This is a blurb expressing my thoughts on what the IOPS strategy should be, in hopes that it generates some discussion. I talk too much on IOPS international in general and am by no means an expert on this stuff, but here's my perspective nonetheless, so thanks for reading in advance. My fellow people in San Diego please chime in if you have beef, I don't mean to represent us per se...
BLUF (bottom line up front): We have all connected internationally and agreed upon a very broad, progressive, ambitious, optimistic, and well-written statement of purpose and vision, thanks to a few very dedicated veteran activists who had the guts to try something big and risk failure. The foundational support is there. Now - IOPS chapters at the city level are where things need to start happening, and the sooner the better, but dig your heels in for the long haul. It's time to learn from past movements, get creative, and stick your neck out of your shell. I submit that the first, most difficult and greatest priority is de-atomizing your community - bringing people together communally, opening their eyes, and creating a sustainable, long-term, organized network of communities from which real political power can be derived. Once you have people power, I think the "what do we do" comes easily (and much later). Wow, that was a long bottom line, sorry!
My list of points (and questions), in order of priority:
1. Priority #1 is solidarity among members, and at a personal, face-to-face level. No petty disagreements should get in the way of working together. If you have issues, sort them out.
2. Education among members - we know a lot already (some more than others), but most of us (well, at least I do) really need to know a lot more if we want to be the teachers of those left in the dark...
3. Reach out in communities - for my young idealist mind, I think that poor areas are the best place to start and get established, because they are the most disenfranchised and they have a raw, personal understanding of the deep problems within the system. To what extent will there be competition with existing groups, such as churches? What is the best way to approach people in a non-threatening way? How the @#$% do you do this??
4. Education of communities (aka teach-ins): After the IOPS cadre (who are already well-aware of the situation) have oriented themselves, and you have managed to get some people to listen to you for 5-minutes, this is the critical moment. Hook, engage and keep them engaged, while you explain the highly-sophisticated form of slavery we are all succumbing to... I have no idea how you would even begin to to do this either, lol...
5. Provide for the community - we can't just be a school - we have to provide for the community in as many ways as we can. We should be trying to replace the government, and that shouldn't be TOO hard this day in age, right?? Resources may be limited, but the bigger and more organized you get, the more you can provide. Ideas?
6. One last thing - kind of unrelated - I think perhaps IOPS should narrow down its vision to a specific system, such as PARECON. I foresee a lot of discussion on this and I think the bigger we get, the harder it will be to come to a consensus. If not, when are we going to decide on this? What do I tell people when they ask, "if not this horribly unstable, unequal system, then what do you propose??" Thoughts??
Sorry to be so vague, but again, I'm just trying to get everyone talking about the NEXT STEP for everyone in IOPS.
Shout out to my peeps in San Diego!