Horizontal democracy and organizing

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Divergent Thinking, Economics, Politics

Recently, I have slowly been reading and working my way through a book titled, “They Can’t Represent Us!: Reinventing Democracy from Greece to Occupy.”

I am enjoying this book and the content.  In my estimation, it pairs very well with The Resilience Imperative: Cooperative Transitions to a Steady-state Economy.

Succinctly, our world is changing rapidly and we are entering a period that some have called the Great Transition.  There are a variety of macro trends that are simply unnerving to those who want to hold on to and cling to past traditions and establishment practices (conservatives).

Consider the following:

  • Browning of America, and the world
  • Collapsing of majorities
  • Graying of America, and the world
  • Gender Shifting
  • Widening Opportunity Gaps (“99%- 1%”)
  • Movements away from representative democracy to horizontal, direct democratic structures
  • Urbanization
  • Accelerating Rates of Change (Technology)
  • Complexity- interconnected systems
  • Loss of Trust in Institutions
  • —Collapsing of institutions/establishments

Because my lifelong career was in the fire service, these macro trends ring true to me.  The fire department culture- white, male dominated, ego driven- is clinging desperately to traditions and practices that are 300 years old, resisting change, and the forces of macro change processes are going to rip the profession open and lay it bear in the coming years.  The same could be said of our educational, political, military, and governmental structures.

What used to work, simply is not going to work in the near, quickly coming, future.

I have only become aware of many of the rising forces taking root in America due to my involvement in under-represented populations.  When one works in the “trenches,” one becomes aware of how the “soldiers” in the trenches view life and more importantly, how they organize society.

The experience of great, massive change, upheaval even, is going to be painful.  But I believe that for those individuals, groups, and institutions who refuse to embrace the change, the process is going to be unbearable.  Indeed, men will drop dead from the weight of it all.

My advice is to get close to the 99%, the working classes and the poor, and pay attention to the movements.  More importantly, pay attention to the new ways that society is beginning to organize for democracy, breaking free of representative democratic structures.

Incidentally, this election cycle highlights so well the forces that are resistant to change.  It ought to be obvious watching the “machine” work to hold on to the existing paradigms, while revolutionary and counter-revolutionary forces begin to build outside of the old system.  Seeing how narratives are constructed, by whom, and how they are advanced for particular interests in absolutely amazing!

Problem is, with the speed of communication, the connected systems, linked social networks, ease of access to information, and whistle blowers, more people now know how the game is played, how the system is set up.  So the machine’s efficacy is waning.

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resilience + resistance + socialism

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