My Resoc Interview
By Mitchell Szczepanczyk 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?
First off, I would fall out of my chair, shocked that someone else is asking this question. It's a question that, in my experience, far too few people either ask or think about. That is changing, I'm happy to report, but it's taking a long time, far too long I think. In fact, when I was asked a similar question 7 years ago, I found myself flummoxed with trying to respond, so I sought out answers and was lucky enough to find answers out there courtesy of what's now the Participatory Society project. As for the particular institutions to respond, I'd give a similar answer along the lines of the institutions advocated by the participatory society project.
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?
For the moment, the work that I do what I like to refer to as "pushing the first domino". You can stand dominoes on end in lines where a push of a single domino causes one domino after another to fall, and I think that is emblematic of a lot of my own work in the sense that I have helped take issues (mostly in the media policy sphere, but not exclusively) that were and are important yet not very widely known, even among left activists, and worked to help raise their awareness. The hope is that increased popular awareness can lead to increased popular involvement at key points in such work, particularly when such work on the whole tends away from public awareness and involvmement.
My goal for the coming year and ten years is what I'm trying to figure out now, in particular with the tactics of my involvement toward propelling our world towards a more participatory society. I'm hoping that I'll have some strategy in place when January 1st comes.
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 can imagine such things, but given that I'm already stretched pretty thin, it'd have to be something pretty dramatic in its scope, methods, or success which would warrant me changing direction or removing myself from the projects I'm currently involved in. I don't discount it, but it'd have a pretty steep hill to climb.
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, because the systems of the future don't materialize out of nowhere -- they're built on systems that precede them. Thus, if we want to build toward better systems in the future, we start with building better systems in the present.
5. Why did you answer this interview? Why do you think others
did not answer it?
Because you asked me to. I suppose most folks don't have time. It's understandable given the current pressures that a lot of folks and activists are facing, but I think that the parsoc and resoc projects are important too. That's why I'm a part of them, and hope to be more a part of them in the future.