GLOBAL TRANSFORMATION: Harmonization and global transformation

2004-09-21

Richard Moore


Friends,

This is the central chapter of the book, and is considerably longer than the 
other chapters. Everything before was building the database, and the vocabulary,
so that this chapter could be written. And what follows this chapter will be be 
a straightforward continuation of these ideas. A lot of ground is covered here, 
and I hope I get lots of feedback. I'm sure there are parts that need 
considerable improvement.

best regards,
rkm

___________________________________________________________
GLOBAL TRANSFORMATION :  WHY WE NEED IT AND HOW WE CAN ACHIEVE IT

(C) 2004 Richard K. Moore

GLOBAL TRANSFORMATION

________________________________________________________

    HARMONIZATION AND GLOBAL TRANSFORMATION

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

* The crisis of civilization: a review

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

Democracy in America project (the follow-up conference "for hundreds"):
        http://www.democracycampaign.org/

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 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.

Besides, 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. 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 it's 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 that globalization and corporations are 
continuing to rape their countries--modern descendents of the missionaries and 
conquistadors. People in the third world don't need to awake 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--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, make 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 toward 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 trod 
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 such 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 
involved.

________________________________________________________

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_____________________________
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