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ICC Report - Decision Methods and First Poll

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The IOPS ICC has voted overwhelmingly for two proposals, included below, minimally adapted in light of ICC and member comments as discussions proceeded.

The first proposal is about decision making until a convention. A new procedure was proposed in light of the fact that the old approach did not allow for choices in which there was controversy. 
The second proposal is about a poll for the first such decision, which is to arrive at conditions for a convention. 
Given the overwhelming agreement of the ICC with the two proposals - so far there was one abstention on the decision procedure vote, and one abstention (a different person) on the poll vote, and all others who have voted so far - 43 ICC members - voted yes on both proposals - which are therefore now procedures for IOPS.
So, regarding decision making up until a convention, the new Method of Decision Making is:

1. All Decision proposals go to the ICC - sent to all ICC members by any other ICC member. 

2. As in the past, these are kept to matters that are truly essential or highly desirable to resolve before a convention, and kept to a minimum.

3. Any proposals for decision that are uncontroversial, as evidenced by overwhelming ICC agreement as well as obviousness, in their eyes, that the same unity would characterize the whole membership - are decided, as in the past, by the ICC - of course consistently with IOPS commitments. 

4. Any ICC-determined truly essential to address proposals that turn out to be controversial, as evidenced by prior debate among members or by ample differences of view among the ICC, are turned into polls for all members to register preferences about all key aspects. 

5. After a decision related poll is complete - running for a month - the ICC formulates, in light of the results, an uncontroversial compromise solution/proposal for each feature that the ICC believes will appeal to all. That proposal is pitted against the most popular position for each feature as revealed by the earlier poll, in a final run-off election. The winning stance is decided.

And - regarding  the Poll on Convention Conditions, to be utilized as indicated above (points 4 and 5), which will presumably go online shortly, the poll is:


Proceeding to a Founding Convention Poll


Question 1 of 11 - Chapter Definition

How many online members do we need to have before the founding convention?

a.) Less than 5,000
b.) 5,000
c.) 7,500
d.) 10,000
e.)  More than 10,000
f.) No preference



Question 2 of 11 - Chapter Definition

For purposes of Question 3, a chapter is a group of members that meets regularly, develops shared commitments, shares experiences, etc., maintains an IOPS chapter web page, and has a membership of at least:

a.) 3
b.) 5
c.) 7
d.) 10
e.) 15
f.)  More than 15
g.) No preference



Question 3 of 11 - Chapter Precondition

How many working chapters should we have in place and operating before the founding convention?
a.) less than 5
b.) 5
c.) 10
d.) 20
e.) 30
f.) 40
g.)  More than 40
h.) No preference

Question 4 of 11 – Gender Diversity Precondition:

How female/male diverse do we need to be overall before the founding convention?

a.) No less than 20% female overall
b.) No less than 30% female overall
c.) No less than 40% female overall
d.) More than 40% female overall
e.) No preference
Question 5 of 11 - Chapter Gender Diversity Precondition

How female/male diverse do IOPS Chapters need to be before they qualify for question 3, above?
a.) No less than 30% female in each chapter
b.) No less than 40% female in each chapter
c.) No less than 50% female in each chapter
d.) No preference



Question 6 of 11 – National Diversity Precondition:

In how many nation states do we need to have active, functioning chapters, before the founding convention?
a.) 5 nation states
b.) 10 nation states
c.) 15 nation states
d.) More than 15
e.) No preference

Question 7 of 11 – Geographical Diversity Precondition:

In how many continents (Continents are: Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Europe, Australia, and Antarctica) do those active, functioning chapters need to be active, before the founding convention?
a.) 2 continents
b.) 3 continents
c.) 4 continents
d.) More than 4
e.) No preference

Question 8 of 11 – Time Frame:
What time frame should we set to reach the above convention preconditions, after which we will have to decide by vote whether to proceed with whatever we have - or extend the campaign - or fail?
a.) 6 months
b.) 1 year
c.) 18 months
d.) 2 years
e.) More than 2 years
f.)  No preference

Question 9 of 11 – Commitments to Founding Convention Planning:

Once the campaign succeeds in reaching ¾ of the way to its agreed preconditions, a Founding Convention Working Group will be established. This will be responsible for organizing the convention including making sure there's enough time for discussion about proposals; collecting, sorting and making all proposals available to all members before the convention; and the practical planning of the convention itself - duration, housing, attendance conditions, means, etc. Candidates will be nominated by the ICC and any IOPS member can also volunteer to be a candidate. A vote will select actual committee members. 
I will participate in electing the Founding Convention Working Group.
a.) Yes
b.) No


Question 10 of 11 – Commitments to Recruitment:

I will commit myself, barring exceptional obstacles, to seriously prioritizing reaching out to new people. This will include explaining IOPS' commitments, guiding people to the IOPS site, and seeking to answer questions people have. My goal is to sign on at least one new member, preferably taking into account the need for diversity in gender, culture, and geography, in the next six months.

a.) Yes

b.) No

Question 11 of 11 – Commitments to Chapter Building:

If I am invited by someone in my local area to attend a meeting seeking to develop ties to establish a local chapter of IOPS, I will do all within reason, given my other commitments, to attend and seek to aid the effort.

 

a.) Yes
b.) No 

Discussion 28 Comments

  • Anarcho com 19th Jan 2013

    Great job! Progress at last! I'll start thinking about my answers immediatly...
    Hopefully results will return fast after closing of any poll.

  • Will Henry Lapinel 19th Jan 2013

    I agree with Anarcho - feels like progress. Very encouraging and exciting news. Thank you Michael and all of the ICC.

  • John Keeley 19th Jan 2013

    Don't people see how ridiculous this is?
    A political group that demands a participatory society where people have a say proportionate to how much the decision affects them only get a say if an unelected group say so.
    In Britain we have an unelected second chamber of 'experts'.
    How can IOPS seriously challenge the undemocratic nature of the House of Lords?
    We don't need the ICC, we simply agree how much support a proposal needs before it's either voted upon or acted upon.

    • Mark Evans 19th Jan 2013

      John - it is a strange approach that we are trying out here - possibly even unique in the history of the left - but it is not ridiculous.

      The problem is that you are criticising the proposed decision-making method for interim IOPS by the standards of IOPS as an up-and-running self-managed organisation. From that point of view things will seem ridiculous.

      Perhaps you will take a fresh look at the proposal and consider it within the context of interim IOPS?

    • Kuan Phillips 20th Jan 2013

      I agree with every word you say, John (in case you were feeling a bit lonely here!) Except I suppose the first line might have been a bit more constructive. I've laid out what I think of this stuff and my alternative in my latest blog "poll proposal". I'll come back with a few more detailed remarks when I get the chance. All the best.

  • Michael Albert 19th Jan 2013

    I doubt most people will think it is ridiculous - and honestly, I suspect most people with a modicum of humility might think twice before asserting that 42 out of 43 ICC members, with a gigantic amount of accumulated experience, hailing from around the world, and with many backgrounds, all acted ridiculously - nor think using such a word is a good way to express your misgivings in any case.

    That aside, what was agreed is in accord with the commitments, and is in accord with what everyone has been talking about.

    Still more important, we have very few chapters - most members rarely visit the site - very few members express themselves online at all and probably no one thinks it is the ideal way to deliberate, probably no one wants to be inundated with requests from every direction to decide everything anyone at all thinks they might like to see decided, and, in any case, since the beginning it has been understood that self management depends on informed participation, and on respecting and fulfilling, as well, the need for diversity and experience. None of these conditions are, as yet, met - so the idea, as it has been all along, is to keep decisions to a minimum until a convention establishes a real organization with real procedures and grassroots involvement.

    My guess is that the main decisions still to be made - other than on a local level where of course none of this has any bearing - will have to do with convention - preconditions, and then with where, when, with what kind of agenda, and so on and so forth.

    I guess we will see.

  • LedSuit ' 19th Jan 2013

    I tend to agree wholeheartedly with Michael here.

    There is a huge difference between an unelected bunch of leaders who know exactly what their role and level of power is within an established political system or any organisation and a fledgling progressive organisation trying to grow strong roots. It is also quite clear what the ICC is for. It only makes uncontroversial decisions. It is used minimally. The reasons are in Michael's third paragraph. I find this paragraph uncontroversial. The ICC is made up of people who I suspect understand and support the idea of self-management and decision making in proportion to how one is affected. I also suspect they do not see themselves as 'leaders' in any sense whatsoever. On browsing over those on the ICC, I find I am familiar with most, trust their input and opinions and have no problem accepting their decisions on uncontroversial matters.

    Further I would suggest that if any blog post posing some issue that required the opinion of members, received the considered opinion of 42 well credentialed progressive thinkers, they could be so lucky! So (in light of Michael's third paragraph) I wonder how representative the 'we' John talks of would be, who "simply agree" on the amount of support a proposal needs.

  • Zane Hannan 20th Jan 2013

    This is definitely progress!

    It might be nice to have a short period between the closure of the poll and its submission to the ICC where the results could be posted online, and members could discuss, in a forum, the results and how we feel about them. This delay should be short, like a week or so, but it would allow group processing and may stimulate interesting ideas which might be useful for the ICC members to be aware of.

    I understand that having a delay may needlessly complicate things, so maybe it should not happen for purely practical reasons. I’m sure there will be much discussion in forums anyway, so while nice, I don’t think it is absolutely necessary in the wider scheme of things. Nice, but very low priority.

    As to the larger discussion here, I do understand and sympathise with John's concerns about the ICC. Since the launch last year, there have been many very stimulating discussions about this all over IOPS in the forums and blogs.

    If anyone is similarly concerned, I strongly suggest you search through the forums to read some of those discussions. Very many brilliant ideas were discussed by very many passionately committed people. There are many truly excellent ideas there which can be taken and developed further amongst members ourselves in our own self-managed groups, even if they cannot as yet be implemented globally within IOPS, often for purely practical reasons. But there is no reason not to set up self-managing groups to try out and experiment with these ideas independently. This is something that IOPS explicitly encourages.

    Practically, from my experience, I have learned that Michael's justifications for the presence of the ICC are quite accurate. As I understand it, the ICC is simply a pragmatic, interim tool. As IOPS grows, the need for and justification of the ICC will diminish, and so the ICC itself, as an unelected body, will inevitably disappear.

    However, the ICC as a temporary practical decision-making body can only be made redundant once there are alternative tools in place through which us normal IOPS members can register our opinions. Most importantly, there must exist a means by which us ordinary members’ opinions can be recorded, processed, and assessed.

    John’s statement about normal member support for proposals and voting is exactly right, and it is, as I understand it, the aim of everyone here. It is an uncontroversial vision. The problem is not with the goal, the problem is with the means. Arriving at that point of total democracy is not an ideological problem, it is simply a practical one.

    To achieve that pure democracy independently of any ICC-type group needs both a body of participating members, and, at least as importantly, a technical tool to enable and process that participation. This new polling tool is an essential means by which this can be achieved, and is thus an instrument which, if successful, will enable the move towards the redundancy of the ICC, and to the realisation of the IOPS vision of complete self-management.

    The best is often the enemy of the good, and I would agree that before this polling tool it was possible to make the argument that there was a serious self-contradiction in the non-participatory nature of some IOPS decisions. Yet while this new procedure is not perfect, it is a significant step in the right direction, and, I hope, genuinely enables increased member participation and empowerment.

    This is a long game we’re playing, and I believe that this seemingly small step of introducing the polling tool is game-changing. I also know that, like life, the consequences are neither predictable nor controllable, and may not be what some desire. Yet the results will be genuine, and will be closer to the difficult, complex, and messy reality of what a self-managing society will be like. It will also be a good laboratory in which to test run the IOPS principles in practice, to see what problems and conflicts arise. (We have already had many of those! ;) )

    I hope that by engaging in the participation enabled by this tool, we can all begin creating and developing practical ways not only to survive the inevitable conflicts and disagreements, but to learn to thrive from them. These survival lessons can be shared amongst all members, thus further enabling the IOPS participatory project to flourish.

    This is my wish, anyway!

    (An aside: I know that this is a separate issue best placed in a separate blog, but I would strongly suggest that we give equal status and respect to the formation of virtual groups and chapters, rather than focusing only on physical face-to-face meetings. For many of us, face-to-face meetings are simply impossible. This could be because of geographical separation in general, but even if members are in the same area, there are still work commitments (for those of us lucky enough to still have work!), and the often prohibitive cost in time and money of travelling to meetings. The virtual is often the only connection some of us have. Those of us lucky enough to be on the connected side of the digital divide, of course! Such groups can be formed on Z-Social, and linked to the IOPS site.)

    • 2nd Feb 2013

      I agree with Zane here, and love the idea of the virtual chapters, (affinity groups of sorts) where big issues can be discussed across oceans. With no less effort to create face-to-face meetings for hands-on change locally, regionally, and internationally.

  • Michael Albert 20th Jan 2013

    Hi Zane, Welcome back. I think your comments are well put - for whatever my assessment may matter.

    On the last point - however - we do have online projects, and they are, as you note, what people make of them. I think it may be very interesting and productive to try and figure out how to have "online chapters." I myself have doubts such a thing can be as productive as face to face chapters, but, maybe they could be better than having nothing of that sort for people who can't meet locally. Perhaps you might form a project to try to hash out what such a thing might look like?

    • Zane Hannan 20th Jan 2013

      Thanks Michael! ;) And of course your assessment matters.

      As to online chapters: I know many members already have online meetings via Skype and other tools, so it may just be a matter of formalising them into actual chapters. When I have time, I'll set up the project. I am actually quite technically ignorant, so if there is anyone out there who is competent, and is attracted by this idea, please take it over and run with it!

    • Jason Chrysostomou 20th Jan 2013

      Zane, you might wanna take a look and add your thoughts on the recent blog about adding instant chat rooms to the site; a feature, which would certainly help communication between interim members who aren't able to meet face to face:

      http://www.iopsociety.org/blog/online-communication-in-iops-is-critical-and-must-be-improved-a-proposal-to-implement-chat-rooms

    • Zane Hannan 20th Jan 2013

      Done!

  • Marlo Pedroso 22nd Jan 2013

    One brief question. Regarding the ICCs thinking on questions of diversity. Why highlight gender, nationality, and even continents, but leave out race? Many of the faces here thus far, (as far as one can tell from pictures), reveal a pretty white group. We could have members from every nation and continent who are all still white.

    I'm assuming this issue has been raised. Michael, or other ICC member, perhaps you can clarify the reasoning for why efforts to attempt a modicum of reflecting the worlds population seems to leave out considerations of race? Or more importantly why the issue isn't even explicitly raised?

  • Michael Albert 22nd Jan 2013

    I think there was no easy way to put it in a question - white? non white? there are dozens of possibilities. No ICC members raised it, I think for that reason. Clearly it is critical... but I think the basic idea is, as we unfold, if we decide preconditions using the poll and start to reach them, we will get better and better on that score, too... and can be more explicit, as well, in time. We are not going to jump from where we are, to having a convention, overnight!...sadly...

    • Marlo Pedroso 23rd Jan 2013

      It's tricky, I agree. And there is a history of "token-izing" people (for lack of better word). But my concern remains, that if we end being a group that is primarily white peeps our culture, concerns, etc. will become alienating to people of color.

      I guess, I just hope that it's being raised and discussed by the ICC. I'm a little shocked that it isn't being raised more frequently on these discussions, but then again we are mostly white men, thus far, so it's not surprising.

      One suggestion as a way to frame the question might be: "We must have this percentage of individuals who identify as being people of color."

      In any case, it's important to keep this in the forefront of our minds. I recall Noel Ignatiev's wisdom on this. He said, to paraphrase: Rather than recruit people of color in primarily white organizations, perhaps you can instead humbly enter in dialogue with organizations that exist in communities of color and inquire as to how you can support them. In this way, over time, trust and solidarity (which has been historically repeatedly ruptured by white activists) can be be built and maybe then they will begin to show more interest in what your organization has to offer.

      Overall, I'm happy to see progress being made with this poll and moving forward!

    • 2nd Feb 2013

      Hello Marlo,
      I agree that if an organization is attempting to bring people together to decide together what our world should be like, then it needs to bring people together.

      I agree we need to focus on making sure that all who agree with the ideals of IOPS as stated thus far, no matter what they look like or identify as, find out about IOPS and are welcomed with open arms into a community that embodies positive values and totally resists the evils of capitalism or any other form of elite rule.

      It is my belief that the best way to do this is to not over-emphasize (as capitalism and it's propaganda does) what race/gender/sexual-preference/nationality someone is, and instead to appeal to their desire to live in a world where all people are treated equally and not as if they have no identity beyond their biology or place of birth.

      This does not have to mean being insensitive to the effects of discrimination and efforts to eradicate it. Quite the contrary! It means assuming that everyone you meet, EVERYONE, wants to live in an egalitarian world. This means talking to them about IOPS, probably after an icebreaker and hearing what they are concerned about in the world, their life, even just their day. This will surprise you! People are ready to talk. What we should not do (though no has suggested it that i know of) is treat people as victims, victimization does not make for participatory democracy. Treating people as fighters on the side Good makes for participation.

      The ruling class engineer racism so that people won't talk. The corporate media and institutions, left and right, put a huge effort into telling us that the important thing about people is their race or gender, sexual-orientation or nationality. The last thing the ruling class want us to realize is that we have more in common with each other, along all those mentioned lines, than we do with people of our same race/gender in the ruling class.

      Discrimination of any kind hurts us all by making it harder to live in an egalitarian society in which our full human potential can be realized. Any form of superiority requires that those deemed 'inferior' be different form those deemed 'superior.' The more different, the more superior the one, and inferior the other. By attempting to convince us that there are 'black' issues, 'women's issues', 'American issues', the ruling class uses nationalism to divide us while posing to represent and champion each 'separate' group. How can one race fight racism? It can't, it can only fight a race war. Only people of different races together can fight racism. Only different races together, aligned by their shared values of equality, solidarity, and democracy, identifying with those values primarily, can defeat the ruling class and create an egalitarian society. People already identify primarily with these values. These values make them human, they represent a belief that what is truly significant about a person is not where they were born, their sexual orientation, or what they look like, but their values, the content of their character. What is lacking is the understanding/belief that millions, billions, of other people feel this way too.

      People are ready to be engaged in a conversation about how the world SHOULD be as opposed to over-analyzing the problems and potential roadblocks. This is what is so important about the VISION. By crafting a vision of what an egalitarian society's underlying principles are, we make a beacon that people of all types, the majority of people, will head towards. Without a vision, people won't approach you, like a store with no sign stating what it sells. You may think the store is out of business, as many people think the effort for revolutionary change is. The vision tells them it isn't gone, and inspires them in spite of the darkness.

      We are HUMAN, Hear us ROAR!

  • Alex of... 22nd Jan 2013

    i can understand some discomfort with having an ICC, as if a predetermined intelligentsia is necessary to protect us from the rabble, or us from ourselves, so to speak.

    on the other hand, there is no criteria for joining IOPS other than the trust that you have joined with genuine intent. without substantive bodies, be it face to face or through online affinity groups, having produced their own methods for decision making, there is no natural process that can be expected to maintain and develop the basic organizational principles in a larger decision making process. is there?

    if, hypothetically, it were put to general vote in the United States, "should we address climate change?" and the majority says no, i am not so happy as that spells doom for our species and many others (i believe). of course, simple majority is not the only basis for decision making (far from), but what if that vote comes at ninety-some percent simply because of intense propaganda, religion and fear of change against overwhelming amounts of evidence to the contrary? evidence by who? scientists we should trust? which ones? why?

    of course, in an egalitarian utopia we don't have corporate media, and we potentially have a closer, integrated relationship with science (among other things), even if we are not ourselves experts in a particular field. just one simplistic example… but to get real for the present, there does exist potential for tyranny of the majority if a culture that transcends such possibilities has not yet been created. it's a bit of a mirror, perhaps with some images to be shattered.

    ok, the ICC is not making earth shaking decisions, we simply want the best, and not enemies. this new process with use of polls may reveal some things as a step, even empower, as mentioned. but three ideas:

    1. perhaps there should be a project on decision making processes. play a little?
    2. what if we experimented with some polling beyond actual decision making, to see what comes up? we could poll the membership to rate which of the six Visionary spheres you focus on the most, or something. could members make their own polls? (of course they could)
    3. to quell concerns, and for basic transparency, could the results of ICC decisions be posted by who voted what, who abstained, and what transpired beyond yes or no? that is, if there were emails back and forth, what was objected to or position altering?

    in conclusion, the only reason i see for an ICC is to question it and create the alternative. (to be redundant perhaps)

    • Michael Albert 23rd Jan 2013

      Hi Alex,

      > 1. perhaps there should be a project on decision making processes. play a little?

      Why not? One need only use the project feature to set one up...and the harder part, then get people to participate...

      > 2. what if we experimented with some polling beyond actual decision making, to see what comes up? we could poll the membership to rate which of the six Visionary spheres you focus on the most, or something. could members make their own polls? (of course they could)

      The decision making decision was about how to use the polls for to move forward on controversial issues - they can certainly be used other ways too - and I believe that is how they are being designed... so this is already in process, I believe...

      > 3. to quell concerns, and for basic transparency, could the results of ICC decisions be posted by who voted what, who abstained, and what transpired beyond yes or no? that is, if there were emails back and forth, what was objected to or position altering?

      Actually, I know it may be hard to believe, but this is already done, without giving names - which in this case doesn't add anything, and wasn't something the folks signed on for. In call cases since the outset - regarding all the decisions of which there have been, I think, maybe four or five - there has been virtually no back and forth that wasn't reported, and which in the handful of times it happened, really, maybe three or four total emails, amounted to almost nothing, in any event. Literally.

      What happens is the question, for a yes no, or abstain response goes to everyone. Regrettably, that has to be done, quite a few times for many people, where some others respond right away. But what is sent out is reported for folks, and what the votes are is reported, and anything beyond that is also reported - but there is almost nothing beyond that. And this is precisely because the things broached for decision are meant to be so completely obvious that everyone, or virtually everyone, will immediately agree...which is just what has happened, so far.

    • Alex of... 25th Jan 2013

      :)

  • Dave Jones 23rd Jan 2013

    I am ready to move forward with this and more importantly, to introduce three new people that I have invited to our IOPS chapter meeting tonight. All of this "interim" stress is moot if we can't set ourselves a high bar and then achieve it.

  • Kuan Phillips 24th Jan 2013

    Hi Michael and everyone. I hope you’re all doing good. I feel that IOPS still has serious internal democracy issues at this time. Here’s where I’m at right now-

    I think it’s good that members are being presented with some questions at last. This is the first time they’ve had a proper say in anything that’s happened in the organisation, as far as I know. The original 3-way choice that was presented in the “Convention Plan..” blog about a month ago was extremely restrictive and the one presented above is a distinct improvement. The membership requirement minimum option has gone down in successive proposals from 7,500 to 5,000 and now to effectively nothing, which is extremely welcome in my view. The only minimum requirement that is restrictive now is the 20% female membership. My estimate is that this requires us to find an extra 100 women members, which is pretty achievable. So if people go for the minimum options and the results form the basis of action, the founding conditions could be met within months.

    I’m not under any illusion that IOPS co-ordinatorism will end completely once the interim phase is over. I’ve been in the participatory movement for several years and PPS-UK wasn’t much of a democracy either, so there seems to be a tendency towards hierarchical control in this movement, that contradicts the rhetoric. However, it can be hoped that if and when the interim phase is declared over, the excuses for undemocratic control will start wearing a bit thin.

    To that end I intend to vote for the minimum requirements in all the questions to the poll. Its a bit annoying that I have to lie on some of the questions, as I want zero conditions on a founding convention. But in this case I think it’s better to lie than to not participate. For the record, I’m not against IOPS choosing to prioritise getting a bigger or more diverse membership, just strongly against this undemocratic interim phase which I see as contradicting the spirit of the movement and rendering us ineffective in gathering said new members. Also, as I’ve said before, but it’s worth saying again, our interim structure clearly contradicts some statements in the side tabs of the website, namely that we will strive to give members a say in decisions in proportion to how much they are affected by them, also that we will be “internally classless”, avoiding “formal or informal decision-making hierarchies” and “monopolies of position” (Structure and Program tab, 2nd section).

    It’s probably impossible to write a poll without revealing some of your own motivations. And this poll doesn’t even attempt to cater to all possible views. Some members who wish to set zero conditions might be discouraged from filling it in, causing their view to be underrepresented in the result - I hope not many do this. Members might also feel the need to “go with the flow” of setting a few conditions somewhere in the middle of the ones listed as there are so many questions about this kind of thing. Also lots of different issues have been allowed to run together in this poll - the timing of a convention, internal democracy, diversity etc. So people might vote against one thing in order to vote for another. My version of the poll, on my last blog attempted to separate these issues the best I could, as well as offering members as wide a range of expression as possible. Although, as I just said, probably no poll can be written in an entirely neutral fashion, including mine.

    My reservations about the wording of the poll notwithstanding, I’m ok to make interpretations based on the results of it, and very glad that it’s happening. I think that a result generally showing minimum conditions on a founding convention can be taken as a sign of lack of support for the interim process, maybe leading us to another poll or vote offering to reduce the requirements further, as those options are not given on the poll. If on the other hand, people vote to set medium or high conditions, I think that this can be interpreted as support for the interim phase. I would also view this as support for hierarchy in IOPS, or at least a lack of serious concern about it. For a lover of democracy, seeing people vote for hierarchy is sad, but something that happens from time to time. If that happens, I’ll accept that IOPS is hierarchical, at least for the time being.

    An argument has been put forward, mainly by Mark Evans, that we have all agreed on the interim process and therefore initiatives for advancing member control at this time should not be pursued. However, I don’t think that members have agreed anything about this, certainly not that the interim process should not be brought to a close at a time of the membership’s choosing, or that reforms should not take place during the interim process to give members a greater say. On the contrary, new members would expect to have a say in proportion to how they are affected, etc. from the start, if they have read the structure and program tab. Anyway, even if there were a clause in our “contracts” saying that we’d agreed to not having a democratic say in shaping the organisation, that would just prove that the people who set up the organisation had made authoritarian rules to deny the members a democratic say, for as long as the elite wish it.

    A last point about the process that has taken place over the last month. I’m getting the impression that you, Michael, have a very central role in what’s happening in the group. You seem to be the go-between between the ICC and the rest of us, you’re also making the proposals, you’re an admin at international level and a member of the ICC. While you have been very accessible to all of us, very polite even when facing hostile comments, and very open to my suggestions, (particularly in your “A Proposal for Proceeding” where you tried to give some of my views a fair hearing), it is still against our principles, rightly so in my view, to have one person being the focus of such an informal hierarchy. There are many ways that we can spread out these roles to others, e.g. we can appoint rotating facilitators etc. There’s no reason why you can’t start making moves in that direction right away and I think it would be very helpful if you can.

    • Michael Albert 25th Jan 2013

      Hi Kuan -
      I am going to answer at some length… but I have to say, at the outset, that since IOPS is already on a particular path toward a convention, I do think expending a whole lot of time on debating it further is far less important than trying to get people to relate to it when it officially gets going - thus voting in the poll, pursuing fulfillment of its mandates, etc. I don't know how many members will register their opinion in the upcoming poll. But that number is going to be very important, regardless of what views they actually register.

      That said, I don't understand why when some folks indicate that having an unelected ICC isn't having self management they don't also note that that the ICC knows that, and thus does virtually nothing. It has made maybe five decisions, to this point, or under one a month. All were direct outgrowths of the commitments, were totally uncontroversial with the ICC members, and, had we had a self managing structure, were overwhelmingly likely to have been totally uncontroversial with the membership, as well.

      In other words, why don't folks who are worried about the interim situation at least acknowledge that all those on the ICC, and presumably all others who favor its minor role as well, agree on the non self managing nature of having an ICC - and opt for it simply in the interim…as being the best albeit flawed interim option?

      Regrettably, overlooking that basis for people's views leads to some troubling sentiments being expressed.

      "IOPS co-ordinatorism" - is a pretty heavy claim, if you think about it - especially when you attach it to a post by me - given that I am the author of the anti coordinatorism stance. Well, "IOPS coordinatorism" would be a situation wherein a group inside IOPS, by virtue of its structural position in IOPS, monopolized information, skills, and access to real decision making power which it could exercise to its own lasting benefit, and preserve and extend as it chose.

      While we don't have self management in interim IOPS - again, a point no one disputes - the negative coordinatorist situation you think you are combatting is also absent. Indeed, I would say doesn't even remotely exist - for diverse reasons. On the one hand, any group in IOPS can establish a chapter and then function in a self managing way. Locally is where real decisions, affecting members real daily actions and options, could be taken. Indeed, I would say everyone who rightly bemoans not yet having self management ought to be working toward local chapters as the real basis for real self management.

      More, the ICC is publicly committed to self destruction at the time of a convention - and therefore to holding no lasting position at all. Further, the ICC can't, by its definition as a body that will dissolve, but also due to its having zero inclination to decide anything that is even controversial as well as having structurally agreed not to do so, much less having no means to pursue its own advancement, cannot benefit itself. Even if it tried, something I think is utterly unlikely, everyone else would go ballistic, rightly, at the first sign of any such serious steps. Imagine, for example, something that would actually be serious. Suppose the ICC decided, unanimously, that it should receive payments out of dues that everyone must now pay, and that it should exist forever, and that it should appoint its own new members, etc.

      Your idea that "there seems to be a tendency towards hierarchical control in this movement, that contradicts the rhetoric" is not a priori bad to be concerned to look into - but to make such claims while making no reference to all of the above factors - and while ignoring the low degree of participation - is, I think, not so good to do. If the people who are highly engaged, and who are doing things, are, also, and even mainly, working to get others to do things as well, and working to forestall the remotest chance of themselves having some lasting or excessive structurally enforced say, then it doesn't make much sense to call them hierarchic actors.

      Put differently, if every act of initiative and, yes, leadership by example and intensity of effort, is a magnet for claims of elitism or hierarchy - it is crippling to initiative and leadership. If, in contrast, the exercise of initiative and leadership, sadly, so far, by a relative few, in turn causes others to become steadily more involved and active too - then something positive can occur. I suspect that would be far more likely if folks celebrated initiative and urged each other and others on to new endeavors. If the few who take initiative now, and more who do so over time, have no way to themselves parlay their early extra experiences and activity and thus possibility of informed insights into lasting power, that is pretty good - even given that we are operating way short of really good conditions.

      I have to say, I am tired of phrases like this one - "the excuses for undemocratic control will start wearing a bit thin" not that such a phrase would be illegitimate if it was offered having given attention to the actual situation - but because typically it isn't offered having given attention to the actual situation. That is to say, every time such views arise - they address one aspect (that we don't yet have self management, etc.) which is true and a negative and also agreed to by everyone - and they ignore pretty much all other aspects (such as that we limit decisions to the uncontroversial and try to grow and diversify structures and experience and thus prepare the way for real self management), and also ignore the view that the reason we don't yet have self management is not some monopoly on power that is being abused, but, instead, that we do not have sufficient activity, organization, effort, experience, breadth of membership, and level of membership… etc. to sustain self management.
      So what is the solution to the generally agreed lack of self management?

      It depends what one thinks the cause is.

      On one side, the solution offered is to work toward an effective convention that involves a large membership that is diverse, coherent and committed, and organized into chapters that are able to bring their significant operational experiences to national and international deliberations, rather than a convention involving overwhelmingly only isolated individuals who barely have contact with anyone else - and, if they do at all, not face to face, but online.

      Another approach is indicated by your announcement that "I intend to vote for the minimum requirements in all the questions to the poll," presumably so that the currently existing membership with the current level of organization, which is ready to carry off an effective and inspiring convention and then act as an effective and self managing organization, can just get on with it, already.

      Okay, the poll will reveal what people feel. So we will see. But, here is the thing, Kuan - I don't say to you, at this point, that your view is (in my opinion) so utterly contrary to a serious commitment to building a serious and capable international organization, with national branches, and with local chapters, that it must mean that you want to go from the current state of our lacking self management but no one abusing that fact, to having an online organization in which there is some kind of formal democracy but a few well known people (absent chapters) can easily dominate outcomes, and, worse, where the whole organization is so small, organizationally weak at the grassroots, and U.S. centric, as to be a joke as an International offering. That would be nasty to assert - not knowing you, not knowing your broader thinking, etc. - and would be not true, I hope. Rather, as a fellow member, and with you and I both having agreed to the IOPS commitments, I instead assume that your stance favoring no conditions, just means you sincerely think that that is the best way to move forward - as compared to my thinking, say, that we need quite a few people, chapters, etc.

      This difference in our view of each other is what I am addressing. You imply that those who have a view different than yours are ill motivated - however gently you imply it - because you are sure their preference have negative implications and deduce they must therefore want those negative implications. As compared to my deciding that you are't badly motivated, but that we simply disagree about circumstances, possibilities, dynamics, implications, etc.

      So, please, let's enter a new era in which we don't attribute bad motivations - either implicitly or explicitly - especially by judging stances without even acknowledging their meanings and explanation. This, of course, should apply in IOPS, but far more widely, as well.

      You write: "it’s worth saying again, our interim structure clearly contradicts some statements in the side tabs of the website, namely that we will strive to give members a say in decisions in proportion to how much they are affected by them, also that we will be “internally classless”, avoiding “formal or informal decision-making hierarchies” and “monopolies of position” (Structure and Program t ab, 2nd section)."

      Okay, that is your view, fine. But I say, in contrast, that what we have doesn't fulfill self management, and many of the aims of the commitments, but also that we don't have a working post convention IOPS. What we have doesn't fulfill our desires, because we are unable, as yet, to fulfill them. Look at the commitments fully. The organization is conceived to be built on face to face relations in local chapters. We don't have that. It is meant to be able to give real sway to minority viewpoints. We don't have that. Since, until now, there are no decisions being taken that impact the lives of members in any significant way - nothing, for example, that imposes actions, etc. - the "make no controversial choices" approach basically eliminates people not impacting decisions that affect them - but also falls short of facilitating people having a self managing say on all matters that we could be addressing (but are not, as yet).

      Now we move on to using polls - as to the poll not allowing people to opt for "Zero preconditions" well, I'd have to look again… but you know, if we had zero preconditions from the start of IOPS - it would have meant that I, or I and a few others, could have decided the entire structure, with rules and all, for every level of the hoped for organization - and set its agenda, and on and on. And I would wager there is not one person in IOPS - most of all me and probably you, Kuan - who thinks that that would have been an appropriate way to go. Which means we all agree on the idea of having preconditions for establishing a full, serious, working organization…
      You write, "If on the other hand, people vote to set medium or high conditions, I think that this can be interpreted as support for the interim phase. I would also view this as support for hierarchy in IOPS, or at least a lack of serious concern about it." When you say that, well, I have to tell you that I think it is an incredible and unwarranted leap. It requires that you either ignore, or discount to nothing, that actual reasons people give, and their logic - not to say their history and experience.

      For example, I am one of the members who wants medium or high conditions - and if you think that means I support having a hierarchy in a real working IOPS - or even in any serious degree in an interim one - well, I would say that you need to rethink that. This is the crux of what I am writing you about. I am sorry to be blunt about it - but while you may not intend it or may not even see it, your's is a formulation that says that all that I say, or that anyone who favors "medium or high" preconditions says, about their motivations and aims, is a lie - unless it corresponds to what you say about our views. You know the truth - which is, we "support hierarchy in IOPS or at least lack serious concern about it."

      We who favor having a longer interim period with more preconditions, you deduce - despite our words to the contrary - do so because we support hierarchy or at least are not concerned about it. What isn't the case, apparently, in your view, is what we say, which is, that we want a viable and worthy self managing organization and feel that a convention with rather low attendance, with only a few small chapters that could offer insights based on their having been locally explored and deliberated, and instead having nearly exclusively at large cyber members with little IOPS shared experience, is a recipe for disaster, in addition to having nothing much to do with real self management.

      You write "For a lover of democracy, seeing people vote for hierarchy is sad, but something that happens from time to time. If that happens, I’ll accept that IOPS is hierarchical, at least for the time being." I think you ought to revamp your view so that it can accommodate the possibility that people might not just love democracy - but even real self management - and yet honestly disagree with you about steps to bring it about under difficult circumstances. What your words suggest, instead, is that if someone favors a path other than the one you favor - then they must also not favor democracy and be voting for hierarchy...
      When you say, "new members would expect to have a say in proportion to how they are affected, etc. from the start, if they have read the structure and program tab" I say fine. Locally, it should be happening. Chapters should be forming and self managing. Internationally - it is a big mistake - I would have to say - to think that we have a means to facilitate self management in a very active way, much less that we have a membership ready and broad enough, and with sufficient ties and shared experience to enact it, again, in an active way. And that is why I, for example, favor that we move toward a convention - and in the meantime we keep international decisions to a minimum - actually, to virtually none - save those that simply must be taken, and, if any of those are controversial, that we use the polling means established.

      You write: "Anyway, even if there were a clause in our “contracts” saying that we’d agreed to not having a democratic say in shaping the organisation, that would just prove that the people who set up the organisation had made authoritarian rules to deny the members a democratic say, for as long as the elite wish it."

      This is, again, you ignoring people's actual stated reasons, the actual situation, and the actual actions, to deduce bad aims. It is as if all the obstacles aren't there, and the only impediment to a wonderful level of collective and participatory self management is some small group that doesn't want it to occur. Instead, others of us think, rather differently, that if we had been deciding the organization's more detailed structure and methods and program - internationally - up to now, or even if we did it now up to a convention - without having chapter experience to consult, with having local practice to learn from, without having broader membership, good means of face to face deliberations and explorations, more reasons for people to even participate, etc. - the outcome would most likely overwhelmingly represent the will of a relatively few prominent people. It would be nothing like real democracy or self management even for those who are now abroad, much less for those who will be aboard but are not yet, and, in any event, it would lack wisdom arising from shared experience. More, for almost all countries represented in IOPS, decisions would have been taken about what their national organizations and local organizations would look like, and would do - with participation by a handful of people in the country, each acting alone… and clearly horrendously outweighed by folks in other countries - in the UK, say, and especially the U.S.

      Okay, so, taking seriously issues of self management - you arrive at the view that having no conditions is the best stance.

      I arrive at another view - that, actually, much more stringent conditions than those in the poll would be best - but that they are apparently beyond our means or inclinations, so we will have to settle for less.

      You deduce that those you disagree with no conditions must be harboring a desire to preserve or extend some kind of hierarchy or at the very least least don't worry about doing so - so that unlike you, their claim to care about the IOPS commitments must be false or shallow.

      I instead deduce that those who want no or few conditions simply see the possibilities and prospects differently than I do, and are, perhaps, to the extent I try to explain the difference at all, not really noticing the actual implications of having a convention, say, tomorrow, with the current composition, the current means of defining it, the current level of awareness and experience and participation it would engender, etc.
      Finally - "a last point about the process that has taken place over the last month. I’m getting the impression that you, Michael, have a very central role in what’s happening in the group."

      Sadly - at least in my view - my views have had far less impact than I would have hoped. I prioritized as my desire, from the beginning, each member reaching out to other people to become members, and becoming adept at doing so, via developing confidence with presenting the commitments, etc. I don't think many acted strongly on that, honestly. Some, but not others. I prioritized as my desire, from the beginning, that outreach should try to correct gender imbalance. Again, I don't think many acted on that. Some, but not others. I prioritized as my desire, members trying to form local chapters, and also reporting their efforts for others to see the pluses and minuses of their experiences. Again, I think some related to that, but not most.

      You continue, "You seem to be the go-between between the ICC and the rest of us, you’re also making the proposals, you’re an admin at international level and a member of the ICC."

      All that is true. And to make your case stronger, you might have added that I wrote the basis for the commitment documents, ages ago. I designed and initiated the Z Poll that led to the initial steps. I travelled around the world pushing the content that morphed into the endeavors, and also spurred many of the local chapters. I got Z folks to agree to use our resources to help create the site. I got Z to use our outreach tools to attract most of the initial membership, using our mailings, even the whole of our top page, at times. I talked lots of the ICC folks into being willing to relate. And so on. That you perhaps don't even know most of that is because I have no separate position or different rights, and the fact that I did something, or that someone else did it, is of far less consequence than that it happened at all.

      But now let's examine a bit more. I got IOPS going, by a number of steps, so to speak, and attracted lots of folks into it, etc., meaning I took the initiative to do those things - and, being at Z, had a means to communicate and have some success at it. Of course, had anyone else from some other outreach venue made such an effort, or had lots of others from various venues done so, then I and Z would have pushed their undertakings, following them rather than going first, or being one among many doing it, rather than just one - as we did with an earlier effort at creating a different, but important, international organization. So, should we have not done the things we have. Or should others have done more?

      As to being the intermediary to the ICC - you are formally correct again. But why is it so? Any ICC member can at any time do what I do about once every two months, I think is the pace - which is to write to the other members with an issue that has percolated up in discussions to decide. None have done that. It takes time, not least because getting replies is like herding cats. Sadly, also, if they did it, those ICC members who are less known would have a hard time getting replies. And while those ICC members who are more known, could get replies, easier than me, in some cases, they prefer to leave it to me to keep doing it. Partly, they trust that I won't do too much, and won't violate the agreement of non controversial issues only. Partly they also don't worry about my somehow turning this rather onerous responsibility into a cache of power, because everyone knows that the decisions are straightforward, uncontroversial, and unoriented to anything impacting the future position of the ICC, or me, since that is defined already.

      Then you add, "While you have been very accessible to all of us, very polite even when facing hostile comments, and very open to my suggestions, (particularly in your “A Proposal for Proceeding” where you tried to give some of my views a fair hearing), it is still against our principles, rightly so in my view, to have one person being the focus of such an informal hierarchy."

      And if you see it that way, fine. Good to say so. But of course, this so-called hierarchy not only gains no benefit, it does nothing - other than that which has to get done, would not otherwise get done, and would be of virtually no dispute at all. The commitments, to which people agree upon joining IOPS, of course do a whole lot - as that is the glue that defines the organization, so far.

      You write: "There are many ways that we can spread out these roles to others, e.g. we can appoint rotating facilitators etc. There’s no reason why you can’t start making moves in that direction right away and I think it would be very helpful if you can."


      This is not so obvious, in the real world. If we had serious chapters, sure, it could be done. But without them, it is not so obvious, at all. But, more, I would say, if you thought about it longer - you MIGHT come to see that what you desire is precisely what I have been trying to do - but at a real level, rather than just at the level of appearance. For me, real influence in the organization - not just appearance - especially once the organization is itself real in the sense of having real daily operations, program, etc. - will derive from local chapters which have real structure and program and thus have real practical experience with IOPS possibilities upon which to base their thoughts and proposals - so I urge people to do that.

      And since I am not in a local chapter, by the way, and probably won't be for some time, given all my involvements, and my preference, as well, that would elevate others to a structural position that I believe would warrant for them more respect in deliberations than I should get. For example, envision a convention without chapters. In that case, imagine that I or any well known member gets up, known to pretty much everyone there, and speaks, based on our various experiences - not our IOPS experiences, most likely, or in my case maybe somewhat, but whatever. Now imagine someone who is unknown does the same thing.

      Okay, now envision a convention with serious working chapters in attendance. Imagine I or any well known non chapter member gets up and speaks. Now imagine someone who is unknown gets up and speaks, but is from a chapter and makes his or her case based on the actual experiences and deliberations of that real working chapter utilizing exactly the ideas that are being discussed, and having other members of it present, as well. The difference ought to be evident.

      Now consider even conceiving and preparing for a convention, finding a place, doing the work of housing, developing an agenda, etc. How is all that going to happen, without chapters?

      I will add one more point, which is that more broadly, in my view, real success for IOPS will come from outreach and communications, which is why I urge people on to becoming adepts at and doing both. Real ability to participate and influence and implement decisions will arise, however, from people having a powerful and flexible and accessible conceptual framework and habits for dealing with analysis of immediate circumstances and the world, for offering and refining and advocating vision, and for developing and refining and utilizing strategic and tactical insights.

      If that is so, then far from trying to monopolize the tools of power - so to speak - which would be a coordinatorish type choice - I have explicitly worked hard (with four other members) to set out, as best I could, what I take to be those analytic, visionary, and strategic conceptual tools in a set of three books, made as accessible as we could, and to even offer an online means to explore and enlarge on them.

      So far, however, a relative handful of IOPS members have even gotten copies of those books. At the absolute high end, it would be about 10%, and it could be quite a bit less. And who knows how many are taking them seriously, and trying to move further still toward a coherent viewpoint able to inform real choices and actions? To me, that fact is very disconcerting.

      Now you may read that comment and think to yourself - how egocentric. And yes, that could be why I hold the view. But, to test that possibilities, I ask myself, for example, if I was in IOPS but far more peripherally than I am now in it - so let's say the project had begun by initiatives from Red Pepper in the UK, or from Il Manifesto in Italy, or what have you - and that it had progressed for a time, and it came to look as it now does, and it was moving forward, slowly, as it now is, and I was just another member somewhat but not too engaged, and then five very active members from four countries offered up three short accessible books - on theory, vision, and strategy respectively - meant to convey their view of a conceptual toolbox of insights needed for and sufficient to tackling the problems to be confronted by such an organization, though of course also meant to be refined, augmented, and thus improved over time, what would I do?



      Well, despite forty years of political experience, despite having published twenty books of my own on the same matters, despite having published a gazillion articles of my own, despite having published ten times as many books and 200 times again as many articles by other people, despite decades of involvement in related endeavors - and thus despite whatever accumulated knowledge I might have managed to imbibe that might be repeated in the books - so that their content would not be entirely new to me - nonetheless, I would have gotten them instantly, set aside all other reading, and found as much time as I could in a busy schedule, to read them, if possible engaging with the authors and with others about the content, trying to review them to bring them to wider attention, etc.

      Okay, that's me. But maybe it says something, just a little bit, about what real participation might include and what real self management may entail, and what kind of level of real participation may be needed to have a self managing international organization built on self managing national branches and self managing local chapters.

    • Kuan Phillips 27th Jan 2013

      Hi Michael. Thank you very much for your reply. I appreciate the chance to debate these points with you. You made many points in your posting and I’ll respond to the most sensitive ones here, to try to clear the air, and respond to the other equally important points in another posting as soon as I get the chance.

      I’m sorry that you and I, Michael, have “got off on the wrong foot” a little in this debate, as you now seem to have a strong impression that I think the worst of your motivations, and the motivations of others. Being stuck on a lower rung of the hierarchy in a supposedly egalitarian organisation is a solidarity-sapping experience for me, but I, like you, am committed to refraining from turning any frustration I might have into speculation about the motivations of other members. I hope my track record on this site attests to this restraint. Such speculation is, I think, counterproductive to useful debate, and even constructive thinking, and I hope that the discussion can continue to be free from this, as it generally has been.

      Unfortunately, at one point in my last posting, I speculated about a future time in the organisation when, in my words, the “excuses will be wearing a bit thin”. The word “excuse” implies some sort of deception, so I must say sorry to you for making this remark, and promise to redouble my efforts to avoid this kind of language in future.

      You also claim that I ascribe bad motivation to others at 2 other points in my posting. The first is where I interpret medium to high preconditions being chosen in the poll to signify “support for hierarchy in IOPS, or at least a lack of serious concern about it” on the part of IOPS members. Here I think I am guilty of labelling people’s attitudes in a way that they might not like, using terminology which reflect my own strong anti-hierarchist views and views about IOPS (for me IOPS has a serious hierarchy worthy of serious concern). However, I don’t think I implied (and I don’t believe) that people who are neutral or positive about hierarchy are necessarily dishonest or have bad motivation. They mostly don’t describe themselves as hierarchists, admittedly, but this may simply be because there are very few explicit anti-hierarchists around with which to contrast themselves rather than due to dishonesty. I also believe that they tend to inflict needless pain on others, but may do this due to an overestimation of the practical benefit or necessity of hierarchies rather than bad motivations.

      I accept that in talking about people’s “lack of serious concern” I was speculating about the potential poll-completers’ motivation or beliefs. But in the context of gaining information from an opinion poll I think this is acceptable. And my strong labelling of these people’s views was also made mainly for the purpose of committing myself to accepting whatever choice they come to make in this poll, avoiding words that might give me leeway to deny their verdict in future.

      Lastly, on this point, there seems to be some misunderstanding caused by my use of the name “IOPS” to mean our group both now and after the interim stage (sorry about my loose use of terminology here, but using “interim IOPS” every time seems cumbersome). I wasn’t assuming anything about people’s opinion of IOPS after the interim stage in this instance, as you suggest.

      The other point where you accused me of ascribing bad motivation to others was in the last line in my second-last paragraph, which read "Anyway, even if there were a clause in our “contracts” saying that we’d agreed to not having a democratic say in shaping the organisation, that would just prove that the people who set up the organisation had made authoritarian rules to deny the members a democratic say, for as long as the elite wish it." I accept that to say "denying" rather than "to deny"(implying and antidemocratic motivation) would have been less of a logical leap. However, this was a scenario that I made clear was not the case, where IOPS is more authoritarian (along the lines of Mark’s claims) than it actually is. So I was making no claims about IOPS members’ actual behaviour or motivation there.

      Anyway, I hope that has helped a little. I welcome your raising of these issues and feel free to come back to me on these points or raise similar points again in future if you think it’s appropriate. I apologise again for some of the words I used and will post a response to your other points, as I said at the top, as soon as I can.

    • Mark Evans 26th Jan 2013

      Kuan writes - "new members would expect to have a say in proportion to how they are affected, etc. from the start"

      However, if we go to the About section of the site (which, I assume, is what anyone thinking of joining IOPS would do) we can see that "Currently, IOPS is in an interim stage, and by joining IOPS you become an interim member."

      Now, if we follow the link to Interim Committee (which, again, seems to be the thing to do if interested in joining IOPS) we also see that "The people listed below have constituted an IOPS Interim Consultative Committee available for decisions about interim choices." and that "The logic is a belief that serious deicsions must await more members, more experience with chapters and program, and more methodology suited to self management - where the latter will be set by a founding convention. The ICC, in other words, is, as the name implies, interim, not optimal, not a model for the future, but suitable for the current moment."

      So it seems to me that "new members would expect to have a say" only if they have not had a serious look at IOPS before joining. I would also like to point out that there is a pre-membership forum for people, like Kuan, who "still have any questions or concerns before joining".

      I would suggest that it is more appropriate for him to take his issues there.

  • Alex of... 24th Jan 2013

    hi back Michael...

    i was going to make a little response to yours under that above, but just reading Kuan's post, so i'm posting at the end as i think i might integrate something. thank you for your thoughts!

    definitely agree about difficulties with participation. myself, i am finding no time right now to apply to two projects i would like to, though, lack of participation in general is not always about time for everybody. suffice to say, i was not personally planning on starting a project on decision making at the moment, but do see it as a worthy subject to be explored in depth, and present as at least encouragement for those feeling very strongly about the ICC and decision making, as an option for study with possible templates we can all benefit from.

    i agree with Zane, one might want to start with some of the existing conversations. i feel like i saw a consolidated list once, maybe by Lambert.

    i also think that some patience is needed. there is a bit of anxiety i sense about moving past an interim period as much as over possible hierarchical threats, guilty myself at times in interpretation. my concluding comment above is not meant to be a 'dis', but a recognition of the difficulty of creating an egalitarian culture out of the raw materials of hierarchy.

    let's say, i get a few people together and buy a 100 acres and set forth some rules about our egalitarian sustainable nature, and then open residence to the public as an attempt to prove what the world could be. first off, we decided some rules from the start. then, new people came. they said they agreed with us, and part of that was that we all have a say, and now a subculture of new residents wants to have SUV's on our land. but that was against what our general understanding of what sustainability was, though not specifically defined. do we then kick them out, as if, no, you are not welcome in our model for a new all inclusive society? next we learn to have rules to screen and become an isolated little vanguard, or we open the gates and find ourselves overrun with more dinner guests than farmers.

    but that's black and white. consider intentional communities. you set rules based on universal principles that are largely opposed to the current system of exploitation, but natural on a human level. you want members that already recognize those principles, so the community can thrive, and you want to encourage awakening. with creation of that, you can branch out to other similar communities, make more, and prove it is a valid alternative. but you can't get there without controlling the gate from the start, can you? (yes, you can) even though you don't want to and control is a downward spiral. there is a balance toward change. it must be alive, adaptable, humbly aware of its shortcomings and playful. the gate then becomes less about control and more about presentation and relationship.

    i live in a large city. consider for a moment how many people in such a place are ready to talk about all this. really, whether that means a suit or a crackhead. you are right Kuan, nobody has agreed on shit. i like your insights and i implore you to make them into substance. it is my general feeling that chapters and online groups can form foundations of decision making, but there are many things to think about. i don't really see that the ICC is making decisions because it doesn't effect me, or really anything. i see the ICC more as a symbol that reflects what needs to be played with. so let's create something.

  • Lambert Meertens 2nd Feb 2013

    Question 1 has the same description ("Chapter Definition") as Question 2. But unlike Q2, it is not concerned with chapters at all. Shouldn't that be "Number of Members Precondition"?

  • Michael Albert 2nd Feb 2013

    Yes, of course....big typo...