1. At a public talk someone asks you, "okay, I understand what
you reject, but I wonder what are you for? What institutions
do you favor that will be better than what we have for the economy,
polity, gender, race, ecology, or whatever you have vision for?
I am for beauty and justice in everyday life, and the primacy of the common interest (health, education, welfare, creative work, security, minimal class, race, gender inequality, environmental sustainabilty, zero nuclear weapons, and the strengthening of the world court, UN Charter, Geneva conventions and international peace forces). I think this can be made attainable through democratic decision making, politically and economically.
2. Next, someone at the same event asks, "Why do you do what
you do? That is, you are speaking to us, and I know you
write, and maybe you organize, but why do you do it? What do
you think it accomplishes? What is your goal for your coming
year, or for your next ten years?
I am dissatisfied with the quality of everyday life where human relationships have become reduced to market relationships, where life is a rat race, governed by competition and networking, where the entrepreneurial spirit is held aloft as the model of creativity, where communities are but the aggregate of private interests, where the public does not have a public voice and where the accumulation of money is regarded as a natural and worthy purpose in life.
3. You are at home and you get an email that says a new
organization is trying to form, internationally, federating
national chapters, etc. It asks you to join the effort. Can
you imagine plausible conditions under which you would say,
"yes, I will give my energies to making it happen along with
the rest of you who are already involved?" If so, what are
those conditions? Or – do you think instead that regardless
of the content of the agenda and make up of the
participants, the idea can’t be worthy, now, or perhaps ever.
If so, why?
I would participate if the focus of change was where we lived and worked. If I am unable, with others in my community and workplace or profession, always struggle around distant issues and leave community and workplace relations in place, it is hypocritical and abstract and I would be reluctant to participate. If I feel exploited or if I am involved in relationships which are unjust, I must attend to those relationships first. I don’t want to have to depend on work at the bomb factory and then go off to a political meeting about something else.
4. Do you think efforts to organize movements, projects, and
our own organizations should embody the seeds of the future
in the present? If not, why not? If yes, can you say what, very
roughly, you think some of the implications would be for an
organization you would favor?
More than just seeds. Movements must arise out of concrete successes at the personal and local level.
5. Why did you answer this interview? Why do you think others
did not answer it?
I respect the work being done by Znet, especially around the actual creation of alternative modes of work. Others probably don’t because to them it feels simply like work – one more worthless exercise.