Of premature encapsulation, dialogue and… dire political hacks

Viv McWaters has a really fruitful post on “Facilitation with Confidence

We provide no agenda (just start and finish times), there’s no training manual that we follow, no lesson plans, no learning outcomes, no presentations, no tables, no assignments, no answers. We don’t focus on processes or techniques. So what’s it like? The participants tell us that it’s enjoyable, fun, confusing, frustrating, challenging, and most of all, surprising. We focus on who we are as facilitators – presence, commitment, curiosity, noticing – rather than what we know – processes, techniques, activities. Our premise is that there’s access to any number of processes and techniques on the web, in books, at other trainings. And ultimately our best resource as a facilitator is ourselves. So that’s what we focus on – each individual developing the confidence and self-awareness to step up, be present, respond in different ways to sticky moments or difficult people, to not be the centre of attention and to enable connection. Order and structure emerge from the needs of the participants, rather than being pre-determined.
Our work has been influenced by a post written by Roland Harwood that explored the importance of conversations first, then relationships, and finally transactions. We believe that focusing on transactions when facilitating, to the detriment of conversations and relationships, leads to ‘premature encapsulation‘ and unsustainable agreements that often get forgotten once the workshop is over.

Over at Horizons of Significance there’s a long post on conversation (Bohm, Krishnamurti etc)
It is possibly a little bleak

“We are accustomed to consider the expulsion of verbal noises amongst humans to be a competitive act, part of the struggle for dominance. When we speak we are pushing our agendas and trying to win over adherents so that we can commodify them to further our ends. When we “listen” we are in fact giving just enough attention to find chinks in the others attack that we can use to deflect their attempt to take us in. The parody of public “debate” we suffer under is the logical conclusion of this way of treating communication.”

and I would also challenge the duality between movement and dialogue.

“We don’t reach such an existence by “campaigning” for it! It’s not there at the end of some striving for becoming, in some future shoe-horned into the crippling reductivism of an “ideal.” It happens. It just happens when we leave movements and struggles behind and let ourselves BE.”

The BEST movements, movements that are indeed possible (if fragile and easily killed) have those structures of dialogue, authentic mutual recognition etc in them…

Or perhaps I am just not willing to give up on that yet, still secretly harbouring visions of myself leading the occupation of the Winter Palace?

Anyhows, if we’re gonna defend the idea of movements we have to admit their current reality… This from Owen Jones on Aaron Porter and the sorry state of British Democracy is fun.

The case against Labour sticking a red rosette on Aaron Porter is straightforward. He has been forced out of his NUS office because of his inept dealings with the movement against the trebling of top-up fees. He is one of the few political figures in Britain to be followed by angry protesters wherever he goes – and he’s only 26, and yet to enter the House of Commons.
Yes, we all know that the NUS Presidency is a launchpad for political hacks who invariably end up as identikit New Labour Cabinet Ministers. But for a sitting NUS President to attempt to launch his political career while still in the job – after being forced out – is frankly breathtaking. Even fellow NUS hacks privately bemoan Porter’s synthesis of crude, naked ambition with a lack of any obvious heart-felt political principles. Perhaps this is why his predecessor as NUS President, Wes Streeting, tweeted that it was: “Surely a joke rather than a serious proposition?”

About dwighttowers

Below the surface...
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