Fuzzy Thinking About Community Membership


      Most persons unthinkingly believe that communities can be created without either screening or training; just let anyone into a community who wants to join and assume they possess the capabilities required for effective community action. In the quote below Mr. Moore argues that each person has "a piece of the puzzle," so there's no need to screen, just take whoever happens to be around.

"Most important, this kind of dialog is about inclusiveness. It is not about 'bringing together the enlightened' nor about 'educating the unenlightened'. It turns out that everyone, regardless of their beliefs or philosophies, has a 'piece of the puzzle', a 'part of the answer'. Our society encourages us to fear the 'other', and to think in terms of 'us' vs. 'them'. But consider this: you don't need to agree on religion to build a barn together. Similarly, agreement on worldviews is not needed to work together to create real community and to make it a better place to live. As in ecology, diversity adds strength and richness."

Richard K. Moore, An Experimental Framework for Community Democracy


      Another person who has done some thinking--albeit fuzzy thinking--about community is James Herod in his book Getting Free. He suggests, as do we, that small American towns could be revitalized by turning them into democratic communities instead of top-down, mayor-dominated, hierarchies. However, Herod believes, incorrectly to our way of thinking, that communities can be developed without screening applicants. Many persons, in small American hamlets or large cities, do not possess the capabilities required for effective community membership and functioning.

      Most current socialist thinking is nothing but a rehash of Marxist-Leninism or mere "manifestoes" with no viable plan for defeating and replacing capitalism. An example of such a vapid proclamation comes from the Socialist Project.

"The Socialist Project does not propose an easy politics for defeating capitalism or claim a ready alternative to take its place. We oppose capitalism out of necessity and support the resistance of others out of solidarity. This resistance creates spaces of hope, and an activist hope is the first step to discovering a new socialist politics. Through the struggles of that politics--struggles informed by collective analysis and reflection--alternatives to capitalism will emerge. Such anti-capitalist struggles, we believe, must develop a viable working class politics, and be informed by democratic struggles against racial, sexist and homophobic oppressions, and in support of the national self-determination of the many peoples of the world. In Canada and the world today, there is an imperative for the Left to begin a sustained process of reflection, struggle and organizational regroupment and experimentation. Neither capitalism nor neoliberalism will fade from the political landscape based on the momentum of their own contradictions and without the Left developing new political capacities. We encourage those who share this assessment to meet, debate and begin to make a contribution to a renewed socialist project in your union, school and community."

      A viable commonwealth polity can only be created through the efforts of a selected group of highly intelligent, effective, politically capable persons who've been screened and trained in critical thinking, decision-making, and interpersonal relationship skills.