Sunday, May 27, 2012

A New World — A New Humanity

With this post I am going to flesh-out an idea that has been nagging at me since I first started reading about world crises and the people and organizations that dedicate themselves to finding and implementing solutions. My contention is that there is enough passion, enough energy, enough ideas and ingenuity, enough tools and resources and even enough time and money to build the world of justice and peace and we seek. Unfortunately the efforts to do so are fractured, priorities are not set on a coordinated basis, in short, there is not enough attention being paid to the “Big Picture” that we want to change.

One effort to amalgamate these various energies is being worked on by Nick Fillmore, he calls his idea the Campaign to Build One Big Campaign. This may well be the place to start but I am going to propose a little different approach.

In order to achieve a workable structure without positing yet another hierarchy (hierarchies are something that I abhor btw) I am going to pick one existing organization and suggest building what I see as the necessary adjuncts onto it. As “I AM CANADIAN”, I will look at a Canadian solution which could then spread without limits. This does not mean being limited to ideas from Canada, it means taking the best that can be found, adapting them first to the Canadian context and then loosing them on the world. Big concepts? Absolutely. But, if we refuse to accept limits imposed by existing society, there is no reason to impose our own.

Without more ado, I am going to propose The Council of Canadians as the base structure on which to build the-most-important-organization-the-world-has-ever-known (there is also no reason to impose humility on ourselves). Why CoC? - they are well established, have a good history, have a high profile but, most importantly - this is their “Vision Statement”.

So, what's missing?

  1. A “Mainline News” presence.

  2. At present, we have no way of talking to the potatoes on their after-dinner couches, watching CBC, MSNBC, CTV, CNN, Faux News etc. and thinking that the corporate sponsored content they see represents reality. We have some excellent alternative news services –, Media Co-op, and the Tyee all do excellent and unbiased reporting. There are a number of others.

    As a model for how to do it, we can look at Aljazeera english. As they are not able to get network status and time from North American Gov'ts, they use their website and YouTube videos to provide real-time coverage on the Internet. As the coming generation of TV monitors will access the Internet with increasing ease as time passes, this provides a ready-made and pretty easy solution for those who don't seem to be able to think beyond the remote control for their TV. One more time - there is still a disconnect between those who use the internet, alternate news sources and social media to spread and access news and other information (young, relatively non-wealthy and non-powerful) and those who still use newspapers and TV network news (older, wealthier and more powerful). If there is ever to be any degree of acceptance by those in the second group that there are crises in the offing or that something needs to be done, the message has to be hand delivered to their living rooms and compelling enough to prevent at least some of them from simply clicking back to their usual and more comfortable channels.
  3. A Government-in-Waiting political presence.

  4. In order to make the changes to institutions, systems and the various governance organizations which presently exist, there has to be the promise of something better and a way for the populace to envision the transitioning process. This requires a government-in-waiting which, in the case of violent revolution is often the Military or perhaps a radical Opposition Party. We are looking at a non-violent revolution (NVR) and we want to be in a position to identify to ourselves and to the public who that is and how it will function.

    My choice for this entity would be The Green Party in all its local, provincial, national and international incarnations. The Green Party is globally established but locally approachable, its principles are consistent yet flexible and it has far more international respect than its electability in North America would indicate. Here's the kicker – The Green Party's greatest asset would be its lack of baggage from having worked extensively within the corrupt political systems that are to be replaced.

  5. Horizontal (democratic) vs Vertical (hierarchical) organization

  6. We are accustomed to all our institutions being organized in a vertical manner. From the corporation with the CEO at the top and the minimum-wage, part-time worker at the bottom, the religious organization from the Pope down to the congregation, the government from the President down to the elector or the NGO from the Chairperson to the member we see only top-down management. We attempt to give the impression of distributing power more justly by talking of bottom-up or grass-roots input but the final result always has some element of being non-democratic and non-equitable.

    True democracy is seen in the organization of the Occupy Movement and in at least parts of the Arab Spring uprising where decision making is accomplished through a General Assembly process and leadership arises spontaneously to meet current need. An excellent picture of horizontal organization is painted by Judy Rebick in her book Transforming Power: From the Personal to thePolitical. Society is transformed, everyone is empowered and justice is served within this model of true democracy like nowhere else.

    If this sounds like Anarchy, it is - but only if Anarchy is properly defined and understood. Here is a definition:

    "The easiest way to explain anarchism is to say that it is a political movement that aims to bring about a genuinely free society - that is, one where humans only enter those kinds of relations with one another that would not have to be enforced by the constant threat of violence. History has shown that vast inequalities of wealth, institutions like slavery, debt peonage or wage labour, can only exist if backed up by armies, prisons, and police. Anarchists wish to see human relations that would not have to be backed up by armies, prisons and police. Anarchism envisions a society based on equality and solidarity, which could exist solely on the free consent of participants."

    This is from an article by David Graeber for Aljazeera. This is the best description I have read of the current movements to achieve worldwide justice (I guess I could quit here - but I won't). While I am not saying that I think the Council of Canadians should declare themselves as anarchistic, I am suggesting that all of us who are trying to forward social justice should be constantly and consciously aware of thinking like anarchists - as defined by David Graeber.

  7. The amalgamation of literally hundreds of targeted organizations, their members, their directors, their fund-raising efforts and their ideas.

  8. I have heard numbers in the 10,000 - 20,000 range for  'Charitable Organizations' or N.G.O's extant in Canada. I realize these are two, technically different kinds of organizations but the terms are often thought of as reasonably synonymous, especially by those who are being asked for donations. Also, they often do a lot of similar or overlapping work with the main difference being who is asked to do the funding and at what cost to integrity.

Keep tuned, more yet to come —

MY WEBSITE   —   ANewHumanity.CA


Send me an eMail message to:


No comments: