What is The Transition's view on the Concept of Power?


For this answer we again rely on our forebears before us: "Power is one of the issues that social change Communities face- particularly those with a commitment to nonviolence. Too often nonviolence has been confused with being "nice," gentle, or wishy-washy, rather than forceful and aggressive. To effect change we need to go about the systematic building of power. That means making allies-not only with people like ourselves, but with all kinds of people. It means living Communities or networks of friends and allies become our bases for going powerfully into the world, not just safe havens where we can remain warm, close- and scared. Power is not built by focusing too much energy inward to the maintenance of the group of the individuals in it. The life of the group and the happiness of the people we call allies are crucial but cannot be our preoccupation.

Many of us [in society at large] find power frightening. Too often it is used unjustly or rigidly- sometimes against us. We have seldom seen power wielded well. So, the prospect of us having power and using it to change the world scares us. But without becoming powerful, movements for change will fail. Therefore one task facing social change Communities is to encourage their members to face their feelings about power. Then we can go about building a broad base, which can become one measure of success.

We hope that people will use this [website] for ideas and encouragement, and find some jewels of wisdom from folks who have been trying to make social change Communities work. Most of all, we hope your lives will be full of the joy and power that comes from taking responsibility for the world."


Sources: Building Social Change Communities

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

Recommended Books:  Building Social Change Communities