Growing Like Bacteria !
By Zahed Wahhaj at Mar 28, 2010
Growing like Bacteria !
I am offering up for criticism and remoulding, this purely algorithmic strategy essay.
This is a strategy for growth around ordinary individuals, who gradually connect into a non-hierarchical international movement.
- Build an informed, conscious, less easily deluded movement for action.
- Build a movement with broad appeal to varied political backgrounds.
- Grow the size of the movement exponentially to national/international scales, with a cellular growth model.
- Have individuals not leaders, as the source of education, plans and action.
- Have individuals as the force behind the growth of the movement.
- Efficiently and quickly, generate and resolve plans into actions, using state of the art participatory voting technologies.
We will build discussion and planning groups where people will meet, beginning with groups of 2-3, grow to 10 over a few months, split into two, and then grow again.
The core principles which will ensure growth are:
- No Hierarchy
- Equal time given to each person.
- People are allowed to freely express their viewpoint during their time.
- Diversity in talent, experience, gender, race and class.
- Groups split into two, when a size of 10 is reached.
Splitting 4 times a year, we can grow by a factor of a million in just 5 years. Thus even starting with just 100 people we will have an enormous impact soon.
Why this Model ?
The cellular growth model will only work if
Each new person
- Eventually becomes a strong growth force.
- Feels their ideas and powers significantly leveraged.
- Is able to envision the long-term promise of the movement.
- Feels that activities are rewarding and not too onerous.
All the core principles maximize the probability that these conditions are met. People must feel that they are heard and their voices are not drowned out.
This would require that the groups remain small and its split parts meet at different places. This ensures that the growth is exponential, and of course that individuals retain their power and their voice is not diluted.
- The notion of condition 2 will be strengthened, because we intend to decide and take action by votes from this growing non-hierarchical web of groups, using computer-aided participatory voting.
- For condition 3 to be met, it is essential that participatory planning and voting websites are quickly put in place.
- Condition 4 is actually realistic, because any one member needs to invite just one person in 3 months and the group will double in size. After the first split, the minimum size will be always be 5, so there won't be a feeling of starting from scratch.
Imagining a Meeting
These are suggestions for what people might do when they get together.
Respecting each persons share of time and their right to free speech will be of paramount importance. A timer should be used.
Each person in turn
- Reads from a text (Historical/Politcal/etc) they think is important.
- Shows a short video clip.
- Discusses a current event or problem or proposes a plan.
- People write up plans and propose to other groups through the participatory planning web sites.
Further Positive Principles
- Individuals read texts which they are opposed to.
- Individuals must not self censor. This will prevent growth.
- Individuals should try to keep at least one similar thinker in the group.
- Hold that people are not required to respond immediately to what was shared.
- Invite outside groups to help strengthen the core principals.
- Bring in experts to learn from, not to take orders from.
- Use participatory planning web-tools to plan action with other groups
The motto would be:
" If we think our ideas are legitimate and valid, then we should find out where they came from, if we think our opponents are wrong, then we should read what they read, let them tell us where their beliefs came from. It is our belief that by the core principles, the best ideas will spread. From the legitimacy of our beliefs, we will grow stronger.
At any instance, we are just a seed, just a spark and we must plant millions of seeds and light millions of sparks. "
Recommendation 1 is beneficial because it aids building communication with unlike thinkers and enormous confidence in doing so. For example, a left anarchist who reads Murray Rothbard will be more willing to talk to a free market libertarian.
Recommendation 2 should be kept in mind, because isolation can be oppressive.
Recommendation 3 is beneficial in avoiding spiraling arguments. It allows that resolution is not forced immediately. People will be able to internalize the attitude that they can make my point next time.
Describing the movement's Positive Qualities
- No one takes orders from or dominates others.
- Less fear that your voice will be drowned, or that you will be just another pawn.
- If the seed is good and the copy is good, the movement grows without limits.
- The principles are difficult to corrupt and use negatively, because the groups won't seed, unless the core ideas are used.
- Neutral on beliefs, except on the idea that reason will come out of discussion.
- Meeting people who can think and plan with you will enormously benefit your potential for positive action.
- Motivation for an unlike thinker is the same as yours: to enlighten you or understand you.
- People have a prolonged discussion over a range of topics, over a few months, thus an enormous amount of information can be exchanged.
- Is not like attending a class, because you are effectively both a teacher and a student, while being forced to perform the functions of neither.
- Avoid the hierarchy of even the most progressive movements.
Participatory Planning/Decision Making
Using Online Planning/Action Website, individuals can
- Propose a plan of any scale (local, national, international)
- Categorize their plans under different headings
- Search for plans of interest through keywords
- Put their vote behind a plan already described
Planning councils will transparently:
- Categorize plans, retaining minority opinions
- Consolidate similar plans
- Formally offer plans which have been proposed for a while
- Offer 5 plans, retaining minority opinions, on any topic.
Explanation Councils will
- Discuss the implications of the plans with relevant experts
- Offer their input on the planning websites
Finally individuals will vote on the proposed plans (~5 per topic) through PARECON-like principles. (Parecon by Michael Albert)
Even modest implementations of participatory planning web-tools can be enormously useful in demonstrating collective power. Such demonstrations would energize the movements even further.
- People don't want to talk about politics
- Given the opportunity, many would freely explain their viewpoints, but this is not possible in ordinary circumstances.
- People will just fight.
- Simply acknowledging that we are going to hear things we completely disagree with from rational people will help prevent most breakouts. Also, the fact that people will have 3 months to present an their own viewpoint will encourage a patient attitude.
- It will become difficult to invite people beyond your friends.
- True, but if you managed to invite 10 people over two years, the movement has become unstoppable already.
- You will only invite your friends.
- Consciousness that we have to transcend class, race, gender and political barriers, will help ensure at least some heterogeneity. Even with the slightest exchange of stories will help fight class and political ignorance. Later, with rising consciousness, people with reach out to unlike thinkers more.
- Won't be able to break class barriers.
- This is a big challenge and that it why it is explicitly included in the core principals. The concern is addressed above.
- Will not result in deeper understanding.
- If people do not self-censor, deeper understanding is unavoidable. Many people have come into contact with powerful works in their lives. It is illogical to think that knowledge of these works will not spread.
- Will weaken after the splits.
- It is possible that certain individuals, blessed with the art of persuasion, will spread thin. But their knowledge or art could also pass on to others over time, creating perhaps an even more inspired person.
- Seeds won't copy correctly.
- Seeds may stop copying when the core principles are forgotten, or if they themselves are hampering the copying process. However, in the three months before the split, the core principles may even be perfected and internalized. If groups fail to survive or grow, we can always discuss what is lacking in the core principles.
- Nothing will come out of it, but growth.
- If nothing significant develops before the split, the group won't split anyways. Unlike thinkers are essential for internal growth, and they must be consciously included in the groups.
- How is this a left group, will this be an enlightened movement?
- This is not a left group. But the left is not interested in a left group, but a movement that spreads enlightenment. Since the left are in these groups, they will have ample opportunity to make that happen.
- People won't be enthusiastic.
- Read and show powerful works. They are everywhere.
- Some people will dominate the conversation.
- Stick to the clock. It will be obvious that the core principles have been violated, if some repeatedly take other people's time. However, what happens to people who become quiet ? Encourage them to speak their questions, doubts, and share their personal view of the world. Without these people, the movement will be limited in growth.
- Hey, we are making these small groups where people talk about problems.
- Do you think things are mess, we could use your input.
- The full pitch...
Hard Pitch to the Intellectual
- If you stay isolated your thoughts wont influence anyone
- If you insist on dominating, then you won't make create strong advocates of your views
- You run the risk of being ineffective because you don't know how the opponent thinks.
The Long Partisan Pitch
We like the idea of a seed. Once you plant this seed, it can grow by itself.
So what kind of seed do we want ? What are we growing ?
We propose that we are growing a more conscious world, a more self-aware world, a world less easily deluded.
Our opposition believe what they do, because of what they read, hear or see.
Do you believe that if we all read a wider range of things, we would find the better ideas, a closer version of the truth ?
Secondly, do you think the your opposition thinks the same ?
If they do, then we can study the world together, history and the present, and the best ideas will come forth.
That means you will be asked to read Ayn Rand, or Adam Smith, or even Bill O'Reilly by your republican friend, and your republican friend will be asked to read Howard Zinn or Noam Chomsky.
Now, Imagine this.
You call a nearby friend who likes to talk to you about political ideas.
You meet and few times and talk about getting a third person in the group to make a study group like a bible study. Except, this is a world study group, where all studies are welcome.
In your gatherings, you read from the most powerful books and the most powerful passages, show the most powerful videos work, etc.
Everybody gets equal time. Sometimes you really disagree, but keep faith and don't argue. In the end the truth can't be stopped, you believe. You will have many days to make your case.
You make sure you laugh, and share the lighter things in your life too. But you keep learning with your friends.
Meanwhile, I am doing the same, and I've told 20 of my friends in other towns to try the same. We are all seeds.
Soon, seeing how much fun we are having, other people join our groups. Sometimes we ask them to join, sometimes our friends do.
About 3 months later, your group grows to 10 people. You decide to split into two and meet at separate places, but to email each other with what's going on, send videos of gatherings, and sometimes visit each other.
You are not worried that the other group will die off, because these people always got to express themselves in the gatherings. They became persuasive speakers and good listeners. They can even seed groups on their own.
But you grow your group again with new people. Every 3 months you grow to a size of 10 again, and you split.
So if in January, there were 20 of us, in April there are 40, in July there are 80, in October there are 160, and next January there are 320.
Every year we grow by a multiple of 16. But we haven't been doing anything too complicated, we've just been sharing our ideas.
In two years, we have grown by 256 times, in four years by a factor of 65,000.
Now, if we get just a 1000 people to understand this idea then within just a few years, you've got a gigantic movement (65 million).
Yes, we're dreaming.