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Why we should go on with IOPS

forest
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As anyone can see, IOPS is not doing well. Although new members keep coming in, the activity level here is close to absolute zero. So a natural question is, Why bother? Why not simply admit that IOPS is a failure and give up?
 
The essence of my argument for not giving up is that “something like IOPS” is needed, and that there is currently no alternative. I do not feel a particular loyalty to IOPS as an organization, and if I see a better alternative I’ll be happy to jump ship, or, better, instigate a merger.
 
What do I mean when I say we need “something like IOPS”? I mean that we need an organization of people working to gain another, better world, a world based on an inclusive solidarity in diversity, transcending single-issue demands (climate justice, social justice, LGBTQI rights, and so on and so forth), where the organization is both truly international and internationalist in its outlook. I believe that it will not be possible to gain decisive and lasting advances without such an organization.
 
If we consider the individual items that make up our vision, almost all cannot be realized in isolation. They need to come together in an encompassing, fundamental change in the nature and organization of society.
 
Gaining a better world means that the power elites give up their privileges for a pervasive participatory democracy at all levels and in all sectors of what then becomes a classless society. If such a change happens in just a single country, or even a few, it will not last. The outside forces will conspire and combine to strangle the new, fledgling democracies by economic sabotage and even military interventions, until they submit again to the international capitalist order. The change to a true democracy will have to be a worldwide one.
 
As originally conceived by its founders, IOPS was based on a structure of local chapters. There was by itself nothing wrong with that, except it did not work out as intended by lack of sufficient local concentrations of active members – active, that is, in organizing IOPS. But even if it had worked out, it wouldn’t have been enough. Many issues are local, but the big issues are global.
 
Considering what is needed for change, I think very many people see or feel that the stewardship of the world is not in good hands. What they don’t see is a path to change, one that they can see as realistic, often because they don’t see the world of our vision as realistically possible. Direct action is indispensable in waking up people, but it does not help to sway public opinion to accept that another world is realistically possible, let alone shed light on the path to get there.

In the area of public opinion there is a concept called the “window of discourse”, also known as the Overton window. Among all possible ideas of a political nature, some are perceived in the public opinion as fitting in the political mainstream, some are on the edge, but many others are viewed as being extreme, or even extremist. The window of discourse is formed by the scala of ideas that are not considered extreme. Generally speaking, ideas outside that window will either be disregarded by political pundits and the mainstream media, or else be painted as extremist or unrealistic and laughable. They will not be discussed in any serious manner.

Needless to say, that is a formidable barrier to fundamental change, but one that must be addressed. The window must be shifted or expanded to bring the idea of participatory democracy within the arena of public discourse. It is one of the things where an organization like IOPS is needed. This need not require huge resources. If IOPS finds its groove, it can play a significant role.

Discussion 23 Comments

  • Rod 6th Jan 2018

    Thanks for initiating this discussion, Lambert. I will respond here instead of continuing the earlier discussion in the reimagining iops forum.

    My apathy last year has mostly been due to a personal crisis that's had an impact on all areas of my life, not just IOPS. In any case, i'm coming to life again, but i'm not sure whether i fit into IOPS' mold anymore.

    I think the problem i've run into the most with IOPS is the idea that we have a vision and just need to get it out into the world. I understand this is how most activism works, but activism is mostly focused on the short term. That's why it doesn't really work and we need long term vision so much.

    It's the long term vision aspect of iops that attracted me, not the participatory democracy side. That may be my mistake, but i now feel it's also part of a bad design. Long term vision can't be anything but big picture vision. Combining the long term with spotlight focus (i.e. participatory democracy) you get tunnel vision. It doesn't work, which is probably the reason why Albert's new book only covers 25 years and is really a medium-term vision.

    I think it would be good if we could get an idea of what members want to have come out of IOPS. I am interested in an open, deep and serious exploration of vision. In my estimation, this isn't something many people are interested in, so it wouldn't work that well as a mass thing. You only need a forum, a wiki, a very minimal manifesto, some guidelines perhaps and a fraction of the money we spend now to set this up. IOPS' vision could be one of the visions that could be discussed there.

    I realize it means i'm being subversive, but the trend in terms of content in the past year or two has been to move away from the central dogma and just discuss a better world in general (at least in my reading of it). So it may be in the spirit of what IOPS has become over time, even though it goes against what it had set out to become. And participation in IOPS has been going down from the start.

    In any case, we have the problem of the maintenance of this website. I don't want to be a blocking factor for any efforts to resuscitate this website. I will do my best to give technical support in any transition, but i need to know more about the direction iops is heading before i put in a lot of work and i can't really give more than a year of support. Ideally someone else would be found beforehand to take over the work. I've recently gotten a message from someone who might be willing and able to help, but have yet to respond. I'll direct him here.

    In terms of maintainability though, a forum like BBForum would work a lot better and would be way cheaper also. Personally i think it would also be better in facilitating discussions, but people can disagree on this. It does allow for groups, so projects can be created. You could keep IOPS going the way it's been going, but with a simpler and in some ways better website perhaps.

    Apologies for being difficult. It's a common problem with idealists perhaps.

    • Lambert Meertens 7th Jan 2018

      I see participatory democracy as an integral part of our long-term vision. You can have some forms of participatory democracy right now, but only in very limited settings: a family, a group of friends making a trip, some cooperations. But can you imagine the share holders of Shell or ExxonMobil voluntarily handing over management to the workers, or a nation state handing over control of the state apparatus to its residents? That is incompatible with the “logic” of capitalism, whether in its classical form or the neoliberal version. Even if our vision is realized, but somehow without the institution of a pervasive and inclusive participatory democracy, we will soon see the emergence of a new power elite, and the old tragedy will begin to play out all over again.

      You can also look at it this way. The most principled part of our vision is that we seek an inclusive society. We won’t exclude others because we don’t like how they look or what they believe or whatever. That requires that we also do not exclude them from the decision-making processes impacting their lives.

      One of the things that is on my to-do wishlist is to conduct a survey among IOPS members – somewhat like the non-members survey of 2014, but with a focus on how they want IOPS to develop. I haven’t had the time and energy, though, to make serious work of that.

    • Rod 7th Jan 2018

      I can see your point. I'm just venting my frustrations at the left and using IOPS as a tool for it. The way i see it is that we're all just guessing, because all of these visions have been unproven. We all know capitalism is bad. The question is what the solution should be. If everyone is peddling their own solution, the effort to overcome the common enemy becomes scattered. It's not so much that participatory democracy doesn't deserve it's own website, it's just that the most obvious thing to start with for me is to have something where you can discuss them all on an even playing field.

      So it's not so much the IOPS vision specifically that i have problems with, nor the fact that the left has all these factions. It's that there seems to be no center at all, when that should be the largest hub. But i may be strawmanning or just missing something, it just has frustrated me endlessly the past year. I think the left will overcome that problem at some point and i know there are people that are trying, but not enough people it seems.

  • Rod 6th Jan 2018

    One correction: a BBForum would be cheaper than our current hosting setup. This website could be hosted a lot cheaper too, i just don't have any experience with doing a migration so i don't know how much work it would be.

    • Lambert Meertens 7th Jan 2018

      Do you mean [https://bbpress.org/|bbPress]? [http://www.bbforum.info/|BBForum] seems to be something Italian.

      As long as we can use the same platform as before on a new target host, migration should be a cinch. But if the platform is different, it may prove a pain in the neck. But if we can get the machinery working for collecting membership dues, the cost of hosting becomes a minor consideration.

    • Rod 7th Jan 2018

      No, i mean phpBB, i was confused in my language. bbPress is probably fine too, just haven't looked at it much.

      Maybe migration won't be much of a fuss, i really don't know. My experience with doing technical things i've little clue about is that it takes longer than you would expect at first. Migration to another platform likely will be a lot more work, but there can also be an effort to clean things up and start anew.

      In my estimation this website has had a negative impact on the overall success of IOPS. I could very well be wrong, just hoping there are people that agree with me so there can be some exploration for solutions. A forum is just one of the options, one that i favor, among others because of it's simplicity, broad set of tools and egalitarian structure (as opposed to things like blogs).

      It's important to voice my opinion since i've before been a proponent of keeping this website going. But that was partly for selfish reasons, as i wanted to play with the structure of the site to make it better. I no longer have ambitions to go into web-development, so that ship has sailed for me.

    • Lambert Meertens 13th Jan 2018

      My feeling is that the website has made the start of IOPS possible, but that its awkward functionality has not helped further development. However, I also think it has not been the main issue stunting IOPS.

      A bit of history re the website.

      We know that our website is not ideal; see Johannes’ 2014 blog post A New Website and the later IOPS website improvements document.

      After Peter Lach-Newinsky proposed a website transcending IOPS (see Global Transformation Website and Notes on Self-Organisation and a Global Transformation Dialogue Website) I thought it might be a good idea to fuse this with our wish for a much improved website and started a “common website” project subscribed by several IOPS members. However, it did not elicit any enthusiasm from potentially participating organizations.

      In the meantime, Alex of... started a discussion website named Liquid Solidarity, and we thought we might, perhaps, gradually expand its functionality until a point where it would be sufficiently developed to make migration from the present IOPS website an attractive option. An invitation to join Liquid Solidarity had no result, however, and for lack of active developers the idea has been on hold.

      Offering a discussion platform should be one of the main and best developed facilities of the IOPS website, but given the initial focus on chapters with face-to-face meetings, the present discussion facilities are somewhat perfunctory.

      From the start there have been proposals for devoting a wiki to IOPS-related discussions, the latest from less than a year ago. However, having a separate site from the main site for discussions is far from ideal, and I feel we should also not give up the possibility to find and contact other members based on locality.

      If we had a WordPress website, we could integrate bbPress with it, but I doubt it will be easy or even possible with the current software.

  • . 7th Jan 2018

    I think it would be good for IOPS to continue...and if people wanted to branch out into other platforms like the wiki, BBForum, in a coexisting way, I personally don't see any issue with that.

    About short v long term vision, I'm not challenging what you're wanting IOPS to do/be and your reasons for it.

    Just, thought there was a purposive decision not to sketch out long term visions because we don't know what those will be until people in their local chapters bring something forward. Am I going circular here?

    Rod -- sorry if you mentioned this somewhere already and I missed it -- are you maintaining the site? by yourself? can I/ others help?

    Hope people are keeping warm or cool enough.

    • Rod 9th Jan 2018

      Goes to show how people can have quite different ideas about an organization. I had pretty much forgotten about the local chapters, but it's nice to see other people with ambitious ideas :)

      A wiki could easily co-exist, so maybe i will pick up that idea someday if i feel brave enough, but not anytime soon. A forum would largely overlap in scope and would bring division at a time when IOPS is already in a crisis. So it's either one or the other for me. The way it's going now it's likely not worth creating a poll over and i'll probably just concede.

      Still think it's worth looking into another platform, but i won't push it much if no-one but me is interested. It's odd that the only surviving chapters have gone their own way and created their own website. All these empty chapter pages gives me the feeling of living in a large abandoned building, it may be that they felt the same way.

      In any case, I am the only one doing the maintenance, except that i've not been doing much maintenance. There are two sides to the maintenance: there is admin functionality built into the website and there is an environment with tools provided by the webhost. The second requires more technical skills, the first not really except that sending out newsletters can be tricky to get right.

      If you're interested in helping, it's certainly welcome. We can discuss more details privately if you are.

  • Kristi Doyne-Bailey 7th Jan 2018

    thanx lambert...
    iops has been a very useful venue for me to learn thru...
    so, i'll continue to plod along...

  • Bat Chainpuller 7th Jan 2018

    There are two types in f approaches to vision as I see it.

    1. Community/solidarity economics. In this I include all those practical do it now because you can idea. Co-ops, community everything’s, local everything’s, voluntary simplicity things, even p2p thingsetc..

    2. All encompassing alternative models. In this you can find David Schwieckart’s market socialist model without labour or finiancial markets, Participatory Economics (the closest thing to this places ideas), Christian Siefkes p2p model outlined in From Exchange to Contribution, Takis Fotopoulos’s Inclusive a Democracy and maybe Ted Ttainer’s self declared hodge podgy The Simpler Way.

    Both need each other.

    It’s a bit like reading LA Kaufman’s book on fifty years of Direct Action and Albert’s book ROS/2044. Kaufman is 1 and Albert is 2. Albert imagines the actual things Kaufman describes working together over 25 odd years to bring about actual change.

    It’s the place where Kaufman’s book ends and Albert’s book starts that’s the problem.

    It’s how you get 1 working towards 2 with program and strategy rather than 1 just doing its thing groping and improvising in the dark, hoping for the best with tiny victories here and there but easily ignored or 2 just hanging out there and basically being ignored and the authors of the visions not talking to one another.

    I sent an email to Joe Guinan if the NSP and he informed me there is some kind of meta-analysis of the plethora of next system ideas they have published going on. In this regard Rod is correct. There needs to be a central hub fir the formulation of vision and its elaboration and publicising. A place to discuss, debate and refine by the very minds that develop the things. I have said this repeatedly and still believe it to be so, so cannot be bothered to say it again. And you do not start from scratch, you start with real already existing proposals and move from there.

    But if the world of great radical revolutionary thinkers/writers/experienced activists cannot get together for such a thing then forget it...all you will be left with is Kaufman. Lots of direct action struggle (along with the more laborious long winded type) going on disparately, with those involved getting excited and overjoyed at the success of the action alone as if that is the goal, with no overriding vision, program or strategy holding anything together...no Albert’s Imagined bloc just constant struggle.

    That’s my two cents worth at this place which is merely a website, that still amazingly and surprisingly still exists, where people can chat, something that most here do not take the opportunity to do, and nothing more.

  • Bat Chainpuller 7th Jan 2018

    And I get the feeling that Negri and Hardt’s new book, Assembly, is trying to grapple with that interface between what say LA Kaufman describes historically and Albert imagines. Or at least ways to hold horizontal movements together for the long haul. How do you get participatory democracy for instance without leaders becoming coordinators becoming possible arseholes and democratic movements staying together and acting in concert rather than disparately and falling apart...they suggest an inversion...leaders for tactics only, the masses, the rest, the collective, for strategy. But surely you’ve got to have a strategy (and program) that pertains to something bigger than some specifically focused individual action...as Albert suggests, a movement that allows for the autonomy of all the groups fighting for whatever they are fighting for without being watered down, yet, aware of a greater connection, conscious of clear direction and their place in a longer term and larger vision. How do you get the collective to “think” like that? To agree? To stay the long haul? To see and own the possibilities clearly rather than vaguely?

    But that requires serious communication between all these groups...some sort of hub or coffee shop that they all drop into on regular occasions to stay in touch or several or many coffee shops all connected like a franchise.

    (let’s face it, things like community economics and co-ops can all be integrated into market capitalism’s scheme quite easily and not seen as resistance at all. The words public, private and entrepreneurial are all words that can be mixed or are in fact being integrated into many progressive type projects and the NSP kind of makes for this type of thing that can confuse rather than clarify direction - in some ways Insee things like Doughnut Economics like this)

    And just local organising can’t do this, it can only do what they t so far already has...I think this is why Chomsky stated in 1976 that new technologies made an “anarchistic” type new society more possible.

    Well it’s 2017, forty years since he said that and the left still hasn’t come to grips with the internet yet. It still seems locked into archaic ways of thinking. Those ways are still necessary, face to face organising and direct action and shite, but it seems, as Negri and Hardt seem to be suggesting (and I have never read these guys before-have heard of them, just never read them-and aren’t sure exactly what their thesis is as I am only early in the book), that new ways need to be adopted or what LA Kaufman describes, and what is described in Janet Biehl’s bio of Bookchin, will be the norm.

    Kaufman’s book, while a good one and easy to read, is the type of book you read and after flip it over looking for more...like, ok that’s great, but what now...like reading a Paul Street essay...kind of not prepared to go the next step, or something.

    • Bat Chainpuller 7th Jan 2018

      Correction

      “And just local organising can’t do this, it can only do what it so far already has...”

      “...in some ways I see things like Doughnut...”

    • Rod 8th Jan 2018

      I agree with Albert about the need for a greater connection. It's why i'm so focused on having a center that integrates all the disparate ideas. My idea of how to get there is to start with the smallest units and have some lone wolfs work out a complete enough understanding of the world. From that small place things can grow and ultimately overtake the ignorance in the world.

      The reason why this needs to come from lone wolfs, working mostly in darkness, instead of from those in the spotlight is that to find your way into and survive in the spotlight requires you to move towards the consensus view. In other words it reduces the ability to think outside of the box.

      The reason why it needs to come from individuals is that all the ideas need to be integrated and the only true integrator we have is the brain. It helps a lot to have a supportive environment where people can go off on their own wild ideas and share it with others. Which is why i react so strongly against all these organizations that put the cart before the horse by already stating the answers to the problems before trying to figure out what questions to ask. IOPS is no better or worse than other orgs in that sense.

      Just my grandiose two cents :)

    • Bat Chainpuller 8th Jan 2018

      Not sure I understand you here Rod. For me, it’s got to be simple or just not at all. Lone wolfs have already done much visionary work and it worries not whether they are in the spotlight people or unknowns. Individuals have ideas, imaginations, radical concepts which they then throw out there for debate and discussion. You start from what is there now, what’s been developed, rather than scratch all the time as if work hasn’t been done yet or the right questions asked. As far as the questions go, I reckon they’ve all been asked already and some have been grappled with better than others but there are always newish and necessary ones being asked...it just needs all the minds working together not in parallel in separate places as if it’s a competition for glory.

    • Rod 9th Jan 2018

      Let me rephrase it then. If one's livelihood depends on one's ideas being accepted by a large enough crowd, there will be an automatic filtering out of (people with) ideas that fall out of the Overton window. This happens unconsciously mostly, it's part of the indoctrination process. We all see this problem in the mainstream media, but my feeling is this problem exists in radical culture too. It's not the fault of the pundits or activists, nor of the audience, just something coming out of mass society that we should be aware of.

      Yes, it may be that all the ideas we need are already floating around (and that's an exciting idea). But individuals' exposure to ideas is only to a very limited sample of what's been thought of before. Just as there is an Overton window in the mainstream, there is one in the radical left. In my opinion we need better conditions so that those ideas that are considered extreme or irrelevant can be looked at in a more open fashion. And we need an effort to have everything come together, grandiose as it may seem.

      There is a tension I feel in IOPS between development and actualization that seems to bring conflict. Development of ideas requires a strong focus on openness and smallness, whereas bringing the ideas into action requires more established doctrine and masses. I don't know exactly how to resolve this problem or how many others see this problem too. But I don't aim to bring division in the sense of having two organizations working parallel when there's so much overlap between them. Maybe, if I'm not alone in my thinking, some internal division could be thought up, where there's a section where people stick within the Overton window of IOPS and focus on bringing the ideas out and one where people can go outside more and focus on development and exploration.

      Not sure if I'm making any more sense now...

    • Rod 9th Jan 2018

      To be clear: by development I also mean bringing in ideas from outside that don't fall within the Overton window of IOPS, like other visions that can be juxtaposed against the vision of IOPS.

    • Rod 9th Jan 2018

      On second thought, the idea of an inner split would still bring division and complexity, so scrap that thought. My initial idea was aimed at destroying the old and creating something new, I still support that but I seem to be the only one so far. My lack of communication skills probably doesn't help. I have no intention to bring division, just feel strongly that change is needed if we are to get anywhere in terms of what I'm looking for. But I don't want to turn IOPS into a vehicle for my own personal ambitions. I can just as much work on them on my own and let IOPS be whatever other people think it should be. Live and let live, as the saying goes.

    • Bat Chainpuller 10th Jan 2018

      But Rod, you can’t turn IOPS into a vehicle for your own personal ambition...the rest of the membership wouldn’t allow it unless of course it was in accord with their wishes too! You’re expressing yourself here because IOPS exists and you can, and well, you should or must, or can’t resist. And then others chime in, like myself.

      Imagine a place where all vision could be discussed, openly, by the very people who developed or develop them, along with facility for everyone else to chime in. This could have been the place. The NSP tries but falls short. Others all have their own websites with little or varying degrees of access for those visiting to participate. All these things existing in parallel but never really crossing and meeting except maybe at odd times here and there.

      The NSP is involving itself in meta-analysis of all it’s published visions so far, apparently, I was told. See, I was told that it was being done by someone. Who? Got no clue. The NSP is the Democracy Collaborative in visionary clothes. It is not participatory at all. Coordinators?

      Kate “Doughnut” Raworth writes a book that gets a tick from Monbiot. Stiff cheese, Monbiot ain’t “The Man”. Where is she right now? Talking to whom and with whom? I know she talks to high ups (or should I say “highborns” just for fun?), politicians and seriously credentialed economists. But she doesn’t answer contact from nobodies re her book and Parecon, even though she said she does, just like Ha Joon Chang the similarly liberal, academically credentialed and legitimated economist.

      LA Kaufman writes an historical book about direct action over the last fifty years but it goes nowhere to addressing how to unite all those disparate groups, exactly what Albert’s fictional book tries to do. There is a link here between Kaufman’s book and Albert’s but they won’t talk about it, and Kaufman, a veteran direct action radical activist, won’t answer my email pointing to the connection, more than likely, let alone discuss with Albert his book RPS, which while not a great piece of fiction and hard to read, makes pertinent points, which say the NSP also doesn’t address.

      But then maybe I’m an idiot as well as a mouse! I know nothing and I’m just grasping at any idea that wafts through my mind. Good, that’s what this place allows me to do...I am an improviser you know!

      So imagine if all these writers and thinkers had a place to go and discuss among themselves their great ideas presented in all their essays and great books that I frigging buy and try to read and we were privy to the discussions and could intervene even, participate. Imagine that instead of what Johnny Lennon suggested.

      Would they join and hang around? Would they stay for the long haul? Would they be able to get along and really make headway, the kind that is necessary, and would you and I be able to participate without being ignored or insulted or treated poorly?

      I agree with Skyhooks when they wrote, Ego is Not a Dirty Word, but it sure can cause fucking problems...but...then I am not advocating we all meditate to fix that, because that’s a long term commitment that doesn’t work fast for most, even when done for a while, and the juries out over its effectiveness.

      But, one could take a leaf out of the “masters” ( again, predominantly women, though more women are sneaking up, so maybe Pema Chodron’s book) book and suggest that like coming back to the breath every time a discursive is noticed by meditator, if there was a place everyone could hang and discuss, highborns and lowborns, then maybe when the shit hits the fan or heated arguments and splits arise and people storm off...they could just come back.

      Simple really.

    • Rod 10th Jan 2018

      Thanks for your understanding words. It's a beautiful vision you have, but i don't see IOPS as being able to be the central hub. Though i get what you mean, with all these important people endorsing it at first. IOPS is built around Albert's vision, so it's like any other visionary organization in that sense. Yes, it does try to bring ideas and people together, but also has its own dogma that it tries to force upon its members (and it did so rather strongly in the beginning in my recollection). Participatory democracy is the central tenet in that dogma, but it's also what's left out of the dogma that's part of that dogma.

      There is nothing necessarily wrong with dogma, it concentrates thinking around a central doctrine which can be useful. But not if you're trying to bring everything together, which in my view requires opening up the scope to different ways of looking at the world. The central focus could be simply vision or exploration or something similar that's minimal, so everyone can feel welcome expounding their own vision. Overcoming the inertia of dogma in a community is hard enough without building it into its structure. But i feel the scope i desire is larger than most people feel is healthy and doable and they may be right.

      Whether your vision of a place where big shots and nobodies can come together is realistic i really don't know. It seems impossible if you look at how things have gone so far, but then this is true for anything that could potentially bring true change. Given the challenges ahead, my feeling is we need to embrace the impossible to some extent. I'm doing the same, but in a different direction.

      I agree with your words about ego. I'm sorta half aware of my grandiosity. I know i look like an arrogant fool a lot of the time, but internally i'm not sure how to evaluate myself and my ideas. I also find a humbleness i haven't had before, which is strange to have next to each other. I seem to be in a process of stretching the mind and re-evaluating and exposing my ego. My feeling is that overall i'm finding a calmness i haven't found before, i just still lose it from time to time and that may be how things will stay for a while, as a way to balance things out. I don't know, only the future will tell. It's hard to try to do the impossible and stay calm at the same time, but you never know, at some point it may not seem impossible anymore.

      In any case, i'm pretty humble again about myself at the moment, at least compared to other times. It's nice to be calm again, for as long as it lasts.

    • Bat Chainpuller 11th Jan 2018

      “Thanks for your understanding words. It's a beautiful vision you have, but i don't see IOPS as being able to be the central hub.”

      I meant it could have been. It certainly won’t be it now, can’t be...not enough serious radical revolutionary activists and thinkers are here using it. I am thinking of a separate place to this, something new and better and shiny.

      “Though i get what you mean, with all these important people endorsing it at first.”

      That’s the shit, so many endorsing this and testimonialising that...like publicising a book on the back cover just because you’re famous.

      “IOPS is built around Albert's vision, so it's like any other visionary organization in that sense.”

      Yes, kind of, one could say it’s just a vision, rather than Albert’s vision. I’m sure Hahnel would agree with most of it and many others. Putting Albert’s name in front of IOPS’s vision is like saying Asian gangs, or Sudanese gangs or that criminal of middle eastern appearance but if they are white, they’re just criminals, or gangs.

      “Yes, it does try to bring ideas and people together, but also has its own dogma that it tries to force upon its members (and it did so rather strongly in the beginning in my recollection). Participatory democracy is the central tenet in that dogma, but it's also what's left out of the dogma that's part of that dogma.”

      It’s an interesting aspect of this whole notion of what’s needed for a better world etc., when someone who sees himself as anti-dogmatic, anti-sectarian, openminded and willing to engage, presents a vision which “some” say “another some” tried to force upon “some others”. Such a situation doesn’t bode well for the future of any organisation but I’m not so sure what you say was true...it’s an interpretation sure, but factual, not so.

      I am also not sure what you mean by participatory democracy being a central tenet of IOPS’s dogma. A participatory society for sure, that is spelled out here in reasonable detail within most spheres . “Democracy” is a word that Albert, for instance, often referred to as a specific way of decision making only, preferring the phrase self-management. So many outside of IOPS use the phrase participatory democracy so not sure it’s an IOPS thing at all. All these things can be debated and nothing at IOPS said things couldn’t be debated. The problem isn’t that, it’s hanging around
      after the shit hits the fan and people disagree.

      As far as leaving things out, point them out and try to dedogmatise the dogmatic. Again, just discussion and debate. If the shit hits the fan, hang in there, talk shit, post some music, listen to some, be ridiculous, have a break...but if you just leave, well, then it’s all over. And if you do leave, where do you go, what are you doing that is better and more productive or are you just trying to find a place you can fit in with others for a longer period, but not necessarily a better revolutionary org? You know, like changing schools or work or partner.

      “There is nothing necessarily wrong with dogma, it concentrates thinking around a central doctrine which can be useful. But not if you're trying to bring everything together, which in my view requires opening up the scope to different ways of looking at the world.”

      Yeah, but that’s what the NSP is trying and they aren’t a participatory group, it’s being driven by a few. Pluralist and diverse “vision”, apparently, but it’s website doesn’t allow others in.

      “The central focus could be simply vision or exploration or something similar that's minimal, so everyone can feel welcome expounding their own vision. Overcoming the inertia of dogma in a community is hard enough without building it into its structure.”

      I disagree that IOPS had it built into its structure, but people can become stuck.

      “But i feel the scope i desire is larger than most people feel is healthy and doable and they may be right.”

      Shit, even my idea of reasonable thinking, experienced public speaking, prolific book and essay writing, experienced organising veterans of radical activism, getting together in one place themselves re vision, to show the way in a leadership capacity that won’t degenerate into some sort of coordinatorist oligarchy due to being held accountable by the rest of the participating normies, is highly unlikely to eventuate, so what Lambert wishes for, what Albert describes in RPS, what this place was intended to be, is already “larger than most people feel is healthy and doable”, it seems.

      “Whether your vision of a place where big shots and nobodies can come together is realistic i really don't know.”

      As I said above, if it isn’t realistic then forget anything else...it will always be coordinatorism at the very least. The drivers of the NSP...coordinators...the drivers of DiEM25...coordinators...

      “It seems impossible if you look at how things have gone so far, but then this is true for anything that could potentially bring true change. Given the challenges ahead, my feeling is we need to embrace the impossible to some extent. I'm doing the same, but in a different direction.”

      Embracing the impossible is useless...it’s impossible for a reason. The left has been saying decade after decade that it isn’t impossible, that change is possible, as Lambert says, but we can’t just keep saying it over and over, as the Earth burns.

      “I agree with your words about ego. I'm sorta half aware of my grandiosity.”

      Wasn’t talking about you. Was talking generally and you do not come across egotistical at all, or is the word egoistic.

      “I know i look like an arrogant fool a lot of the time, but internally i'm not sure how to evaluate myself and my ideas.”

      As above. Certainly not arrogant or a fool. Self evaluation is a bitch.This is why I free improvise, got no time to second guess because you aren't trying to create a master piece or chasin profundity, you're just fucking playing. and your shit is all there for everyone to see or listen to.


      “I also find a humbleness i haven't had before, which is strange to have next to each other. I seem to be in a process of stretching the mind and re-evaluating and exposing my ego.”

      Like I said, it ain’t a dirty word. People say and do shit in all kinds of contexts, make mistakes, apologise or don’t, doubt themselves, die young, in between or old, learn at different speeds and better or worse according to interest etc..

      “My feeling is that overall i'm finding a calmness i haven't found before, i just still lose it from time to time and that may be how things will stay for a while, as a way to balance things out. I don't know, only the future will tell. It's hard to try to do the impossible and stay calm at the same time, but you never know, at some point it may not seem impossible anymore.”

      Losing it from time to time is natural. Staying calm from time to time is hard but necessary. Something that seems impossible probably hasn’t been proven to be so, so remains a possibility. Making myself invisible right now or becoming a cat, is impossible.

      “In any case, i'm pretty humble again about myself at the moment, at least compared to other times. It's nice to be calm again, for as long as it lasts.”

      Calm is good.



  • . 8th Jan 2018

    it's good to be able to get along well enough with everyone else to sustain an organization, a society, et cetera. and,(from my frame of reference) it would be good to cherish individual expressions of ideas, sentiment, etc that support one another's happiness and wellbeing

    may all beings be happy and free and awakened to the light of their true nature!

    • Rod 9th Jan 2018

      It can be good to ruffle some feathers now and then too, it brings resilience :) But if it goes on for too long it drags things down, i agree. It's just that sometimes people can't help themselves.

      Humes calls it a violent passion and according to him it can only become a calm passion if you point yourself to what's beneficial. I would add to that that it's only possible to see what's beneficial if you have enough perspective.