Matrix & Transformation: Chapter 6

2004-11-16

Richard Moore

Copyright 2004 Richard K. Moore

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CHAPTER 6:    HARMONIZATION AND GLOBAL TRANSFORMATION


      "May you live in interesting times."
      - An ancient Chinese curse

* The crisis of civilization

We are now in the midst of an extremely volatile and unstable
moment in history. It is a chaotic instability, where a
variety of likely events can each lead to unpredictable and
far-reaching consequences. Nuclear war is a strong
possibility, as the U.S. pursues its New American Century
agenda and tensions continue between Israel & Iran, India &
Pakistan, and China & Taiwan. Abrupt climate changes are
likely to occur, as global warming threatens to melt the polar
ice caps and disrupt the Gulf Stream. Global food supplies are
being diminished by depletion of fishing stocks, water tables,
and arable land. Declining oil supplies threaten to
destabilize our entire energy-hungry civilization, while
rising oil prices are already stressing the global economy.
Even without the oil problem, the global economy is in serious
trouble as it faces the ultimate limits to growth on a finite
planet. And this is only a partial list of potentially
disastrous disruptions. All major governments and political
leaders, meanwhile, have no policy concept other than a
stubborn insistence on 'more of the same'. Attempts at reform
have become futile, as neoliberal economists tighten their
budgets and governments militarize their police forces.

In such a chaotic context, it may seem like a waste of time to
pursue processes of social transformation. Perhaps it would
make more sense to escape to high ground, find a cave, and
stock it with provisions. A few may adopt such a survivalist
strategy, but most of us cannot or will not. For the majority
of us who stick with the Titanic, we might as well use our
time in the best way we can. I believe that taking control of
our own destinies is the most sensible thing we can devote our
efforts to, no matter what the state of the world. If we can
gain control of the ship before it sinks, we may be able to
steer around the worst dangers. If instead we become survivors
in a post-apocalyptic world, then the more we know about
governing ourselves the better off we will be. If we are
forced to build a new civilization, we would be well advised
to take charge of that process -- and consciously avoid the
mistakes of our predecessors.

In other words: even in the midst of a chaotic situation, our
Transformational Imperative remains in effect. Indeed, a time
of chaos is the most fertile time for new possibilities. In
more stable times, there would be no mass constituency for
social transformation. In today's world, everyone knows that
fundamental change is needed. But our societies are divided by
factionalism, and this prevents us from working together to
bring about change. Overcoming factionalism in society, by
harmonizing our differences, is the only way that We the
People can come together and become the desperately needed
agent of transformation.

We know how to overcome divisiveness in the microcosm, in a
face-to-face gathering. There are proven techniques for
achieving that, based on deep listening, and the outcomes of
such gatherings are very promising. Not only do participants
overcome their differences -- and reach a place where they can
work creatively together -- but they come away with a sense of
We the People, and an understanding that factionalism can be
overcome in society generally. As a consequence, participants
also come away with an enthusiasm for spreading the experience
to others. They've seen the light of hope, and being caring
human beings, they want to share it.

My message to activists and concerned citizens everywhere,
regardless of your political or religious orientation, is to
take heed of this ray of hope. If you really want to make a
difference, I can see no more promising direction for your
energies at this time than to help spread a culture of mutual
understanding and creative dialog. Massive worldwide protests
against war and globalization have been ignored, but if We the
People get our act together in the right way, there is no
power that can stand against us. The following links provide
useful information, contacts, and resources:

      Tree Bressen, "Dynamic Facilitation for Group Transformation":
        http://cyberjournal.org/cj/authors/tree/DynamicFacilitation.Group.html
      
      Jim Rough's Dynamic Facilitation workshops:  
        http://www.ToBe.net
      
      Rogue Valley Wisdom Council:
        http://www.rvwc.org/
      
      Tom Atlee's politics and democracy pages:
        http://www.co-intelligence.org/CIPol_Index.html
        http://www.democracyinnovations.org/
      
      A Canadian experiment in citizen's councils:
        http://www.co-intelligence.org/S-Canadaadvrsariesdream.html
      
      National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation:
        http://thataway.org/index.html
      
      Report on popular democracy in Venezuela:
        http://www.cyberjournal.org/cj/show_archives/?id='846'&lists='cj'


* Achieving critical mass: the role of activists

Despite the transformative experience of harmonization in the
microcosm, and despite the many groups and initiatives aimed
at spreading this experience (eg., the above links), there is
not as yet any real momentum -- and no real harmonization
movement. The Michigan gathering shows promise, in terms of
systematically getting some momentum going. But in terms of a
major movement that initiative is only a drop in the bucket.
If the movement is to really get off the ground, we need a
much wider variety of initiatives. If there is to be a
harmonization movement, I believe there must first be an
earlier movement, a movement to spread an understanding of
harmonization -- and the importance of overcoming factionalism
-- among activists.

Throughout the West there are hundreds of thousands of
activists. They are the stalwarts who regularly show up at
anti-globalization and anti-war protests, and they are the
ones who organize such events. They organize boycotts to fight
against sweatshop practices, they create community currencies,
they demonstrate against or in favor of abortion rights -- and
there are hundreds of other such causes. Activists are people
who have the motivation, and make the time, to roll up their
sleeves, get involved, and do what they can to make a
difference -- according to their own values and perspectives.
If this kind of mass energy could be shifted to spreading
harmonization, the movement could build momentum very quickly.

In general, when people experience a harmonization session,
they come away with an enthusiasm for spreading the
experience. In the case of activists, that enthusiasm would
likely be turned into action. Currently, most activists think
in terms of adversarial engagement within the current
political system. After experiencing the empowerment of We the
People working together, activists would naturally want to
share this experience with other activists and with people
generally. They would have new visions of how social change
can be brought about -- as did the participants in the
Michigan gathering.

The Michigan participants were activists of a sort, what we
might call 'organizational' activists. From their experience
of overcoming divisiveness, they naturally thought in terms of
joining advisory boards, building bridges between their
organizations, planning follow-up conferences, and creating
policy agendas. These are very useful initiatives, and in
their way they can do much do reduce factionalism in society.
But at the same time these initiatives are basically
hierarchical in their nature. They are, in their main thrust,
aimed at coalition building -- within the context of
adversarial politics. Rather than spreading harmonization as a
cultural movement, these initiatives are, it seems, directed
more at using harmonization as an organization-building tool.

The great bulk of modern activists, on the other hand, tend to
be 'grassroots' activists. They think in terms of
face-to-face, locally-based affinity groups rather than
at-large membership organizations. They participate in
large-scale events -- but they see those as collective
expressions of grassroots energy rather than the result of
coalitions among hierarchical groups. Their demonstrations are
marked by diversity, creativity, 'spirit', and spontaneity,
rather than by agendas and centralized planning. Within the
context of our adversarial political system, these grassroots
activists can be criticized as regards their ultimate
effectiveness. But in terms of deep social transformation,
this kind of activism could be very effective indeed -- if
empowered by an understanding and appreciation of
harmonization and its potential.

In closing the previous section I said, "If you really want to
make a difference, I can see no more promising direction for
your energies at this time than to help spread a culture of
mutual understanding and creative dialog." To that I would now
add that the most promising way to get the momentum going is
by bringing in grassroots activists and giving them the
opportunity to experience a harmonization session for
themselves. The communication and organizational links among
these activists tend to be horizontal and multi-branched --
based on networking rather than hierarchy. If a fire can be
lit among grassroots activists, it would be likely to spread
widely and quickly.


* Achieving critical mass: the role of community

If a harmonization movement develops momentum on a grassroots
basis, then we could expect many different kinds of sessions
to be organized. We could expect the same kind of imagination,
variety, and energy to be expressed as we currently see in the
many diverse forms of activism throughout the West. In this
way an understanding of harmonization could spread throughout
the culture. In this section, I'd like to discuss some of the
kinds of sessions that we might expect to see, and consider
how the movement might lead to an awakening of We the People
-- as an agent of social transformation.

One kind of session might be among activists themselves, as a
means of reaching consensus on activist projects. In
anti-globalization protests, for example, most of the
protestors have been strictly non-violent while others, the
'anarchist' wing, insist on engaging in property destruction.
Perhaps, by using harmonization, more coherent tactics could
be adopted among all parties in such an event. This could
increase the effectiveness of the event and perhaps reduce the
likelihood of conflict with police.

Another kind of session might be among different parties in a
local dispute, as a means of reaching resolution. Perhaps some
community is divided between people supporting a development
project and others wanting to protect the environment.
Harmonization might enable the community to come up with a
consensus approach that everyone can support. For local
environmental activists, organizing such a 'both-sides'
session could be more fruitful than a traditional
environmentalist protest event.

Another kind of session, like the Michigan gathering, might be
aimed at reducing divisiveness among competing organizations.
Certainly many activists will think in traditional political
terms, and there might be attempts to create a political
movement or even a new party. And there are countless other
possibilities, limited only by the imagination and creativity
of diverse activist groups. And whenever a certain kind of
harmonization session achieves a successful outcome, that
would provide energy and inspiration for future similar events
in other places. In this way the movement could spread
non-linearly, along many lines of propagation, and a broader
sense of 'harmonization movement' would emerge.

Of all the various kinds of sessions that might arise, there
is one in particular that I would like to focus on -- a
session aimed at creating a collective sense of identity and
empowerment within a local community. For a variety of
reasons, I suggest that this kind of session offers the
greatest potential for social transformation. In order to
explore this notion further, let's examine the Ashland
gathering -- the one that generated the enthusiasm for the
Michigan event.

Held in January, 2004, the Ashland event was billed as "The
Rogue Valley Wisdom Council" (see URL above). A "Wisdom
Council" is a concept developed by Jim Rough, the inventor of
Dynamic Facilitation -- one of the most effective forms of
facilitation for achieving harmonization in a diverse group of
people. The Wisdom Council is Jim's proposal for how the We
the People experience might be translated into the political
domain. The basic idea behind a Wisdom Council is to bring
together a group of randomly selected citizens, as a kind of
'representative microcosm' of a larger population -- a
community, a region, or even a whole nation. Ideally, a Wisdom
Council would be officially chartered in some way, so that the
outcome of its harmonization process would have a claim to
democratic legitimacy. The ideas and proposals generated in
the Council session would be published to the larger
population, and could presumably find their way eventually
into public policy.

The Ashland session was organized as an attempt to implement
this Wisdom Council vision for the people of Rogue Valley,
Oregon. Not every part of the Wisdom Council formula was
followed, for example there was no official political
chartering of the event. But overall the event was a very
useful experiment and from it we can learn quite a bit about
the potential of Wisdom Councils and of community-based
sessions more generally.

In order to achieve a reasonably random selection of
participants, hundreds of names were picked randomly from the
phone books for the Rogue Valley area. These people were
contacted by phone, and eventually a small group agreed to
participate in the event. Jim Rough personally facilitated the
two-day session, and the group did indeed achieve a strong
sense of We the People. The event was recorded on video, and
one can readily see the transformation in the participants. At
the beginning they were all rather shy and didn't feel they
had much to say. By the end, they were overflowing with
enthusiasm about the possibility of some more direct kind of
participation in the democratic process.

As a follow-up, a public meeting was held in the week
following the session, and this was also recorded on video.
The meeting started off with a report by the participants on
their experience, and their highly articulate expressions were
in stark contrast to their original shyness. The meeting then
broke up into several roundtable discussions, each including
one of the Council participants. There was no attempt to
facilitate these discussions, and remarkably the enthusiasm of
the Council participants turned out to be highly contagious.
The people at the meeting were able to somehow pick up the We
the People spirit without actually going through the
harmonization experience themselves.

Everyone came away from the public meeting with a great deal
of enthusiasm, including the organizers. But along with the
enthusiasm, there was also a kind of let-down. The potential
of We the People had felt so real, so promising, and yet the
next day the world goes on as usual. How can We the People be
more than a transitory experience? How can it have a
noticeable effect on society? Where do we go from here? What
next?

For these particular organizers, the answer to the 'What
next?' question was the Michigan gathering. The strategy there
is to piggy-back on existing activist organizations. Those
organizations have some degree of political influence, and if
that influence can be shifted away from divisiveness we can
hope for beneficial political consequences. Jim Rough's
strategy with Wisdom Councils is similar, only he seeks to
piggy-back on official political institutions rather than
activist organizations. Both strategies are promising and make
good sense, but the sense they make is within the context of
the existing hierarchical political system. They are not aimed
at creating the kind of deep social transformation that is
required to deal with the unprecedented crisis being faced by
humanity and civilization.

So let's return to the Ashland experience, and consider again
the 'What next?' question -- from the perspective of
transformation. How can We the People achieve democratic
legitimacy -- not as an influencer within hierarchical
politics, but rather as a primary actor in society? I suggest
that the answer to this question can be found at the community
level. I've been referring to face-to-face sessions as being
examples of 'harmonization in the microcosm'. The community, I
believe, is the natural next step. If a community as-a-whole
can achieve harmonization, then that would be an example of
harmonization in a very important larger microcosm, the
microcosm of a community. If a whole community can 'wake up',
then We the People would exist as a coherent entity in an
identifiable territory. This would be a very important
milestone in terms of social transformation, and we will
return to this point shortly.

What would it mean for a community to achieve harmonization --
for a community to 'wake up'? It would not necessarily mean
that the whole community participates in face-to-face
sessions, although that might be possible in a very small
community. More likely 'waking up' would be a multi-stage
process. In Ashland, a significant number of people came away
with a considerable amount of enthusiasm, from both the
session and the public meeting. It seems likely that a similar
project could be carried out in any locality, with similar
results. So let's take the Ashland scenario, and consider how
that kind of momentum might develop into a community waking-up
process.

It seems to me that there would be two 'threads' in such a
process. One thread has to do with organizing more sessions
and spreading the experience among more members of the
community. The other thread has to do with the content of what
is discussed in the sessions -- and the publication of that to
the community at large. The first thread serves to involve
larger and larger segments of the community in the vision of
We the People, and the second facilitates the evolution a
'sense of the community' -- the awakening consciousness of We
the People.

After several sessions, it seems likely that certain issues
would rise to the top, as being of general community concern.
There would begin to be a coherence in the awakening
consciousness, as a harmonized perspective begins to emerge on
those issues. Subsequent sessions would have a 'starting
point'; they could move beyond simply discovering a sense of
We the People, and go on to advance the ongoing community
dialog. Each session would bring in new perspectives and
concerns, leading to greater coherence in an evolving
community consciousness. As harmonization became part of the
local culture generally, it would become possible for larger
gatherings, and shorter gatherings, to operate effectively
within the context of harmonization. At some point the
community as a whole would be awake -- it would have a sense
of itself as a community, it would have evolved ways of
maintaining community dialog, and it would have a shared
understanding of its collective concerns and priorities.

I've extrapolated quite a bit, in drawing out this scenario.
But based on the experience of previous harmonization
sessions, it seems to me that these kind of dynamics would be
likely to develop if sufficient organizational energy were
applied to pursing the two threads. In the case of Ashland, I
believe enough energy was generated to enable a next step to
be taken in this process -- a follow-on session, let's say,
and some effective local publicity. Out of the enthusiasm
generated in that next session, there would be new energy
released to enable another step, and so on. Perhaps that will
happen or is happening, but for the time being most of the
energy seems to have been diverted instead to the Michigan
event. What is needed for the community process to proceed is
not more seed energy -- an Ashland-like event can provide that
-- but rather an awareness, on the part of organizers, of the
transformative potential of awakened communities. This is a
point that I promised , a bit earlier, to return to.

My claim here is that an awakened community has the potential
to be an active and effective agent of social transformation.
There are three basic reasons for this claim, and they have to
do with political legitimacy, ability to act coherently, and
ability to serve as a model for other communities. Let's
examine each of these reasons in turn.

The most basic principle of politics, since time immemorial,
has been a mutual respect among societies as regards
sovereignty and territorial integrity. Whenever this principle
is violated we note that as an exceptional episode, and we
give it a label like 'raid', 'invasion', 'conquest', 'war', or
'imperialism'. Most of us yearn for peace, and we define that
in terms of societies not interfering, or threatening to
interfere, in the affairs of other societies. In today's world
sovereignty and territorial integrity are defined, for the
most part, at the level of nations. In earlier eras, the level
was kingdoms, chiefdoms, tribes, and hunter-gatherer bands.
The principle that the 'people of a place' have a right to run
their own affairs, according their own system of governance,
goes all the way back to our origins, evolving out of the
territorial behavior found throughout the animal kingdom,
including in particular the primates.

As the size of political entities has grown, through conquest
and imperialism, peoples have often been forced together
against their will. With the Kurds and Palestinians in the
Middle East, the Basques in Spain, and the Tibetans in China,
we see examples of peoples who see their primary identity in a
smaller entity, and who yearn for their own sovereign
territory. In the splitting up of the USSR, Czechoslovakia,
and Yugoslavia, we see examples of such yearnings being
allowed to play themselves out. In some cases we may
sympathize with a demand for independence, and in other cases
we may not, but we all recognize that any legitimate claim to
independence must begin with a consensus among the 'people of
a place' that they want to be independent. Thus international
recognition of a new nation is frequently associated with some
kind of plebiscite, verifying that the desire for independence
is genuinely shared by most people throughout the identified
territory.

It is within the context of this primordial principle -- that
the 'people of a place' have an inherent right to seek to run
their own affairs -- that I speak of the political legitimacy
of an awakened community. I'm not claiming that a community
has the right to become a sovereign state, at least not at
this point in our discussion. What I am claiming is that a
community is the 'people of a place', and there is an inherent
political legitimacy in the will of a community -- if that
will is based on a genuine consensus of the members of that
community. An awakened community has the ability to achieve
such a consensus -- to evolve a community 'will' or 'agenda'
-- and it has the ability to express that will with a coherent
community voice. When 'We the People of Our Town' can speak
with such a voice, then that voice has a legitimate claim to
be taken seriously by surrounding communities and by relevant
governmental agencies.

Let's next examine the ability of an awakened community to
'act coherently'. When a community has achieved a sense of its
collective will or agenda, then there are many ways in which
the people of the community can act to move that agenda
forward. For one thing, they can select a slate of candidates
from among themselves, and elect them to all local offices
with something near 100% of the vote. In this way We the
People can also speak with the official voice, and exercise
the authority, of the local governmental apparatus. The people
of the community would be involved in ongoing policy
formation, by means of appropriate harmonization processes
that the people work out for themselves. The local government
apparatus would serve as the operational arm of the people,
rather than as a vehicle of power and wealth for local elites
and politicians. And there are many things an awakened
community can do outside the governmental context, such as
organizing co-op industries to create employment and generate
income for the community. Regardless of what local agendas
might be pursued, We the People would be learning how to
think, act, and respond as a whole community. This is an
important phase of the waking up process.

Porto Alegre is a medium-sized city in Brazil which operates
under a bottom-up consensus process that has enabled the
residents to achieve some degree of We the People
consciousness. The budget of the city is determined by this
process, in which everyone can participate, and the official
government implements that budget -- spending the allocated
amounts on the identified items. Porto Alegre is recognized
internationally as being a well-managed, efficient, and
livable city, and has won many civic prizes and awards. Within
the constraints of higher-level government and funding, an
awakened community can basically run its affairs according to
its own preferences and priorities. Policies on open spaces,
public services, traffic, zoning, and other matters can be
developed creatively, with respect for the concerns and tastes
of everyone in the community. We the People, at the level of
community, can be the agent of transformation of its own civic
environment.

An awakened community, I suggest, would be a very appealing
model to people in other communities. Every community today
has conflicts between different factions or ethnic groups,
gripes about the way the local government runs things, and
recognized local problems that seem to never go away.
Activists, concerned citizens -- and even elected officials --
in such a community would naturally have some interest in
finding out how 'Our Town' was able to resolve its internal
conflicts, and move forward toward achieving a civic
renaissance. Perhaps nothing could be more effective in
spreading a culture of harmonization than the inspiration
provided by a growing number of awakened 'Our Towns'.


* The waking of the giant

So far in this chapter we've been looking at harmonization
mostly as a cultural movement. We saw in the previous chapter
that such a movement exists in an embryonic form, with a
handful of initiatives seeking to generate momentum in one way
or another, based on one strategy or another. In this chapter
we've been exploring ways in which such a cultural movement
might gain momentum. We've looked particularly at the
potential role of grassroots activists, and focused on
applying harmonization to the mission of enabling 'We the
People' to wake up at the level of community. I suggested that
this focus is important because the people in a community, if
they find common purpose, can claim a kind of legitimacy
(being the 'people of a place'), and because the community
level can give We the People practice in thinking and acting
together coherently, and because awakened communities could,
by their example, be effective vehicles of movement
propagation.

If the movement were to develop in this way, and if several
different communities began to achieve a sense of We the
People, and if interest in these activities began to spring up
in the society at large -- then we would probably be able to
say that the movement had reached critical mass. In actual
experience with harmonization processes, as in Ashland and
Michigan, participants have come away with a great deal of
enthusiasm. It seems to me that we would see that kind of
enthusiasm magnified many times when the process is enabling
communities to begin taking charge of their own affairs. With
that kind of enthusiasm, and sufficient initial momentum, I
anticipate that the movement would take off in a big way.

In terms of our waking giant, this would bring us to the point
where the giant is conscious and able to interact
intelligently with its local environment. But social
transformation cannot be brought about at the local level. We
the People may begin to awaken locally, but our consciousness
must become global if we are to save humanity from the crisis
it faces. The giant is not fully awake until it understands
its role in the wider world. Fortunately, it is very likely
that awakened communities would soon discover the limitations
of what can be accomplished locally. For example, they would
find themselves encumbered by restrictions placed by
higher-level government, they might find that outside
landlords control much of the property in the community -- and
that remote corporations have more say over the local economy
than do the local government and the people combined.
Eventually, people would begin to realize that further
progress requires a deeper perspective than that of civic
improvement.

Communities are made up of real people, some of whom are
experts in various areas, and some of whom are concerned about
things like sustainability and globalization. There is no
reason to assume that there would not be sessions early on in
the waking up process that would be brave enough to venture
into radical thinking of one sort or another. I've found that
in face-to-face discussions people can entertain surprisingly
radical ideas. It is only in public forums and the media that
everyone seems to limit themselves to mainstream thinking.
Here's one experiment I've carried out a couple times in
airports. I'd find myself next to some 'very ordinary' middle
class couple and I'd strike up a conversation. They'd ask what
I did, I'd say I write, they'd ask what about, I'd say
political stuff, and then I'd say, "For example, what do you
think of capitalism?". That's a question that had never
occurred to them, and amazingly, within about ten minutes of
discussion they'd be saying something like, "I see what you
mean, capitalism doesn't really make much sense, does it?".
I'm not saying that people can be converted quickly away from
capitalism, only that people are more open than we might
presume to entertaining deep questions about the myths of
society -- if the circumstances are right.

Earlier, I introduced the concept of 'harmonization dynamics'
-- within the context of a face-to-face meeting. In that
context, those dynamics typically lead to remarkable results:
people learn to respect one another as human beings, they
learn to resolve their differences, they learn how to work
creatively and effectively together, and they experience a
sense of We the People. In that earlier discussion, I
contrasted the dynamics of harmonizing meetings with those of
'adversarial' and 'collaborative' meetings -- in which
differences are not resolved, but are instead either
reinforced or submerged.

Just as harmonization exhibits remarkable dynamics in the
microcosm, I believe we can expect it to also exhibit
remarkable dynamics in the macrocosm. I think we can assume,
for example, that awakened communities would tend to stay in
touch with one another on a networking basis. It would be only
natural for them to want to compare experiences and share
ideas amongst one another. And as people began to see the need
to think more globally and more deeply, they would be likely
to organize gatherings and conferences to bring in as many
ideas and perspectives as possible -- and to seek to harmonize
them. After such gatherings, people would go back to their
communities and most likely there would be follow-up
discussions, harmonizing community perspectives as regards
whatever ideas or proposals came up at the wider gathering.
Good ideas or resolutions-of-conflicts that come up in one
community would tend to spread around and be considered by
other communities. Breakthroughs in any microcosm would soon
become breakthroughs for the macrocosm. In this way, a
movement-wide consciousness would tend to develop -- and We
the People would begin to have meaning on a society-wide
scale. The macrocosm reflects the microcosm: communities would
learn to respect one another as human communities, they would
learn to resolve their differences, they would learn how to
work creatively and effectively together, and they would
experience a sense of We the People -- at the level of the
macrocosm.

If these kind of dynamics emerge and become a factor in the
mainstream culture, then the giant will be fully awake and
ready to become a player in society. We the People will be
emerging from the anonymous masses, just like the figures
emerging from the rock in Michelangelo's "The Prisoners".

  [picture here]


* Cultural dynamics and cultural transformation

What we would be seeing, with harmonization in the macrocosm,
is the beginning of a fundamental cultural transformation --
from a hierarchical-adversarial culture to a
networking-harmonizing culture. Under hierarchical-adversarial
dynamics, people seek empowerment by joining forces with some
faction or 'cause'. When we 'push' within such a system,
opposition energy arises to push back, and the net transaction
tends to reinforce divisiveness -- whether or not our pushing
gets us anywhere. In such a culture, we have little motivation
to think creatively about solving the problems that face us as
a society because no one would listen to us, and besides our
energies must go to supporting those candidates and causes
which are, at best, _somewhat aligned with our own concerns.
No one asks us for our ideas, they only ask us for our
support. The creative thinking that sets the direction of our
societies comes from the top down, and it reflects the
interests of those near the top. Furthermore, this
hierarchical planning results in a tendency toward uniformity
in society -- cookie cutter towns with a Starbucks, a WalMart,
look-alike motels and freeways -- and now occurring on a
global scale.

A networking-harmonizing culture begins in the community, and
its creative thinking is aimed at dealing fairly with
everyone's concerns. We can seek empowerment in such a culture
by openly expressing our concerns and ideas, and by listening
respectfully to those of others. If we 'push' a concern which
is important to us, we will be listened to, and rather than
opposition we would find cooperation in trying to find a way
in which the concern can be dealt with, taking into account
conflicting concerns as well. Regardless of what the concern
is about, the net transaction tends to broaden community
understanding and deepen harmonization. In such a culture, we
have every motivation to think creatively about the problems
that face us a society, and at the scale of community we will
find that we are blessed with a considerable measure of
collective wisdom.

In a networking-harmonizing culture, creative problem solving
goes on in parallel in every community, and indeed in every
gathering or conference that is concerned with social issues.
Whenever something is learned in one venue, or a new idea is
generated, that becomes available for consideration everywhere
else. In this kind of culture, we could expect the emergence
of diversity, as different communities find their own way of
dealing with their own unique problems and opportunities. Such
a culture would be incredibly more creative in dealing with
social and economic problems than is our current culture.
Under hierarchy, fundamental policies are determined
centrally, and then implemented everywhere more or less the
same way. Apart from the fact that 'one size does not fit
all', there is a more systemic problem: a central planning
agency is a creative bottleneck. It's like having one central
processor in society's computer instead of thousands of
parallel PCs -- each of which can share its discoveries with
the others. (In our current society, we see this kind of
parallel creativity in the way the marketplace operates, but
unfortunately all that creativity is constrained and channeled
by the harmful dynamics of capitalism.)

I suggest that a networking -harmonizing culture is precisely
what we need to be aiming for, in terms of social
transformation. The community as the primary autonomous unit,
harmonization as the way of relating, and networking as the
principle of organization. That is my formula for the
enlightened society. I come to this not because I think it is
ideal, nor because it suits my native sentiments -- although
both or these are true -- but because from a systems
perspective I see this as the only viable alternative to
hierarchies and elite rule.

But I get ahead of our story. So far, in our examination of
where harmonizing dynamics might lead, we've gotten to the
point where a culture based on networking and harmonization is
growing up within the larger hierarchical society. The new
culture is characterized, to use the rhetoric of revolution,
by 'captured territory' -- ie., the network of awakened
communities. This territorial aspect is very important. When
people in their everyday lives participate with their
neighbors in a new culture, that culture is reinforced and
strengthened, and the culture begins to elaborate itself in
the form of artistic and poetic expression. Awakened
communities are in fact 'liberated zones', and in liberated
zones we begin to see the potential of a transformed society.
Without territory, there are only dispersed partisans. With
territory, a new culture will begin to lay down roots.

I daresay it would not be too long before people would began
to ask, "Why can't we just run society this way? What are
those jerks in Washington (or Dublin, or Paris, or wherever)
doing for us anyway? What do we need them for?" This is when
the giant begins to realize its own power. In terms of
revolutionary dynamics, this situation is very similar to that
of the American colonies under British rule.

The American colonies were not really ruled by Britain, rather
they were compelled to pay tribute to Britain in monetary
terms, in the form of levies to the Crown or profits sent home
to British-owned enterprises operating in the colonies. In
terms of governance, the colonies had their own elected
assemblies that managed their own local affairs. The American
Revolution was not a social revolution -- as were the French
and Russian -- it was simply the severing of ties with the
Mother country. Whereas the French and Russian revolutions
were followed by considerable conflict and strife, the
aftermath of the American 'Revolution' was relatively orderly
and civil. The new society had already been in place -- it
only needed to be freed from outside domination. The
Constitution was not intended to transform the colonies, but
rather to legitimize the way they already were -- and to
preserve the privilege of those who had come out on top under
Crown rule. There was no breakdown of society, no chaos, when
the British were defeated. The transition to the new regime
was at least orderly, even if it didn't lead to a democratic
society.

Similarly, as the new networking-harmonizing culture begins to
establish itself throughout society, people will begin to
realize that their relationship to the hierarchy is a matter
of paying tribute -- in taxes to government, in profits to
corporations, in interest to banks, and in young people
sacrificed to the military machine. As we gain experience in
running our own affairs, we will understand that it is
possible for us to sever our ties with oppression and
exploitation. At this point, our giant is making the decision
to claim its rightful ground.


* Global transformation and the third world

The third world persists in poverty for precisely one reason:
because it has been systematically dominated, robbed, and
looted by centuries of still-ongoing imperialism on the part
of the industrialized nations. This has been a horrible fate,
accompanied by much genocide, bloodshed, and suffering, and no
right-thinking person would wish such an experience on those
peoples. And yet, there is a benefit that accrues from that
suffering: social transformation will be much easier for the
third world than it will be for the West.

The problem for the West is that we believe we already live in
democracies. When a 'bad' official gets elected, we blame
ourselves for not 'getting out the vote'. We get caught up in
adversarial games, pursuing reform, and don't realize that all
the paths of the maze leave us inside the same box. We are
kept from liberation by what the Sufis call a 'veil of light',
which is more dangerous than a 'veil of darkness'. A veil of
darkness is a recognized obstacle, against which we know we
should muster our resources. A veil of light is a seductive
siren that seems to be what we want, but which imprisons us.
Moving past our pseudo-democracy veil of light requires, if my
investigation has been relevant, a wholesale cultural
transformation. Only when we experience genuine democracy will
we realize that what we had wasn't the real thing.

The third world, on the other hand, sees the mainstream
capitalist imperialist system as a 'veil of darkness'. People
in the third world know that most of their rulers are corrupt
puppets, and their socieities are being raped by globalization
and corporations  -- modern descendents of the missionaries
and conquistadors. People in the third world don't need to
awaken to the possibility of transformation, they need only
the freedom to liberate themselves. If the West is able to
transform itself to a culture based on networking and
harmonization, and if it ends imperialism and extends the hand
of friendship and support to the people of the third world, I
suspect that social transformation will be global in a matter
of weeks.

But in fact the third world is not waiting for us in the West
to lead the way. All over the third world people are
struggling for local control, and they are building networks
and learning to find their empowerment as We the People. They
have been forced into bottom-up solidarity by the array of
forces exploiting and dominating them. They have not been
encumbered by illusions of living in democracies. Under the
hyper-exploitation brought on by globalization, rejection of
the imperialist system is spreading to all strata of many
third world societies, not just the poorer segments. I
mentioned earlier the example of Porto Alegre, a medium-sized
city in Brazil, where the budget is determined by a bottom-up
consensus process. This model has been replicated elsewhere in
Brazil, and there there are many other democratic initiatives
and innovations being pursued in Brazil, under the progressive
stewardship of a strong labor party at the national level.

There are more radical examples of third-world leadership on
the path to social transformation, but before I mention them
I'd like to review a few points. Consider for a moment the
possibility of a whole society operating on the basis of
harmonization and networking. Each community basically runs
its own affairs, and wider scale issues are dealt with by
harmonizing the concerns of all affected communities. There's
a lot more to be said about how that could work in practice on
a global scale, and we'll get into that in the next chapter.
For the moment and for the sake of the argument, please
imagine that such a society would be viable.

What I'd like you to notice is that voting and political
parties do not play a role in such a society. Parties are the
embodiment of factionalism, and they make no sense in a
culture of harmonization. If people have concerns that need to
be addressed, harmonization is a more effective way of
addressing those concerns than would be the formation of a
faction dedicated to those concerns. As regards voting, there
are two kinds to consider: voting on issues, and electing
representatives. As regards issues, voting is a vastly
inferior decision-making system in comparison with
harmonization. If there are competing proposals on the table,
it makes much more sense to creatively harmonize the
underlying concerns than it does to simply choose among the
proposals. Indeed, this is the core principle underlying the
virtues of harmonization.

As regards electing representatives, the issue is really one
of hierarchy. In our current system, candidates compete to be
given the power to rule over us. We choose among masters, live
under a hierarchy, and call it democracy. While we live under
this illusion, it is natural that we value 'open and fair
elections'. That serves to maximize the meaning of our votes,
for whatever that's worth -- or at least it helps us be
comfortable in our illusion. But 'open and fair elections' are
only of value within the context of hierarchy. In a society
based on harmonization there are no rulers and no need to
elect any. Instead we might select people, or solicit
volunteers, to manage certain projects or to represent the
community's concerns in some gathering or conference -- what
the Native Americans called a 'pow wow'. Such representatives
or managers are not 'given power', but are rather given the
responsibility to carry forward the agenda that has been
articulated by the community as a whole. If people compete for
such roles, it is not on the basis that they will 'make better
decisions', but rather on the basis that they are good
managers or good communicators. And in many cases, it would
probably be a team or slate that would be selected for such a
role rather than an individual. Competitive elections of
rulers, whether 'open and fair' or not, makes no sense in a
society based on harmonization and networking.

It is in the context of these observations that I dare to
bring up the examples of Cuba and Venezuela. I'm not claiming
that these are ideal societies, nor that they embody
harmonization, but I do suggest that we can understand these
societies better if we are able to see that competitive
parties and elections are not the same thing as democracy.
According to mainstream mythology, there are basically two
kinds of governments: democratic and dictatorial. In this
mythology, democracy equals fair & competitive elections, and
everything else is dictatorship. And indeed, most of the
governments in the world that don't have fair & competitive
elections are indeed dictatorships. I suggest, however, that
Cuba and Venezuela are examples that need to be examined on
their own merits.

In the case of Venezuela, we do have fair & competitive
elections, as recently verified by international observers
including ex-President Jimmy Carter. Nonetheless, based on the
grassroots support for Chavez's radical programs, one suspects
that a one-party-state scenario might develop. Based on
eyewitness reports I've seen, by Venezuelan and foreign
observers alike, Chavez is facilitating a cultural
transformation in Venezuela. He is not launching massive state
programs, but is instead encouraging local empowerment, and
providing services and support for those programs which seem
to be achieving results. Katherine Lahey, a community studies
major at the University of California Santa Cruz, offers these
comments in an article she wrote based on her observations in
Venezuela:

      The stitching of the fabric of the revolution is unmatched in
      its strength and breadth of anything I have ever seen.
      Throughout the country, not just in the urban barrios, social
      programs called 'misiones' - a social development strategy
      borrowed from the Cuban revolution - are being implemented by
      the people with the support of government resources.
      
      What takes place behind the scenes of each mission is simply
      incredible and inspiring beyond words. These campaigns include
      education - from literacy to university level, health,
      employment, citizenship, support for indigenous groups and
      their reincorporation into society, economic justice and
      resistance to neoliberalism through development of grassroots
      and community cooperatives and businesses, to name a few.
      
      - Full article at:
      http://www.cyberjournal.org/cj/show_archives/?id='846'&lists='cj'

Chavez is genuinely trying to help the people of Venezuela
mobilize their own creativity to solve their problems and
develop their communities and society generally. He is not
representing a privileged elite. If his efforts lead to a We
the People kind of democracy in Venezuela, then competitive
elections will not be relevant to the situation. It is likely
that the people would choose to continue on that path -- there
would be no rascals to vote out of office. Venezuela under
their "Bolivarian" revolution needs to be judged on its own
merits, not compared to a set of political standards that
themselves do not deliver democracy. If Chavez starts
suppressing or exploiting people then he's a dictator after
all. If he continues to shepherd a cultural transformation
toward local empowerment, then we should acknowledge him and
the people of Venezuela as being bold pioneers on the path to
global social transformation. So far, at least, that seem to
be what is going on. In the third-world context, Venezuela is
apparently evolving a credible response to our
Transformational Imperative. And that is precisely why our
elite rulers in Washington and Wall Street don't like Chavez
and don't like the broad-based support of the Venezuelan
people for the Bolivarian revolution. One can only hope that
the Venezuelan military is loyal to the government, unlike the
Chilean military in the time of Allende which was covertly
linked with the CIA.

I've saved Cuba to the last because it is the most
controversial case. We never hear Castro's name mentioned in
the news without it being accompanied by the label 'dictator'.
And in mainstream entertainment propaganda, we see stories of
'daring refugees from tyranny', who never have anything good
to say about the Cuban Revolution or Castro. And in the case
of Americans, we are told by our government that Cuba is a
communist dictatorship, and that loyal Americans shouldn't go
there. And it goes deeper than that. With the history of the
Cuban Missile Crisis, the Bay of Pigs, and the derision of
Cuba in right-wing circles, Castro turn out to be rather
deeply embedded in the general American psyche as a bad-guy
commie dictator. I risk alienating my readers if I dare
challenge that myth.

Nonetheless, I must take that risk and offer the challenge. As
an example, Cuba is too valuable to ignore, despite the shadow
cast by decades of demonizing propaganda. As it turns out, the
extent of Cuba's success in achieving a culture of
community-based democratic harmonization can be estimated by
measuring the hostility of Washington towards Cuba. Hostility
from Washington is not a guarantee that democracy exists
somewhere, but wherever a people stand up effectively for
their rights against the imperialist system, you can be sure
Washington's ire will soon follow. For Washington, Cuba is too
important an example to allow it to be seen for what it is --
proof that there are viable models for development outside the
capitalist paradigm. The success of Cuba stands as a
contradiction to the dominant mainstream economic mythology.
It is not at all surprising that Washington and the corporate
media make every effort to demonize, destabilize, and harass
Cuba in every way they can -- and every effort to make other
third-world nations understand that Washington would look with
strong disfavor on any nation that might seek to emulate Cuba,
as we have seen in the case of Venezuela.

Charles McKelvey, an American Professor of Sociology, has
spent considerable time in Cuba as an observer. In 1998, he
wrote a report on his studies for an Internet list, and here
are two excerpts:

      The Cuban political system is based on a foundation of local
      elections. Each urban neighborhood and rural village and area
      is organized into a "circumscription," consisting generally of
      1000 to 1500 voters. The circumscription meets regularly to
      discuss neighborhood or village problems. Each three years,
      the circumscription conducts elections, in which from two to
      eight candidates compete. The nominees are not nominated by
      the Communist Party or any other organizations. The
      nominations are made by anyone in attendance at the meetings,
      which generally have a participation rate of 85% to 95%. Those
      nominated are candidates for office without party affiliation.
      They do not conduct campaigns as such. A one page biography of
      all the candidates is widely-distributed. The nominees are
      generally known by the voters, since the circumscription is
      generally not larger than 1500 voters. If no candidate
      receives 50% of the votes, a run-off election is held. Those
      elected serve as delegates to the Popular Councils, which are
      intermediary structures between the circumscription and the
      Municipal Assembly. Those elected also serve simultaneously as
      delegates to the Municipal Assembly. The delegates serve in
      the Popular Councils and the Municipal Assemblies on a
      voluntary basis without pay, above and beyond their regular
      employment. ...
      
      So the Cuban revolutionary project has many gains, not only in
      the area of social and economic rights, but also in the area
      of political and civil rights. Because of these achievements,
      the system enjoys wide popular support, in spite of the
      hardships caused by U.S. opposition and by the collapse of the
      Soviet Union. Drawing upon the institutions that they have
      developed over the last forty years, they are responding to
      the present challenges and are surviving in a post-Cold War
      world. The strength and vitality of these institutions is
      worthy of our investigation, for Cuba may represent an
      important case as we seek to understand how peripheral and
      semi-peripheral states can overcome the legacy of
      underdevelopment.

      - Full article at:
      http://www.cyberjournal.org/cj/show_archives/?id='0009'&lists='cj'


I am not trying here to give a full, balanced report on Cuba
or Venezuela. I imagine there are failures as well as
successes in both places, as regards democracy and justice. My
main point here is that the absence of competitive elections
is not necessarily a sign of dictatorship, and may in some
cases be a sign of a democratic process characterized by the
dynamics of harmonization. Each case deserves to be evaluated
on its own merits by looking at the results on the ground and
at the reports of people who live there. And the fact that
Castro is still around after all these years is not
necessarily evidence that he is a tyrant. It could equally be
an indicator that the people of Cuba continue to support their
revolution, and that Castro continues to support the people in
their project. If that is the case, as it seems to be, then
one can only hope that the Cuban scenario does not depend too
heavily on Castro's personal moral leadership, as he will not
live forever.

As regards the third world in general, I repeat my observation
that social transformation will be easier to accomplish there
than in the West -- once the West abandons its imperialist
ways. In the meantime it seems that the third world is leading
the way in transformational innovation and may provide models
that we can learn from in our own pursuit of transformation.


* Engagement with the regime

In the West there are two primary obstacles to transformation.
The first, which we have been discussing at length, is the
current absence of an effective transformational movement. In
the principle of harmonization at the level of community, I
believe we can find one viable path to building such a
movement. Perhaps there are other viable organizing principles
and paths as well, although I haven't heard of any as yet. But
whatever kind of transformational movement might arise in the
West, it will sooner or later need to face the second
obstacle: determined opposition by the ruling elite regime.

In this section, I will try to anticipate the various kinds of
opposition we could expect to encounter, based on the
experiences of previous social movements and based on what we
know about the tactics and attitudes of the current regime. I
will present this material as a kind of Movement Guidebook --
"How to Overcome the Regime With the Least Confrontation". I
am not competent to write a definitive version of such a
guidebook, but this seems to be the most convenient way for me
to convey observations and analysis which, hopefully, may be
of some value to the movement.

To begin with, I believe it is very important that we look to
the game of Go for our models of engagement rather than the
game of chess. Chess is about battle, and on the battle ground
it is those who command tanks and attack helicopters who have
the advantage, not the people. Besides, transformation is not
about destroying anyone, but about taking everyone's concerns
into account. When eventually they have no useful alternative,
our elite brothers and sisters will be willing to talk to us,
and their concerns will be listened to with the same respect
afforded everyone else. Indeed, it will be much easier for us
to transform our economies and infrastructures when we have
the enthusiastic cooperation of those who currently run our
governments, corporations, and banks.

The game of Go is about gradually consolidating territory
while artfully constraining the alternatives of your opponent
-- so that eventually he has no available move that can
improve his position. Among master players, it is seldom
necessary to actually remove stones from the board -- both
players know from the position what would be the outcome from
that mundane exercise in mechanical capture, and so they don't
bother with it. As I pointed out earlier, this kind of
strategy characterized Gandhi's resistance movement against
British occupation. Certainly his non-violent ethic provides a
model we want to emulate, and I suggest his Go-like strategic
approach also provides us with useful lessons.

In our case, assuming that the movement develops along lines
similar to those I have outlined, the first strategic
objective should be to capture as much territory as possible
-- while keeping a low a profile on elite radar. The initial
task of the movement is not to confront any regime, but rather
to spread and develop a culture of harmonization and
networking. The more widely such a culture can spread and the
more firmly established it can become, prior to encountering
strong elite opposition, the better off we will be. We would
be well advised to focus our initial We the People empowerment
on local problems and issues, and on developing our We the
People consciousness. We need to learn to walk before we can
run, and during that learning process we should not tread too
near to sleeping dogs.

During this stage, we need to beware of the temptation to
reach too high and too soon for the gold ring. The experience
of harmonization generates a lot of hope and enthusiasm, and
many of us might come away with the feeling that there is a
magic short cut to transformation. We see this already in the
agenda of the Michigan organizers and in Jim Rough's Wisdom
Council strategy. These are intelligent people and their
sentiments are beyond reproach, but the diversion of movement
energy in those ways causes problems of two kinds. The first
problem is that early attempts to influence the general
society are premature: they can only have meaning within the
arena of adversarial politics, and there has not as yet been
an opportunity for We the People to evolve any kind of
consciousness of who we are and what we're about. Any
discussion of major issues at this point would be
impoverished, and would be dominated by mainstream thinking --
discussion now could only remain 'inside the box'.

The second problem, perhaps more harmful, is that premature
efforts take up scarce energy that would be more usefully
devoted to spreading a culture of harmonization more widely,
particularly with a focus on grassroots activists and
community empowerment. At this early, embryonic stage of the
movement there are only a handful of activists who are
politically oriented in their activism and who at the same
time understand the value of harmonizing processes. Until some
of their energy is guided by a more strategic transformational
perspective, or until new activists get involved, the
potential of the movement remains, unfortunately, only latent.

Despite our best efforts to keep a low profile on elite radar,
it is unlikely that we could postpone an elite response for
very long. Public opinion and shifts in alignments are of
great interest to the establishment, and they keep close tabs
on trends. It's not that they want to be responsive to public
sentiment, but rather that they want to maintain control with
their system of divide-and-rule propaganda. If they begin to
see a trend toward people listening to their own drummers, and
dialoging across factional lines in their communities, the
opinion managers will have the good sense to perceive that as
a potentially serious threat to their system of control. They
might initiate appropriate counter-measures earlier than would
seem to be warranted by the actual progress of the movement on
the ground. We must keep in mind that the current regime is
characterized by preventive, preemptory action against those
deemed to be a potential threat. Indeed, the Patriot Act
amounts to a preemptory strike against popular movements in
general.

Let's consider some of the early counter-measures that they
might deploy. Surveillance and infiltration by spies and
provocateurs are very common tactics used against movements of
all kinds throughout the West. But a harmonization movement is
relatively secure against those tactics. The moment has
nothing to hide as regards its activities, and the
harmonization process is characterized by too much good sense
to allow itself to be sabotaged by a provocateur pushing some
counter-productive agenda. There may be infiltrators who
intentionally try to thwart the progress of sessions, and we
may need to develop some sensible counter-measures to that
line of attack. More drastic measures, such as arresting
organizers or banning discussions among citizens, are unlikely
to be undertaken at any early stage. That would be a strategic
error on the establishment's part, as it would only bring
attention to the movement and generate support for it.

There are other counter-measures that might be deployed, but
the one I believe is most likely would be a demonization
campaign launched over various media and propaganda channels.
Religious conservatives would be warned, from pulpits and from
radio pundits, that harmonization is a cult movement, and that
it seeks its wisdom not exclusively from the Word of God --
good Christians should stay away. To the libertarian-minded
would come the warning, from radio chat jocks and online
bulletin boards, that harmonization is communistic and that it
submerges the individual in the collective -- stay away and
don't risk being brainwashed. Liberals would read in the Op-Ed
pages that harmonization is undemocratic and that it would
lead to one-party tyranny. They would learn that it's hip to
dismiss harmonization, in the same way that it's hip to scoff
at 'conspiracy theories'.

It would a mistake to underestimate the potential
effectiveness of such a campaign, particularly in the American
context. If the general population adopts a variety of strong
negative attitudes toward harmonization, that might stifle or
even destroy the early movement. But if the movement can build
sufficient momentum in the meantime, and establish sufficient
roots, it should be able to hold its ground and respond
effectively to such an attack. We can take some comfort from
the fact that a demonization campaign would make no sense
until after the movement has made noticeable progress.

I believe that such early confrontation would lead to a major
turning point in the development of the movement. The
establishment would be pushing the movement to consider issues
beyond the civic and the local -- perhaps earlier than if the
movement had been left to develop at its own pace. In the
struggle to respond, We the People would be forced to raise
our political consciousness. Nothing can wake up a giant more
quickly than a poke with a sharp stick. The establishment
would be saying we are dangerous to society, and we would
begin to realize that they are right. We would begin to
understand that the latent destiny of the harmonization
movement is nothing less than the transformation of society.

The movement would be spreading a culture based on
harmonization and networking, and it would be developing a
vision of a society organized around those principles. As the
movement deals with difficulties, innovates in the local
arena, and finds ways to cooperate effectively on a networking
basis, people would be creating the foundations of a
transformed society. They would come to understand, based not
on theory but on their own experience, that We the People are
capable of running our own affairs, and that we can do a much
better job of that than can any remote and corrupt central
government. And yet, even with this raising of
'transformational consciousness', the movement could continue
to co-exist comfortably within the current electoral system.
In liberated zones, we would be able to incorporate local and
regional governmental structures into the movement. Government
there would be aligned with the will of the people, which is,
after all, the proper role for constitutional government.

The movement would have no incentive to cause any kind of
trouble for the regime -- until the time came when such
initiatives could be effective. Before that time the threat to
the regime would exist only in potential, and conflict would
be most likely to arise due to preemptive attacks from the
establishment, not all of which can be anticipated in advance.
We can only trust in the inherent wisdom of the harmonization
process, and our own collective creativity, to deal with such
challenges as they arise.

Eventually, if we overcome the intermediate obstacles, most of
our society will be part of the new culture, and we will have
developed a coherent vision of a transformed society. Only
then does it make sense to initiate decisive dialog with the
regime. One form of dialog will be to elect our own people to
all the national offices. But enforcing rules from the top is
not the way of harmonization. We will also want to bring elite
leaders into the dialog process -- but only when they realize
their best option is to participate. When the time comes to
consolidate the new society, we can expect everyone to be on
board.
   
   
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