re-2: Zen of Transformation: new thoughts


Richard Moore

From: <•••@••.•••>
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: re: Zen of Transformation: some new thoughts
Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2003 14:59:16 +0000
Organization: Eircom Net (

Hi Richard, 

 > But where will we find an activist in this particular movement?
    Where is there someone planning or carrying out actions aimed at
    building a mass movement thread by means of community-problem
    solving sessions?

Yes -- who is such an activist? I don't personally know anyone
using DF or equivalent.

I have had ideas and notions to be more active at some stage
myself, but it hasn't happened yet. It still might (even though
to date I've been satisfied to contribute only to the Theory

In order to move this on another step, is there a certain type of
community problem, or a list of community problems that would
be relevant here?

In your words, we are interested in real community problems
which are potentially solvable by the community.

I mentioned before the main everyday problems which I think exist
(Time, Costs of living, Fears, Freedom, Lack of energy..), to
which you added the all important -- POWER.

So, what problems do local communities have the POWER to solve?
If we all got together and decided the Bush fascists were not in
our interests what could we do about it? (even if one lived in

If we identify something that people can change, then people will
be interested. If a successful outcome results then people will
begin to be really motivated, because what they are ultimately
contributing to is not the solving of a problem, but the means to
solve all problems.

The people are out there, I'm convinced of it. Have we any issue
with which to attract them? Do ordinary people retain any power
over any area of their lives?

Tony Oí Reilly


Dear Tony,

You raise one of the central issues: "What problems do local
communities have the POWER to solve?"

There are so many problems that are imposed onto communities from
the outside, and which they can do little about. For example, if
some corporation decides to close down a plant, there is little
the community can do to solve that problem -- to prevent the loss
of employment.

Whenever I try to answer your question, I think of things like
traffic, parking, pedestrianization, public transit, facilities
for teenagers, and land-development policies. Those seem like
things that could be much improved and that in many cases are
within the power of the community to do something about -- if one
could achieve creative consensus among ordinary citizens, shop
owners, and the local political establishment.


Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2003 08:57:54 -0400
To: •••@••.•••
From: earthsea <•••@••.•••>
Subject: re: Zen of Transformation: some new thoughts

dear richard,

it just occured to me that "we" have not mentioned the situation
for substantial social change vis a vis the existing parallel
social system called organized crime (OC). As an organism riding
on and entwined in whatever mainstream there is, OC tends to want
to maintain the staus quo, nes pas? If so, the size and scope of
OC needs to be taken into strategic account. Or more
realistically, because of the probable existing size & scope of
OC, it needs to be taken into strategic account.

also because OC is supremely flexible we probably should assume
it will continue to prey on whatever new mainstream might come
about and therefore must take its continuing influence into
account. does the "new order" see OC as a problem to be solved or
as an accountable "tax on the system"?

david cameron


Dear David,

Organized crime is an example of a hierarchy, one of many that
dominate our societies today. In some sense, a  criminal
organization is simply a special case of a corporation. It is a
corporation that doesn't bother with a formal charter, doesn't
register its existence with the government, and which gives
itself the freedom to violate the law with a bit more flagrance
(but on a smaller scale) than the legal variety of corporation.
In its own way organized crime has employment policies, training
programs, profit objectives, and even self-imposed limits and
rules on its 'corporate' behavior.

If we can end corporate power generally, and unravel the other
various hierarchies of elite power, I don't see why the mafia
hierarchies would uniquely survive. Indeed, the mafia hierarchies
are linked into the other hierarchies, and unravelling them all
may inherently be a single project. They are all part of a single
web / matrix that makes up our prison.


Date: Sat, 15 Nov 2003 21:30:17 -0800
To: •••@••.•••
From: Rosa Zubizarreta <•••@••.•••>
Subject: re: Zen of Transformation: some new thoughts

Hi Richard,

hope you are well... i am enjoying your writing, as always...

one thought in response to the following...

  > rkm to Tony O'Reilly: You suggest a meeting of the theorists
    and the activists. Let's assume you're talking about a meeting
    somewhere in the region between Cork and Wexford.  We can count
    ourselves as two available theorists and I imagine we will think
    of a few others. But where will we find an activist in this
    particular movement? Where is there someone planning or carrying
    out actions aimed at building a mass movement thread by means of
    community-problem solving sessions?  Either some of us theorists
    must become activists, or we need to find some activists who find
    these ideas inspiring and motivating.  Any suggestions?

one model for networking along these lines here in the US, if
you've not seen it already, is Sandy Heierbacher's National
Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation... the website is maybe there are folks there who have
links with dialogue stuff internationally??/

with all best wishes,



Dear Rosa,

Thanks for the link. I took a look and wrote a note to Sandy,
with a copy to you and Tom. I tried to explain the relationship
between my work and hers, but as usual that turned out to take
more space than I wished. I hope she has time to read it and that she
has some interest. We'll see.

thanks for staying touch,

From: "Sharon Rose" <•••@••.•••>
To: <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: Zen of Transformation: some new thoughts
Date: Sun, 16 Nov 2003 09:26:53 -0800

dear rkm,

have you been following the work of, and also the
truemajority, in the US?  here is an exerpt of an interview of
Sen. Byrd.  in it he expresses some of the same opinions that i
did [in a separate message].  there are people in our country who
are working hard to rouse Americans to think, read, speak, vote,

  GRASSROOTS INTERVIEW: U.S. SENATOR BYRD   [excerpt only - rkm]
   "There is a power which can serve as a check against abuses by a
    government or by government officials and that power is the power
    of the informed citizen -- one who has read enough, who
    understands enough, who has developed a base of knowledge against
    which to judge truth or falsehood. Participation in the great
    debates of our time must not be relegated to the power elites in
    Washington. An informed citizenry has to participate, ask
    questions, and demand answers and accountability to make a
    country like ours work."


Dear Sharon,

I admire folks who contribute their energy to trying to make a
difference. I too try to make a difference, and we each
contribute in those ways we believe have the most hope of
success. Out of solidarity, I wish I could support the kind of
activism recommended by you and Sen. Byrd. But my reading of
history, and my observation of decades of US politics, does not
allow me to hold out much hope for making a difference by means
of the electoral system. In such matters I believe it is
important to speak truth as one sees it.

The kind of energy you see with moveon and truemajority, and the
encouragement that gives to some politicians -- that is a
positive thing, no question about that. But the fact is that
there have been many times in US history when much stronger
movements arose, movements with mass participation, good
organization, and which achieved some degree of real political
influence. The Agrarian Populists, c. 1900, had something like
20,000 full time people who travelled around giving speeches and
keeping the network going among the local organizations /
affiliates. They came close to getting their Presidential
candidate onto the slate of one of the major parties. There have
been many other seriously major grassroots uprisings, and many of
them achieved significant reforms. As a result of the 60s
movements, for example, we got the EPA, the Freedom of
Information Act, the Civil Rights Act, the resignation of a
President, and a number of progressive decisions by the Supreme

But in each case, following whatever movement successes,
political power remained in the hands of an elite Establishment
community. The Establishment offered policy concessions in order
to placate the movements, but it did not give up its hold on the
reins of power. Indeed, the granting of concessions served as a
means of maintaining Establishment power. A movement achieves
success, gets its reforms, and then typically runs out of steam.
Meanwhile the Establishment goes into damage-control mode.
Reforms are watered down, enforcement is subverted, loopholes are
introduced, etc. And then when the political climate changes, the
reforms can be undone entirely. Since the beginning of the Reagan
era, and greatly accelerated under GW Bush, we've seen centuries
of reform undone -- going right back to the Bill of Rights
itself. This has been the universal historical pattern, and not
only in the USA and the UK.

Unless we want to repeat history, we need to learn from it. We
need to understand how an elite Establishment is able to stay in
power, riding over the ripples of changing Administrations and
movement uprisings. If our initiatives are to have lasting
results, they must be aimed at somehow overcoming this elite
monopoly on political decision making. Until that happens we are
only bargaining for concessions from "the one who has power", the
way a youth might bargain for some money for a night out or a new
mobile phone.  As long as there is "someone who has power" then
we remain at the mercy of their interests and their schemes,
schemes which are becoming at the moment increasingly diabolical.

best regards,



    "...the Patriot Act followed 9-11 as smoothly as the
      suspension of the Weimar constitution followed the
      Reichstag fire."  
      - Srdja Trifkovic

    There is not a problem with the system.
    The system is the problem.

    Faith in humanity, not gods, ideologies, or programs.

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