Blogs are a familiar feature on the internet - where users post content in an accumulating manner, with comments, and search options, etc. They facilitate expression and exploration, and via attached comments, also debate and synthesis.
Reading and Navigating Blogs
Our blogs are quite powerful. Each writer can post, as is typically the case. Sustainers who have the option can also post, however. All Blogs appear in the blog system, and sometimes also in content boxes the top page of ZNet - and always via the left menu of the top page - and can be found via searches, etc.
Commenting on blogs follows the blogs, attached at the bottom, and blog comments, like all others, are also visible in many places that show comments including in the forum system. In addition, the entire blog system gathers content for everyone - but one can look at the accumulating content in many ways.
For example one can look at one writer's efforts - so one is seeing what is effectively a blog system for that one writer, or Sustainer.
One can also look at the content by topic, seeing blogs that are tagged as being about a certain topic - or place, as well. Thus, when doing that, it is a blog system about a topic, or a place, with many contributors.
One can look at only writer blogs, or only sustainer blogs, as well.
One can look at blogs for particular Groups, too.
All this is easily done using the left menu. Searches allow even more variables and refinements.
Creating Blog Posts
If you are a Sustainer with permission, and are logged in, you will see a link in the left menu for you to post a blog - and you can use that to post one, and then tag it various ways (such as with a topic or place, or a group tag), and once you do, it is in the system with you as the author.
You can also use the console button to the left to post a blog - anytime and from anywhere in the site, as long as you are logged in.
Meanwhile, enjoy the blogs - and, by the way, if you are a Free Member or a Sustainer with a ZSpace page, of course you can put one or more content boxes on it, pulling blog links of any sort you may want to filter for, for example, by you or by your friends or by others - and by topic, about places, for groups, etc.
Michael Albert's Blog
Web Address: http://www.zcommunications.org/zspace/malbert Bio:
Michael Albert is a founder and current member of the staff of Z Magazine as well as staff of Z Magazine`s web system: ZCom (www.zmag.org). Albert`s radicalization occurred during the 1960s. His po... (More)
Assuming we all fight for social change in the expectation that we will, at some point, win -- and assuming that we fight for a whole new social system, again, in the expectation that at some point we will win -- it follows that at some point there will be organizations formed in our respective countries, and perhaps interlinked internationally, which will over a period of years play prominent roles in winning a new world. These organizations will help accumulate lessons and victories that aren't dead ends that pass out of memory for lack of coherence and continuity, but that facilitate a trajectory of worthy change.
How can such effective organizations come into existence? Organizations are built by people, so at some point, people must make it happen. But how are the builders of new organizations going to know what structures to adopt and what features to incorporate?
One option is to consult their understanding of current relations, their aspirations for a better world, and their experiences of social struggle, and to then simply say, well, okay, based on all that we think these features are essential, at least at the outset, and so please come join us.
Suppose they come up with a list of preferred features which, if implemented, would in fact provide a wonderful foundation for organizations that could spur and later help culminate struggles for change. Regrettably, the complicating truth is that that wouldn't be enough. An organization having wonderful attributes is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for it to succeed. An organization must also appeal to potential members. New organizations, no matter how abstractly good they may be, won't succeed if they don't attract members. The features of a new organization must be worthy, of course, but to succeed, or even to persist, the organization's features must also immediately attract and inspire people.
So what steps are needed? On the one hand, people have to think about worthy features that will properly initiate, nurture, empower, and orient such an organization. On the other hand, people need to find out what organizational features will actually appeal to a wide audience and attract immediate membership. If we can compatibly incorporate enough of the former with enough of the latter, maybe the process can get under way and proceed successfully.
A further complicating fact is that well meaning, well informed people are going to disagree about what constitutes desirable and worthy organizational attributes.
Some people will favor more Leninistic decision making and process, others will favor more anarchistic decision making and process. Some people will want more prioritization of one oppression and others will want more generalization of focus encompassing many oppressions simultaneously. Some people will feel an organization must highlight its opposition to what is, and others will feel an organization must highlight what it wants for the future. Some will think an organization has to aggressively meet member's current needs, others will think it has to aggressively orient toward future benefits.
On these and other axes of definition there will be differences, some minor or even picayune, but others quite important and even fundamental. Typically political organizations span a range of properties, due to their different situations and to different views by founders, and then either run in parallel to one another with little logic to their separation and redundancy, or run in opposition to one another, with serious and sometimes hostile differences. Is there an alternative to these scenarios?
Above we said there were two criteria for a new organization: (1) having worthy properties, and (2) having properties that attract members. Maybe we have heretofore given too much weight to the first criterion and too little weight to the second. Maybe we should consider trying to ask a very wide audience to choose among plausible properties those that they find most attractive. Maybe what emerges from their preferences will have surprising coherence and agreement. Maybe it could galvanize widespread support for a new initiative. And maybe popular public preferences can even resolve private personal disputes about merits.
So we at ZNet are thinking about hosting a large poll regarding the properties a potential new organization might incorporate. The idea will be for each respondent to the poll to indicate their attitudes about each possible property. Respondents would indicate how an organization's having each attribute would impact their likelihood of joining it. Is having the attribute an absolute prerequisite for you joining an organization, or would it be a powerful plus for you joining, a modest plus, or neutral -- or would it be a modest detriment for you joining an organization, a powerful detriment, or would it even preclude you joining the organization no matter what the organization's other attributes were?
We are unaware of any poll like this having ever been undertaken before, and certainly not recently. It will be important that respondents think in terms of their own preferences only. It will be important that respondents assume that a new organization has come forward and is growing rapidly and you must decide to join it or not. And it will be important to consider each attribute separately, assuming everything else about the organization is fine with you…and the issue is how do you feel about the attribute in question – does it make the organization more attractive to you, barely impact your reaction, or make it less attractive in your view. And we will not be talking about an organization to win some focused campaign, but an organization concerned with winning a new world.
The poll we hope to prepare in coming weeks won't be perfect, of course -- no poll is, and we are new at this -- but we will do our best, taking considerable time and energy to discuss possibilities among ourselves and with friends to arrive at questions suitable to accumulate useful information. The proof of the poll's value will be in the taking, of course. We will need many respondents to have a chance for the information to contribute dramatically to guiding choices, resolving disputes, providing motivation, or, in the worst case, revealing that the time is simply not right. But since it will take only a modest amount of time to fill out a poll, and since it will hopefully be able to make it interesting in its own right, and since it will cost respondents nothing beyond the time involved, and since having a very large pool of respondents would indeed provide very interesting and useful data, we will urge people to please give this undertaking a chance.
For now, however, and this is why this piece appears here as a blog, we first have to prepare the questions. And for that, we could certainly use your help.
What organizational attributes regarding analysis/focus, vision, strategy, program, structure, composition, services, and start-up, would you like to know people's reactions to? What weighs heavily in your own preferences? If you have a moment for it, please suggest things to highlight, or even propose full questions, and send ideas generally to firstname.lastname@example.org