Peace Building

This piece involves a bit of an epiphany about myself. You know, like when you are surprised into seeing yourself a bit more as you really are. Some background is necessary to lead into how this unfolded.

Since Trump’s election I have become a democracy-freak. Writing a book about it in fact.  And that is taking me on a new journey within myself and across our political spectrum. Here is the opening of my draft Introduction:

Humans and our organizations are inextricably linked with local, regional, and global ecological systems. Sociocracy is whole systems design for how we organize ourselves and make decisions. Permaculture is whole systems design for re-integrating humans with the ecologies we depend on for our existence - for example water, food, fuel, shelter. Together they provide powerful design approaches that support resilient, adaptable, connected systems.

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When I was a wee freshman in college, I would come back home for winter break to confidently inform my family of all of the tragic woes in the world and what was needed to fix them. My dad would always back-handedly reply, “That’s what’s wrong with you liberals. You think you’re always right.” I was offended, first by the categorizing of my ideals as being liberal, and second because what I was saying was right. There is a right and a wrong to the world and I was on the right side of it.

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I need to say some more about the thinking I expressed in my earlier blog. My main point was and is that our most meaningful and effective protests have their source in sharp strategic thinking that is free of moral righteousness. Full of passion grounded in our values and concerns for a world that can work well, but not in moral righteousness.

Our alt/Right, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, etc. are a form of resistance to the profound cultural, political, and economic changes that are happening globally.* They are hopelessly fighting a losing battle. In fact, the intensity of their moral righteousness is the measure of their hopelessness. Even Steve Bannon says this: “Ethno-nationalism—it's losers.

[Editor's note: This presentation was part of the 2016 Left Forum (Rage, Rebellion, Revolution: Organizing Our Power), held at John Jay College of Criminal Justice on May 21, 2016.]

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La Condición del Cuerpo como Instrumento Alternativo de Educación Intercultural y Cultura de Paz para los Sistemas Educativos Caribeños. The Condition of the Body as an Alternative Instrument of Intercultural Education and Culture of Peace for Caribbean Educational Systems
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How sharing and cooperation at the Standing Rock water protectors camp provided all that everyone needed.
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If we're all equal, then why can't we agree?

Voting is an improvement over autocracy - it distributes more power. Voting presents the image of equality: one person, one vote. Consensus decision making, the usual alternative to voting, also presents an image of equality - the 100% supermajority vote. And yet both of these decision making methods leave many of us deeply dissatisfied. Is there a more effective way to make equality-based decisions?
 

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[Editor's note: below are two videos about the new board game from worker cooperative Toolbox for Education and Social Action (TESA), Rise Up!  You can listen to an interview with TESA worker-owners Darya Marchenkova and Brian Van Slyke here.  To purchase a copy of Rise Up!, click here.]

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A conversation with Darya Marchenkova and Brian Van Slyke of the Toolbox for Education and Social Action (TESA) worker co-op. Topics include TESA's new board game Rise Up!, what it's like to work in a geographically distributed collective, and how the collective has balanced consensus  and autonomous decision-making.

Toolbox for Education and Social Action website

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[Editor's note: This paper was inspired by a presentation made during the Center for Global Justice's 2016 tour of Cuban worker cooperatives.]

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A mix of grey- and pastel-toned buildings on San Rafael Street in central Habana stand in stark testimony to part of the effects of a cruel U.S. embargo on life in Cuba.  I was standing on the street looking for a textile co-op.

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Cliff Martin and Len Krimerman discuss ways the cooperative movement can better engage youth, and how the Young People's Action Coalition is fostering the next generation of cooperative and social justice leadership. Also discussed is solidarity economy organizing in rural contexts and responses to the outcome of the 2016 US Presidential elections on the US solidarity economy movement.
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[Editor's note: this is the first of a two-part conversation between Cliff Martin and Len Krimerman that was originally recorded as an episode of the GEO podcast.  Unfortunately, the recording quality was quite low, even by our standards, and we didn't feel comfortable subjecting listeners to it.  So we're presenting the conversation in text form, below.  Thanks to Rob Brown for doing the transcription.]

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cross-posted from Sociocracy For All (SoFA)

Sometimes we get asked whether feelings are “allowed” in sociocracy. We are guessing that what people have in mind is a scenario like this:

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At an informal weekend gathering in Cabot, VT in the summer of 2016, we were asked to guide a group of strangers on making a decision together. The decision to be made was which topics the group would devote our precious time together. We started a first go-around, following the standard Sociocratic process. It seemed easy. Our facilitator made a proposal and we all seemed to be on the same page.

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cross-posted from Communites Magazine

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