My Resoc Interview
By Misty Novitch at Nov 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?
I am for a better world, for alternatives, for using the tools we already have, for people having faith in themselves, one another, and that a better world is possible.
I think many of the institutions proposed by ParSoc folks are much better ideas for organizing society.
I'd prefer Participatory Economics for an economic system, feminism and freedom and embracing of diverse gender and sexual identities and practices, polyculturalism and the strategies proposed there by Justin Podur, parpolity as proposed by Steve Shalom, and for alternative media institutions and set ups as part of achieving these new systems and maintaining them.
I think one thing ParSoc is missing, as far as my limited knowledge goes, is attention on the media and communications, education, etc. That is quite important, perhaps one of the most important things we need to make a better world.
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 do what I do because it's the best I can think of. I think I get the word out, challenge power, and offer alternatives. I think I let people know that things can be different and that the results of my efforts are often unknown to me or others but that they make people think about things and consider and imagine things. My goals throughout my life are to help organize diverse movements to pay attention and take very seriously the concerns of all people, to build councils and coalitions based on more than immediate goals but based on our common yearning for justice generally. I would specifically like to see the Universal Declaration of Human Rights accomplished and enforced worldwide in my lifetime (minus the part about intellectual property:-)). I plan to have a law degree in 5 years or so and use it to facilitate communication between and organization of diverse movements.
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?
I would say yes if it was decentralized, focused on dual power, used analysis/discussion and practical action, and had points of unity based on the values of ParSoc. We've already started an Atlanta, Georgia chapter of the International Organization for a Participatory Society (IOPS) and are going through the growing pains of this experiment at the moment (about 10 hardcore members!!:oD)
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?
Of course our efforts should embody seeds of the future! DUH! :-) We need to not just fight each new injustice as it comes up but use dual power and build new things, radical things. These implications include destroying, transforming, and building. Transforming seems to be the link between destruction and creation. We must answer the question in each group and organization - WHAT ARE WE FOR??? how do we get there?
5. Why did you answer this interview? Why do you think others did not answer it?
I answered because you asked but I answered late because, as I believe is the case for many or most activists, I am drowing in my responsibilities and work, overwhelmed because I take on things when others (non-activists) don't. I'd like to organize everything so we're as solidaritous and strategic as possible.