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Now What?

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    1. Do you feel that we should remove or retain the conditions we earlier set for holding a founding convention? 
    2. Do you agree that operating chapters should take initiative in coming events, whether planning a convention (agenda, procedures at convention, place, etc.) or attaining the earlier set preconditions for having a convention and then planning it?
    3. Do you think we should define an operating chapter as a local working group with ten or more people participating regularly, or as a local working group with five or more people participating regularly?
    4. If a convention plan is developed by operating chapters and it is to be held in a country other than your own, requiring flight, would you attend? 
    5. If a convention is to be held in your country, but not in your city, requiring rail, would you attend?
    6. If there are costs for venues, for helping people attend, etc., would you donate to help? If yes, choose one: $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000 or more ?
  • When considering how to proceed with IOPS a number of vexing issues quickly arise, at least for me.

     

    On the one hand, I believe the conception of IOPS is excellent. For example, I think its commitments are fine, as is its attitude to organizational structure and program. And I even believe that were IOPS to exist as a working rather than interim organization, including having many chapters, etc., it could make major contributions to social change. Indeed, if I didn't believe those things I would not be part of it. I assume the same is true for other members.

     

    On the other hand, conception is not implementation. IOPS has over 3,500 people who have joined, but no one knows how many have done so in a serious way, as befitting joining an international, national, or local revolutionary organization.

     

    We do know, however, that so far, while a trip to the web site reveals a very impressive outward appearance, under the hood there isn't nearly the participation one would expect from members of a revolutionary organization. We also know that there has been little - indeed almost no - coverage of IOPS outside ZNet. And we also know that IOPS members, particularly those who write and speak regularly, have been unable or unwilling to generate a buzz about its potentials.

     

    These factors have certainly at least contributed to why the number of chapters is low, why the number of chapters that have local program is still lower, and, at least in my opinion, why instead of having 50,000 members, or many more, we have 3,500.

     

    So - now what?

     

    How can we move from conception - a worthy proposal but with a relative few chapters doing more than waiting and hoping - to successful implementation? How can we arrive at an organization with clear structure and procedures, with activist program locally, nationally, and internationally, and with high levels of involvement? It is not an easy question.

     

    What to do?

     

    There is a poll now on IOPS and arising from ICC discussions and polling, that explores some related issues. Here are the questions, roughly.

     

     

    How will members answering these questions help the journey from IOPS conception to IOPS implementation?

     

    First, answering question one could help clarify whether having preconditions for a convention subvert having a convention by dulling hope and energy, as some feel. And they may also clarify if having a convention is needed to generate momentum to reach the preconditions, rather than the preconditions being needed to have a convention. Or, alternatively, they might reveal whether the preconditions are essential because without meeting them, effort put into having a convention will be wasted because the convention will be too small or not credible. 

     

    Answering questions two and three could clarify how best to make decisions now, and especially leading up to a convention. Should we rely on an ICC - half of which is not attentive, and most of the rest of which is only modestly engaged - or should we rely on active chapters (which are few in number, and not well defined, but more engaged)?

     

    Answering questions four, five, and six, could clarify what effect setting a convention date and having a plan would have on people's interest and energy for IOPS. Would it elevate involvement, or would it be largely irrelevant to involvement? Is there means for holding a convention, and would people attend, if a convention is planned and the immense work it would entail undertaken?

     

    In accord with IOPS commitments, the idea of having the poll is to take the results and have the ICC, in light of people's preferences, try to propose a way forward that will be worthy, viable, and also, if not unanimous, at least without serious controversy.

     

    So, please, let's everyone take the poll, answering carefully…

Discussion 102 Comments

  • Fred Curran 23rd Jun 2014

    There should be a poll created by members at large, drawing on the ideas of all members. It should include more than a few people bringing forward proposals, and not even two dozen voting to craft the poll. Especially if it is to be binding and to truly be a path to the future.

  • Michael Albert 23rd Jun 2014

    We can all come up with interesting possibilities...but there are actually norms for what to do - and it is what is being done. I don't like elements of it, but it binds us, and properly so, I think.

    The main problem is, as it always has been, we don't have 50 or 100 viable active chapters, etc. etc. Okay, that is the way it is. So within that, and our rules - alterable at a convention but not earlier - we do what we can.

    3,000 people cannot create a poll. This one, which is pretty trivial and simple, I think, will provide some useful information. Out of that information may emerge - it is the hope - an obvious and overwhelmingly uncontroversial path forward, also the hope.

    • Jason 24th Jun 2014

      But the norms of what to do don’t bind us. San Diego set up a strong chapter quite early on and left feeling that the interim period was too restrictive. Something similar happened in Seattle. My chapter of Melbourne may not stay if IOPS can’t pull itself out of the rut it’s in. Quite opposite to binding.

      The norms are not even being stuck to. 54% of the ICC not participating is not the ICC, it’s not what people signed up to.

      Polls now mean that people who signed up for an account in early 2012 and haven’t engaged since have an equal say to people busting their gut putting IOPS on the ground. (So much for say being proportional to how affected one is.) I won’t be participating in the poll by the way.

      So the norms or ‘rules’ are divisive, organisationally incoherent, consistently applied, and contradict the core values (and arguably the mission statement).

    • Jason 24th Jun 2014

      Edit: inconsistently applied (obviously)

      Also: ‘The ICC … is, as the name implies, interim, not optimal, not a model for the future, but suitable for the current moment’ [my emphasis]. That was written over two years ago now.

    • Michael Albert 24th Jun 2014

      As far as self management, it is already the case that chapters can make decisions regarding their own program, methods, etc. and it has been since the start. The reality is that few have done so, for diverse reasons.

      Regarding the organization as a whole, it is certainly true we don't have good mechanisms yet. But it is also certainly not ideal for a few chapters to decide everything for all 3500 members, just as it would be wrong for 50 on the icc to do so. Decisions for the whole affect everyone. The trick now, lacking much structure, is to try to arrive at uncontroversial choices for the whole international that can move it forward.

      If you look at the poll, it actually tries to determine if the whole membership would like to have active chapters take initiative regarding not just themselves but the whole organization, until a convention. And it tries to determine prospects for a convention. Of course, even if the whole does want that, the members of any given chapter would have to decide to act on the desire, or not. The poll, as per the initial conception of the ICC helping with uncontroversial choices, and the use of polls when there is controversy, is a way to arrive at that posture, possibly, without having it simply imposed either by the ICC or by the members of a few chapters.

      If people in chapters view those not in chapters, however, as somehow irrelevant or not worthy of having opinions, we are unlikely to get anywhere constructive, just as the reverse would be counterproductive, as well.

      The fact that people in some chapters have put in lots of work...and some people not in chapters have as well, is exemplary. It should be respected, to be sure. And in some cases it has likely given such people important experience. But it doesn't convey additional rights or powers that transcend those chapters, unless there is general agreement it ought to. And that is what the poll is looking to see.

      I know many people feel, jeez, why so long, so much delay, etc. It is perfectly reasonable to feel that way...I do too, and yes, I have put in a lot of effort too, but the solution isn't to get really aggressive and leave or take other steps like that at precisely the moment there is an effort to try to move forward in a new way.

      Rather, why not see what the poll reveals...



    • Jason 25th Jun 2014

      I have to say, I’m disappointed you didn’t address what I actually wrote and instead made some pretty cynical assumptions about my intent.

      No aggression. It’s—as you sort of say—a fairly rational response based on not wanting to waste valuable time and effort. Why should a functioning chapter wait years for preconditions to be fulfiled? Why not free themselves of the burden of being associated with such stagnancy, and if IOPS still suits them by the time it reaches its preconditions, rejoin.

      Self-management at the local and regional levels within the discredited ‘interim structure’ is only possible to the extent that activity doesn’t involve, or make reference to, the international level which, very significantly, includes: the website design, the signup mechanism, rigid geographical definitions of chapters, promotional material, the founding documents, decisions made by the ICC, and so on and so on. Those factors arguably all have significant consequences for the ability to recruit and retain members—herein more contradictions lurk.

      IOPS doesn’t have 3500 members, it has 3,500 people who signed up to it once. People don’t delete accounts when they leave so we don’t know—process lacks. Last poll, about 800 voted.

      No one’s looking to exclude anyone. Why would they? People sign up to IOPS exactly not to do that. Members have actually conceived of ways to involve members in decision making in a meaningful way even if they aren’t involved in a chapter on the ground (see Tim’s comment below e.g.).

      To be clear, I don’t think anyone is really to blame. Our position is a product of a formula that has proved far from ideal and counterproductive in some respects. And that’s fine as long as we’re open to learning and responding as needed in accord with the core values and the mission statement which are, after all, what really binds us.

    • Michael Albert 25th Jun 2014

      Jason, I am honestly unsure what you are talking about. I am addressing some comments, among all the other things I have to be doing. This is the kind of thing people don't realize - we aren't all in the same situation.

      For purposes of clarification, though, when I answer a comment under something I wrote, I am not talking just to the person who put it there, I am talking to anyone who might wish to read it.

      I don't think I have any assumptions about your intent - I don't know you. How could I? I just replied to some words, is all...and honestly, in this framework, I have a hard time remembering who is saying what...

      When you ask why should a functioning chapter wait - well, there are a few reactions but here is just one. For example, why should I wait, years, decades, even, for people to move more effectively and massively. Really, I have no choice. And I can't just will a different outcome, and would not want to impose it even if I could - and I could have, having gone first and had way more resources at my disposal than most others, at one point, is the truth of it. But that would have been wrong.

      Of course, it would have been better were there ten, or dozens of chapters, at the outset. There weren't. So if one formed on day one, say, and has been doing things - then for them, it is understandably frustrating that others haven't, and that, given that, there is no larger dynamic generating comparable international coherence, etc., providing context and inspiration and aid for their local efforts. But that early chapter didn't have to wait, it could do things. And it could write up what it did, hoping to inspire others, too.

      You are right, of course, that self management at the local level is only possible and not violating norms if it is not addressing the international level - but isn't that obvious and unavoidable, unless you think that a few chapters who for whatever reasons went first should simply decide and announce an international structure, an international program, etc. etc.

      All the things you mention were decided as temporary commitments, when those deciding were virtually everyone. It was what had to exist to move at all. More, everyone joining had to agree with them, at least interim. On the other hand, it was also clear, and should have been only a year or so had all gone well, that in time it would all be subject to discussion and alteration, via a convention, a full organization. Okay, it did not happen as desired.

      I think you are quite right there aren't 3,500 people engaged. There are that many- and I would bet tens of thousands more - and that is conservative - who would on hearing the commitments, say, hey, those are really good. But the gap between that, and doing things, and it has many causes. Bridging it is not easy.

      Maybe five or ten chapters, in a few countries, with some ties, can grow into a serious international organization by bootstrapping, but then one wonders, why haven't they done so already? The hesitance of 3,500 people who like what they like, why would that be the slightest impediment? OR maybe 3,500 people liking the commitments and willing to say so, can still as a whole generate more growth and activity. But again, if so, why hasn't that happened? Okay, absence of good international tools for decisions, etc., could be a factor, but it isn't obvious, at least to me. Maybe some combination could do it - and that is perhaps what is emerging now. And it may be, instead, that it just won't happen, now, unless there is some dramatic change outside IOPS, causing increased receptivity and energy. Who knows? No one. But surely, getting a bit more information isn't a bad thing, is it?

      I suspect that there is no past formula, so to speak, that would have worked much better, at this time, in the places we are, with the mindsets that currently exist - because, well, so far, there just hasn't been the enthusiasm, energy, desire, and action, to make any formula work.

      The really big issue is, what now, or if you want what earlier - could propel a thousand of the 3,500 into enough activity to in turn yield way more members, chapters, activity, and then a convention and a powerful organization?

      Honestly, we all see it from our different perches. Mine is perhaps more different than most. I saw Z and just a few friends generate about 2,500 maybe 3,000 members, plus a very nice site, plus - just in Z and this was what did it, lots of discussion, promotion, urging, etc. That was all done very quickly, over a few months, actually. But that was what we could do. Then I saw other periodicals, other writers with audiences, including those committed to the exact same kinds of values and aims, do virtually nothing. I thought, had they done even a half, a fifth, of what Z did, IOPS would have been off and running. It all would have depended on the on the ground efforts, as some have called it, of members forming chapters and having local program and generating ties, and so on - but that would have been infinitely easier and more attractive to people to spend time on rather than horribly daunting, if alternative media and writers and so on, had created a very loud and visible climate fostering and supporting it. It didn't happen. I don't see other steps that would have changed things much, honestly, so that lack is where my frustration lies.

      But okay, that's the past - whether I am right about it or not. Now, to have any prospect of going forward, we either have to sit and wait and hope some events or some new energy changes the climate, and thus people's energies - not yours, but others who are doing way way less, and hope also that people like you, and myself also, for that matter, don't get so tired, and so frustrated that we give up, or we become bitter and problematic, and I know that asking us to avoid those paths is asking a whole lot - or, instead, we have to take some proactive steps. To do the latter, I think some information would help. And, as at the beginning, we have to find steps that don't, by their dynamics, sacrifice future possibilities for short term gains.

      And the real missing information, at least that I can see, is not what do you think, or what do I think, or what does any other person who is thinking about IOPS a lot think - right now. The real missing information is what do others think...and thus, a poll.

    • Jason 26th Jun 2014

      Michael, Thanks for your response. You didn’t simply comment under something you wrote, you hit ‘answer’ on my comment. Nonetheless I apologise for not being open to the possibility that your answer to my comment wasn’t actually an answer to my comment. And I’m sorry to hear you’re so busy, it must be hard for you.

      Quote from Michael: When you ask why should a functioning chapter wait - well, there are a few reactions but here is just one. For example, why should I wait, years, decades, even, for people to move more effectively and massively. Really, I have no choice. And I can't just will a different outcome, and would not want to impose it even if I could - and I could have, having gone first and had way more resources at my disposal than most others, at one point, is the truth of it. But that would have been wrong. … But that early chapter didn't have to wait, it could do things. And it could write up what it did, hoping to inspire others, too.

      By ‘wait’ I didn’t mean chapters not doing anything—the only way to build a functioning chapter is by doing things. Chapters have been writing about their activities, to some extent. And you’re still doing that cynical assumption thing—who said anything about imposing on others? My point was that it makes much more sense, with IOPS’s current settings, to ‘wait’ by dissociating—being free of IOPS’s contradictions, stagnation, ‘uncontroversial’ decisions of the ICC—and re-associating later, when IOPS is ‘ready’ for self-management.

      There are that many- and I would bet tens of thousands more - and that is conservative - who would on hearing the commitments, say, hey, those are really good. But the gap between that, and doing things, and it has many causes. Bridging it is not easy.

      Agreed, so why make it even harder by insisting on adhering to a model—that isn’t really being adhered to—that’s yielded such poor results?

      You are right, of course, that self management at the local level is only possible and not violating norms if it is not addressing the international level - but isn't that obvious and unavoidable, unless you think that a few chapters who for whatever reasons went first should simply decide and announce an international structure, an international program, etc. etc. … The really big issue is, what now, or if you want what earlier - could propel a thousand of the 3,500 into enough activity to in turn yield way more members, chapters, activity, and then a convention and a powerful organization?

      Even if you mean ‘norms’ as you did in a previous comment—i.e. organisation-stifling processes that aren’t really being followed and contradict the core values—there are things that can be done. A way to avoid it is by inviting the members without chapters on the ground to join or create virtual chapters. Virtual chapters could be meet and busy themselves, including its members supporting each other in setting up ground chapters. After the new VCs and new ground chapters settle in move to a chapter-based decision making mechanism. N.b. The ICC could have become aware of such ideas but, instead, it proceeded based on its own limited perspective, not even consulting the active chapters about their experience—again, I don’t blame anyone, it’s the model that lead to this circumstance.

      Okay, absence of good international tools for decisions, etc., could be a factor, but it isn't obvious, at least to me. Maybe some combination could do it - and that is perhaps what is emerging now. And it may be, instead, that it just won't happen, now, unless there is some dramatic change outside IOPS, causing increased receptivity and energy. Who knows? No one. But surely, getting a bit more information isn't a bad thing, is it?

      The problem is the way that information is attempting to be gathered. That poll is so misleading and out of touch with what’s going on that it’s not going to tell us much interesting. Maybe it was necessary to do things this way early on but it doesn’t make sense now.

      I saw other periodicals, other writers with audiences, including those committed to the exact same kinds of values and aims, do virtually nothing. I thought, had they done even a half, a fifth, of what Z did, IOPS would have been off and running. It all would have depended on the on the ground efforts, as some have called it, of members forming chapters and having local program and generating ties, and so on - but that would have been infinitely easier and more attractive to people to spend time on rather than horribly daunting, if alternative media and writers and so on, had created a very loud and visible climate fostering and supporting it.

      So the media didn’t respond much. Lesson learned. It will have been a worthwhile experiment if IOPS finds its feet.

      And the real missing information, at least that I can see, is not what do you think, or what do I think, or what does any other person who is thinking about IOPS a lot think - right now. The real missing information is what do others think...and thus, a poll.

      A poorly formulated poll handed down by an undeclared subset of the ICC (not the ICC, not what people agreed to when signing up).

  • Mark W 23rd Jun 2014

    Were having an IOPS London meeting tomorrow. I'll suggest we engage with these questions together and feed into the discussion as a group.

    mk

  • Fred Curran 23rd Jun 2014

    I don't think we could possibly hope for 3000 to create a poll. Not that many members participate. How many proposals were brought forward to create this poll? How many participants discussed its contents? I do not think it is a viable alternative to the active participants of the organization bringing forward proposals and working together to consider a viable strategy forward and the structures of decision making. As it is being consider as binding, without clarity or input from the membership at large.

    • Michael Albert 24th Jun 2014

      Are people reading what has been said. The poll is a poll, not a vote for policies. Look at it...it is trying to see where people are at regarding some issues that bear in what to do. The hope of a poll like this is it will reveal views that can be merged and yield an uncontroversial decision. That may not happen, but it is worth seeing if it will.

    • Fred Curran 27th Jun 2014

      This poll is meant to be taken back to the ICC for a decision about a way forward, or as you would say "the poll is to take the results and have the ICC, in light of people's preferences, try to propose a way forward". If the poll isn't a vote for policies, doesn't it just suggest that the ICC might not make a proposal in line with people's preferences?

    • Michael Albert 27th Jun 2014

      The poll is seen by everyone. If it conveys information that causes the ICC, or some chapter say who submits a proposal to the ICC, to think that there is a clear path forward that would be good, and not very controversial, then yes, one hopes the ICC would see that, internally check to see if there is near consensus, and, if there is, propose it to the organization.

  • Timothy Erik Ström 23rd Jun 2014

    At our active chapter we have had many discussions about this matter and are generally of the opinion that the ideal of having a founding convention should not be prioritised over establishing a transparent, participatory decision making process. In my understanding of the values and vision of IOPS, this should be at the core of the entire project.

    We advocate a chapter centred decision making process whereby active chapters develop their own democratic structures, work through an issue and come to a decision. Then, they send a delegate to a spokes council with delegates from the other active chapters who proceed to make a decision. This model includes the space for members who are active online but are not members of a physical chapter by allowing virtual chapters to follow the same pattern. We believe that this system could be transparent and accountable, what’s more it is in keeping with the ideal that decisions should be made in proportion to the degree effected by them.

    We believe that implementing such a system could lead to more decisions actually getting made, which would translate into the allowing the International to develop in a more dynamic manner. I am sure we are all aware how it has been somewhat stagnant for a while now, perhaps a new dose of energy could also encourage more people to get actively involved.

    Also, a spokes council model like the one we advocate has the added advantage of having a greater claim to legitimacy, which is a problematic aspect of having a website wide poll. Someone could easily set up 10 ghost accounts and give themself ten votes. If the decisions were being made by the people actively engaged with the IOPS project, as in members of the active chapters and virtual chapters, then this could be very legitimate. For instance, in our Melbourne chapter we have developed trust between our active members and can vouch for the validity of our democratic processes.

    I think we need to reprioritise. Here’s an argument: drop the interim phase, postpone the founding convention and develop participatory democratic decision making processes. Power to the chapters.

    • Mark W 24th Jun 2014

      I and others are having similar thoughts

    • Mark Evans 24th Jun 2014

      We should all be having those thoughts - after all self-management is the objective. As Michael points out in his blog, the real question is:

      "How can we arrive at an organization with clear structure and procedures, with activist program locally, nationally, and internationally, and with high levels of involvement?"

      At its most basic level the answer to this question has to be, more grass roots organisation - i.e. more active local chapters. There is simply no side-stepping this crucial work.

      So it seems to me that the real questions here are:

      Would abandoning our interim targets make it more likely that we are successful in completing this crucial work?

      Would abolishing the ICC and the interim phase make it more likely that we are successful in completing this crucial work?

      Some members would answer yes to one or both of these questions. They seem to think that abandoning our interim targets and abolishing the ICC and the interim phase would make it more likely that we succeed in completing this crucial work. My question to them is: how?

    • LedSuit ' 24th Jun 2014

      Let's say there needs to be an interim committee after two years. Why cannot it consist of those members within it right now, truly committed, along with other committed members of the org willing to participate? Some chosen from existing chapters. Purge it of those who can't be bothered to respond to important emails, and those half-arsed. Get those within the ICC who don't belong to chapters, to work harder at organising one in their area.

      Handing over responsibility and initiative to existing chapters and overall membership doesn't mean the org can't work towards achieving preconditions, it's just that they then become well, conditions, and the organisation is 27, maybe more, members less than it was when the ICC was intact.

      Further, the rest of the membership now knows who the committed ICC members are, where they are from and can chat to them as ordinary members. Then we have a group of committed members making necessary decisions, perhaps still less than optimal but better than before.

      That's even if an "advisory committee" of such a sort is actually needed. Further, the development of such a committee or transparent decision making group, may render the interim phase unnecessary. It may just fall away or hang around like some sort of insignificant illusion.

      The "founding convention" then just becomes something we decide when and if appropriate, depending on what members decide.

    • Timothy Erik Ström 24th Jun 2014

      Mark, you’re right, Michael’s question outlines the central challenge, and I completely agree that the need for more active chapters cannot be dodged.

      In response to you two questions, as you may have guessed, I would answer yes to both of them. Actually, the second I’d give a qualified yes: perhaps the ICC could be transformed into a virtual chapter that could arrive at decisions using its own internal democratic procedures before taking them via a delegate to the spokes council to engage with delegates from the active chapters.

      In response to your final question – the all-important ‘how’ – I believe that establishing a proper participatory democratic decision making process could achieve this. Taking the proposed chapter centred spokes council model as a beginning, such a system provide structures and procedures that can scale the local-global nexus. By so empowering the active members, I think we could attract more members, which would translate into more active chapters, and generally create the conditions for IOPS to flourish.

    • Mark Evans 24th Jun 2014

      Sorry Timothy - I am a little confused by some of the terminology you use. For example:

      "a proper participatory democratic decision making process"
      "the proposed chapter centred spokes council model"
      "the local-global nexus."

      Is this different to the description from the About IOPS page which states, "IOPS is structured as a bottom-up, international organization, based on self-managing interconnected national branches and local chapters"?

      I just want to clarify this before responding to what you have written.

    • Timothy Erik Ström 24th Jun 2014

      No problem, I am happy to elaborate.

      When I say "a proper participatory democratic decision making process", what I am attempting to describe is in complete accordance with the ‘IOPS About’ quote you posted above. Indeed, the thrust of my entire post is about attempting to actualise this ‘IOPS About’ quote. I want to help take this sentence and, in with respects to the vision and vales, articulate it into an institutional structure, one that is global, bottom up, and self-managing.

      And this is where the "the proposed chapter centred spokes council model" comes it. By this I am referring to a concrete proposal put forward by my chapter-mate, Jason Chaplin, who is currently in dialogue with members of the other active chapters.

      As for the "the local-global nexus," I prefer using this terminology over national-international because I argue from a theoretical point of view that it is better at describing the 21st century situation than the old nation-state centred model.

      Hope this clears things up.

    • Mark Evans 26th Jun 2014

      Thanks for the clarification, Timothy.

      So, keeping to the terminology that we are all more familiar with, we both want -

      "a bottom-up, international organization, based on self-managing interconnected national branches and local chapters".

      And -

      "agree that the need for more active chapters cannot be dodged".

      So far so good.

      Now, what I am trying to understand is, how would "abandoning our interim targets and abolishing the ICC and the interim phase" help achieve this crucial work? Specifically, what could we do under these conditions that we cannot do now that would help build more functioning local chapters?


    • Michael Livingston 26th Jun 2014

      I agree, Mark. That's question. Continuing to base conclusions about what IOPS should do now on the unexamined premise that we failed to achieve the "preconditions" because they are too onerous, or because of IOPS' "interim" status, or because of the ICC, rather than (for example) the lack of organizational skills of the membership, is like buying a new car one day, and two weeks later when it won't start, taking it back to the dealer and asking for a different car, without first checking to see whether the battery is dead, or there is gas in the fuel tank.

    • Michael Livingston 26th Jun 2014

      Should say "That's the question."

    • LedSuit ' 26th Jun 2014

      Proposal one

      The targets for interim IOPS, prerequisite to holding a founding convention, remain in place until met. Once these targets have been met the functioning local chapters and national branches take control of IOPS in accord with the IOPS shared commitment to self-management.

      Proposal two

      Having reached the number of members we aimed to have before a founding convention, eliminate the goal of having more chapters before a convention, and declare ourselves ready to organize a founding convention. Mandate the functioning local chapters and national branches to now develop a structure and plan to take control of IOPS in accord with our shared commitment to self-management.

      Results

      Support for proposal one = 11
      Support for proposal two = 12

      So 12, more than half the respondents of the ICC seem to think shifting control over to local and national chapters to develop structure and program is a goer. Having only met the target of 3500 members and abandoning the target of reaching 20 chapters. No mention of any other targets. Does that mean, if proposal 2 got up, members would disregard trying to achieve those goals in favour of other things? Does it mean members would not ever remind the new look IOPS that certain targets were not met and that we need to keep them in mind and work towards them?

      Really, what would be the difference? If the poll is split like the ICC was, would we all of a sudden become dumber and stupider if we changed things up and went with something like proposal two? I mean is progress and likelihood to succeed in crucial work bound up in the ICC and interim phase? Would we really abandon the "pre" conditions or interim targets, just because we were no longer interim? Could we not just call them targets or conditions?

      The vibe of IOPS, to me seems crap yet still we hold to the old adage if it ain't broke don't fix it? Vibe and perception are important for enthusiasm. I mean really, we might be shit organisers and suffer from learned helplessness but we're not idiots.

      I think the question is not the right one.

    • Timothy Erik Ström 27th Jun 2014

      Mark, the ‘Regime of the Interim’ is highly problematic for local chapters for a whole string of reasons. These boil down to the fact that the principle of self-management does not apply to the international level, and this notably is the level that controls the website. I want to stress here the importance of the website to IOPS as a whole, and to the chapters ability to organise themselves. In our active chapter we have used the website a lot and have noticed all sorts of problems and places were it could be greatly improved. I imagine we are not alone in making such observations. And yet, we are powerless to do anything about them.

      Remember an conversation we had some time ago after a member of the Melbourne chapter proposed a creative and democratic project to change to IOPS’s current woefully inadequate logo? Despite general enthusiasm for the idea, the proposal went nowhere because there is no democratic process to actually deal with such a idea. This is a simple, yet symbolically potent example of the stifling Regime of the Interim. The logic of the counter argument went something like: ‘No changing the website. Never before, only After The Convention. No. Convention. After. No. Never. Only. After. No…’

      Alternatively, I suggest that if the interim period was dissolved and replaced with a democratic process, like the spokes council model proposed, then this would be very helpful for allowing members and chapters to do the work necessary to build a good organisation. By drawing on the collective energy, skills and creativity of the members, and by empowering them to actually make decisions, then the website could be greatly improved. At the moment the website is static and is stifling. This could be changed, but it requires a process.

      In short, we need a transparent, accountable, participatory democratic process that empower members to improve the website or the organisation on the international level. The Regime of the Interim is preventing this with its After-The-Convention purgatory.

    • Mark Evans 27th Jun 2014

      Thanks for the example Timothy.

      Keeping in mind that we "agree that the need for more active chapters cannot be dodged" can you say how, holding off on international decision - like a new design for the logo - stops members from engaging in the kinds of activities that would result in more active local chapters, such as thoughs that are outlined on our Getting Involved page?

    • Timothy Erik Ström 30th Jun 2014

      Sure, the lack of ability to change things on the website is a symptom of the lack of IOPS applying the principle of self-management to the international sphere and I think this is discouraging.
      It doesn’t necessarily prevent members from signing up, but it surely can make the process of getting more involved and chapter building more difficult.

      If the website was upgraded and improve, more people would be attracted to it and more likely to engage. Also, if it could be seen that by engaging members could actively participate in the international level then it could encourage more investment of energy.

      One reason I joined IOPS in the first place was because I was attracted to the global aspect of it. I like the idea of joining struggles around the world. I know a lot of my chapter mates felt the same way. However, realising that we cannot influence the international level is rather disempowering.
      Though trying to build a chapter many ideas come as the how to improve things. For instance, what if we had a democratically selected rotating editor for the international blog page who was tasked for a limited amount of time, say a couple of months, with collecting stories and managing the content of the front page. They could encourage members to submit articles, collect stories from IOPS chapters around the world and generally showcase what is happening. This would prevent the front page from being hijacked by trolls, as has happened before, and keep discussions that the editor sees as important passing quickly into the backlog.

      Ideas like this cannot be implemented as there is no structure in place to change anything. In short, I think this can prevent people from getting involved. Members would be more encouraged to get active if they could see the organisation developing.

    • Mark Evans 4th Jul 2014

      Timothy - interim IOPS does not claim to be self-managed. If people join and expect self-management then they are not paying attention to what is written in the key document and intro material on this site.

      The reason that interm IOPS is not self-managed is simple - for self-management to be meaningful requires numbers and organisation, hence the need for an interim phase and targets.

      If we are serious about self-management at the international level then there is no side-stepping this primary work at the local and national levels. And we should not kid ourselves that implementing democracy on the site for a handful of scattered members represents, or even moves us towards, self-management in the real world.

      As for members getting involved in the development of the site, my understanding is that an IT team was created for anyone to join and share out some of the responsibilities, etc.

    • Fred Curran 30th Jun 2014

      Is self management important?

    • Michael Livingston 24th Jun 2014

      Timothy,

      I don't think your response answers the "how?" question. Nothing about the "interim" status of IOPS or retaining the "preconditions" prevents local, or even regional, self-management and initiative, either through your "spokes council" model or some other model.

    • Fred Curran 3rd Jul 2014

      Well Michael that is an important point. If we do move to a "spokes council" model with the existing preconditions defining an active chapter, and only active chapters are recognized as deserving representation then it would be an impediment to self-management. If we move to a spokes council model decided on by "active chapters" rather than membership at large, then again it would be an impediment to self-management, however beneficial it may be.

      I am curious what your take is on the effect of the preconditions on seeking new members. For instance, if your chapter were to be 'inundated' with a dozen new male members, should you no longer be considered an active chapter?

    • LedSuit ' 25th Jun 2014

      Maybe the question should be how can we arrive at an organisation with better and clearer structure and procedures?

      In other words, is a poll constructed by an interim committee in which over half decided they could not be bothered responding, with two abstainers, a procedure members would/can have faith in? From my perspective there seems to be less or no faith in it anymore. Why would anyone have faith in maintaining such a group? Members who have been active in whatever ways over two years, building relationships of sorts, trying their best, fighting learned helplessness and poor organisational skills, now see an ICC that seems less than committed, even completely uninterested. But how would I really know, I just have a set of numbers to look at?

      If an interim anything is required at all, rejig it. Let those uninterested loose from their commitment and refill it with members who are. Then those on the new ICC, committed members, make extra effort to start up local chapters if they currently don't belong to one or are active in other ways. But we all know who they are. We are now familiar with this bunch of ordinary misfits!

      If the org is handed over to the current chapters and OVERALL membership, such a process could begin. Stuff the convention into the back of some virtual closet as we haven't met targets, and proceed as before, possibly with more energy and enthusiasm, from the thought that we are a little closer to actual self management than before. Perhaps still less than optimal but better and clearer. It may even feel like we are a full blown org, totally self managed, still trying to meet targets and when it FEELS right, we can reach into the closet, drag out and dust off this thing called a convention and make arrangements.

      Why the hell can't there be some sort of friggin' compromise. The problem of building the organisation with a plethora of local, regional and national chapters is always gonna be where the hard work is. It always has been. Nothing's a given. Kim Keysners Scandanavian experience over five or so years shows this shit will take time. It's not as if IOPS has stumbled upon some special formula that everyone is forgetting to take before they go to bed every night.

      I think the "how" question is bogus. I would hazard a guess that no one who believes we should abandon our interim targets and abolish the ICC and interim phase, thinks that success is more likely in completing this crucial work, they don't know the future, but it just might, just might, give them some confidence and a greater sense that the organisation belongs to its members at all levels, including the international level, and if they fuck things up, then WE have only ourselves to blame, because the umbilical chord has been cut.

      But then what the hell would I know, I've only been doing this for two years, have zero organisational skills, and often feel helpless, learned or otherwise.



    • LedSuit ' 25th Jun 2014

      Ok, I guessed wrong. Tim does believe success is more
      likely Perhaps others do to. I actually don't. I think it will be the same either way. Nothing really changes on the ground, to use that horrible phrase. Everything that needs to be done is just plain obvious. The ICC is shot as far as I'm concerned. If an international advisory board is needed while we try to meet targets, fill it from within with committed members, those willing from the current committee and others from chapters and beyond. All done using accepted practice of course. I still feel, ditching the ICC, and possibly the word interim, will create a feeling of belonging, cohesion and confidence that the org is on its way.

    • Michael Albert 25th Jun 2014

      James - there is no need to guess who has faith in what - we can ask the membership and try to assess the reply. And that is what the poll is trying to do. I believe what people ought to be doing, as a first step, is urging people to take it. How does it hurt to have more information?

      As to the ICC - Are you rally calling them misfits? Do others think that? Look at the list of people in the ICC - yes, I am frustrated they have not been more engaged. Trust me, far more frustrated, I would wager, than most, maybe than anyone. But, no, I don't think there is reason, nor benefit, in thinking the fault is basically chomsky's or pilger's or shiva's and so on.

      Could people have done more, sure. But that applies to people outside the ICC, too. And, everyone, please consider what a great many of them - and they are the ones least engaged with IOPS, do with their time, before getting overly critical. Before calling them names, doubting their seriousness, etc. etc.

      The ICC signed on IOPS thinking it was a modest contribution, way outside their normal agendas, for a year or so. They signed on to act as a kind of ratification group for uncontroversial decisions, only. And they did that. And it was fine, and would have been fine - and would have ended - except time dragged on...and membership leveled off rather than growing dramatically, chapters were slow to form with only a few exceptions, and there was no convention - which was supposed to literally eliminate the ICC.

      So now the problem arises, few chapters, slow to grow and vague membership, no convention, almost no public visibility, how to proceed? Not an easy question.

      Rejigging the ICC isn't obvious - do we really want something central, and stronger? And if we did, how would we decide who is on it - and how they would function, and so on. Maybe, maybe not. Likewise for having chapters engage more instead of a body like a rejigged ICC. So, the poll, to get some general information, one hopes.

      There can be a compromise - that is why there is a poll, to see where, at least on some matters, people are at - to try to see if a good uncontroversial path is possible.

      The idea, however, that the ICC, or some people in some chapter or other, should just decide and say, here is the solution - without even polling to see what people are thinking - that strikes me as not a very good idea, not to mention, violating the interaction that IOPS contains...

    • LedSuit ' 25th Jun 2014

      No not really calling 'em that. That was a playful description of a hypothetical rejigged "ICC" type thing.

      I don't think the ICC is "at fault" for anything. I just think there is a general questioning of its need, as so constituted, now, more than before. With such a low response, what does keeping it as is mean. The low turn out has affected my opinion of it, not the individual members. I don't know who responded and why, just that more than half didn't and I draw a conclusion. I could be wrong, so be it. I vote, my opinions, voiced here, stay the same, then I reboot to deal with what the membership says.

      I know the ICC MEMBERS work hard, we all do. We've all got lives. I don't doubt their seriousness, but I question, based on all I've got to go on, the committment of those who did not respond. Naturally. Again, if wrong, so be it, but it was a natural response, not at all irrational. Maybe they're busy or just tired, like me, I don't know.

      I know rejigging the ICC isn't obvious and I know writing all the stupid shit I write really is pointless until after procedures are followed and completed, that is, the poll. And of course I do not want something more central and stronger(if I have understood you correctly) and I have little idea on how we would decide who is on it, it's function etc., I'm just doin' what I always do, riffing on shit. Probably bullshit, but what the hey, it keeps me engaged. I'd really prefer to be playing the guitar or writing music but that's pretty much stopped since I joined IOPS.

      I have never suggested not polling anyone. Like I said, just throwing shit into the ether, engaging on the site, or as Mark Evans prefers, making stuff up. (But I certainly don't believe anything I am saying, surprise surprise, will become fact.)

      I just see all this as people doing much the same, while the poll runs its course. Voicing thoughts, concerns, opinions etc. Most of the time I wish I'd just keep my mouth shut, but it seems that is not my nature, plus I'm a shit typer and my thoughts run a lot faster than my fingers, and then confusion reigns.

      Maybe we should have more polling, or perhaps create more controversy, it seems to get people up and commenting, talking, at least on the site.

    • Michael Albert 25th Jun 2014

      James,

      I don't know how to reply, I really don't. But since you wrote this and I think the sentiments are not uncommon, even if they are rarely so honestly stated, I wonder, why do you think writing things you may not mean, or that should wait on a poll, both of which you now say, is a good thing to do, even if you were writing them as a blog, say, of your own?

      But more so, when you put them as a comment, for the person whose content you are commenting on, if he or she is responsible, it is sort of like asking them a question, or raising a concern, or whatever, while you are in their home, so they feel a responsibility to read your words and reply. Why is it okay to do that, in this case to me... so I spend time, it turns out, taking seriously things that you may not even mean?

      This causes even me to wonder why I write anything, ever, or why I reply so consistently to comments - so. think what it might do to someone who lacks confidence, who doesn't have a ton of experience, but who is thinking, do I want to screw up my courage and put my views into an article or blog, or not...

    • LedSuit ' 25th Jun 2014

      Maybe it's just the nature of comments sections etc. This laboured way of communicating I'm not good at. You critiqued my comment, my thought. I merely countered and tried to explain why I wrote would I did. I certainly meant what I said, but they are merely ideas that I'm expressing during a prod of, well stasis, until the poll ends. Nothing much more. Whether my thoughts have value is for others to judge.

      Sorry if the way I think and what I express feels like I'm somehow messing with you in your home. I think, feel, whatever, that the ICC needs rejigging and my response was more to Mark's comment above and to his "how" question which I think is bogus. That's all. I mean what I say, but I acknowledge I could be off the wall or speaking through my arse. Like I said, I write to engage and throw stuff out there, I don't just make stuff up, that was a reference to something Mark said somewhere else that I disagree with.

      I should just shut up, stop digging holes for myself and just wait for the poll results.

      Sorry again, just the way I am.

    • LedSuit ' 25th Jun 2014

      Correction

      ..wrote WHAT I did...

      ...during a PERIOD of, well stasis...

    • Michael Albert 24th Jun 2014

      Would that there were fifty or a hundred chapters, but there are not. Some think if there is a convention, including face to face exchange, excitement, trust, and decisions, then there will arise chapters. Others think unless there are more chapters first, efforts to have a convention will fail, or it will have little credibility and have little effect.

      Likewise some think the few chapters we have should be welcomed and urged to take initiative. Others think that would give those few too much influence.

      We have had, as some indicate, a few years to try to grow. We don't have 50,000 members with growing levels of commitment. We have 3,500 with, overall, declining levels of commitment. There are many reasons, not least that there is very little wide public visibility, discussion, etc., almost nothing in alternative media, for example, and, absent that, people lack a feeling that effort working on IOPS will make a difference. Reasonable people will differ about what to do. The poll seeks simple feedback that may help make show that one path or another makes sense.

    • Timothy Erik Ström 25th Jun 2014

      Michael, as in Livingston, I am not discussion self-management at local or region levels. In my experience with the Melbourne chapter, these levels of organisation are – despite the fact we haven’t expanded massively – going along rather well. I was writing with respects to the international level and the website. And on that level, I think a pretty strong case can be made that the interim status and the preconditions are precenting self-management and evolution on a global level. I think that implementing a decision making process like the spokes council one could resolve this.

      James, I do believe success is possible (with success here meaning creating a functional IOPS) and that things on the ground, as you say, can change. As you know from our conversations, I think that IOPS vision and values are right on target; they are the foundation for a great organisation. What’s more, many intelligent, compassionate people have been drawn to them, and, with a bit of reorganising, many more may well be drawn to it in the future. The challenge now is to reflect and rearrange in a creative and critical way.

      And Michael, as in Albert, you’re very right, reasonable people will differ about what to do. Now, we need to have discussions, polls, qualitative feedback mechanisms, proposals to endorse, and more conversations like this one so we can figure out what to do. One reasons I suggest empowering chapters is that it could facilitate this process. If people build trust and community within a chapter, face to face if possible, or via virtual chapters, then they can debate with their fellow members about what to do, come to a decision or proposal and then take action collectively. Such a model could foster more active engagement from the membership – and trying to create the conditions for a more engaged membership is something that I assume we all want! Whatever the way forward, I say the more self-management in the process, the better.

    • LedSuit ' 25th Jun 2014

      Hey Tim

      I guess I was questioning the claim "more likely". It's irrelevant to me. Hence why I think it's a bogus question? I agree with you a functional org is necessary for any kind if success in the future. The work to be done is the same either way. Interim or not. That's what I meant by on the ground. Success is dependent on commitment. One has a functional org and it builds as slowly as over the last two years. Maybe faster, who knows.

      So for me, the point is, it's all about the vibe, and the vibe I'm getting ain't good. Keep the org going the way it is and there are going to be a lot of unhappy campers. Change things up using accepted practice, decided by the members, via appropriate ways and means or whatever and you get more happy campers. Happy campers don't mean success is more likely, but it may be and it is possible the org will be around a little longer and the vibe would be better.

      I'm not getting the feeling the vibe at the moment is all that great. Ditch the ICC and even the bloody horrible sounding word interim. No interim targets, just targets. Revisit and reevaluate our performance every so often or whatever. The work's the same.

    • Michael Albert 25th Jun 2014

      Hello Timothy,

      I am sure your local efforts are going well - but that is just your efforts. There are not many. It is important to have that in mind. Imagine it this way. Suppose there were five or ten local organizations, with an average, say, of ten or fifteen members. They get together and decide to form an international organization. It could happen. Would it have good prospects? I don't know. It is a path, but not the one we were on.

      On the other hand, suppose they exist as part of a larger, 3,500 person project. Now what? Does it make sense for them to say, well, we are getting things done - the rest are not (which is a judgement the rest might not like since a great many of them are very very active in many ways) so we should just take over the whole thing? What might that engender?

      Now another scenario - again, some chapters, a larger membership, no set mechanisms - so there is a poll - which is a survey - to see what people are thinking and might be positive about. And then, in hopes of some unity in that, perhaps there is a path.

      Honestly, where I sit, I am not worrying about the ten or so chapters being able to engage, I am worried about how many people will take the time - maybe five or ten minutes - to even take the poll.

      Now the idea of a viable and desirable decision mechanism. Of course that would be excellent to have. At the outset, the plan was simple. We start building, chapters start forming, momentum keeps growing, membership keeps growing - in the interim we just do what is utterly obvious and uncontroversial at the overall level, chapters do as they decide at their own level - and in a year or so we have a face to face convention. Well planned. And we come out with an actual organization, with decision mechanisms. And with program too.

      It didn't happen - and that it didn't is the big factor now.

      So, some would say, okay, be patient, things change, maybe take off just takes longer. And yes, those who went first, who were busy at the outset, will feel like they are getting dragged back, but maybe it is all slowly advancing, and can continue - stay the course.

      Others would say, this is futile. The rare exemplary efforts at chapter building will not be replicated, and the chapters won't grow, unless there is a real international dynamic, presence, etc. etc.

      In the latter camp, some might say, okay, let's have a rejuvenated ICC type body, give it more power, and try that. OR others might say, let's have the chapters that exist, on top of what else they do, take broader responsibility for the whole thing. OR, some combination, perhaps.

      Okay, how to decide among possibilities. ICC, from "above?? Not good. Just a few chapters without the overall body even having a chance to reveal its views. Not good. So how about in this regard sticking to the original ideas about how to handle this - poll everyone, see where people are at. If it reveals an obvious uncontroversial path - take it. If not, try, perhaps another poll, or, well, whatever seems least offensive and prone with potential problems.

      That is the reasoning, now, at least as I understand it. But there is very very unequal attention - some are thinking real hard and very vested - most are not. It is a difficult situation.

      When you say you are proposing empowering chapters - well, yes, but the poll is precisely about seeing if that is a way to proceed that people will favor...now - it has always been the goal.

  • Sean Michael Wilson 23rd Jun 2014

    A basic point: some noted that a physical convention is not easy with everyone spread out so much, and online would be better (certainly for me in Japan!). However, it is possible to have a combination of both - with some central physical meeting, presumably in North America, and online/virtual involvement in that being organised for members in the rest of the world. I have taken part in some book conferences like that and it works pretty well. Im sure someone here could work that out, technically, and a guide person on the day could facilitate online contributions to physical discussions.

  • Michael Albert 24th Jun 2014

    Something happened abad the blog I wrote is cut off at the front - the beginning, quite a bit...perhaps I did it when I uploaded it. I don't have a copy, so there we have it...

    On the upside, I have an article I will be running soon on Telesur and ZNet, which is still more complete...

  • Lambert Meertens 25th Jun 2014

    If the ICC is to remain, I think it is an excellent idea to rejig it. We should then use the opportunity to ensure more diversity, not only for gender but also for language and presence from the global South. We should also seriously consider a rotating roster, so that serving on the Icy Sea does not become a lifelong commitment.

    • Michael Albert 25th Jun 2014

      From the beginning it was supposed to last only until a convention - which was supposed to have been a year or two ago...

    • Lambert Meertens 26th Jun 2014

      Right, but the convention did not happen and the second question in the poll has an alternative "responsibility and initiative should stay with ICC and overall membership". The authors of the questions apparently foresaw a possibility that the ICC remains, at least for now.

      In view of the fact that things did not unroll as they were supposed to from the beginning should require us to use some flexibility and creativity.

    • Michael Albert 26th Jun 2014

      Yes, and it seems to me that being flexible and creative requires and should flow from having some information - and should not prejudge issues in controversial or biased ways, based on the views of a few. I assume we agree.

      I can easily come up with reasons for and against any proposal about activity precisely because the for reasons will reflect belief the proposal would get a good and productive response, and the against reasons will presuppose it would not. So trying to get some information without going way beyond a current mandate, makes sense - just as the current procedures presupposed and mandated it in the expectation that it would make some sense...

      Now getting information is not easy - having a fifty question poll would actually probably get less information then the short simple one - but, in any event, that really would involve the poll creators putting their own views into what is and what isn't asked, and, right now, no one has that right. If the poll results said overwhelmingly that members were inclined to give main international initiative - which up till now no one has had - to chapters, then chapters might want to do a more extensive poll, or whatever, and they would be within their rights to pursue things. This simple poll, done without prior information and only limited mandate, is, instead, trivial...

      To know if the ICC should continue as it has, which means few if any real decisions since it only addresses few issues and only has a say if it is virtually unanimous - or if there should there be a change to much more initiative for active chapters, depends very much on how people feel about the issue - not on some abstractly right or wrong choice.

      Do we want to maintain what we agreed to, various preconditions or do we want to revisit that? Again, how do people feel about it, matters to thinking about it.

      How would people relate to a convention plan, if ICC or chapters, or any other process were to yield one - and thus, really, is there any point in any process attempting to yield one or too little interest - or, is there a lot of desire so it would likely succeed.

    • Lambert Meertens 26th Jun 2014

      If the ICC should continue, it should most definitely not continue as it has – as a body that shows no engagement with IOPS and whose dealings are entirely opaque to the ordinary members.

  • Michael Albert 26th Jun 2014

    The reality is nothing going on is opaque - because the ICC does next to nothing, and because what little it does has been fully reported. I think maybe four or five issues have come up in three years.

    I am going to explain, what was agreed for the ICC, and what has been explained often, yet once more. Even lacking chapters, lacking having gotten together and settled on structure and the like - IOPS could have chapters running themselves - and did. But as far as the whole operation was concerned, it simply had no good option for doing lots of decision making before it was really a serious organization. So - it settled - with all who wished voting on the issue - on a temporary solution. A group of about fifty folks would, for a limited tenure, act as a kind of facilitating entity to make it possible to do things that were uncontroversial and really pretty much had to be done... That was it, and what they have addressed has been kept to a minimum.

    Now it was hoped the tenure would be a year, maybe a year and a half. And the ICC didn't sign up for anything more than fielding a very occasional question requiring a yes no answer, during that time. It didn't sign up to take initiative. It did not sign up for any kind of perks. And it did not sign up to have any more responsibility to, say, organize others to join, or to make visible the ideas, than any other member.

    And it has done what it agreed to do. And has in no case abused the situation.

    Now, I will admit that I had hoped that some on the ICC, even all on it, would decide to write and talk and otherwise create visible momentum for IOPS - just as I hoped all members would do so, honestly, at least as their schedules and responsibilities required. Some of us have done that - most, not.

    What the ICC has done as the ICC, has been reported, every time it has done anything - which is not many.

    Now, the poll queries inclinations that people have, or may have, about the ICC and chapters, among other issues.

    But Lambert, somehow it seems that you and lots of other people seem to feel that you know what ought to happen, and you should say what you think ought to happen, not only with no poll results, and no deliberation of the results, but seemingly because a poll would not impact your feelings.

    I, on the other hand, don't think that way. To me, it seems this poll's results, and perhaps more if these are not overwhelmingly indicative, are critical to having a useful insight into what to do next - which is why I haven't argued what I think needs to happen, but have only urged that people take the poll, and that people use extra time they have for IOPS to urge others to do so too...

  • Lambert Meertens 27th Jun 2014

    Quote from Michael Albert:

     "But Lambert, somehow it seems that you and lots of other people seem to feel that you know what ought to happen, and you should say what you think ought to happen, not only with no poll results, and no deliberation of the results, but seemingly because a poll would not impact your feelings."

    I think every member who has an opinion on what we should do now should have an opportunity to tell all of us what that idea is. I don't understand why you think that is wrong. How else can we discuss these ideas to see if a consensus arises? If it doesn't, we can distill the main ideas and put these up for a poll. This seems to me a more sensible and participatory approach than what we were confronted with now.

  • Michael Albert 27th Jun 2014

    It is not voicing opinions that is wrong. It is a few people who have a lot of energy for doing things, now, spending that energy voicing opinions before getting more information, that I think is premature - in that one's opinions may well alter in light of the new information. I keep writing things like that, even giving examples, but no replies. That is why I am not offering opinions about what to do now, so to speak. Because I think what opinion makes sense regarding what to do now depends, overwhelmingly, on the current state of mind of members. And since I don't know what that is, I can say, in a poll, how I personally lean on the various questions, and I have. But I don't feel I should be arguing for some particular outcome, because I should be waiting to see the context.

    Again, as an example, if thousands would donate, go to a convention, etc., and want chapters to take initiative, and want to drop the preconditions, or retain them, for that matter - then I would be in favor of those overwhelmingly supported steps too, since the biggest issue about steps we might take is, can they work, will they yield action, will they get support, and so on.

    On the other hand if a poll shows very mixed views, or overwhelmingly views of an opposite type, then that would alter my feelings as well. So why would I, and I really do wonder why anyone, would want to make arguments about what to do before getting the information. If a poll can't work - if no one answers, say - well, sadly, that would be information, too.

    And what also bothers me is the fact that voicing opinions, not once but many times, etc. now - means not spending the same time, and everyone has time limits, trying to get people to register their preferences in the poll, perhaps by emailing them, or writing a blog, or whatever. Take myself. Instead of writing all these comments, I could have written emails to a whole lot people I know, urging them to take it, and to urge others to take it.

    Now the scenario you describe is, of course, precisely what needs to and what will hopefully happen. If the poll shows there is really a simple solution, then that can be proposed and hopefully implemented. That is why this polling step is in the mandates we have in IOPS. If the poll shows things are far more cloudy, then there can and should be discussion, but the idea that ten or fifteen people who post comments is somehow a really good constituency for deliberation, online, strikes me as horribly wrong. And that is one of the things the poll may deal with - if it overwhelmingly, says, for example, pass initiative to chapters, then it will be chapter members who deliberate together and offer proposals, I would imagine.

    • Lambert Meertens 28th Jun 2014

      Michael – apparently you hold the position that this poll is a good way of obtaining meaningful information on what to do. Well, that is your opinion, which you are free to hold, but I don't see why it has any more validity than my opinion, which is that it is not a good way, for which I have presented my arguments. Repeating your position without further argumentation why it should have more validity than mine is not helpful.

  • Michael Albert 28th Jun 2014

    Apparently I hold that position? I have said that, over and over. Why apparently?

    Actually I have said whyI think that, as well, many times, having been asked. And honestly, i don't get why anyone would need to ask even once, much less want to do so over and over, why answers to these questions can provide meaningful information.

    Maybe I am a moron, but to me it is obvious that answers to the poll questions, if lots of members do answer, can tell us important things. Will they tell us everything? No. Will they tell us, even, all the things you might like to know, or I might? No. Is it possible that different wording would have been better, even just regarding getting the information they currently seek? Yes. Do any of these observations add anything positive at all actually moving forward, not really, at least that I can see. Not even saying these things once - much less, over and over.

    And so, one last time, what could answers tell us, that would be useful?

    I feel absurd answering that - they could tell us what they ask about. Do people like the idea of mandating chapters with lots of initiative, not just on their own affairs- which they have always had, but regarding international affair?. If that opinion is really preponderant, that is very important to know and will, I would bet, lead toward an obvious change. On the other hand, if it isn't preponderant, then that change becomes more problematic.

    The same goes for the other questions. We have preconditions, do lots of people want to dump them, or not? We are supposed to be working toward having a founding convention - would people even attend, or help? This too matters. It matters even more than asking do people still like the idea of a convention - because if few if any would attend, that people like it or not becomes moot. And so on.

    Since the poll emerged from the very modest deliberations of the ICC, it sought the kind of information that was needed to have better judgements on what they had been considering. Thus the poll, for everyone, is what was mandated by our procedures.

    The difference between your opinion and mine is this... I was tasked with dealing with the ICC, and I am the one from it, willing to relate to people's concerns. I know more of the ICC members and more about what they have done or might be expected to do than any other member, I suspect. So I have a responsibility, at least in my eyes. And, okay, I was arguably responsible for bringing on board not only the ICC, but the first 2,500 members. I was responsible for generating funds to do the site, and helping with its conception. And I was responsible, as well, with others, for the writing of the commitments and other text areas of the site. And so on. So, okay, I have responsibilities, I think. Unlike so many others, I can't or shouldn't just say to myself, what do I need to be doing this for, I have other things that call on my time. Rather, I have to stick to it.

    But suppose beyond all that, I didn't like a question in the poll, or the idea of a poll, or some answers, etc. etc. In that regard that would be my opinion - like you have opinions on such matters. All the above would be irrelevant to that. It would just be my personal opinion, like you have personal opinions.

    And if I was repeating my opinion about my personal preferences, repeatedly, that would be like your doing so. But I am not doing that. Much less doing it over and over to one person...basically either not hearing or not registering the replies. Why would I not do that? Well, for one thing, I would hear and register the replies. For another, I understand that once a process is being pursued, almost always the thing to do is to try to make it as helpful and productive as possible, not to say over and over, it shouldn't have been done as if somehow saying that can lead to something productive.

    So what am I doing? Precisely what my mandate, so to speak, is. Trying to get people to take the poll, and responding to questions and concerns.

    Now, please, Lambert - I have many many tasks and responsibilities. At present I am functioning, also, under horrible conditions - eye problems, which literally limit how much time I have each day during which I can be productive. Even with that, I am fine with answering a question a person may have. I am fine with trying to clarify something for someone. But honestly, I am not fine with going back and forth, with the same person, over and over, to no gain for him, or for anyone. So let's stop...

    If we disagree, let's just agree to disagree. There is no need for me to try to convince you of anything, or vice versa. If, we now agree, okay, that's good too.

  • Lambert Meertens 29th Jun 2014

    Michael – you're completely missing the point I'm trying to make, but OK, let's stop, as this doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

  • Rick New 3rd Jul 2014

    Hi Michael,

    Apart from the current poll, what do you think about Lambert's proposal? Can both approaches happen?

    Slightly edited version below.

    "I think every member who has an opinion on what we should do now should have an opportunity to tell all of us what that idea is."

    "...we discuss these ideas to see if a consensus arises"

    "If it doesn't, we can distill the main ideas and put these up for a poll. This seems to me a [] sensible and participatory approach..."

    Thank you,

    Rick

    • Michael Albert 4th Jul 2014

      As far as everyone in IOPS being able to express themselves - of course. But that has been true from day one. So I don't get why it is a proposal - as if it is something new. The key point is, very few do express themselves.

      As to whether we discuss the ideas that people offer - again, this has been possible since day one. But I have three problems seeing this as some kind of worthy approach to moving forward: who will enter ideas, who will bother discussing them, and then who distills? Self selected folks, based on zero criteria other than those who have time to and even like to discuss and debate online?

      I think there are three broad choices, now in the air, and in the past too, for how to proceed. Of course there are variants and I have no doubt folks could come up with other choices.

      1 - Those in the organization to date who choose to do so, could presumably make all kinds of proposals and decisions, online, without any direct connection to each other, or other people, other than for those in a few working chapters.

      My reaction is that saying this is valid or even just okay, much less desirable - suggests that at the outset 50 or so of us could have or even should have simply set out all features. For example, Z could have even invited them all, hosted them, and in essence had a convention - albeit with only 50 people who were representing no one else. Honestly, I don't see proposing this, now, as much different than that - except, instead of 50 people with decades of experience, and who did in fact bring the project into existence, who did function face to face, who did do a lot of work, etc. etc., which would have been true at the outset, we would have maybe 100 people, not in each other's presence, not knowing each other, not representing anyone else, with unknown experience, doing it. It is an option, but not one I like. if anything, I think it would be worse now than it would have been at the outset, and I didn't favor it then.

      2 - Stand pat. This one says, basically, folks locally work, or not, as they choose. We hope there is a surge in effort - some work toward it happening. We hope, as well, something changes in the world that gives hope and energy, etc. etc. This is an option, too, not too optimistic, but at least not enshrining a bad procedure and leaving open some possibilities.

      3 - We transfer a lot of responsibility and initiative to working chapters - or I guess one could propose some other group - those that exist and new ones that develop. This is like proposal one but with a major difference - it says instead of people who develop ideas and proposals being self selected based on internet activity, and representing no one, it is people in working chapters, trying to represent everyone, and participating in the process based on the success of their local efforts. This is another option and with many chapters it would be very worthy, and even with few it is an honest effort to navigate a bad situation. Once the working chapters agree on proposals, the whole body would presumably vote - though, realistically, sadly, this means a fraction of it does so.

    • Tasner Curran 4th Jul 2014

      Hey Michael, one of our members, Daniel de Klerk, posted a blog---A Proposed Model For Participatory Decision Making Within IOPS

      http://www.iopsociety.org/blog/a-proposed-model-for-participatory-decision-making-within-iops

      In the blog he covers similar ideas as you do in point three, but importantly, expands on them. You might want to check it out and give your two cents

  • Rick New 4th Jul 2014

    Thanks, Michael.

    It seems like there is discouragement about what options there are at this point, for each possibility offered you wrote it is 1) not one you like 2)not too optimistic and 3)..an honest effort to navigate a bad situation...realistically, sadly, this means a fraction of it does so.

    If I'm reading the discouraged tone correctly, is this discouragement arising because the organization hasn't achieved what you thought was possible from the beginning?

    Thank you,

    Rick

    • Sean Tinney 4th Jul 2014

      Surely that would amount to expressing and opinion. You must have read it wrong. Although it does kind of sound like it to me too.

    • Michael Albert 5th Jul 2014

      What can I say - it isn't a mood per se...it is looking at what appears to be the case...

      On the other hand, you are right that I am discouraged, I suppose you might say, by the overall trajectory. I deal with that in a long interview, and an article, that should both be visible soon.

    • Rick New 5th Jul 2014

      Thanks, looking forward to reading the articles.

  • Peter Lach-Newinsky 5th Jul 2014

    I'd like to have a go at summarising discussions as to What Now, as far as I understand them. Maybe this could help further debate.

    1. The 'active chapter' targets have not been reached. (6 instead of 20)
    2. Participation at the website is low.
    3. Some want the interim status/preconditions to continue until fulfilled, others want them (and the ICC) discontinued.
    4. Some want a physical founding convention some time in the future,others want a virtual one or some other means of becoming 'founded' (e.g. via online poll) asap.
    5. Some want more power over the website and non-local questions handed over to the six active chapters in some new participatory decision-making structure, others do not.
    6. Some want Point 5 but with the addition of yet to be created 'virtual chapters' of those not in local chapters.
    7. Some envision IOPS as a huge Internationale representing millions of people all over the world, others envision IOPS as primarily a small international network of local activists advocating anti-capitalist self-management and participatory democracy.

    No doubt this list is not complete. Please add or modify, camerados.

  • Fred Curran 5th Jul 2014

    Some want the second half of 3 mixed with 5 and 6, or the preconditions removed or changed and those newly existing active chapters to take control with virtual chapters for those members who still do not have a local chapter, "in some new participatory decision making structure".

    Some want the present process of organization wide consideration or maybe a more formulized version with proposals brought before the organization, to continue until some form of decision can be met regarding a strategy and a new decision making structure.

  • Michael Albert 5th Jul 2014

    Peter and Fred -

    The operative word in both your posts, which seem quite accurate to me - is "some."

  • Lambert Meertens 6th Jul 2014

    Michael, I'm afraid you are not helping. Not only some, but lots of us, still feel IOPS has great potential. But some (don't know how many) think that something will need to change for us to reach that potential. What is it? Before we start discussing solutions, we need to have a reasonably accurate collective understanding of what the problem is.

    The ones who are working to make IOPS succeed are the members that are active now. They are not some random bunch. At least they are committed to IOPS, which is more than I can say for some of those on the committee that is consulted when decisions have to be taken taken. I can't for the life of me understand why you are so opposed to letting them set out the course for now in a participatory way.

    • Michael Albert 6th Jul 2014

      Clearly something needs to change. Does anyone argue with that? I wish we could all not interact with others in a way that seems to imply they have views they don't? And yet, I know it is hard to do that.

      From day two, I have said something needs to be done, change, over and over - but what I said needed to change was the effort given by those involved, not to arguing with each other, not to worrying about having national or international program, say, or national or international structure, say, but to reaching out and making iops known, not least by public writing, commenting, speaking, while also building local chapters as the needed infrastructure of anything that would be seriously viable, etc. Very hard, but in my view, at least, the needed steps.

      So, was I wrong? is it something in the definition of IOPS or its temporary minimalist structure, which we can discuss, unearth, AND change, now, that will have some big effect - or was it something about the way people both inside and outside of IOPS have been trying to grow IOPS - or not trying to grow it - that could change and have a big effect? We don't know. We can reasonably disagree.

      At a time when maybe 100 people even see posts and discussions, is it compelling to think that online discussion is an appropriate forum or venue where such insights can arise and, even if they do arise and get traction, have impact, have credibility? Or, is a better option working chapters taking on that task, while other folks keep trying to build new chapters, to also become involved in the task?

      While arguably just semantics, we are, as far as I can see, a random bunch in the sense that we are self selected and without standards. If someone shows up in a discussion, they are in the bunch, if not, not. I don't think being in or not in these discussions is a very strong indicator of much beyond a willingness to do that - it does not evidence an ability to organize, even knowledge of IOPS commitments, much less relevant experience, etc.

      As to my effects, well, what if you and others were making IOPS publicly visible, as I have been doing and continue doing? Would that not help, maybe? What if you and others had been doing that all along, as I have? How many members might we now have? I don't know. Would people beginning to do it now turn things around? I don't know.

      As to my doing harm. Maybe. But I suspect that my choices which have been to put the organization I work with behind IOPS, to put myself behind it very publicly in articles, interviews, and the like, to act as a kind of gopher for the ICC, to try to prod people I encounter all over for attention to IOPS regardless of the cost to my relations with them, have been one viable way to try to help... without even mentioning earlier acts, overall recruiting, and so on.

      I have not said I am opposed to or I am for any particular option, very much, other than when prodded, as here. Okay, so, prodded, I prefer - though I still think it is far from optimal, because optimal is not in reach now - having working chapters take initiative rather than having unattached individuals who each decide that they are, themselves, appropriate actors, taking such responsibility.

      I prefer Lambert as a member of a chapter, say with ten or more others, where you have to engage with them, etc., to Lambert sitting in his room, typing tirelessly in a comments section, say. It is not that I am against typing, tirelessly, including from inside a room. I do it a whole lot, more, I would wager, than anyone else on here, by a large margin. It is that don't believe that that choice, typing tirelessly - rewardingly of the intelligence of the words that appear - is a sufficient basis for having responsibility for an organization.

      I started IOPS, I wrote many of its documents, my activity arguably recruited most members, I raised more funds than anyone else, AND, yes, I sit in my room and type a lot of words. BUT, since I am not in a chapter, what I am suggesting I prefer leaves me, like you, assuming you are not in a chapter, not holding the responsibility. And it means that someone who is in a chapter, but has done none of those other things, would have the responsibility.

      So, what we have here is me favoring putting initiative in the hands of a non ideal but in my view best available group. Not in the hands of anyone who says, here, here, I will happily take it - in a comment appended to an article, not even myself...

      You can characterize that however you please, I guess, but if you really don't understand it, I do not know how to make it more clear.

      And sadly, I have to tell you, I believe the desire per person for IOPS to work that exists among the ICC members, dwarfs the desire that exists among the overall membership.

    • Fred Curran 6th Jul 2014

      To quote Lambert
      "Michael, I'm afraid you are not helping. Not only some, but lots of us, still feel IOPS has great potential. But some (don't know how many) think that something will need to change for us to reach that potential. What is it? Before we start discussing solutions, we need to have a reasonably accurate collective understanding of what the problem is.

      The ones who are working to make IOPS succeed are the members that are active now. They are not some random bunch. At least they are committed to IOPS, which is more than I can say for some of those on the committee that is consulted when decisions have to be taken taken. I can't for the life of me understand why you are so opposed to letting them set out the course for now in a participatory way."

    • Lambert Meertens 6th Jul 2014

      Michael, you don't and can't know how much effort is given by those involved to reaching out while also trying to build local chapters. It doesn't help to keep repeating that they don't try hard enough – it is demotivating rather than motivating to be told that one's failure to be more successful is due to the feebleness of one's efforts. Also, there are things we could do centrally to make local efforts more likely to have effect, but that aspect is completely ignored.

      If you want to blame anyone, blame those who did not join IOPS. Imagine that just 1 percent of 1 percent of those joined...

    • Michael Albert 6th Jul 2014

      Lambert - I am tired of this...really...it just distracts, in my case, at least, from useful things I think I might be doing to pull me into things, instead, which I think are not useful. And it is a horribly restrictive way to communicate about serious matters - honestly. Maybe the best available, at least for people not in chapters...but still, far from optimal.

      And Fred, you may think you were smart quoting Lambert - I think it is not smart at all. Nor telling.

      You can choose to read what I write in a way that lets you act as though I am dumping on someone, it is your option - but I see no benefit to keep debating it, particularly with you. You are entitled to your opinions, why do we have to do anything other than agree to disagree? I have visited people all over, and I get impressions. You apparently get other impressions. Fine. If you read what I write as you do, it is your business.

      But, as a matter of analysis, the one thing I will point out is that it should not be demotivating to hear that someone thinks that 3,000 members not rising to 5,000 members, and further, in turn able to create serious lasting structure and program and grow further, is probably due to a variety of causes, among them that the 3,000, on average, weren't able to recruit even one more person each - no doubt for many reasons - but the reasons are the key thing. That is, indeed, actually the ONE explanation that conveys real hope rather than reason for despair. If 3,000 didn't rather quickly become 5,000 because we aren't doing something as well as needs to be done, or even at all, then we can turn it around by simply doing it more or better. That should be good news. If it is because of the state of the world or of the attitudes of people out there, which simply are not susceptible to changing by way of talk or reading, so to speak, then there is not much for us to do.

      Take myself - among other things I have tried to do is getting media to pay attention, getting people who write, to write, and so on. I have failed, pretty miserably, in my view. If you tell me I failed because I didn't do enough, or I did it poorly, that would be good news, even if I might also have to be sorry or depressed about my having performed poorly. If you tell me I did great, as good as possible, but failed because the views other hold and their choices simply could not be changed - I don't have to feel I performed poorly, but I have reason to be miserable. That people do not seem to understand this point, I never get...

      Or take the current poll. I don't even want to look, right now, but suppose 150 out of 3,500 have taken it. Okay, why? Is it that 3,400 don't even know it is there because the email didn't reach them and they don't visit the site. Is it that they didn't bother reading the email?Or is it that they read it and decided not to bother with the poll?Honestly, my guess it that there is no answer that isn't quite damning of prospects unless we can turn that total around. Or so it seems to me. Which is why I would rather be trying to get people to take the poll, than whatever it is we are doing here...

      I agree there are things that can be done "centrally" meaning by people now involved - which is to say by any and all members - we could push media and other writers to write and otherwise pay attention. So, for example, what if various media received emails from ten or a hundred or a thousand members, instead of just from one or two of us. There are other things, too - and I have been pushing for them, endlessly.

      Now, please let me opt out of this discussion - I have a big work load, that is actually growing, other pressures, inducing medical, and this just seems fruitless, honestly. I just did, or rather I am finishing up a long interview about IOPS which seems like a better use of time, even for exactly these concerns.

    • Fred Curran 6th Jul 2014

      I have no idea if I am smart or not, I think that you have completely ignored what Lambert has said in your responses, I see no reason to just repeat Lambert, but how many times are you going to ignore a perfectly reasonable sentiment.
      I think you have approached all of this from the wrong perspective, and maybe I have too. Still you are fighting unnecessarily against people who want nothing more than for IOPS to succeed. I do not understand, Lets move past this conflict, and begin to consider moving forward together. Not measuring up against one another, but as honest equal human beings.

    • Michael Albert 6th Jul 2014

      Fred I don't know if you are smart or not, either. But I do know, or believe, that quoting someone I just responded to, with no reference to the response, was not smart. At first I wrote not cute. Maybe I should have left that.

      What is it that you think I am ignoring - I have literally no idea. Lambert (and others) use his or their words as my meaning - I am blaming people, I am saying people are engaging in feeble efforts, I don't get that what he wants is truly participatory and he doesn't understand how I could possible not agree, and so on. I don't have time to go get quotes.

      Then I write a long response to a particular comment of his, explaining for him to understand what he says he doesn't - thus taking him seriously, at his word - as I have done though out, and your reply is to quote him, like what he wrote is an obvious truth and my reply directly to it - well, there is no need to react to a word of that. And then you tell me I am ignoring his words, having just undeniably and absolutely done that to what I wrote.

      Could it be that you guys don't understand what I have said not because it is so complex, but because it is you guys who are not really listening.

      I am not fighting against anyone, at least that I am aware of. Nor am I saying anything particularly controversial, again, that I am aware of.

      I urged that we follow existing norms to try to deal with a difficult situation. Seems mundane and obvious. And that means doing a poll. I urged that we try to get people to take the poll, and also that I thought that was more of a responsibility for those concerned with participation, in particular, than trying to decide what to do later or even publicly arguing for poll positions...while not knowing poll results.

      Pushed, I said I like the option to have active chapters take initiative as a very imperfect but hopefully workable way forward.

      The only thing I can think of that you think I might be ignoring or fighting against is the idea that you may or may not have that some folks, not in active chapters, and with no other criteria to support their claim on doing so, instead or additionally take initiative. And, I am not ignoring that, but I have carefully indicated why I personally don't prefer that option...

      As far as ignoring in general, Fred - I don't have time for researching it, beyond asking you to tell me what you think I am ignoring, but you might try a little experiment to test the notion more generally. See if you can find something you or Lambert or someone else has said, to me, that I have ignored - and if so, by all means, let me know, and I will try to address it - which, by the way, there is no reason why I should have to reply to everything you or he has to say - and probably I ought not given all the other things competing for my time.

      On the other hand, perhaps you will take a moment to look at my comments, too, and see if you can find arguments or reasons or just assertions that others and perhaps Lambert and maybe you too, have ignored - which is to say, not even acknowledged as being there, much less addressed.

      Okay, I admit, I will bet dollars to donuts that the former will be hard to find, the latter, much easier.

    • Fred Curran 6th Jul 2014

      We are as an organization getting going. Surely every possible chance for members to have there voice heard is a good idea. Yours included, all the better when we are communicating supportively and constructively.
      Moving past the poll, there is ample room within the standing interim organization to begin experimental inter-member/chapter cooperative efforts, seeking to address and establish a decision making structure that limits its capacity to decisions which have a direct and proportional effect on them, including, within the confines of the experiment, more fluid chapter definitions, including virtual chapters and directly addressing the systemic issues which have produced diversity issues. I hope more people will begin to participate in this way, in this experiment.

    • Michael Albert 7th Jul 2014

      You felt a need to say I was ignoring stuff. I asked you what. You didn't answer that. But even though I would like to not have to spend more time on this, even after ignoring my question, you replied. I wonder why?

      I agree that constructive and supportive communication is a good idea, who wouldn't, but I don't think it is going on. Even this reply ignores virtually all of what I wrote that you are replying to, as best I can see.

      Perhaps you have forgotten that all this discussion is under a blog post I wrote. As a result, I feel a responsibility to address what people write, especially when it is literally directed to me. So I dutifully look, and find that stuff isn't very serious,f or example, saying we should be able to communicate to me is not serious. Of course. So?

      Telling me I ignore stuff, without saying what, is to me not very serious. And so on. Nonetheless, I take it seriously, since my perception may be wrong, and write at length in reply each time - and the replies to what I write area bit like tweets. They seem to see no need for anything but assertion, and certainly no need to even acknowledge what I wrote, much less seeing that it is all I can say on the matter.

      To say we should be able write to one another online - and writing online is a very far cry from talking... is of course true. Sure, we should. But we have a blog system. We have comments. So, okay, people can use that.

      And people can use email or Skype, too. I do, and others do.

      Repeating that people should be free to do what they are and always have been free to do, hardly seems like a good point to make, even once, much less many times. It can't be, I deduce, all you guys are saying, because there is no reason at all to say it - since no one would disagree. The same goes for chapters being able to meet and decide things for themselves.

      But, and this may be your real intent, saying that people who comment a lot or post a lot, or even who don't do either but just say they want to take initiative should be urged to do so...and given a kind of mandate to do so, rather than saying that only those in active chapters should so so, working together, is not obvious at all. Maybe you have no experience with why that is not a good idea, okay - but in my view it isn't.

      In other words, that people in chapters should take initiative, has, I think, more merit than that anyone who wants to, with zero criteria, should. I did not offer this opinion until, however, you guys basically forced me to do so. My intent was only to urge people to address the poll, not say how I thought they should answer.

      And yes, inter chapter communication is good, which is why I not only support it, but, if asked, I make myself available for Skype sessions to answer questions that I may be able to provide useful information about, and so on.

      In short, as best I can understand, in comment after comment, you guys are pushing open doors and claiming that someone is disagreeing...and then pushing harder. And all under a post by me. And then you are also dropping in a little innuendos like that you don't understand why others are against participation, or you don't understand why others are ignoring you, or whatever...

      So, if there is something, then what, again, am I ignoring?

      Perhaps you feel it is a proposal that we have online chapters - I wouldn't even say I am ignoring that though it is possible I didn't say anything directly about it. But no, I don't like it, I admit that, sure. I think the idea is honestly, pretty horrible, at least now before there is a more important mechanism for live chapters. I can imagine trying to do something like that, much later, when there are lots of face to face chapters, structure, etc. etc., for people not in cities, etc.

      But now, no, I don't favor that. What reason would there be for me, say, to create a chapter with fifty or a hundred people, or even a lot more, from all over the planet. Quickly becoming the largest chapter with the most experienced members, with the most prominent people who have most access to organs of communication? It is not a pretty picture, I think. Why shouldn't they, and I, be in face to face chapters where people can actually know one another, interact, share, etc. Because it takes less work to get a cyber chapter - well, that is true. I agree. But it is work that is needed... not work that should be made to appear like a distraction from the far easier way of engaging.

      So, okay, if that is what you say I have been ignoring - and I do not know if it is, then we disagree. Fine. No need to argue. Instead there is need to find out, as you say, what more people think. Thus a poll.

      Suppose we manage to get lots of people replying. Suppose lots of people like chapters taking initiative, for now. Suppose there are six chapters, or whatever - they meet with one another by various means - they make proposals, carefully worked through, and people then vote. Maybe one of the proposals is to have cyber chapters. Maybe another is to do something else. Whatever. Okay, so if you believe in self management, and participation, isn't the task to get people to take the poll? I certainly think so.

      So, I am done with this. And I am sorry, but I think it is important to convey, so you know, that the reason I am now the only ICC member, I suspect who even looks at comments, much less who responds to them, is because people see doing so as a kind of quicksand, sapping time from worthy pursuits, and not accomplishing much. And, sadly, I think they have a point...

    • Fred Curran 7th Jul 2014

      Your poll is not an honest effort to see how others are feeling, as Lambert has pointed out, it is a bad poll for this. That you are the only member of the ICC communicating with the membership of the organization, within its public sphere, is disturbing, and all the more reason any decision should have nothing to do with the ICC at this point.

    • Michael Albert 7th Jul 2014

      Do you mean to say the poll is dishonest? Don't bother answering that, just perhaps try to be more careful to communicate what you mean.

      For the umpteenth time, the mandate was to have a simple poll, and that is what was prepared. If you find it dumb, insufficient, or whatever else, so be it. No need to repeat your distaste over and over. I am sure it derives from tons of experience creating organizations, conducting polls that lead someplace useful, and so on.

      Your opinion about decisions is also your opinion. In my view, those who are not reading this exchange are not missing much, and saving a lot of time, so I guess we don't really agree about that, either. Now, please do me a favor and cease writing to me. There is zero reason to be doing so. And my saying I don't want to get numerous emails from you and lambert, with nothing new, and even allusions like the dishonest line that appears above in them, ought to be more than enough to cause you to desist.

    • Fred Curran 7th Jul 2014

      I think the poll clearly illustrates the interests of its creators, in that sense it is honest. If you are so desirous of the last word that you cannot help yourself please respond. But please in the interest of civility do not do so in that manner and act as if I am the one carrying this on. I see no where for this conversation to go either. I am responding to you at this point. We are through here.

  • Kim Keyser 6th Jul 2014

    Actually, I think that ("They are not some random bunch. At least they are committed to IOPS, which is more than I can say for some of those on the committee that is consulted when decisions have to be taken taken.") is quite correct.

    I do understand that it could be messy/not the ideal procedure to hand over interim decisions to them though, but then again, the situation right now is not ideal. But again:

    1. We should wait for the outcome of the poll (meanwhile, we can surely communicate, plan, coordinate and stuff though).
    2. While not being unimportant at all, it'd be much more important to get some traction locally. That's where most of the focus would need to be, IMO.

    • Michael Albert 6th Jul 2014

      Hi Kim,

      I don't think it is correct, Kim. The people who comment under blog posts are in fact self selected. What we know is that they are into commenting, and a few views they may have, as described in their comments. We don't know if they can organize. We don't know other views they may have. We don't know their reliability. We don't know their experience. And we don't know if they have ties to anyone else, directly. When all is said and done, therefore, you right they are not random - but what distinguishes them is their willingness to write comments - which is not the same as wisdom, experience, connections with others, or even as a distinguishing feature, support for or knowledge of IOPS commitments or desires that it succeed.

      And so, if asked, I would rather see members who are in chapters and can talk with one another, face to face, take initiative.

      Someone might think that writing comments means a person is more committed to the ideas and ideals of IOPS, or even more desirous of it succeeding, and so they are willing to give more time. I don't see that at all. Just take the ICC itself, which people so disparage. On it there are people who are, I venture to guess more committed, for longer, to IOPS politics and views, and easily as desirous of its success as those writing lots of comments. They just doubt the efficacy of writing comments...especially as compared to other things they do.

      Actually, your 1 - I agree with in part. People talk about participation. Well, what matters in the poll is that people participate. So, yes, I think we need to see the results. But for what might be the fifth or tenth time, rather than communicating, planning, and coordinating with others who are writing comments, maybe the real task for someone who wants participation is to try to get members to take the poll...

      And 2 - I agree with.

    • Kim Keyser 6th Jul 2014

      t seems there's been a misunderstanding… By the "not some random bunch" I was thinking of, I was *not* thinking of ppl who comment, as such, but primarily of those involved in chapters (and a few others – like yourself, Verena, Lambert, Paulo, etc. – who're involved, but are not organized into functioning chapters *yet*).

      It wasn't mentioned who "some" were in Lambert's post. You interpreted it as ppl who primarily write comments, while I interpreted it primarily as people who're organized into chapters. I do not know what the right interpretation was. What he originally meant, we don't know, but we agree about the wish that we "would rather see members who are in chapters and can talk with one another, face to face, take initiative."

    • Michael Albert 6th Jul 2014

      You and I agree, I think. I don't know about others. Mainly though - that a few people on here think one way, or another, to me doesn't matter much. What matters is getting more people to relate...

    • Sean Tinney 6th Jul 2014

      Every member of IOPS is self selected. That is assuming that people who comment on this website are members, your use of the term "we" seems to cleave the membership in two. Perhaps some members are more equal than others.

      What is the difference between commenting face to face in a meeting once a month and commenting on this site? Anyone can read a comment posted here, as there is a direct record of what a person said. We know nothing of what is said in face to face meetings, or other back channels that may exist.

    • Michael Albert 6th Jul 2014

      Actually no...if the organization decides it is desirable to have active chapters assume initiative and responsibility, then people taking initiative are doing so based on fulfilling a criteria, being in an active chapter, not simply due to choosing to do so.

      I will ignore the innuendo of the rest of your first paragraph.

      If you see no difference between people being in a local chapter wth others, doing things together, etc., and people writing comments like we are, we can just agree to disagree, I think. Add I will also ignore the innuendo of the rest of that second paragraph.

    • Sean Tinney 7th Jul 2014

      Actually yes... A self selected group have decided to run a poll, asking the "members" if they think the active chapters should take the initiative in guiding the development of this "organisation". They have provided no information on the constitution of these active groups, yet without any form of debate it is suggested that "members" should pliantly tick a box to appease the self selected "pollsters".

      How many active groups are there? How many members in each group? In what manner are they active? Have they expressed a desire to take on this responsibility? Do they have the capacity to fulfil this role?

      There is no innuendo in my first paragraph it is a direct inference from what you wrote: "We don't know if they can organize. We don't know other views they may have. We don't know their reliability. We don't know their experience. And we don't know if they have ties to anyone else, directly."

      Who is the "we" and who the "they" to which you refer? As I understand it you are not in an active group. Given your wisdom and decades of experience coupled with the fact that you reside in Boston, the centre of US radical politics since revolutionary times, why is this the case? Presumably setting up a working group is not so easy. How are "members" who are in small towns, who have no experience supposed to get involved? The only option they have is by engaging in debate on this website.

      While face to face meetings are optimal, even necessary on occasion, there is a whole load of things that people who are not fortunate enough to live in high density administrative centres can do given the right tools.

      What reason would there be for me, say, to create a chapter with fifty or a hundred people, or even a lot more, from all over the planet. Quickly becoming the largest chapter with the most experienced members, with the most prominent people who have most access to organs of communication?

      Is this a serious question? So that you can bring the capacities of those 50 or 100 people against the corporate oligarchies that are emerging around the globe! I thought that was the purpose of IOPS.

    • Michael Albert 7th Jul 2014

      Actually the whole body decided long ago on a procedure which includes that when there is an issue put to the ICC that they aren't overwhelmingly one way, about - there should be a poll to provide information to hopefully clarify a way forward. The poll was created and it went to the ICC without negative reaction.

      This has been said numerous times.

      If you don't like that approach, that's fine, it was and is still the mandate. I would suggest that there is no point in telling me you don't like it, over and over...and mostly ignoring or bending the meaning of replies I offer...

      There is no official definition of active groups I am aware of - and at any rate, the poll includes a question about how many people ought to be involved to have an active chapter. That should give at least some indication of what people think.

      The other questions in para two are perfectly sensible, I would agree, but other than looking over the site, I don't know the answers any more than others do, to some of them. But, are there active groups who are into doing this - yes. Have they on their own initiative started to talk together, yes.

      The we is everyone - and I have to tell you I believe that anyone who has knowledge at all of the history of IOPS, or of me who you are conversing with, for that matter, should find that transparent. And if someone really didn't, then asking in the first place rather than deciding it implies some elite division, would be appropriate. That you don't know, and that you imply it is some elite group - suggests that either you don't know IOPS or myself, or you were implying that without having reason...

      The they, in context, was people who are not in chapters, and thus may well have no direct face to face contact with other members, maybe even no contact at all, and would not be functioning collectively with other members...which would include me, by the way, as I made clear. I think that too should have been completely evident. If it wasn't because I was unclear, sorry.

      As to what I am in - first, I do not reside in Boston, but an hour and a half south of it. If I was in Boston, odds are pretty good - who knows for sure - there would be an active chapter there and I would be in it. But maybe not - because if no one else took the initiative to do the work to form and hold such a thing together, I might well be unable to do so now, as compared to some time in the past. At 67, handling ZCom, dealing with lots of other stuff as well, not least now handling Telesur English Opinion Section, it is not clear how much I could do in that manner.

      I also believe you are right that until IOPS is much bigger, having groups in small places, even having groups in large places, is not at all easy. But this means those who succeed at it have accomplished something worthy. I also think you are right that those not in chapters have to engage by trying to build one, or by doing other things, as well as online, and perhaps at a convention in time. True. But the fact that that is the case doesn't imply that they should all take initiative or even that some, saying they are ready to do so, should do so, with a mandate. You may disagree. Fine. I do not understand why you feel that having voiced your disagreement it is useful to repeat it, to me, over and over. Why?

      That there are many things people can do, even as individuals, is certainly true. Right now for example, that includes writing in public places about the merits of building IOPS, and inviting others to do so as well, including media. That is something everyone and anyone could do - it is the main thing I have done for some time. It also includes writing to current members, getting them to take the poll. And it includes thinking about stuff, I agree, and offering up ideas for the future, I agree. And that is what the blogs are for, indeed.

      But I don't think it includes putting comment after comment under a blog someone else has written, not introducing anything new...even after the person indicates it has become burdensome to no positive end, and basically - or so it seems to me - using the fact that the person feels a responsibility to reply to persist long after the person feels the exchange is no longer fruitful.

      Yes it was a serious question about my forming some cyber group. The point of it is there is not just one criteria by which to judge what we do. I could have done that, from day one, say. I didn't. Why not?

      Well, first it would be wrong and weird to think that doing it would be causing all those people to be working against the current social relations, which they otherwise weren't doing. They all are. So the motive would instead presumably be to amass a powerful center of influence in IOPS, based on the experience, connections, etc. etc., of those people.

      Do I think such a group would have good ideas? Yes. Do I think it would be for the short term, productive? Maybe so. But for the long term, I think it would be horrible leading toward a type of organization quite different from that which we seek. As a result, I didn't propose an ICC that would take major initiative, deciding all kinds of stuff, either. Quite the opposite.

      The question raised an extreme case, but I think the general point is similar. For some people - perhaps this is not you - in general, online communications is some wonderful thing, perhaps not quite up to face to face, but a good substitute. For others, it is nothing of the sort. Instead, some find it to be a kind of abomination. Some of us are in between. Myself, I am in between, seeing, I think, horrible attributes but also benefits of online communications - but I do not see it as a primary tool for building a serious long, lasting organization that really does things, etc. etc.

      So, as a compromise, in a bad situation, I would favor, if I had to pick an option to vote for before having more information, I believe, active chapters taking initiative. I would also favor a convention. And I would favor a lot of other things, I am sure, in the future, which I don't try to push, however, now...because it would be inappropriate.





    • Sean Tinney 7th Jul 2014

      "The poll was created and it went to the ICC without negative reaction."

      Half of them didn't even reply, you cannot get much more negative than that.

      "I would favor, if I had to pick an option to vote for before having more information, I believe, active chapters taking initiative. I would also favor a convention."

      Is is very evident that you hold these opinions and has been since the poll was posted. It has not escaped peoples notice that the poll questions address these things and these things alone. As you have pointed out it is a "trivial" poll and as such will return trivial answers at best. Something bigger than triviality is required if this venture is to get of the ground.

      The "perfectly sensible" questions that I asked, are questions that should have been asked prior to any poll as part of a wider debate. That debate is going to have to be had and the sooner the better. There is not even a realistic estimate of what the membership is.

      Your response to the "we" and "they" comments would mean that you referred to yourself as both "we" and "they" in the same sentences. As a result I'm unconvinced, but not much interested in it either. The idea that people have decided they should take the initiative is something I have only come across in your responses; I think its a bit or a straw man.

      I think your way of the mark with what could be achieved with better networking and communication tools, both in terms of growing this organisation and its effectiveness on the ground within communities. Which brings us back to the debate that is desperately needed.

  • Kim Keyser 6th Jul 2014

    It seems there's been a misunderstanding… By the "not some random bunch" I was thinking of, I was *not* thinking of ppl who comment, as such, but primarily of those involved in chapters (and a few others – like yourself, Verena, Lambert, Paulo, etc. – who're involved, but are not organized into functioning chapters *yet*).

    It wasn't mentioned who "some" were in Lambert's post. You interpreted it as ppl who primarily write comments, while I interpreted it primarily as people who're organized into chapters. I do not know what the right interpretation was. What he originally meant, we don't know, but we agree about the wish that we "would rather see members who are in chapters and can talk with one another, face to face, take initiative."

    • Lambert Meertens 6th Jul 2014

      Apparently Michael and I are on different wavelengths, as this is the third time now he bails out of an exchange with me because he feels it is a waste of time.

      I was referring to members who are active now, by which I meant actively doing work for IOPS, which is a different group than the members of active chapters, some of whom are not active at all, as far as we know. We don't know for sure which members are reaching out one way or another, but I am convinced they are not confined to the members in the currently active chapters. It seems obvious to me that if we don't make some changes, we're going to continue the way we are – gaining no more than two members a day. I don't understand why that can't be discussed in some orderly way.

    • Daniël de Klerk 6th Jul 2014

      They aren't confined to active chapters. Nor is activity necessarily confined to active chapters.

    • Michael Albert 6th Jul 2014

      Lambert, where I am now it is a Sunday, more it is also a holiday. I have been interacting with you writing long comments most of the content of which you don't even acknowledge exists, much less engage with, and doing it despite having family visiting. I also am writing lying down because my back is out. But since you act like telling you I don't want to engage with you endlessly, without giving you all the reasons, particularly since it isn't much of a discussion, is somehow doing something wrong, I will now tell you I am doing it only because I feel I have a responsibility to answer posts directed toward me however useless I think doing so is likely to be.

      I am active now. Iso I understand people who may be, will in some cases not be in chapters. It is not very complicated. I don't happen to think we who are active but not connected to others in chapters should self determine that we should be the ones taking initiative. That is my opinion...you act as though for me to have that opinion somehow means I am suggesting people can't explore ideas. I have no comprehension why. You think differently. Fine. Why do you feel you have to keep writing to me, telling me you don't understand how I could disagree, etc.? If you want to explore ideas, great. Why not write a blog, explore your thoughts with people who reply. Why offer your issues replying to something I wrote, beyond a point?

    • Lambert Meertens 7th Jul 2014

      Michael, I think we – that is IOPS – are in an impasse. I'm trying to see what can be done about it. Of course I can write a blog and we can "explore ideas", but the very point is that such explorations never lead to conclusions because we have no mechanisms that allow us to reach conclusions. And that is (in my analysis) precisely at the root of the impasse we are in.

      I see a vicious circle for global IOPS: no ways to reach conclusions → no ways to set central priorities and develop campaigns accordingly → sluggish growth and an appearance of stagnation → no founding convention → no ways to reach conclusions. We have to break out of that cycle.

      This blog is also about how to break out of that cycle. If I'm commenting here, it is because I hope that my contributions may help us to find a solution. In early 2012 your expectation was that we would have grown sufficiently so that we could have a founding convention "perhaps a year or so in the future" (History and Future Hopes). With that expectation, the idea of a founding convention was quite reasonable. But the expectation did not become reality and now the idea of a founding convention may become our albatross.

      I don't know "what ought to happen", but I can still say that it is not a good idea, in asking all of us questions to "provide information", to limit the choices to ones presupposing a founding convention any time within the foreseeable future. Then obviously the information you will get is that we – or at least those who voted in the poll – thought we should have a founding convention, most likely one without precondition just to get out of the impasse. But what about members who don't think a founding convention is a good idea but who still want to get out of this impasse? What should they do to provide this information?

    • Michael Albert 7th Jul 2014

      I believe I have given my reply to this quite a few time, now. Someone who literally would not want there to be a founding convention, on the current simple poll, would presumably answer that they would not attend one, even if it was close to them. If lots answer the pat way, it is a message hard to mistake. If instead people say they would attend would even donate, that is also a message. So though having a convention has been policy heretofore, in fact, this very simple poll doesn't assume one, but gains information that could also lead to not having one. It also has the possibility of revealing a path out of the box we are in...giving initiative to active chapters who then might propose all manner of possibilities.

      So that is what is happening now, and the more who take the poll the better and more hopeful.

      Again, as far as my own perceptions of the situation, I have an imminent article on znet, and also telesur English, plus a long interview, with a long part just on IOPS, with Paulo asking the questions.

    • Lambert Meertens 7th Jul 2014

      I do not want a founding convention, but if it nevertheless is decided to have one and I could afford to attend, I might consider coming. On the other hand, I can easily imagine someone who thinks we should have a founding convention asap but is not in a position to attend personally.

      If the poll doesn't assume a founding convention, that lack of assumption is very cleverly kept hidden by the questions. In any case, information on whether people would attend does not reveal much on whether they want to have one, and even less on why: the reason could simply be like "let this painful rigmarole please be over and done with at the earliest opportunity so that we can stop navel staring and start paying attention to more serious business".

  • Michael Albert 7th Jul 2014

    Why do you feel the need to repeat what you do or do not want to me, much less to do it over and over, much less, ignoring the substance that I take the time to write in reply? You know what, I know you don't want a founding convention. I think it is ludicrous to say that, per se. If we had 10,000 members, a good venue, and people willing to pay and wanting to attend, to meet others, to establish ties, to deliberate together, to gain momentum, and so on, you would presumably say, no, I don't want it. Okay, I get it. I really do. And that being the case, no information will bear on your sentiment. Fine. I have no idea why you feel that way, and I don't really tie a damn, honestly.

    This is not a conversation - you ignore my content, You repeat yours.

    Yes, I also know you think a poll could be better than it was, particularly relative to your very personal and particular desires to be represented perfectly. But, a simple poll was the mandate, and the fools who created, it, me included, did so. So now it exists and that is that. What does saying you don't like it accomplish, I wonder. Particularly when the real issue is that so few are inclined to even look at it.

    As I have noted before, your messages come to me in my email, and I get tons of other mail, too - so I have to keep seeing it, and since my policy is to answer everything I get, as quickly as I can so it doesn't mount up, I answer it. I tell you enough - even, and you ignore that too. For those reading this stuff, I suspect this dynamic is why not many writers, who are typically busy people with lots of responsibilities, even look at email or comments, much less respond to them.

    So, okay, you win - sort of. I can't forego looking at comments per se, nor do I want to. But I will set up a macro to erase your email so that I feel no need to reply to it. And yes, that means you can repeat yourself endlessly, on blogs that I write, and you have successfully established a situation in which I won't even see it. In decades I have done this maybe three times, to anyone - so you are in an elite little group, I suppose. Congrats.

  • Fred Curran 7th Jul 2014

    Michael if your health and wellness is deteriorating because of you participation in this conversation, you should take a day or two or three off. No one will hold it against you if you take your time. Just say I am not feeling so well give me a few days to get back to this, in the mean time go ahead with your conversation. The blogs and comment sections of IOPS serve as its public sphere, not as a personal messaging mechanism.
    The need to begin this conversation again comes for me as you sought to interject the uselessness of even a short list being draw up by members. As to what the overall opinions were, from those who have thus far voiced them.

  • Michael Albert 7th Jul 2014

    Thanks for your concern thought it is not my health deteriorating because of this exchange...

    And I don't need instructions about how to spend my time, etc., thanks.

    And honestly Fred, as I have told both you and Lambert, telling me over and over what you like or don't like is not productive for you or for me. If you have views you feel are important, write a blog...for the views. There is no reason I should have to see them in my email, or under the blog I wrote, at this point. I would likely read such a blog post, and if I felt I had something useful to offer you there would do so.

  • Lambert Meertens 7th Jul 2014

    I was trying to explain why I doubt the outcome of the poll will give us useful information. With previous polls I've asked again and again to have some discussion first on what are proper questions given what we want to find out. I don't know why that is consistently ignored. I can already now say that we should not put much weight to particular interpretations of the outcome of this poll, including its low response rate. Anybody's guess what it all means will be about as unfounded as anybody else's.

  • Lambert Meertens 7th Jul 2014

    In general, if I address a comment to a particular participant, I'm not so much telling what I want, but am trying to address a specific point made in a preceding contribution by that participant. So if the claim is made that members who think we should not consider a founding convention now can indicate that by stating that they won't attend, it is useful to point out, with a specific example, that the implication is unwarranted. Enough people have indicated their puzzlement with this question that it should be clear there is a problem here. It's not just that the poll does not represent particular desires "perfectly". It is that what – for all I know – may be a major feeling cannot be represented at all. That was also the case in the polls for the preconditions. There was no way of representing: we don't want no numerically specified formal preconditions. It's like a poll about the new clothes of the emperor in which you can only choose that they are elegant or that they are a bit too extravagant.

  • Peter Lach-Newinsky 8th Jul 2014

    Lambert: "It's not just that the poll does not represent particular desires "perfectly". It is that what – for all I know – may be a major feeling cannot be represented at all. That was also the case in the polls for the preconditions. There was no way of representing: we don't want no numerically specified formal preconditions. It's like a poll about the new clothes of the emperor in which you can only choose that they are elegant or that they are a bit too extravagant."

    I think this is correct (to make the meaning clear, I'd just correct the double negative often used in the vernacular/pop songs: from "don't want no..." to: "...we don't want ANY numerically specified formal preconditions.") If it is correct, it's serious. It suggests a certain breakdown in democratic procedure, no? Who chooses the QUESTIONS after what kind of democratic discussion by whom?

  • Tommy Strange 11th Jul 2014

    Did all of you read over all these comments? What regular person would join IOPS after reading this? Even if they take the time to find this spot to check.
    If any of my left coworkers that came to this site from my urging, saw this, would you think they would every come back?
    I'm a 30 year syndicalist in SF, and not one person that I emailed and spoke to in the bay area (over 50 people) seemed interested. Why is that? I don't have answers, but I have suggestions.
    First one is, this is a web based outreach, started from a limited audience, that then only has a limited number of people who will join, organize and propagate info over.
    I know from reading so many great znet writers, that most of you know that very few people relative to the USA population, actually go to organizing 'fringe' websites. I can't imagine how few in other less wealthy countries do such.
    You can't do this on the internet. Suggestion one. Use it as a fast tool, but not the basic of organizing. Only face to face works. And that is not happening.
    How to overcome that and have us people on the street? I'm not sure. I know how, but not sure it can be done with the type of people in IOPS.
    Suggestion two, comes from my own experience in the bay area. I immediately emailed all SF members. It could be me. It could be my blunt emails. Maybe I'm an odd sort. But I have played in bands here for 25 years and have still many 'left' friends, none of whom were interested. I heard nothing back from any of the IOPS members. I suggested a Mission district mass flyering and have a BBQ in my backyard. I said I would go to the so called 'projects' on chavez up two blocks. As well as hit the most of the 24th street area with RSVP. Again, it could be me, and the 'new' nature of people in SF. So I emailed most of the east bay chapter. So many working class radicals have been pushed there.Said same thing. We must do face to face and worker organization. Two nice replies, but then it was "well we CAN'T do this cuz we are three white guys." As in, "we have to wait and be more representative." A 'true' feeling, but also an end to action.
    So suggestion two is "how much do you all believe in bottom up revolt?" Are IOPS chapters to be 'education' seminars within little cliques? Or an attempt at building a social revolutionary organization?
    Suggestion three is: Change the name to something simple. It sounds like an NGO. How about peoples' councils, or ??? Ok that ain't gonna happen. It would take two months of discussion. Never mind I said that. I don't mean to say some revolutionary overblown tag….but peoples' federation, workers' federation, …anything but twenty syllables. CNT, IWW, or Kiss My Ass Capitalists.
    Suggestion four: The website is impossible to find your 'local'. It really is. I'm not computer dumb. But when I come to the home page, I find it very difficult to see if new bay area people have signed up. Shouldn't the website center on immediate access to new regular people that want to get in touch with 'comrades'.
    Please don't tell me I have to click here, then there. You just proved my point.
    solidarity, but sad, that all you good people seem like you're spinning in circles again.

  • Peter Lach-Newinsky 11th Jul 2014

    Tommy: "First one is, this is a web based outreach, started from a limited audience, that then only has a limited number of people who will join, organize and propagate info over.
    I know from reading so many great znet writers, that most of you know that very few people relative to the USA population, actually go to organizing 'fringe' websites. I can't imagine how few in other less wealthy countries do such.
    You can't do this on the internet. Suggestion one. Use it as a fast tool, but not the basic of organizing. Only face to face works. And that is not happening."

    Tend to agree with you there Tommy. IOPS has been a 'top-down'/internet project, not an expression of self-federation of activists/orgs from below, as you would expect from a libertarian perspective. That's its core contradiction IMO (I said as much in a first blog in 2012). And your experience with the 50 people in the Bay area and SF 'members' who expressed no interest in IOPS seems to be the common one right through IOPS, and bears this out. (As does the non-interest shown by the majority of IOPS own ICC, the lack of participation by most etc etc). The question still is, do you think there is any merit at all in IOPS (or whatever it calls itself) continuing, and if so, with what different perspective and structure?