via Michel share on fb
“Richard Dennis Bartlett is one of the co-developers and co-founders of Loomio, an online collaborative decision making tool. One of the things I didn’t know was that Loomio came out of the core group’s experience in Occupy in Wellington New Zealand. I had previously thought that Loomio was designed to solve decision making for the Enspiral group network.
In fact, according to Richard, Occupy was foundational as an experience in understanding non-hierarchical and inclusive decision making. As he explains, Loomio was an expression of the reflections and evaluations on Occupy … and as Occupy converged with Enspiral through the development of Loomio, Loomio’s design ecology included solving decisioning making challenges for the Enspiral enterprise, as well as for the next generation of creative activism worldwide.
This is an absolutely fascinating interview, as Richard brings deep insights into both the domain of horizontal and distributed decision making, next wave activism, and the design of a breakthrough innovation.”
occupy – as pivotal moment for me.. i was one way.. and now i am another way
the experience was confusing, complex, chaotic… first day we had like 300 people milling around… one person stood up and said.. this is why i came.. all the stories were diff but w common thread.. 1\ climate 2\ gang violence.. all the things people were angry upset about… to… let’s do something about it… how.. collaboratively… we found.. community emerge out of no where.. turned into village… 50-100 tents… general assembly every night… every day fed.. with no exchange of money…
functioning community emerged w/in a few days… w no shared articulated vision… also happening in 800 cities… bamboozaling…
the camps that weren’t crushed under boot of state… were under own weight…because in practice you can’t include everyone…
huge promise of working together. and on other hand.. crushing frustration of how to organize when don’t have boundaries.. don’t have definition for what behavior is appropriate and what’s not… disintegrated into zombie apocalypse….
during this time.. got intro’d to enspiral.. and we asked.. could we do general assembly thing on internet.. and could you do it for us..
the impossibility of hyper inclusions…. when some people’s behavior threatens others..
asking – what was the obstacle… and which ones could we change…
some conclusions: action is a really great filter for complexity… ie: what do you want to do rather than what do we want to be… so org around action… values we learned: inclusion; but it was returning to the action
the value of meaningful work.. the thing you feel called to do.. it was occupation at occupy… the thing that gets you up in the morning..
so yeah… if all of us doing that… less inappropriate behavior… : gershenfeld something else law…
the idea of this decision making on line.. was just obvious.. people were seeing it all over the world..
others with same idea.. perhaps didn’t have a base like enspiral to ground/sustain…
almost immediately it became apparent this.. making decision w/o meeting.. was universal..
a universal problem
ensprial was first company we worked with…. loomio is one of 12 benches w/in enspiral… and each bench has its own loomio space….
you’ve got to get that pace right… out to big group (all 300)… back into small group
zooom dance ness… let’s do it globally…
more – what are you doing and how can we help… than what should we all do..
action first.. strategy later..
and from jose: seems your strategy flows out of your focus on relationship..
right kind of fuzziness… tag line… getting more people working on stuff that matters…
what matters to you… we really don’t have much more consensus than that…
relationships built from value exchanges…
you get these relationships going.. then trust just takes over
jose: you’re creating social commons
yeah… diff people frame it differently… my diagnosis is…broadest sense of commons… (intellect/environ),… then social (families… non market).. my analysis is that those areas are being shrunk by private capital… i’m just looking at how we look at old people or little kids… to financialize those transactions that used to be social… so to me enspiral is the opposite of that.. to take private capital and use it to expand the commons…
my analysis of the world… lots of overlapping strains… ie: patriarchy, colonialism,… and mine is capitalism… i’m talking about a small number of wealthy people are earning the means of production… i think that leads to all these outcomes that are super problematic.. i think that’s where inequality comes from…got govt in their hands… and not doing it because they are evil greedy people….. but because that s what happens when you own something and have full control…. solution to that for me… 1\ collective ownership… (diverse and local) 1 owner living distant only cares about profit… 2\ collaborative governance… if capitalism is one strain.. governance is the other…keep recollecting to marginalize smallest amount of people…
may 2014 – taipa..mainland china… taken over by half million people.. occupy legislature…mostly students.. sunflower movement… they used loomio… so we’ve maintained relationships with these activists… and are learning so much from them.. they’ve kept on… now working w/in govt… govt has admitted they had a crisis of legitimacy – so working with these activists.. to regain legit.. so we’ve got these huge restructuring going on… and almost no one outside of taiwan knows about it.. they’re just quietly going on about their work… it’s quiet because it’s constructive instead of being really angry…
outrage and anger part of a natural process… gets people energized…mobilized… but then it’s like.. what comes next… mixed fires has to be constructive…
so loomio is the constructive phase… you use twitter to say no.. and you use loomio to say the yes that comes afterwards
here he is at #dcentmadrid:
CIUDADES DEMOCRÁTICAS – Entrevista a Richard Bartlett
loomio born during occupy… 1st experience of collective decision making.. was mind blowing.. but frustrating.. my friends and i thought.. surely we can have the promise of this democracy thing.. but not always have to be in meetings..
or even in consensus..
we thought it (loomio) would be good for occupy/activists.. but soon found so many other orgs interest..
culture change happens quite slowly.. tech can set conditions and maybe provoke a question.. but answer actually comes from people changing something in their identity.. something about the way they behave.. that process of globally shifting a culture is the *slow process that needs to happen in an iterative evolving way.. **at a depth locally.. then moves on and learns something else…
*yes.. slow process – called life – but perhaps we (today – because of tech ie: hosting life bits et al) can leap to all 7 billion plus of us.. getting to play in that space. good for humanity… good for the dance/dance. for (blank)’s sake…
rev of everyday life ness
we’re building direct social relationships where people learn to care about each other……like an ecosystem… the way evolution works.. a mill diff experiments happening at same time.. dna remixed/remixed.. keeps changing.. we need to have 1000 democracy platforms.. all trying diff version… recombining/sharing ideas.. and maybe in end.. only 10 will be successful.. but will be successful because of 1000 that went before them.. so these kinds of convergences i think are totally critical…
lots of great tweets from Richard at .. most i put in the person he was quoting’s page..ie: Yochai…
this one was between us..
@commons = any resource accessible to everyone. There are many commons. Most don’t provide food/shelter. That’s the problem.
so perhaps commons = all the resources accessible to everyone. perhaps problem is we keep partially. and the dance won’t dance till it’s all of us.. all the things..
ie: sam altman and y combinator.. trying bi (only perhaps a partial solution/jump-start to deep systemic situation) w 100 random people (defn partial.. how do those 100 dance..?)… happens all over.. just now watching tweets from (same conf) where trebor is sharing stocksy… richard gave wikipedia:
contributing to Wikipedia doesn’t fill your tummy :)
part 3 of 3 – making sense of emerging econ w yochai
Unless technologies are explicitly designed to reduce inequality, they wind up exacerbating it.
Just published this recording + transcript from a conversation I had with #nuit_debout 2 weeks ago https://t.co/Q404kxg25C #OWS #occupy
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/RichDecibels/status/740989907087196160
manu(?): Loomio is good for deciding but it seems that deciding is the last step. And we’re not even sure that deciding is good! Deciding for the whole movement will divide it.
You can see that bias in Loomio, it is designed for small groups. Our assumption is, if we can make it easy for small groups to hum, then we can connect them together at the next order of scale. What’s the consensus of these 50 people? Now let’s get 50 groups of 50 people and find the consensus between them. The first step hasn’t been solved yet. Loomio is probably the best tool for that job but it’s still not very good. It takes a cultural change. Not just a tool, but a change in how we discuss and interact and collaborate and make decisions together.
Whereas in most commissions, if you talk about a digital tool, they will point out that one person doesn’t have a phone or doesn’t have internet, so they won’t use it. It’s difficult to have any discussion about a digital tool because it leaves people out. That is the most complicated thing.
Even in groups of 5 people, you can never find consensus just by talking endlessly. You need a cultural change: I need to learn how to leave out my personal opinion which is frustrating everyone, so we can talk about what we have in common. That process is very hard. Here I see it every day. The more activist-oriented people are, the harder it is. The more conviction and deep feelings they have about something, the harder it is to discuss with them.
Haily: In the theory of mass collaboration, ‘mass’ starts at 25 people. The amount of people who can’t talk together face to face anymore. I’m thinking about the role of the smaller group to set the conditions for the larger group.
tech allows for ginorm small ness
Manu: The proposal for the new media center is for it to have 6 separate groups working on the same project. I see effective small groups, and the larger it gets, the noisier it gets. One person, one troll, can fuck up everything. This happened for me on Loomio, one guy who is not even in Paris, all his time is dedicated to write 50,000 word answers to every topic. I thought should we ban people for a few days?
need for gershenfeld something else law.. other wise… doing partial ness
We have to think small. Interacting with a blank sheet of paper with a lot of people is impossible. If you interact with something that is already constructed, it is much easier to say ‘I’m okay with this, and I’m not okay with that.’
unless we design ginorm small.. 7 bill blank sheets every morning.. ie: what matters to you today (curiosity)
Hailey: Design your collaborative process for each situation, as opposed to thinking there’s one way of working that will be set forever.
unless you design deep enough..
Holacracy, when it is done right, reorganises the group every month. In bureaucracies, reorganising is traumatic, people lose jobs, they’re scared.Holacracy makes reorganising normal and safe, and I look forward to the transition because I’m going to get more safe, or I get to explore a new side of me.
so do that everyday.. for 7 bill..
Rich: I try to avoid, as much as possible, having a big decision. Instead to say, the 5 of us have found a system that is working really well, this is how we do it. If it works for you, it works for you. Instead of saying, “stop everyone, we have to decide on what the best decision-making method is.”
Rich: I can predict, from my 5 minutes here, that you have some elements of this community that are very stable. A library, medical centre, food. Specific things. Stable here and in all the other occupations. Why are they stable? Because they are simple, straightforward, requiring a small group of people to be committed to a specific action.
Manu: It’s easy to know what you have to do. You have to make food. You reproduce what you do at work. You don’t have to co-decide on a book-filing system.
Whereas if your commission is to rewrite the constitution or redesign democracy, it’s a mess. They don’t know where they’re going. Most people leave the commission because they spend so much time debating which is the process of deciding which process to use. That debate lasted a month, it wrecked the group. The
Rich: The question of commitment and identity. You have a conflict between 2 strong groups. Each group is committed to itself. They’re not committed between them. You can’t resolve the conflict because they don’t care enough, they don’t need each other enough. How do you get one group of people to need each other?
So Loomio lives within the Enspiral Network. 300 something people. Lots of different teams, ventures. All in the marketplace, earning a livelihood, sharing opportunities, sharing resources, collaboratively deciding how to allocate surplus. They all have ‘skin in the game’ — everyone is invested. I’m invested in Hailey’s success and she’s invested in mine. There is a commercial aspect to it, she and I share the Enspiral brand, so I need to trust her to not fuck it up! If Hailey is misrepresenting Enspiral, I have a strong motivation to talk with her and figure out what’s going on. It has grown from 1 person to 300 in 5 years. Not scaling super fast, but it is growing at a sustainable pace. We’re starting to see sorta sibling networks emerging too, like OuiShare.
It seems we need things that make us do things. My dream is that the assembly at the end would have a phase like, only people talk who want to propose collective actions. The most impressive thing here: when there were migrants about to be evicted a couple of subway stations from here. A guy said ‘the police is gathering around the migrants, should we go help them?’ 400 people rose, left the assembly, circled the police, and the police left.
The next day, some students were captured by police and the same guy came and said ‘students got captured, should we go?’ 200 people rose, surrounded the police station, and the students were released.
It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life.
It seems like this is what we should be aiming for. The goal of the assembly is for it to be empty at the end, because everyone has left to do something.
Rich: …… We live in an economic environment with a material reality. The vast majority of people are exploited so they can pay their rent. That’s the problem. You have to trade your freedom for your ability to live as a human. It’s shit and unnecessary. We can do it differently. The free food and meetings and entertainment and hospitality and education… that shows you it can be done another way. That’s an economic question: how do we meet each other’s needs without exploiting each other? It can be done.
a nother way
So instead of a political party, instead of trying to get consensus from 1 million people, I’m more interested in: how do you get small groups of people to economically independent and oriented towards the common good? Then how do you connect them?
hosting life bits.. that io dance – mech simple enough
Manu:….The idea of these groups working on different subjects, they should talk to each other. How do we put them in contact with each other — do we do it algorithmically?
app chip ness .. via self talk.. as the day.
Rich:…. But just to have that visibility, you can see ‘oh in Barcelona they are discussing X, I want to discuss that’, either by joining their group or starting a parallel discussion with my local group. We didn’t put any effort into the AI sorting and merging stuff — maybe a good project for a Loomio hackathon project. Use the API to pull together separate groups into some coherent space.
true.. but per daily curiosity .. not per .. what people are already talking about. begs personal daily anechoic chamber ness
Manu: There was a guy who did this 72hr feverish programming project, using natural language processing on our Telegram chats. He found some interesting and some stupid things. One interesting things: one of the most common types of sentences was “I am against…” So introspectively that’s good to reflect on. The outcome was useful within 72 hours of programming.
When you allow people to talk about things. Is it interesting just to discuss, and then after talking to analyse what were the themes: this is mainly what people are in favour of? Or should we do like Loomio, I’m OK or not OK, I agree or not…
Nati: As I see it you start with the discussion. Once there’s a subject that feels like convergence, then you can start a proposal.
Manu: Exactly the same happens here. The media has been asking for 2 months, what are you trying to achieve? We don’t know, and we don’t care! We’re doing something together. What are you doing? Come here and do things! Stop writing about us from your glass tower, come here and sit.
like that.. but step beyond.. rev of everyday life..
Rich: I was chatting with the journalist Nathan Schneider, one of the best writers on the Occupy movement. We were talking about the experience of doing something together that is not outcome-oriented. You’re not exactly trying to deliver something. Somehow that is profoundly meaningful but it doesn’t translate well into the newspaper. So then over time the story gets rewritten to ‘Occupy was a waste of time that achieved nothing, a bunch of hopeless losers.’ How do you as a participant, looking back on it 3, 4, 5 years later, what do you hold on to while the historical narrative is constricting around you to say that you’re just a loser that a bunch of pointless conversations? Nathan’s answer was like, no one can remove the experience that you’ve had.
indeed.. there’s never nothing going on. productivity as we know it.. not boding us well..
That is a lived experience of what progressive ideals actually are. So you might not have an outcome, 6 months from now there might be nothing left. But you’ll have 1) social networks that are set in stone and 2) the lived experience that collaboration is better than competition.
There’s a growing mass of people around the world that are having this experience that results in an unshakable conviction that collaboration is better than competition, that we can live in abundance, we don’t have to coerce people to make them work together. This cultural shift is happening one person at a time, one experience at a time.
Manu: After a week of going to assemblies without working in any commissions, just listening to people, that was one the most changing experiences of my life: just a week of listening to others. It’s crazy what it does. The radicality of listening to someone who works in a market describe their life unfiltered by the media, it’s crazy. It’s so simple, and so changing.
Why is the media only talking about the car burning or whatever? Indeed they cannot transcript what you’re living inside yourself. It’s more a book that you have to read. A book about someone changing through this movement, might be a good way to convey what is the purpose and the outcome.
what hosting life bits would do. for 7 bill people. today. everyday. as the day
Rich: Totally. The #1 tool of capitalism to maintain its dominance is to tolerate this kind of expression. Oh look, another little harmless protest. As long as it dies.
There does have to be a point where you make a systemic critique and a power play. To say, this thing is wrong and we’re going to mobilise to stop it. It can’t happen in these local spontaneous things all the time. I don’t believe that the local spontaneous is going to emerge into revolution.
maybe not.. but perhaps we design for that.. from all directions
I was thinking, when you talk about the media. This is a generalisation but pretty much the media only knows how to tell a story about conflict. So if you want to be in the media, stage a conflict that you win: you prevent the eviction, you get the kids out of jail. That takes a strategic mind to go ‘where is a battle where we have a struggle, but we can guarantee at least 51% of the power in the situation’ and win that one. Then you gather supporters so the next one is slightly bigger.
If I only heard that one conversation, think about all the conversations I never overheard!
or design where media is irrelevant
this response to @n_srnck + @lemonbloodycola’s ‘Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work’ https://t.co/GS29cG5q3r
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/RichDecibels/status/708406518400421888
Sent via TweetDeck
6 circles of harmless organizing
A rough cut of a talk that Loomio co-founder Rich Bartlett is developing to explain some of the cultural forms we use to organise without bosses.
if going to ditch the pyramid.. have to choose what your shape is.. i’m quite a fan of circles.. my life changed when i started sitting in circles.. can see/hear everyone else..
1\ concentric circles.. use in enspiral and loomio.. outside circle: contributors.. low degree of steak holding.. inside circle: members.. high degree of steak holding.. at enspiral outside: 200 inside 50.. wider – where do as much as possible.. contributor – someone that some members trust… member.. someone that all trust..ie: member set budget.. contributors set plan… most important factor of concentric and why it’s #1.. naming level of commitment
2\ magical circles.. magic is placeholder word.. where something shifts deep inside your core.. ie: w/therapist/lover/campfire.. an environment where something very deep can shift.. if we are not going to use force to align people.. someone in charge.. doesn’t leave a lot of options for aligning… other than people have to change selves.. ie: retreat.. gathering every 6 months.. in loomio.. that’s 11 of us.. go away for weekend.. primarily about connecting w each other and shared vision.. let relationships go really really deep.. rational.. trying to invent new/old culture.. in opposition to mainstream culture.. ie: emphasis on money.. requires retreating occasionally to invest in that.. in those spaces that we get a lot of the cultural norms..
3\ p2p accountability.. accountability as support.. we call it stewards in loomio/enspiral.. your equal peers.. but looking after you.. ie: loomio.. 11 of us.. i get to steward lana..et al.. goes around circle.. distributing load of support/care.. a buddy that has extra context about me.. everyone having a go.. instead of just hr person
4\ rhythm.. how do you navigate thru emergent space.. changes every 5 min.. but still have some kind of shared understanding of where we’re going.. not change so fast that nobody is on same page anymore.. navigate coherently thru emergence.. ie: daily rhythm.. everyday at 10 – 10-15 min of sharing/micro-adjustments.. another at 2 weekly scale.. larger adjustments.. then quarterly rhythm.. every 3 months go away and sit.. with agreed objectives.. somehow all you’re working on add up to these 3 *miserable (?) specifics.. we name our working groups.. and people self select into them.. much more significant shifts.. beyond that.. 3 yr horizon strategy.. we have a strategy meeting every month.. ie: about software.. what will it look like in three yrs… plausible futures.. so operating with relatively similar view about options.. so have shared language..
if *miserable.. then why..?
5\ decisions .. where the software comes in.. the basic thing of making decisions.. if if making decisions together.. then are sharing power.. all about collective intelligence.. turns it into .. we should do this rather than i should do this
6\ boundaries.. how accommodate for people w/diff set of values.. or something going on .. prevent from participating in healthy way.. so .. what is appropriate way to communicate/participate.. we almost never have to use it.. just knowing that together we have decided we are up for.. has helped to shape behavior w/o being coercive.. community is defined by its boundaries.. ie: at occupy.. we wanted to be 100% inclusive.. but we died by being too inclusive.. you start including people who’s behavior excludes others…
via Jon fb share:
“”Don’t waste time growing a nationwide bureaucracy, just stick to what’s working, and publish everything so folks can copy you.””
This is a snapshot of my current thinking — my intention is to come back in a few months and learn how wrong I was, rather than to convince you that I’m right.
5 reasons to focus on the small groups.
Reason 1: A Place to Learn New Habits
I slowly started to notice a whole class of work that I didn’t even know existed: emotional labour. In the same way I was trained to not look for toys in the pink section of the toy store, I was trained to not see the work of caring, supporting, soothing, adapting, preparing, inviting, gathering, and cleaning up after.
Reason 2: A Place to Practice Tolerance
If we’re not bound to each other in some way, why should I care if we disagree? There’s no incentive to learn from difference when you can always go out and make another choice.
Reason 3: A Place for Amateur Therapy
’ve observed that when people find a small group of people to commit too, they can grow enough trust and intimacy to become amateur co-therapists.
Reason 4: A Place to Produce Living Proof
We’ve spent the last 5 years at Loomio proving that it is possible to manage a small software company without a hierarchy. I know our context is unique: we are an ultra-privileged little tiny bubble in the South Pacific. But by sharing our methods, we are adding credibility to the claim that it is possible to coordinate people without using coercion. I’m proud to say that more than 50,000 people have read our co-op handbook in the past 6 months — that’s maybe not “proof” on its own, but a good contribution to a growing body of work that demonstrates that the commons doesn’t always have to be tragic.
And many of us have an appetite for much bigger scale, like the Scuttlebutt crew, who are quite seriously building a social network for the Galactic Council.
Reason 5: A Place to Prepare for the Worst
From time to time I ask myself, if we’re approaching Apocalypse, what it is the best use of my time? I keep coming back to the same answer: learn how to work together, and learn how to grow commons.
why i’m heading to usa
I’ll be blogging on the road. Here’s my first story: American Grief — Activism, Trauma, Relationship and Healing.
I’ve learned that healing happens in relationship. It’s much easier to metabolise bad feelings when someone is with you reminding you that vulnerability is okay, that injustices done to you were unjust, that errors you made are forgiven. You’re enough. We got this.
So the last question I’m sitting with as we clack-clack-clack down the East Coast on the train to Rhode Island: can we bring groups into relationship with each other, therapeutically?
Surely municipalism is a modern claim for a new indigineity? #fearlesscities #wearefearless
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/RichDecibels/status/873874087982116864
Team Human: Richard D. Bartlett “There is no enemy team”. blog.p2pfoundation.net/team-human-ric…
thurman interconnectedness law: when you understand interconnectedness it makes you more afraid of hating than of dying – robert thurman
Friends, please help me decide: Do I need a Paywall? or can I trust the Gift Economy? medium.com/enspiral-tales…
@this my very roundabout way of reviewing your new book ^
Warning — ideological detour ahead…
I blame “private property” for a lot of the injustice in the world.
When colonists arrived in Aotearoa and turned it into New Zealand, private property was one of their main weapons. By carving a continuous landscape into discrete blocks, they didn’t just exclude people from their ancestral homes, they spread a toxic mental virus too. They demolished the pre-European governance practices that respect all inhabitants of an ecosystem: past, present and future. They replaced the complexity of interdependence with the suicidal simplicity of private property: the absurd myth that we can survive without neighbours.
10 day care ness
That’s a clumsy way for my brain to try to articulate something my heart feels with perfect clarity. Ideas are social creatures. Information wants to be free. You can’t steal a gift. We create the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible by living there today. Life is self-organised abundance. Economics is controlled scarcity.
My brain says “publish for free.”
My heart says “publish for free!”
My wallet says “dude, what are you doing?”
Nearly everyone we met agreed that progressive action should be organised in a participatory way. But almost nobody had sustained experience with a thriving, decentralised, dynamic, non-hierarchical team.
She (Zeynep) warned that US progressive movements will not shift the balance of power without a major upgrade in their decision-making infrastructure. This is urgent.
while our workshops helped people overcome some of their collaboration challenges, the need is far bigger than two people can ever satisfy.
begs 7 bn
So now we’re building an online training course: a scalable way to share what we’ve learned about decentralised organising.
if you have to train people.. i’m thinking it’s a sign it’s not gonna work
This is really good medium.com/enspiral-tales… a smart NZ activist comes to America, and leaves reeling from the harshness of American society.
So here goes, 4 things that struck me as a Kiwi on his first visit to the US:
1. The welfare state makes a much bigger difference than I imagined.
Let me give you an example: my collarbone was broken in a traffic accident recently. I was evaluated in the field by an emergency first responder, shuttled to hospital by an ambulance, X-rayed and diagnosed by a specialist, and prescribed painkillers, a sling, and rest. I was back home within about 3 hours start-to-finish, and I think I had to pay a total of $3, for the drugs. We have a “no fault” socialised accident insurance scheme, which means the cost of accidents is covered by taxes, and nobody gets punished for honest mistakes. So that night, the driver of the car who hit me visited my house with a hot meal and a genuine apology. Everything about this story is ludicrously fantastical to my friends in the States.
Organised citizens have more power than the oligarch. But you can’t organise hungry people: first they need to be fed. This is why it is so important for organisers to work in the economic plane
or perhaps.. work to disengage from it
Silicon Valley could be a massive leverage point here, if you can drag entrepreneurs’ attention to solving real material problems (which means dragging investors away from their obsession with 100X returns).
2. The “race awareness” I have from growing up in Aotearoa New Zealand does not translate into the US context at all.
3. Activist spaces are weakened by self-censorship.
4. I’m no help to anyone when I’m in shock.
The place is so fucking terrifying! We met folks in Arizona who are working against border militias, people who are openly hunting for humans the way other folks hunt for deer. The day after we left Portland two people were murdered on a train in broad daylight after confronting a racist loudmouth. In California (a state with a multi trillion dollar economy), we saw thousands of people living in tents and makeshift shelter. The situation is fucking drastic, with many indicators that things are going to get worse.
if you keep lashing people with urgent concerns, they’ll never get to the important work of building counter-hegemonic alternatives.
So if I were organising in the US right now I’d be looking for spaces to grieveand to heal. I’ve heard phenomenal things from people who have engaged with The Work That Reconnects so I’d start there.
The major question I’m left with is how on earth can folks in the US find the peace to make sense of the present and dream of a future worth fighting for?
let’s try this.. short bp
self-talk as data
fb share by Michel
what comes before consent
If I could reduce the complexity of violence down to a linear continuum, it might look something like: assault → murder → genocide → ecocide.
I’ve been wondering about what the spectrum of violence looks like further to the left, before assault, before harassment, before intimidation..t
If consent governs physical interactions, what mechanisms can regulate other less intense interactions? When I speak: how can I express myself in a way that respects your subjectivity? What is my posture saying? How can I listen? What can I read from your body language?
How can I own my subjectivity and celebrate yours?
What gets me so excited about collective decision-making is when the process shifts the participants from a purely objective/analytic mode into an affective/relational mode.
My understanding has grown, without you having had to persuade me of anything
Richard D. Bartlett (@RichDecibels) tweeted at 10:32 AM on Fri, Jun 15, 2018:
New blog post/video exploring the gap between small scale deliberation and large scale democratic transformation.
cc: @Loomio @sanfudai @UsePolis @audreyt @iacocoba @MattCropp @ntnsndr https://t.co/jru8BX6JjW
If you’ve read any of my writing, you will have guessed I have some opinions about how we could do large scale governance differently. But the tool we’re building is designed only for small scale: If you’ve ever used Loomio, you’ll see that it’s designed for groups of up to a few hundred people, max. There’s a big gap between the decision-making context of a grocery co-op and an entire country.
i really hadn’t connected w activism before occupy.. the premise i saw.. it’s up to us to change (the system)
The amazing thing about this village was that nobody was in charge.. we had all this negotiation but we all refused to be in charge
Now nothing in my education had prepared me for this. I’m trained as an engineer. As an engineer I was taught an approach to problem-solving that was all about being right.
I learned the most important thing I could do was to listen. Not just listening to rebut — listening to understand, where are you coming from? what do you believe? what do you value? why do you think like that?
listening well > being smart..t
begs a mech that listens to all 7bn voices (of curiosity rather than decision/choice).. everyday ie: as it could be
Some camps were destroyed by the state. Violent, brutal, armed thugs paid by the government to vandalise and dismantle these flourishing communities. (n zealand police were nice to us..so consensus got us) The other camps collapsed under the weight of consensus.
Being the kind of people we are, we decided to make some software about it. . loomio.. the idea was.. how to make a decision w/o being in the room.. we talk about coop rather than anarchism so much..
My favourite example right now is social.coop: it’s a social network very similar to Twitter. But instead of selling advertising, the platform is funded by users paying a small subscription fee. In return, users are invited to participate in governance, in a Loomio group: what kind of censorship should we have on the platform? where should we host the data? what code of conduct should users adhere to? It’s wonderful to see a digital platform being governed like a public utility.
we’ve used the digital space to break the tyranny of time
1. asynchronous deliberation.. (can participate at any time)
2. visualise positions ..(gets you out of stuck state and into negotiation state)
i’m personally motivated by big change.. large scale social is very complex and non deterministic.. my intuition is there needs to be integrity/alignment between diff scales.. ie: one equity.. one patriarchy
image of his brain.. to see if we can get to the same problem.. until we have majority.. not going to have solution at large scale..
showing that we have to get a problem deep enough.. for all of us
The vTaiwan project uses a tool called pol.is to involve thousands of people in opinion gathering, which like Loomio, creates a visualisation of people’s position on an issue… but unlike loomio.. works at great scale..
take a snap shot.. what are the opinion groups.. then.. rather than what do you think.. make a statement you think everyone can agree with.. found consensus points.. 85% agreement
I’m not sure if the government of the future is going to use pol.is, or Loomio, or LiquidFeedback, or whatever technology. But I hope as more people have access to a kind of everyday democracy, we’ll be much more able to work together creatively, efficiently making great decisions that work for everyone.
read while reading assembly
Richard D. Bartlett (@RichDecibels) tweeted at 8:42 AM on Sun, Jul 08, 2018:
Wow I got the best reader feedback I can imagine: this story helped someone find their way out of a coercive ‘spiritual’ community.
Go humans go!
The Beautiful Trap of Belonging
Looking into the shadow of community
there is a crisis of belonging in modern capitalist societies, so we’re busy building new structures for belonging. I believe it’s the most important work I can be doing right now.
But whenever I see belonging, I’m aware of the deep shadow around the edges. Beneath the lovely sense of interconnectedness, personal growth, and shared purpose, there’s a dark current: coercion, abuse and exclusion.
my individual identity became fused into a collective identity. I became an “Occupier”. Then something extraordinary happened. As millions of other people around the world adopted this Occupier identity, I felt myself bonded just as strongly with strangers on the other side of the planet.
Because it’s not my community of belonging, it was a great opportunity to contemplate the dark side of belonging, observing from a more objective perspective than I can usually reach
When you go looking, you can find many dark sides of belonging.
Leaders live inside a “reality distortion field”, which is extremely difficult to puncture. They have more ability to influence the group and less ability to see what is actually happening.
People with more status are always changing the behaviour of people with less. When this is performed consciously, we call it “manipulation”. For most of us, this is utterly abhorrent, it’s precisely what we’re organising against.
We cling so strongly to “us”, that everyone outside becomes “less than.” At the extreme end of this spectrum, the “out group” loses its humanity. Holy war, genocide, and fascism are the extreme examples
Richard D. Bartlett (@RichDecibels) tweeted at 4:17 AM on Fri, Mar 15, 2019:
Just published one of those stories that might cost me a few friends
Hierarchy Is Not the Problem…
It’s the Power Dynamics
#futureofwork #feminism #agile #teal #goinghorizontal #betterworktogether #coops
More than just an abstract semantic debate for word nerds, I believe that this fascination with “hierarchy” and “non-hierarchy” is a major problem. Focussing on “hierarchy” doesn’t just miss the point, it creates cover for extremely toxic behaviour.
jo freeman: ‘Contrary to what we would like to believe, there is no such thing as a structureless group. Any group of people of whatever nature that comes together for any length of time for any purpose will inevitably structure itself in some fashion. The structure may be flexible; it may vary over time; it may evenly or unevenly distribute tasks, power and resources over the members of the group. But it will be formed regardless of the abilities, personalities, or intentions of the people involved..“This means that to strive for a structureless group is as useful, and as deceptive, as to aim at an “objective” news story, “value-free” social science, or a “free” economy. ..Thus structurelessness becomes a way of masking power, (…) usually most strongly advocated by those who are the most powerful (whether they are conscious of their power or not). As long as the structure of the group is informal, the rules of how decisions are made are known only to a few and awareness of power is limited to those who know the rules. Those who do not know the rules and are not chosen for initiation must remain in confusion, or suffer from paranoid delusions that something is happening of which they are not quite aware.’
freeman structure law et al
Freeman uses the word “structureless”, which is specific to the context of her 1960’s feminism. Today, you could swap “structureless” for “non-hierarchical” and get a very accurate diagnosis of a sickness that afflicts nearly every group that rejects hierarchical structures.
I think words like “non-hierarchical”, “self-managing” and “horizontal” are kind of vague codes, pointing to our intention to create healthy power relations. In the past, when I said “Enspiral is a non-hierarchical organisation”, what I really meant was “Enspiral is a non-coercive organisation”. That’s the important piece, we’re trying to work without coercion.
Here are the power dynamics I’m striving for in a “decentralised organisation”:
- Maximise power-from-within: everyone feels empowered; they are confident to speak up, knowing their voice matters; good ideas can come from anywhere; people play to their strengths; creativity is celebrated; growth is encouraged; anyone can lead some of the time.
- Make power-with transparent: we’re honest about who has influence; pathways to social power are clearly signposted; influential roles are distributed and rotated; the formal org chart maps closely to the informal influence network.
- Minimise power-over: one person cannot force another to do something; we are sensitive to coercion; any restrictions on behaviour are developed with a collective mandate
perhaps what we need most is a mech to facil a non hierarchical listening to every voice everyday.. ie: tech as it could be (we’ve still got that hierarchical form of listening to each human.. everyday)
second part of this essay: 11 Practical Steps Towards Healthy Power Dynamics at Work.
11 Steps Towards Healthy Power Dynamics at Work
- Encourage your peers
- Discourage permission-seeking
- Create practice spaces
- Find your mentors
- Rotate roles
- Break the power taboo
- Name the levels of engagement
- Limited decision mandates
- Consent-based decision-making
- Celebrate dissent
- Share the ownership!