Our responsibility to our movement

Based on two recent posts (“Oh come ON, all ye faithful” and “Ego-fodder, colluding in crap activism and lousy parenting“), I’ve jotted down the following algorithm. What do people think?

1. Plausibility is the key. “Participation” is one of those motherhood and apple pie words that gets thrown in. What is the organisation’s ideology? What is its actual track record?

2. Is it even worth contacting them? Do they have “form” in promising one thing and not delivering?

3. “Dear x, I’ve seen your event “blah blah” advertised. Before I commit my limited time, energy and money, could you explain to me what steps you are taking to make sure it won’t involve us sitting in rows listening to experts, followed by Q and As dominated by the most knowledgeable, confident and/or vociferous? What lessons have been learnt from previous events, and what innovations are taking place to get us away from plenary-itis and workshops dominated by “sage on the stage?” Is “open space technology” going to be used, for example. If not, why not?

Yours sincerely, Comrade y”

4. Two strikes and you’re out. One is not enough – the movement matters. Three is more than a busy individual can afford.

5. Erm, we MUST get into habits of reflection, reflexiveness, public discussion of what has gone well and what hasn’t. And if not us, who? If not now, when?

About dwighttowers

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9 Responses to Our responsibility to our movement

  1. This makes loads of sense to me!

  2. Vanessa says:

    Excellent! Having been to several of those ego-driven, sage-on-the-stage events in the past (and come away feeling mildly, inexplicably inadequate) I’ve given up attending similar. But I hadn’t really analysed the reasons for my disaffection, let alone considered challenging organisers to do it a different way. I like this a lot.

    • dwighttowers says:

      Welcome Vanessa,
      I love “it’s vivid”,and hope you find the time and inspiration to keep it going. I used to go to these things regularly, and also came away with those feelings. It’s only recently that I came up with the phrase “ego-fodder” which I now see everywhere (including in places it isn’t actually there – such is the way with new ideas, you overuse them). Adrian Segar of “conferences that work” is, I think, the chap who taught me “sage on the stage”… Glad you like, and let me know what happens when you use the algorithm! I promise to share too…

  3. Sam Gunsch says:

    Seems appropriate and enough.

    Your post raises an issue relevant in my province, a sustained meaningful evaluation of: “…what has gone well and what hasn’t.” presumes sufficient corporate memory, which is exceedingly difficult if a movement in any particular sector thins out.

    • dwighttowers says:

      Institutional memory is a major reason we keep re-inventing the wheel, keep making the same muppet mistakes, burning out organisers and failing to attract people into activity…. Sigh.
      May change now that the technologies exist to quickly capture info? Don’t know…

  4. leavergirl says:

    I am just now grappling with a conference organizer, trying to figure out three things:
    * who is the intended audience (newbies or folks who have followed the collapse meme for a long time)?
    * what is the *actual* focus of the conference (going over the collapse stats and data over and over, or *beginning* past that and talking about what to keep, what to leave behind and what people are doing)?
    * when they use the word conversations, do they actually mean “sage on the stage” all the way, with conversations in between the presentations? (I suspect so; scratching my head)

    It really shouldn’t be a guessing game, nor a bait and switch game.

  5. dwighttowers says:

    Ooh, those make good questions for the stage 3 letter. Would you draft that for us?!

    And no, making it a guessing game, or a bait and switch, are destructive of trust and credibility, which are very limited resources,and for all intents and purposes, non-renewable ones…

  6. leavergirl says:

    Well, I’ll see what develops. My formal complaint remained on the drawing board, as this person and I began to develop a friendly conversation. Will it bear fruit?

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