My Resoc Interview
By Jason Chrysostomou at Oct 21, 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?
Overall, I have been highly influenced by the ideas contained in participatory society and the holistic framework used as an approach for social transformation.
For the economy I would advocate Participatory Economics as the most cogent proposed economic system I know of. The ideas contained in participatory vision regarding political, cultural and kinship relations seem to me along the right lines but require further attention.
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?
Seeing injustice and oppression is saddening but history teaches us that social movements change things.
For me, organising around alternatives and vision, rather than only highlighting what is wrong has given me much more hope and focus. I feel the ideas contained in participatory vision are very worthwhile because they look beyond short-term reform towards institutional solutions to social injustices.
Its also very rewarding to work with other caring people on a common cause to improve people’s lives, and i cant imagine not being involved with activism anymore. Its frustrating living in social systems that you know are inhumane and irrational and so thought must turn to action. As the nike advert tells us: ‘just do it’!
My goals for the next year focus around pps-uk. Helping and supporting the creation and development of local chapters across the U.K so we can move towards a federated structure. We are having a national gathering in November to discuss and cement national goals, strategies and tactics further.
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?
Yes! I’m involved with others in the U.K organising around participatory society and I would like to be part of an internationally federated organisation with an agreed vision including some key institutional features of a society that we want to win.
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, I think this is important. To me this would mean:
- self-managed decisions - chapters or groups working on projects would be making decisions by themselves on issues that only affect them
- participation - that we acknowledge that we enter having different levels of confidence and that we must be mindful to encourage participation
- that we aim to balance more accurately distribution of tasks based on desirability over time as the organisation evolves and develops.
- that we look at imbalances in membership and visionary focus. for example, pps-uk is heavily male dominated.
5. Why did you answer this interview? Why do you think others did not answer it?
I am enthusiastic about the potential of this project to help efforts towards the establishment of an international organisation based around participatory vision and strategy. Others may not be so persuaded by the importance of vision.