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How you can participate

Our vision is that of a future society in which everyone can participate on an equal basis. We want to realize our vision already in the present, within our own organization. It is important to us that all members can participate. We have no leaders; everyone's ideas and opinions count equally. 

Please do not think lightly that you lack skills or talents that can contribute to our mission. Everyone has valuable capabilities and yours may come in handy sooner than you think. Also, consider that by participating skills and confidence will come with practice.

IOPS is under construction, being built from the ground up without much of a plan. There is no master architect and there are no well-defined tasks ready and waiting for members to take on. It’s not that there isn’t enough to do – there is plenty, and it is up to you to seek out the things in which you can participate and that suit you. Everyone can contribute but how much and in exactly what ways you do so is your decision. You yourself can best determine your own talents, skills, connections, resources, available time, and so on, at any given moment, and how they are best applied. But be assured there is no lack of things to do, both inside IOPS and outside. Hopefully the following will give you some ideas.
  • Using the website.  The IOPS website offers several facilities that can be used to interact and collaborate with other members, such as blogs, forums and projects. It is organized along geographical lines to bring people living close to each other together in chapters – international, per country, and within each country by region and city. For an introduction on how to use the website, watch this video: IOPS website introduction tour.

  • Connecting with other members.  Being an activist can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be frustrating. Much of what you do will simply not have much effect, and even when it has, chances are you won't see it. We strongly recommend that if you have a chance you team up with someone else so that you can offer each other mutual support.

    If there are other IOPS members in your area, you can contact them and try to get to know them via a personal message on our website. The ideal is to have active groups everywhere, who meet on a regular basis.  They can be based on one's home location, forming a neighbourhood, city, or regional group, but it can also be a group of people working at the same company. Such meetings are not only an occasion to hear what others are engaged in and to receive or offer advice and other support, but also to raise any issues that are having an impact locally – a public library that is threatened with closure, public officials who exact bribes before they will issue permits, or a boss who is sexually intimidating – and to discuss how they can be addressed. That may not yet be realistic if there are only a few members in your area, but  simply getting to know each other over a cup of coffee is already a good start.

  • Engagement in other projects.  If you are presently active in some issue-based action group or movement, we encourage you to go on with that also as a member of IOPS. We see other groups whose vision is largely compatible with ours not as competitors but as allies. What you can do then is not only show our solidarity but also help people in the action group or movement to connect the dots – by showing how the issue is not isolated but connected to many other pressing issues by a common underlying cause, and that this cause will need to be addressed. A key question is how to unite all the movements and organizations whose core ideals are in basic alignment, putting aside our differences, in order to effect lasting change beyond what each group can achieve by itself. IOPS wants to serve as a uniting force, and we need members like you to be the carriers of that force.
  • Joining (or starting) study groups.  Another kind of group you can join (or start yourself) is a study group (or “reading circle”), in which you read books or other texts and discuss them together to learn about how people in the past or elsewhere have united and struggled for their rights, or about any other topics of common interest.   
  • Raising consciousness.  Many people will need to work together to realize a better world as we envision. Of the tasks we face, convincing more people that a fundamental change is needed, and that this is possible, that we can get there, is perhaps the most important. When you speak to people and ask how they are doing, and listen to their problems with genuine interest, you will find again and again that what many see as their private problems are in fact general social problems caused by the way the system works. Such moments should present opportunities to explain what is wrong and what could be done about it.

    You can even go door-to-door or talk with your neighbours about issues that concern them. You can further post about IOPS on social media, or blog about it, or write about it in any type of media outlet. You can also consider social media channels on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Tumblr as well as joining our corresponding Social Media project.

    Other opportunities to reach people are offered by all kinds of fairs and forums, if you can organize an IOPS table there. You can also try to engage with the local community by attending in whatever social gatherings or organizational meetings that are held. That can range from a board of parents for the local school, to local initiatives in churches and so on. The Resources section on our website contains some material such as texts for flyers that can be used for such occasions. Some local chapters have a Resources section of their own. Where possible, it is ideal for material to be tailored to an event and the audience attending it. If you can make accessible promotional texts, images, or music, we sure could use your skills.

    If you find one or two people who agree with your ideas, you could together organize public film nights that anyone in your neighbourhood is welcome to attend, in which you show documentaries that are critical of the current system,  followed by an informal discussion. 

    You can blog about your efforts on the IOPS website, so that other IOPS members can learn from your experiences, such as what obstacles you face and what successes you had, and also offer encouragement and advice based on their own experiences or make other suggestions. 

  • Exploring alternatives.  It is one thing to say that the whole system needs to change, but another to present specific details about how and what. Yet many people will need to see possible workable alternatives in many areas before they can be convinced. How will education be organized after the revolution? What about care for the elderly? Will there be airlines? How can philosophers get an income? Will we have police, judges and jails? The possible questions are almost endless. The point is not to develop definitive answers – every self-managing community should have the right to adopt which solution they deem best – but to show that all such questions have at least some possible answers that are consistent with our vision and values. If there is some topic you are particularly interested in, you can join (or start) a project to develop a revolutionary vision on the topic. 
  • Inspiring examples.  One of our forums is devoted to presenting Inspiring Examples. We need more inspiring examples. If you know of any in your area, please post a contribution there. 

  • Translation work.  One specific area where we will eventually need the help of many members is in translating content. We do not all speak a common language, but we want every member to be able to contribute to the discussions. We hope to develop a facility for multilingual discussions, which will depend on volunteers to translate content from many languages to many other languages. Already now, we aim to present many of the central texts in as many languages as possible. Currently we have these texts in Chinese (Mandarin), Dutch, English, Esperanto, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish (Castilian), and Swedish, but for some of these languages the texts are incomplete and there are many more languages for which we need translations. If you can contribute to translations for your native language, please join our Translations project and try to form a task force of members for doing the work. 

  • Helping to develop a new website.  Another rather specific area in which contributions will be needed is the development of an entirely new website as a replacement for the current one. We think that the current IOPS website urgently needs to be improved in many ways, but the way it has been set up using a proprietary framework unfortunately makes it very hard to make modifications. Therefore we think it is better to develop a new website using a free and open-source content management system. If you have experience in web development using PHP, MySQL and WordPress and can devote some time to this, please consider joining the Website Team. 
If you encounter any barriers in your efforts to participate, please also let us know. It is important to us that everyone who wants to participate, can.

Finally, ...

a simple request. If you decide to join IOPS even though you are already rather busy, and another member approaches you with an invitation or other request for which you have no time or opportunity, then please give at least some response, even though you have to decline the invitation or request. It is unnecessarily discouraging for members who reach out not to get any response at all, far more so than just not getting the positive response hoped for. Our thanks.