September 07, 2012

Principles of Change

Through a blogpost by "Civilised Money" I stumbled across this guy, Carne Ross. Some years ago he was a British diplomat who stood up to Blair and Bush when they proposed war in Iraq on the basis of misleading information, today he sides with the Occupy movement, works on creating an alternative banking system and confesses that he hates hierarchy. Thus, he wrote a book on a leaderless revolution. According to him there are nine principles that make real political change possible.

He explains his principles in this very nice in-depth interview by one of my journalistic heroes, Bill Moyers. I really enjoyed listening to those two, who really have seen the inside of important and powerful political institutions until becoming somewhat disillusioned and eventually both turning to other political means in their respective - and quite impressive - ways. It's people like that that give me motivation and inspiration for action, so I would like to share their conversation with you:

So here are the nine principles of Carne Ross's leaderless revolution:

1. Excavate your convictions - What are the things you really really care about? this knowledge will give you the motivation to act.

2. Who's got the money and who's got the gun? - Take a step back and analyze the situation thoroughly. What mechanisms are at work here? Where does the action need to take place?

3. Act as if the means are the end - Inspired by Gandhi, Ross says that the form of politics you choose is the end. So you can only reach a goal, if you embody the principles of that goal.

4. Ask, don't assume - The Golden Rule is only a proxy that assumes that other people are similar to us. We should just go and find out, what people actually think.

5. Address those suffering the most - Happiness is not empirically measurable, suffering however is. And therefore it's both easier and more ethical to take care of the sufferers first. The poor, the hungry, the sick.

6. Consult and negotiate - Measures taken without including people in the process won't work as intended or they won't work at all. Don't take people for granted and consult with everybody in a participatory democracy.

7. Big picture, little deeds - Individuals are agents of change, because by doing the little deeds they do every day they create the world we live in. The same way, with a good look at the big goals we can better choose our small daily steps towards them.

8. Use non-violence - Non-violence doesn't mean pacifism, nor does it mean doing nothing. Non-violent action is a proven way to build positive and lasting social change.

9. Kill the king - (a chess metaphor) Voting won't solve problems, action will. There is no silver bullet, don't think there is a simple solution. Your actions matter, not your opinions.

Have a great weekend! And be good :)