ParEcon Questions & Answers

 This is the last entry in the Parecon Q/A facility. You can access the whole thing, item by item, using the entry under parecon, under vision, in the top menu…

Getting There 

fWhat about attainability, can we get to parecon? Is parecon an attainable aspiration for the populations of countries like the United States, Brazil, Italy, Venezuela, Greece, England, Australia, Russia, Mexico, France, India, Indonesia, South Africa, Argentina, Haiti, and Japan, etc.? 

Normal citizens feel two very important obstacles to undertaking social change efforts: 

1    The fear that even if they were to win a new world, it would turn out to be just like the old world—or worse. 

2    The doubt that they could ever do anything that would win a new world. 

Parecon directly addresses point (1), at least regarding economics. It argues that if we manage to attain a parecon it will be vastly superior to capitalism and it will not devolve or degenerate back into the oppressive modes we now know, but will instead prosper and evolve positively, consistent with its guiding values. The model is thus viable and worthy. Attaining it would be worth it. 

But can we attain it?

This is a very different question. Ultimately the only proof is to succeed. Short of that the only argument for its possibility is: 

  1. Recognition that what humanity creates humanity can transcend—feudalism was not forever, slavery was not forever, neither capitalism nor coordinatorism will be forever. 
  2. Recognition that elements of parecon have already been implemented successfully. At there are links to organizations that have explicitly implemented pieces of the parecon vision in their practice as well as accounts of those efforts, further discussion of the model, and considerable strategic discussion, as well. For that matter, our own daily lives are full of aspects of the norms and even the logic of parecon which we cling to obstinately with our better selves against the pressures of the societies we endure. 
  3. A presentation of a broad set of strategic guidelines, aims, programs, structures, and steps, each of which can evidently be accomplished and which all together reveal a scenario that could end in a participatory economy. Regarding strategic demands and efforts that could accumulate into a process attaining a parecon, we cannot undertake such a discussion here, but in Moving Forward (AK Press, 2001), elements of that discussion are the primary focus. 

Still, if the proof is ultimately only in the practice, the confidence to even try to attain participatory economic goals that comes from faith in human progress, from experience of expanding successes, and from consciousness of plausible scenarios of change depends first on more people entering the camp of those advocating parecon and trying to make it a reality. This book is obviously an effort to help propel that process. 

Even if we win something like a parecon won’t there always be huge resistance from some people who preferred the old system?

You ask, suppose that most citizens decide in favor of parecon, or militate in favor of it, and we win this transformation. Some won’t want the change – in particular, rich people with lots of property. True enough.

Indeed, capitalists will fight by any means they can usefully and self-servingly muster to prevent any new system that would take away their private property.

There is no parecon created in the U.S., say, alongside Ross Perot (the example you gave) still owning means of production. Creating a parecon means, among many other things, that the private holdings of economic infrastructure of the rich are taken from them…against their wills, no doubt, in most cases.

Yes, over time, increasing the workers in GM become advocates of a new type economy even while GM is still privately owned and pursuing profit. And during this period the GM workers battle for better conditions, new job definitions, and all manner of other positive steps. But, when the GM workers and all others seeking a new economy win, there is a large change. No longer are they fighting against a class of owners seeking profit. Now, the prior owners no longer own….

How is this ever going to happen? The fact that the rich can buy a lot more guns, and even make other poor people fight for them pretty much explains the current situation and a lot of history.

All historical progress, from the ending of feudalism and slavery through women’s rights, and so on and so forth is impossible if one cannot make progress against a richer and better armed opponent – but, of course, one can. This is what organizing and developing opposition movements is all about.

It seems to me that the best way to try to approach something like Participatory Economics is to first try to get society closer to the situation that they have in Holland. Do you agree?

The best approach is the approach that works … most likely this involves, in part, winning a variety of reforms that make the existing system less painful for most folks, etc. But one can do that, and still not create the launch pad for real change, so to speak, falling back, later, when capital becomes resurgent. Sweden is an example. Or one can win the gains, and win at the same time an ever stronger movement, able to aim for still more…


It seems that ParEcon would be less efficient in the way that efficiency is defined now. I don’t see how a socially responsible system could compete with one that doesn’t concern itself with questions of pollution and oppression. However, if that is true, how can we ever expect the whole world to suddenly change?

Parecon doesn’t have to appear everywhere in the world all at once. While it is a system with a logic and with principles, and capitalism is a different system with a different logic and with different implicit principles, and the logic and dynamics of each system are inconsistent with that of the other – and undermine the successful reproduction of the other system to the extent that they co-exist in the same time and space – parts of parecon can exist and grow in a hostile capitalist framework. In fact, that is exactly what will have to happen. It is part of what we should call “the transition from the economics of fear and greed, i.e. capitalism, to the economics of equitable cooperation, i.e. parecon” and recognize as the really important and difficult question.

However, if a country adopted a parecon system, it could still trade and even borrow from or lend to countries using capitalist systems. With capitalist economies that were richer than the parecon economy relations would be quite simple. Enter into trade and borrowing relations that benefit the parecon economy – and bargain, maneuver, push, pull, manipulate to get the best terms of trade and credit terms possible for parecon – since getting more than the lion’s share of the benefits of international economic relations for the poorer country is completely consistent with parecon principles.

If the other country is a poorer parecon economy, the only trade and credit relations that are consistent with parecon principles would require the richer parecon economy to grant the poorer one more than half the benefits that result from the efficiency gain due to the trade or lending activity. If the other country is a poorer capitalist country things are a little more complicated. Parecon principles would require that the parecon country NOT drive the hardest bargain it could get – and appropriate the lion’s share of the benefits from trade and lending – but instead to make sure that the poorer economy, even though it is capitalist, benefited equally if not more from the trade or international lending arrangements.

The exception to this is if such actions helped stabilize the capitalist ruling class in the poorer capitalist country. Then the parecon country should let the anti-capitalist movement in the poorer capitalist country decide if the parecon economy should drive a hard bargain, drive a hard bargain and give the liberation movement the financial gain, or boycott in order to help the liberation movement overthrow capitalism. Exporting revolution and international solidarity are admittedly tricky, tricky issues. But these are political, not economic subtleties.


Have you considered that the risks of a drastic change in the system may be too great? Isn’t incremental change towards a more principle based economic system a better alternative?

Well, what are the DRASTIC things that change? Private ownership of means of production disappears Production for profit or surplus and misspecification of exchange values disappears Hierarchicalization of daily life economic functions disappears And so on…

All things that should change…

This is a goal. How we get to it is another question. It isn’t going to be monopoly capital one day, all nice and comfy for the owners, and then parecon the next day, obviously.

There is one sense in which your question has a lot of weight, I think. One can seek changes in capitalism that do not bother capitalists much, or even benefit them. These are easy to fight for and win, relatively. One can fight for changes that reduce or even terminate capitalist’s advantages, but benefit coordinators, and these are much harder to win because capitalists oppose these and have many resources with which to fight. One can also fight for changes that not only reduce and eventually eliminate capitalist advantage, but also coordinator advantage – the parecon path.

Is this harder? Well, it comes up against two-pronged instead of one-pronged opposition. At the same time, however, it will arguably (I believe this) far better galvanize and motivate allies – working people. So both sides are strengthened, potentially. Will it be easier or harder, once it gets going? I don’t know. But I do believe that devoting one’s life to attaining changes which leave capitalists as a ruling class, or coordinators as a ruling class doesn’t gain enough in probability of successful innovation of worth to make it the preferred option.

In fact, my inclination is to think that pursuing the road to parecon is probably the fastest way to win the kinds of innovations that a seriously concerned and pro-worker activist (who, however, thinks capitalism is forever) would want to win.


In our city, we have what is called a LET System – a barter system involving virtual exchange of imaginary dollars – credits are created on a computer system… Is there any reason why such a system couldn’t be based on a ParEcon-like structure?

No technical reason, I think. But there are some big differences, to my understanding, between these systems and anything like parecon. Most of the alternative money arrangements include people working for “dispensers” of these currencies at remuneration rates that are, at best, very low, sometimes well below minimum wage. I don’t know all that much about these systems, but this seems to me to be the “down side” whereas people taking some active say over their economic surroundings is the “up side.”


I think the initial problem would be to get enough people to commit to a parecon from the start. Perhaps we could start by forming a consumer’s council (in the spirit of a Nader-like consumer group, but with the goal of building a new economy).

I think there is nowhere in the country where anyone is anywhere near having a community that could function largely outside the market economy…because we don’t have means of production, clearly. But establishing consumer councils that operate as much as they can along parecon like norms, and, for the matter, councils in workplaces with similar agendas, or whole workplaces, within the economy, but utilizing parecon like values and structures, are all, I think, worthwhile undertakings. But so is trying to win non-reformist reforms in existing structures…

That is, there are two broad ways to pursue a new type of economy – building infrastructure that teaches its characteristics and prepares for it literally creating elements of it in the present, on the one hand, and pushing existing institutions toward it, on the other. Each approach, to make progress, needs also to address current needs and desires. Each approach, to avoid pitfalls, needs to be tightly connected to the other, I think.


It seems to me that the left is sorely lacking when it comes to talking about/supporting alternative business models. What do you think?

Robin and I would both certainly agree that creating pareconish institutions is a very positive thing to do. There are many reasons…they are schools for the future; they display the values we favor in real settings and are examplary and hopefully inspiring in that sense; they will presumably do many tasks better than if they had mainstream structures, instead – and certainly the type tasks we are generally trying to accomplish.

I think the same can be said, by the way, for trying to embody the aims/values we have for gender, race, and power in our efforts…though that is another matter.

But believing something is very valuable (after all, I have spent a lot of my time trying to build such institutions) is not the same as thinking it is alone valuable. Yes, creating a bookstore or food distribution center or publishing house or production plant that embodies parecon values and structures is valuable. But so is organizing inside existing institutions to make them (a) less painful to people and (b) more in tune with future aims.

If creating a pareconish project or coop or whatever is good on grounds that it is exemplary, that it educates, that is trains, that it also is liberating for those involved, etc. then surely all this can also be said for organizing a labor movement, for example, that begins to build council structures in existing workplaces, to win reforms that benefit folks and embody desired values, etc.


In order to get parecon going I think you would have to have enough of the basic industries (food, fuel, etc…) such that the parecon economy would be somewhere close to self-sufficient. How can we ever get that far?

This just isn’t the way the world works. You can’t even conceive that folks will in huge numbers separate from existing institutions and create counter ones, such that, for example, there is a sphere of food production and distribution that is pareconish, next to one that is capitalist, and the former is comparable in size and scope to the latter.


Well because long before you got anywhere near that stage there would be no capitalism. Parallel structures do not exist in isolation. At the same time, if those are growing, it means the values of the new orienation are spreading, and that will be happening because there are movement finding for changes and gains all over society. And long before half of the people working in various industries would pick up and leave them, they will, in effect, seize them.

More, what does one use for property, for capital, in these parallel ventures? If one is taking that, too, then that is an immense struggle and if one can win that, well then one has long since achieved the capacity to, again, transform the existing institutions.


Half the economy parecon, half capitalist – that isn’t going to happen. Isn’t the capitalist side too powerful?

The process by which parallel pareconish institutions grows is not some kind of isolated dynamic which occurs off by itself. It impacts and is fed by what is happening throughout society.

A more accurate formulation, i think, would be that a movement which attempted to transform (in this case) the economy, more or less by stealth – that is, by simply building the whole new one step by step while not contesting inside the old one, would be totally doomed and misconceived. It just doesn’t have anything to do with reality. It would have no means of gaining the resources, no means to defend against incursions – and, much more to the point, it would not have a process recruiting support and participation.

On the other hand, if efforts to create parallel institutions are tied to and very aggressively support efforts, as well, within existing institutions, to win changes, that is another story. But in that case, long before the independent parallel institutions were so huge, we would have won.

Now, suppose we think of parallel institutions a bit more flexibly, a bit more in tune with what is in fact possible on a massive scale. Thus, we think of the formation of a worker’s council in a plant and in an industry as a parallel institution – just as much as we think of a pareconish publishing house or food center as one. Now we are getting more real. We have these parallel efforts and projects and structures which take many forms in many venues and which are able to reach out to the whole population and to be entered by that population without enormous dislocation. And if those parallel structures (whether the publishing houses or the food coops or the councils inside workplaces, or, for that matter, the neighborhood or regional consumer councils, or whatever) in turn also support efforts to win valuable changes in the mainstream – changes which improve people’s conditions and lives and which also empower people (and those dissident structures, too), we are on to something valuable, I agree.


What are the impediments to building pareconish institutions?

The impediment to the massive vision as it was expounded was that, as noted above, real world social struggle involves more than just that facet and wins, in fact, long before that facet becomes so huge (at least, if we mean totally separate institutions as compared to ones, like councils, evolving literally inside the shell of the old).

As to the impediments to creating pareconish institutions, there are of course many. People with training and talent can often get much more materially by following other paths, sure. But others exist, as well, such as the near impossibility of getting financing, capitalization, and thus of being in position to purchase needed infrastructure, inputs, etc.

You might like to try, sometime, going to a bank for a loan if you are from a pareconish institution…it isn’t a very lucrative way to spend one’s time. On the other hand, if huge movements were emerging in unions, let’s say, that had pareconish norms and values, then yes, they might instruct that their pensions should be spent in productive ways, including in creating pareconish institutions, among other good uses. But again, you see how that is a process that involves more than one leg, more than one front, so to speak.


What do you think of trying to pass a law that says that corporate polluters, violators of workplace safety, consumer safety, and those convicted of fraud would be taken over, without compensation as penalty, and ownership given to the workers? Since most large corporations eventually do commit such violations, this is essentially a syndicalist proposal. How could you structure this to lead to a Parecon?

I think there is a prior question – what would give any such proposal teeth? If the law was passed tomorrow, virtually the entire economy would be transferrable, immediately, yet none of it would be transferred. A different way of saying this is that if you had movements strong enough to pass teh above law, you would have movements strong enough to take over capital on the more positive grounds of desiring a new type economy – you would also have built those movements over a long period of time, an they would have attained a high level of consciousness and organization already, etc.

But, okay, I will take the hypothesis at face value. Suppose there is a steady transfer, a bit at a time, of private holdings to the workers operating them, for whatever reasons. What additional things would have to occur for this to be a transition to a participatory economy? I think the answer is that (a) the workers would have to be organized locally and within industries into democratic councils. (b) There would have to be a very high consciousness of the need for balaqnced job complexes and, in general, an elimination of the structural basis for rule by what I call a coordinator class. (c) There would need to be a parallel steady development of a participatory planning apparatus and commitment.

For the transfer of property one needs a movement that is anti-capitalist and strong enough to impose its will against the desires of recalcitrant capital to retain their ownership of material assets. For the institution of real council democracy, balanced job complexes, new norms of remuneration, and participatory planning, one needs a movement that has a positive vision and is strong enough to impose its will against the desires of recalcitrant coordinators to retain their relative monopoly on decision making related knowledge, skills, and positions.



Most questions about the impossibility of parecon or other gains in social life tend to reflect an underlying malaise – here is an essay realted to that malaise…

Fatalism May Be Fatal

September, 29 2007
By Michael Albert
Michael Albert’s ZSpace Page

A couple of days ago I opened the Sunday New York Times. The main headline, front page, top right, was “At many homes, more profit and less nursing.” The article was about a trend in nursing homes in Florida where private investors have cut costs to raise profits. Details followed. Florida investors gained mightily. Florida nurses and especially nursing home residents lost mightily. The former were profitably fired. The latter were profitably brokered to oblivion. But don’t fret, the nursing homes gained bottom line glory. Stocks climb, lives decline, praise Wall Street. Business and business only.

What I saw blazoned on that front page of the Times was the bloody cement foundation that supported the ugly article’s reality. Everyone knows that everything is broken, and everyone knows why. Even when we read about social injustice, we barely cringe, don’t clench, and give not the slightest thought to assembling a group to fight for our elders or ourselves. But suppose millions had read in the same Sunday Times, “Aliens take over the Florida nursing industry, patients dropping like flies while aliens soak up profits.” Quite a large number of we the people, from coast to coast, would have grabbed clubs and bats, pitchforks and all too many household arms, and trucked down to Florida in droves, or to our local nursing homes, or just into the street outside our residences, eyes peering every which way, to protect our elders and ourselves. Aliens beware. But let relatives, friends, or whoever, be succumbing to the intrinsic dynamics of capitalism, dynamics that are relentlessly mercilessly present, and we the people barely wave goodbye. What is the difference? When in the old folks home at the college, where minds suffer imposed neglect on behalf of bottom lines and social control, again what is the difference that it is business as usual rather than evil enemies constraining our kids? Or in the mine, or behind the counter at McDonalds, or on the assembly line, or wherever? Why does hypothetical calamity imposed by aliens provoke outrage, while actual calamity imposed by social institutions provokes moving on?

The fatalism I am angsting over is that we the people think that there is no alternative not only to capitalist business as usual – but even to a slip slide toward hell. The fatality I have in mind is that thinking there is no alternative makes it so.

Put more bitterly, it seems to me we are becoming a population of cowardly ignoramuses – or perhaps I should say we are becoming an even more cowardly and more ignorant population – since the malady is not new, but only accelerating. And for those with parchment credentials and an air of accomplishment, who walk with noses held high and who expect others who lack said credentials to move out of their path, for those who have lots of money (though not obscenely much), and who think themselves above everything ignorant, please note that in talking of people who are fatalistic, I am not referring mainly to poor people who suffer serious repression and who lack access to substantive information and educational credentials. Society’s most downtrodden do indeed feel a degree of paranoia but they do so precisely because they face conditions warranting it, including enduring violence at the end of a club or, even worse, by a flourish of poverty inducing contracts. Cringing a bit at that, as the poor wisely do, isn’t being cowardly, it’s being cautious. More, poor people, though lacking detailed information, nonetheless largely understand the nature of the world around them, including particularly its hypocrisy, vulgarity, greed, and violence. They just lack means, unless movements become accessible, to do much about it. And please note also that in referencing fatalists becoming fatalities, I am likewise not referring to the rich and powerful, to the owners, senators, administrators, bosses, and media moguls. Those gray flannel folks are just doing what their training, conditions, interests, and long-since ingrained mindsets require of their ilk, despicable as their behavior often is.

No, in referencing fatalists becoming fatalities I am mainly talking about people who are both educated and who are, as well, derivatively substantially insulated from repression and retribution. I am talking of the quite privileged people who are not, however, at the top of society’s mountains of materialism. I am talking of the well dressed, well spoken, well poised people who are not obscenely rich and powerful but who are instead only considerably wealthy and taken together incredibly influential. They are the stupid cowards or, if you prefer, theirs is the cowardly stupidity. And their fatalism is a virus. And it is spreading at the speed of silence.

I mean your family doctor where I am assuming that she is a nice down-home neighbor with a local practice. I mean your kids’ third grade or fifth grade or high school teacher, where I am supposing that he is the caring type, a liberal, by gosh. I mean the butcher and baker, your post deliverer, and each worker in each somewhat effective union, both firefighters and auto workers, who all manifest plenty of caring for friends and neighbors, and even for people they don’t know who might be burning up in buildings they risk themselves to extinguish or seeking transport in cars they produce, but who manifest no caring for people burning up in poverty or fricasseeing in furnaces made by bombs labeled made in the USA, nor for people who can barely traverse their own neighborhoods much less travel across towns, cities, counties, regions, or countries. I mean the miles of minions in white collar firms who labor many stories beneath the top but well above the streets. I mean the people comfortably beyond survival incomes, who have TVs, internet access, books, and papers galore, and who may even have a piano or at any rate a couple of cars and a folk guitar. I mean people who have some degree of comfort and some degree of insulation from the violence of inner city daily life and who have plenty of access to true information even if getting it takes some effort. I mean, that is, the people who are not anti social, not jack boot maniacs, and not, by virtue of their position, so domineering over others as to inevitably be horrendously self interested and jaded, or so smashed and isolated and hurt by circumstances that anything beyond seeking bare survival is a Herculean undertaking. I mean, in other words, nice people like you, nice people like me, nice people who are watching from within while America rains destruction on others, nice people who are watching from within, as well, America’s internal dissolution into escalating repressiveness. I mean nice people, liberal people, sensitive people, caring people, who are watching, watching, watching, but who are doing nothing much to stop the daily calamities that owe to capitalism.


We the fatalists say to ourselves, not even explicitly, but in some subterranean channel of mind, hey, self, there is no better world. Pay attention now, self – there is nothing good that you can do outside our small circle of friends. More, if, self, you make our deep down buried horror at what we see all around us apparent to others, apparent even just to me, you will in that act impose on me the almighty sacrifice of looking different, of not fitting, of being dissident, and, well, gee, what’s the point of suffering such an incredible loss of comfort and continuity merely to protest jackboot repressive trends at home and international mayhem abroad, merely to protest the daily assault against all wage slaves, not to mention the cooking of the planet unto drowning, when if I instead celebrate all that, or I just ignore all that when celebration is beyond my capacity for hypocrisy, or I even just calmly bemoan it all for a minute or two before getting on with other business, I can prosper nicely.

Hey, self, face reality. Keep my bitterness hidden. You see, self, I am convinced – albeit without the slightest logic and contrary to all evidence – that protest will get us nowhere. So, of course, self, if there is nothing to be done about all the horror, it is better for me to care for me, and it is better for me to care for mine, and it is better for me to make believe all is well, and it is better for me to smile with a happy face, and to parade my civility at all times, and to say have a good day to everyone…hoping against hope that some miracle will make things better before I have to go buy a shotgun to keep the jackboots away from my life too. So, self, please put a lid my better side, curb my solidarity, stifle my humanity, and let me be a happy, if cowardly, idiot.

Well, of course, at some point someone is going to have to do something more than look away. And it is going to have to be enough to seriously shake the minds and feelings of the broad populace and of ourselves too. How else can we possibly dislodge large numbers from fatalism given that for the fatalistic anything that appears perfunctory just adds to the malady. March in place, hold the line, make an appearance, fight the good fight unto defeat, be on the side of the angels unto the graveyard – or do anything that screams out or implies or even just suggests, to any fatalist wanting to so interpret it, that we can’t win, and our entreaties will just bounce off fatalists’ slicked down cynicism.

Instead, to get suburbanites and city dwellers, both students and workers, to realize that if they don’t act they are abetting their own subordination, curtailing their children’s prospects, terminating their children’s children’s hopes for a humane existence – all while aiding our country in massacring victims galore who they need to feel solidarity with if they wish to climb out of the hellish pit of alienated loneliness nearly all of us endure – we are going to have to do more than “protest” to evidence that a small sector dislikes the inevitable.

Being a lemming following the crowd over a cliff saying hooray for crowds and cliffs is pretty pitiful. How much more pitiful is it to go over a cliff, barreling along like all the rest, but moaning about how unjust it is, how painful it is, how un-lemming like it is, nonetheless churning away, cliffward and then over, right to the end.

So what is needed?

It seems to me that many many people are going to have to be severely disrupted into realizing that they can contribute to attaining a better world and that doing so has so many benefits, and that not doing so has so many detriments, that to not do so will be fatal, whereas to do so will win liberation.

And what can cause such a large crowd, currently hell bent on collective cliff diving, to transcend their current posture toward a new perspective? What can meet that challenge?

Well, first, here is what won’t meet it.

Polite toe tapping won’t meet it. Civil litanies of doom won’t meet it. Even big marches and rallies, occurring over and over, staying one size, or even shrinking, won’t meet it. Nor can movements hope to meet the challenge if they exude disdain for all non members. Nor can movements do it if they harbor habits that reveal that they are only about posturing, or about grabbing brass rings for themselves regardless of the impact on others. Movements without a vision of what they intend to do, and of how they intend to do it, and a compelling explanation of why and how each member’s efforts can be a constructive part of the process, won’t meet the challenge.

So what do we need?

We need shared vision to overcome the view that no other world is possible. Our vision must be inspiring, convincing, and liberating. We must hold it with passion, participating in its definition and development.

We need to enunciate and advocate shared strategy and program too – a picture of a broad pattern of activity that can plausibly lead from where we are to where we wish to wind up, not merely winning one thing and losing another, going nowhere fast, but always growing our movement even when we suffer periodic defeats in specific battles. We need an image of ourselves following a successful trajectory of change to see how we and others can contribute to social change, and we also need to make room for people to do so, and need to incorporate the new ways they find for doing so, and need to create an environment in which they are not only welcomed to contribute, not only empowered to do so, but steadily strengthened in their commitment to do so.

Yet even all that, which might have been more than sufficient if we had had it years back, nowadays, I fear, won’t be quite enough. Even all that will need an additional edge to it. Because fatalism is not just a common everyday variety malady. Fatalism has defense mechanisms of considerable robustness and effectivity. To whip fatalism we not only have to have shared vision, shared strategy, and a movement that is empowering, congenial, and inspiring, we also have to communicate what we have, advocate it, trumpet it, and literally propel it into people’s awareness, until all souls have no choice but to see it, and their selves have to face the facts and the prospects.

In short, people suffering fatalism won’t come to movements seeking to be saved from their psychic malady or from the decaying world they daily navigate. We are going to have to push our alternative – both vision and strategy – into constant view of people who are hell bent on looking in every other imaginable direction. We are going to even have to make it constantly annoying to people, intrusive upon people – until they register it, comprehend it, face it, and decide about it. With fatalism in the way, communicating will take more than writing our vision and strategy down, or even speaking it at rallies or teach-ins, as good as it would be if we were doing a whole lot more of each. It will take implementing deeds that make attention to our messages unavoidable. We must somehow forcefully convey vision and strategy everywhere. But we don’t own TV channels. We don’t own billboard companies. We don’t own radio stations. We don’t have the financial means to easily shout into everyone’s consciousness over and over. So we must instead use clever deeds, clever actions, as well as bring our words straight to people one by one in endless conversations. We must have deeds and actions and yes conversations too, that are so audacious and so visible, so provocative and yet also so respectful of the people we seek to communicate with, that those people have to hear our vision, have to assess our strategy, and thus have to communicate and think and transcend fatalism.

And how do we do this? No one knows, yet. But here is the point of this screed. Someone, in fact a whole lot of people, better start thinking about it instead of just going through the motions of what decades have proclaimed constitutes being a radical, but which the self-same decades have also taught us damn well won’t be sufficient to produce really radical, much less revolutionary change.

The participatory potential around us is enormous. Almost no one is deep down enamored of profit making, of pummeling unto death, of polluting and prevaricating. Most of the population is more than ready for a hopeful alternative. If movements provide vision and strategy and audacious activism, and then nurture and refine all three with contributions from each new person coming aboard, movements will succeed. 



All the latest from Z, directly to your inbox.

Institute for Social and Cultural Communications, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit.

Our EIN# is #22-2959506. Your donation is tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law.

We do not accept funding from advertising or corporate sponsors.  We rely on donors like you to do our work.

ZNetwork: Left News, Analysis, Vision & Strategy


All the latest from Z, directly to your inbox.