Login Join IOPS

Interim IOPS

forest
  • Written by:
  • Published on:
  • Categories:
  • Comments:
  • Share:

I am writing this blog post in response to some discussions in recent blogs and that I have had with people. I have listed three issues that, to me, seem like are differences in what people perceive IOPS to be about and the current stage it is in. I hope that this will aid future discussion. 

1.) IOPS is in creation

“Currently, IOPS is in an interim stage, and by joining IOPS you become an interim member. A convention, or series of conventions, will be planned within the next year, for membership to determine the organization's definition in more detail.”

The above is taken from the About IOPS page. IOPS is not an actual organisation - yet. It is in the process of being created which I believe will take some time, hard work and patience. I think some of the discussions have been with the assumption that IOPS is supposed to be an actual final functioning organisation - when it is not. The commitment to joining now in the interim phase is to be part of building a fully functioning self-managed organisation outlined in the organisational description. So I think our discussions should be in the context of the creation process that IOPS is in. These are only my personal suggestions, but things that I think we could be spending our time and energies focusing on in this creation period are trying to get to know others in our local/regional chapters, writing and talking to others about the ideas around IOPS, increasing interim membership, developing ourselves in communicating the ideas, and identifying issues that need to be decided at the founding convention.

Maybe the fact that IOPS is under creation, may not have been clearly communicated enough? Should the logo should say IOPS Interim. Any thoughts?

2.) Decision Making and the ICC

“...an Interim Consultative Committee, a kind of advisory body of an organization to be conceived and urged, but only made formal and structural by its own members, in the future. Still, the ICC, even functioning over the borders of many countries by email, would have to be able to make interim choices as the process unfolds - otherwise nothing could get done.”

The above is from the ‘history and future hopes’ page. Following on from the initial poll on ZNet, during the interim period, the Interim Consultative Committee (ICC) was setup to guide interim choices until the founding convention. So far the ICC has been asked to choose an interim name for the organisation and support two blogs calling for recruitment of more women to address the gender imbalance and support outreach to media.

Is having a small group guide decisions for the organisation - even if they are few and far between, provisional and subject to future change - self-managed and participatory? No, of course not. Ideally, there wouldn’t be any decisions being made during in an interim stage, until a founding convention, but if decisions do creep up before the founding convention then the justification for the ICC is that we need some means to make decisions because, currently, we don’t have any other means to do so over large distances. Local chapters can still make decisions face to face it they are meeting, but on wider, regional, national and international levels, there isn’t the infrastructure. Once we have an online voting system to facilitate the organisation making self-managed decisions, members can create proposals, have discussion and vote on issues - and this will move us in the transition from creation towards becoming a more functioning self-managed organisation. But until then, having a group of people who are made up of activists with a respected track record guide choices, only when needed, until the founding convention or infrastructure has been setup, is better than not being able to make any decisions, if necessary, no?

3.) Organisation versus Umbrella Network

An organisation is a group of people that come together with shared goals and commitments, forming a structure with roles and responsibilities.

IOPS has been conceived as an organisation around a particular set of ideas, including a mission, values and vision. Joining an organisation means you understand and share the same mission, values and vision as others joining who you work with. This does mean that organisations do exclude people; those who don’t share the goals, values and vision. Why? because you can’t work with people who have different goals than you. Saying you want a ‘participatory‘ society with features that facilitate self-management and participation is not the same as saying that you cannot exclude anyone from joining the organisation. For example, should a racist, homophobic, authoritarian be able to join IOPS because it has the word participatory in its name?

A network or umbrella movement is a much looser connection between different groups who come together on much broader issues. In time, IOPS, like any other organisation, or its members, could be part of a wider umbrella movement, like occupy for example, where people from very diverse political viewpoints come together around much broader issues, and I’d imagine that members of IOPS are also be part of other local groups, networks and organisations - which I think should be encouraged.

I think, though that this distinction needs to be made and whilst there is need for both organisations and umbrella movements, ultimately, when you join an organisation you do so because you like and share the politics, and if you don’t, you don’t join it. Personally, I have joined and committed to building IOPS into a functioning organisation because I share the goals and values, and I am excited by the potential it has over the long term to become an effective force in creating revolutionary social change, but I am under no illusions that this will take some time to create.

One request. In commenting on this blog, can we all try to interact in a constructive, respectful way, focusing on solutions if there are identified problems, without personal attacks or sarcasm, asking others to clarify anything if they are not sure what they mean, not using threats to leave, and so on. Disagreement and dissent is healthy, but looking at the way some of the previous blog discussions have developed, I think we need to practise in keeping the above things in mind when we communicate with each other. Myself included.

Discussion 61 Comments

  • David Jones 21st Jun 2012

    Jason, this is all fine, but if I was writing it I would have considered adding a section 4 (based on some posts I've read by our members). I'm interested to hear what you think. This is what I might have added:

    4) Values verses Institutions

    Let's make an important distinction between the ethical values implicit in the IOPS defining documents (those that truly bring us here) and the specifics of the social institutions we will rely upon to realise these values. Joining us now means you like and agree with our core values, as outlined in the IOPS mission, vision and structure sections of this website. It doesn't mean you must like, agree with, or indeed even know about, specific aspects of a proposed model like Parecon (for example) aiming to realise this vision and stucture. There will be plenty of time for participatory discussions of such aspects later, after the founding convention.

    In the meanwhile, ICC member Jason Chrysostomou suggests:

    "spending our time and energies focusing on in this creation period are trying to get to know others in our local/regional chapters, writing and talking to others about the ideas around IOPS, increasing interim membership, developing ourselves in communicating the ideas, and identifying issues that need to be decided at the founding convention."

    • David Jones 21st Jun 2012

      ^ Sorry, the quote from Jason should have started with "These are only my personal suggestions, but things that I think we could be..."

    • Jason Chrysostomou 22nd Jun 2012

      David, I would agree with you that I think you are right in saying that joining IOPS doesn't require any advocacy in any models like parecon, for example. But at the same time, I think the organisational description does extend further than only values being the point of shared agreement. There are also commitments regarding the structure of the organisation, to building the seeds of the future in the present, empowering the lives of its members, and also, importantly, the broad features of a flexible long-term vision or picture of a future society - that whilst are informed by the values, include more specific commitments such as rejecting private ownership of the means of production. I'm not sure if you would call that a value or not? I'd agree that values are the moral positions that people choose that aren't likely to change much over time, or at all, whilst the institutions are open to change and experimentation based on experience. I think the vision does make IOPS different than other organisations in that regard and one of the motivations in bringing it into existence has been to organise strategy around a rough sketch of what kind of society we are for, not only around what we are against. I think there is a fine balance between organising around only values which may be too vague and over-extending into too much visionary detail. On the one hand if an organisation only includes a values statement say 'justice and democracy' it may be too vague and you could have people joining who have very different views than each other, whereas having too specific or rigid visionary commitments becomes too dogmatic and prescriptive.
      I think it is a very interesting issue that you have raised. Would be good to know opinions of others.

    • James Wilson 22nd Jun 2012

      If I was inviting someone to join I prob wouldn't even mention Parecon or Parpolity for that matter. There is nothing in the vision or structure and program that mentions them. I think David's suggestion kind of presupposes something. If I encouraged someone to read through the mission, vision, structure and program documents and then I said, but you don't have to agree with Parecon, they would probably ask, "what's that?" shaking their head in confusion. Oh yes, it's not in there is it I would have to answer. They may find out about Parecon after joining and may be interested or not. And while here they could read about it and debate it as some have done already. Some aspects of Parpolity have also been debated. Someone unaware of Parecon may ask how one realises the 8 points under the economic heading in the vision section and some one may point towards Parecon and this could elicit debate further or they may have a better solution.

      I personally don't see it as an issue. But that certainly doesn't mean it isn't one to others.

    • David Jones 22nd Jun 2012

      Thanks Jason. I do agree with what you wrote, RE:

      "I think the organisational description does extend further than only values being the point of shared agreement. There are also commitments regarding the structure of the organisation, to building the seeds of the future in the present, empowering the lives of its members, and also, importantly, the broad features of a flexible long-term vision or picture of a future society..."

      Okay, fair enough, I may not have picked the right word with "values". And I do think the things you mentioned above are an important part of IOPS that favorably distinguish it from many other political institutions. Perhaps there is some kind of half-way house between ethics and institutional specifics? Is there a word to encapsulate the agreement with the substance of the IOPS defining documents, but not necessarily their associated models?

      James then said:

      "I personally don't see it as an issue. But that certainly doesn't mean it isn't one to others."

      I get where your coming from James - I didn't join with the expectation that I would already need to be an advocate of parecon say (just to be clear, I do quite like the model! I only make an example of it here because it the most well known and fully developed try at a parsoc type model we have). But I think if other people see it as an issue then we should too. Many members do seem to have got the idea from somewhere that they need to be able to recite Parecon: Life After Capitalism backwards and by heart before they should join! I'm not sure where this impression came from exactly, but clarifying that this is not the case can only help our cause, surely? That's all I suggested doing here.

      I would also like to know what other people think. I will write a blog on this at some point, but in the meanwhile please keep the comments coming :-)

    • Florian Zollman 22nd Jun 2012

      Hi David,

      to follow on what Jason wrote I think there is no specific focus on Parecon or any other model in the description. On the other hand, there are more than values. There are, I think, institutional outlines or requirements in the document such as:

      "convey to all citizens a self managing say in legislative decisions proportionate to effects on them"

      "there is no payment according to property, bargaining power, or the value of personal output."

      "workers who work longer or harder or at more onerous conditions doing socially valued labor (including training) earn proportionately more for doing so."

      "there is neither market competition nor top-down planning, but instead decentralized cooperative negotiation of inputs and outputs, whether accomplished by workers and consumers councils or some other suitable method."

      etc...

      So when we would try out or discuss institutions in the future we would still want the new institutional designs to be guided by these norms, whether we rely on pareconish institutions or others. We would also exclude certain institutions such as markets or hierarchical division of labour.

      Don't know if you would call the examples provided above values? But to me, these are institutional outlines or requirements... Would that make sense to you and others, whether we say values or institutional norms/requirements?

    • David Jones 22nd Jun 2012

      Florian, I think we posted at the same time. I think I have addressed your points already in response to Jason? If not, please let me know. Also, I agree with what you wrote.

    • Florian Zollman 22nd Jun 2012

      Hi David, thanks. I agree with what you wrote!

    • James Wilson 22nd Jun 2012

      David, I agree with you too however I am referring to people not yet members who don't know of Parecon, who read the founding doc's. There is nothing there that piont's necessarily and specifically to Parecon, just a generic description of a participatory economy and nothing like Parpol. The outline and knowledge of Parecon can easily come after joining and elicit debate. It seems I am confusing thoughts of those who have already joined with thoughts of those who haven't which/that (don't know which) I can only guess at. I also haven't got the impression that anyone really needs to be able to recite Parecon: A Life After Capitalism backwards. I certainly can't.I'm still trying to get my head around Austin and Rufus's voting system before it explodes.

    • Justin Hewgill 24th Jun 2012

      David, James,

      I would describe the phrases you mention as "outcomes" as opposed to institutions or values. The value is self-management, the institution is a system of nested councils, and the hope is that the outcome will be that every person will have a say in decisions to the degree that the decision affects her.

    • David Jones 25th Jun 2012

      Hi Justin, thanks for the suggestion RE "outcomes". Maybe that is just the word I was looking for? I'll have a think. RE "nested councils", I'm not sure if IOPS really regards this decision making mechanism as set in stone, or merely as one possible way of realising self-management. I can't find the words "nested council" anywhere in the founding documents (coulda missed it though...)

      For example, it says in the political vision section that IOPS aims to:

      "utilize grassroots assemblies, councils or communes, and direct participation or representation and delegation, and/or voting options such as majority rule, some other voting algorithm, or consensus, all as needed to attain self management."

      It doesn't say much about any particular over-arching institutional structure RE how decisions get made.

      Not everyone here agrees that nested councils are a good idea. There's already been some discussion about that in this thread:

      http://www.iopsociety.org/forum/polity/how-make-decisions .

      (in case you're interested in joining in)

  • Johannes 21st Jun 2012

    I think you raised some important points Jason. In general I would say I agree with you but I do have some questions.

    1. I understand that IOPS is at an interim stage and still in creation but I think it is only healthy to have some discussion about how the actual organization will look like. Often the argument is made that things should not be decided until we have enough members. I agree with that but shouldn't we at least get the discussions going?

    2. You pose the question whether it is better to have a group of people guiding choices than not being able to make decisions at all. Well, yes, it is, I would say. Actually I am very happy that we have the ICC and that it includes the people it does. However, does having a group of people making decisions autonomously necessarily mean that some decisions need to be entirely intransparent?

    You wrote that «So far the ICC has been asked to choose an interim name for the organisation and support two blogs calling for recruitment of more women to address the gender imbalance and support outreach to media». I think most people know that, the ICC has been quite open about it. But what about all the other decisions that have been made?

    Who decided to expand the ICC? Who decided which people to include? Who decides which blog post is highlighted on the front page? Who decides which projects, books or other contents are permanently featured on the front page? It's funny that in the beginning the argument was made that local chapter admins should leave their local chapter sites as they are since potential new members might get deterred otherwise. Now we have this highly individualized front page. And I'm not even saying that I'm unhappy with those decisions – on the contrary – I actually like the front page. But why the secrecy?

    • Jason Chrysostomou 22nd Jun 2012

      1.) yes, absolutely. I think identifying and then exploring what the issues are in preparation for the founding of IOPS should be one of the goals during the interim period.


      2.) no, I think all the decisions made by the ICC should be transparent, but as far as I can remember there were only these three things - and they were all published on the site.







      "Who decided to expand the ICC?"



      In line with the ICC blog, existing ICC members could each invite a woman to the ICC to address the gender imbalance.


      "who decided which people to include?"



      Any ICC member could add another woman without needing approval.







      "who decides which blog post is highlighted on the front page?"



      The chapter admin/s can select which posts to feature on their chapter page whether international, national, regional or local. For example, the France chapter admin can select the blog to feature for the France home page and so on.







      "Who decides which projects, books or other contents are permanently featured on the front page?"



      The chapter admin/s can add custom content boxes to their home pages. The admins are interim for now and I think we should add features to the site that will allow voting and selection of admins by the chapter membership.







      With the newsletter, if you want anything included then you can send submissions to the newsletter email address on the contact us page. The international chapter admins collect submissions and format them into a newsletter to send out. This is open to change and a thread has been created for discussion on the newsletter policy





      "But why the secrecy?"



      There certainly hasn't been any intention to be secret about anything. Do you have any suggestions about anything that can be done to make things appear more transparent? In the future when the infrastructure is implemented to facilitate online voting then decisions will be automatically recorded on the site.



      How about a page that records the ICC decisions in the time being or more detailed information about the role of the admins?



    • David Jones 22nd Jun 2012

      Regarding 1.) I'd say one of the most important things to think about and discuss in preparation for the founding convention is how decisions will be made within IOPS after it. There's a thread in the polity forums relating to that already, which may be of interest:

      http://www.iopsociety.org/forum/polity/how-make-decisions

    • David Jones 22nd Jun 2012

      Oops, lemme try linking that again: http://www.iopsociety.org/forum/polity/how-make-decisions

    • Johannes 22nd Jun 2012

      Jason, thanks for the extensive reply – much appreciated! After having re-read my initial reply I must apologize for my poor choice of words. Please bear in mind that English is not my native language – I certainly did not want to sound accusatory or imply that any secrecy was intentional. Some changes just seemed odd to me because I didn't know how they came about.

      «In line with this ICC blog, existing ICC members could each invite a woman to the ICC to address the gender imbalance… Any ICC member could add another woman without needing approval.»

      I read that blog and welcome any effort to make the ICC and the entire interim organization more balanced. That is exactly why I found it rather curious that another two men have been added to the ICC.

      «The chapter admin/s can select which posts to feature on their chapter page whether international, national, regional or local. For example, the France chapter admin can select the blog to feature for the France home page and so on… The chapter admin/s can add custom content boxes to their home pages. The admins are interim for now and I think we should add features to the site that will allow voting and selection of admins by the chapter membership.»

      Having been a chapter admin myself since you made me one during beta testing of the website I think I do understand the process in technical terms. What I do not understand is the concept of an international chapter. Every single member of the entire organization belongs to it (i. e. the entire organization itself), so in which sense is there an international chapter?

      I understand why it makes sense that, say the Malaysian chapter also has a Malaysian chapter admin – it really wouldn't make sense for anyone else to administrate that chapter, would it? But that case can't be made for the so called international chapter. Literally everyone is part of it. Unlike any other chapter it has no geographic boundaries. So, in short, I do understand why, say the Malaysian chapter site looks the way it does but I don't understand why the international site looks the way it does (although I do understand it in a technical sense) and I do not think it is the same.

      «Do you have any suggestions about anything that can be done to make things appear more transparent?… How about a page that records the ICC decisions in the time being or more detailed information about the role of the admins?»

      Yes, any such decisions should be made transparent for everyone, by that I also mean non-members, therefore mentioning it in the newsletter would not be enough, for example the section «History and Future Hopes» could be continuously expanded, explaining how the interim organization has evolved, what has changed since the beginning and why.

      David, I agree – this is absolutely crucial – thanks for bringing it up!

    • Jason Chrysostomou 23rd Jun 2012

      Johannes:

      "Jason, thanks for the extensive reply – much appreciated! After having re-read my initial reply I must apologize for my poor choice of words. Please bear in mind that English is not my native language – I certainly did not want to sound accusatory or imply that any secrecy was intentional. Some changes just seemed odd to me because I didn't know how they came about."

      No need to apologise at all. I didn't think you sounded accusatory. They were all good questions.

      "That is exactly why I found it rather curious that another two men have been added to the ICC."

      I believe that was also to increase the cultural diversity - but you are right here I think that there needs to be some clearer policy about expanding the ICC if more people are to be added, especially if they are men.

      "Having been a chapter admin myself since you made me one during beta testing of the website I think I do understand the process in technical terms. What I do not understand is the concept of an international chapter. Every single member of the entire organization belongs to it (i. e. the entire organization itself), so in which sense is there an international chapter?"

      In my mind, there is an international chapter in so far as there will be decisions that affect all members in the world and so require decision making at that level. But at the same time I think you don't need to call it a chapter or branch of the organisation as such.

      "I understand why it makes sense that, say the Malaysian chapter also has a Malaysian chapter admin – it really wouldn't make sense for anyone else to administrate that chapter, would it?"

      I agree it should be someone from Malaysia - decided upon by the Malaysian membership.

      "But that case can't be made for the so called international chapter. Literally everyone is part of it. Unlike any other chapter it has no geographic boundaries. So, in short, I do understand why, say the Malaysian chapter site looks the way it does but I don't understand why the international site looks the way it does (although I do understand it in a technical sense) and I do not think it is the same."

      Everyone is part of the international so then the admin could be from anywhere. When you say you don't understand why the international page looks like the way it does, can you explain? The international page will show content (projects, events, blogs) that is relevant to everyone in the world, just like the malaysian page will show content that is relevant to everyone in malaysia. The international just happens to be the top level, but, at least the way i see it, the same logic applies.

      "Yes, any such decisions should be made transparent for everyone, by that I also mean non-members, therefore mentioning it in the newsletter would not be enough, for example the section «History and Future Hopes» could be continuously expanded, explaining how the interim organization has evolved, what has changed since the beginning and why."

      Continually adding to the history and future hopes page is a good idea. I think adding a separate page 'icc interim decisions' may be better and easier to find, though, personally.

  • John Vincent 21st Jun 2012

    Jason, your clarification of IOPS as an interim organization and the ICC as a necessary decision making body makes sense to me. I have a question though about your distinction of IOPS as an organization versus a network or umbrella movement.

    Perhaps this is just my lack of understanding but when you say: "A network or umbrella movement is a much looser connection between different groups who come together on much broader issues", I think, how much broader can you get than the vision of an international organization whose long term goal is to do away with the world-dominate capitalist system by creating a classless participatory society? Aren't umbrella movements concerned with addressing specific issues that have a more immediate impact on people lives and therefore the more narrowly focused?

    • Florian Zollman 22nd Jun 2012

      Hi John,

      I agree with what you say that there are many organisations based on very specific issues. However, when you look at their visionary outlooks it seems these progressive organisations are often very unspecific. They might say we are in favour of a socialist society based on workers' democracy, without specifying what kind of institutional guidelines they envision, what kind of democracy, what kind of socialism. Such organisation don't say anything about hierarchical division of labour (coordinator class issues), for example. But I would say without dismantling hierarchical division of labour you can't have a classless society. Or there are environmental organisation who campaign without saying anything about markets. I would say it will be very difficult to reach a sustainable environment, much less stewardship, while having markets. So these issues might look small but to me, they make a very big difference. In this sense, IOPS is more specific identifiying these issues and proposing different institutional oulooks to substitute hierarchical division of labour or markets.

    • Jason Chrysostomou 23rd Jun 2012

      John, sorry for the confusion. You are right that the IOPS vision statement is certainly very broad in scope - a holistic vision for the whole of society - but at the same time I think it is also quite specific. For example, including commitments such as 'to create a polity that conveys to all citizens a self managing say in legislative decisions proportionate to effects on them.' I meant more to differentiate the two, that umbrella movements typically bring together organisations who have varying more detailed commitments, structure and politics, in loose associations on issues that are of common concern.

  • Verena Stresing 21st Jun 2012

    Hi Jason,
    just a quick word from me: you beat me to the punch with your blog. I was about to write something on the issue of what kind of an organization I see IOPS to be (or to become). I also wanted to make some (constructive) suggestions for improvement to the site, or rather, I had some ideas that I would like to share.

    But I also wanted to make the point, just like you, that I think that indeed, people who join an organization do so because they share the same principles, vision or goals.
    In fact, that's why I started my climate blogs. I wanted to make the point that we need to have at least a common denominator, and that we should at least agree on our decisions being based on facts or reality. I do prefer to convince people of our vision and goals, instead of excluding someone right away, but I do agree that there have to be some limits as well. So, no, I wouldn't like the homophobic racist to be a member... except if we can convince him/her to change their views?

    But I also think that, as long as we agree on the basics, then naturally we can have (civilized) discussions on where we want IOPS to go and where we see the most urgent points that we have to tackle in order to achieve our long-term goal, the creation of a new society based on participatory principles.

    To me, the most exciting aspect right now is the possibility to connect internationally and to discuss issues way over the boarders of my own local group (which still consists of only me and by partner, although I got a promise today from a member of the "indignees de Nantes" to join and bring all her friends with her!).

    As soon as there are more members here, I intend to start local meetings, of course. Having "feet on the ground" is important, I agree.
    But what really excites me (personally) is the prospect of having (in the not too far future, I hope) a French/Spanish group meeting, and then French/Belgian one or a French/German one. You should have seen the incredible discussion that started on the climate blog: people from different countries and with different backgrounds working together, developing ideas, getting to know each other, building trust. The prospect of working together with all of these people is really what's driving me these days.

    And isn't that really what we need? More communication with people of other cultures and backgrounds, and mutual learning from each other? I am convinced that by just taking the best ideas already out there and applying them everywhere else, much can be achieved.

    We have to work on the language/translation issue, that's for sure. I for one am seriously hampered by my lack of French writing skills. I can communicate allright, but writing blogs etc in French is a different issue, so for know I can communicate better with people from many other countries than the one I currently live in, and I am convinced there are others who are just like me...

    Anyway, all this just to say: to me, your blog didn't contain any controversial "opinion". Nicely said.

    • Jason Chrysostomou 23rd Jun 2012

      Verena

      "But what really excites me (personally) is the prospect of having (in the not too far future, I hope) a French/Spanish group meeting, and then French/Belgian one or a French/German one. You should have seen the incredible discussion that started on the climate blog: people from different countries and with different backgrounds working together, developing ideas, getting to know each other, building trust. The prospect of working together with all of these people is really what's driving me these days."

      That is really great. I also find the potential in being able to communicate, learn and share with others across the world very exciting. The possibility of taking part in a truly democratic self-managed federated international structure I hope should become a very empowering experience to everyone involved, and also being part of the solution in working with others in building truly democratic cooperative structures that are examples of the kind of society we want to see - as an alternative to the existing power systems we have.

  • James Wilson 21st Jun 2012

    Thanks Jason. Actually,most of the replies by Michael in his blog have been quite clarifying and easy to understand. So some good came out of it. That was pretty much why I posted that stuff about Buddhism. You can't just throw anything into the pot, from here or there. There is room for debate and discussion but believing in a supercreator and becoming a Buddhist could be problematic and there are ways to practise authentically. If one disagrees with those things and tries to change them then what was previously authentic, traditional practice becomes something else. One can leave and start one's own mixed soup group. Believing in a supercreator will illicit debate and someone may get up in your face, but it won't convince a Buddhist there is one. Practise Buddhist meditation if you like, even within an authentic group but join another org to satiate ones belief in a supercreator.

    The long hard road to the little red cushion was to emphasize the fact IOPS is not yet up and running as an org. We are heading there and there may be problems on the way.

    Just some supporting comments. Prob doesn't need to be said but it helps improve my typing skills!!

    • James Wilson 21st Jun 2012

      Also, don't mind IOPS INTERIM and I kinda like the picture too.

    • Jason Chrysostomou 23rd Jun 2012

      James, thanks for the supporting comments. Actually, I think the fact that IOPS is in the process of being created does need to be emphasised and said again because I get the feeling that this point is being missed from some of the discussions, hence why I wrote the blog. I agree with you that I also think we should add 'interim' to the logo. Lets see what others think.

  • Alex Lewis 22nd Jun 2012

    i imagine the sarcasm reference is in part directed at me. as for threats to leave, i believe those are quite real. some have left without actually saying anything so directly, but in simply giving up trying to communicate in a gentle manner. i don't see Shirley Jane Hobbs around. that should mean something considering the beautiful ideas she shared when i saw them. those threats are a question. and if i have to be brazen and cutting to ask then i will. but i don't prefer. a little fun sarcasm sure. gallows at times. but we also are approaching a serious subject and i've been through some serious shit. be gentle to me and i will reciprocate. joke with me, i will joke back. be a jerk, i will tear you to pieces with a tear in my eye. and i suggest reading Caragh's last comment in Michael's post on Confusion, that is, to anyone.

    that said. i have had much confusion over this convention. Mark Evans proposed it as a signification of credibility with something of a 50/50 gender balance. there are other demographics to consider too if claiming credibility. and if he is stating such a goal, i imagine that represents the goals of the ICC, given his status. and this has been set on a timeline. i was pretty much snubbed for questioning this whole idea. to me, that is not something that gets placed on a timeline but an organic process both based on our communication style here and local chapter building.

    right now that demographic is losing big time, but the top-down focus is engaging in reading material theory and vision toward a timeline. and i just don't get it. more to say on all of that.

    but, for the moment i have replied to Michael's recent post similarly, here, and Darcy's, as well as creating a post of my own for some brainstorming.

    http://www.iopsociety.org/blog/from-dream-lego-to-chapter-building

    • Alex Lewis 22nd Jun 2012

      i should say Michael Albert's post for those not fsmiliar...

      lengthy and all but for less confusion sake, i do mean...

      http://www.iopsociety.org/blog/oddexperience-and-confusion

    • Jason Chrysostomou 23rd Jun 2012

      "that said. i have had much confusion over this convention."

      What exactly is your confusion over the founding convention? Could you explain?

      "Mark Evans proposed it as a signification of credibility with something of a 50/50 gender balance. there are other demographics to consider too if claiming credibility. and if he is stating such a goal, i imagine that represents the goals of the ICC, given his status. and this has been set on a timeline."

      No, this was Mark stating his personal thoughts on what he thinks would be a sensible criteria for reaching before we can have a founding convention that has credibility. He was not representing the ICC. What do you think would be a sensible criteria?

      "to me, that is not something that gets placed on a timeline but an organic process both based on our communication style here and local chapter building."
      I am not sure why communication styles relate to when to have a founding convention? I understand if you feel it is a concern, but I don't see the connection to this issue. But can you be more precise about what you think should be the criteria, exactly? certain number of active local chapters?

      "right now that demographic is losing big time, but the top-down focus is engaging in reading material theory and vision toward a timeline. and i just don't get it. more to say on all of that."
      I don't follow. Need more detail or examples of what you mean. Or have you done that in your blog? Should I read that and respond there?

  • 22nd Jun 2012

    I will comment on this blog as one who left a project because of the swarming I encountered from people who were "merely asking questions". The experience was truly mystifying to me in that I was merely making known some concerns that I had about some word choices. I explained myself in detail, TWICE, and still my effort to engage with the authors continues to receive comments long after after having left the project. Those comments indicate to me that the words I wrote were neither being read nor digested. Considering that these are people who use English as their primary language of communication, I came away with the impression that the questions were not a sincere misunderstanding but rather a passive aggressive form of admonition for failing to be docile and accepting of a dogma that has as yet to be endorsed by this society, as you yourself have pointed out, Jason. I even noticed that one individual had the temerity to explain to other commenters what my original intent was, which I found to be beyond simple delusion and bordering on outright rude. Imagine, someone actually interpreting another persons intentions without even knowing them in the slightest. I am personally, much more interested in hearing from people that are actually speaking their mind without resorting to these thinly disguised slights couched as commentary or by repeating a series of questions long after the answers have already been given. When attempting to examine another's efforts, there should be care VISIBLE in the construction of the phrasing you will be questioning them with and none of this hiding behind sophistry. One of the several definitions of the word "question" means to "challenge, dispute, suspect, have suspicions about, have reservations about." You have expressed your opinions about what YOU think should motivate people to join this society. I have read them and I can concur with some and yet disagree with others but you won't find me making any of my opinions public after my experiences with how the leadership has dealt with me. I will stick to organising and expanding my own Chapters where we will attempt to self-manage in hopefully a more respectful and welcoming fashion that has been my experience so far.

    • Jason Chrysostomou 23rd Jun 2012

      Tom

      With most of what you have written, I would first have to have a full read of the conversation you are referring to, to have an opinion about that specifically. Which project was it in?

      "the questions were not a sincere misunderstanding but rather a passive aggressive form of admonition for failing to be docile and accepting of a dogma that has as yet to be endorsed by this society, as you yourself have pointed out, Jason."

      Where do I say there is a 'dogma' that is yet to be 'endorsed by this society'? In my blog, I say this: 'The commitment to joining now in the interim phase is to be part of building a fully functioning self-managed organisation outlined in the organisational description.'
      I think if you like the organisational description and want to bring such an organisation into existence then you join to help build it, no?

    • 24th Jun 2012

      Hi Tom, sorry we've not met but your frustration sounds familiar.

      I just finished responding to a comment in another very long thread that got quite heated when I decided it wasnt an appropriate place for my words - why hang my thoughts out to get twisted and dissected yet again, when I can elaborate slightly and offer a blog on the clash of communication styles that causes considerable frustration amongst members, and is a significant barrier to any hope of gender balance.

      If this is along the lines of what you are referring to, I'd be interested in seeing the exchange, though I suspect it similar to others. Many people are reading and not posting, others are no longer posting the way they used to ... And it is not inevitable. Structure isn't everything, despite the determined focus of those who believe it to be (Econ and politics majors, mostly but not exclusively) - the relational shapes, and is shaped by, social structures. in this case that structure is the (interim) IOPS online space and Ive been watching the way some people's way of relating to one another has been developing - mostly good, but some of it detrimental (to them).

      I hope you've found blogs that allow you to communicate clearly, in the manner you feel comfortable, with people whose company you enjoy. I've found the blogs to be the best sites for both fascinating, supportive conversation, as well as some unfortunately heated ones. It's rather a mixed bag.

      (sorry I jumped in on your blog Jason! I too think using the term interim in the title would be useful). :-)

    • Jason Chrysostomou 24th Jun 2012

      Hi Alison
      I wrote this blog with the purpose of trying to aid discussion around identifying and resolving what the exact points of disagreement or misunderstanding are between members around what IOPS is. I hope that what comes out of it will inform future discussions, and I've been trying to direct comments towards the three issues I raised. So far, some confusion about the parecon and parpolity models as being part of the org description has been raised and resolved which i think has been productive. But so far no-one has said they actually disagree with any of three issues i raise in my blog, so I guess I will take it to assume that we are all on the same page regarding those three points?

      What is interesting is that what seems to be coming out of this discussion is the issue of 'online communication styles' as being a problem between members that is causing some friction. I think it deserves proper attention as an issue of its own and I look forward to reading and commenting on your blog about it.

      In the meantime, do you have any reactions about the three points I make in my blog?

  • Paulo Rodriguez 22nd Jun 2012

    Hi Jason,

    Thanks for the post. I have to admit that I might have operated under the wrong assumptions, see Key Goals & Priorities:

    "IOPS seeks to transcend 20th Century market and centrally planned socialism with a new participatory society - or participatory socialism - that combines classless participatory economy, feminist participatory kinship, intercommunalist participatory culture, and self managing participatory polity."

    I of course interpreted the above as at the very least adopting the participatory economy, polity, culture and kinship visions, where parecon is the participatory economy we are talking about. I suppose that an individual could also interpret the above as follows: ParEcon is ONE way of implementing the vision of a better economics sphere, and that others are also possible, if perhaps not yet properly articulated. I wonder if this is clear for everyone? I guesss in retrospect it wasn't to me, but I'm the only one to blame for assuming.

    To be clear, I have no problem with the organisation a priori stating that Albert's ParEcon or Shalom's ParPolity will not necessarily be the basis for the vision component on their respective spheres, as long as whatever vision we can come up with as a group fulfills the mission statement. I'll adapt my approach at communicating about IOPS accordingly!

    Thanks Jason,

    Paulo

    • Eugene Brud 22nd Jun 2012

      I'm also confused on this point of whether the economy section of the vision statement is advocating parecon or instead some variety of economic visions of which parecon is one?

      As I understand it, the bullet points of that section are minimal institutional descriptions (not just values or norms) for getting beyond the oppressive economic relations typical of capitalism and state/market socialism. But if one were to list the essential/minimal institutional descriptions of parecon, you would come up with the exact same list. That's because parecon is a minimal model, sharing exactly those features as listed and no more.

      So I don't see how one can agree with the list, but favor a model besides parecon?

    • Jason Chrysostomou 23rd Jun 2012

      Paulo, Eugene

      I can see why in reading only the key goals and priorities in the mission statement, it does leave room for interpretation in what the terms such as participatory economy actually mean, but I think the vision statement goes on to explain them, and whilst the economics vision is not specifically the parecon model, I'd agree with you Paulo when you say "ParEcon is ONE way of implementing the vision of a better economics sphere". There could be other similar institutions that will be developed that are consistent with the visionary aims other than say specifically balanced job complexes or participatory planning as described in parecon. But as of now parecon is certainly the only feasible model I know of that would apply.

  • James Wilson 22nd Jun 2012

    I agree with Paulo and Eugene but I do see the possibility of interpreting "participatory economy" generically without reference to a specific model as outlined by Hahnel and Albert. It is the only model ( non-market, classless etc- participatory!) out there so is obviously the go to one. Michael has repeatedly encouraged critique and for others to construct a diff model if they can.

    I agree with Paulo here too,


    "To be clear, I have no problem with the organisation a priori stating that Albert's ParEcon or Shalom's ParPolity will not necessarily be the basis for the vision component on their respective spheres, as long as whatever vision we can come up with as a group fulfills the mission statement. I'll adapt my approach at communicating about IOPS accordingly!"

    I just don't think "participatory economy" necessarily equals the specific model Parecon in the eyes of a new member (who obviously hasn't heard of it) as it is not explicit it the opening mission, vision,structure and program statements.

    Discussion can and will easily start post joining.

    Solidiversity.


  • 23rd Jun 2012

    Hi Jason,

    Forgive me if I misquoted you. I will be careful in future to be scrupulous in not doing so. There has been much antipathy generated over the leadership's insistence that in order to join this society that we are in fact agreeing to endorse Parecon and ParPolity. That was not evident to me when I joined and neither has it been to others who have been involved in long and painful efforts to reason against a rigid and slavish notion that the advocated policies of Michael Albert and Mark Evans are not to be trifled with. If that is the way you wish to run this society, then I say to you it is hypocritical of much of what you have written about self-management and participation in general. I dispute the notion that we must endorse these models and I will challenge anyone who insists upon it without having had at least some discussion and a vote. You can ban me from this organisation if you so choose, but I will not resign as others have done. Those resignations are evidence to me that the leadership has been far from flawless in not only their handling of the situation but also their passive aggressive manner of dismissing any objections. I will continue to challenge and dispute the authoritarian culture that I have been witness to and I will debate any one of you, one on one, in a respectful and civil fashion. I am not intimidated by any of your assertions and I feel confident that you cannot win this point with me in a fair contest of intellectual reasoning.

    • Jason Chrysostomou 24th Jun 2012

      Tom,

      "There has been much antipathy generated over the leadership's insistence that in order to join this society that we are in fact agreeing to endorse Parecon and ParPolity."

      When you join you are agreeing with the organisational description (mission, vision and structure documents). I think you may be misquoting others now. I'd be surprised if anyone has said you need to agree to endorse Parecon and Parpolity. Who has said this and where? It may have been a mistake, or I think more likely a misunderstanding.

      "That was not evident to me when I joined and neither has it been to others who have been involved in long and painful efforts to reason against a rigid and slavish notion that the advocated policies of Michael Albert and Mark Evans are not to be trifled with."

      It wasn't evident to me either, but I think that is because what you are saying isn't the case. Where does it say you need to endorse parecon and parpolity? Where has anyone said this? They may have said that to join the organisation you need to be in agreement with the organisational description, just like when you join any organisation.

      "I dispute the notion that we must endorse these models and I will challenge anyone who insists upon it without having had at least some discussion and a vote."

      As above, you don't need to endorse these models. Joining requires being in broad agreement with the organisational description and committing to building the organisation - to making it a reality.

      "You can ban me from this organisation if you so choose, but I will not resign as others have done. Those resignations are evidence to me that the leadership has been far from flawless in not only their handling of the situation but also their passive aggressive manner of dismissing any objections. I will continue to challenge and dispute the authoritarian culture that I have been witness to and I will debate any one of you, one on one, in a respectful and civil fashion. I am not intimidated by any of your assertions and I feel confident that you cannot win this point with me in a fair contest of intellectual reasoning."

      I am not sure if what you are writing is directed at me? I'd also like to have a respectful and civil conversation with you, and I'm trying my best here. Do you have anything to say about the points I have written in my blog? Do you disagree with anything I have written and if so, can you explain?

  • 23rd Jun 2012

    To answer you question about which conversation I was referring to see:

    http://www.iopsociety.org/projects/occupy-vision-explorations/introduction-1-why-have-shared-vision

    • Gerry Conroy 23rd Jun 2012

      Hi Tom,

      You said to Mark in the Fanfare project forum which you link to above > '..If I need to explain my ideas any further, I suspect that you will not understand them anyway...'

      Yet you said to Jason here > '..I will debate any one of you, one on one, in a respectful and civil fashion. I am not intimidated by any of your assertions and I feel confident that you cannot win this point with me in a fair contest of intellectual reasoning.'

      Tom, you could have done that in the project forum itself - where you were raising the issue of what you felt was an alienating use of certain terms, for particular cultures, in the Fanfare material. You don't seem to consider the possibility that people were genuinely unable to understand what you were saying and were prepared to honestly explore that with you. You weren't 'swarmed' at all - that's the way you have chosen to perceive the brief exchange you took part in - and left others confused and said you were leaving. I took it to mean you were leaving IOPS and maybe social activism itself, due to the logic of the personal conflict you described. Well, good to see you're still here!

      After looking back on my last post in that thread, I'll offer my apologies for a certain 'cheekiness' on my part for making suggestions about what you might do in terms of your personal beliefs, since of course, you are someone I know next to nothing about. So yes, I can see how that would read as presumption and rudeness on my part alright. I was also trying to clear up a confusion for another poster there (Michael Albert).

      Here in Jason's blog post, you're not talking about the problem you have with the particular Fanfare terms - a problem which we still have to understand - but about a perception by some members of an authoritarian push from the ICC - or some people on it - to get everyone on board for Parsoc by working through Fanfare. At the moment, the Fanfare project is just a reading group for those interested and any proposed implementation of those ideas would be subject to voting by all the members at some point in the future.

      The thing is, there's simply nothing to stop other - or overlapping - reading groups from working towards different projects which also fit with the Mission/Vision statements.
      As has been pointed out, currently there just isn't much else out there which could substitute for the Parsoc project - but there could well be plenty of material which could add to it - or inform it. Which is where your critique of some of the terms/language used in Fanfare, on behalf of certain cultural constituencies could help, if you wished to follow through with it.

    • 24th Jun 2012

      Argh ... Welcome Tom, to the Disected Posters of the IOPS ideas mortuary (meet us in the basement, we actually have some really amazing conversations when not required to be more concrete and provide examples/evidence). Sorry, bit of dark humour there.

      I just posted that blog on communication but it was a rush job - should attract the word surgeons. But if you're game, feel free to express as you please the concerns you raised previously. Or go to Alex's Lego blog - perfect place for kicking around such things and enjoying a broader discussion - I guess it's not authors, but they don't seem able/keen to engage your concern.

      http://www.iopsociety.org/blog/from-dream-lego-to-chapter-building

      And for what it's worth, in that project you linked to, I believe I understood your point and thought it perfectly legitimate. Many of us have been misunderstood, and frustrated by the brick wall of no comprehension, yet others near to us (virtually speaking) understood quite well. If there are so many of us having this same problem, is it us as individuals at fault? To be sure, that is how it is framed situationally. ... And the response you referred to, erroneously interpreting your meaning and intention, was nothing short of paternalistic (being a woman, I'm somewhat familiar with this one, as are my kids who likewise hate it).

  • Alex Lewis 23rd Jun 2012

    Jason... to reply to your above response...

    as for being Mark Evans personal thoughts, thanks for clarifying. i do believe that is a point of confusion to many. he is on the ICC and one of the writers of fanfare. it is a natural assumption that he represents the goals of the organization. the question that maybe confuses many.. are Mark Evan's goals or Michael Albert's goals THE goals?

    by proxy of influence, people are often responding to follow or reject, and sometimes! somewhere in between. one can agree with the general mission and vision, but when entering this space will encounter what at least seems to be an authoritative voice. or, how much authority DO Mark or even Michael have?

    Mark tends to hold a very authoritative tone and consistently says what "we" need to do or are. and you "fail" or are "wrong" to think otherwise. you get a pat on the head if you agree. if a member then sees he is on the interim and a writer for what is currently central material being advocated, then it seems natural to many that he represents the organization's beliefs. this may leave one feeling there is conflict or hypocrisy with the mission and vision statements.

    as for Michael, he is more reasonable. hell, he can reason the shit out if things. but he does push a bit at a time i think we should be adapting to each other and inviting a wider spectrum into this space based on the mission and vision. that's just me saying, but i've seen some evidence i'm not alone. i don't say all this to be mean, i say it to be honest. and i sense some fear on iops to BE honest. so i've been pushy to create a bit of space for others.

    no, i have no precise answer for having a convention. in fact, it makes no sense to me to even think about right now. what makes sense to me is the here and now. communication styles relate as it enables comfort to call this place a home. if people that do agree with the general concepts in the mission and vision are feeling forced to conform to an approach to that, then i would guess the outcome ineffective. right now i imagine a convention in a year or something comprising of 98% white guys that have discussed fanfare and can afford a ticket. really, i say that to be constructive, as i imagine that is not the goal. but what is the goal?

    maybe there should be no goal right now but to develop and evolve. so no, my blog is not a detailed, concrete path. it is more of a reflection and open drawing board if anyone has something to share they feel is missing, or can offer something to Michael's concern on expanding membership. it probably sounds as vague to many as this reply. i will add a little to the responses. and yes, by all means comment there. my 'rule' one is meant to be broken. and thank you for your sobering responses on this post.

    • Florian Zollman 24th Jun 2012

      Hi Alex,

      I think the general goals of the organisation are those written in the organisational descriptions. If Mark and Michael are proposing anything in violation of that descriptions I think we should point that out. Mark and Michael have not more decision making power than anyone else.

      To me, what you describe as "develop and evolve" has specifics: I think in essence, we try to build an organisation based on local chapters within which most of the important discussions are going to happen. And until that happens we will likely not have any major decisions, so there is not much to dominate here in the moment at least in regard to the shaping of IOPS which is well defined. Once we reach sufficient membership nobody can dominate IOPS because there are going to be so many self-managing chapters. In between, the broader goals seems to be quite clear: get more members, redress imbalances and built knowledge and trust. Would you agree with that?

      In the end, IOPS can only function with the local chapters. Only then can we really think about, discuss and implement specific strategies or refine the mission statements etc... The online discussions are great and important but without chapters and face to face meetings there is no real IOPS. And as you say, there is much space for discussion within what is written in the description and even further. However, since we aim to have an organisation there are also certain issues which are mandatory, if you like. Otherwise, if anything would go, there was no organisation. So when people join IOPS they have to consider the mandatory issues. Of course, again, I think anyone is free and allowed to criticises anything. But people who pretty much favour the description, because it is an important document distinguishing IOPS from similar organisations and spelling out values and novel institutional features, might argue, maybe forcefully, against criticism or might address statements that demonstrate that people have not engaged with what IOPS is. I don't think such behaviour is hypocritical or in conflict with the mission and vision statements. Finally, I also think tone is important. But we might need to consider that we are all new to this project, come from different backgrounds and only communicate online, so far, which is quite difficult anyway. So there are many potentials for misunderstandings and we should not always assume nefarious behaviour on behalf of others.

    • 24th Jun 2012

      I'm sufficiently over this communication style thing to write a blog ...

      You know where to find me.

    • Jason Chrysostomou 24th Jun 2012

      Alex

      "no, i have no precise answer for having a convention. in fact, it makes no sense to me to even think about right now. what makes sense to me is the here and now."

      okay, fair enough. But I think it's also important that we think about how we are going to get from where we are to where we want to be.

      "communication styles relate as it enables comfort to call this place a home."

      I agree that this issue is important and hope we can overcome some of the barriers by discussing it in another blog devoted to that subject.

      "if people that do agree with the general concepts in the mission and vision are feeling forced to conform to an approach to that, then i would guess the outcome ineffective."

      sorry i don't understand. An approach to what? and what is the approach?

      "right now i imagine a convention in a year or something comprising of 98% white guys that have discussed fanfare and can afford a ticket."

      i agree the gender imbalance is an issue (like with a lot of left organisations) but any ideas for solutions? what do you mean 'can afford a ticket'? do you feel there is a financial barrier?

      "really, i say that to be constructive, as i imagine that is not the goal. but what is the goal? maybe there should be no goal right now but to develop and evolve."

      Isn't the goal to move from creation to building a functioning organisation? If you don't have any goals then how do you decide on what actions to take?

      "so no, my blog is not a detailed, concrete path. it is more of a reflection and open drawing board if anyone has something to share they feel is missing, or can offer something to Michael's concern on expanding membership. it probably sounds as vague to many as this reply. i will add a little to the responses. and yes, by all means comment there. my 'rule' one is meant to be broken. and thank you for your sobering responses on this post."

      And thanks also for your comments. I agree with you that we shouldn't be too rigid in how we reach our goals, but at the same time i feel we do need to be quite explicit about what our goals are so we can be sure we are all on the same page and then spend time working out together what paths we need to take towards reaching our shared goals.

    • Alex Lewis 24th Jun 2012

      Jason. hmm, how to say. basically, i'm just offering a perspective. maybe the goal is to create a better world. maybe the means to that is to focus on hearing new perspectives by people that do agree with the organization description. as Mr. Albert has said, IOPS is what we make of it. goals of a better world or even a convention are imaginary. they're ideas in our minds. so, i'm suggesting sometimes we need to let them go for the moment and be flexible about the realities in the present. some of that is the demographic, use of language, and need for chapter building.

      the approach? not sure myself. mark and michael have both indicated some thoughts toward a timeline concerning a convention. and michael isn't just another member really. as for a need to conform, that seems to be how some people are feeling. vague, i know, but not everything is concrete. and there are some ideas about priorities poking through. i believe David Jones has something he'll be presenting. so i agree back about not being too rigid. but maybe we need to be a little less explicit until more members have had a chance to find their voice.

      and as communication styles go, Alison Thompson has just put up a blog concerning some of that. i see Michael on there as well. thanks again. i appreciate your work here.

      (curious. where did the conversation with Haroon Bajwa go? he posted here as he was having trouble with the site and needed to contact his members for a meeting, myself and James were trying to help him out. and don't know if everything worked out as those comments seem to have been deleted. kind of thought that was a good example of what interim is about. a little confusion with other members helping)

      Florian. i've had two small chapter meetings and want to expand. i have a post up looking for ideas of all nature, including building chapters. if you have ideas on how to… please share)

  • Mark Evans 23rd Jun 2012

    "I think if you like the organisational description and want to bring such an organisation into existence then you join to help build it, no?"

    Tom - Jason asked you the above question. I'd also be interested to know what you think.

    You also write - "There has been much antipathy generated over the leadership's insistence that in order to join this society that we are in fact agreeing to endorse Parecon and ParPolity."

    If this was me then I would be happy to retract any such statements, but before hand could you please give examples as I don't recall saying any such thing.

    You also write - "That was not evident to me when I joined and neither has it been to others who have been involved in long and painful efforts to reason against a rigid and slavish notion that the advocated policies of Michael Albert and Mark Evans are not to be trifled with."

    Again, if you can give examples then I would be happy to appologise for such behaviour. But I also have to say that I am a bit embarrassed reading this - you give me (and maybe even Michael) way too much credit. After all there have been many many people involved in the formulation of the IOPS organisational description and the body of work that has informed it.

  • Mark Evans 24th Jun 2012

    Alex - first of all if you want your criticisms of others to be taken seriously you have to demonstrate a commitment to your own standards. In a reply to Jason you wrote - "i will tear you to pieces with a tear in my eye". If that is not authoritarian then I do not know what is.

    With regards to my "authoritarian" style of communication I feel comfortable asserting what I have, not because I am on the ICC, but because it seems to me to be a matter of common sense logic that certain things follow from our organisational description and certain other things do not. As an ICC member I feel that it is my responsibility to highlight misunderstandings where they occur but I also think that this responsibility should be felt by all members.

    It seems to me that there are some development taking place within IOPS that are counter to, or ignorant of, what IOPS is actually about. Jason's blog highlights some of these issues. These development naturally concern me so I address them. As a result some members feel victimised. I am sorry about that but I have to say that I think these people could, instead, have take a step back and ask themselves "have I made a mistake?" "Do I understand what IOPS is actually about?" "Perhaps I should take a closer look at the organisationals description, think about its implications, and maybe ask some questions?"

    The fact of the matter is that they are not being victumised at all, they are choosing to respond to, what seem to me to be perfectly legitimate comments, in that way. That is there choice. Personally I am not impressed.

    • Alex Lewis 24th Jun 2012

      well Mark, you did leave out the first part of what you quoted.. "be a jerk, i will..."

      that means i don't care for bullies and will defend myself or others. that's not authoritarian. i find myself breaking up fights in the street every other week. a couple nights ago i heard yelling downtown and realized some guy (wearing a batman tshirt) was on the phone with the police, at a distance from some guy being a aggressive with his girlfriend at the bus stop. i saw him grab her and punch the wall next to her, so i went over, got in his face long enough for her to take off running. that's how i roll. but again be gentle...

      the problem is. people are feeling offended by your assertive style. and you are deeply involved in the initial phase so it reflects on the whole organization. i'm not alone on this, i'm just the one telling you directly. and this comprises of both folks that have a long history through Z as well as some that simply liked the organizational description and are trying to figure it out.

      i'm not personally trying to impress you. and i don't want to play keyboard warrior on this either (but by all means, speak your mind). i've more to do. so i offer these thoughts whether you choose to actually reflect on them seriously or not. and by all means, be you. peace be with you.

  • Gregory VanGaya 24th Jun 2012

    Firstly I'd like to say that I'm in agreement with the initial post (mostly), that I see (from Jason) #4 as a friendly amendment, one that I fundamentally agree with. And that Mark is right about providing a culture for participation in our very interactions.

    I am completely up for a steering committee in this wise interim phase, but would like to see that steering committee only focus on creating participatory governance capacity. I.e., providing tools and venues for broader and broader participation in decision making. I would like to see online functionality in discussion-voting forums that would allow 'representative' power be dissolved as statistically significant stake-holders show up to participate in any given discussion. I've worked on this in theory but don't know how to do it. This discussion, for example, with 55 posts, might qualify, if it had a refinement of discussion towards decision making format, to wrest some power away from the 'steering committee' (as I think of it) and into a broader, participatory discoursive-decision.

    In support of the vein that Florien's comment is in, I would like to see support for inter-regional inter-chapter video conferencing worked out. Tiny Chat video conferencing accounts are, basically free. Then we can start to explore our initial shape and textures as membership(s) across regions and even within regions, meeting more regularly without having to incur the cost (temporal and monetary) of finding a physical venue and transporting ourselves (both quite expensive here in Vancouver) even within a city chapter will be key. Rural and dispersed membership can then have a voice and chance to participate.

    Steering committee critique: As a fairly accomplished, radical 'left' activist, it concerns me that most on the steering committee are in that vein, as platformism and reformism (even non-reformist reform engagement) have clearly shown their limitations over many historical periods and shown that they're arguably even more limited in this period. I believe there needs to be a broader spectrum of movement strategic thinking, especially in the formative stages, which I see little hint of so far. When the spectrum for strategic thought is narrow in the steering committee, I don't agree with the steering committee, as it will inevitably narrow the range of the organizations field of direction from the get go.

    I would like to see us focus on building our own strong-hold capacity, which can insulate a participatory culture, build our own capacity to move in various directions simultaneously, to house more and more lives away from capitalist hegemonic culture and daily living reality, etc., etc. With our own strong holds we can bring people in from mass movements as those movements dissolve, are smashed, moved underground, and as people are put out of work and desperate. That is the real opportunity, imo, not being one of many voices in a mass movement; an abstract, complex and thus rather a distant voice at that. If we have meaningful models and strongholds which people can find stability and survival actually living in, then we will be a corner stone of any movement. If we're one of thousands, handing out flyers and talking about ideas, and that's all, we're NO WHERE. That is plenty clear from my thousands of hours of 'effective' mass movement, Earth First, WTO, Int'l Days of Action, Occupy etc., . Mass movement organizing is fleeting, doesn't consolidate, only rallies (usually temporarily) around broad and rather fleeting memes, and then is amorphous, with little hope of endogenous staying power, institution building, relationship building, etc. That's jsut the reality of starving people who are thinking about how to pay rent in a week as much as they are thinking about meaningful commitment towards upholding their end of a major piece of creating a new institution, forum, shit, even series of banners.

    We need to look to be the corner stone with capacity to house the more serious and skilled institution builders (not traditional activists necessarily) not one of the multitude of newsletter distributors, with a web site. Many in the broad population are skeptical about mass movement street action cause they don't see that it leads to actually winning anything. And they're right, it's a good reactionary 'NO!' but mostly leaves discord and no meaningful future improvement, only a weak line in the sand for now.

  • 24th Jun 2012

    @ Jason and @ Mark,
    After having gone through the threads of the comments that I had previously understood to indicate that an acceptance of Parecon and Parpolity be a prerequisite to join IOPS, I find that I am in error and that I misunderstood the intent. I withdraw any assertions I made to the contrary and I offer apologies to all who I tarred with that brush.

    @ Jason,
    I have no other comments to make regarding the original three items you brought forth. As this comment section should refer to those and only to those items, I have nothing further to add to this thread.

    • Alex Lewis 24th Jun 2012

      your bravery to admit an error is something to be learned from Tom (something often missing). and so are the thoughts you shared on global vision. because you know, sometimes...

      "Those who know, don't talk

      Those who talk, don't know."

      solidarity. glad you are here.

  • John Kenny 30th Jun 2012

    Jason,

    Thanks for this post.

    1. It seems pretty reasonable to put "interim" in the logo. IOPS is described as interim. Members agreed to be interim members. There's a clearly defined point at which IOPS switches from interim to non-interim. A logo might help remind people. And it might be good to be reminded. It does indeed seem like the things we should focus on our different if we're interim or not. I can't think of reasons why not.

    Only after reading this blog post and A Share Experience and Confusion by Michael Albert have I gotten more of a feel for what the interim nature of IOPS might mean. Perhaps I was exposed to these ideas earlier. I'm not sure. I definitely knew IOPS was interim all along, but I hadn't begun to integrate what that meant into my understanding of what IOPS is and how to talk about it until recently.

    2. Personally, after learning that the ICC only made those three decisions the history page feels like an adequate summary of the ICC's decisions. However, before learning, I wondered what decisions that ICC had made, which decisions they were making now, how often they talked, how they did, etc.

    A page dedicated to ICC's decisions and a summary of their discussion should fix this problem.

    3. It's hard for me to figure out what you think the difference between networks and organizations are. It seems you're saying that they both have values and goals, which require agreement. Organizations seem to exclusively have a mission, and roles and responsibilities, from your description. Is this the distinction you mean to make? Is this important because roles and responsibilities mean we'll be planning together, as opposed to working independently? I'm guessing. Can you elaborate on the distinction and what it means for IOPS?