Transform the System Report

I just emailed the following to folks that have been contibuting to the Transform the System project.

Dear Colleagues:

Following and attached is a much shorter, 487 word, version of the statement. Your comments would be appreciated, preferably prior to Saturday, 11/26, 11 am. The latest draft will always be at https://goo.gl/qndCYb.

Transform the System (11/24/16 Draft)

Human beings are compassionate and cooperative creatures. Each day, individuals and organizations relieve suffering and improve the world. But our global social system breeds fear, foments hate, divides people, and undermines community. The need to transform that System is urgent.

Our major institutions, our culture, and we ourselves fit together to form the System, which is fueled by the drive to get ahead of others, climb the social ladder, and look down on those below. Hyper-competitive individualism and feverish ambition help preserve the power chain and its dominate-or-submit dynamic. In their daily lives, individuals strengthen the System with actions such as buying cheap products made in other countries, failing to treat one another with respect, and seeking to be King of one Hill or another.

Labeling people and discriminating against those considered inferior serves to divide and conquer. In ways that are often unconscious, we neglect the equal value of each person and feel superior to certain people and inferior to others. We learn to dominate or submit. “What’s in it for me” prevails. That self-centeredness carries over into nationalism, as nations try to exploit other nations to serve their own self-interest.

To restructure that System, we must learn how to love one another more fully and promote the common good of the Earth Community — all humanity, all living beings, the environment, and life itself — and reform our institutions, our culture, and ourselves to serve that purpose.  

Individuals can establish a balance between self-interest and the common good, make our society more democratic, promote justice, develop collaborative leadership, set aside labels, relate to one another as human beings, place ourselves in other’s shoes, remember that no evil deed is a reflection of the whole person, not allow anger to become hatred, seek reconciliation when in conflict, be humble, accept that we cannot achieve everything we want, acknowledge mistakes and try to avoid repeating them, and nurture helpfulness, honesty, forgiveness, and a passion for justice.

By sharing meals, socializing informally, enjoying life together, and listening to one another report on their efforts, teams of individuals who endorse these principles could support one another with their personal growth and political action. Public gatherings of representatives from those teams could attract new participants with contagious joy, affection, and commitment. With that approach, we could grow caring communities and create models for the society we seek.

Activist organizations could help their members unlearn divisive, oppressive tendencies the System drills into us, which would help them be more effective. And those organizations could be less competitive with one another and form alliances with other organizations to focus in a sustained manner on winnable objectives that a majority of citizens support.

If you agree and want to be kept informed about efforts to advance these principles, please endorse this statement at TransformTheSystem.org. Let’s join together to promote the common good of the Earth Community!

+++++

I’m sending this to the 13 of you who’ve asked to be kept informed. Please let me know if you want me to remove you from this list.

So far, though largely positive, the feedback has been weak. I’m not at all sure how to proceed, or even whether to do so. But I did buy some domain names for websites just in case.

At this point, only Joan Greenfield has said she will participate in the Nov. 26 meeting. It being Thanksgiving Week is likely one factor. Another is that some people are tuning out to politics due to the election disaster. Concerning this project, one respondent said:

I (sadly, cynically) do not believe [it] can cut through the current state of things. I also feel it is reinventing the wheel. There are dozens of great causes and groups I/we could already be getting on board with. Also, in the wake of the election, it is painfully obvious that there is no middle that we will never overcome the noise of the loudest and most partisan voices. I am hopeless about this endeavor. I am going to stick to my little world…. God bless you for pursuing this, though. And do feel free to send me drafts to reply leisurely to with comment, before the Stasi come kicking in our doors and the missiles fly.

I too don’t know if this project can cut through the noise of the loudest voices. But I disagree that it is reinventing the wheel. I’d love to join such an effort, but have not found one. On Facebook, I posted a faux personal ad that reads:

Looking for Holistic Community. Straight white male, 72, seeks a democratic activist organization that: 1) pushes for compassionate national policies supported by most Americans; 2) is willing to form an alliance with other activist organizations to focus on winnable objectives in a sustained manner, and; 3) helps its members support one another in their efforts to unlearn the System’s conditioning. $100 reward for information leading to a rewarding connection. Contact info: Wade Hudson on Facebook.

So far it’s elicited 8 Likes and 2 Loves, but tellingly (I believe), no Shares. And no referrals to any such organization. For many years, I’ve circulated similar messages and I’ve searched the Internet, with the same result: no such organization.

Some other comments about this draft:

  1. I excluded content related to specific public policies and tried to limit it to basic principles, structure and process.
  2. Prompted by a comment from ab Australian friend, I deleted references to America and added “the global social system.”

Concerning a website, a passenger suggested I consider using Squarespace instead of WordPress. After reviewing this article, it seems that Squarespace is even easier and better for this project.

I could build a website, with resources to related material, but I don’t know if I want to do it if the interest and support will be minimal. If I were able to raise money with Kickstarter, or in some other way, to free up more of my time, the effort might be more viable. And it could prove useful at some point in the future, even if I build it slowly with my current limited time availability. So I’m torn and unsure.

One ally said she’d be available for some dialog in mid-December. I’ll ask her to host a small gathering in her apartment. Maybe we can devise a plan then, including, perhaps, a public event next year.

Thanks, again,

Wade

One Response to Transform the System Report

  1. In response to the Facebook post, James Vann commented:

    Wade, there is nothing in your long struggle to form “compasssionate communities” to object to– certainly a noble objective. My reticence is not with the objective, because, foundationally, that is the way thigs are supposed to be (“mom’s apple pie”). Admittedly, it is my failure, but I do not foresee how compassionate relations lead to political transformation on a mass scale. Being a “nice neighbor” does not automatically eradicate racism, sexism, xenophobia, imperialism, nor propagate progressive politics …

    I replied:

    Thanks much, James E Vann, for your thoughtful, supportive response and for your long history of nonviolent struggle. You address a key problem: how to translate compassion into effective action. There is no easy solution and nothing is automatic. But it seems to me that it would help if existing organizations operated in a more compassionate manner. Regardless, to borrow your formulation, I do not foresee how uncompassionate relations lead to political transformation on a mass scale. Comments are welcome on the latest draft of the Transform the System statement of principles, which proposes some concrete steps. It’s at https://goo.gl/YXS8u9

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *