RADICAL CHANGE- AN ALTERNATIVE STRATEGY
THE ASPIRATIONS FOR CHANGE
We need to ask first: What is the nature of man? What is his potential? What do we need-want? What is the potential of man's freedom? How much can the individual create for himself? While there are numerous other questions, the way we view the nature of man greatly affects how we view present social reality and the prospects for change. If man is simply the product of external social forces, then we are dependent on conflicting structural forces to bring about change, for the individual is powerless in the face of the moulding forces of the social order. If we see man's nature as socially destructive, then we are pessimistic about the creative opportunities for liberating the individual from social constraints. With such a view, to let the individual become free of his social leashes would mean the destruction of our civilisation.
In contrast to these oppressive views of man is a socially positive view of man's nature, and his ability to live freely.*
The alternative philosophy puts the person first by giving power to the person; power that enables us to become increasingly independent of our institutional structures, and gives us the energy to begin to create our own joy and to relate to each other as persons. The locus of power needs to move from institutionalisation towards man in his personhood, thus freeing man to respond to life with his own body, his own thinking, feeling and acting, expressing his abilities by working creatively with his human, natural and material environments. This aspiration recognises the mutual interdependence of each person on others for self-realisation. It also accepts the need for social forms; forms that are facilitative of personal powers; forms that are flexible, changing as our needs evolve. It is the lack of such personal power and social forms that is generating increasing efforts to radically change the present order and enable the above values to be practised.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE RADICAL?
Current 'Radicalism' Several different strategies have been tried to bring about change in our society. The usual focus of debate is centered on the relative merits of violent revolt versus change within the system, i.e. revolution versus reformism. The efforts many of us have made to change public attitudes and government policy towards such issues as racism and the Vietnam War have been increasingly ineffective. Our demonstrations raised the human cry against the brutalisation of war and racism. We protested and demanded change, but remained dependent on those in power to listen and enact our demands. We were asking change of the very people who created and supported the policy we abhorred. Our frustration and their manipulation were inevitable. The oppressed and the oppressing became increasingly caught up in the vicious circle of embittering violence. This was only too well illustrated during the Springbok tour.
Those who argue for violent revolt due to their frustration at being unable to achieve sufficient change are reactionaries. Their own violence speaks of their continuing involvement in a social order they seek to destroy, a system they would inevitably rebuild with only the names changed. The history of violent attempts at revolution is strewn with failure and disaster. Overthrowing the government is easy in comparison to the implementation of the revolutionary ideals in the post-revolutionary period. For example, just think for a moment of the French and the Russian revolutions, and their degree of success in implementing their stated goals for the revolution.
Our degree of activism and/or radicalism has for long been defined in terms of our demonstrated willingness to use violence; as one's violence against the society increases so does one's radicalism. Calling oneself a radical has become an 'in' thing, a fad amongst the youth in particular, a new status symbol.
The Difficulties of Being a Radical Person When we look at what it means to be radical it is difficult to conceive of radicalism being a fad or, even less, the popular description of oneself. For the gut of the meaning of radicalism, of us being radical, is in terms of our own personal willingness to choose a humanistic commitment irrespective of the personal costs of making that choice. As L. Horowitz says: for a person to be radical means to deny the basis of his own superiority, to fight for blacks when one is white, to condemn Papal inaction when one is a catholic, to urge land reform when one is a landlord what the radical does is violate the canon of self-interest or national interest.1
It also involves the willingness to pay the cost of beliefs. For example, conscientious objectors and draft resisters to the Vietnam War were persons who went beyond protesting to laying themselves on the line. They were prepared to live with the consequences of their actions.
For those of us caught up in the power structure in the running and/or supporting of authoritarian social structures, whether they be one's own family or a government bureaucracy, radicalism is a very difficult position. For the poor and the downtrodden it is a natural position, even if they lack the consciousness to recognise it and fail to perceive the means to act.
If radicals have to make a choice, then it needs to be made for the powerless against the powerful. That is the student versus the university, the soldier versus the army, the civil servant versus the bureaucracy, the worker versus the company and the union. The radical defends the person against the group, the individual against the movement, the dissenter against the conformer. However there are many forces for change, some of which are destructive of our humanity. Hence, being radical may often involve swimming against the tide of change; a conservationist's position may be necessary in order to act against the forces seeking the creation of an authoritarian technocratic state, a state couched in soft-sounding humanistic rhetoric.
Thus to be radical involves a clear awareness of our own values in relation to what is now and what is being proposed for tomorrow. The political stance we take needs to remain flexible in response to this changing relationship.
If the person is authentically radical for others, then this involves an expressed willingness and ability to be radical in terms of himself. This involves being prepared to change, to seek a revolution within oneself with as equal fervor as we seek to revolutionalise others. Many of our present radicals have so often only been prepared to look critically upon others and demand that they change. Others of us have been too willing just to talk critically, others to just act; both are required in each person who claims to be radical. However, before talking or acting towards others, the true radical begins with himself by critically looking at the core of his being and asking: How much do I in my life express the kind of living that I seek for others?
The difficulty of being radical is revealed in the task of being able to question the core of our social order and that of ourselves. Hence for those of us who call ourselves radical, it is at best a half realised reality.
The Social Order and Being Radical To be authentic, one's radicalism does not cease when the goals have been achieved and become part of the next generation's conservatism, but rather stands before us as a potential application, depending on the state of the total human situation. We are radical because we start with man, in the tradition of Marx. As Fromm says:
Marxist theory was radical and humanistic; radical in the sense of going to the roots, these roots being man; humanistic in the sense that it is man who is the measure of all things, that his full unfolding must be the aim and the criterion of all social efforts. The liberation of man from the stranglehold of economic conditions which prevent his full development was the aim of all Marx's thought and efforts.2
In terms of our social order to be radical involves the willingness to critically analyse the structure of our institutions and the foundations of our public policies,3 for example to discover whether poverty is a social consequence of our particular kind of social order. To uncover the foundations we need to examine critically the core assumptions upon which our society is based. In addition, to be radical involves a concern with the discovery and the building of alternatives, and the awareness of potentialities- present and future.
In short, to be radical is the most difficult of all socio-political positions to take. The conservative just supports the status quo. It is taken for granted and should never be tampered with. The reformer accepts the basic structure of the social order, while he pushes for changes to 'make it better' or help its survival. The real radical is able to be either a conservative or a reformer when the need arises, but the reverse is not so, for the above positions deny the need and the legitimacy of being radical at any time.
The question remains of how we can effectively change the present social order for the sake of our future and still live fully now? How can we find meaning in the moving towards change, in the struggle for change, as well as in its realisation? As a humanist I don't feel any cause is worth the diminishing of our humanity. Too often the cause becomes all and the person its tools. We need a conception of radicalism that puts the person first; which includes both the activists for change and those against it, sacrificing neither the name of the sacred cause, whether that be God or the future. Just think for a moment of what we have done to others as well as ourselves in the name of God, freedom and humanity!
When we have clarified what it means to be radical, the next task is giving our radicalism concrete expression. So where do we start?
WHERE WE BEGIN:
THE CLARIFICATION OF REALITY
Our Own Condition Ivan Illich argues that we must first work on the clarification of reality as it is. He is arguing that we should stop and have a look about us, consider the world in which we exist, find out what it is and why. This means that we need to begin first with our own condition. As RD. Laing says: 'No one can begin to think, feel or act now except from the starting point of his or her own alienation:4 Only after that condition has been confronted can we legitimately look at the world, its nature and consequences. It is because of the reality of our dehumanised condition that we must first focus on developing our awareness of our own condition. We need to ask, where is the person? What is the individual's condition? How do I perceive and experience myself, others and the world? Where am I placed in the world?
Our personal condition is related to the nature of the present social order and our position in it. From an awareness of our own condition we can then move to a systematic examination of the nature of our social order and just what alternatives there are.
Knowledge of the Social Order We need to know clearly the present social order and its consequences before we can responsibly talk about and act towards changing it.
We need to become students of the social order. We need to discover what values and institutions in our social order are intentionally and/or unintentionally conducive to, or repressive of human needs and human growth. In terms of systems analysis then, we must have an understanding of the inputs in to the human system and the consequences of those inputs for the human system, internally and externally, as individually and as groups, in addition to the consequences for the social system.
Attention needs to be particularly directed towards the study of the powerful, the power structure at the top (formal and informal), its effectiveness in meeting human needs (positive power) and its effectiveness in frustrating human needs (negative power). We study the power structure and the corporate structure because of its effects on large numbers of people. Is a 'power elite' structure inherently dehumanising? Is there a limited framework within which institutions, values, etc., can be constructed without them being dehumanising by definition?
By studying the powerful and by making clear their myths of 'responsibility', 'expertise', 'representativeness' and 'honesty', there exists the chance to stop being puppets by knowing who pulls the strings, or to decide whether or not we want to be puppets. By studying the powerful and exploding their myths, we can help to give power to the powerless.
We need to study the human consequences of social and personal values, both preached and/or practised, and their relationship to human needs. We need to discover what values and institutional structures in the social order are conducive to/or repressive of human needs and growth, which existing structures are alienating or integrating and why: if they are satisfying for some, and alienating for others, which ones and why?
In studying the question of effectiveness the humanist is not only concerned with the dehumanising-alienating aspects of the social order, but also with its humanising positive aspects. Thus emerges the concern to clarify the nature of imagination, joy, love, mutuality, creativity, beauty, and the spontaneous expressive aspects of present social reality. We need to study the social institutions and structures which facilitate human satisfaction, expression and intimacy, to discover the areas in the social order that are satisfying, why they are so, and ways in which these are being improved. We have to clarify not only what it means not to be a man in this social order but also what it actually does mean to be a man. What parts of the social order really allow for and call forth our humanness? A negative approach is taken only in order that the positive can be achieved.
The Discovery of Alternatives and Possibilities We need to move from the clarification of present realities to the clarification of alternatives, even of the future.
Men of the past and those too involved in the present have no vision of future development, present alternatives, possibilities and potentialities. But as Harrington says, 'Reality itself is, in short, demanding great decisions or grand alternatives whether American history likes it or not'.5 I mean more than reform-oriented alternatives, rather a type of alternative view which challenges the very assumptions underlying our social order. This involves the study of alternatives which exist and which would provide more effective ways of meeting human needs. We must also ask why these alternatives are not actually used, and how and why the social structure is defeating the intentions of meliorative policy. This sort of analysis would involve an 'economic' analysis of the human costs and benefits involved in a particular choice as well as that between differing choices. However, there is a need to see costs and benefits holistically rather than from the point of a particular group or class interest.
In the short term, although alternatives may not be limited, possibilities may be; even if we had the freedom and the power to create a 'great social order' it would take time. However, we would be acting in bad faith, being inauthentic, if we were to say that it cannot be done (to deny freedom) when in actual fact it can be.
We can now create what we wish: what we do create is a political decision. Freedom is constrained by the limits of the possibilities existing at a particular point in time. By possibilities I mean those real alternatives that exist in terms of the technical and physical environment, but are unattainable due to the structure of the existing social order. Our freedom is further limited by our degree of 'false consciousness' and/or lack of consciousness: unless we are aware of our possibilities, for example, the possibilities of freedom, then we have no chance of their realisation, of expanding our human domain.
In consequence we have to be concerned with becoming aware of possibilities, and with communicating alternatives to the existing situation (both structural and personal), and finally with developing the technically feasible possibilities that are presently unknown or suppressed.
In addition, we need to direct our efforts to dealing with the question of potentialities, that is, the structural potentialities of the future, and the potentialities that exist within and between men. As Waskow says: 'One of the major tasks of liberal and radical thought in America today is to imagine the future in order that the future may be created.' 6 What must always be in one's mind are the possible consequences of present actions on the future; as what we choose now greatly affects if not determines the nature of the future.
THE PERSON IN REVOLUTION
Liberation Once we have clarified the nature of society and of our own condition, as well as alternatives and possibilities for tomorrow, the next task is to begin the revolution. The first descriptive task was to clarify the individual’s condition: the first act of revolution also needs to begin within the person.
In terms of a strategy for radical change we begin where we can be most effective, in areas which most concern us. Hence we begin with the micro, the individual, ourselves. As Buckman says, 'As success is essential to the nourishment of any movement, it is practical to begin the revolution where some immediate effect will be evident, inside oneself.'7 It is with a consciousness of our own condition and that of society that we need to consider the issue of our own individual liberation. Our concern is to achieve liberation from the dictates of the corporate state and its dehumanizing demands and consequences, such as its demand that we go to school, meaninglessly labour and consume, treat others and ourselves as things.
However, before we can become free of these external pressures we have to work on liberating ourselves from our own internalised one-dimensionality, becoming liberated from our taken-for-granted assumptions and realities. We need liberation from the belief that neither we nor society can change, liberation from all the beliefs and forces that inhibit our own power to be and to act for ourselves. The basis of the, present social order's power is in our uncritical acceptance of it.
The liberation of our inner subjective condition is crucial to our liberation from the external social structural conditions. This effect is illustrated by the men's/women's liberation movements and their efforts to liberate the individual from being restricted by sex roles and their dehumanising consequences, whether this be the male role of oppressor or the female's of being dominated and oppressed. Rather the desire is to be seen as a person, being responded to in terms of our personhood rather than sexhood, so that sex is but a part and not the definition of what we are and how we find our value. However the female's false consciousness is as much the problem as are the males' oppressive acts hence the need for consciousness-raising groups.
The psychedelic drug culture can also be seen as part of the effort to liberate oneself from a restrictive consciousness trained for the corporate state: to be able to see things differently, to be released from one's inhibitions, perceptual, intellectual and emotional, and to become aware of multidimensional way of looking at the world.
In short, one of the first steps towards the creation of a new society is liberation from the old. In order to be liberated, we have to question the games and the normative rules that we are required to play and believe in to allow the corporate state to survive. The role of a systematic critique of the existing social order is vital at this point, for we need to discover the underlying assumptions of our social fabric and submit them to our critical scrutiny.
Self Discovery and Development The evolution that naturally stems from the effort to throw off the corporate state dictates is an attempt to discover who we are and what we need. We need to develop a consciousness that is not only aware of what it rejects but of what it affirms, to rediscover and affirm our humanness, our identity, or, as Marcuse says, 'our lost sensibilities'. We can fully discover and value our present thinking, perceiving, and, in particular our feelings, because they are unique to ourselves. This involves time with ourselves and with others so that the individual develops within himself an awareness and appreciation of his own creative potential, his own worth as a person. Unless we learn to value ourselves, then our power to change ourselves and the social order is greatly diminished. If we do value ourselves then we can be effective as change agents.
Finally, this evolves into a focused concern on actualising our potential, on developing what we have just discovered rather than finding out What we are. The concern is to become more in touch with ourselves and with others, focusing on the experience of living through sharing our human abilities and attributes, and discovering our unknown and untried potentialities. This focus can be seen in the Encounter group movement with its concern to help the individual develop his sensitivity to himself and to others: also in the journey to the East, in particular Zen and Yoga's inward development of the body and mind.
Individual liberation, affirmation and development are the crucial beginning points for change. As Marcuse says: 'No qualitative social change, no socialism is possible without the emergence of a new rationality and sensibility in the individuals themselves. No radical social change (is possible) without a radical change of the individual agents of change'.8
Each of these three dimensions is vital to the fulfillment of our humanistic aspirations for change. However, no aspect of the liberating, affirming and actualising focus has meaning without the other dimensions. Once a person becomes concerned with one he is involved with the others, as each interacts and is part of the others. It is only because of our present condition that most of us need to begin with the question of our liberation. This beginning strategy of focusing on the human condition and the effort to become free in order to affirm and actualise oneself is the basis from which I look at existing and alternative social forms.
The next component of the strategy for change is the moving from a revolution within the person to the creation of viable alternatives, which will provide the necessary social support for the individual undergoing a revolution and a base for an attack on the present social order.
What Kind of Alternatives? The alternative strategy for change argues that we need to go beyond violent outpourings or the non-violent pleadings of our wounded sensitivities, to a focus on the building of concrete alternatives—personal, social and material alternatives to the present order. To imagine them isn't enough.
In general what is sought are alternatives that shift the centre of attention away from the struggle to exist to the struggle to live, from a civilisation of objects to a civilisation of interacting persons. Some of the basic components of this evolving civilisation already exist in miniature form as a developing counter culture. For example, differing forms of communal living exist as an alternative to the isolated nuclear family, humanistic education is an alternative to its present authoritarian form, and homeopathy, naturopathy and acupuncture stand as an alternative to the traditional medical use of drugs. These, and other alternatives, aim to facilitate the development of a new man with humane ethics, as an alternative to the present dehumanised man.
We need to create alternatives so that we can experience right now in concrete form the meaning of a 'civilisation of interacting persons'. We begin to do this by experimenting with different life styles, with more humane ways of organising, etc. We have been only too ready to experiment with technology (the tools to help us live), but are loath to experiment with different ways of living, and different ways of being. What we need now are living prototypes of the new society a microcosm of future realities made real now. Such prototypes can give us real experiences of alternative possibilities. However, in order to survive today and create tomorrow, we have to modify the present concrete expression of our ideals. We are limited because our present alternatives have to be created alongside and inside the existing social framework with its one dimensional pressures.
Power of the alternatives. If we sit back and let present social forces carry us along, then the dehumanised hell of Orwell's 1984 or Huxley's Brave New World is likely. What we do today contributes to the realities of tomorrow. If our humanity, let alone our existence, is to survive in the future, then the future cannot be left to itself.
If we have been able to revolutionise ourselves, and create our own effective alternative social environment, then this alternative, this living model will attract others through its pulling power, particularly those presently disaffected. However the attraction of those dominated by a 'false consciousness' will depend on the demonstrated positive value of the alternatives in relation to their existing lives.
Alternatives offer those fearful of the uncertainties of change some idea of what we are seeking to create, and a quick retort to the questions: 'What are you going to put in its place?' or 'How do I know it's better if I cannot see it?' Just as importantly, alternatives provide a working comparison from which to specifically criticise the existing state of affairs. At the same time their very existence contributes to a pluralism of different life styles from which individuals may choose. The creation of alternatives is the beginning of the effort to create a new society for all.
The Evaluation of Alternatives Many alternatives are offered in the name of progress: the question is, what kind of progress—material or human?
The degree of radicalism of particular alternatives varies depending on the scope of their application, and how wide-sweeping their implications are for the existing social order. They can be radical in that they question a basic component of an important institution such as medicine and its use of drugs, or they can be radical in questioning the very framework of the whole social order, such as the proposal to stabilise or reduce Gross National Product, or provide a guaranteed income independent of employment.
From the radical point of view it is too much to expect to create a whole range of alternatives to every aspect of the existing order, even if it was needed. At any time, all actual social change is piecemeal in relation to the total social order. However, over time the alternatives proposed and the changes made can reveal redirection and transformation of previously held values and institutions.
Our desire to think in terms of our ideal optimum needs to be tempered with what is now possible. If we see our ideas and actions within the dual light of present realities and possibilities and our aspirations, then our alternatives are likely to come in to existence, survive, and still maintain their dynamic, open, radical quality. Demonstrating the need for change and the proposing of the alternatives needs to be balanced with our ability and that of the community's to cope with change. Otherwise the likely consequences are Future Shock (9) and the blind resistance to any kind of change.
One of the reasons for creating alternatives is that they give their participants new life and power to be able to tackle the social order. These alternatives can then be used as liberated zones from which to continuously and non-violently confront the existing order.
CONFRONTING THE CORPORATE STATE
The kind of Action Needed Ivan Illich and Paul Ehrlich among others have argued that a crisis is inevitable, in that we are playing at brinkmanship and will soon reach the point of no return. If this is so, then the alternative definitions of social reality and purpose stand ready in the wings to be implemented when the existing social purpose and forms collapse. However waiting is not enough. We arrive at a stage where we have to choose 'whose side we are on', (10) that of the social order, or that of man. We cannot be above the battle for man's existence or his humanity—we are too involved. The corporate state needs to be challenged at the core of its existence and at its greatest points of tension and stress. How? Through non-violently confronting the corporate state with the existence and advantages of available alternatives and its own dehumanising consequences.
This leads back to the first concern with our own condition, for we must have developed the personal power to affirm continuously our own alternative values and being in the face of the demonstrated anxiety and violence of the corporate state (likely when the state is challenged at its core). Otherwise we are being caught up in the violence of the existing order. If we cannot affirm our alternative nature, then before we act we need to work on developing our personal power before attempting to act in the spirit of a Gandhi or a Martin Luther King.
Violence against men is by definition dehumanising 'violence against the adversary and violence against oneself are inseparable'.11 As human beings our action has to be of a kind that enables rather than controls and manipulates. We must act not as philosopher kings, nor as technicians, but as human beings who may be able to help. We need to act as stimulators of action, as expanders of others' consciousness, possibilities and alternatives, to help others find the means to express and satisfy their needs, to help define their own questions, issues, goals and courses of action. In order to achieve this we must provide information and insight, and in so doing must be responsible, open minded, and tentative while still remaining committed.
The actual strategy for confronting the corporate state creatively involves a process, a movement that encompasses a beginning point and an aim. It involves the questions of:
- Where do we start when trying to change the existing order?
- To where are we moving?
- What is our goal?
Changing the Corporate Individual I believe that the first step in trying to change the corporate state is to start with the individual and then to move towards others. It is from an awareness of our own responsibility that we can begin to focus on facilitating the change of others. To be a facilitator of change in another person isn't easy. How do we know we really are acting for the other? We can have some idea that we are facilitative if, as the consequence of our actions, the person has not only changed his value and/or behavior, but has more power to decide for himself. To really know if this is true we need feedback from the person on how he sees our action, and its value for him.
To achieve change within the individual, whether oneself or another, we need to:
- begin with our own feelings and move towards our thinking, from how we and others feel to an intellectual understanding of what we are experiencing.
- move from the particular conception of what needs to be done to a holistic picture of our desired changes. (We need to have a clear idea of what we are seeking to achieve and its perceived value before risking the responsibility of changing what someone else created.)
talk about what needs to be done and move towards doing it.
- begin with the most personal and move towards the least personal, starting with the people who are the closest to us, then with our associates and finally with strangers. (If we cannot be open with our friends, then we have little chance of really communicating with strangers.)
- affirm our own value as a person and then move towards the humanity of others, whether friend or foe.
- start with the person and move towards his relationships. (The person is always the beginning point, the source point and the final reference point).
The above begins the strategy for confronting the corporate state, by starting with the individual. A revolution in the individual's consciousness is the first step to a revolution in the structuring of social reality. However for the above to have meaning it has to be perceived within the framework of a wider consciousness, a consciousness that sees individual acts as contributions to a more general programme. Too often we become so caught up in our own relatively little projects for change, that we lose our sense of vision, and our openness to the value of others' efforts. In short, a macro-consciousness is necessary but our application to reality begins at the micro, moving only gradually to the macro.
The Strategy for Social Groupings The next step is to move from the individual and his immediate relationships, to a focusing on groupings within the corporate state. We will be most effective if we begin with the middle class and then move towards the workers. To my mind the working class is the new reactionary class. The workers are too caught up in their efforts to possess and consume the materialistic outpourings of the corporate state to want to change the order of things radically. What strike action there is focuses on demands for more of the cake, rather than demands to change it. In contrast, the middle class is well-endowed, additional items being largely peripheral. I feel that they are the most open to changes that offer more than the ability to own a second car.
Thus we need to begin with the economically secure and move towards the economically insecure. This also involves beginning with the educated, particularly those educated in the humanities and the human sciences, and moving towards the uneducated.
The actual beginning pressure for change comes from the offspring of the middle class those who were born into affluence, educated for position, and yet who are saying that this isn't what living is about. What the youth are saying is crucial, for whereas their parents relate more to the past their children are of the future. What they want will largely determine the future.
The past image of the revolutionary workers, blacks and the poor, is now a myth. There are considerable objective reasons why they need to revolt, but they lack the consciousness and the resources to realise their oppression and to be able to act. If those who suffer most, the auto worker, the poor, etc., are to be mobilised, they depend on those who suffer least. It is those who are least dehumanised, those higher up the socio-economic scale who are needed to provide a lead to the materially and humanly downtrodden. Hence in acting for change we need to begin with the powerful and move towards the powerless. However, where pursuing or resisting change is involved, there are minority exceptions within each social grouping.
Challenging our Institutions As well as dealing with the individual and his social groupings, we need also to challenge our institutional order. This institutional order is predominantly involved in servicing the needs of the economy. Its goals are maximising production and consumption and its means are centralised technology and hierarchical bureaucracies. In contradiction to Marx, the most effective strategy now is to begin with the superstructure and move towards the substructure for example starting with the education system or the family and moving towards the economy. When we consider the revolt in education and the breakdown of the nuclear family, this approach seems to be in operation already.
In this strategy the weakest parts of the institutional order are first attacked, then its strongest components, building our strength by starting with the most flexible and responsive of institutions and, with the experience of success, moving to confront those most resistant to change. We start with a part and move towards the whole. This strategy, I feel, is necessary so agents of change can build up their personal and collective power for further efforts.
In summary, in terms of a strategy or changing the corporate state, let us begin with ourselves, our own world, then move out to others most open to alternatives. Our final task is to deal with those most resistant to change.
Too often those pressing for change are only involved in one of the areas discussed above, that is of changing themselves, building alternatives or attacking the existing social order. If we are seriously concerned to bring about genuine radical change all three dimensions are crucial. One component without the others loses most of its meaning and power. For example focusing on just the individual leaves the Guru and his followers with inner peace, but living in an unchallenged, highly stratified society. Creating only alternative social forms leaves the communard living in communal isolation, his style of life only of value to its few participants. The much published politico leaves himself untouched. He has few ideas as to what the new society needs to be and how it can be created. He only knows that the old has got to go. He is too involved in action to be aware of what he is doing. Each aspect has an important place : all three together contribute to a whole picture as to what needs to be the total strategy for change.
I have suggested beginning points for action each point being one step along the road to achieving radical change.
To focus effectively on one aspect we need to be aware of the inter-relationships between other aspects and their part in the whole scheme of things. The alternative strategy is, in short, holistic.
The problem remaining is whether we have enough time. I am pessimistic on that point but optimistic in terms of what could be achieved. Given time I think it is possible to bridge the gap between where we are and where we want to go. Nevertheless, if idealism doesn't become the new reality, we shall surely all perish. That real prospect is no reason not to begin right now!
* For a discussion of the view of man's nature, as plastic see the work of B.F. Skinner, the leading figure in the behaviorist school in psychology. His latest book is called Beyond Freedom And Dignity. For the view of man's nature as destructive see Freud's Civilization And Its Discontents. The humanist view-point in psychology can be seen in the work of A.H. Maslow, Towards A Psychology Of Being, (N Y, Van Nostrand, 2nd ed. 1968) or C.H. Turner's Radical Man. (Mass Schenkman, 1970).
1. I.L. Horowitz 'Radicalism and Contemporary Society' in Where It's At (ed) by Deutsch and Howard(New York, 1970) P. 566.
2. Eric Fromm, in The New Sociology, Ed. by LI_ Horowitz (London, Oxford Uni Press, 1964) p. 191.
3. C.W. Mills, Power Politics And The People (ed. EL. Horowitz) (London, 1963) p. 254.
4. R.D. Laing, the Politics of Experience, (New York, Ballantine 1967).
5. M. Harrington, Towards a Democratic Left, Ballantine (N Y, Macmillan, 1968) p. 10.
6. Quoted by Steven Deutsch in Where It’s At (New York, Harper & Row, 1970) p. 533.
7. P Buckman, The Limits of Protest (London, Panther 1970) p. 229.
8. H. Marcuse, ‘The Left Under Counter Revolution’ American Humanist, May/June, 1972, vol. 132, No. 3, p. 14.
9. See A. Toffler, Future Shock (London, Pan, 1970) for a discussion of the consequences of rapid change.
10. Taken from H.S. Becker 'Whose Side Are We On' Journal Of Social Problems, No. 3 XIV, 1967.
11. E. H. Erickson, Gandhi's Truth, (New York W, W Norton & Co. 1969) p. 437.