A revolutionary organization needs to grow, to seek change, and to provide a worthy home for its own membership. Providing a worthy home for its members includes fostering mutual aid and a fulfilling environment as well as aiding the development of members' abilities to pursue their own chosen paths. The latter, in turn, includes having internal mechanisms for members to expand their understanding bearing on social change. In that light, what follows is an outline of a possible process members might undertake on the road to such understanding.
Of course the procedure and actual outline for study would alter from chapter to chapter and country to country, but the broad focus would likely not stray too much from what appears here. Some chapters might prefer a very school-like approach, with rotating lecturers, assignments that folks fulfill, and so on. Other chapters might prefer a seminar-like approach with preparation by all involved, and then a more free form exploration of issues and views. Chapters might benefit from all participants giving presentations. The mandate in general might be, for example, that new members go through a learning/sharing process, and that older members serve as sources of material, mentors, teachers, or whatever the chapter settles on.
In any case, below is a possible draft “curriculum” chapters or even just individuals might opt to work from. It is based largely on the three book set, Fanfare for the Future, following its chapters pretty closely, which shouldn't occasion surprise as Fanfare was written with the express purpose of filling this type role. For some local chapters Fanfare might even serve as a kind of text. Others might make it supplemental to various other readings, and alternative forms of media etc. Still others might not use it at all, preferring some other resources. The main point is to get going with internal development of people’s ability to use and present ideas – as well as associated skills.
Larger chapters may choose to build towards tiered membership structures and slowly work toward encouraging or requiring all members to engage in a comprehensive learning and sharing program, such as the one outlined below, in order to become ‘voting’ members. For members with less time and commitment, a summary version of the program might be of use and may be associated with different membership rights and responsibilities.
In all cases – whether in the summary or comprehensive learning/sharing process – such a program might be carried out simultaneously while members create spaces to build trust, involvement within IOPS and with other revolutionary groups, and some members engage in grassroots struggles to resist forms of oppression. Grassroots struggles that seek to win meaningful and tangible improvement in the lives of people today are necessary, at the same time they create a sense of momentum crucial to growing the movement for a participatory society.
By engaging in grassroots struggles while developing unity around shared methodology, analysis, vision, and strategy, we hope IOPS will grow and be strengthened – particularly through the application of experiences to theory and vice versa. In this way, some IOPS chapters may develop into a collection of activists sharing a common analysis, vision, strategy and program while cultivating skills and knowledge within the organization and the movement. Shared methodology, analysis, vision, and strategy would help IOPS members build alternative institutions that embody and prefigure our values and create spaces where we can confront and undo the oppression we’ve internalized. Through studying, developing our unity, creating sustainable structure and practicing our organizing on the grassroots level we may be able to grow IOPS so that we can eventually – in the future –begin to organize together on shared campaigns.
The draft “curriculum” below highlights one way in which IOPS members may start to develop a shared methodology, analysis, vision, and strategy.
Potential IOPS Curriculum for
Participatory Comprehension, Creativity, and Communication
Part One: Concepts for Comprehension
Thinking about society and history, and then also vision and strategy is aided tremendously by having useful concepts that quickly orient us to examine what is important and not get mired in what is peripheral. Part one of this potential curriculum is about developing such concepts and beginning to use them in assessing our societies.