Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, nothing is perfect – Getting beyond the IOPS Impasse
IOPS is at an impasse. But as the old adage has it, crisis is also another word for opportunity. Can IOPS manage to grasp this opportunity to reflect on itself? Sit a little with the impasse, look at assumptions and visions and drop what needs to be dropped, save what needs to be saved, and move on in a fresh spirit?
AND, as we do this, can we engage in open, civil discussion without too much aggro, blaming, disparagement, complaint, outright cutting off, curtness, ‘not-good-enough-ism’? (This seems to happen again and again in some IOPS discussions, strangely). Could we be a little more ‘pre-figurative’ of what we are supposedly on about: participatory democracy and a better society? The better society is not just future tense, it starts here. Could we be a little more generous, wide, friendly, magnanimous towards our fellow members? The current vibe is pretty dismal. If we neither ‘pre-figure’ nor actively participate , we should give up right now. A ‘revolutionary’ org without basic solidarity and civility ain’t revolutionary at all from where I’m sitting, just more of the same old competitive shit and ego games. Meanwhile…
Maybe back to basics? Get away from the narrowness of purely organizational questions and navel-gazing, necessary as these may be right now, while the real world further goes down the tube? Can we work on exchanging and developing our shared meanings or narratives as a libertarian org seeking deep social change? Here’s my go at a conceptual base of very general assumptions, a framing of the world situation, and a general vision for IOPS as a basis for discussion (one lives in hope…).
World Crisis. The world is at a major turning point in its evolution. It is in deep crisis ecologically, economically, politically, spiritually. The overriding threats to human or humane survival are climate chaos and weapons of mass destruction. The crisis situation is dire and urgent, as well as full of potential for the building of a post-capitalist, self-managed ‘good society.’
The Cause. The main driver of this global Crisis is the global system of heteronomy, inequality and ecological overshoot called Capitalism and its imperial nation states.
The Potential Solution. There are many forms of single-issue resistance movements to the various aspects of this System throughout the world (anti-austerity, climate justice and environmental resistance, peace, women, GLBT, indigenous and refugee rights, relocalisation/community resilience etc)
The Vision. To overcome this System, these various forms of social struggle need to ‘connect the dots’, both conceptually and practically, i.e. become anti-systemic rather than just single-issue. This connecting would mean the creation of one global, inter-connected Movement-of-Movements with a differentiated but coherent vision.
Bottom Up. From a libertarian perspective, this global Movement-of-Movements can only happen from below, by the increasing self-consciousness and self-organization of the people engaged in struggle themselves.
Urgency. This process of connecting-the-dots needs to considerably speed up if ecological and climatic tipping points (self-reinforcing collapses) and/or wars over diminishing resources are to be avoided.
Dialogue:Revolution. This process can be seen as one of intensified open dialogue between diverse social movements. It will develop its own more specific questions, problems, visions, solutions and self-managing institutions. This evolution is the Revolution.
The IOPS Potential. This revolutionary process of open global dialogue between social movements can be facilitated by libertarian individuals and organizations like IOPS while active within social change movements.
IOPS Actuality. At the moment, active IOPS members do not share this framing of the general situation and IOPS’ possible role. Whether they do or not, IOPS’ core weakness seems to be that very few ‘members’ seem to have the time, interest or confidence to participate in discussing these general questions or anything else, online or face-to-face, or even in voting in polls made by others.
I’ll close with three specific questions re IOPS.
Can the IOPS project be saved by ‘superceding’ it, i.e. keeping what has been found useful and changing or dropping what has not? (To not let go can often mean certain death.)
Has not the original global mega-organization (‘5th International’) notion for IOPS been given a comprehensive reality check by the absurdly low joining and participation rates? If so, why should it not be dropped?
Can IOPS work out how to become (a) a global website advocating libertarian PD vision and facilitating open dialogue between single-issue social change movements with a view to increasing ‘shared meaning’ and coherence (i.e. global revolution), (b) a participatory global (not just Anglophone) network of libertarian activists working with and in local social change movements?
(Don’t know if this blog might be my last gasp attempt. Thanks to IOPS camerados with whom I have had the most enjoyable online conversations over the last two and a half years: James, Dave, David, Kristi, Lambert, Rick. It’s been a great pleasure.)