Power Politics of the "undead left"
I have found memories of fighting the Power Politics of the "undead left" during the London Social Forum many years ago - lots of knotted strings of organic garlic around the top "taking the power table" to highlight the uncomfortable "undead left´s" grasping for power.
Then the ad hock crew taking away the top table altogether during the lunch break and arranging all the chairs in a circle. Their faces were a delight, coming back after lunch and it kinda/might have worked... but the splits of "not thought of here" took over and the undead were permissioned to take back the space at the next meeting.
The ESF movement faded and now is a shadow - no alt was built.
The use of cultural myths and traditions will mediate and disempower "power politics" but it's a chicken and an egg to get these embedded in groups that are already ensnared in "power politics".
The rainbow gatherings used to work this way till they were "disrupted" by the digital shift and capture by the #dotcons now the gatherings themselves are broken due in part by being organized through #failbook
The #OMN could fail from the same issue. The myths and traditions are in place PGA and #4opens. But the project does not have deep roots to weather the inrush of success. And on the other hand will likely not last the slow growth needed for the roots to dig deep.
Humm doing this expo project is unsettling.
Why are conversations about technology, privacy and social change so difficult?
Over the last 10 years I have found a lot of intolerant and prejudiced attitude toward the impact new technology will have on our work and society. A recent conversation sparked off this thought. Our society has foundation myths - and they aren't the bible any more - consumerism and selfishness/paranoid narcissism it seems to me – we are Thatchers children.
Many of the conversations about the impact of the open web and corporate social networking with people are like a conversation at the edge of a cliff. Its high and the cliff edge is crumbling into the maelstrom of the sea far below, am on the edge of the cliff looking out and the person am having the conversation is standing on thin air. Our foundation myths are about not looking dowen which make this issue invisible, and explains the reaction, people don’t what to see, if they look down they fall, not a nice feeling.
How to work through this will-full/wishful ignorance driven by narcissistic fear and denial? Its clearly unhealthy for us as a society in the medium and long term, but it is a useful coping strategy for the individuals and organisations in the short term.
Finding the Rainbow Gathering
Is there an alternative? Can we build a contemporary community out of a traditional society? Where and what is the path to it?
Drawing the right people in is core to building intentional communities. The rainbow way of doing this is to use myths and traditions to help create norms, rather than using hard structures.
The myths and traditions help to build a norm, all though not perfect this does work and creates moments of beauty for large numbers of people around the world year on year. The is no perfect society only transient beauty and moments of truth – and the seeking of perfection is the sure way to destroy the thing it sets out to create. Here I look at the process of finding and getting to the gathering.
The 3 “rules” of building and finding Rainbow Gatherings.
* Its a word of mouth network, keep the core information about the gathering off the web.
* Poetry rather than fact, hint rather than tell, draw the “hippy” map so that it is hard to understand.
* The path hinted by fabric scraps in the trees rather than clearly signed, make sure the gathering is not accessible by road and a 10-20km hike.
The working through this (unspoken but intentional) fog – brings the “right” people to the gathering. And for some controversially excludes not only the “wrong people” but also disabled, older generations, mums with kids and the less connected people. However imagine what a rainbow gathering would be like right next to a main road with a bar/alcohol shop and supermarket – you would likely see something worse than the “A camp” in US gatherings.
Many gathering invent there own myths and traditions – some gatherings start to have rules (LINK) and these soon start to look and feel more like a holiday camps rather than a gathering of the tribe.
Rainbow gatherings have a very strong, largely invisible core of myths and traditions
The myths and traditions of Rainbow are what a gathering is. The people come to gather and "enact" these myths and traditions, but they are generally neglected. To put an arbitrary scale on this - the national rainbows are generally only 10-20% of rainbow power, were the European is 40-60% rainbow power.
Rainbow gatherings have a very strong, largely invisible core of myths and traditions these are designed to overcome and transcend the "stupid individualism" of the Babylon world, and in as far as they are remembered and enacted they do this very well. The issue is that it is a virtuous circle, if the is the power there to start with then it is generally successful in transforming a bunch of strangers and misfits into a coherent whole. If the power is not there to start with them then incoherents tends to grow and dominate.