My Resoc Interview
By Dave Markland at Nov 18, 2009
1. At a public talk someone asks you, "okay, I understand what you reject, but I wonder what you are for? What institutions do you want that you think will be better than what we have, for the economy, polity, gender, race, ecology, or whatever you think is central to have vision for?
I would tell them about Parecon, then add that efforts toward a similar framework of vision for other spheres of society are only just beginning. Perhaps I would offer a few 'pet examples' of values worth promoting in gender or race and probably briefly explore the limitations to a similar approach to ecology.
2. Next, someone at the same event asks, "Why do you do what you do? That is, you are speaking to us, and I know you write, and maybe you organize, but why do you do it? What do you think it accomplishes? What is your goal for your coming year, or for your next ten years?
I want what I do to help move our society toward toward positive change. We have to realize, I think, that this a huge undertaking, requiring that we enlighten, educate and activate millions of people including ourselves. So I want to help in efforts toward movement building that are not going to be hampered by limited aims. Placing unneeded emphasis on 'critical theory' or confronting cops, to take just two common examples, is myopic in my view. I see building new norms and new institutions in liberation movements as a more constructive goal.
3. You are at home and you get an email that says a new organization is trying to form, internationally, federating national chapters, etc. It asks you to join the effort. Can you imagine plausible conditions under which you would say, yes, I will give my energies to making it happen along with the rest of you who are already involved? If so, what are those conditions? Or - do you think instead that regardless of the content of the agenda and make up of the participants, the idea can't be worthy, now,or perhaps ever. If so, why?
Simply hearing of this via email would not likely be very exciting. Hearing about it from people would be more intriguing. Assuming that was the case, I think it would be more attractive the more momentum it had and the more activist activity was going on around it (i.e. in the surrounding community). Regarding my own time and energy, I find it very difficult to switch gears from my main subject of concern (antiwar work) for which there is more work to be done than workers to do it.
4. Do you think efforts to organize movements, projects, and our own organizations should embody the seeds of the future in the present? If not, why? If yes, can you say what, very roughly, you think some of the implications would be for an organization you would favor?
Yes. The implications would include the necessity of organizations to honestly examine the work they do, with a shared psychology. That is, people must come to understand the damaging effects of common styles of organizing.
5. Why did you answer this interview? Why do you think others did not answer it?
Thought it could of value to you. I suspect that many people who are somewhat intrigued about vision see it as, at best, something they may have to be concerned about later, if their hopes and dreams for the near future come true. And by indulging in such future-oriented activity, it will take away from their efforts toward those short-term goals, thereby making the need for such forward thinking non-existent.