Sorry folks, two postings in one day! Also, I promised not to send out more drafts, and yet here's another chapter! The fact is that I did a lot of rewriting here. The previous version just didn't work anymore, given changes in earlier material. For those interested, enjoy, and let me know if holds together for you. all the best, rkm -------------------------------------------------------- draft version 4.4 Chapter 6 ENVISIONING A TRANSFORMATIONAL MOVEMENT If only people could see each other as agents of each other's happiness, they could occupy the earth, their common habitation, in peace, and move forward confidently together to their common goal. The prospect changes when they regard each other as obstacles; soon they have no choice left but to flee or be forever fighting. Humankind then seems nothing but a gigantic error of nature. - Abbe Sieyes. Prelude to the Constitution, 1789, France * In search of a path to social transformation Let's review our quest so farŠ Chapter 1 concluded with Civilization in crisis, and the thesis that our entire society needs to be radically changed, both economically and politically. We need to rid ourselves, somehow, of elite rule, and we need to establish, somehow, democratic, peaceful, and sustainable societies. This left with us an implicit question: "If we want a different kind of society, what models do we have that might guide us?" Chapter 2 looked back into our origins, and found hopeful models in the Old Civilization of Europe, and the partnership cultures that characterized the earliest agricultural civilizations. These societies prove that it is possible to have a stable, peaceful, and complex society which is egalitarian and which is based on harmony among people and with nature. The path of hierarchy was the path we eventually followed as a global civilization, but it was not the only path available. From this we know that people are capable of living in a partnership society just as they are capable of living in a dominator society; human nature is capable of cooperation as well as exploitation. Social transformation is not a hopeless quest. The question now is not whether a better society is possible, but rather how one might be created. We next need to face the question of how transformation might be accomplished. Chapter 3 began with the observation that the dominator culture itself is the source of current crisis. Domination can only be ended when the dominated decide to change things: We the people, in seeking our own liberation, will at the same time be transforming our dominator culture into a partnership culture. We need to understand what it means for We the People to wake up, and as first step in gaining that understanding we examined several social movements, current and historical, and I suggested some preliminary observations. One observation is that capturing territory is important to any transformational movement. Another observation is that electoral politics is a quagmire that any successful transformational movement must be wary of. If such a movement is to prevail, it will need to recruit nearly the whole population to its cause, as Gandhi's movement was able to do. We now have the basic skeleton of a transformational project: We the People need to wake up and find our identity, and we need to build a social movement aimed at transforming our cultures and our societies; our movement must avoid the political quagmire and seek to bring everyone into the movement. In order to pursue such a project, we need to understand just how deep the transformation must go: we need to know which of our existing cultural paradigms must be abandoned, as being incompatible with a democratic and equitable society. Chapter 4 expanded on Chapter 3's preliminary conclusions, arguing the thesis that adversarial politics - the whole basis of liberal "democracy" - is a system that by its inherent nature facilitates rule by elites; it is a modern version of divide and rule. In reality we live in a plutocracy - we are ruled by wealthy elites. Only in the Matrix does democracy exist. If we want real democracy, we must invent it. Our new culture must avoid the factions and interest groups that pit us one against the other; we need to create a culture that enables us to harmonize our various needs and concerns. We can now see that harmonization is the critical factor in both our movement and our new society. In order to bring everyone into the movement we need to learn how to harmonize everyone's concerns, and we also need to base our new society on harmonization. In order to transform our societies, we need to transform our adversarial culture into a culture based on harmonization, which is the same as partnership, but expressed from the perspective of process instead of result. But how can we go about pursuing harmonization and partnership? Chapter 5 argued that our culture suffers from a certain deficiency: when we gather together for discussions or to make decisions, we don't know how to go about harmonizing the various concerns and interests of the participants. We either suppress our differences in order to reach a compromise consensus, or else factions compete to impose their views on the whole group. This deficiency channels us toward participation in the quagmire of adversarial politics. As a remedy, we looked at some examples of gatherings that overcame this cultural deficiency, and discovered the dynamics of harmonization. In the microcosm of a face-to-face gathering, it is possible to find our common ground and realize our identity as We the People. The necessary facilitation techniques are proven, and with their help almost any group of people can go through this kind of experience, which is in fact already latent deep in our psyches, part of our primordial heritage. Harmonization is able to bring out the creative synergy and the collective wisdom that lie latent in any group of people. We can now see the beginning of a path to transformation: we know how to achieve harmonization in the microcosm of a face-to-face gathering. We next need to understand how we can use this knowledge to build an inclusive movement and to transform our cultures and societies. That is the objective of this chapter. * Harmonization and cultural transformation Let us consider for a moment, from a general perspective, how cultural transformations typically take place. One common historical example of a cultural transformation would be the adoption of a new religion by a society. In this case there is some kind of conversion experience, or a "seeing the light" experience, that transmits the cultural transformation. It is an experience that transcends words; it is an experience that causes you to see things in a different way. That "different way of seeing" is the essence of the new culture. If the shift were not so profound, beyond verbalization, we wouldn't call it a cultural transformation; it would be only the spreading of a new idea, or a new fashion. Another example of cultural transformation occurred in the sixties and seventies, with the hippies, drugs, rock and roll, protests, the New Left, and massive popular movements. Clearly, compared to the fifties, this period brought on a major cultural transformation in our Western societies. And again, there were experiences, not explainable in words, which were at the heart of transmitting this transformation. Timothy Leary said, "Turn on, tune in, and drop out." He began with "turn on," which means drop an LSD tab, an experience that can't be put into words, and an experience that introduces us to a "different way of seeing." Getting high, expanding our sexual explorations, losing ourselves in tribal rock-and-roll paganism, taking to the streets in rebellious protest, doing everything our parents disapproved of - these were all experiences of a similar character, all somehow transmitting liberation from the barren fifties background culture. By definition, a cultural transformation involves the propagation of a shift in worldview. And a shift in worldview is not something that occurs easily. It takes some kind of special experience, as we saw in the two examples above. It requires some kind of experience that takes us out of our standard mindset, into a territory we don't have words for, and enables us to see things in a way we didn't know was possible. Such an experience is necessary for cultural transformation; such an experience provides the energy that can propagate the transformation. Harmonization, as exemplified in the Wisdom Council session, is that kind of "special experience." It takes people out of their standard mindset, as regards social possibilities, and enables them to see those possibilities in a way that they didn't know was possible. Participants in such a session "see the light" as regards their own empowerment, and as regards the possibility of achieving mutual understanding and consensus with their peers. This is an experience that enables people to see social possibilities "in a new way" that didn't seem possible before - as was expressed explicitly in the declaration that the Michigan group came up with. And this is an experience that our current culture doesn't really have words for. In order to give a name to the experience, I found it necessary to pick a word, "harmonization," and give it an expanded definition. In order to describe the effect of the experience, participants chose a phrase that would have had little personal meaning for them prior to the experience: "We the People." The power of this experience, as regards liberation, reveals to us the power that separateness has in our societies, as a tool of subjugation. Separateness is multi-faceted: it encompasses the factionalism of our political system, the divisiveness of our ideological and religious beliefs, the psychological sense of isolation that many of us feel as individuals, the loss of a sense of community in modern society, and the over-emphasis that our society puts on individualism and competition. The cumulative effect of separateness, in all these various manifestations, is extremely disempowering. In a harmonization session the heavy burden of separateness is lifted, releasing considerable liberating energy - as was reflected in the empowerment and enthusiasm of the participants in the sessions we have looked at. Imagine what it would be like if everyone were to undergo such a transformation of consciousness. What if everyone went through the experience of sitting down with others, some of whom were considered to be "the enemy," and glimpsed for themselves the "new vision"? What if everyone were to experience the empowerment and hope that comes with the spirit of We the People? What if everyone understood, at a deep level, that that divisiveness in society can be overcome, that We the People can harmonize our needs and concerns? If everyone were to have this kind of experience, our culture itself would be transformed. Not only would this fill our "cultural gap" as regards meetings, but also our cultural paradigms about competition and adversarial politics would be neutralized. Although our societal systems would remain unchanged, for a while at least, the culture that supports them would be gone. The elite's divide-and-rule strategy would be fatally undermined. No longer would we feel compelled to choose sides among political parties; no longer would we feel powerless and isolated as citizens. Our culture, beginning in the grassroots, would be transforming into the partnership category. Harmonization is a transformational force. Spreading the harmonization experience is equivalent to transforming our cultures and our consciousness as individuals. Harmonization is the means by which We the People can wake up, find our identity, and undertake effective collective action. * Cultural transformation at the level of community Consider the public meeting that followed the Wisdom Council session in Rogue Valley. The session participants were able to communicate their experience to the people who came to that meeting, and the whole meeting was characterized by a spirit of enthusiasm and empowerment. Let us consider how this kind of scenario might be further extended. Instead of a single harmonization session, suppose that a series of sessions were to be organized in a community, each followed by an open public meeting - as envisioned by Jim as part of the Wisdom Council formula. Suppose further that the organizers of this series undertook to publicize the events, and the outcomes of the gatherings, to the wider community. If this were to happen, I suggest that a culture of harmonization would begin to take root and grow within the community. As the number of "graduates" (people who have participated in sessions) increases in the community, the time will come when nearly everyone in town knows someone, or is related to someone, who is a graduate. Each graduate, based on the transformation of consciousness that typically occurs, would act as a kind of informal evangelist for the harmonization culture, able to provide first-hand answers to questions, and most likely willing to relate, with some enthusiasm, the session experience to others. In this way familiarity with the harmonization experience would spread on a word-of-mouth basis. Each harmonization session brings together some microcosm of the community and its concerns. To the extent the various concerns of the community find voice within a session, we can expect the solutions and insights that come out of the session to find resonance in the larger community. As the results of each session are published locally, and people see those results as being relevant to their own concerns, we could expect interest to develop in the community regarding the series of sessions and public meetings. Presumably the public meetings would grow larger over time, based on the interest generated, with people returning to subsequent meetings, and inviting their neighbors along. We could expect some continuity to develop, with certain issues rising to the fore as recognized community concerns. This might naturally add focus to subsequent harmonization sessions, so that the breakthroughs reached in sessions would become increasingly relevant to recognized community concerns. A shared sense of the community and a sense of community identity would begin to emerge. The growing sense of empowerment in the community would be accompanied by a growing understanding of the culture that enables that empowerment: mutual respect and heartfelt dialog. Dialog would carry on informally in the community; the spirit of We the People would become palpable. The sleeping giant would be waking up on the scale of one community. The culture of the community would be transforming, not just for the duration of a single session, but on an ongoing, community-wide basis. Such a project would not be a formidable undertaking. With a handful of local citizens sharing the work, and some modest fund raising for facilitators and meeting rooms, it would be possible to organize a series of sessions and publicize the results locally. Cultural transformation, on the scale of a single community, appears to be a quite doable project. Hope is a dimension of the soulŠ an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart. It transcends the world that is immediately experienced and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons . . . .It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out. - Vaclav Havel *Community empowerment and cultural transformation As the sense of the community begins to converge around certain shared concerns, to continue our scenario, community attention would naturally begin focusing on, "What can we do?" And in a community there are usually many things people can do, when they are acting out of mutual understanding and common purpose. People working together can deal with many problems on a self-help basis: they can give the local school a fresh coat of paint, create a community garden, establish a local currency, or set up a childcare co-op or a crime-watch network. There is also much that can be accomplished politically. Local officials have a self-interest motivation to listen to citizen petitions, when those are enthusiastically backed by the general community. When a whole community has achieved a harmonized sense of itself, as an aware We the People, they can simply choose a slate of candidates from among themselves and elect them, on an essentially unanimous basis, to all the local offices. The official political process, and the administration of the community, can thereby be brought into the space of harmonization. The policy decisions of the community would no longer be made behind closed doors, but would come from the people themselves, by means of harmonization. At the level of community, it is possible for We the People to govern ourselves on the basis of direct, participatory democracy. And we can do this within the current political system. In a local community it is possible for a sub-culture based on harmonization to be established - a transformed oasis of democratic empowerment embedded within the larger hierarchical society. Consider the following example, which occurred relatively recently in India. Four hundred years ago the village of Maliwada, India, was a thriving agricultural center, producing fruits, vegetables, and wines. In 1975, it had little water, no sanitation, few crops. Over 2,000 villagers barely eked out a subsistence living. Muslims and Hindus of many different castes lived with centuries of mutual distrust. The villagers knew about their prosperous past, but it seemed long gone and hopeless to recreate. The discussions began based on two questions: "What would it take to have prosperity exist again in this village? What can you do to make that happen?" Gradually, as ideas began to pour fourth, perspectives changed. Hindus and Muslims talked together excitedly about how to clean out the ancient well. Brahmins and Untouchables discovered in a joint meeting that all despaired at the lack of medical care for their sick children. They all wanted to create a health clinic in the village. Hope began to creep into their voices and eyes. What had seemed totally impossible suddenly became doable. People organized and tapped resources they had forgotten they had. They acquired loans from a bank and received government grants. They built a dam, a brick factory, and the clinic. The shared vision of what they wanted for themselves and their community allowed them to go beyond their personal and cultural differences and continued to motivate them. Each success made them stronger, more confident, more self-assured. Today, Maliwada is a prospering village. When transformation like this takes place, the news travels. Nearby villagers wanted to know how they could do this.... - Quoted from Patricia R. Tuecke, Rural International Development, in Discovering Common Ground, by Marvin R. Weisbord, et. al. (Berrett-Koehler, 1992), p. 307. Based on the enthusiasm generated, the emergence of a few empowered communities might be expected to lead to a chain reaction in the larger society. As in the above example from India, other communities would be impressed by the developments in the transformed communities, and local activists and concerned citizens would be likely to want to try it for themselves. Just as group empowerment can become contagious in a community, so can community empowerment become contagious in the larger society. If this begins to happen, even on a relatively small scale, we would be witnessing the emergence of a community-empowerment movement - a movement engaged in spreading cultural transformation. This would be a somewhat unusual movement, in that it wouldn't have leaders or organization. It would not be guided by any centralized leadership group, nor would it need any centralized organization in order to maintain its momentum. It would be a truly grassroots movement, inspired and guided by local initiative, and propagated by grassroots enthusiasm. In a society suffering under economic decline, an unpopular war, the deterioration of its political system, and many other ills, any ray of hope for democratic empowerment would be likely to generate considerable enthusiasm. The chain reaction could be powerful. Indeed, I strongly suspect that it would be powerful; I could feel the strength of the potential energy when I saw the faces and heard the voices in the Rogue Valley videos. The movement would also be unusual in that it would not be characterized by any particular program or platform. The movement would not be about rallying people behind noble causes, such as world peace or justice, rather it would be about communities discovering their own democratic empowerment. Any particular policy platform would in fact limit the propagation of the movement. Given a platform of policies, there are always some factions, which for one reason or another, do not subscribe to the platform. In that way platforms, no matter how noble, are ultimately divisive, and usually give rise to opposition movements. In the case of our community-empowerment movement, the only "faction" that could be expected to oppose it would be established elites, who would rightfully see it as a potential threat to their own continued hegemony. Let us now consider how various kinds of activists would be likely to respond to the emergence of such a movement. There are many activist groups already focusing on community empowerment, working with various constituencies, and pursuing various agendas. There are also many activist groups who would like nothing better than to find more effective directions for activism. If our community-empowerment movement began to gain a bit of momentum, I think it would be noticed by activists, and I imagine some of them would see it as a useful direction for their own energies, and even their own policy agendas. As citizens in their communities, their ideas and visions would be valid and useful contributions to the community dialog process. In addition to the "chain reaction" aspect, propagation of the movement would be likely to receive a boost as activist groups begin to participate in various ways. The focus on community gives the movement a territorial quality, and a self-help quality, both of which characterized the very successful Populist Movement. We can take that as an encouraging and relevant precedent for this phase of the transformational process. Indeed, I think we could expect a harmonization-based, community-empowerment movement to develop in a similar way. As the movement spreads, local governments would be brought into the harmonization process, would become agents of democratic agendas, as they rightfully should be in a democracy. The Populists got even to the point where they elected Governors of several States. Once a chain reaction gets started, and once that energy begins to synergize with existing activist energy, I suggest we could expect similar results. * What are the prospects for such a movement? What I have been presenting, in this material, is my own best estimation of what could be expected if we combine the Wisdom Council vision with a focus on community empowerment. I showed you what happened in Michigan, and the Maclean's event, and in Rogue Valley. I shared the community-empowerment experience in India, which is typical of many, many others throughout the third world. I have not been trying to sell you a formula. I have been trying to understand for myself the potential of the harmonization experience. Based on my own personal experience with such events, my viewing of the Rogue Valley videos, and my interviews with the organizers, I know that there is an incredible potential energy that can be released by such experiences. When I anticipate a "chain reaction" among communities, I do not have my fingers crossed; I am not saying, "if only." I honestly believe, based on my overall experience of life, that these are very likely outcomes. Nonetheless, I myself am taken aback by the amazing magnitude of the anticipated outcomes, as compared to the miniscule inputs that are called for. What I have suggested, if you look back over this chapter, is that a simple series of harmonization sessions, organized in a few communities, would be likely to start a chain reaction that could end up transforming cultures all over the globe! I have looked, with my most critical eye, and I cannot find an unlikely step in the scenarios I have presented. The potential, I think, is there. But even I cannot believe my own logic in such a case, not unless I can corroborate it by other considerations. How can we explain so much energy, so much democratic liberation - released by so little effort? We can usefully compare the dynamics of the harmonization experience to the dynamics of nuclear fusion. Atomic nuclei are normally kept apart by very strong electrical forces; when the nuclei are brought into proximity in a thermonuclear device, they fuse into larger nuclei, and tremendous energy is released. Similarly, citizens are normally kept apart by very strong social forces (i.e., separateness); when citizens are brought into psychic proximity during a harmonization session, they fuse into a temporary community, and tremendous energy is released. When we were slaves in chains, it mattered little about our "sense of community." We were allowed to sing our native songs in the slave camps, dream of freedom, and all the time our shackles remained fastened. When later we were serfs and royal subjects, our class identity was acknowledged, and garrisons were always on the ready to keep us in our place, should a peasant revolt arise - as it often did. Under "democracy" our chains are gone and the overt garrisons have disappeared. It is now only separateness that keeps us down. Humanity - based on everything we know about archeology, anthropology, psychology, sociology, ethnology, genetics, biology, and every other relevant science - is a social species. We are attuned to body language; our faces are transmitters of emotional energy; we would engage in social grooming, if it were culturally acceptable in public. We are natural huggers, and we seek lasting friendships. We like to be part of a group - whether it be in a church or a social circle - and we care about what people in our group think of us. This is our nature, and we can see it expressed when school children interact. It is not a sign of good health to be well adjusted to a sick society. - J. Krishnamurti For such as us, isolation is like being in prison. We experience it as stress, and perhaps we blame that on ourselves, increasing our stress further. We seek release from this unnatural isolation by pursuing the "perfect relationship," or by making ourselves more attractive (via hair coloring, breast implants, or the right car and after-shave lotion) so that we'll be accepted socially. We use our church, our club, or our place of work, to find a source of community. These things help, at a personal level, but we are still left with the larger divisiveness of our society. Overall, we don't feel that we are part of a supportive culture - and a psychologically supportive culture is the primary characteristic of every social species. We are fish out of water, thrashing about and gasping for life - all due to separateness. From this perspective, we can understand why so much energy is released when separateness is overcome. It is indeed like a thermonuclear reaction. In a harmonization session participants are able to bond together as We the People: they escape temporarily from their sense of isolation; their spirits are nourished by the support and acceptance a temporary community; they glimpse a "new vision" of how people can be in tune with one another; they escape from the cave of separateness and see the sunlight of democratic liberation for the first time; they awaken within themselves a primordial species instinct for cooperation, an instinct which dominator societies have strived for millennia to extinguish. Imagine that all your life you have dragged around a weight, chained to your ankle. You have never been able to run, jump, swim, or ride a bike. You cannot keep up with your friends or your colleagues. Imagine, then, that one day you are released from your shackles. Imagine how liberated you would feel, how light on your feet, how full of energy and hope for a new and fuller life. The energy has been coiled up during a lifetime of suppression and resignation, and it springs forth all at once with great force. Release from separateness, in all its dimensions, is like that. We have carried all of our lives the stressful burden of isolation as powerless individuals, and our ancestors have carried that burden for millennia. It is the burden of domestication, the burden of domination. When we are released from this burden, the pent-up energy of our long-suppressed liberation uncoils all at once, with great force, inspiring us to enthusiastically declare our liberation, as "We the People." This is where the immense energy comes from that can drive a chain reaction, propagate a community-empowerment movement, and thereby bring about a cultural transformation in our societies. It is the energy of a powerful sleeping giant, awoken from long slumber, and eager to claim its rightful heritage. In the late 1930s, David Ben-Gurion wrote: "What is inconceivable in normal times is possible in revolutionary times; and if at this time the opportunity is missed and what is possible in such great hours is not carried out - a whole world is lost." * Political transformation and regime intervention Because of the focus on community empowerment, which brings a territorial quality to the movement, we can expect that political transformation will follow in the wake of cultural transformation. As the territory of the movement grows and consolidates, levels of elected government will be gradually integrated into the movement culture, as occurred with the Populists. The political system, the planning process, the policy initiatives, the trade-offs, the budgeting, the implementation strategies - these will all be grounded in an inclusive democratic process within movement territory. The new, democratic society will be creating itself within the shell of the dominator society, like a butterfly developing in a cocoon. If a movement chain-reaction begins to develop, as I have suggested, then we must expect, sooner or later, a hostile reaction from established elites, backed up by the resources of national government and mass media. Our beautiful butterfly represents a dangerous threat to their power. The more territory that can be captured, and the more momentum that can be generated - prior to evoking some kind of suppressive response - the more likely the movement will be able to continue growing despite opposition. The struggle will test the power of the waking giant against the suppressive authority of the dominator society. It will test the strength of a people waking up to liberation against the power of the state, a power which depends on obedience from civil servants and military personnel - who themselves are likely to resonate with the emerging spirit of liberation. Such a scenario is not entirely unfavorable to a robust democratic movement, despite the apparently limitless power of the modern, centralized, state. We need only recall the unexpected fall of the mighty Soviet Union, and the relatively peaceful regime changes in Eastern Europe, to see how powerful a people can be when it feels its own strength as an awakened We the People. Such strength comes not from armed struggle or sabotage, nor does it come from mass demonstrations or confrontations with police. It comes rather from the inner strength of a people united in their determination achieve their liberation. It is a patient strength, reflecting a deep confidence that We the People will ultimately determine our own destiny. Those who are at the top of our dominator hierarchies are very savvy people. I'm not referring here to the figure-head political leaders, but rather to those behind the scenes who pull the levers of power, and who employ think tanks and consultants to plan out strategies (e.g., the PNAC agenda) - and to research all foreseeable scenarios. The management of public opinion, and the orchestrating of media spin and media story lines, are the front-line mechanisms of elite domination. Focus groups are used frequently and regularly in support of this critically important opinion-management process, ensuring that media managers stay in close touch with the various segments of public opinion, the various propaganda markets. Given such a sophisticated early warning system, we can anticipate that any movement with dangerous characteristics would raise alarm bells on elite radar screens sooner rather than later. These alarms, presumably, would be relayed to those consultants that specialize in tracking activist groups, and in finding ways to deal with perceived troublemakers, such as anti-globalization protesters and environmental activists. These consultants are experts in social movements, and they are well aware of the various ways in which movements propagate. By the time our movement begins to achieve any real momentum, these consultants would be blind not to realize that action will be required, to squash this highly contagious democratic virus before it becomes an unstoppable epidemic. At the same time, however, these are very busy people and they aren't going to jump every time they see a stray blip. They see themselves as masters of the universe, in some sense, given the ongoing success of their propaganda regime. They probably laugh every time they see yet another bold manifesto posted to the Internet, yet another enthusiastic movement send out a hopeful call to action, or yet another book appear about social transformation. And it's been more than a century since a movement as troublesome as the Populists has come along. With considerable justification, they are complacent in their management role. I believe that we can assume our movement will be able to develop a bit of momentum before the opinion-management hierarchy begins to give us any serious attention. Meanwhile, if the movement is building momentum and generating enthusiasm for democratic empowerment, it will show up on many other people's radar as well, by means of the Internet. In fact, the alarm bell that would be most likely to arouse Big Brother's attention would be a surge of online traffic showing interest in the progress and nature of the movement. Big Brother will pay attention because we are paying attention. We will have a head start. By the time Big Brother smells a virus, the movement will have generated enough momentum to attract the attention of all sorts of activist and community-oriented groups. A de facto race will be underway between the chain-reaction progress of the movement, and the response mechanisms available to Big Brother. I'm reminded here of a classic science fiction story. Galactic imperial headquarters detects a small invading armada, and sends out a battle cruiser to intercept it. The armada proves stronger than expected, and repels the cruiser. Annoyed, the commanders send out three more cruisers, still a relatively minor force, confident of stopping the armada on the second try. The armada just barely prevails again, and by this time it is too close to headquarters to be stopped - it has broken through the shields. Too little defense, too late, due to the complacency of the powerful: the galactic empire is lost to a small armada. This could very well turn out to be the victory scenario of our movement. The problem, as regards defending against such a democratic movement, is that there is no particularly appropriate time to intervene, and no particularly effective means of intervention. With no leadership group, there are no leaders to harass or arrest. As the movement is not associated with any faction or platform, there is no target to demonize in the media, no bad guy, no evil race or doctrine. Besides, in the early stages, the movement would be of little perceived consequence: the main activity will be nothing more than community meetings (harmonization sessions), and these will not be associated with political activism or confrontation. Why would anyone feel threatened? Only after several communities have become involved, after some local governments have been brought into the fold, and after a palpable sense of movement is in the air - only then would it make much sense to assign an undercover team to take a closer look. And by then, lots of other people would be taking a look as well. If the movement unfolds in the way I believe it will, it will be seen as a very exciting development by activists and concerned citizens everywhere. Because of the Internet, with all of its interlinked distribution channels, our chain reaction could conceivably go global overnight. Fertile ground for community empowerment can be found in every part of the world. And any community anywhere, which embarks on the path of harmonization, becomes an independent center of movement propagation. The pattern of propagation would resemble that of crabgrass, or kudzu, and would be nearly impossible to contain - particularly if seeds have been scattered to the four winds. Let's consider some of the early counter-measures that the regime might conceivably deploy. Surveillance and infiltration by spies and provocateurs are very common tactics used against movements of all kinds throughout the world. But a harmonization-based movement is relatively immune to such tactics. The movement has nothing to hide as regards its activities, and harmonizing processes are characterized by too much good sense to allow themselves to be sabotaged by a provocateur pushing some counter-productive agenda. More drastic measures, such as arresting organizers or banning meetings 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 - a counter-attack within the Matrix. Religious conservatives would be warned, from pulpits and by 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". 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 little sense until after the movement has made noticeable progress. 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 our collective wisdom to deal with such challenges as they arise. Eventually, when 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 engagement with the regime. One form of engagement could be general strikes; everyone stays home and the system stops operating. Perhaps military units overseas refuse to engage in actions as part of the strike, and police join in as well. This is similar to how Soviet-era regimes were brought down in Eastern Europe. Eventually elites will realize they no longer have control. They can then either run and hide or express a willingness to "negotiate." At that point we can invite them to join us in creative dialog. * Social transformation Somewhere in this unfolding process, we can be sure that the movement will wake up to the fact that's its inherent mission is the total transformation of society. This was not the mission of the Rogue Valley Wisdom Council, nor would I expect it to be the mission of early harmonization events in a fledgling movement. The natural and appropriate focus at the beginning, as in the Rogue Valley, will be on overcoming divisiveness in communities, and seeking solutions to community problems. But as a culture of harmonization spreads and becomes familiar to people on a daily basis, they will become increasing unwilling to accept being controlled by remote dominator institutions, a state of affairs that will increasingly be perceived as being dysfunctional, uncivilized, antiquated, unnecessary - and the source of our major problems. The movement will realize, at some point, that it represents the leading edge of cultural transformation - and that this transformation itself is the movement's most important outcome. As the movement grows larger, and is able to maintain its coherence via networking and harmonization, people will begin to realize, based on their own experience, that large social projects do not need to be based on centralization and hierarchy. The development of the movement itself will point the way to those social structures that are suitable to a democratic society. Rather than a centralized movement leadership deciding policy for "the good of the movement," people will learn in this movement that policies can come from the grassroots, that good ideas and breakthroughs can be rapidly and voluntarily adopted by other communities, and can become part of the movement's "collective understanding." Only with the help of harmonization can a movement be both coherent and grassroots based. Without harmonization, a movement must be either disorganized or centrally led. I imagine that the "movement structure" would naturally evolve toward a tiered arrangement of temporary councils, where communities send delegates to regional councils, regions send delegates to national councils, and so on up to global councils - with harmonization being used at all levels. Although this may superficially resemble the hierarchical pyramids of our current representative governments, power would flow in the reverse direction, and there would be no permanent decision-making bodies. After a council meets, it disbands and the delegates go back to the communities and their regular activities. Each delegation to a council would come in with a consensus perspective that was reached in its community, and the delegation would not be empowered to reach agreements outside the boundaries of that consensus. If there seem to be conflicts among these incoming perspectives, those conflicts would be addressed as shared problems in the council sessions. Perhaps breakthroughs could be found in the council, overcoming the apparent conflicts, or perhaps delegates would go back home better informed about the concerns of other communities. Each community could then re-examine its thinking in the light of that new understanding. Harmonization would proceed, perhaps iteratively, while power, in terms of movement decision-making, would remain based in the grassroots, in the individual communities. I feel the suffering of millions, and yet when I look up at the sky I somehow feel that this cruelty shall end and that peace and tranquility will return. - Anne Frank * Transformation: the means are the ends There have been many major revolutions in history, but none has succeeded in escaping from hierarchy and elite rule. There are many reasons for this, and we could analyze them from many perspectives. I'd like to offer one particular perspective, because I think it gets down to the root of the problem. I suggest that every revolution has been based on this sequential model: (1) achieve victory, (2) create new political arrangements, (3) transform culture This model seems to make a great deal of sense. If we want our new society to be of the partnership variety, for example, we certainly need to change our political arrangements first. Right? And before we can do that, we must have the power to do so, which means we need to achieve victory. How could there be any other way? Yet, sensible and inevitable as the model may seem to be, it has consistently failed to deliver the goods. The flaw in the model, I suggest, arises from we might call "cultural momentum." If victory is achieved within the dominator paradigm, and if the new political arrangements are designed by people still embedded in that paradigm, then the old political arrangements are likely to be re-invented - albeit under optimistic new labels (e.g., "liberal democracy".) The dominator culture served to support the old dominator systems, and from that cultural perspective we can expect similar systems to emerge again. We could also look at the flaw this way: if you've never lived in a democratic society, then you are unlikely to understand the dynamics of such a society, and hence you are unlikely to know what political arrangements might support those dynamics. Finally, we could look at the flaw in terms of means and ends. The old question - Do the ends justify the means? - refers to the compromises, the outrages, that have sometimes been committed in the pursuit of a "glorious revolution." The choice of reprehensible means arises naturally out of the old, dominator culture. The culture of the revolutionary movement itself becomes a dominator culture. What could we expect from such a movement other than a new dominator society? The truth is that the means always become the ends. Our own transformational movement, based on harmonization and community empowerment, reverses the traditional sequence. It follows this model: (1) transform culture, (2) create new political arrangements, (3) achieve victory Harmonization is the appropriate culture for a partnership society, and the primary activity of the movement is the spreading of the new culture from community to community. Each community retains its autonomy within the movement and operates internally on a harmonized, inclusive, democratic basis. As empowered communities learn to work together, harmonizing their concerns and activities as they network with one another, they are creating the political arrangements that are appropriate to a democratic and equitable society. When victory comes, the new culture and political arrangements are already largely in place. Cultural momentum is on our side; we have already lived in the new culture; the means were the same as the ends from the very beginning.