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IOPS Non-member Survey Results

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This blog was co-authored by Lambert Meertens and Jane Johnson. 


The survey to investigate why people sympathetic to the aims of IOPS might choose not to join is now complete.  The results of the first 100 responses have been analysed and a full report can be found in the Resources section of the website.  You can also read our previous related blogs: Non-member survey - very preliminary results and Non-Member Survey - Update.


The survey revealed some striking results. Although not something we set out to investigate, the respondents group was found to have a severe lack of diversity.  This lack of diversity was particularly pronounced in regards to geographic diversity (much more severe than gender diversity) as demonstrated by the following charts showing statistics based on the respondents’ geographic locations.




The dominance of Anglophony and the high preponderance of respondents from countries rated “Very high” in the Human Development Index issued by the United Nations Development Programme are both mirrored in the IOPS membership. For charts relating to the other personal demographic statistics of the respondents (gender; age; level of education; experience in activism) please refer to the report.

Another striking result relates to the five attitudinal questions (Q5–9) on page two of the survey.  Below is a reminder of these questions in which respondents were asked to indicate their level of agreement with the statement by selecting from five options (Strongly agree; Agree; Neither agree nor disagree; Disagree; Strongly disagree).   

Q5. The world is suffering from many problems: poverty, hunger, war, ecological disasters, racism, economic injustice, and so on. The global economic system is based on greed and serves the powerful. But the situation is not hopeless; if enough people who reject the current unjust system join forces to build another world, together we will succeed.

Q6.  After reading the organizational description as set out in the Mission, Vision and Structure & Program documents, I have a good understanding of the goals, values and visionary commitments of IOPS.

Q7.  If the IOPS vision is realized, the world will be a better place.

Q8. IOPS has the potential to unite the many positive initiatives around the world, molding them into a powerful and effective force.

Q9. I can make a meaningful contribution by joining IOPS

Since Questions 5 through 9 were designed to correspond to a “stage” model, this allowed us to simplify the results of these questions to a single score.  To calculate the scores we simplified the responses by combining the two response options indicating agreement and also combining the response options indicating lack of agreement (“neither agree nor disagree” was included in the lack of agreement group).   A score between 0 and 5 was allocated to each respondent depending on the location in the sequence of questions where the last agreement came (irrespective of the answers to the preceding questions).  Thus, a respondent who did not agree with any of the five questions scored 0, while a respondent who agreed with all of them scored 5.  A respondent who agreed with Question 7 but disagreed with Questions 8 and 9 scored 3 points.  For an explanation of why scores were calculated in this way please refer to the report.   

The stage model, underlying the design of this survey, can be viewed as a “survival” test, in which participants are subjected to a sequence of tests. Participants failing the test drop out; those passing proceed to the next test. The scores can therefore be considered in terms of “drop–out stages” where, for example a score of 3 corresponds to a drop out on Question 7. The results are illustrated in the “survival flow diagram” below.


The flow diagram shows a surprisingly high outflow on Question 9. Why do respondents who believe that realizing the IOPS vision will make the world a better place and that IOPS has the potential to unite initiatives around the world into a powerful and effective force, indicate that they see no meaningful role in IOPS for themselves? Among the many possible reasons, we singled out two that present themselves in the comments left by respondents with Question 9. To read about these reasons please refer to the report in the Resources section of the website. In the report you can also learn about other findings revealed by the survey and read many comments left by respondents, including criticisms of IOPS and suggestions for how they think it can be improved.

The report finishes with a number of conclusions, based on the findings of the survey, conclusions that we very much hope will find some follow-up.  We furthermore think that some of the findings may also be useful for a critical examination of how the IOPS experiment has been faring thus far.

Discussion 93 Comments

  • Fred Curran 29th Jul 2014

    Thank you both so much for this wonderful work. The conclusions you reach in your report are important and hopefully this data gathering and analysis will help to move our organization forward. Do you feel your last conclusion might be the best way to begin moving forward, in itself maybe addressing the first and second conclusions, and possibly clarifying the third.

    • Jane Johnson 31st Jul 2014

      Thank you Fred too for your excellent work organizing the live talks. If I had more time and energy I would try to participate, I do hope more people will get involved in them. As for the conclusions, I think the last conclusion would certainly be a good way to begin moving forward and would likely help to address the first conclusion. However, I doubt whether this alone will be enough to make a significant impact on the underrepresentation of members in the developing world. I think to achieve this is going to require a much more concerted effort.

    • Lambert Meertens 31st Jul 2014

      We have to start somewhere and addressing one issue may make it easier to address another. If we can convey our enthusiasm for the IOPS project through the website and make it clear that IOPS is for everyone, because everyone can contribute and everyone counts, it will make it easier to inspire people to join. And if it is easier to inspire people to join, it will become easier to begin to address the imbalances in the IOPS project. But I agree with Jane that a much more specific and concerted effort will be needed
      to have a noticeable impact there.

  • Johannes 29th Jul 2014

    Fantastic work!

    In the report I read your section on «Significance and salience» in which you «leave it to the reader to assess whether this appears significant or not». I'm curious if you yourself think the results are representative of «people sympathetic to the aims of IOPS» generally (ie. there was no sampling bias)?

    • Jane Johnson 31st Jul 2014

      Thank you Johannes. We are confident that the results are representative of people sympathetic to the aims of IOPS. As mentioned in the report, this is confirmed by the amount of agreement (57 Strongly agree; 28 Agree) with Question 7 (If the IOPS vision is realized, the world will be a better place). Only 2% of respondents selected "strongly disagree" for this question and none selected "disagree" (the rest answered "neither agree nor disagree"). It is also consistent with the relatively high proportion of respondents who have experience in activism (58%). And it is reflected in the numerous comments left by respondents, many of which (despite the criticisms) demonstrate a high level of sympathy towards IOPS. In particular, we believe that the results show that a major issue holding people sympathetic to the aims of IOPS back from joining is that we do not succeed in making clear how everyone can contribute to the IOPS project.

    • Johannes 31st Jul 2014

      Thanks Jane! That's great to hear. And I certainly agree that we should make it easier for people sympathetic to IOPS to participate in whichever manner they prefer.

      Maybe I wasn't clear enough though. I actually wanted to know whether or not you think there could have been a sampling bias.

    • Lambert Meertens 31st Jul 2014

      Apart from the one we explicitly mentioned? Being sympathetic to the aims of IOPS is not a binary property but a fluid scale. If we take "sufficiently sympathetic to take the time to do the survey and supply us the information we are seeking" as the decisive criterion, then the answer is, obviously, yes. What is actually more important is whether the results equally apply to people who share the vision of IOPS so much that we would like them to join us. We cannot sample from that group, but if we could, some of the percentages would almost surely come out differently. But I have no reason to suspect that they as a group they would have characteristics that are so wildly different from what we saw in the survey that we would have come to different conclusions, so also then the answer to that question is yes.

    • Lambert Meertens 31st Jul 2014

      By "yes", I mean answering "yes" to the question whether the results are representative of people sympathetic to the aims of IOPS generally.

    • Johannes 3rd Aug 2014

      Yes, apart from the one explicitly mentioned Lambert, which is why I asked explicitly if the «results are representative of «people sympathetic to the aims of IOPS» generally».

      You wrote «If we take "sufficiently sympathetic to take the time to do the survey and supply us the information we are seeking" as the decisive criterion, then the answer is, obviously, yes.»

      I disagree. In countries other than the Netherlands, England and Austria people actually have to pay for internet access by the hour (or likely much smaller amounts of time). So, there could be people who are «sufficiently sympathetic to take the time to do the survey» but simply cannot afford it. I actually know of such people. All I wanted to know is whether or not you thought of such sampling biases and the like, and if so, how you would estimate their impact on the results.

    • Lambert Meertens 5th Aug 2014

      Of course there was a selection bias. Only people with access to the Internet were able to participate. That by itself already introduces a selection bias. Literacy and knowledge of English were also required. And people with lower socioeconomic status appear to be underrepresented – which is presumably not caused solely by their generally being less sympathetic to our aims.

      Let me be more explicit in how I see this by breaking it down into three questions-cum-replies.

      * Do I think we would have found essentially the same results if we could somehow have avoided these selection biases? I don't know. Of course there will be some differences, but how important would these have turned out to be? Another question I can't answer.
      * Do I have specific reasons to assume these differences would have been relatively unimportant? No, I don't. All I can say is that what I have generally found is that – once you get used to culturally based differences in how people interact and communicate – people everywhere appear to be rather more the same underneath than what you'd think at first sight. But that might not extend to the issues raised in the survey.
      * Do I have specific reasons to suspect these differences would have been dramatic? No, I have no information available that would cause me to suspect that.

    • Jane Johnson 31st Jul 2014

      Hi Johannes, the sampling bias that Lambert is referring to above ("the one we explicitly mentioned") can be found at the bottom of page 3 in the Introduction section of the report.

    • Jane Johnson 31st Jul 2014

      I should have said say "referring to below" (I thought my comment would be posted after Lambert's!)

    • Jane Johnson 31st Jul 2014

      Oh! It turns out my comment was posted after Lambert's after I refreshed the page.

  • Caragh - 29th Jul 2014

    Yes -well done!
    It is amazing how useful it is to have real feedback from people that find it difficult to commit to joining the organisation.

    What I find most insightful about the information you present is how people do not see a meaningful role for themselves in IOPS.

    It makes me think about traction, and the big gap between talking(or not talking) and feeling able or willing to make a positive contribution.

    And the good news is that there at least some women looking at the site!

    • Jane Johnson 31st Jul 2014

      Thanks Caragh! I'm glad you found the feedback very useful. There are certainly women looking at the website, we just need to find ways to increase those numbers of female visitors to the site :)

  • Kim Keyser 29th Jul 2014

    The conclusion – esp. the first two points – are very sound, indeed:

    ● Diversity will not improve spontaneously. A concerted campaign will be needed, in particular for addressing the underrepresentation of the Global South.
    ● We need to be more explicit how prospective members will be able to contribute concretely towards the IOPS mission. (This should be much more specific than the “Getting Involved” texts.)
    ● We need to have something more specific to offer to activists who are already very engaged in activism and cannot be expected to free time for organizing for IOPS. (Cf. the ”Why join IOPS” Q&A, which states: “You probably shouldn't diminish other pursuits based on joining IOPS. Nor will you need to.”)
    ● There is room for improvement in explaining IOPS and its potential in accessible language.

    • Jane Johnson 31st Jul 2014

      Thank you Kim for your comment, we're pleased you feel our conclusions are sound. All that's missing now is the issue of how to go from here. How do we (IOPS) make a plan of action and start doing something with it?

  • Jon Doe 29th Jul 2014

    This is amazing! Really serious and diligent work. If I wasn't already a member I would join just to be part of an organization with people as smart and cool as the two of you:)

    • Jane Johnson 31st Jul 2014

      Ha ha, thanks Jon! We think you're pretty smart and cool too :)

  • Peter Lach-Newinsky 30th Jul 2014

    Jane, Lambert, wow, what an effort you've put into this. Thank you, camerados. Long live the self-selected onliners.

    Your last point: accessible AND inspiring language perhaps?

    On your first point - if IOPS is not seen as (a) a trad international itself frantically seeking as many members as possible in order to somehow magically instigate world revolution (as is nowhere said but most members seem to assume anyway)

    but rather (b) as primarily an association supporting its own members' local-global activism and actively encouraging dialogue between existing social and eco-justice movements, with their diverse perspectives, all over the world in order to enable the complex process of collective self-understanding and self-organization that IS the deep social change on a global scale we need to survive,

    then we do not need to frantically try and 'recruit' for IOPS in the Global South, but rather simply make contact with existing social and eco-justice groups and movements and individuals there, inviting them to the global dialogue IOPS could be facilitating towards greater collective coherence

    (Cracked record, no doubt).


    • Jane Johnson 31st Jul 2014

      Thank you Peter. Yes, I agree, accessible AND inspiring language would be better than just accessible. Although I recall from this old forum, that some members disagreed that the language should be too inspiring:

      I share your dislike of the term "recruit" and I certainly don't like the idea of members frantically trying to seek as many members as possible. However, I don't understand your aversion to trying to attract ("attract" is a term I much prefer to "recruit") new members and increase the size of the membership. The bigger IOPS becomes, the more power it has and the more it can achieve, which can surely only be a good thing?

    • Peter Lach-Newinsky 3rd Aug 2014

      Jane: "However, I don't understand your aversion to trying to attract ("attract" is a term I much prefer to "recruit") new members and increase the size of the membership."

      Must be some misunderstanding there. Have never shown any aversion to 'attract', in fact have often argued for that instead of the military 'recruit' (or 'organize') like you.

      "The bigger IOPS becomes, the more power it has and the more it can achieve, which can surely only be a good thing?"

      I think the stress on quantity/numbers, instead of on 'quality', is a mistaken attempt to envisage IOPS as some sort of global mass organization which itself shall 'gain power' or 'win'.

      I think this is both a delusion of grandeur and an erroneous trad left-mechanical-simplistic view of how deep social change actually happens in history (i.e. One Big Org to 'lead the revolution', a variation on Bolshevism, actually; this is part of IOPS' own incoherence somewhere between trad socialist and libertarian/anarchist).

      In my view IOPS COULD 'achieve' most by staying small and libertarian (is it that I wonder?) and by facilitating PD-oriented dialogue and coherence between the diverse-but-radical global movements, numbering millions, for 'another world is possible.'

      (Maybe a cracked mp3, Lambert?)

    • Jane Johnson 3rd Aug 2014

      Sorry Peter for any misunderstanding.

      "I think the stress on quantity/numbers, instead of on 'quality'..."

      Presumably by "quality" you mean people who are closely aligned with the libertarian values and goals of IOPS?

      "In my view IOPS COULD 'achieve' most by staying small and libertarian (is it that I wonder?)..."

      Is this because you don't believe there are large numbers of people who are closely aligned with libertarian values and goals of IOPS?

    • Peter Lach-Newinsky 3rd Aug 2014

      Jane: "Presumably by "quality" you mean people who are closely aligned with the libertarian values and goals of IOPS?"

      Yep, and more. The quality of the whole IOPS project itself, its self-understanding, its conversations, the website itself...

      "Is this because you don't believe there are large numbers of people who are closely aligned with libertarian values and goals of IOPS?"

      Yep (not even in IOPS: tension between anarchist-'participist' approach and trad soc/state/parties etc), and more. A small libertarian IOPS could better act as the libertarian leaven in the dough of mass
      movements focussed (like most) on state-oriented reforms for example.

      And again thanks for your work, and warm regards, Jane.

    • Jane Johnson 4th Aug 2014

      Thanks Peter, I think I understand where you're coming from now. I'm not sure whether I agree with you (I'm not sure whether I disagree either!), I just don't how many people are (or have the potential to become) closely aligned with these values and goals. I'm also uncertain as to what approach will be most effective for IOPS. But thank you for answering my questions, and warm regards to you too.

    • Lambert Meertens 6th Aug 2014

      Could IOPS have the most effect by staying small? Will efforts to attract more people – if successful – dilute the libertarian character of the values and goals of IOPS? These are questions closely related to such questions as what the strategy of IOPS should be and who we want to have as members. It would be good if we could find common ground on these questions.

      There are historical examples of anarchist mass organizations whose anarchist nature was diluted and eventually lost by an influx of new members who appreciated the power but not the ideology of the organization. But these were labour unions, not explicitly revolutionary organizations like IOPS.

      Personally, I think we should aim our efforts to attract more people not specifically at people who think of themselves as libertarian or whatever, but mainly at what I call "normal" people, that is, people who do not (already) identify with any specific ideology. Not just everyone, of course, but people who see that many things in the world are terribly wrong but believe that when enough people get together and join forces we can change this for the better, and, most importantly, who are willing to invest effort into getting there.

      Forming study groups is one of the most important things we can do. All members should be able to think for themselves, without being told from above what to believe and what to do, and that requires that we all are prepared to share what we know and to learn from each other. I am confident that the appreciation of libertarian values will only grow by that.

    • Lambert Meertens 7th Aug 2014

      Wrong link above; that should have been:

      "... and who we want to have as members."

    • Peter Lach-Newinsky 9th Aug 2014

      Lambert, many thanks for your response to my comments. I've tried to respond a little more to some of this in my comment on Alex' thoughts, below. Just another emphasis: I'm all for also trying to reach 'normal' people (been doing it for decades) now and again, but would forget about the 17 million followers of Kim Kardashian for the moment and concentrate on the active minorities within emancipatory movements already 'half way there' , i.e. 100,000s of people all over the world, already resisting or trying to change the world and just not yet connecting all the dots, cohering in 'solidiversity'...The latter work is, theoretically, what IOPS could focus on (but I'm sceptical of there being enough here to really want to do that...).

    • Lambert Meertens 31st Jul 2014

      I wonder if the younger generation still understands the metaphor of a cracked record. But some things bear being repeated.

      What about "language that is accessible, both for the mind and for the heart".

      I think we should not only ditch "recruit" but also leave the old and tired "organize" by the wayside. We try to bring people together. Perhaps we should also refer to IOPS as a "project" in which people can participate, rather than an "organization". And I think the best way to bring more people on board is to make IOPS more attractive. After all, if we cannot make IOPS a better place for its members, why do we think we can make the whole world a better place?

    • kapil bajaj 31st Jul 2014

      Lambert, I agree wholeheartedly and wholemindedly with your suggestion that the language be made more accessible.
      I also find very wholesome your point about ditching "recruit", "organize" and "organization".
      I'd would like to add "objective analysis" to the gobbledygook that should go into the ditch.
      We might consider "empirical look/examination" as a possible replacement for "objective analysis".
      In a nutshell, we should aim for the whole by progressively seeking out bits and pieces to be consigned to the hole.

  • LedSuit ' 30th Jul 2014

    "I don't know how's ya dunnit, but I knows ya dunnit."

    You said you'd do it and you did it. Must admit, the statistical stuff did my head in a tad and the second half kind of came as a sigh of relief! :)

    Noticed this but. Not sure if it's significant (normal sense) or even salient (normal sense) but I noticed it (much like noticing that Chomsky stated he wasn't much of a joiner, which still seems relevant to me somewhat, even now!)

    A statement by the authors

    "...people are not logical and may hold contradictory opinions without being aware of the contradictions..."p15 of IOPS Non-member Survey

    Aside from that, a bloody great effort. Both of you deserve to be invited onto the OGWEML.
    Aw, perhaps just Jane. They need the women. Sorry Lambert. (But the penguin joke was pretty good, no? Don't tell me you didn't chuckle, just a bit.)

    Feel like reposting my confidence blog!

    • Jane Johnson 31st Jul 2014

      Thank you James! :)

      I will take a look at your confidence blog, I don't recall reading that first time round...

    • LedSuit ' 31st Jul 2014

      It was the first one I wrote Jane, and possible gears witness to the statement I quoted. I reckon I am, at times, possibly most, illogical and hold, unbeknownst to myself, contradictory notions. What a load of bullocks! No, it's true, I think!

    • Jane Johnson 31st Jul 2014


    • Lambert Meertens 31st Jul 2014

      Why did the penguin cross the road?
      —Because he spotted an IOPS organizer approaching.

    • LedSuit ' 31st Jul 2014

      Penguins have been known to stop off in sports bars for a drink you know.

      I reckon, if an IOPS organiser put on a penguin suit, they would be most welcome in a sports bar. Hailed for their ingenuity and wit."That's hilarious man. Why can't I think of things like that. Let me buy ya a drink."

    • Jane Johnson 31st Jul 2014

      A penguin walked into a sports bar, immediately followed by an IOPS organizer dressed in a penguin suit. This was pretty silly of the IOPS organizer, he should really have noticed the penguin do it first.

    • Jane Johnson 31st Jul 2014

      Why did the IOPS organizer cross the road?
      — To catch up with the penguin.

  • Kristi Doyne-Bailey 30th Jul 2014

    wow...interesting, informative, inspiring...

    • Jane Johnson 31st Jul 2014

      Thanks Kristi! We feel inspired too, by the positive response to the survey report so far.

  • Lambert Meertens 31st Jul 2014

    The important question now is the one stated by Jane above in her answer to Kim:

    "All that's missing now is the issue of how to go from here. How do we (IOPS) make a plan of action and start doing something with it?"

    • Jane Johnson 3rd Aug 2014

      It seems no one has an answer to this question (or is willing to come forward and suggest it)...

    • Lambert Meertens 5th Aug 2014

      Here is my attempt to to make that question a bit more concrete and manageable by breaking it down into subquestions:

      * ''Should and can we develop an action plan to deal with the issues identified in the report?''

      * ''What form should such a plan take and what should be the ingredients?''

      * ''How do we get to actually draw up an action plan that can be shared broadly and acted upon by the membership, including, hopefully, geographically isolated members?''

      * ''What do we need to do to put it in action?''

      If we as IOPS can collectively create a plan that we then also act upon together, I expect that alone will by itself have an energizing effect on our members.

  • Ian R. 2nd Aug 2014

    Thank you for the survey and for sharing the information.

    Regarding question 9, I think you´ll get answer to it, when you ask: "IOPS can make a meaningful contribution to my activism (therefore I invest time and money)?"

    During the last two years I supported some campaigns (on a very low level of activity but nevertheless) and I´ve seen a few key points which - in my opinion - keep people away from IOPS:

    - Political struggles start locally, IOPS can contribute to that only when members keep posting how their local struggle is connected to what IOPS is striviving for.

    - The IOPS programm is to far reaching (radical), people might not join IOPS because they think it´s a lost cause. I made the observation that people support single issue campaigns but are not interested in steady political activity.

    - IOPS is mainly an online organisation and that undermines trust. While you know something about the people you work together locally and can have some influence on them you never know that with an online organisation, especially a small and relatively new one like IOPS. The idea about having influence on the membership and preferring personal meetings is keeping traditional left parties and party members away from online activism.

    That´s a short version of what I´ve experienced.

    • Jane Johnson 3rd Aug 2014

      Thank you Ian for sharing your thoughts on this, I agree on many of the points you make, although perhaps not this one:

      - "IOPS is mainly an online organisation and that undermines trust"

      IOPS is not intended to be an online organisation. The website is a way to connect people and initiatives in order to facilitate local face-to-face activity.

    • Daniël de Klerk 5th Aug 2014

      I've to point out that while that many not have been the intention, it no doubt seems to be defacto situation for the majority of members.

    • Jane Johnson 6th Aug 2014

      Yes, very true.

    • Lambert Meertens 6th Aug 2014

      It is undoubtedly true that people who support single-issue struggles might not join IOPS because they think it´s a lost cause. They believe that small victories that remove some sharp edges may be possible, but that the systemic oppression of untold numbers of people worldwide cannot be changed in any fundamental way. But such beliefs are not necessarily immutable. Of all the things we can and should do, the most important one is in fact (in my opinion) to help people to "connect the dots" and to see the underlying systemic commonality to all these issues plaguing humanity, which can only be solved by a system change.

  • Alex of... 7th Aug 2014

    well, this is very interesting. as others have mentioned, holy cow, great job, some serious energy went into this, Jane and Lambert that’s pretty fuckin awesome! or at least that’s my word. so, thank you. i have not read every sentence of the full report but honed in on certain aspects and have read all the respondent comments, as i am falling in part within the “I am currently going through a number of personal challenges at present which require my personal attention” category.

    as i went through those comments i also found much resonance with comments i’ve made on IOPS, publicly and privately, in the past, as well things i’ve encountered from others. to note first, i’ve been trying to find a moment to write a blog piece to share my experience from first joining IOPS, where i was at then, what i perceived, what i’ve felt critical about, where i made mistakes and should apologize, what i was inspired by and may have even inspired, kinships, forming a local chapter as an admin, what has changed, what i’ve learned from that and those folks and about myself, relevance and possibilities concerning IOPS and so on. i’m hoping to do that next week, but yes, life challenges have been directly on the table, and i’ve been doing my best to take a little break from activism, not limited to IOPS, to cater to my own necessities as i know i can be more effective, in general, if i do. i’ve seriously been trying to ignore politics recently to get done what needs to be done, but it’s hard. it’s not like i write books or work for a non-profit that makes it my financial means or something, i just give a shit, and that aint going away. still, i need to be a bit strategic about my contributions and stay healthy. now i sound whiny perhaps, and i just found myself this week engaging in probably too much discourse for my own good, regarding Gaza, but i’ve been a bit disturbed by black and white extremes on that issue and just couldn’t be silent. it may seem i’m straying from the survey concept now, but honestly i think it applies as i just blew off some things i probably should have been doing, in attempt to garner some rationality beyond the conventional pieties. to stray a little more, there was a joint piece from Albert and Chomsky through Z couple days ago that i’ve shared with a few. Chomsky part, so comfortable sharing as technically accurate and cutting through the nonsense with a consistent underlying message, and Albert’s, holding some things i was getting tired of repeating and was emotionally moving. thank you.

    so where was i? oh that’s right, i ramble. but! i need to eat and get out the door in a few but i want to get back to say some things about the relationship between “(3) conviction that together we can change this” and “(4) a plan and a strategy for change”. for that i’d hone in on a few respondent comments that relate to my local experience and personal perspective. for now, much love to all that have engaged in this experience, gotta go do some worky work, and i hope it’s ok if i respond in tidbits.

    • Jane Johnson 8th Aug 2014

      Thanks Alex! It's interesting to read about the resonance you felt with some of the comments made by the respondents. I look forward to hearing what you have to say about the relationship between "conviction that together we can change this” and “a plan and a strategy for change". That's fine if you want to respond in tidbits :)

    • Alex of... 9th Aug 2014

      thanks Jane!

      trying to figure out where to start. when i wrote my first comment i hadn’t actually had the time to read previous comments, and knew i should to avoid redundancy and see what’s already on the colective mind. now that i read i’m not sure if i should write something here or above, but perhaps both. i see much of what i was thinking but occuring in different posts with a lot of crossover. i’ll probably add some more specific comments to the ones already introduced but i’ll throw something down here first.

      there’s apparent concerns on whether someone sees a meaninful role for themeselves in IOPS and so a need to be more explicit, welcoming as well respectful for the time and current engagements folks already have. and in that i also see indications of some things that have been raised by others and myself in the past on trying to connect current movements, rather than pose as the initiator of revolution, or the only game in town… and some indications i see that folks often gravitate to single-issue, often local, organizing.

      i mentioned somewhere long ago on IOPS that i thought this org sholud avoid invitation in a way that says ‘check out out mission, we think you should join us’ but more ‘here is what we think we can offer to your current efforts’. i’ve encountered many activists that revolve around one or two single-issue groups that also express their desire to “connect the dots”. when i raised this in our local chapter in some of our first meetings, one former member rephrased the thought by asking if IOPS could act as a kind of “connective tissue”? i really liked that way of putting it and has since remained in our local lexicon as part of how we’ve tried to approach our actions.

      ok, there’s more to that thought process, convictions vs plans, but i mentioned a need to do tidbits. jumping ahead in that, i don’t know off hand if there’s been a blog or forum post that asks: if we were an organization paying dues by whatever amount of members, like we had a convention or some other determination, what would members like to see that money applied toward? like, what would be the top issues or place to direct that energy toward? if there is, can someone point me to it. if not, i’m not necessarily asking here but am curious all the same. i had another former local member suggest that IOPS pick one thing to gain a small win to gain momentum from. lots of ways to look at it other than that, but that’s that for now.

    • Lambert Meertens 10th Aug 2014

      It will be cool if we can invite people while saying, ‘here is what we think we can offer to your current efforts’, or,using the terminology of Ian R. above, 'here is how we can make a meaningful contribution to your activism'. And this is clearly one of the important stated aims of IOPS, as evidenced by phrases such as 'affirmatively empowering younger members' (although as an old geezer I feel discriminated against – I too desire to be affirmatively empowered), 'seeks to develop mechanisms that provide financial, legal, employment, and emotional support to its members so that its members can be in a better position to participate as fully as they wish and negotiate the various challenges and sometimes negative effects of taking part in radical actions', and even 'works to substantially improve the life situations of its members, including aiding their feelings of self worth, their knowledge, skills, and confidence, their mental, physical, sexual, and spiritual health, and even their social ties and engagements and leisure enjoyments' (all quoted from our Structure and program document). Offering effective support to our members would be so much easier if we had very many more members, but we should not wait for them to arrive to begin doing what can be done already now.

      In the meantime, the evidence is that 'check out our mission, we think you should join us' has limited appeal; maybe we should work more along the lines of 'why don't you use the opportunity to join us in this exciting adventure'.

    • Alex of... 11th Aug 2014

      oh, and whoops. i was obviously pulling some quotes from your reply Lambert, and was going to post here originally. then as i was thinking about some of Peter's thoughts, i posted under his thread below thinking it was here. mentioning in case it appears that i thought those were his comments, or if it seems rude to place my lengthy reply on his post. cheers all.

  • Peter Lach-Newinsky 9th Aug 2014

    Alex, great to see you back camerado. Agree particularly with this bit you write: "i also see indications of some things that have been raised by others and myself in the past on trying to connect current movements, rather than pose as the initiator of revolution, or the only game in town… and some indications i see that folks often gravitate to single-issue, often local, organizing.

    i mentioned somewhere long ago on IOPS that i thought this org sholud avoid invitation in a way that says ‘check out out mission, we think you should join us’ but more ‘here is what we think we can offer to your current efforts’. i’ve encountered many activists that revolve around one or two single-issue groups that also express their desire to “connect the dots”. when i raised this in our local chapter in some of our first meetings, one former member rephrased the thought by asking if IOPS could act as a kind of 'connective tissue'? "

    With ya all the way on that, as have tried to also say a few times (cracked mp3, cept mp3s don't crack coz digital ain't got no wabi sabi).

    So, IOPS 'strategy'/focus? Connect the dots. Not 'recruit' into THE Rev Org, not 'grow' the numbers of like-follower 'members' till we're the 5th bullshit International on paper/pixel. Rather, start with those already active and half-way there. Not just participate in single issue movements but try to actively help these movements (some with 100,000s of members) connect the dots. Maybe best libertarian way to do that: facilitate free open dialogue between movements doing their single issue things. Let them 'talk their way to an understanding' (bottom-up) rather than top-down preaching. Till we increasingly cohere in minds and activities and approach revolutionary, participatory One World Consciousness (and capitalism collapses).

    With something like that as a focus or 'strategy', here's my wish list (ho ho ho) for a transformed IOPS website, maybe called something like The Global Participation Project - A Forum for Non-Violent Revolution and Deep Change:

    - Tabs at top linking to movements and chapters on all continents
    - A Vision section
    (re-written: fairly short and pithy, maybe also a special one in simpler language)
    - An 'Entry Vestibule'
    (for people first checking out site, map of site, chats possible for people wanting to know more or join)
    - An IOPS Activists Room
    (for inter-chapter and free individual member conversations, events, reports, blogs etc, open to be read by all but accessible only to members)
    - An International Dialogue Room for One World Movements
    (links to the sites of all participating emancipatory global movements, no parties or sects, open forum enabling all members of these movements to engage in conversations and connect the dots, an international material support/mutual aid facility)
    - A Diverse Theories Room
    (diverse libertarian, anti-authoritarian, socialist, feminist, ecological, indigenous, simpler way theories engaging in debates)
    - A Biosphere Room
    (for local-global eco-conversation, monitoring, resistance, repair)
    - A Trickster/Creative Room
    (free for all, music, art, poetry, performance, edgy memes for emerging world culture dialogue)
    - A Techies Room
    (work for the libertarian potentials of computing and the internet)
    - A Self-Introducing New Members and Movements section (with pics)

    Probably too far removed from present IOPS consensus? But I'll throw it in anyway. It's your fault, Alex.

    • Lambert Meertens 10th Aug 2014

      Present IOPS consensus? No doubt but thou speakest in jest, oh my Poet.

    • Peter Lach-Newinsky 11th Aug 2014

      You're right, Lambert, I overstepped the mark, I was, albeit negatively, in a delirium of utopian aspiration. Take it as jest(ure) between consenting adults.

    • Alex of... 10th Aug 2014

      always good to hear your voice Peter, and probably apparent that i was referring to some of your comments, too, while not doing quotes. i want to chat more about this, your fault, even if my versions don’t possess the poetic eloquence of yours :)

      (and then there’s my bad habit of seeing typos right after posting, rather than rereading first, um)

      and never really left i suppose, but in recent inquiries on where chapters be at, i found my local group feels a general disconnect from the IOPS mainframe, tho appreciative that it brought us together, (yes we’ve done some organizing) just met last Sunday, intent still on regular meetings as a social group that has found some pretty solid kinship, all with connections or involvements in other socio-politiwhat-enviro-yes activities and groups. right now it’s been nice to just get together and touch base on who we are and where we’re at, what we’ve been reading or involving in, drink a beer and decide at moments to be formal about discussion or just enjoy where things lead.

      it’s pretty hard to ignore the amazing creativity, intelligence and intentions i’ve found through those in this forum. it’s not something i want to see go away, has added to my life, but also needs to evolve. i’m betting ‘my’ local group is willing to be connected, too, but is looking for relevance. fuck, so many things to be said about all of this and the sun is coming up in Seatown (late). yes, some more (somewhat) ‘concrete’ things to throw on the table, but as now, not like it’s a new revelation, it’s been on mind that life’s too short and issues too important for ‘progressive’ types to isolate themselves. and i keep seeing it happen in various forms. propping selves up, tearing each other down… but a lack of solidarity. and sorry, that’s not directed at anyone particular other than me :)

      cool list Peter, got a couple things to add to the online needs. wonder, if no one has familiarity that it’s been asked what resources could be used for in some kind of actionable way, is that an interesting hypothetical question?

      bunchoshit more, more direct when awake

    • Kim Keyser 13th Aug 2014

      "yes we’ve done some organizing"

      That's about the only thing that matters. Hope you keep on doing just that (feel free to take your needed pause, without feeling stressed out though).

    • Alex of... 13th Aug 2014

      much props to Motmakt!

      and thank you, particularly to mention the freedom to take a pause :)
      sometimes it’s hard to know when i should or shouldn’t, for me or others. made one more lengthy comment for considerations and seed planting below, but as indicated there, too, likely time to just listen

      if i was organizing for a Nazi youth party, it might matter in the wrong way! cheers and solidiversity!

    • Lambert Meertens 11th Aug 2014

      This wish list for a transformed IOPS website reminded me of the discussion here: Creating Another World.

    • Alex of... 11th Aug 2014

      “Offering effective support to our members would be so much easier if we had very many more members, but we should not wait for them to arrive to begin doing what can be done already now.
In the meantime, the evidence is that 'check out our mission, we think you should join us' has limited appeal; maybe we should work more along the lines of 'why don't you use the opportunity to join us in this exciting adventure’.”
      more members probably make some things easier but other things more difficult, at least in the currnent format. i agree with the basic sentiment that common ground on strategy closely relates and we need to work with what we got. it can be looked at from multiple angles, of course.
      in one way, i might think that without enough participants, and under-represented demographics, we can’t really claim an effective strategy, as we simply don’t have the necessary influence. on the other, and this is a limited list of angles, a bunch of folks have been thrown in the mix based on an initial idea that are still hashing out possibilities and it is what it is. i would say that the initial concept was admirable, but definitely lacked enough influence. that’s not a slam. it’s to say, it got us this far, and shit takes time, even where time is limited, say, as fossil-fuel burns and people live in avoidable misery.
      we have many dificulties at representation, as the report and overall experience shows. i chuckled at Peter’s comment “Long live the self-selected onliners.” i also thought of some comments Caragh made long ago about lacking the personality for online forums and finding them “skewed toward the kind of person that has lots of time on their hands,” perhaps “creepily fanatical, or fantastically unhappy”. there’s other options on that list, too! but i’ve fallen into all of that mentioned list at different times depending on my life state. some of the most active activists i know have zero interest in online forums but are quite effective at organizing face-to-face, and ya know, do some emailing at least. when considering inclusion of “normal people”, there are folks i know that embody much of what i see as a better world in their day-to-day life, but are not activists, or consider themselves revolutionaries… and connecting that might be an even harder nut to crack. but yes, we can focus on next steps and not bang our head against a wall because we haven’t got it ALL figured out.
      with active chapters in number both local and in online form, and preferably with some resources to back, i think it’s reasonable to assume that there could be some fanaticals that take on the responsibility of representing those less inclined to online behavior to maintain influence. as a self-appointed admin for my local, i’m honestly not that great at that role, have great respect for those that are, as well many other roles, which we all have, and yes, want them all better represented within the pretext of creating a better world.
      i have to wonder, if someone was new to IOPS, clicked on this featured thread, what they soak in or interpret. i’ve had previous interactions with many here, much love for, familiarity with the long-term aspirations and what leads to here, so understanding of why this is incredibly relevant. if i didn’t, maybe i would just shrug like, that’s all interesting but who the fuck are these people and what the fuck are they really talking about? i guess the point there, is that we may be at some familiar levels that makes it hard for someone to hop into, and as much as there is so much positive about the kinships that have developed, it’s gotten harder and harder for me to introduce someone to IOPS or even talk about it in a local chapter if someone hasn’t been interacting or following online, which i’m not always either, or awhile.
      right now, i feel like i’m shooting off in a number of directions and know i appreciate further replies if anything i’ve said is constructive, should be responsible by responding to replies, sometimes don’t respond because other life things intervene but feel guilt over that, know that the world didn’t come to a grinding halt as a result or think my thoughts were a major pivot point to whatever, and i sometimes like to just chew on the results for longer than many are accustomed to, and prob so on, oh whinge as they say in oz.
      i’m resonating with so many comments here and on some of the links on related topics. it probably warrants some quotation marks and organization of, not my usual method or good at, but helpful in many cases. maybe not orderly either, but as Peter’s website wishlist goes, i’ve long advocated user tags as a navigational tool. some things about that, particularly concerning process. Peter, you may be wrong about your skepticism, or there may be other prospects by consensus by some of this group here and beyond. i don’t prefer it as a splinter. i said ‘solidiversity’ in a bit of jest(ure), talking to James first, a word that memed a bit, and honestly got a little eye watery as you just pumped it through the pipe fittings, but i’m OFF course, a narcissist. um.
      “in the meantime, the evidence is that 'check out our mission, we think you should join us' has limited appeal; maybe we should work more along the lines of 'why don't you use the opportunity to join us in this exciting adventure’.”
      while i see exciting prospects here, i would prefer to kayak down a river, and don’t imagine that a lot of issue-based activists, even if they see a need to connect the dots, are really going to hop on board with that differentiation. there was a zsocial/faceleft/worldsocial attempt at creating entry points for interests that i was once told more along the lines of my ideas for a way to bring multiple factions together. that project was not executed very well, IMO, but that is also not a slam to the effort. i’ve attempted a few projects myself that didn’t quite pan out, tho still don’t think the core idea was the problem. thing is, i keep seeing comments that folks want a way for issue-based or other positive efforts to find more solidarity based on their driving elements.
      in one of our local IOPS-bannered sponsorships for some enviro-speakers, i (and i’m a horrible public speaker) was presenting us as a group that seeks to unite via principles to change the structural core that drives these issues, else we will ever find ourselves consumed by fighting these issues in aftermath of what creates them, and not very effectively. like, don’t we want a world that doesn’t create those issues in the first place? and shouldn’t we approach those issues with the mentality that if we make progress on one, we use it to build more awareness and momentum for what created it, thus connecting multiple issues by coming back to a longer-term vision? and we need a mechanism for that? as much as public speaking is uncomfortable for me, what i saw was nods of the head in a room of a few dozen, mostly pretty experienced local activists, coming from multiple orgs. i dunno what my actual words were, longer winded, speaking in front of groups is like an out-of-body experience for me, so maybe i actually stuck a banana in my ear and did the running-man dance, and that’s what got the nods, but i think that’s somewhat close, ha, and not a misrepresentation of IOPS intent. tho, we may have some work on how to express intent, or some consensus to come to on how we build from that and create entry points based on current work. or, i’m full of shit, a little off base, or maybe a partial piece of the puzzle!
      so, if we’re talking more about how to network the ‘movement’ to achieve change at the core, i’m in, and i think have something to add, and connections that are seeking. i got nothing against the efforts of Fanfare works, think Parecon has relevance, but if this org is bent on disseminating that as some kind of manifesto, i’m not finding interest out there as a processs. part of, sure. but, needs to be in tangent with plenty else. fanatical enough, yet? and only touching the surface.

    • Peter Lach-Newinsky 11th Aug 2014

      Alex: "so, if we’re talking more about how to network the ‘movement’ to achieve change at the core, i’m in, and i think have something to add, and connections that are seeking. i got nothing against the efforts of Fanfare works, think Parecon has relevance, but if this org is bent on disseminating that as some kind of manifesto, i’m not finding interest out there as a processs. part of, sure. but, needs to be in tangent with plenty else. fanatical enough, yet? and only touching the surface."

      With ya all the way. And useful feedback from the Seattle coalface. Fanfare and Parecon of course have never been mandatory guidelines for IOPS, just useful, debatable, contributions.

      Maybe us self-selected online desperately sad and fanatical few in this conversation are zeroing in on a key notion which, to my knowledge, has not previously been stressed so much as the possible MAIN activity/strategy for IOPS, both in local chapters and online: helping the global movements CONNECT THE DOTS?

      (Chomsky in the new quote on the home page talks more old style of finding movement 'unity', but it's basically the same emphasis).

      Let's tease out some of the theoretical and practical implications of this CONNECTING emphasis for how we see IOPS perhaps.

      The tacit assumption about how deep social change on a global level happens with this CONNECTING perspective is that it happens by global grassroots movements engaging in open dialogue to find common ground, mutual support and raising consciousness till we become One Big and Diverse 'Movement of Movements' ('Meta-Movement'?) for deep social change and the post-capitalist good society on ONE shared Planet.

      To perform this CONNECTING function, we do NOT need to represent anyone but ourselves, we do not need to be 'representative' of any demographics, we do NOT need '50,000-100,000' members, we do not conceive ourselves as some kind of mega-'International'.

      We do NOT need to engage in series of our own mega-campaigns to 'gain small improvements' from governments till we, finally some fine day, 'win'(whatever that is)... Rather, the global grassroots movements themselves will decide all that kind of stuff, campaigns, strategies etc, and also decide whether some kind of International org would be a good idea or just obsolete as the steam engine.

      Instead, we just need to start now with what we have got now, change the website to reflect this CONNECTING emphasis, hope more local chapters/affinity groups will emerge (but not get hung up about it coz it's not about quantity but the quality of thought and action), produce some useful materials, start contacting the global grassroots movements to open the dialogue of CONNECTING...

    • Alex of... 12th Aug 2014


      “a key notion which, to my knowledge, has not previously been stressed so much as the possible MAIN activity/strategy for IOPS”

      shit, how to approach. i have to say, for one now, that there are plenty of comments i made when i first checked out IOPS that could easily be ripped to shreds, and at times i’ve acted like a dick or just made what are likely irrelevant comments that made sense to me at the moment. BUT! i’ve also made some good comments or been constructive, and was being honest in my efforts. i think on the latter, some even thought i came here with ulterior motives at some point. i’m saying this now as a little caveat, to make sure my further comments are not interpreted that way.

      but… here comes my big butt… i read some direct comments by the primary founder of this project, over two years ago:

      “IOPS is not a network. It is an organization, with shared views and vision and structural commitments. Occupy is a network. A loose affiliation of lots of projects could be a network. Lots of things could be a network. But IOPS isn’t.”

      that, in response to the statements “Perhaps we should be asking what we can do for people rather than asking why they won't do anything for us. 

Perhaps if we served the function of being a network between various activist organizations we could give people a reason to be affiliated with us.”

      …made by another individual and seemed to be furthering some of what i asked in honest attempt to help figure out why Michael was not getting as much response as hoped when sending out invitations to IOPS…

      “my first question would be, what is the content of the requests? are they personalized toward each showing some knowledge and appreciation for the other party? does the content say, hey, i found your work on such and such amazing and we could really use your help, here is a place we'd like you to share as we are trying to network those active in social progress. or did it say? hey! check out our vision, you should join us.”

      part of that repsonse: “IOPS is not trying to network the whole left, the whole of all dissenters, much less the whole of everyone in society. That is not what it is. IOPS is, instead, trying to find and welcome those who are left, who are dissenters, but who also agree with our vision, our structural commitments. And as well, to make a case for those, and thus in time attract folks who don't now agree, but may in the future.”

      that’s not the entirety of interaction, so i hope not taken as overly selective or out of context, but just a couple relevant pieces. at the time, i found the responses to be auto-rejective, but see it different now. there was an initial intent and desired process which was being stood up for, and changing that format was viewed, to some extent, as dumbing down the principles, and well, just not the intent. fair enough. it’s good to have high standards. ya know, we don’t have a lot of folks hopping on IOPS to say that a laissez-faire market place is the best way to solve climate change, as i’m sure if they read the mission/vision, they know that aint gunna have legs here. but as making a case to attract folks that don’t agree goes, i feel like many came on with partial agreement looking for next steps, but found themselves referred to doctrine, and left. again, the intent seems to be more to have a membership with full agreement on what was initially laid out, and then attract. well, the initial process hasn’t fully worked as hoped and we now see empirical evidence on some of the reasons why thanks to some serious work, yet also have some pretty interesting characters as a result, too, and so next steps are up in the air from the ground up.

      guess i’m partly tipping my hat to what was started, and partly saying that there’s been some show-stoppers for the reason why strategy has not taken on a better life of it’s own. but i don’t choose a side in that process, it is the process and now is now, next is next. we have some pretty damn interesting things, people, to work with at least. i can’t always be an online fanatic, which is best. i’m tired of my own voice right now and still have plenty to say.

      so, i’ll skip why i mentioned Fanfare as manifesto, i’ll skip a local case example of progressives/radicals tearing each other down or getting caught up in ego. thumbs up to “Individual initiatives are fine, but mutual support, and articulation of common goals, can considerably enhance their impact” (Chomsky on ‘having an organization’ from IOPS interview). i credit Howard Zinn for making me so frustrated about isolation and divisiveness vs fundamental change (jerk). but moving on…

      “Let's tease out some of the theoretical and practical implications of this CONNECTING emphasis for how we see IOPS perhaps.”

      first question: should IOPS remain IOPS as based on it’s initial format and set of principles, or should it be reconstructed? or that is instead, should there be a Phase 2 project inpspired by, based on support for a network, that perhaps shares some of the intentions of WorldSocial, but done better? or other suggestions?

    • Lambert Meertens 12th Aug 2014

      This is a discussion we should be having, but perhaps a better place for it than this blog is our Strategy & Organization forum – maybe the topic We need a strategy is a suitable spot.

      Being a network and being an organization are not mutually exclusive. In fact, one Alex Lewis wrote back in 2012: "i really think that IOPS could be both. or that is, SHOULD be both." (See this discussion of organization versus network: A Shared Vision.)

      Of course IOPS is also a network: it is composed of actors who interact. I agree though that we should not aim at networking with just anyone, but only groups or people whose vision is compatible with ours. But that is kind of at the duh level.

    • kapil bajaj 13th Aug 2014

      "I agree though that we should not aim at networking with just anyone, but only groups or people whose vision is compatible with ours. But that is kind of at the duh level."

      Do "we" have a widely shared/agreed upon, coherent "vision"? If so, who make up the "we" and what is that "vision"?

      If you say IOPS vision document enunciates that vision, then I'd say 'connecting the dots' as also changing membership could be continually modifying that vision.

      In some of the recent discussions, I see varying understandings of the vision that was laid out as well as a call for a change in that vision.

    • LedSuit ' 13th Aug 2014

      I think it's fairly simple really Kapil. The "we" are the members and the "vision" IS that enunciated in the key documents. Regardless of the problems some may have with the way it was written, the direction of IOPS, etc., I think the "vision" is pretty clear. I even did an improvisation on it. There may be debate regarding detail within certain spheres, diverse opinions etc., but I reckon Lambert's really just pointing out something pretty simple. Check out organisations, look at what they are doing, how they structure up, organise, are the militantly violent, hierarchical, Leninist, inclusive, or whatever else one could think of, and see if it stacks up with all the key areas IOPS is concerned with and the founding values. I signed up because it all seemed fairly clear to me.

    • Alex of... 13th Aug 2014

      Kapil and James: there may be something to differentiate though: folks who sign on to IOPS because they agree with all or mostly with the initial visionary statements, or an idea of a network of diverse activist groups and people trying to form a better world, and the best way to form a visionary statement and create a platform to reflect that. perhaps two different but related things that warrant deeper conversation.

    • LedSuit ' 13th Aug 2014

      Hi Alex,

      My statement was pretty straight forward. There is a vision of a type of society. The "we" are members of IOPS. For me basic the vision of what sort of society "we" would like is pretty clear.

      The direction IOPS goes or detail of visions and other things can be discussed and debated by whoever wishes to. But I would suspect and hope, the underlying values and other key aspects of the IOPS vision hold firm, or what I joined, may become something different. Maybe better, but I don't see how.

    • Alex of... 13th Aug 2014

      no worries mate. i’m probably not being too clear. changing the essence of the IOPS vision would indeed be alienating to those that initially agreed to it. perhaps it is a written work of perfection, perhaps it could be improved or added to while still maintaining that essence. oh, who knows?

      but, as for a kind of network of multiple camps of people and approaches to creating a better world goes, the IOPS structure may not be the best facilitator for that. bringing together that larger “we” to connect the dots is perhaps a different process.

      is that a better differentiation?

    • LedSuit ' 14th Aug 2014

      No worries to you as well. I've got a bloody shitty virus and my head ain't that clear either. How IOPS develops is an ongoing thing I guess. That's what I get from the word diversity. But my point was to, in my opinion, Lambert's fairly basic observation. There is a fairly clear vision of the type of world "we" would like to see. The details may be ever changing and different but the foundation I reckon is fairly solid. How everything may come about, who knows. Networking, mass movement, whatever. This org for me was a way to meet like minded people and I have. It's vision sounded pretty run of the mill actually. Why wouldn't you want a "perfect" world. I couldn't argue with it, and it was pretty free of the usually intellectualisms of the radical left. At least to me.

      Now I'm just zoning out, delirious. Probably some unconscious spell I'm under.


    • Alex of... 15th Aug 2014

      sorry to hear about the virus. at least you’ve infected me many times in a way i am thankful for! (hope you feeling better)

      i was partly thinking that in Kapil’s inquiry about varying understandings of the vision, that some might have come here looking for something a little, or too different than what it was set up to be. perhaps i’ve been guilty of that. so when reading some interpretations, it’s not necessarily a lack of consensus. maybe there’s not a big right or wrong there, and it’s more than me that’s still wrapping around the process.

      tweaking or adding to the language of how that vision is presented is something that’s been explored but a bit of a head-scratcher when it comes to consensus or process, and may or may not be important. i find most of it agreeable, but here and there not quite my take on utopia, though definitely enough that i’ve hung around to work with, and certainly a great list.

      but! developing a strategy based on the initial vision is, i would think, a quite natural direction.

      there’s a world i think i’d rather live in than the one i’m in. what’s perfect, i’m not sure. maybe someone like D Chopra is right to say that our imperfection in a perfect universe is a mistake of the intellect. maybe that’s just meant as a means to accept what is, to be more free to create something better. it’s generally easier to contemplate such things when you have basic security or don’t have bombs being dropped on your house. in that sense, i tend to see it a responsibility of those with the means, to make things better. pitch in. ironically i guess, many of those with plenty of means are those making it pretty difficult for others. well that’s IMO, in contrast to say, ‘job creator’ rhetoric, or strategic need for some shitty dictator etc.

      i used the phrase ‘like-minded’ in my profile, in hopes that IOPS can be a beacon and anchorage for those that recognize a need for change. while i know what i meant, and probably know part of what you mean James, i have to sometimes question what it really means. i, in fact, recall a mild friction over use of that phrase in an invite i initially wrote for a local chapter event. coming back to in a moment…

      when i was looking over the David Jones ethics blog, i saw a comment by (not to be confused with the aforementioned) Dave Jones that took issue with my thought of starting with something a bit simpler than the current mission/vision as something more agreeable for a wider draw that case builds and connects from there. i didn’t get to commenting on that while on a different train of thought there and just didn’t see it till later, too. first to say, props to Zootown Zapatistas! and then to say, i think Dave is right to uphold a “radical, anti-capitalist value” as “a necessary countervailing force”. and i think James is right to consider the vision to be pretty “run of the mill” when we consider the problems so many people out there or here are fighting for. fuck, it really shouldn’t have to be such a fight.

      but also, when i think about ‘like-minded’, hell, i have great friends that consider themselves libertarians, in that pro-personal-liberty but attached-to-markets sense, but actually want to live in a world that is pretty close to what some want here. one of which, just expressed his momentary feeling of kinship, the other day, with a spider, as he witnessed ‘it’ taking in water… and that’s a very like-minded thing for me, and one of the sweetest things i had heard in awhile.

      even as a self-proclaimed anarchist, or a someone that thinks D Jensen raises some pretty good points or questions, while not agreeing with all of his conclusions, i still am not so sure that markets are inherently bad, but i see bad results in the way they are applied, which also leads me to think there is something about it that encourages those results. suffice to say, i think we have much better options on the table, to look back at, and to yet realize.

      there is and gunna be a whole lot of controversy about how humanity moves forward or what that even means. i am concerned that ecological issues are trumping the timeline of a more egalitarian society, while some might suggest the only way to address that timeline is an egalitarian society. i wonder if folks here really think right now that we’re going to just replace the current systems via some MEGA-membership to address that? i’m agreeing with Peter, thinks, that we need to let go of that expectation.

      i don’t see myself as a reformist, but am certainly for positive reforms, and believe that a market system, and many hierarchies are something we are probably working with for awhile in a non-violent revolution. and unfortunately, we’re gunna be dealing with many forms of violence one way or the other. i am very much for creating working cooperative models within this system as a way to transform it ground up, and developing methods of replication as a viable alternative, even though the system itself makes it a bit hard to get there. go Mondragon! (for one). living and working coops… tangible change and personal empowerment. yay!

      4000 kids dying each day from water borne illness, 400+ppm growing. it’s mass movement or what?

      i never win the lottery cuz i don’t buy the ticket. if i was sitting on a large chunk of change, i would call up Michael Albert right now to say, hey bro, that Z..WorldSocial idea you had, that you told me was more inline to what i came here trying to advocate (as well as many others), let’s lay it out, we gotsta bring in a few more minds, but i’m paying!

      i don’t know right now what has been reconsidered for a revamp on that idea, but maybe time to ask. the “i’m paying” seems like the hardest part, but then, in consideration to some of Roderick’s comments on alterations to this site, maybe it’s just a matter of willingness.

      i’ve thought perhaps a good strategy for IOPS is to establish itself and then for something like WorldSocial to be an available mechanism as part of a network. in that way, as folks come from different camps and engage in their best way forward, there is some gravitation to these ideas of what some consider radical and others don’t, but more appreciation back and forth in many camps of approach toward a better world, in an existing and building movement. maybe there’s some things we need to do or deal with here first.

      as strategy goes, then, to Jane’s question… there are lot’s of little things we could deal with here but, for me, i would suggest we consider this place a think tank for now. and, i want to work on the network concept.

      took up a lot of space here recently. some other voices? soli-duh-versity

    • Peter Lach-Newinsky 16th Aug 2014

      On ya Alex, love yer passion camerado, go for it. Agree with ya almost 100%. (100% and we'd be gettin mystical and gotta stay on the ground, or is that mud, right?). Just gettin a bit lost in all the words right now.

      So, just re the issue of IOPS as 'org v network'. Agree with Lambert here (as mostly too). Could be both/and rather than either/or (Michael's views you quote are perhaps missing the point, of course IOPS is not the same as Occupy...). Why can't IOPS be both

      (a) a separate libertarian (thou have me doubts there now and again) org/network of activists with an identity of its own expressed both in local chapters and in the website AND

      (b) an org that focusses on both getting the participatory democracy/self-management message across and getting global movements to talk with each other so that may connect the dots, cohere more, become more self-conscious of the place of their own activity within the complex global transition we need away from fossil-fuelled capitalism?

      The website could thus accomodate both IOPS functions by having both a section for members to contribute to and an open Forum for inter-movement dialogue

      (The latter function could of course probably be also done by a meta-org like the World Social Forum, with IOPS just one participating org among others - so why the hell hasn't the WSF, if it still exists, done so I wonder...?)

    • Peter Lach-Newinsky 16th Aug 2014

      PS If there were such a living WSF inter-movement dialogue site, I'd probably feel more useful there than at IOPS, right now, although I'd sure miss all me ole mates.

    • Alex of... 16th Aug 2014

      heck Peter, not so sure i even agree with MYSELF 100%

      and, well, TOO many words in my approach, likely. reading over the reasons why people don’t ‘join’ or in some cases leave, got me into a bit of an insomnialex reflective mode, with a lot of maybe-this maybe-thats, redundancies, with my penchant for a few stories to convey. probably a few awkward sentences based in sleep dep and a couple glasses of wine, as well, haha.

      and, as my local group recently decided to disconnect from brand IOPS, i wasn’t quite sure if i was coming here to say hello or goodbye… or Aloha? our little social group with connective tendencies will be doing what we do either way, but perhaps we will decide on a name that considers itself an affiliate of IOPS. it’s a thought that’s been raised before. maybe a bit similar to say, Motmakt and Zootown, and maybe that’s part of the possibilities where, rather than being a ‘chapter’ of IOPS, there could be a more official way here that groups can ask to be added, in declaration that yes, we agree with your principles and here’s our webpage and what we do. what kind of process decides that inclusion, not sure, but just imagining. i’d likely see a broader WSF format having much looser requirements. affiliations here, affilliations there… affiliations everywhere!

      anywho, i think you’ve summed up pretty well my general strategic intent, but apparently shared, with much better concision. much much! at least i brought a little passion if not bullet points ;) but maybe i’ll find my way to a few of those to post in the strategy link Lambert posted, and will also ask the locals some questions. no more stories for now!


    • Peter Lach-Newinsky 17th Aug 2014

      Despite the disconnect from 'brand IOPS', hope we'll still be hearing from you and all things Seattle, Alex. The site would be poorer without you mate. Up with the solidiverse passions, down with all bullets, without or without the points! Shalom.

    • Alex of... 19th Aug 2014

      that means a lot coming from you Peter (i’ve long admired your style), but thought i warned you to not encourage me??

      well, can’t get rid of me that easy, fanatical or not, damn cockroach. while our local efforts are not well represented online and probably should be, (my bad, and rather than a personal piece, i should find a moment to just document the connective efforts we’ve made… and kudos to Sarah Owens for always trying to guage the tempo of, and find better connection between chapter efforts… thanx for the skype reachout ;) the decision for disconnect as a name-brand doesn’t represent a disconnect from the core values.

      even if we’ve been meeting the ‘requirements’, don’t think we are really feeling that whole push for requirements toward some grandious convention of official organizational status. thinks we’re the network types. too redundant?

      representing as an IOPS chapter has been a difficulty for me, as while promoting a ‘connective tissue’ concept, or network… pointing to the Mainframe isn’t quite holding a solid strategy based on that. am i promoting a way to connect multiple approaches to find common ground, or am i promoting a not yet determined organization that is one of many that needs to be connected?

      of course, some of the initial idea was that chapters would determine more direction, which of course leaves out some of the online influence and those not meeting some kind of requirements, if just looked at that way. chto delat? let’s do, let’s not?

      lots o’ things still but moving. klatawa! the journey continues

    • Alex of... 13th Aug 2014

      whoah, 2012. of all the idiotic things i’ve said on this site, i suppose my sentiments there aren’t the worst ;) or at least an effort i still believe in. thanks for the link, i didn’t fully remember saying that there till now. again, not too good with that type of organizational skills. oh roles (eyes).

      i WAS (also) remembering that i started talking about something similar on a different blog in attempt to salvage what was mostly a bitter conversation initiated by a disgruntled member that then removed the post and left before it really could get beyond. i mention, as that was a person who partially agreed with the founding documents, felt very upset by the way he was dissected early on, which then led to that moment.

      i bring up here, while considering the difficulties of building solidarity between the positive intentions of those coming from different levels and camps of experience. as while some comments from the report indicate a lack of personal confidence, i can imagine someone witnessing some of the interactions on a site like this and just plain feeling intimidated to even make a simple comment. and sometimes we chisel our preconceived beliefs in mind-stone and carry the hammer around to protect that single brick in the building. it’s always troubling to see an old and interesting comment on a blog that no longer has a face or name attached to it. some may just chalk that up to a lack of dedication, but i think there’s a bit more to it. and if considering why one joins or not, there is also “traction” and “stickiness” to be considered.

      it may sound silly to some, or sensible to others that have often suggested some kind of chat room/FB functionality, but i’ve always thought that it would be helpful as a means for folks to get to know, build kinship, have a place to just drop something without much stress as at it fleets on by. i mention, as just one thing of many ‘concrete’ solutions to organic processes, but have lacked concrete processes to create! no, i’m not saying if we just have a chat function, we’ll suddenly have a coordinated larger movement. i’m saying that’s one small thing that has been on the list for like, ever.

      jumping around…

      there are a ton of things mentioned here, in the links to other conversations, in the report comments… that i would love to respond to or highlight, or see others do so, and i don’t know the best way to approach that. hell, i’d love some kind of wiki/tag combo, but also saying i’ve said too much without acknowledging and exploring those ideas and feelings more directly. i will try better.

      here is another discussion, initiated by David Jones (2013), who, in part, said “My own personal preference would be for IOPS to think of itself as a broadly (but not shallowly!) focused libertarian socialist "umbrella" type organisation, with the potential to welcome, appeal to and unite many diverse activist groups struggling to make an impact within such an atomised society as ours (as well as many more people not currently engaged in activism at all) under a shared ethical framework (such as is outlined here, though I hope other members will contribute their own suggestions).” http://www.iopsociety.org/blog/ethics-of-iops

      hell, part of me wants to write a paragraph or two about every comment in the report, and see others do so too, with or without conversation about, on what resonates or not, or however. or maybe just on the groupings of comments, maybe using wiki. whatev.

      without quoting comments from the report, i referred to the ‘nebulous’ nature of IOPS in David’s blog. you know, if i go volunteer at a homeless youth shelter, i experience directly that i just helped give some kid a better chance in life. i didn’t change the economic or abusive crap that created it, but it’s tangible and may even ripple a bit. if i work with a socialist group that helps create a higher minimum wage in my city, even though i’m not fully on board with their philosophy, and it doesn’t really address worker ownership, there is still something to grab onto. and that’s a draw. working on something that gets results you can touch and feel. it’s real, but not enough in the larger scope. we all have roles, need to connect the dots, need to appreciate and empower roles. think tanking aint for all. there’s lot’s of frustration by those working their ass off to just make incremental change in one place, or barely hold back a fucked up system. do i choose to talk about it online? or do i just go down to the shelter? do i have time for both? which am i good at? what’s making me feel alive? is that online forum helping my other efforts?

      anywho, i’ve never gotten the impression that one was expected to not involve themselves in other groups or actions if they joined IOPS. so in that sense, yes, being a network is almost intrinsic, but not defined as purpose, and by some objected to as. and maybe remaining a small group is part of the beauty or even reality, as membership is not huge, and convention based on initial goals just not gunna happen. maybe IOPS is a little, but great think tank. maybe there is a network concept bigger than this to be worked on. and maybe there is a better place on IOPS to discuss that than in this blog, but also in this blog. your choice anyone.

      i’ve been a bit personal to lay some ground for why i’m even saying what i’m saying. just cuz i spoke at length or loudly don’t make my ideas more relevant than any. i’m puttin the mic down for now unless i’m not, or someone has a question, i appreciate feedback, will loop with that, but might likely pause to reread everyone else’s comments again and be a little quieter in approach, too. i truly hope to hear some other directions and insights. much love.

      the idea of connecting the dots and creating better mechanisms to do so is never going to leave my dreams and approach, so know that i’m there for that and looking for help.

    • Jane Johnson 13th Aug 2014

      Hi Peter,

      You wrote above "We do NOT need to engage in series of our own mega-campaigns to 'gain small improvements' from governments till we, finally some fine day, 'win'(whatever that is)... Rather, the global grassroots movements themselves will decide all that kind of stuff, campaigns, strategies etc"

      I am surprised by this! You really don't see any value in IOPS engaging in its own campaigns?

    • Peter Lach-Newinsky 15th Aug 2014

      Hi Jane, to answer you last question: nope, I could, straining my imagination a bit, envisage some IOPS campaign(s), both by local chapters (up to them) as well as by some kind of coordinated international process via the website.

      But a big BUT (scuse the Kardashianism).

      (a) but nothing 'mega', coz IOPS ain't (the mouse that roared/small dog/delusions of grandeur syndrome)

      (b) but I don't share the Fanfare strategy assumptions (IMO basically pretty social democratic) centered on 'campaigns'/gaining small improvements from governments/finally 'winning'

      (c) but I think IOPS' main role should not be 'campaigns' of our own, or even just placidly joining others (almost always inherently social democratic/Keynesian, heteronomous, government-focussed), but rather should be the libertarian one of working within diverse social movements to raise (self-) consciousness, encourage self-organization and facilitate inter-movement dialogue towards gaining more clarity, cohesion, thrust, counter-power, practical vision...

      Hope that answers the question, Jane. Kind regards.

  • Peter Lach-Newinsky 10th Aug 2014

    Jeez Alex, your local group sounds like the real deal, bewdy. Almost green with envy, but then am also a bit of a voluntary social isolate...tensions, tensions. Also a good friend has died, 86, and am listening to wind in she-oak needles trying to absorb the silence of that sound, but maybe I'm friggin trying too hard. Death everywhere this winter. My age, and people start disappearing back into where they came from, fast as...As you say above, personal before politics, even when they interpenetrate like hell they shouldn't be identical...

    Yeah the site wish list (come on Santa) needs extending alright by all, while we're at it. How about a Resources Room (as you suggest) and also

    an Alternative Institutions/Economies Room too -

    for global conversations about and between actual, practical, local, on the ground alternative projects and institutions (producer and consumer and service coops, worker-run enterprises, community gardens etc etc etc)?

    (Also be interested in what 'bunchoshit more' you'd write more indirectly when asleep).

  • Alex of... 11th Aug 2014

    bewdy. the group, i like em. helps. hope to see you at a meet of course. thinking a bit about a similar approach to Z, like multiple options from none to a dollar a month or more, but there's serious conversation on application, transparency first. just a thought.

    other things more, but posted above. dunno why there's not spaces between pars. and assume then, you'll accept half-awake? really shouldn't encourage me, ha. um, solidiversity!

  • Rod 11th Aug 2014

    I see lots of suggestions for improvements in the website. Maybe it's an idea to create a brainstorming topic in the forum where people can put in their ideas? This way we can keep it more in one place and can start to converge towards real proposals.

    • Lambert Meertens 11th Aug 2014

      Just like we have a Bug List we could have a Wish List.

      Many wishes have been expressed before, not only on blogs like here but also as separate topics in our The Site forum. It would be good if these could somehow be collected together.

    • Lambert Meertens 11th Aug 2014

      Oops, there is actually already a Wish List.

    • Rod 11th Aug 2014

      You're right. I was aware of the topic and of the 'the site' subforum of course. The specific place doesn't really matter I guess, it could be the forum, a project or a wiki, perhaps even a blog (though the results would then have to be collected afterwards and put on a more permanently visible location I think). I just wonder if there are people willing to invest time in this. There seem to be enough people dissatisfied with certain aspects of the current site, at least. So some requirements/wishlist gathering might be done to make it more concrete. Maybe I'll try to make a start on this this weekend (if I feel like it) and see if it goes anywhere.

      Of course, the next step would have to be to actually implement it, which is obviously a lot harder. We would need some volunteers willing to dedicate a serious amount of their time on this.

    • Alex of... 11th Aug 2014

      at the time i was posting on that wishlist, there was a fundraising effort going on to implement bug fixes and new features. i thought it the wrong process to ask for money without first generating a list, which could be found scattered in that forum as well throughout various blogs. my appeal, though no doubt presented poorly, was that a few folks could help consolidate the ideas first.

      from there, i think i suggested a combination of pricing out each request, with a poll on what folks are looking for from that. that is, some things may be very desirable but take a lot to implement, while others are fairly simple, low-cost implementations. so while a vote IMO should be part of the decision making process, the final decisions to apply money raised also need to remain realistic as assessed by a web team.

      having been part of the web team in brief, but not someone with major skills for web building, someone who felt it would have made more sense to start with Drupal to make web building here more accessible, but ultimately concedes that it was built the way it was built and drastic change at that point would be disruptive, and know the general process was to just fork out some money…

      while participation on any level, like just writing a blog, has been voluntary, i don’t think it’s necessarily fair or perhaps realistic to think that web improvements come without compensation. but, it is perhaps fair and realistic that it can be first organized and priced out. there are certainly some more appropriate for the latter than me. but then we know what we be working with to get it done, and can prioritize. and i agree, that should be in a single, accessible place. as it is, i am not aware of a public post, forum, or tab that shows what the original organizers of this site had to pay and to who, or exactly how the fundraised money was spent. if so, please direct me to it and i stand corrected.

      as i said above, one possible approach is to do a voluntary sliding scale similar to Z, to raise funds for such things. but, if approaching any kind of dues, there must be full transparancy. i would like it first, if those who employed the creation of the site or current changes would organize the information mentioned on and make it accessible. then it makes sense, based on that, that new lists can be generated.

    • Rod 12th Aug 2014

      Well, there was also talk of making the web development a volunteer effort. How realistic that idea is, I don't know. How realistic it is to ask for funds for web development at this point of time, I don't know either though. I don't think we necessarily need to decide on using paid programmers or not in this stage. There's enough work to be done in the process of gathering requirements and investigating technical possibilities (perhaps even create a prototype for a new site) to meet those requirements. This can all be done through volunteer effort. It might be a good idea to ultimately try to attach price tags to features. This could be both in hours of volunteer effort or dollars when using paid programmers.

    • Alex of... 15th Aug 2014

      platform, at a point i thought folks had moved on from complete rebuild. Jason had mentioned it as way to give admins more control, and i asked if that was something admins were asking for, or if we could focus on some of the features people have already asked for (something along those lines). didn’t hear replies.

      if indeed, you do feel like starting to compile a list of potential features based on user requests, let me know, i’ll help. perhaps the webteam project is a good place to post it, though a wiki spot might make it easier to add to and rearrange. i would follow your lead on that, and perhaps a message ought to go out to those that signed on to the webteam to assess what that entails.

    • Alex of... 15th Aug 2014

      oops, missed first line of that paste...

      Roderick, the last message i recall getting from the webteam was over a year ago about using Wordpress Multisite as a platform...

      (feel free to fix if someone has admin abilities)

  • Zane Hannan 11th Aug 2014

    Hi all!

    (And thanks Alex for the nudge)

    Just want to say congratulations on such excellent work, and for the stimulating discussion.

    I'm hugely caught up in other things, but hope to check back in in a few weeks.

    Massive support to this thread.

    All the best.

    • Jane Johnson 12th Aug 2014

      Thanks Zane for your message. It's good to hear from you and I look forward to possibly hearing more from you in a few weeks. Best wishes, Jane


  • Zane Hannan 11th Aug 2014

    And: :)