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Why Should People Encourage the Formation of This Type of Social Change Network?

Why not let individuals and groups continue to pursue their projects as they have been?

A:

Some of the advantages of acting for change in the context of a network like ours follows:

  • Provides a broader outlook, helps us see our personal efforts or those of our group in relation to a larger picture and other efforts being made.
  • Counters the feelings that we are in the struggle alone against powerful opposition. Our combined struggles amount to something greater than the sum of the individual efforts.
  • Is a way we can give and receive mutual assistance, particularly in times of crisis (what we call "crunch!" times), but also on a regular basis.
  • Is a context where we can improve our work for revolutionary change through directed self-study, and mutual appreciation coupled with constructive criticism that pushes us to continually evaluate what we are doing in terms of the task before us.
  • Is a base for sharing skills and information.
  • Provides a structure through which we can develop common strategies for change in our area/region that will enhance all of our work.
  • Can become allied with larger networks- a step that will be necessary if we are to effect the broad changes that are required, most of which will necessitate widespread and coordinated action against powerful forces and institutions in our society. We can't make it alone or in isolation.
  • Is a place we can stop our work to have fun, celebrate life in the present moment, make good connections with others.

Some people may ask how a network is different from a political party. Most parties are run in a centralist, bureaucratic fashion-people gain power and authority by some special characteristic (charisma, seniority) and much of the energy of the party goes into legislative and/or electoral politics. In addition, parties do not encourage local autonomy or the ability of groups to follow their own best judgement. Even the most radical parties often depend on the guidance and directives of experts. Furthermore, most traditional parties do not embrace or nurture the whole person- they are interested in the individual only as a political unit.

 

 

Sources: Building Social Change Communities

Contributors: Peter Woodrow, The Training/Action Affinity Group of Movement for a New Society

Recommended Books:  Building Social Change Communities