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The "Cool" and IOPS: Pop-culture and new member recruitment

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Pop-culture and IOPS: 

 I recently had a number of conversations with new IOPS members who signed on without a significant background in politics. This is a great sign and something that we should encourage. We need to engage in pop culture, without sacrificing principal, if we are to gain significant amounts of new members. A great promise concerning IOPS is that it offers a high degree of unity and principle, clearly articulated and accessible to anyone who finds the website and takes the time to read and commit to the values. 

In my experience, too many groups on the left are caught in dogmatic and sectarian analysis that makes them very slow to embrace new ideas or visions and very defensive about other leftist groups, like IOPS, who attempt to "tell them what to do". However, I know there are allot of unaffiliated "normal" people who are disgusted with the way things are, who are interested in the visions that IOPS has to offer and are much more willing to try out new things. If we can reach these people we can grow the membership and out organize the "old" left, avoiding the pitfalls of sectarianism and defensiveness. 


Soccer or Gossip mags:  IOPS and  "the Cool"

 The manufacture of consent is a critical component of news media, and the manufacture of what political rapper and cultural worker Lupe Fiaso calls "the cool" is another key element of the PR machine that maintains the status quo. Any significant growth of IOPS in our highly media/PR focused culture will involve the development of our "cool". 

We need an outreach material section of the website. There have been many flyers, videos, and photos produced that are cultural work for IOPS but it is hard to access or share on the current website. This outreach section should have simple flyers, photos, videos, songs, and zines that can easily be shared on both the webs of social media and in the streets of the real world. We should encourage all members to share these simple outreach materials on social media and we should include a link to these for everyone who becomes a new member.  For example, pictures with basic text on them ("memes" like the ones on this blog) are the most shared and viewed things on social media. We could have an archive of hundreds of simple "meme" photos that are easy for new members to share on social media. 

Chomsky is a person who has a global media persona and who has spoken out for IOPS. We should use this as much as possible in a way that engages pop-culture and more new member participation. 

At this point can we attempt to get other celebrities or sports stars of any stature to mention IOPS?

Can we hijack cultural events with IOPS information, similar to the Yes Men?

There is so for us to learn and so much growing we have to do. Lets be both as silly, as engaging and as serious and the times demand.  



Discussion 26 Comments

  • Sarah Owens 7th Dec 2012

    Jon Doe, quite agree. Not unlike my Waiting Room Project for a different generation, if I may say. Appreciate your other postings/work in IOPS. Wish there was more of such.

    So how do we act on this? Are you saying the stuff under the Resources tab is okay, but needs reorganizing? What do you visualize for an outreach material section? Would it make sense to use the IOPS Group on ZSocial as a material-organizing or publication tool?

    • Jon Doe 9th Dec 2012

      I think the resources tab could use reorganizing and the addition of something like a "outreach materials" tab. Ideally this would be a simple way to organize outreach materials and encourage new members to share such material in social networks and on the streets. Perhaps the site could automatically take you to such an archive/tab after you complete the membership form and upload your photo?

    • Sarah Owens 9th Dec 2012

      Very good. I posted your suggestion here:
      http://www.iopsociety.org/forum/the-site/more-site-suggestions .

      I don't want to press my luck or your patience, but any suggestions on the reorg? How would you do it? Or do you maybe mean, clean up what's been posted, put stuff in the right places sort of reorg? In which case I'm thinking the answer's fairly obvious (though peeps might do it differently, the way they arrange a room).

  • Sarah Owens 7th Dec 2012

    Re: "can we attempt to get other celebrities or sports stars of any stature to mention IOPS?"

    I'm not very plugged in to the culture, but I think there are celebrities, or at least people who are well known in their fields, groups, etc., within the ranks of the membership who might be called upon to make public endorsements, or at least mentions. But they must be identified and asked, I expect, like anyone else. We you thinking to work your ideas through an existing project, start a new one? Or did you post the blog just to share your thoughts? I mean, I wouldn't anticipate anyone would disagree with what you've written at all; it's just a matter of going about it, right?

  • Ian R. 7th Dec 2012

    Thank you for this post, I think IOPS (and many othes one the left) need to engage much more in new forms of communication and media.

    I wouldn´t join facebook for that but an IOPS Blog on tumbler would be great for the beginning. https://www.tumblr.com/

    Anybody volunteering?

    Be warned: Don´t let a stoic german with very bad english have to do it. :)

  • Johannes 7th Dec 2012

    There have been some efforts to engage in new forms of communication and media.




  • Edward Belize 7th Dec 2012

    I'm exactly that one: I joined because of Chomsky. But I'm still not sure where it will take me, in the practical way, not behind the screen on the internet...

    • Misty Novitch 11th Jan 2013

      we gotta talk about it before we can achieve it - i think even this internet talking is an amazing first step :-)

    • 4th Feb 2013

      Yes! this conversation is revolutionary in it of itself because it is a rejection of what the current system is. the most revolutionary thing we can do right now is engage EVERYONE in a discussion of how the world SHOULD be.

      Bless! -Abe

  • Ian R. 8th Dec 2012

    Started a call for an IOPS community tumblr account here:


    • Caleb James 8th Dec 2012

      How would that work?

      Would an administrator like Lambert (for example) run it?

    • Ian R. 10th Dec 2012

      One person could create the account (not on his/her personal address/email)and the access could be shared in a small group.

      If blog posts from here would be just copied to tumblr, then one person would be enough to be admin of the account.

      I think it works similarly with other IOPS accounts on social media already. More information can be found in the project behind the link posted above.

      But I see now that Johannes answered already below...

  • Johannes 9th Dec 2012

    At the moment we share administration duties. Most of the content however is automatically read from the IOPS RSS feeds and published on Facebook and Twitter. We don't follow anyone on Twitter or something like that as we think that would undermine the participatory character of our organization if just a few people would decide such things.

  • Sarah Owens 9th Dec 2012

    Looks like Jon Doe posted the blog just to share his thoughts. We certainly have a lot of idea people. Need more hens.

    • Misty Novitch 11th Jan 2013

      LOL! yeah ideas are easy and fun and exciting, but the work is the hard part tho also fun too ;-) im so guilty of that.

      I think the ORGANIZING, the going out and talking to 1000s of people, again, and again and again and again and helping to get them involved in ANYTHING including this, is the hardest part and where we need to be putting the most of our energy - i do anyway, and it seems true for many other comrades :-)

      and honestly, im not real confident sending new activists here (tho i still do sometimes if they seem into long-term vision and strategy) cuz we need to speak f*cking ENGLISH NOT ACADEMESE if we wanna go outside our normal circles, which i sure as hell do, not that i don't love u people with all my heart :-)))

      but if we want a mass movement, we need to be more clear, simple, and working-class in our language. if i have to read it a few times to understand it, it might not be super accessible, since i am from the working class fo real but am still fancy-college-educated - it just didnt sink down to my roots ;-) SO i feel like i know and can say, again, WE NEED TO SPEAK ENGLISH.

      maybe we need more chomsky memes? maybe ill make one ;-)

      btw, John Doe, my partner looked up meme fonts when we were making our meme about les mis and organizing lol, and they are generally impact font in all caps, and thats y ppl recognize them as that :-) yay daniel!

      those fliers/brochures on the resource page on here are a GREAT start!!!

      i think they can speak even LESS ACADEMESE and MORE english. like wtf does all that shyt actually mean? can we begin to translate? cuz its like literally another language if u think about whether or not we're communicating. CAN WE COMMUNICATE ABOUT IOPS AS SIMPLY AS POSSIBLE PLEASE?? :-)

      for instance, from the half page flier under resources on here, that looks much more easily digestible and simplified, so thanks to whoever made that, and im sorry if this is offensive cuz i dont mean it to be, but the words "classless economy, self-managing polity, intercommunalist culture, and feminist kinship" are not gonna mean jack shyt to regular folks like my family. i understand those may be the most descriptive, but if ppl cant understand u right away, it doesnt really matter how descriptive you are with those words, really, right?

      i think we need to start from the VERY beginning, slow and easy and accessible for all.

      that is what we tried to do with this pamphlet years and years ago (please feel free to download and edit! or give lots of suggestions for non-academese changes - if one more person tells me to change freedom to self management or equality to equity or something, no offense, but i shall cry):

      This one is for recruiting activists generally, not specific to IOPS:

      to be clear, both of those need a lot of work and r not the most accessible things either cuz of their size. i just wanted to give examples of the type of simplicity, clarity, and baby steps kinda thing i wanna see :-)

      and it would be nice to even have some quick tips to how to talk to people - like we should probably ask them questions about their values, their priorities, what activism or revolution means to them, what kind of world they want to live in, push them, ask if they're an activist, why/not, whether they think there is any alternative, what it would take to convince them to get involved, etc :-) but we cant just be trying to make everyone become like us u know?

      my partner daniel and i r reading an amazing book by paul getsos and joan minieri called "tools for radical democracy" about the hardcore, detailed as f*ck, ins outs and nuances of organizing, beginning to end, and he had some good things to say about actually physically organizing when we went to his workshop on "Participatory Organizing" at the Occupy National Gathering (NatGat) in Philly on July 4th, 2012 :-)

      Here is the first video from that workshop, and the rest are on my NowIsOurTime youtube channel, labeled properly, i believe, and he seems to be very good at ENGAGING the people he's trying to organize just based on being in that workshop so I think we could learn a lot from him if we wanna build a mass movement for a better world :-D


      I also REALLY LOVE that vision document we came up with at the NatGat, and I think it would be huge for us to start with those kinds of simple vision statements which are easier to understand and relate to. Here is a video I made about the visioning process (which lists the first page of statements on the first page of the vision document at 6 mins in, or 7:34 mins depending on the part ur looking for:


      I also have started making memes about these vision statements in that video/from NatGat, to try to drum up excitement for them (tho they dont have the meme impact font, and are not funny;-)):

      Sarah, I shall try to be a hen, instead of just an ideas person, seems like im more and more of the latter these days ;-) do remind me if I'm not doing it, since I haven't been on here in a while and i need to held accountable by my comrades :-)

      Maybe I'll make a meme or two and a flier or sticker. I just think we need the simplest outreach materials possible, that will reach the most ppl, and get them interested, like the top nonprofits thing u posted John Doe.

      I wanna make clear that I don't think I'm necessarily good at anything I'm critiquing, or talking to people, or simplifying, or whatever - I'm just saying what I feel in my gut, my experience, and my personal understanding since I grew up lower middle class, one of the first in my family to go to college, etc.


      YAY let's make our sexy movement as visibly sexy as possible! maybe we can all pose for a sexy calendar? ;-D haha

  • Jon Doe 9th Dec 2012

    I wanted to share my thoughts but also encourage people create more "pop" media outreach content and for there to be a place on the website for such content. Like an "outreach" section or tab.

  • Sarah Owens 9th Dec 2012

    Well, you know Jon Doe, there's a confidence issue for a lot of us. Like we don't know what to do, or where to go, or what to say when we get there. Having someone give a little direction (yes, you've given a little direction, so I guess I mean more direction, maybe even what feels like a lot of direction) helps overcome inertia. But then it's hard for the person with the vision to know where to start, too. That's why I thought one of the existing projects might be a good place for you to begin, no?

  • Jon Doe 9th Dec 2012

    Thanks for the supportive commentary sarah. I think your putting a suggestion on the site-suggestion page was a great idea that I had no idea about. I guess now it just takes more people to begin to make "cultural work", and that they think would be effective at generating "the cool" for IOPS and getting more interest on the web and on the streets. The more we try things out, and support one another, the more our passion for a better world will find itself reflected in others!

    • 4th Feb 2013

      Lots of good stuff in this comment. very nice. Vision is so key, def,

  • Johannes 13th Dec 2012

    A tumblr page has been created.


  • Maryellen Kurkulos 5th Jan 2013

    Just came across this blog -great ideas. Boston IOPS is set to have its second meeting - as yet is is more of a social group than a political one given we are somewhat spread across Massachusetts and are yet getting to know one another. Will keep you updated - it's clear to me that there are a number of mechanisms/tools we need to develop to make our work more efficient and one is the use of social media, not forgetting about ZSocial too.
    Solidarity - and keep those ideas coming. - M.

  • Misty Novitch 11th Jan 2013

    Hey sorry for the taking up of so much space with my memes, gals, i didnt think it would do that like that :-/ my bad :-) please feel free to edit it, website ppl! :-))

  • Misty Novitch 11th Jan 2013

    Another Chomksy meme about iops ;-)


  • Misty Novitch 12th Jan 2013

    Hey my partner just showed me some videos related to LEGOS, violence, and patriarchy (really great!).

    I wanted to show y'all "Feminist Frequency," one person's page that I think is a great, accessible, engaging, and easy/understandable, simple way to learn/talk about broad issues like sexism/patriarchy and feminism.

    Please watch the quick lego violence video by "rebelliouspixels" (also really accessible), and then the 2 more in-depth parts from "Feminist Frequency" below that.

    What do you think? Think we can learn from/do this kinda thing? :-))

    LEGO Violence

    LEGO & Gender Pt 1

    LEGO & Gender Pt 2

  • Gregory VanGaya 17th Jan 2013

    Full time video editor - animator staff person?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dXOPQ_iDZo Watch the first minute of this bs. There is so much subtext that could be added even to this trending drivel on youtube. This shit gets watched. I'm not saying this would be the main candidate for a week of work, but my point is that anything that is popular and headed for 700,000 views could be redone by us, we'd get 60,000 views in the spin-off related to videos, and voila, more members.

    In short I think we need to have a full time video editor and animator, who's paid staff, probably from the Global South, maybe gets paid $800 a month by IOPS members (I'll put in $40 a month). We interim members would help with picking out the videos to re-mix or to do from scratch, the tropes, content, one-liners, and general editorial input. If the paid editor gets it, then we'd back off with the editorial oversight.

    Maybe with a full timer underpinning the production we would then be able to do other tasks in the production process more regularly and learn/gain the confidence to develop more media more as autonomous members.

  • Marlo Pedroso 11th Feb 2013