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THE TECHNOLOGY OF NON-VIOLENT REVOLUTION  Add your comment on this item1

Developing a Research/Action Program For Meaningful Social Change  Add your comment on this item2

                                 Larry Victor
                                 Center for Research in Human Learning
                                 400 Ford Hall, University of Minnesota
                                 Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455
                                 February 16, 1970  Add your comment on this item3

PREFACE:  nuet   July 29, 2008 Add your comment on this item4


It took some searching through my archives to recover this document, almost 10 years since last edited and almost 30 years since I wrote it. Some things have not changed in these 30 years; others have changed, some to the better, some to the worse. A “global” assessment of change (+ or -) is highly relative to perspective and also a mathematically invalid operation.  I am drawn back to this early presentation of my view of “what we must do”, as the query remains primary and imperative. What I propose today has its’ roots deeply embedded in the concepts discussed in this paper. It is interesting to see the books that I referenced, mostly forgotten but remembered as significant. Add your comment on this item5


At this moment of my life, I, nuet am orbiting jorl – two worlds in mutual discovery, engaged in structural coupling. Explore the SemWrld of jorl (John Ringland). At this time two highly ambitious projects are being planned, the STAR Project and the GBA Project. Exploring the potential viability of these two projects brings to the surface: what criteria do we use to judge primary projects? The processes in this paper remain valid – especially with the use of intelligent tools and cyberspace, neither which were in popular use in 1970. Add your comment on this item6


Thirty years ago (and more) some persons recognized where the trends of unexamined growth would lead, and tried to warn us.  We are no closer to avoiding catastrophe than we were then – but the collective knowledge of humankind is much better and tools unimagined then are now readily available. The primary purpose of resurrecting these essays (Platt’s and Victor’s) is to demonstrate that our challenges in 2008 are not new, nor are the solutions proposed now, new. We need to honestly probe: Why have proposals for change, at many times in history, generally not led to successful movements? May it be that what we do is not sufficient, that what we must do, now, is CHANGE, significantly – and I mean the most active, the most informed, the most connected, the most insightful, the most innovative – we are all not yet adequate to our roles? Add your comment on this item7

PREFACE: Larry Victor   June 26. 1999 Add your comment on this item8

I wrote this essay while a graduate student in educational psychology at the University of Minnesota. I had resigned my faculty position at the university to return to graduate studies to earn my second PhD, my first was in physics from Yale. But, my primary activity was deeply involved participation in the movement against the Vietnam War, and many of my friends and associates were students. I believe this to be the first document I wrote that launched me on my mission of three decades.  I haven't read it for many years, and was afraid it was lost (I just discovered it on an old floppy).  Sometime in my past a student aide typed it into computer form. Add your comment on this item9

Originally, it had been typed, mimeographed and distributed during the student takeover at the university in 1970 (following the bombing of Cambodia and the shooting of American students by American soldiers at Kent State). Some faculty used it in their courses -- in the 300 course Peace College designed by the anti-war coalition, which the university administration (temporarily) permitted to replace the existing university curriculum. Eventually police broke the occupation of the student union and the old curriculum was restored. Add your comment on this item10

It astounds me to see so many roots of my present activity explicit in this document. The program of "research/action" (I was yet unfamiliar with Kurt Lewin's "action-research") called for here has been my personal project for three decades.  I am still trying to activate Stage 1, whereas many more details have been added to Stages 2 and 3.  I "expanded" this proposal into an unpublished book in 1976, called Mission 2000. Add your comment on this item11

John Platt, the author of the article, What We Must Do [PDF]” that catalyzed my writing had been my mentor when I was a graduate student for my MS in physics at the University of Chicago in 1957-58.  Add your comment on this item12

I note that I had not yet begun to write with gender neutrality, so I use "man" in the text to refer to human persons, both male and female. I chose not to edit this away. Add your comment on this item13


In his article, "WHAT WE MUST DO" (Science, Nov. 28, 1969) John R. Platt points out that  Add your comment on this item14

"There is only one crisis in the world.  It is the crisis of transformation. We are undergoing a great historical transition to new levels of technological power all over the world... What, finally, makes all of our crises still more dangerous is that they are now coming on top of each other -- a crisis of crises.  It has now become urgent for us to mobilize all our intelligence to solve these problems. If we could learn how to manage these new powers and problems in the next few years without killing ourselves by our obsolete structures and behavior, we might be able to create new and more effective social structures that would last for many generations.  We might be able to move into that new world of abundance and diversity and well-being for all mankind which technology has now made possible".
 Add your comment on this item15

The social structures on the earth are undergoing rapid change resulting from the {currently uncontrollable) forces of technology and growth.  If we wish to conserve those aspects of our societies which we value the most, aspects which are threatened by the changes occurring, we must counteract these changes by design.  We must plan and implement other changes in our social system so that those aspects we most highly value are conserved -- do not change as our social system changes.  This is "true" conservatism.  The magnitude and rate of the planned changes is determined by the magnitude and rate of those factors we cannot control.  To many this means "social revolution".  Add your comment on this item16

Years ago the Ad Hoc Committee on Triple Revolution cited three basic forces altering our social system: the cybernation revolution, the warfare revolution and the human rights revolution.  Platt presents lists of crises arrayed as to seriousness and time-scale.  One could quibble about the comparative seriousness of these crises, but the general view must be accepted: mankind is on trial.  Add your comment on this item17

THREE FUTURES  Add your comment on this item18

As a result of these social transformations, there are three basic futures open for mankind. One future is that of virtual (if not total) annihilation. The second future sees more and more regimentation of individuals to stable institutions until man has no more freedom of action than the social insects. The third future is Utopia (relative to our current state) where every man is self-actualizing (see Maslow, Toward a Psychology of Being), at peace with himself and human society is in ecological balance with its environment--a world of universal brotherhood, without war or unnecessary suffering. Twentieth Century man, with his hang-ups, his alienation and anxiety cannot survive the changes wrought on his society by technological growth.  Mankind is either going to be destroyed or saved--the hell of the present cannot continue much longer.  Add your comment on this item19

FOR MANKIND TO SURVIVE, PLATT SUGGESTS THAT;-  Add your comment on this item20

"Nothing less than the application of the full intelligence of our society is likely to be adequate. We need full-time interdisciplinary teams combining men of different specialties, natural scientists, doctors, engineers, teachers, lawyers and many other trained and inventive minds, who can put together our stores of knowledge and powerful new ideas into improved technical methods, organizational designs, or "social inventions" that have a chance of being adopted soon enough and widely enough to be effective... It is the new science and technology that have made our problems so immense and intractable.  Technology did not create human conflicts and inequities, but it has made them unendurable.  And where science and technology have expanded the problems in this way, it may be only more scientific understanding and better technology that can carry us past them.  In many of these areas, there are few people outside the research community who have the basic knowledge necessary for radically new solutions".  Add your comment on this item21

We must distinguish "technology" and "technocracy".  Technology is simply the application of knowledge to serve human needs and desires (real and imaginary).  Technocracy (see Marcuse, One Dimensional Man and Rosack, The Making of a Counterculture) is that particular form of advanced industrial society (US, USSR, China, Europe, and Japan) which has misused technology by creating a network of institutions in which human needs are neglected--and institutional and technological growth has absolute priority.  Technocracy is not a necessary consequence of technology.  As I interpret Platt, we must dismantle technocracy while at the same time improve technology in those currently neglected areas to serve the needs of man in facing the impending crises.  Add your comment on this item22


"Who will commit himself to this kind of search for more ingenious and fundamental solutions?  Who will begin to assemble the research teams and funds?  Who will begin to create those full-time interdisciplinary centers that will be necessary for testing detailed designs and turning them into effective application?"
 Add your comment on this item24

THE CRISIS OF IMPLEMENTATION  Add your comment on this item25

Can we look to existing institutions in our technocratic society to initiate and implement such a program as Platt proposes?  The thesis of this article is based on the hypothesis that the answer to the above question is, NO. Although our institutions are aware of the crises facing mankind, and some are conducting small research projects to study them, the value system of the leadership of these institutions results in a distortion of the problems and it is unlikely that the results of such research would ever be implemented. Space does not permit effective argument in favor of the above hypothesis. But, given that the above hypothesis has a high probability of being true, the crises facing mankind necessitates that we act as if it were true, and begin to seek other methods of implementing Platt's program.  If the hypothesis is false, and our "system" miraculously reforms itself, our labors will not be in vain.  Table 1 presents an outline of a three stage program leading to the implementation of Platt's program {starting with Stage 3}.     Add your comment on this item26

Table 1    Add your comment on this item27

IMPLEMENTATION PROGRAM  Add your comment on this item28

Leadership change in all institutions of US society. 
New leadership dedicated to the following programs:  Add your comment on this item29

1. Abandonment of US policy to economically dominate the world.
2. Renunciation of force or coercion as a method of achieving any national or international objectives.
3. Dedication of our national assets to assist all people of this planet in facing their crises, which are also our own.
4. Massive research and implementation programs to arrest or minimize the ecological crises of our time   (pollution, over-population, poverty, depletion of natural wealth, etc.).
5. Research into the ecology of the entire biosphere so that human society will never again become a cancer, so that the effects of technological growth will never again reach crisis proportions.
6. Research into alternative institutions (economic, educational, governmental, living, etc.)--with the final objective of a   just world system which honors diversity and individuality.
7. Research into methods of assisting the education and self-actualization of every individual.
8. Implementation of temporary reforms of existing institutions to facilitate the other programs.  Add your comment on this item30

ORGANIZATION AND PROGRAMS  Add your comment on this item31

Stage three starts with a task force of individuals organized and dedicated to the terminal objectives.  Add your comment on this item32

The task force will concentrate on the following programs:  Add your comment on this item33

1. Detailed research into the nature of our existing social system.
2. Research into and implementation of the education of the entire population of the US for the need of meeting the terminal objectives.
3. Research into and implementation of organizational methods for uniting the population behind the terminal objectives.
4. Development of procedures to achieve the leadership change once the population is united.
5. Watch-dog service over the current "System" to minimize its counter-revolutionary efforts.
6. Evaluation and improvement of the above programs.
7. Preliminary research into the programs listed in the terminal objectives.
   Add your comment on this item34

STAGE 2   TERMINAL OBJECTIVES  Add your comment on this item35

The formation of a task force of individuals organized and dedicated to the programs and terminal objectives of Stage 3.
   Add your comment on this item36

ORGANIZATION AND PROGRAMS  Add your comment on this item37

Stage 2 starts with an unorganized group of individuals dedicated to the objectives of Stages 2 and 3.  Add your comment on this item38

This group should concern itself with the organization of a task force and to carry out pilot studies into the programs of Stage 3.
They should work on methods of establishing understanding and a strong sense of community among individuals in the group.  They should devise and test methods to expand the task force to a size where the programs of Stage 3 can be started.  Add your comment on this item39

STAGE 1   TERMINAL OBJECTIVES  Add your comment on this item40

The gathering of concerned individuals dedicated to the objectives of Stages 2 and 3
   Add your comment on this item41

ORGANIZATION AND PROGRAMS  Add your comment on this item42

Stage 1 starts with a small group of individuals dedicated to the objectives and programs of Stages 1, 2, and 3.  Add your comment on this item43

This small group should concern itself primarily with the recruitment of others until the group is a size where the programs of Stage 2 are possible.  Pilot programs for Stage 3 may need to be conducted to demonstrate the viability of the program.  The group should work on methods of establishing understanding and a strong sense of community among individual members in the group.  Add your comment on this item44

COMMENTARY Add your comment on this item45

1) We must reject the revolutionary program of much of the militant Left that a violent confrontation between the "System" and a "revolutionized" populace will lead first to the destruction of the technological base of our society and that a "Better World" will rise from the ashes.  Although I have sympathies toward this view, even if the revolutionaries were successful (which is unlikely) I cannot agree that we could build a "Better World" from the ashes.  The implementation of Platt's program would be impossible after the destruction of our technological base.  The major crises of the world are not the direct result of our social systems (the "Systems" primarily constrain us from taking effective action).  Pollution, over-population, famine, etc. will still be with us, and we will then be incapable of solving them before they bring mankind to an end.  Therefore, we must find a "peaceful" way of transforming our society, without destroying its technological base.  Add your comment on this item46

2) The program outlined here is concerned primarily with the transformation of the social system in the United States.  Although the ultimate crises are world crises, I believe we must initially start with the transformation of our own "System".  This is not to say that we should ignore what is happening in the rest of the world, nor should we take an isolationist stance until we solve our own problems.  Given current US influence throughout the world, any changes in our own system will stimulate other changes throughout the world, and these changes will in turn reach back on our own system.  If we can fundamentally change our own social system and start working toward survival, I believe that the rest of the world would go along with us-- once they knew we could be trusted to respect their self-determination.  Add your comment on this item47

3) The program does not call for an initial alteration of the structure of most of our social institutions.  Our governmental systems, our courts, our corporate productive systems do not have to be radically altered at the beginning.  These structures are far from the best, but we have no models proven better at this time, and there are more important things to do.  Using our social systems structured as they are (with some minor modifications, particularly in the distribution of our national wealth) we can mount the program for survival proposed by Platt.  But, and this is very important, the values and objectives upon which the institutions make their decisions must be fundamentally changed.  To change this, we must have a 100% change in the leadership of these institutions.  Such a change in leadership of all the institutions in US society is the terminal objective of the proposed program. In Table 1, Stage 3, are listed some programs that the new leadership must be dedicated to, which include Platt's program for the mobilization of our intellectual resources for survival.  Add your comment on this item48

In Stage 3 of the implementation program, organized task forces research and implement the education, attitude change and organization of the population in the US to support a leadership change in our social institutions and designs the mechanism for the transition of leadership.  It is expected that such a leadership transition will be gradual, although rapid changes can be expected near the end of the stage through political activity. Changes in corporation leadership could be accomplished by legislation once the change in government leadership has occurred.  We must anticipate that the current leadership will not be passive - and that repression will be attempted. But I believe that strategies can be developed that will be immune to repression.  Add your comment on this item49

The program for the task force in Stage 3 will be to design and coordinate research/action projects on a scale as large as our space program.  Its objective is "the transformation of human nature".  It is a blatantly immodest crash program to raise man psychologically to a state where he can live in harmony with his technological achievements.  The gap between man and his technology has been pointed out again and again, but little is ever done about it.  There is not longer time to wait for man to spontaneously mature.  The question is no longer "can man change his own nature?"  But, must be "how can we change the nature of man in a short period of time?"  Add your comment on this item50

Methods of education, attitude change and organization have been studied for many years, without any great success.  Fundamental attitudes have proven very difficult to change.  People are generally resistant to organization, except for a short time for narrow, self-interest objectives.  Innovational reforms in our education system have not improved the quality of education to any great extent.  In spite of this current situation, I believe that much useful information can be uncovered from existing studies in these areas, and that a massive, coordinated, interdisciplinary approach to these problems can bring many of them to solution.  Add your comment on this item51

The task for Stage 3 is basically one of human engineering: "programming" the education, attitude change and organization of Americans to meet a specific objective.  There are those who are turned off by the very concept of human engineering -- as if it must in some way violate the basic human freedoms. Certainly the human engineering employed by the "System" does just this.  My only answer to such criticism is that the current forces that mold our minds and personalities are far more dictating to the free development of the individual than any proposed in this paper.  It is a cold fact, unpleasant to the idealist, but nonetheless true, that a man's development is heavily dependent on the environment he encounters, and much of this environment is necessarily the creation of man.  Left to himself, it is highly unlikely that man will become truly free, will become self-actualized. Add your comment on this item52

I can see nothing wrong in man using what assets he has to control his own educational environment so that he can guide his own development in the direction which he aspires.  Nor is there anything wrong in those fortunate enough to be in a position to understand how the environment should be manipulated to these ends assisting others less fortunate.  These are nothing but the fundamental assumptions behind education.  All human engineering need not lead to a "1984" or a "Brave New World"; the critical factor is the objective or goal to which the human engineering is but the means.  Where our current society engineers man to fit passively as cogs in the machinery of its institutions, the task force envisioned for Stage 3 will attempt to engineer man to a state where he will be free to make his own society.  Add your comment on this item53

The program must maintain a delicate balance between two seemingly conflicting dimensions: the growing freedom of action of individuals participating in the program and the highly organized task forces necessary to design and coordinate the actions of these individuals.  One of the objectives of the program is to liberate man from all control by his institutions. Participation in the program must be strictly voluntary.  It is the burden of the task force to design research/action projects which will attract the participation of free individuals and to communicate effectively their objectives to these individuals.  It is only through coordinated actions by free individuals that meaningful social change can be realized.  Add your comment on this item54

MODELS FOR TRANSFORMATION - STAGE 3  Add your comment on this item55

In this section I will sketch a model for how the vast majority of the population of the US can be educated, have their fundamental attitudes changed and be organized to work for a change in leadership of their social institutions in a time period of 10 years or less.  Figure 1 {not presented} is a metaphorical representation of this model.  At the bottom we see flames releasing the repressed psychological energy bottled up in every American, rich and poor, elite and oppressed, majorities and minorities.  These are the repressed anxieties we all feel about our future, our chances of survival, our security; the repressed alienation we all feel toward ourselves, and towards others; and the repressed disillusion we all feel toward our powerlessness in a system which does not meet the ideals it professes.  These released psychological energies are channeled through concrete actions in working for survival, building community, developing self-actualization and consciousness expansion into the crucible of our society.  In finding joy through such action, working toward realistic alternatives, we can build a new world.   Add your comment on this item56

This model is based on the hypothesis that the deepest and most powerful dissatisfaction Americans have toward their lives and their society are psychological and not material or social.  Although Americans, on the surface, are concerned with inadequate housing, rats, the draft, war, poverty, discrimination, taxes, crime, highways, etc., it is almost impossible to organize them for any extended action concerning these issues.  However, once people are made aware of their anxieties, alienation and disillusion and they begin to find joy in working to free themselves of these psychological forces, it is hypothesized that they can be organized in constructing a new world for themselves.  Add your comment on this item57

People suffer from anxieties about their future.  Most people appear to be apathetic, but few are really unaware that things are not going right.  They cannot live with anxieties, so the general tendency is to repress the facts that gave rise to their anxieties; they distort their perceptions of significant events so that they will not rekindle the anxiety -- the result being apparent apathy, the silent majority.  If however, in an education campaign to the American public, we reactivate this anxiety through an honest look at the problems of survival, we can give them a way out through a program of work that channels the energy of anxiety to solve the problems that give a rise to the anxiety.  Add your comment on this item58

Most people are alienated in one way or another from themselves and from others.  (See R.D. Laing, The Politics of Experience) For the American, this alienation is very deep and very disturbing to him.  There is a deep sense of lack of worth, a perspective of powerlessness and insignificance in the machinery of institutions, a lack of meaning to life (evidenced by the general lack of interest and even abhorrence of longevity).  Americans are afraid of themselves, of their feelings and emotions, they are afraid to face their true being.  They are afraid of others, because involvement will expose themselves -- so the shell must be maintained and games played.  They are afraid of real commitment.  This alienation contributes greatly to the difficulty Americans have in organization to action for their self interest -- and to keep the organizations going.  In the Korean War, the Chinese developed a technique of building distrust of one American prisoner towards other American prisoners, fanning the alienation that already existed, in order that there would be no organization for causing trouble or escape.  This technique was very successful.  The same thing is now occurring among the people in this country, both Right and Left.  Deeper and deeper alienation, increasing fractionalization, stops us from organizing, from coming together to do the necessary things for our own survival. If the actual tasks for people to work on towards survival are designed such that they give the people a new sense of identification and worth, having them work with others in new ways of trust to break down the alienation barriers, then man will rediscover himself and that tremendous flow of energy will further amplify his work toward survival.  He will find joy in his work, not the boredom of his present daily existence.  Add your comment on this item59

The average American is also disillusioned with the nature of his government and other institutions -- he knows that they are unrepresentative and corrupt, he knows that they lie to him and manipulate him -- that they are not what they claim to be.  But this is a hard fact to live with.  Some openly admit it and say, "that's the way the things are" and are encouraged to be corrupt themselves, to be criminals, to be violent. Others repress these facts of disillusion -- they see their institutions being taken over by criminals or communists -- they wrap themselves in a flag and a few clichés lauding the perfection of the "System".  There are very few Americans satisfied with the workings for their social system and its institutions -- but they feel powerless to do anything about it.  Add your comment on this item60

If they are presented with a realistic alternative system that they can understand, based on a new philosophy, and it is demonstrated that this new system has a good chance of being achieved, they will work for it.  They will work to construct a new system that lives up to the ideals it claims to uphold.  Add your comment on this item61

The experience of the growth psychologists will be valuable here.  This "new" school of psychology focuses on the problems of the "adjusted" man (capable of functioning in the machinery of the "system") in his efforts to make maximum use of his potentials rather than the traditional problems of helping "disturbed" individuals function in society.  Today, growth psychology is in an experimental and innovative phase.  Many diverse techniques are being tried to lead people in the process of self-actualization.  One widely used technique is the group encounter.  Others concentrate on developing increased body and emotional awareness, with the goal of integration of body, emotions and intellect.  Surveys of the techniques can be found in Joy by Schutz and Turning On by Gustastis.  Another approach is the building of a sense of community, where people come together to develop new life styles more consistent with deeper needs.  In designing programs of action, the task force must make maximum us of these and other techniques (experimentally and eclectically), because the success of the program depends on the people involved finding deep personal meaning through their actions.  Add your comment on this item62

A highly controversial, but not to be ignored, technique to assist self-actualization is the properly administered use of consciousness expanding chemicals (marihuana, LSD, etc.)  The "real" danger of widespread use of such chemicals is that it can be an "attitude solvent".  When used in appropriate circumstances, individuals get a "clean" look at themselves, re-evaluate their value systems and often leave such experiences with a dedication to change their life styles.  To the "System", such insight is dangerous, because the tendency is often to reject the behavioral norms set by the "System".  That the insights furnished by consciousness expansion have not always been put to constructive use can be traced to the fact that our society gives little
opportunity for realistic changes in life style.  The proposals given in this paper can offer constructive channels for this new insight.  A survey of some of the facts about the use of consciousness expanding chemicals can be found in The Marihuana Papers edited by David Solomon.  Add your comment on this item63

RESEARCH AND ACTION  Add your comment on this item64

It is vital that the research suggested in this program not be divorced from the practical application of the knowledge gained by the research.  Relevant to this issue is an article, "Knowledge Is Power" by John McDermott (The Nation, April 4, l969).  McDermott claims that --  Add your comment on this item65

"The key to understanding the oppressive class structures now developing in American society is found less in the mal-distribution of the nation's property than in the mal-distribution of its knowledge.  Whether in the form of raw data, esoteric scientific principle, advanced industrial technique or the judgements of scientific and technical elites, knowledge has become decisive, for it is rapidly displacing wealth, real property and individual entrepreneurial skills as the growth factor in industrial production, social organization and, most important of all, political power. ...  Segments of knowledge still belong to technical specialists and pieces of knowledge to the well educated, but only the very largest organizations are able to integrate these proliferating segments and pieces into systems of productive, effective or, more likely, profitable information.  That is the meaning of technological progress: the systematic application of new knowledge to practical purposes.”   Add your comment on this item66

“The concentration of effective knowledge of and about society in several giant organizations can lead to no other result than a substantial decline in the capacity of ordinary Americans to control that society and those organizations. ... Politics has lost its significance as a set of devices by which the general public rules over private hierarchy.  It has become a shadow, uncertainly related to the real events of the private world it ostensibly controls. ... Stripped of any relation of control or significance to the events of the real world, people's political responses have themselves become increasingly unreal and even paranoid. ...  The over educated Left fares no better than the under educated Right when it comes to analyzing and acting effectively within the ghost world of contemporary public politics."  Add your comment on this item67

"It is the institutional framework that is critical here.  No amount of technical information pumped into the public life stream would be likely to correct the weakness of under class politics, for the underclass now lacks the social, cultural and organizational framework within which that information can be assimilated and acted upon. ... The problem is fundamentally a social one, not one of making individuals better informed. ...We should purge ourselves of the all too prevalent view that the new importance of scientific knowledge promotes the growth of freedom. ...  For intellectuals concerned to mount attacks on this class system, two steps appear to have priority.  First, the world of the institutional behavior and the knowledge it employs must be charted far more precisely and more richly than has here to fore been the case”.   Add your comment on this item68

“Current descriptions and explanations of corporate, governmental, municipal, union and foundation behavior are inadequate, for they do not permit a sufficiently reliable forecast of how and why institutions will act under specific circumstances.  The Left is especially and perennially susceptive to explanations so general that they describe little more than anger and frustration.  We are forever being surprised and undone by developments.  ... But it is not fundamentally an intellectual problem, a matter of pure scholarship.  Among the knowledge which large institutions have come to master are those which can be employed to disguise, prevent and manage conflict.  Practically speaking, what is both needed and possible is not a disengaged scholarly literature about institutions apparently at peace with themselves and their world such as now strangles academic political science. Good scholarship here requires a working alliance with insurgent political activity.  It therefore follows, as the second step, that the mutually destructive division between intellectual culture and popular culture should be ended."  Add your comment on this item69

In accordance with this view of organized knowledge as power, the task force suggested for Stage 3 should be structured so as to constitute an alternative institution capable of effective application of the knowledge gained.  To this end, it is not inappropriate to study how the existing knowledge institutions gain their efficiency and effectiveness, and to apply some of this knowledge in the organization of the task force.  The objectives for the task force meet McDermott's second recommendation, by education the population as to the true nature of the "System" oppressing them and assisting in the organization of the people to effectively work for a humane and realistic alternative.  Once the terminal objectives of the third stage are met, the existing knowledge institutions will be co-opted to the objectives of the task force.  Add your comment on this item70

Such a program will be criticized by many of the radical Left as being an elitist and top-down program.  In one sense it is, those who formulate the program will be an elite in the sense that their education and experience qualifies them for such a task -- not that as individuals they are more worthy of such leadership.  We are all products of the "System", and we can be most effective in changing that "System" by making the best use of our assets.  It is an unfortunate, but true fact, that the current popular culture is incapable of participatory democracy. Only after the population has been educated and organized, as proposed here, will participatory democracy be possible.  Add your comment on this item71

The power of the task force lies in its ability to organize and educate the population.  The task force, unlike the knowledge institution of the "System", will not have the power to direct the popular culture.  Only if the task force can correctly assess the needs of the people (e.g., a release from the pressures of anxiety, alienation and disillusion) and can suggest to them actions which will lead to their organization, will the terminal objectives of the task force be realized: the changing of the "System".  One can think of the task force as performing a "service function" for the movements working for social change -- developing a "technology of revolution" -- it is up to the people to accept the service and use it, or to reject it.  Add your comment on this item72

A word of caution.  The knowledge gained by the task force on how to educate and organize the population can be used by the "System" in efforts to counter the attack on it.  This risk must be accepted.  However, program 5 of the task force would be to serve as watchdog over the "System", and to propose such actions to the growing "Movement" that will minimize such counter-revolutionary efforts by the "System".  Add your comment on this item73


The primary objective of the task force in Stage 3 is the design of a program of coordinated actions through which people can channel their psychological energies in working for survival and the construction of a new world.  What should these actions be?  The first answer will be the work of the task force; here I only offer some suggestions.  Add your comment on this item74

The primary objective of the actions should be organization through education and involvement.  Movement groups today view organization as a necessary evil, and give it little serious attention (with the exception of some of the over-organized "socialist" parties).  The groups "design" their actions with the primary objective of pressuring the "System" to make specific reforms:  Stop the War NOW, stop pollution NOW, legalize abortion NOW, etc.  The hard fact of the matter is that until the Movement groups develop a power base, their pressure tactics have little chance of being effective.  Indeed, such actions often pressure the System into making appeasement detours, resulting in new controls -- often more subtle -- that make the needed changes more difficult.  Add your comment on this item75

Organization problems are usually viewed from the perspective of boring meetings wrought with fractionalization and meaningless disputes.  Organization is left up to the vague process of people being turned on by reading about some action and joining the Movement.  This approach has had little success.  The type of actions taken by most Movement groups, and the strained inter-personal relations between group members has little chance of leading to deep involvement necessary for a person to stay associated with the group for any extended period of time.  Movement groups usually consist of a very small hard core and a continual flux of new members into and out of the group.  The growing numbers concerned people can probably be attributed to the general worsening of the world situation than to any specific actions taken by Movement groups -- although such actions have played an important part in making people aware of the crises, but we have no measures of the efficiency of Movement action toward this end.  Add your comment on this item76

Action taken to fundamentally change the "System" can be effective only when it is backed by "People Power".  The first task of any reform or revolutionary movement must be to build the base of people power.  Action and involvement is necessary to attract and keep people in the Movement, but such actions must be designed to maximize the growth rate of the organized movement until it becomes large enough to be effective.  Figure 2 shows the three major components necessary for all tasks.  Add your comment on this item77

                                                 /   \
                                                /     \
     Action & Involvement    /        \
                                             /           \   Organization & Education
                                           /               \
                                         /                    \
                                       /------- ---------\
                                        Research & Evaluation
       Figure 2
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The tasks must lead to the growth of the organization through education, they must involve people in ways that they deem worthwhile and each action must be evaluated as to the success or failure of its specified objectives.  Our actions can only be improved if we admit our failures and learn from them.  The system of action tasks must be designed as a pluralistic research program to determine what actions are most effective and how their effectiveness can be increased.  Add your comment on this item79

Initially, most people prefer to be told what to do.  Later, as their involvement deepens, they will begin to suggest their own actions.  Initially, most people have only limited time for action, and the tasks suggested to them must match what they are willing to do.  This calls for an elaborate program to coordinate such limited actions so that they will be effective.  It is vital that the people involved in the actions understand the objectives of the action and the place that the particular action plays in the entire scheme.  It is also vital that they understand the need for evaluation, and that the failure of a specific action to meet its objectives does not render that action worthless -- but that their action contributed to our knowledge of how to make future actions more effective.  Add your comment on this item80

Educational actions must be tailor-made for the individuals or small groups of individuals whom we wish to educate.  The shotgun approach of mass leafleting, mass rallies and teach-ins, as educational actions, should be discouraged. Follow-up is essential -- individual follow-up; education and attitude change is a slow process.  We must start where the individual is, with his limited knowledge and his immediate concerns, and we must educate him step by step to see how his concerns are related to the overall scheme, demonstrating to him how he can help to solve these problems.  Once a person is educated and moved to become deeply involved, he must be given tasks to help educate and involve others.  He must be led to see that only through education and organization can a power base be built so that effective solutions to his problems can be achieved.  Once such a movement gets underway, it will expand by chain-growth: each person becoming involved will work to involve others, who in turn will work to involve others, etc.  By such a chain-growth process, it is possible to involve the entire population of the US in a short period of time without the use of the mass media. Psychometric measures must be developed to assess a person's attitudes, for example: how he perceives significant current and historical events.  Such measures would prove invaluable when evaluating the success or failure of actions.  Research is also needed to improve the effectiveness of written materials.  Such research must be conducted through concrete actions.  Add your comment on this item81

Although the primary objective of research/action projects is education, attitude change and organization; this is not meant to exclude necessary actions to immediately alleviate many of the crises today.  We must continue to work to bring an immediate end to the wars in SE Asia and to limit our government from starting similar actions elsewhere.  Research and action must continue to solve the problems of pollution, over-population and poverty. Pressure must be maintained to reform the existing system, NOW.   However, we must be realistic in our assessment that TRULY significant changes will only take place when we have developed a power base and can gain control over the institutions which are dragging their feet in meeting the crises.  Add your comment on this item82

IMPLEMENTATION STAGES 1 and 2  Add your comment on this item83

Is it possible for a task force to be organized to carry out the program outlined in Stage 3?  I find myself optimistic about the chance of success for Stage 3, but I am rather pessimistic about the possibility of organizing the task force.  There already exists in this country enough people sufficiently concerned and qualified to initiate such a task force, but I am not at all sure that we are capable of organizing ourselves to become effective.  In addition, many of us have taken concrete actions against the "System" that leave us vulnerable to repressive acts if we are recognized as a threat to the "System".  Add your comment on this item84

The underlying variables for the success of Stages 1 and 2, as for Stage 3, are psychological. Most of us have not completed our private revolutions toward self-actualization, and thus suffer from varied psychological hang-ups which often render us ineffectual.  Most of us act only to appease our consciences for not taking real action.  We are of the elite in the "System" and are not willing to risk our "positions".  We remain distrustful of each other as is evidenced by our "I'm more radical than thou" testimonials, our refusals to listen to proposals of others, which we view as threats to our own proposals and we are overly sensitive to constructive criticism.  Gerald Sykes speaks to these problems in The Hidden Remnant.  Before we can sit down to organize the task force we must resolve these personal problems.  We must honestly face our own anxiety, disillusion and alienation. If Stage 1 is successful, if we can agree to come together to discuss the organization of the task force, we must give explicit attention to the problems of breaking down our own interpersonal barriers, using on ourselves some of the techniques of growth psychology and develop a strong sense of community among ourselves.  Add your comment on this item85

Sampled responses indicate that the concerned youth are far more receptive to this proposal than are concerned adults.  This may indicate that Stage 1 may require the establishment of a pilot task force, consisting mainly of youth to demonstrate the feasibility of the program.  One of their tasks will be to educate, change the attitude of and organize the radical intellectual towards the necessity of their involvement in the program.  Add your comment on this item86

Individuals will bring to the task force their experience and expertise in their own narrow disciplines.  However, the cult of ”the expert" must be resisted form the start.  In many areas we will be starting from scratch. Physicists and poets will need to work as social psychologists and educators. A true interdisciplinary climate must be maintained, not as a collection of specialists, but as a community of interdisciplinary individuals. The problems of organizational structure and financial support for the task force must be worked out in Stage 2.  It will be necessary that some individuals devote full-time to the task force, but most participants can be expected to work in their own institutions. Initially, the funding for many of the research/action projects can be sought from foundations; but the program should never become dependent on the "System" for its financial support.  It can be expected that many will find new "careers" in their participation with the task force.  At our universities, participates in the task force could become a nucleus of a parallel educational institution, working both within and without the formal university structure.  Add your comment on this item87

Yet, in spite of the difficulties facing us, I view this proposal with romantic optimism.  There is hope for man, not only to solve many of the crises facing him, but also, of actually building that new and better world of which we all dream.  Were I a religious fundamentalist, I would now have an answer to critics who ask why would God permit such suffering-- how can the crises facing us be God's design?  Is it possible that without such crises, mankind would never have experienced the need to evolve itself into the Utopia (the optimum, not perfect society) to which it has always aspired?   Add your comment on this item88

Prospects for the future can be exciting.....
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Laurence J Victor  -- found, reformatted, with minor edits.  6/26/99
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