Pardon the quibbling, but...
By Stephen Roblin at Nov 23, 2010
...does the term "participation" properly underscore the mission of IOPS?
The reason I ask is because the term "participation" can be misleading as it does not, in itself, distinguish between empowering and oppressive forms of participation. This may sound like quibbling, but perhaps it's worth considering for a moment (I could be wrong here).
Take markets, they involve considerable participation, even among those who are oppressed by them. The poor for example participate in markets everyday, purchasing basic commodities and/or contributing to production through their work. In fact, market proponents have cited this form of particpation as a reason why they are so "democratic" (certainly a clear debasement of the concept). In their view, no one's left out completely, except in the more extreme cases where individuals have zero dollars to cast their "votes" in the marketplace. We can take a take a more extreme example, slavery. It's not as if slaves were barred from participating in the system; without their coerced participation, the system would not exist.
The point is that a decent society is not one that simply offers "opportunities" to participate; it allows for forms of democratic, equitable, and self-managed participation, in short, empowering participation.
To wrap this up, I think a name like Organization for a Democratic Society is more meaningful. But "ODS" as an acronym is awkward, particularly if pronounced phonetically.