Imagine a better future. In your country of the future the economy is classless and promotes solidarity, diversity, equity, and self management. The polity generates and works according to participatory democracy and self management. It is anarchist. Kinship is feminist, with men and women fully liberated, sexuality liberated, children liberated. Culture is intercommunalist, without racism, bigotry, insecurity. You and your fellow citizens have new priorities, values, and aims. The institutions you live with, you work with, you celebrate with, you decide with, all have new roles that generate desirable outcomes rather than preventing them. Life is good. But how did it get that way?
Given what we endure right now in our current home countries, skipping forward and looking back, in the interim there must have been a revolutionary transformation of minds and institutions. How did that transformation happen?
Well, still looking back and considering our journey to our better future, it certainly wasn't the work of aliens or gods. Which leaves that it must have been done by people. However, it couldn't have been done by just a few isolated people. It must have been many people acting together. People informed. People knowing where they were going. People each with his and her own mind. People freely seeing eye to eye. People who learned from their experiences and put their learning to work.
And what vehicles did the people use to develop and protect their shared aims, to create their shared experiences, and to act on the aims and lessons to propel their shared programs and projects? Perhaps many. There would be local ones and bigger ones for wider domains of living and doing. There would be specially focused ones and also more general purpose ones. But, amidst it all, there would be, we can be sure, some organizations which were highly oriented to the general purpose of social transformation and on collectively developing and sharing vision and strategy in tune with the changes that happened. There would have been organization seeking to construct and to then melt into the infrastructure of the new society. There would have been organization seeking to foster, galvanize, and implement struggles for changes.
How many such organizations? We don't know. But if there were a few, then, looking back from that revolutionized future society, there certainly must have been at least one. And at least that one, and maybe more, must have existed in nearly every country, linked. How else could there have been the needed internationalism, solidarity, and sharing of lessons and assets? How else could there have been the needed mutual aid?
Alright, when did that particular organization that we are now thinking about, get born? When did it get nurtured into strength? When did it get solidified into great cohesion even as it simultaneously kept flexible for lesson learning and for on the fly refining? We don't know, of course. We do know, however, if we think about that better future, that it will have happened, sometime, between now and then.
Here is the question of the day. Why can't the time for forming that new organization be now? Why can't we who want a better new world, and we who agree about its overarching defining features that are essential if people of the future are to self manage their own lives – get together and build what we know must come into existence? If not now, why not?
Some will say, because we might fail. But so what? If we don't try, we will certainly fail. More, even if do fail, we will learn, and next time we will have more knowledge to apply, more wisdom to sow. And maybe we will succeed.
Some will say, because there are dangers. But so what? We will have to overcome those dangers at some point. If we try now, and we succeed, wonderful. If we try now, and we fail, okay, we will learn and do better later.
Arguments for inaction always exist. If we succumb to them today, and also tomorrow, and also the next tomorrow, it amounts to surrender. Surely we don't want to surrender.
The International Organization for a Participatory Society (IOPS) hopes to form, to grow, to become wise and capable, and to abet and finally melt into the new just and equitable, self managed society we all seek.
IOPS arose, proximately, from a poll – yes, a poll – taken by a bit over 4,000 users of the ZNet website. Over 95% of the respondents were amenable to joining an organization with features and structure described in the poll question. That incredible response inspired setting up a consultative committee, raising some funds, and creating a web home, which now exists.
Please, once you visit the site, look at the IOPS organizational description, at its shared vision and programmatic commitments, at its brief history (that will hopefully, in time, grow far richer), and at its consultative committee. Links for all this are evident.
If you like what you see enough so you feel it would it be wonderful if IOPS grew to thousands, to tens of thousands, or to hundreds of thousands and more people; if you like what you see enough so you feel like you would love to live in the society it is seeking; if you like its commitment to self management, to mutual aid and respect, to flexibility and dissent now and in the future enough so you feel it would create a welcome and empowering place for you to contribute; then, wouldn't it make sense to join? We hope that if you like IOPS in these ways, you will see it as a place for you, and that you will act on that feeling, and join.
If you do that, using the links on the site () and you enter a brief bio, a picture, and your country and city – you will be a member of IOPS, and also of your country branch OPS, and of your city OPS too. You will be in position to help attract others – the first critical organizational task – so that you can all together meet in your city, share your views and ideas, and, in time, become part of a self managing membership that, at a founding convention, moves the whole undertaking from interim to real. At that point, hopefully, IOPS will be an organization which, when people live in the better future, they will look back to that convention and see it as having been a historic step in a long path.
That's the hope. Let's make it real.