The Reimagining Society Project will be an extended online and print exploration of societal vision and strategy to promote widely shared understanding and activism.
Stage 1: Signing On and Submitting Essays / May 1 - July 15
About 500 people worldwide are invited to participate in the project. They are welcomed to submit a full essay, or perhaps even two, by July 15th, for the Reimagining Society Project.
The opening essay (or two if some participants prefer), should highlight any area or areas of social life - for example economy, political relations, kinship and gender, culture and race, ecology, and/or international relations - or perhaps narrower facets of each - like climate, adjudication, sexuality, allocation, religion, or areas such as education, health, science, sports, art, etc.
Length of essays should be at least 2,500 words and at most 5,000 words so as to have substance, yet remain comfortable to read online.
More, essays should not allot above a few hundred words to the usual rejection of capitalist, racist, sexist, relations, or to very general calls to rebel and resist. This project is about positively and innovatively proposing for the future. Indeed, the only reason any invited submission will be rejected is for ignoring that mandate. Essays should be about what we want and how we seek to get it – vision and strategy.
Of course we realize not all the people we are inviting will want to send an opening essay(s) – and that is certainly not the only way to participate - but, that said, the more who do submit opening essays, and the earlier they arrive, the better.
Stage 2: Initiating Discussions and Going Public/ June 15 - July 15
Each opening essay will appear on the Reimagining Society Site exactly as it is written. It will be uploaded for participants to view immediately when we receive it and will appear publicly for all viewers as early as July 1 and certainly by July 15 and will remain in place thereafter.
The site will be prominently publicly visible in ZCom, the project's host/sponsor site, but any other web site or organization is more than welcome to display as much or all of the Reimagining Society content as they wish, after July 1.
The only exception to submitted essays appearing will be participant submissions that don't propose positive vision and strategy or that are way off in length.
On June 15th Michael Albert and Bill Fletcher, from the initial inviters list and responsible for maintaining the site, will write to all participants – both those who have already written opening essays and those who have indicated their desire to participate in other ways - and we will request that each participant try to comment on at least two other participants' submissions and remind that any participant is welcome to additionally respond to the ideas of any other participants, all for prominent display on the Reimagining Society Site.
We will post all replies and responses to replies that are authored by project participants in whatever order we receive them. When the site goes public, July 1, all opening essays and ensuing discussions that we arleady have will be displayed. More will accumulate in subsequent weeks as they arrive. (Non Participant readers' comments on articles will also display, appended to articles in typical web style.)
Stage 3: Discussing / Debating Opening Essays / July 15 - Aug 15
This period will be primarily for continuing discussion of the various opening essays.
Stage 4: Aug 15 - Sept 30
On or about August 15th, after ample time for interaction among opening essay writers and with readers, we will ask authors of opening essays and major participants in derivative discussions and explorations to enumerate specific institutional or strategic features proposed that they feel ought to be part of a broad societal vision. These will be itemized on the site.
Starting August 30th we will conduct two online polls, one for the broad readership of the site, one exclusively for project participants, each poll eliciting reactions to the various itemized proposals offered in the content of the exchanges, as determined by their authors.
At the same time, we will urge authors of opening essays and participants in the project more generally to try to combine their efforts by teaming up to collectively propose full Social Visions in the form of combinations of itemized proposals. The hope is that this will yield at least one and presumably two or a few social visions (with various features appearing in more than one or even in all of them but, nonetheless, with some critical incompatibilities).
Simultaneously, from August 30 for a month all participants will be invited to discuss the contending social vision proposals - these are proposals for society, not just for elements of society - as they have been put together by authors who team together - with the discussions trying to indicate reactions, posing questions, trying to resolve or debate incompatibilities, etc.
Then, authors of the proposals may decide to amend them - and at that point, to see where things stand, we will have another round of polling, this time on reactions to the full proposals for shared vision/strategy.
Stage 5 / Sept 30 ....
Finally, on September 15 we will invite every participant to optionally comment at 2,000 words or less via a closing essay on the whole set of articles and comments and replies and polls and especially on the overarching societal visions, assessed as one large project.
These concluding essays will be displayed from September 30 on, as they arrive. Participants can then assess prospects for continued work in light of levels of agreement, mutual ties, etc.
In the course of the above process, each participant has the same editorial position as all other participants – all can write and each person's contributions will display the same way as all other participants' contributions. Each essay, comment, or reply, will have the same space, display, etc.
Again, neither personal descriptions nor submissions will be edited. The most hosts might do other than just prepare incoming submissions for display is to reply by email with suggestions for elaboration or clarification of content that we feel will be hard for readers to follow – but your reaction to such suggestions is entirely author's choice.
This project obviously involves the possibility of engendering some book collections, or, even more interesting and promising, some person to person meetings, or perhaps even an international gathering. The success level of the project will depend, however, more than anything, on the range and seriousness of participation.