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What is IOPS London and what do YOU want it to be?

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IOPS London members at the September 2014 meeting (which I didn't attend) asked the question "What is IOPS London and what do YOU want it to be?". It was decided that we'd discuss this question at today's meeting.

 

So, I started scribbling down my thoughts to organise my ideas for discussion at today's meeting. I started linking it to the IOPS Mission and Vision statements. And, I thought I'd share my scribbles in case they're helpful/useful to others:

 


A pre-figurative space (IOPS Mission “planting the seeds of the future in the present”) of activists, artists for social change, social-care workers, educators to come together to:

 

  1. talk about the successes and weaknesses of actions / movements they are a part of;

  2. continually develop, feel empowered, part of a community, and learn new skills – ensure horizontality and a structure which encourages this (IOPS Mission: “empowering and improving the lives of its members” and “organising in an internally classless and self-managing way”)

  3. participate as individuals and a group in grassroots movements for social change today (IOPS Mission: “winning changes in society that improve the lives of people in the present”);

  4. learn about the operations of society today (e.g. able-ism, patriarchy, racism, capitalism, environmental degradation, imperialism, homophobia, transphobia…), and explore (and play with) alternatives (e.g. kinship, community, parecon, parpolity, alternative media, sustainability, participatory education, community mental health)

    1. with a view to popularising both 1) concerns with current society AND 2) alternatives to the status quo (IOPS Mission: “flexibly exploring and advocating long term vision” and also Vision statement, here).

 

 HOW TO TAKE STEPS TO ACHIEVE THIS:

 

  1. how do we assess the success of an action/movement? What indicators are valuable to us and consistent with our principles? E.g. non-violent direct action leading to deepening of resistance among participants? Occupation? Grassroots struggle? Protests? Voting? Insurrection? Ripple effects through mainstream society through what actions? Media coverage? In order to work out these questions (how do we assess success and how does change come about?), I think it’s helpful to look at how organisations like FARJ, OFS, and others have developed and be clear about what our theory of social change/activism is. I’ve previously recommended some texts on this subject – I think it’s helpful to review these before considering developing a substantive strategy for ourselves (let’s lift ourselves on the backs of others’ struggles – and reach higher, learning from past lessons. Rather than repeating the same mistakes – let’s learn from past mistakes and make new ones!);

  2. continual skill development programme, including (but not limited to) power and privilege, safe spaces, accessibility, facilitation, non-violent direct action, police awareness, know-your-rights etc.;

  3. developing deep group agreements, socialising and doing tasks that deepen group connection / group formation towards building a pre-figurative community (also thinking about ethical outreach (rejecting the “recruit-recruit-recruit” model towards one that puts action in front of words and focuses on creating a dynamic IOPS London chapter that is accessible, lively and fun space of activists for social change. So, others may gravitate towards us through the way we organise and what we achieve – rather than just what we say);

  4. responsibility to actively contribute towards a movement / campaign as individuals and/or a group (IOPS Mission: “winning changes in society that improve the lives of people in the present”);

  5. deepening theory through reading group and translating this perhaps through accessible blogs that members regularly write – linking theory to what’s happening in society today;

  6. thinking about the link between theory and practice (1) can we be bring skills and knowledge into our organising; and 2) are we experiencing things in practice which suggests theory needs to be updated? (IOPS Mission “IOPS sees social strategy and especially tactics as largely contingent on place and time and therefore continually revises shared views in light of new evidence including regularly updating analysis, vision, and strategy.”)

Discussion 2 Comments

  • Kim Keyser 3rd Nov 2014

    c: Extremely important. I wish you the very best luck in trying to implement it!

  • Peter Lach-Newinsky 4th Nov 2014

    Very impressive, Preeti. Wish you all the best.