair earth share’ for all (sustainable resource consumption)

·        Food and energy sovereignty as the basis of democratic self-determination

·        Public ownership of the global commons (biological and cultural)

·        A fair redistribution of wealth nationally and internationally

·        Democracy as direct or participatory democracy at all levels, including the economy

·        Devolution of power, decentralisation/re-localisation of economies

·        Internationalism, transnational and –ethnic solidarity and mutual aid

·        Anti-racism, anti-fascism, anti-imperialism, anti-militarism, anti-police state

·        Non-violent direct action and civil disobedience (congruence of means and ends)

·        Individual freedom and human rights, ‘bread and roses’ for all

·        Feminism and sexual equality

THE SPECTRUM (Of global activist movements here addressed)

From the anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist left (no parties), egalitarian communes, indigenous activists, alternative media and think tanks, feminists and queer activists via ‘centre’ of workers and consumer cooperatives, free internet and P2P activists, transitioners and re-localisers, climate justice activists and environmental ‘blockadians’, to social democratic ‘right’ of Green New Dealers, ‘blue-green’ unionists and anti-austerity activists (no parties). Involve artists, poets and musicians from the start.

POSSIBLE NEXT STEPS

Where possible find grassroots activist networks already in existence on each continent (possibly via websites, alternative media and think tanks). Find their ‘keystone’ people. Develop a prototype website, then contact them with this global-website-for-dialogue idea. Let it evolve from there. (If it gets up, get statements of support from well-known activists and thinkers).

Discussion 26 Comments

  • Dave Jones 4th Jan 2015

    I support the basic concept of getting like minded folks in real dialogue but to date have found websites particularly poor vehicles for fostering that. Something with the difficulty in building trust and solidarity through cyber-space...without eye contact and body language cues, disagreements too often become contests. However,I can envision a well produced website facilitating and linking face to face discussion groups.

  • Peter Lach-Newinsky 4th Jan 2015

    Hi Dave, thanks for the comment. I agree totally re the superiority of live, face-to-face interaction, no question. This proposal however is focussed on a GLOBAL dialogue between existing movements and orgs (and individuals) in MANY countries. I've posted a tentative list of such possible orgs expressing the 'left-centre-right' spectrum above in the IOPS Resources section, if anyone is interested. (I'm sure there's more.)

    This global dialogue of global movements is of course going to mainly happen online, although regional/national live meetings and some form of annual global live meeting like WSF is also essential IMO. I'm hoping, like you, that climate chaos/survival/post-capitalism might provide that catalysing, essential common narrative we so desperately need for movements to move beyond fragmentation and single issues...

  • John Keeley 4th Jan 2015

    I see IOPS as the desire to build a movement to create a participatory society. More than another International as the building of the movement is in part the building of a participatory society.

    Let's be clear, this is a massively ambitious vision. Not only do we need to get a significant percentage of the world's population to support the desire for a participatory society, we need to build a website than connects people globally but allows them to organise locally (& meet up). Not just protests & small scale projects, but eventually a parallel system that replaces capitalism itself, for you cannot have a truly participatory system without some form of common ownership/control over production & distribution. Hence the website will need to be able to evolve into delivering basic human needs of food, shelter, clothing, etc. We already have tried to sketch out ideas on how a participatory economy might work.

    So the key structure of the website must be based upon connecting people locally, hence IOPS structure of chapters. This is the basic skeleton. Everything else should be built around this.

    The big question for us now is whether we need some change to the IOPS website to encourage people to get involved, e.g. a 'sharing' page. This could be to give away surplus food that people have grown, or to offer space in a car for a planned journey, or just something like an old fridge that's no longer needed.

    We've got 3,000+ names of people who are interested in creating a participatory world, we need to get them active in a globally connected way & get some momentum going again.

    • Peter Lach-Newinsky 7th Jan 2015

      Thanks for ideas, John.

      John: "I see IOPS as the desire to build a movement to create a participatory society. [...] Let's be clear, this is a massively ambitious vision. Not only do we need to get a significant percentage of the world's population to support the desire for a participatory society, we need to build a website than connects people globally but allows them to organise locally (& meet up). Not just protests & small scale projects, but eventually a parallel system that replaces capitalism itself..."

      I think where we differ is you think 'we/IOPS' needs to 'build' a global movement for some kind of world revolution from scratch. (BTW John, do you realise IOPS is to all intents and purposes quite dead? I mean just look at the site, figures, polls, chapters, non-participation...jesus, it's a total joke. I know some might see the parrot as merely 'resting' but surely it's 'bleeding dead', although I don't want my money back).

      Firstly, I don't think movements are actually 'built', especially global ones and especially not by a tiny number of people just deciding to 'build' one.(IMO movements are complex, organic processes arising both from socio-economic conditions and from deep unconscious layers, but that's another story...).

      Secondly, instead of starting from scratch, why not look at the real movements that are actually out there in the WORLD (not just in the US/UK), and start from THERE? Movements that are fighting on a plethora of fronts/issues, but that could develop a sense of common ground and common narrative if they talked to each other more?

      My website proposal is focussed on precisely that, rather than on another website merely for cyberspace individuals to hang out at or that seeks to 'encourage' them to 'get involved' or that even aims at 'delivering [their] basic human needs for food, shelter,clothing etc'.

      I'm interested mainly in those hundreds of thousands in the WORLD (not just in the US/UK) who already ARE involved, active - how can THEY come together and find a common narrative around the overriding issue of all: transforming capitalism's systemic drive towards planetary and civilisational collapse via climate chaos and ecocide.

  • Max H 5th Jan 2015

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-the-Machine-Create-a-New-World/128235120588487?sk=info&tab=page_info

    https://www.popularresistance.org/

    • Peter Lach-Newinsky 7th Jan 2015

      Thanks Max, useful US site, I've added it to my list of global grassroots movements posted in Resources.

  • Alex of... 6th Jan 2015

    well, you know me. i’m for recognizing a pretty broad spectrum of approaches as the means to get to more participatory ideals. i’ve ran with a basic premise, Human Equality and Ecological Balance. agree with both of those and you’re in. well, a few things could back that up. how you go about it right now, go for it, but let’s link it together under one network of networks. in a way that helps people find each other and cross-network and learn and act learn and better act. a supportive network, with an autonomous nature that allows solidarity to grow organically into more concrete ability

    creating a local collective bike works? small project perhaps, but that’s what they do. are they all inclined to become historians and debate the best future models? fat chance, locally or online. are all members of the local 350 chapter looking beyond immediate needs to pressure political decisions on pipelines and fracking? no, but if that’s what they can contribute right now then go for it. should there be debate on the direction we’re headed beyond immediate change both locally and globally? yes. should some people just focus on building cooperative businesses in the current capitalist climate? yes. or build rooftops farms or egalitarian communities? yes. is there a way to come up with a basic common ground format, in part utilizing the interweb that allows all these efforts to gain strength from each other, and in part, allowing local groups to work together on projects they were not otherwise aware of, while doing what is necessary now, allowing diversity to utilize our personal strengths, while chipping away at our delusions, and finding yet new forms of common ground?

    i think so.

    i think there should be local parecon/fanfare chapters, and that’s what i view IOPS as. the writers of which should also debate away in debate settings. but these are just all pieces of the ever unfinished puzzle as far as i’m concerned.

    and those keen artists. play that funky music.

    speaking of extended premises, of which i think it would be valuable to match up many for commonality, minimization or primary pieces and ways that are effective in communication to a broad base, i like this for thought from Economics Unmasked (2011):

    The Quadruple Convergence:

    We are facing many challenges, the most important of which are enumerated below:

    1. An exponential increase of human-induced climate change affecting all regions of the world.
    2. The end of cheap energy, which will have dramatic effects on societies.
    3. The extensive depletion of key resources basic to human welfare and production, such as fresh water, genetic diversity, forests, fisheries, wildlife, soils, coral reefs and most elements of local, regional and global commons.
    4. The gigantic speculation bubble, which is 50 times larger than the real economy of exchange of goods and services.

    The root causes of this convergence are:
    1. The dominant economic paradigm, which encourages rapid economic growth at any cost and stimulates corporate greed and the accumulation of wealth.
    2. The uncontrolled use of fossil fuels to feed that obsessive economic growth.
    3. The promotion of conumserism as the road to human happiness.
    4. The decimation of traditional cultures in order to impose conventional economic industrial models; this brings about the of cosmologies, languages and values that differ from those of the dominant culture.
    5. The disregard of planetary limits in relation to resource availability, consumption, waste generation, and absorption.
    6. Over-population: the eventual growth of population beyond the sustainable capacity of the Earth.

    These conditions may bring about unprecedented dangerous environmental and social costs:
    1. Climate chaos and global warming imply the loss of much productive land, storms, rising sea levels, massive dislocation of peoples, desertification and, especially in poorer countries, economic and social problems.
    2. The depletion of inexpensive oil and gas supplies will have a direct impact all over the world, threatening future industrial development. It will make it increasingly dificult to operate industrial food systems and urban and suburban transportation systems, as well as to produce many commodities basic to our accustomed way of life, such as cars, plastics, chemicals, refrigerators, etc. All these are predicated on the availability of an inexpensive and ever-increasing energy supply.
    3. Other resource shortages such as fresh water, forests, agricultural land and biodiversity; we are facing the possible loss of 50 per cent of the world’s plant and animal species before the end of the century.


    skipping ahead to some Postulates for thoughts on premises:

    Postulate 1: The economy is to serve the people, not the people to serve the economy

    Postulate 2: Development is about people, not about objects

    Postulate 3: Growth is not the same as development, and development does not necessarily require growth

    Postulate 4: No economy is possible in the absence of ecosystem services

    Postulate 5: The economy is a sub-system of a larger and finite system, the biosphere; hence permanent growth is impossible

    Value principle: No economic interest, under any cicumstance, can be above the reverence for life

  • Alex of... 6th Jan 2015

    edit: "this brings about the 'LOSS' of cosmologies, languages and values that differ from those of the dominant culture.

  • Peter Lach-Newinsky 7th Jan 2015

    On ya, Alex. Think you've got a great local/regional concept going there. Go for it.

    My website proposal is asking how to facilitate GLOBAL dialogue mainly between existing GLOBAL movements (with some between concerned individuals also of course). How do we get Via Campesina (150 million members) talking to 350.org or EZLN and the International Federation of Anarchists with Friends of the Earth International etc? How do we find a common anti-systemic and 'another world' narrative through global dialogue?

    • Alex of... 8th Jan 2015

      well, good questions Peter. i hope my description doesn’t come across as TOO regional. but, of course i do live in the heart of the beast, where i understand the needs best, which are probably not too much different than the 51st state north of me, much of Europe and Oz. on the positive, i would say that getting our shit together ‘here’ can have a tremendous effect on the movements and needs around the world, as ‘we’ are a pretty destructive force that have created many of the issues that force those needs into place.

      on the other hand, part of that transformation here requires hearing those needs in a more substantial way to get past what we take for granted, such as broad assumptions that a transition to ‘green technology’ will not require major changes in our lifestyle. we’re a bit self-entitled.

      language is one barrier, but i feel there is also just a general disconnect between life experiences. for all the grievances in this nation over wages, unemployment rates and police abuse, it is simply not comparable to living without clean drinking water, working 80 hours a week in a sweatshop just to barely eat, or the norm to be constant gunfire and explosions in your local neighborhood.

      i’m with you that a movement does not necessarily need to be built. movements are all around us and despite the differences in conditions, are all based on a handful of commonly related elements that need to be tapped into and connected. we live in a unique time of converging global problems, as well a unique time of the availability for global communication.

      how do we get Via Campesina talking to 350? i’m guessing some of that has happened at least on some levels, but falls short. at this point i am calling a need for what i might term the wikipedia of activism. not a wiki, but a way for small to large groups to add their presence, facilitated autonomously, with projects and events available to all, closed or subject to approval by members that join an umbrella website. existing groups and emerging groups. a way to be visible to each other, be aware of each other, assist each other as an individual or group is inclined. a showing of solidarity and actionable items. the ability to create discussion and debate forums on a global level as it organically progresses. seek funding to extend to media forms and assistance for others. move beyond the fragmentation of efforts without a central authority. propelled by real local movements around the globe to give it strength, while realizing not everyone will have access to the internet, but generally have those close that can represent their interests. an organic process to build new steps, better questions, new answers in unprecedented times.

      since there is a separate conversation on something of this nature, this is probably the last time i will even mention it here on IOPS, at least for a very long time if it seems relevant.

      with ya.

    • Peter Lach-Newinsky 8th Jan 2015

      With ya too, mate. Can't see much of a diff between us on global site concept (yr second last para). Good oh. To me the 'showing of solidarity and actionable items' (as you put it) is pretty central to the whole shebang. Let's go...

      (Only diff in emphasis for this particluar site might be on good balance between large global orgs/federations and tiny orgs not federated with larger/individuals. My fear about too much individuals-centredness is a new Zsocial-type nothing or Fakebook for lefties. What I mainly see need for is dialogic process between existing movements with hundreds of thousands of members so as arrive at common narrative about changing system: THAT would be my FOCUS designing the site, everything else secondary or on separate websites...it's the urgency, man, the urgency...)

    • Emily Corrado 10th Jan 2015

      Dear Peter,
      I understand the urgency very much, very personally. I have some ideas about uniting such movements but they are not as sexy as websites and organizations. I think they are probably much more likely to succeed though. Not that such activities would preclude websites or organizations new and old. But would be more principally focused on uniting those existing movements. And maybe the effort I am talking about would and could be complimentary to some new website/movement of movements/common space/public commons. I would love to talk more about this. I do not want to take away from your blog though.

    • Peter Lach-Newinsky 10th Jan 2015

      Great, Emily! Would love to hear your ideas. You're not 'taking away' from this blog, you're adding to it, so please go for it!

    • Emily Corrado 10th Jan 2015

      Well a small group of highly organized individuals lobbying even a highly corruptible institution like the US govt. Can if they are coordinated enough do incredible things, have incredible sway, and change the world.
      I would suggest the formation of a team of people to begin a process, not to form this union/federation, but to begin to make the necessary inroads into the eventual uniting of these forces. To lobby and schmooz and coax these people into a more coordinated network.
      Detail which organizations are most important to reach, most likely to be reached and begin to develop a grassroots network. I would be happy to help this process, work with a team on it, if anyone else would be interested in revolutionary action that might not end with our being heralded as heroes.

  • Dave Jones 7th Jan 2015

    Language is one of the primary challenges. This site is very english-centric and suffered to some degree from that.

    Another issue is focus and prioritizing.Just on the Popular Resistance website (thanks Max) there are twenty five broad based issues, all concerning "social justice" in some way, but one starts to feel split in a hundred ways and overwhelmed. Yes, diversity is necessary, but how to balance that so mass mobilization becomes possible?

    The WSF was to be this "global" thing so perhaps we could start with a critique, a look at where that has ended up.

  • Peter Lach-Newinsky 8th Jan 2015

    Agreed, Dave. We've got the language issue firmly in our sight/site.(Reckon Spanish, French, German, Russian, Arabic, Hindi, Mandarin, Indonesian and Japanese have gotta be up there with lingua franca English at some stage if we're going to really reach most of the world).

    Also agree with your fears in second para, the danger of overcrowding and overwhelm with too much info on too many orgs/individuals to take in (cf my comment above to Alex). I'd personally focus on federations or orgs like Via Campesina that have millions of members. I'd encourage very small local groups to link up/federate with larger if they can (e.g Transition groups, or local groups of international orgs like Rising Tide and FOE). I'd also encourage dialogue, international support and collective action on the site over things like news and socialising in order to keep it as non-overwhelming as possible.

    And yes, why did the WSF fail (?) Would very much like more info on that. Hard to find on web, have tried. All help welcome.

    • Lambert Meertens 10th Jan 2015

      I remember reading that the WSF process was taken over by professional types from well-endowed NGOs, or something to that effect, pushing out the more grassroot orgs. I can't vouch for the veracity of that complaint and that this process contributed to failure, but it sounds like the kind of thing that could happen all too easily.

  • Peter Lach-Newinsky 8th Jan 2015

    PS Vincent Emanuele's current article at Zcomm looking back at 2014's global activism echoes this task and urgency a little:

    "Unless, of course, there’s a major political rupture in the machinery of global capitalism and empire. The activists, organizers and revolutionaries resisting throughout the globe should be recognized for their efforts. Some paid with their lives. Others are confined to prison cells. Even more continue to organize. The question is: How can activists parlay their efforts in an effective fashion? The world, while thankful for “small victories,” needs big ideas and disciplined, internationally coordinated resistance."

  • Max H 10th Jan 2015

    There is a problem or set of related problems I've come across when I try to network on an international, national, and even regional level. I don't think they are monolithic, and maybe not even widespread although it's been my experience so far. What do you guys think and what are possible solutions?...sorry if this is unrelated to the topic (I think it is but maybe I am misunderstanding):

    I think it's probably due to lack of trust and lack of accountability, but anyway...
    There are organizations even continents away that are willing to start a positive online conversation. But then the common website that led us to each other exists and is called Google.
    Then there are organizations that ignore you unless they know you personally or someone they know vouched for you (why not, given they've been burned so many times by other activists) These organizations don't want a common website unless they control or dominate it, or perhaps unless they were part of the consensus in developing it. In which case the "common website" to them already exists, meaning it is their homepage.

    • Emily Corrado 10th Jan 2015

      well when you throw in "or perhaps unless they were part of the consensus in developing it." it kind of changes the whole idea doesn't it?

    • Max H 11th Jan 2015

      The more groups you can get at that consensus stage the more useful the common site will be to all those groups. As long as we realize that this common site will be one among many already exsisting, and that you will not get every group in at the development stage (and some will never join).
      Locally we have many such attempts, and I think the more the better at this point in time. They are more places I can post events, the majority are on facebook. Of course it would be convenient if everyone used one channel, and I support efforts for that also (although its not a priority of mine since since so much face-to-face networking still has to be done no matter what)

  • Max H 12th Jan 2015

    another interesting website:

    https://solutions.thischangeseverything.org/

    maybe indirectly related...but useful to pick and choose features one likes from other sites like these or link to them

    • Peter Lach-Newinsky 14th Jan 2015

      Wow, what a great site, very interesting! Many thanks for this link, Max.

  • Alexander Androv 13th Jan 2015

    If the site is dying (and it obviously is)we should think about the reasons.
    Can we take steps to reconsider and redefine the role and the purpose of the existing IOPS site for achieving the same goals instead to begin from scratch? What we have now?

    A lot of publications and sleeping projects.
    3500 - 4000 registrations.
    Some tools on the site.
    Regional chapters

    What we don't have?

    A common tasks.
    Resources
    A common tactics.
    Secure communication channels for chat and conference conversations.
    Secure servers on our own.
    etc... (you can continue for another 3-4 pages of brief description on what we don't have...)

    So why you think, Peter that building a new site from scratch can solve this problems?

    I rather think we can unite the efforts of all active members in achieving one single and practical goal. It can be easily the upgrade of existing site to the level of coordination tool for more grassroots. I say "easily" because I think the importance of goal like this is high.

    We can address all organizations we know with the question what tools they luck in present moment and we can assess the importance and the possibility to work for delivering this tools on the IOPS site.

    This way we will leave "the way of the intellectual chieftains" and go to the path of the ordinary working people. And after some time I hope we will have something useful as a tool.






    • Peter Lach-Newinsky 14th Jan 2015

      Thanks for the response, Alexander, appreciated. Not sure what you mean by 'coordination tools', but I'm all for your idea of restructuring the present IOPS website, whatever that could mean in the end (if, and it's a big if, enough members could be bothered participating in even discussing the idea, which on the basis of three years experience I doubt). However, my blog proposal is looking at another concept altogether, a global dialogue website in which IOPS would be just one small org and voice among many many others...

  • Alexander Androv 17th Jan 2015

    Any collaborative tool which can serve to facilitate the coordination of joint efforts.
    Such as web applications for

    - accumulation of resources (material, financial, intellectual...)
    - resource and information sharing
    - job opportunities
    - educational tool
    - project management
    - event organisation
    - entertainment
    - translation tools between the major languages at least
    - secure voting system
    - secure chat
    - space for archive (secure again)

    The site by itself is a tool containing smaller tools. People will use them if they are useful and secure.