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It is time for IOPS to evolve !

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Dear Readers,


I hope this finds you well.Today is Occupy's day of action and so I think it is the perfect time for us to begin considering where we are going as a movement. I am writing for a very specific reason as I believe that any stagnancy or rigidity we see in IOPS so far needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Because of your roles and involvement - i.e. You feel comfortable enough to participate in discussions , I would like to challenge you to work out why exactly you feel you can talk and why others don't.

As you have taken on the role of being spokespeople, and worthy of our time, I would like to challenge you to work out why  the demographics of the website are predominantly male and well educated. Why does this demographic dominate? Just hold on a few moments before you respond with a tome of rationalizations and consider the following....



Can you hear them? Can you hear all the angles that are being lost out on because you insist on talking about economics or polity? Can you hear joy mourning on the sidelines because you insist on presenting yourself as a rational being and refuse to muck about in things that are messy , or dare I say - challenging?

Everyone keeps talking about recruiting. Recruiting for what? Recruiting to fight a war to defeat hegemony? Uugh. That sounds terribly boring.  And I know that me saying that may make you smug- Oh she is not disciplined enough to understand the rigors of the mind. Ha! But I ask you- if you appreciate the rigors so much then why do you communicate in the way you do? I mean this in the most earnest possible way, from one comrade to another.



Why do you not talk about everyday life, about making beautiful communities, about treating your partner better? Is it beneath you - are you more evolved than the rest of humanity?Do you have your own stash of unpolluted air you live off ? Or are you perhaps just ever so slightly addicted to how wonderful you sound and the idea of being variety of guru. 


Hmmmm. Now, if you would delve into the world of the less rigid and start trying to work out why there are silences perhaps you would realize that everyone wants to be a guru, just as everyone wants to be a pirate or a capitalist, or be disconcertingly wild - but not everyone does those things. Why ? Yes, yes the right answer is conditioning and if you are particularly sharp- consciousness, but do you understand that? Do you understand that for all your good intentions you are reproducing exactly the same thing that you claim to seek to destroy. 

And there is a clue. Destroy- win - overthrow.
Do those not sound like the same kind of words that can be used to describe rape or invasion?

I would like to challenge you to take IOPS seriously. To be honest- I have grave concerns about members' commitment to this organisation and their approach to it.. I see you talking but  I don't see you being the change. If you are serious about this you will transform your approach- you will not force the few women who haven't already given up on you to nag. You will be responsible and try and work out what your blind spots are. 

In structural integration the pain an individual feels is directly related to their resistance to change. While I have tried to make this as gentle on your egos as possible ,the bottom line is that you need to undergo a radical shift in your approach, all the way down to your bones. If you don't want to change , then I have to ask you- HOW THE HELL CAN YOU EXPECT ANYONE ELSE TO?

I have collected some links are hopefully accessible to you. I would like you to read at least one of these -grapple with some of the points people have made - and then read it or them again. I want you to find out what part of the revolution scares or confuses you and then try and embrace it - even if it takes years. I want you to start questioning every reaction that you have, and if you are wanting to write something to ask yourself questions. Who am I writing this for? Why am I writing this? Am I encouraging diversity here or satisfying my ego?

It will be very difficult- especially because you have been trained to believe you are beyond the norm.

I am also adding a first draft of my own version of the mission statement to help you hopefully orient yourselves. I showed a male friend of mine this and his response was - 'these are exactly the things I was thinking about on my 7 mile walk home today. We need to make food and provide medical care and have access to existing technology and readjust school curriculum how?' I hope you can also start to ask questions more like that  - and far beyond.


Thank you for your time and I really hope you are brave enough to start shifting the language and orientation of IOPS as you have been taught to be comfortable with power but currently are not using it for liberation but rather to tread water. Once you realize it is better if we don't approach this as a war but rather as a transformation you will realize that you can breathe , smile and humor people . You are all already wonderful people but we are trying to create a society of extraordinary people which includes everyone. That is rigor.


Have a lovely week



C


Links: ( once you have out grown these please don't stop )

Joachim Bauer is a german neurobiologist so hopefully his approach is palatable for you. Here is an english summary of some of his work -http://www.con-spiration.de/texte/english/2009/roeser5-e.html  and his books are being translated into english

Vaneigem -on strategy - sort of :)-http://library.nothingness.org/articles/SI/en/display/29

Here is a woman 

http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html
http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame.html

And if you are feeling exceptionally brave - a male astrologer

http://freewillastrology.com/beauty/prayer.html



And last but not least- 

The mission statement-

IOPS is a new international organisation which would like you to join.
We are in a creation stage and so would like as many people as possible to join us in imagining a new world and contribute to making it happen.

We know you have heard about lots of groups which claim to be anti capitalist, anti racist, anti sexist, and anti authoritarian but we are more than that. We dont just want to fight against the way things are now but to create a world which we like. We want to be part of a society which respects us, our children, our grandparents, and the environment . 

We believe that another world really is possible, and we are serious about making it happen.

We dont just want token change, though we will happily accept that along the way.  We believe that there are serious issues in international relations, in the way women, men and children are expected to relate, in politics, in the economy and the way that we interact with our beautiful planet. We also believe that not any one of these things are more or less important than any other one. Racism and Xenophobia wont go away until we learn to treat our elders,children and partners right. We wont learn how to respect the planet without learning to treat all workers with dignity. We wont have harmonious interesting communities and cultures unless the economy is adjusted and politics become more than a game of the rich.

We know it wont happen overnight and we know it wont be easy. We also know that there is nothing else we would rather dedicate ourselves to. That is why we are asking you to join us - because we don't believe we can make the world we all want unless everyone takes part. 

It is very exciting and we would love to talk to you about how you can be involved. We are especially excited to meet with people who want to work towards changing their communities and challenging themselves to grow with us. We are all learning how to live in this world, but how much better would it be to do that as society which is united instead of so horribly broken.

Please feel free to visit our website at http://www.iopsociety.org or come to one of our meetings 

We believe everyone's voice needs to be heard and we hope to hear yours soon!

 

Discussion 52 Comments

  • Will Henry Lapinel 12th May 2012

    Caragh, you make some good comments here, and you are clearly passionate about making change. But I think you have made some mistaken assumptions about your audience, the members of IOPS. I have not seen any members put forth ideas like the ones you seem to be ranting against.

    1. We see the need for more gender, racial, and socioeconomic diversity. Nobody wanted this, and we are working to change this. Suggestions on how are welcome.

    2. No one is advocating war or destroying or overthrowing, except perhaps in the figurative sense, but I think you are taking such figurative language literally. However, I do agree we should avoid any term such as "war" that connotes violence, even if our intentions are far from it.

    3. I think most members do take IOPS seriously (and that is with or without your challenge "to be brave enough").

    4. Nobody is refusing to "muck about in things that are messy or ... challenging."

    5. Everyone knows IOPS has to move forward (or "evolve" as you put it). Nobody wants to be stagnate. However, things like this take time. We are all doing the best we can with the time we have.

    I suggest to you that you're preaching to the choir, and your sermon is more apt to diminish your congregation as opposed to inspiring change. Instead of accusing the entire IOPS membership of being narrow-minded pompous egotists, why don't you contribute something to the ongoing discussion of how to get where we're trying to go? You clearly have a lot more to offer in this respect.

  • Caragh du Toit 12th May 2012

    Dear William


    Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. I appreciate it. I understand the points you raise, and I understand your desire to defend IOPS and think that is wonderful. However your response is exactly why I had to write this letter. We are all egoists - myself especially so, and thats why I had to write this. It is the last thing I wanted to do and the most uncomfortable thing I have ever had to do. However IOPS and organisations before it have consistently appealed to a narrow group of people because of the way things are being communicated. I understand that revolution needs tenacity but the dependence on rational arguments as a motivation for change makes for a strangely disembodied movement. It is as though logic is more important than life. Is there logic in falling in love , in living stuck in a wheelchair, in watching your children loose their spirit or go hungry? Is there logic in people dying alone or spending their whole life playing role play games?

    Those things are part of the human experience, they are about everyday life and that is actually what we are trying to change. We are trying to make all of our lives better . The purpose of my letter is not to attack. It is the opposite. It is running into the middle of a road with a sign and hoping that the next person who tries that will not get so promptly squashed.

    There are lots of risks as things stand now. People will burn out regardless , but if we make this less about winning and logic and more about being and living, at least we will have strength.

    I value the logic of your list , but it is the approach. You could have asked me what triggered this letter. You could have tried to offer some real criticism but you reacted. You reacted as though I am an enemy, an other that must be set straight. It is that which I am writing against, I know we have been conditioned to approach things in black and white .

    IOPS is about holding the whole of reality bravely, with all its horrors and beauty,and creating a new society together. If I was less strong your comment could have scared me out of activism for life - and I know lots of people have already been scared off- and I know they are exactly the kind that we need. I am writing for them. If everybody pauses before speaking maybe the people with insight in the corner will actually have the space to breathe and voila! you will have answers for your questions.

    The best thing is that the answers won't even matter so much anymore. Because you have paused long enough to hear a new voice, you will feel less alone and more grateful to be alive. Because you have heard a new voice you wont need to talk yourself quite so earnestly into believing that what we are doing is important. You will also have a new friend to drink tea with :) Have a good weekend

    • Will Henry Lapinel 14th May 2012

      I think we are missing each other completely. I may have over-reacted, and I am sorry for that. I am glad you were not scared off of activism for life by my comment, but I suspect your desire to change the world for the better a long way from being deterred by some honest and harmless disussion with me. All I meant to say is that I feel that you made many assumptions about your audience, and I wanted to express myself to you as a reader to whom none of those assumptions applies. I speak only for myself now. In your initial comments and your reply to me I feel categorized and judged. As a very quiet person I spend far more time listening than talking, so your observation that I "paused long enough to hear a new voice" contains yet more hurtful and incorrect assumptions. I am only asking that you avoid characterizing people you don't know in a negative light. No hard feelings.

    • Will Henry Lapinel 14th May 2012

      PS: I like your mission statement very much. Should've said that earlier. :)

    • 14th May 2012

      William, I just want to offer you a warm hug.

      I totally get you.

      It's terrible when you feel another person makes assumptions about you which are not true for you. But it is wonderful when, because of the trust we have developed in the overall community of IOPS, we can hang in there, be honest, express our hurts and frustrations, and have faith that the other will be open enough to hear us and acknowledge our experience, and accept their part in our interaction, and work towards a healing and mutual acknowledgment of our shared imperfect humanity.

      This is what a participatory society looks like!

  • 12th May 2012

    Hey Caragh!

    Hope you're having a great day so far!

    Our first really beautiful day weatherwise in London for so many weeks. Nice to know Gaia's on our side! She's smiling on us, today. I think we should give thanks to her, later.

    Lots of love and enjoy the rest of this magnificent weekend!

  • 12th May 2012

    Caragh: I really love this translation of the mission statement into an embodied, human voice. The ‘Translating IOPS’ project you set up has produced some excellent work in this:

    http://www.iopsociety.org/projects/translating-iops

    Well done! It is a truly personally welcoming, warm invitation to a fellow curious human being to join you on a path of co-creation of a desired world of embodied value.

    To other readers: please be clear that this is not an attempt to replace the ‘official’ mission statement. This is not about competition over the dominant voice. This is about the offer of partnership, and a hunger for authentic participation in the public speech of the community. It is a jazz riffing, a line of flight, a translation into a different, specific personal voice, which may be much more appropriate for certain audiences.

    For the more serious theory-heads out there, I suggest a re-reading of Mikhail Bakhtin, particularly The Dialogic Imagination:
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikhail_Bakhtin

    There is another project, with a title similar to ‘Making IOPS Understandable’, which is also looking at translating IOPS documents into specific, embodied, situated voices, but I am unable to find it again. The site is expanding so rapidly that it is becoming more difficult to navigate. A good sign, I think! If someone knows the link, please post it here.

    I encourage everyone to try translating the IOPS documents themselves, into their own voices, even simply as a personal exercise.

    Begin by choosing a particular official statement to work with. Read it out. If you are too inhibited about reading aloud with another, record yourself using available technology.

    Imagine: if you wanted to share something that was deeply important to you with someone you love, and you truly believed it would be of huge, life-affirming benefit to this loved person, how would you go about it? What language would you use? What understandings of their situation and character would you want to share and express? What empathic connections could you make?

    Let the words enter the grain of your body. Taste the physicality of the sounds, their shape and texture. Listen to how in the act of speaking they resonate in your specific part of the physical world. Listen to how that world responds.

    Doing this not only enables you to better communicate the shared, co-evolving IOPS vision with others, but, equally importantly, it enables you to own that vision yourself, and to plant it like a seed deep in the soil of your own body and psyche.

    I hope everyone had an excellent day!

  • 12th May 2012

    I have posted this version of the mission statement on a couple of facebook walls, and elsewhere, and have already received positive feedback. This was particularly positive from parts of the post-colonial world. So never underestimate the power empathic language! :)

  • 12th May 2012

    Continue to get positive feedback from postings. One comment: 'Beautiful words!' Nice! :)

    Also, the link for a similar project and conversation:

    http://www.iopsociety.org/forum/strategy/making-iops-understandable#889

  • Caragh du Toit 13th May 2012

    Thanks for translating me Zaan :) I am glad people from the South are responding well. They have much to teach .

  • 13th May 2012

    A pleasure! And thank you! We're both also from the South, we fellow Africans, we fellow Southern-Hemispherians. :)

  • James Wilson 14th May 2012

    I wing it when I teach. Always have. I don,t know half the time what I am going to say next. The rant has a place in my heart. I freely improvise. I've played the rigid stuff too. I love it. Rigid calculated music can be exceedingly beautiful. So can Eugene Chadbourne and his rake. Try sitting in front of a couple of hundred people not knowing what you're going to play. You look over at the nutcase you're playing with and you have no clue as to her intentions. Forty minutes later you walk out with only a fading memory of something you did and an extra twenty bucks in your pocket. Nothing to hang onto there. As Derek Bailey said, music is self-erasing. Any kind. The freely improvised, made up on the spot kind, that aint ever coming back. Pointless bloody exercise!! I have no problems with being vulnerable or exposing an open wound. I've run out into the middle of the road numerous times only to be pulverized by a mack truck . I don't like it much but I'm used to being squashed. In a privileged way!

    I also have no problems with anything that has been written or discussed anywhere in this site. Stagnancy and rigidity are just as much part of this messy world as anything else. Logic and rationality too. I thank my lucky stars I came across Parecon and its logic. I can now say to someone with confidence, you can have a classless economy and a marketless one. That's creativity. Steven Shalom's Parpolity taught me that there is a way to organise direct democracy in a huge post-industrial/technological world. That's creativity. That's friggin' awesome, rational and logical.

    I also don't feel comfortable writing this or being a member of this organisation.I never have. I just think it's a great @#$$%%^&*ing idea.

    I have no trouble with the word recruit. If someone does, don't use it. Boring can be good. It teaches you patience. I certainly don't want/wish to be a guru. I don't want to force anyone to change and I am not here to do that. Sometimes there are silences coz no-one's playing. Coz they don't want to. Coz they're waiting. Coz they're whatever. Sometimes you don't want that silence and you jump in with a brutal scream. No harm done. I've been screaming all my life.

    But I'm privileged. I'm alright. It's the billion who aint that's the concern. That's where vision of an alternate economy comes from. That concern. That's where vision of an alternate polity comes from. That concern. That's where vision of an alternate kinship comes from. That concern. That's where vision of an alternate community comes from. That concern.

    I can mix it in the mess with the best but that's just privilege. The real mess out there is definitely NOT privileged. It's quite nasty, brutal and dark. But then, I wouldn't really know what it's like.

    I just want a better world and I have no idea how it's gonna come about. But I am certain that everyone here, members, with all their baggage are doing their best in whatever way they can. We all have our own histories and if we change because of this organisation, great. If we don't, great. Maybe we didn't need to and the organisation will be what it will be. Who knows? Really early days!!But I guess that this organisation came about out of concern. A concern, not for the privileged but for others not so and frankly I don't have a problem with how someone expresses that concern. You can scream it, talk it, yell it, logically, rationally, irrationally, illogically- as long as it is understandable the message will get through.Eventually and hopefully.

    As my fellow in musical arms and friend said to me when I declared that everything I play is shite,

    "Just keep playing that shite."

    PS: Here's the thing. I have no idea whether anything I have written here is of any value whatsoever but your post challenged me to write it!!

  • Paulo Rodriguez 14th May 2012

    Hello there, Caragh,

    I completely share your sentiment regarding feminism. After careful introspection, I believe you are completely correct in your assessment. We tend to go for the more "exciting" aspects of activism, usually with a certain dose of macho bravado we are not always willing to admit to, even though I sincerely believe IOPS is different in that respect. I hope with time we'll show you that our intentions as male members will be translated into concrete action.
    I for one was lucky enough to get in touch with an institution called "Gelijke Kansenraad" (Equal Opportunity Council) which specifically deals with feminist issues. However, there is one difficulty that seems to arise.

    As a male I'm at a disadvantage when trying to convey my desire to learn more about feminism. I will admit it, I'm simply clueless on it. Of course I desire that mothers, daughters, lovers, female work colleagues, and so on, to enjoy the same freedoms and ability to explore their potentials as a human being from a feminist perspective. However I can't help but feeling that often even those of us men who try to break patriarchal patterns by taking more household tasks, to balance the amount of rote tasks traditionally done by women; being careful about effects of our choice of words and gestures as to not hurt our sisters; and dismissing idiotic yet generalized ideas like women not being able to tackle technical/technological subjects (the IT sector is CHOCK FULL of people holding such misconceptions), encounter a barrier. Men are the enemy by (anatomic?) design, and we can't possibly ever understand the horrors and objectification that women endure every day.
    Much of it has to do with the fact that we men have a horrible track record on sincerity in this respect, and sadly enough this problem is particularly huge on the traditional Marxist left, of which I used to be a member.
    I'd like your insights on this. What would it take to prove that we care?

    I for one I'm still waiting for a call from Chris at the Equal Opportunity Council. I sincerely hope that I haven't been pigeonholed from the start just because I happen to be a man.

    Perplexed, but hopeful,

    Paulo

    • Caragh du Toit 14th May 2012

      Oh wow- I just wrote the below response and behold! You have another approach. I appreciate your sincerity. Feminism is difficult. It might not seem exciting but I think it is as exciting as anything else. The challenges you are having are experienced by many - myself included.

      Sometimes our very earnestness trips us up. You shouldn't need to prove anything. You should be able to just be. We are all perfectly imperfect. The most liberating thing you can do for those around you is to work out who you are. When we are insecure in the validity of our best efforts it is time to pause. My best advice to you would be to try your hand at tarot. I know that sounds wild but I have done tarot in the Jodorowsky way for a while to come to terms with all it means to be human. He uses archetypes which embody all the wonder and terror involved in being a human. Once you are secure in your humanity you will find ways to communicate your sincerity. Sincerity is priceless. Hope that helps and thank you for your thoughtful response.

  • Caragh du Toit 14th May 2012

    Hello all.



    I didn't actually read your second comment until now William and I am sorry about that.

    James - My oh my. I don't know if I could have dreamed of your response but it is quite something. You skip through it with some foot tapping and blast out what I was trying to say with a certain kind of swing.

    The purpose of the letter is to rub people up the wrong way. That is the truth on some level. I am wanting to make your feathers feel disorganized so you can give yourself a good shake. I am not alien to the kind of person that would be on IOPS, I know that the chance they really are assholes is quite small. I also know that the scale of what we are trying to accomplish is so huge, and the language that we use is so foreign to so many people, that we have to learn to handle discomfort with grace.

    I am not against logic - I can get high reading maths proofs if I indulge myself and have always been attracted to Parecon because it makes sense and is straight forward. The problem is that I, and many of you , have had the confidence to engage with the way the world works. We believe in some way, however small, that it doesn't have to be this way.

    The problem is that it appears that most people have disengaged. They are getting by. They know somewhere that we can create a new society but they have seen too much senselessness. Their eyes are glazed or they look away. Their logic can't process the world around them so how can they depend on logic to backpedal to sanity? That is what I am trying to address. None of us like Parecon because we like economics, we like it because we like people. (What an amazingly unsubstantiated statement!)

    What I am trying to trigger here is a response , knee jerk or otherwise which can eventually flourish into something we haven't really seen here. We all like wild radical social movements but I know many people see themselves as far removed. Here I am trying to remind you that you can live your life and your politics with as much integrity, humour, and strength as people struggling for water. Once we realize that we pretty much already do that - something you picked up on James, we are not quite the same people we were before. We engage - for real. We push ourselves and throw ourselves into awkward positions and grow and learn. When we do that we can learn what is important to us - what has resonance - and we can concentrate on communicating that - to everyone.

    In your case William I have to say that your involvement has already made writing the letter worth while. The most important voice is your own and you being willing to say - Hey! Thats not me! is amazing. So thank you .Myself and all my other selves drink a cup of tea for all yourselves :)

    A response is enough - a desire to grow is enough . If we understand that we are enough as we are now, and are happy in that fact, but still actively strive to evolve - Oh my eyes can only gleam at the magic we can make! Happy monday :)

    • Will Henry Lapinel 14th May 2012

      Caragh - I think I'm picking up what you're putting down. Looking forward to hearing more!

  • Paulo Rodriguez 14th May 2012

    One final note on my comment above. Now I have a place to start. Thank you for providing me with a chance to redress my failures and become a better person. Not a man, but a person.

  • Stephen Roblin 14th May 2012

    "None of us like Parecon because we like economics, we like it because we like people."

    I suspect there's a lot of truth in this...at least I hope so.

  • 14th May 2012

    OMG! I completely love this!

    I used to be a jazz muzo, and this feels just like that!

    Caragh, you shaman, you:
    "None of us like Parecon because we like economics, we like it because we like people."

    Is it possible to put it better than this?

    If I ever actually meet up with you, I'm going to give you such an enormous hug that I'll probably crush you!

    Mangos all the way!

  • Caragh du Toit 15th May 2012

    Thank you all.

    :)

    This movie is available now if you want to be inspired. Here is some excellent context.

    http://mg.co.za/article/2012-05-14-a-film-about-unfreedom

  • Caragh du Toit 15th May 2012

    Here is their actual website :)

    http://dearmandela.com/

  • Paulo Rodriguez 16th May 2012

    For your information Caragh, the Equal Opportunity Council answered with a COPYRIGHTED BOOK WE ARE ALLOWED TO USE!!! I guess my worries were unfounded!
    Now IOPS Belgium has a Belgian feminist chronicle, from a female perspective, AND in Dutch!
    I love to be wrong. :)

    • Caragh du Toit 16th May 2012

      Behold! The world blesses! How excellent - What do you want to do with it?

  • Paulo Rodriguez 16th May 2012

    Well, for one, read it myself! :)

    Then present it to other women, and see their reaction, their feedback. Which is good because I believe our first Belgian female member is about to join.

    Then when we have enough women, we can start educating the men, including myself. I suspect that's going to be the hard part, specially for me. I have no idea what to expect, but I'm excited as hell...

    Feminism, like any world view that when properly applied and used, shifts your perception of things, *IS* exciting!

    I met her during the 12M protest, while "driving" the family car on which we put a soundsystem for the 12M Belgium organisation. We had decided that one or two spots should be kept free in the car for people who are sick or had trouble moving around. She needed a ride, so I of course invited her to take a spot in the car (which was pushed by VOLUNTEERS while the engine was off, without any input on my part, the words "Out of oil" written on the sides of the car!!!) We talked and came to the topic of IOPS... I explained that we were trying really hard to get women aboard, for the reasons I discussed above. She seemed surprised, wary, and curious all in equal parts. Despite the interruptions during the sound system driving, despite the noise level, and despite other things, she seems to believe that I was genuine.
    Back to today, she called. We spoke on feminism for about 2 hours, while my family was getting impatient I didn't come to dinner...

    I pledged to go to her place and read what she wrote. I already got some details, and apparently it was a harsh horrible life. The mere fact of listening attentively, and making the mental gymnastic of picturing what she spoke of as she was speaking it, made it so tangible I couldn't hold my tears. Then again that seems to be the constant for the last 4 weeks. Simply trying to talk and organise people I previously wouldn't even consider with my narrow view of society, exposes you to types of pain and suffering I am simply not prepared to cope with.

    Now it's up to the IOPS members to empower her to enlighten us men AND women, to tell her story, to make us feel what she feels, to add her perspective and experiences to the complex picture that is starting to emerge from here.

    I read the above and I feel that I am unable to convey what is happening to me into words, as well as what's happening to these people who are being listened to, by someone who more than ever has been humbled by the realization he has so much to learn. Chronically timid people starting to initiate conversations face-to-face during the IOPS meetings because we ask, with genuine interest and the will to learn, "what about you?"

    Listening. Deceivingly simple when you apply yourself to it, but profound in its implications. How the hell did we lose the capacity to relate to others, to the point this result surprises us?

    Again, wow.

  • Caragh du Toit 17th May 2012

    Listening is amazing :) Well done. Please keep me posted .

    There is so much pain in society -but by just acknowledging that people have the pain and respecting it we allow them to feel safer and 'seen'. It really comes down to building supportive communities - that way everyone can be involved.

    • Paulo Rodriguez 17th May 2012

      I had a favour to ask , Caragh. Would you be willing to join us? If you have a computer, we can sit together with her. I'll set up a video-conference post at her place, and that way she can also see that she's not alone in this. Saying we want women in the movement is easy. Actually facilitating her contact with other women already in the movement who will understand her needs, concerns, dreams and desires more directly than I might ever be able to is concrete, tangible and effective. I'm flexible as to when and I'm sure she will feel more nurtured, safe and confident, knowing that she's not alone, because people like you are here too, confident strong, determined women trying to win actual structural change. Is that something you would be willing to free a couple of hours for, or even a bit more?

      Thanks,

      Paulo

  • Ashton Nonerson 17th May 2012

    We need to disband the Occupy movement and start the Commune movement, we need to take back the means of production and start to make a real change. In Argentina they have a slogan: Occupy, Resist, Produce. Their Anarchist movement is much further along than ours, they're setting an excellent example of how do to things.

    • Paulo Rodriguez 17th May 2012

      Hi Ashton,

      Why do you think that we should disband the Occupy movement? If you consider that the Commune movement is a more worthy pursuit, that is ok. However, I don't see how Occupy's existence is mutually exclusive to the existence of a Commune movement.

      Unilaterally deciding that a movement should be disbanded without offering a reason why, a movement I'm assuming you have no stake in given your asking to disband it, strikes me as odd at best, and horribly damaging, disrespectful and arrogant at worst. What is it about Occupy that makes it so unworthy of existing? Why would you risk antagonizing a group of people who made and still make sacrifices every day, as imperfect as you might think their results, processes and so on are? Wouldn't it make more sense to provide with ways to actually resolve the issues you think make Occupy worth disbanding?

      Real change can't possibly come from enunciating a desire to destroy something that people have been working hard to achieve without offering an explanation. I believe you wouldn't take it kindly if an institution you have deeply committed yourself to was unilaterally destroyed by someone without offering AT LEAST a reason why. Am I correct in this?

      You mention them setting an example, but haven't offered any details. How are we to assess that they are, indeed, worth emulating, and actually worth dumping an existing initiative that empowers and enlightens a huge amount of people, if you don't spell it out for us, so we can make an informed, self-managed decision, like an anarchist would actually desire? Unless you mean that anarchism stands for "anything goes and damn the consequences" in which case I'm afraid I disagree with you over the whole line. However, I'd like to believe that you, as an anarchist, desire self-management for yourself AS WELL as for others... and that the above is you conveying a feeling frustration, of things not moving forward fast enough.
      So what is it going to be?

  • Ashton Nonerson 18th May 2012

    The Occupy movement is a bunch of white liberal upper-middle class college students yelling at the sky and getting themselves arrested to feel good about themselves. They even organize with the police and tell them how many arrests they expect to be making. They have accomplished nothing and will accomplish nothing. People who actually want a real change have broken off from them and have started the Commune movement which seeks to turn their entire city into communes through education and direct action.

    As for what's happening in Argentina, you can learn about them here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEzXln5kbuw

    They are doing exactly what happened in Spain. They are educating the workers and turning the industry in their country into co-ops, they are expropriating the businesses, they are helping people realize they don't need the State to survive. That's where the real change comes from, not occupying a park or sidewalk and yelling at brick walls.

    • Giulio Ongaro 18th May 2012

      I don't agree with the whole picture you make of Occupy (they have actually accomplished a lot) but I think there is some truth in it. I guess IOPS is a great place to propel real change.

    • Will Henry Lapinel 22nd May 2012

      Totally disagree, Ashton. Occupy has done very much, not least of which publicly attacking the heretofore untouchable institution of capitalism.

    • Ashton Nonerson 24th May 2012

      >Totally disagree, Ashton. Occupy has done very much, not least of which publicly attacking the heretofore untouchable institution of capitalism.

      Outside of organizing parades, what have they done?

  • Caragh du Toit 18th May 2012

    I am from South Africa, so I sympathize with your approach Ashton. However we have to bear in mind that people struggle in different ways in different places. The population in the first world is much more regulated and controlled in some ways and so people are more likely to believe that shouting at walls is worthwhile. We have to be patient with everyone. Working and living in communes seems to me a much more realistic approach to struggle - not least of all because it is an amazing opportunity to practice living with a different set of values.

    Paulo - Oh course I can talk to her !I will just need to work out when I wont be too exhausted so I can try concentrate.

  • Alex Lewis 18th May 2012

    I'm quoting part of a comment made by Shirley Jane Hobbs in the "Making IOPS Understandable" forum thread Zane mentioned, as it seems to have lodged itself pretty deep in my little brain. and want to thank her for that and pass it on.

    "I am a student of participatory learning. I know it's not an easy task, but one that is REQUIRED before we can accomplish our ultimate goal of a participatory society.

    I'd like to mention a book again that I have posted in other places. It's "On Dialog" by David Bohm. His goal is participatory consciousness, which should be our goal if we want to succeed. We CAN dialog here and create a collaborative result. But first of all we need to create the space where people know their voice will be heard along with all the other voices. Dialog is not discussion or trying to convince others of your point of view. It's being generous and sharing your voice, knowing that it will be received.

    Can we invite people to come to the table and share this space with us in the spirit of participatory society?"

    create the space where people know their voice will be heard.

    i have a tendency to get extremely bored talking in groups, as there is often one or two people that speak a lot or loudly and emphatically, and i would basically just have to talk louder and keep my hand hovering over the buzzer if i have something to say. what's the point in that? so i tend more toward personal conversations, but can also find the same trap there. it seems to me, that creates an experience where i can either shut up or battle for my turn. i think those are both pretty bad options. and i don't think that's the environment we want here… guessing.

    i'm also not a big fan of stating bold opinions as facts. that's an automatic recipe for argument. sorry to use you as an example Ashton, but "The Occupy movement is…" - well, that's an opinion. but as a factual statement, for me to offer a different perspective might then seem like an attack that needs to be defended, or i might get roped into stating my own opinion as fact "no it isn't, it's…" but aren't we really looking to share our perspectives and grow from that? well, that's what i'm looking for. and for example, Shirley has given me a knew way to start looking at that, and i see some similar language in your post Caragh. so instead of shouting or shutting up, perhaps we need to keep these ideas in mind, keep mentioning and keep trying to create space by actively giving some room to quieter voices.

    as that goes, i've become increasingly concerned with the need to bridge gaps here in IOPS. not everyone in this world is inclined to engage online, and that's not too hard to understand, but the gender gap here is definitely a problem. i've seen it mentioned elsewhere that women are not as quick as men to take part in political forums online, and that women are often attacked in such environments. so IOPS intends to be much more than a political forum, but may be perceived as such, or we may be acting as such, not being that change.

    i'll admit i haven't researched various perspectives on that difference in activity at this point and am wide open to insights. but here's something on my mind. i've heard plenty of times that we live in a male-dominated society. i'm sure i'm not the first to suggest that more-so, we live in social structure created my men. speaking at least on the US, where i live, the constitution was drafted by and for wealthy white males. (and side-note, i'm not a big fan of terms like black and white. i think that keeps folks divided on a very superficial level, but in the context of the history, it seems accurate to say it that way.) so it's not too hard to understand why we see that same domination in our current culture.

    there have been some rights won, but the general structure remains. there's an old Malcolm X speech where he stated that human rights are something you are born with, but they have you barking up the civil rights tree. the structure boxes us in to struggle for rights we naturally have, and that's the structure i want changed. seems to me, in the current political and corporate field, for a woman to succeed she must act like a man. Hillary Clinton has to be clear she's as ready as any man to send in the troops to be considered for the job. and this is called progress? not much of a success story there in my opinion.

    so i've wondered instead, what would a constitution, of sorts, look like if drafted by only women, or of course by equal gender influence? something different perhaps than the current prescription for alpha competition, something more compassionate and nurturing. and that is part of my draw to Parecon, equality of influence and empowerment. and here we are faced with this problem in IOPS from the outset. we've been socialized into roles we must grapple with. it's not just a matter of whoever speaks or shows up gets to be the voice. we better find ways to make the space for the voices we aren't hearing.

  • Ashton Nonerson 18th May 2012

    "I don't agree with the whole picture you make of Occupy (they have actually accomplished a lot) but I think there is some truth in it. I guess IOPS is a great place to propel real change. "

    What have they accomplished? I've spoken with hundreds of occupiers and none of them could offer an example of something they have accomplished outside of 'we got news coverage.' Some of them even have the gall to compare their movement to the Arab Spring where people are getting killed for fighting for their freedom while all they are doing is holding parades and getting chased off by police.

    Their form of protest is the classic college liberal 'summer of love' movement started in the 60s. To quote from Ward Churchill:

    "We are left with a husk of opposition, a ritual form capable of affording a sentimentalistic “I’m OK, you’re OK” satisfaction to its subscribers at a psychic level but utterly useless in terms of transforming the power relations perpetuating systemic global violence. Such a defect can, however, be readily sublimated within the aggregate comfort zone produced by the continuation of North American business as usual; those who remain within the parameters of nondisruptive dissent allowed by the state, their symbolic duty to the victims of U.S. policy done (and with the bases of state power wholly unchallenged), can devote themselves to the prefiguration of the revolutionary future society with which they proclaim they will replace the present social order (having, no doubt, persuaded the state to overthrow itself through the moral force of their arguments). Here, concrete activities such as sexual experimentation, refinement of musical/artistic tastes, development of various meat-free diets, getting in touch with one’s “id” through meditation and ingestion of hallucinogens, alteration of sex-based distribution of household chores, and waging campaigns against such “bourgeois vices” as smoking tobacco become the signifiers of “correct politics” or even “revolutionary practice.” This is as opposed to the active and effective confrontation of state power.

    Small wonder that North America’s ghetto, barrio, and reservation populations, along with the bulk of the white working class people who are by and large structurally denied access to the comfort zone (both in material terms and in a corresponding inability to avoid the imposition of a relatively high degree of systemic violence) tend either to stand aside in bemused incomprehension of such politics or to react with outright hostility. Their apprehension of the need for revolutionary change and their conception of revolutionary dynamics are necessarily at radical odds with this notion of “struggle.” The American nonviolent movement, which has labored so long and so hard to isolate all divergent oppositional tendencies, is in the end isolating itself, becoming ever more demographically white, middle-class, and “respectable.” Eventually, unless there is a marked change in its obstinate insistence that it holds a “moral right” to absolute tactical monopoly, American pacifism will be left to “feel good about itself” while the revolution goes on without it."

    As for the matriarchy idea:

    "so i've wondered instead, what would a constitution, of sorts, look like if drafted by only women, or of course by equal gender influence? something different perhaps than the current prescription for alpha competition, something more compassionate and nurturing."

    Power attracts a certain type of person not exclusive to sex. Women can be just as bed as men.

  • Alex Lewis 18th May 2012

    news coverage is a pretty good accomplishment for the general message of discontent. it's definitely created some conversation and activity that would not otherwise exist. things that can be criticized for other work? of course.

    i agree with some of what Churchill is saying… dissent remaining within state control. that's inline with the Malcolm X reference i made. the speech is "The Ballot or the Bullet". his general call was to get outside of the box of US law, realize you shouldn't have to ask for these rights, and take it before the world for support.

    i feel your hinting at the pacifist debate, which sometimes becomes a black and white picture about taking up arms vs peacefully marching in the designated area. if so, then we might want to identify thresholds for violently defending oneself or another or that which we love. we might want to discuss the ups and downsides to violent struggle and peaceful protest. and we might want to be clear on where we are trying to go to assess that. but i'm not sure what your position is just yet.

    "Power attracts a certain type of person not exclusive to sex. Women can be just as bed as men."

    men and women are different but we're all human, yes. i feel we have a more masculine based social structure. if it were simply a matter of power's attraction, then we should see equal representation of gender in powerful positions. more to say there, but i'll leave that open.

  • James Wilson 18th May 2012

    I think you are right in some ways Ashton. But I don't think the problem of real and effective confrontation is new. It's been around for a while. There are heaps of ways to skin a cat, some better than others, some useless.Types of strategies for change, the character of movements etc are obviously determined by place and history. I think some of the things you point out are exactly why IOPS has started up. A self-managed organisation, from the bottom up consisting of local, regional, national, and international chapters, organising for a better future. It doesn't preclude doing other things. As Cynthia Peters says, "Don't stop doing what you are doing. But do join IOPS so that you can start developing a larger context around you - one that includes others who are striving for radical, systemic change and who want to plant the seeds of a better world in the work they are doing today."

    If the commune movement is more meaningful for you then that's your thing. I do wonder whether the underclasses that Joe Bageant so well represented and brought to peoples attention, would stand around in bemused incomprehension or react with hostility towards the politics of such a movement. I am sure it is not immune to criticism.

    Over here in australia there is a different definition of GST-which usually stands for a goods and services tax- among the indigenous population. Genocide, sovereignty, and treaty. They call it the Black GST. I am glad you mentioned the indigenous population of the US as they are often the invisible people of America. And I am sure much of your criticism of the occupy movement could easily be applied to something like IOPS even, from among these ranks. Robbie Thorpe, an indigenous activist and host of a show called Fire First here in Melbourne, will not recognise that white australia has any legal authority at all and soveriegnty must be recognised, a treaty made and the undeclared genocidal war brought to an end. I, a white middle class dick am merely 'astrayalien'!! Recruiting ( yeah I know Caragh, it's not a great word!!) from among these groups or at least garnering their views obn such an organisation like IOPS would be helpful.

    I am not sure what you are getting at when you say that,"unless there is a marked change in its obstinate insistence that it holds a "moral right" to absolute tactical monopoly, American pacifism will be left to "feel good about itself" while the revolution goes on without it."

    • James Wilson 18th May 2012

      Just thought I'd add. I meant to write "confrontation of state power". I should have written "I AGREE Caragh..." And I thought I might add this from Fanfare for the Future.

      "Two groups that have different values, even
      using the same conceptual framework, will often arrive at
      different approaches to social change due to settling on
      different aims and methods and such differences will often
      preclude working together, It follows that to agree on views
      sufficiently to unite people seeking social change to be able
      to work together well, we need to go beyond sharing
      concepts to also sharing vision and strategy." Intro to Occupy Vision.

  • Alex Lewis 20th May 2012

    like your sense of rhythm james. i play some guitar and i've found myself reading some posts as music because of you. harmony, dissidence, breaks and flow, mistakes that make cats stop, paws to hold, lick, check, let go and keep growing.. who knows?

    throwin this in the mix...

    http://www.carolhanisch.org/CHwritings/PIP.html

  • James Wilson 21st May 2012

    :) Alexander. I like rhythm. Time. It's in the way Billie Holiday closes her mouth and looks at the Prez. It's in the subdivisions of rhythms people don't hear. The cracks. I heard an anarchist say that once. We gotta look for the cracks. Little openings where we can prize open new beginnings. Perhaps that's where some more music is. You know, the personal is political!! Music that some don't want to hear. Marx saw that. The creative possibilities in all. It's the most essential thing. Necessary. IOPS is like that. A new possibility. A new composition we're inside of. Little notes, harmonies, dissidence and dissonance, breaks and flows. Yeah, and mistakes. Posts as music-I like that too.

    Stay warm my friend and thanks for the link. Give to my 16 yr old daughter!

    An aside: Miles Davis once asked John Coltrane why he payed so many notes and for so long. Trane replied he just heard 'em, had to play 'em and he didn't know how not to. Miles countered, "Why don't you try taking the horn out of your @%$#ing m,outh!"

    Who knows!!

  • Caragh du Toit 22nd May 2012

    We're all tripping on potential resonance :) How delightful. We have been thinking of starting a movie club which can act as a sort of international and local reading group or just hang out session. We watch things that are inspiring, important and beautiful every month or six weeks or so and hopefully get to know each other. I think we all need to start concentrating on building relationships with people who are geographically close so we can start sublimating something :) Blessings

  • James Wilson 22nd May 2012

    There is no tripping going on here. I have never been an activist and I don't consider myself one now. And I certainly don't consider myself a revolutionary. I joined this org with a bit of prodding. Stalking the site and writing a bit here and there is the only way I can be involved at the moment. Someone coined the phrase the Precariat. I don't know who and I don't care. My position in this org is precarious. I totally believe in what it is trying to do and I hope it survives. As I have said before, even connecting with people on this site through the forums and blogs is hard for me. I have never been comfortable in groups. That was the first thing I said to a member of a Buddhist group I joined many years ago. I no longer practice. Everything I have written on this site is one thing but how I actually feel about being part of it is another.

    Maybe building relationships with people geographically close so we can stop directing energy on potential resonance and start sublimating things IS a good idea. If so for some, go for it. But for others it may be too soon. If people want to go out and kick some tangible arse great. Time for others is a BIG constraint. Just joining and maybe floating around at the moment and learning and reacquainting with ideas and things forgotten as a result of this organisations existence is fine for me at the moment.

    That anecdote about Coltrane, for me highlights that precariousness. I am glad he didn't pull the horn out of his mouth, just because others may have thought space/silence in music is better. I can only do what I can do at the moment and I am sure there are many others like that as well. If I feel pressured to do things beyond what I can, I might pull the horn out!! This Procrustean society I have been brought up in has taken me to places I don't want to go and I am tired and I don't want this org to start doing the same. I'm going to play at my pace, not someone else's. As I have also said, it's early days.

    I don't mean to be harsh Caragh, but that's what came to mind reading your post.

    PS. Read your thingy from The Occupied Times on IOPS. Found it trolling around NLP in their section, other things on the Web. Thought it is worth putting up on site for others to read.

  • Ben Morelli 22nd May 2012

    Hi everyone,

    The original post was difficult to process, but the further comments by Caragh and others have brought me into agreement. I love logic, and appreciate the following comment by Caragh, "Their logic can't process the world around them so how can they depend on logic to backpedal to sanity?" It does imply we, those of us who agree, are sane which of course caters to the ego of many IOPS participants. Ego isn't terrible, but is a powerful force to be aware of. Most of the preceding comments indicate such awareness! I would like to propose that we not abandon logic, but form a powerful partnership between logic and other forms of communication (Caragh mentioned a few). Different forms will engage different people and broaden IOPS appeal. Ps...I know that Caragh was not proposing an abandonment of logic, and a challenge of logic is certainly warranted.
    I also very much enjoy the mission statement Caragh drafted. In fact I prefer it. I thought I understood the official mission statement, but upon further reading and comparison to Caragh's I much prefer the simple accessible language.
    Thank you Alexander for reposting the comments by Shirley Jane Hobbs they are poignant and beautifully humble. I have been working (struggling) for some time to limit my use of phrasing opinions as fact. It is funny how this sets up a conversation as argumentative. I love brazen conversation when it is with friends accustomed to such a format, but am increasingly recognizing that this style does not work for everyone. It tends to prohibit participation, disproportionately of women, and that of course is something to be avoided.

    Thanks Everyone! Keep posting...

    Ben

    • Alex Lewis 23rd May 2012

      “And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”

  • Caragh du Toit 23rd May 2012

    How delightfully odd this post has turned out :)Neurobiology to Nietzsche. I really hope you are actually tripping James. I don't think anybody minds if your an activist or not - not here at least. I think we all just want you to do what you feel comfortable. There is absolutely no point in martyrdom - unless you have decided that it is your destiny and if that is the case I would suggest wearing a floppy hat and drinking a cocktail in the sun first. The main reason for suggesting meetups in person is that it will be good for us. Knowing someone you can sit in a park with, that understands how you think, that doesn't automatically want to argue about how impossible everything is , and isn't painfully attached to using words like super-structure is nice. Its more than nice. Its also amazing to work out how they organize their lives, and it helps challenge and support you in being more in harmony with your own life. If you stick around James and continue to add your tangents - I for one will appreciate it - because you give us space to breathe. And I feel legitimized in humming such ridiculous things as 'high society' to myself. :)

    Ben - thank you for soldiering through :) It is difficult working out how to communicate -but we can start trying.

  • Alex Lewis 25th May 2012

    yeah, pretty cool Caragh. this is my favourite post on IOPS as i feel some needed warmth here, hear some voices not represented otherwise and some language changes (more to do!). sometimes i feel bad not commenting directly on everything everyone has said. but then sometimes i just get tired of my own voice and just want to smile or look perplexed back. but no one would know in this internet thingy i was doing that if i didn't say so. i'm not all that comfortable talking here or in groups, like james (ya, the trumpet analogy i got, and resonates... do your own thing, we can differ but stay warm). and i when i hear about sharing an old feminist essay with your daughter that someone recently shared with me because of a comment i made elsewhere.. that's pretty damn cool and well, moving.

    thank you for re-mentioning Shirley's comment, Ben. i like some brazen conversation sometimes too, but yeah, there is a problem in that style of phrasing, i think that presumes we already know the answer. haha. and we don't. i wish the comments here automatically notified like the forums do without commenting directly on someone's comment. so hope you return and hear that, and others. don't want to spam comments to say "hey, i just said something!"

    and if Ashton comes back, i want to change my language from "if it were simply a matter of power's attraction, then we should see equal representation of gender in powerful positions," to a question. "wouldn't we then see equal representation of gender in current powerful positions?"

    hmm. i am tripping a bit, on multiple levels. don't know what you mean about martyrdom Caragh. but i do like the movie night deal. if you start a project, you got at least one person. funny, i can't really suggest a movie i haven't seen, so works as a pool or also to re-watch with new people to share. Once Were Warriors?

  • 10th Jun 2012

    I posted this under my blog, but I think it would also be appropriate here:

    Just to affirm: I believe that the simple fact that we are all here, by whichever route we took, is an unequivocal testament to the strength of our shared values and convictions, the supportive stability of our communal ground.

    I have absolute faith that, especially with the substantiality of ZNet in the background, IOPS is plenty strong enough to withstand whatever participatory upheavals we throw at it. IOPS, like Gaia, has already been through a lot, and has and will continue to co-evolve and co-create, without any fear of apocalyptic destruction.

    Go for it.

    Don’t worry: she can take it.

    :)