These are books and articles that crystallized major shifts in my own perspective, challenging important beliefs about humanity and society that had seemed “obviously true.” I found these learning experiences to be energizing, whetting my appetite for more exploration.
The mainstream global media today is clearly subservient to big-money interests and its big-government cronies—it‘s selection of stories and its spin present a view of events which serves those same interests. These sources zoom in on the practices and techniques of mainstream media, providing illuminating case histories, and revealing ongoing patterns of deception. Armed with the right lenses, with which to read between the lines, one can begin to see the shape of what is being hidden, by the nature of the cloak being presented.
Even as the global mainstream media is becoming increasingly centralized and single-voiced, the world wide web is evolving into a mature and sophisticated information exchange, where information and analysis is passed on based on its value and reliability, as perceived by thousands of ‘competing‘ distribution custodians (the operators of blogs, websites, and email lists). In this online world, the mainstream channels also present their wares, and here they are only one voice among thousands of others. By using one‘s best judgement, and modern search technologies, one can keep very well informed regarding what‘s going on in the real world.
These are serious books, and online material, written by knowledgeable researchers and analysts who are striving to understand and explain the “big picture” of historical and political events. You‘ll see a variety o perspectives, some more useful to you than others. A reasonable grasp of “real history” provides an invaluable context in which to comprehend the seemingly out-of-control events of today‘s fast-paced world.
Envisioning a different and better kind of society is an endeavor that has intrigued people‘s minds since at least the time of Plato. As civilization slides increasingly into crisis, in our modern era of globalization and peak oil, an increasing number of thinkers are taking a radical look at our society and seeking to identify more sensible societal models. This section also includes descriptions of existing and past societies that illustrate alternative models.
Two themes resonate through the various societal models explored in the previous section: the revitalization of democracy, and a move toward greater local autonomy as regards political and economic decision making. This section presents resources and initiatives that are aimed at realizing these principles in our societies. Powerful forms of dialog are available, which can enable us to overcome our differences, and empower us to find our common voice as We the People. Resources and initiatives can be found aimed at empowering people in local communities to take responsibility for their own local affairs, revitalizing democracy at the grassroots level.
Most highly recommended
The Breakdown of Nations, by Leopold Kohr. Totnes, Devon, UK: Green Books in association with New European Publications; White River Junction, VT: Distributed in the USA by Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 2001, c1957.
“So let us solve the great problem of our time, the disease of excessive size and uncontrollable proportions, by going back to the alternative to both right and left—that is, to a small-scale social environment with all its potential for global pluralistic cooperation and largely unaffiliated self-sufficiency, by extending not centralised control but by decontrolling locally centred and nourished communities, each with its own institutional nucleus and a limited but strong and independent gravitational field.”
A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order, by William Engdahl. Revised Edition. London: Pluto Press, 2004.
People often ask me, “If there are ‘ruling elites,’ then who, exactly, are they? Who is it that runs the world?” In A Century of War, Engdahl meticulously documents the rise to preeminent power of one particular elite group: the top banking interests in London and New York. Control over global finance is their lever of power, and control over oil sources is the underpinning of that lever. By working with their covert contacts in the Intelligence services and oil industry in Britain and America, this group has dictated the course of history over the past century, arranged the two World Wars, and generally done what has been necessary to maintain and increase their hold on global power.
The Chalice & The Blade: Our History, Our Future, by Riane Tennenhaus Eisler. Special Edition, with a new epilogue by the author. San Francisco, Calif.: HarperSanFrancisco, 1994.
“The phenomenal bestseller, with more than 500,000 copies sold worldwide, now with a new epilogue from the author–The Chalice and the Blade has inspired a generation of women and men to envision a truly egalitarian society by exploring the legacy of the peaceful, goddess-worshipping cultures from our prehistoric past.”
The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11, by David Ray Griffin. Updated Edition. Northampton, Mass.: Olive Branch Press, 2004.
“The disturbing questions emerge from every part of the story, from every angle, until it is impossible not to seriously doubt the official story, and suspect its architects of enormous deception. Long a teacher of ethics and systematic theology, Griffin writes with compelling and passionate logic, urging readers to draw their own conclusions from the evidence outlined. The New Pearl Harbor rings with the conviction that it is possible, even today, to search for the truth; it is a stirring call that we demand a real investigation into what happened on 9/11.”
—Interlink Publishing website
See also his The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions, also from Olive Branch Press, 2005.
The Story of B, by Daniel Quinn. New York: Bantam Books, 1996.
Besides being a good read, this novel profoundly changed my understanding of human history and the development of civilization. Quinn shows how the agricultural revolution brought a shift in world view, toward what he calls the “taker mythology” which is much the same thing that Eisler refers to as a “dominator” culture.
Toward an American Revolution: Exposing the Constitution & Other Illusions, by Jerry Fresia. Boston: South End Press, 1988.
If you’re an American – whether on the left or the right – then you haven’t been fully awakened until you read Toward an American Revolution. In 200 fully referenced and readable pages, Fresia cuts through the matrix of American political history – revealing a continuous pattern of elite manipulation that began even before the Constitution was written.
History as Mystery, by Michael Parenti. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1999.
“Those who keep secret the past, and lie about it, condemn us to repeat it. Michael Parenti unveils the history of falsified history, from the early Christian church to the present; a fascinating, darkly revelatory tale.”
—Daniel Ellsberg, author of The Pentagon Papers
Inventing Reality: The Politics of News Media, by Michael Parenti. Second Edition. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993.
“In this passionate, provocative critique of the news media, Michael Parenti examines the subtle but profound ways in which the media influence and manipulate the public’s perception of reality. It attacks the widely held belief that the news media are controlled by liberals and liberal opinion – and clearly depicts the news media as a controlling institution of the American capitalist system, an institution that serves the interests of the rich and powerful while appearing to serve the many.”
—Robin Good, MasterNewMedia.org
Make-Believe Media: The Politics of Entertainment, by Michael Parenti, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992.
“In Make-believe Media, Parenti turns his eye to entertainment for an absorbing, challenging look at the way America’s “free and independent” television and film industries actually promote the ideas of the economic and political forces that control them. Even viewers who claim to be immune to the obvious messages of film and television will find Parenti’s analysis provocative and compelling as he urges us to become more critical about what we choose to watch.”
—The author’s website
Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky. New York: Pantheon Books, 1998; Updated Edition, 2002.
“In this pathbreaking work, now with a new introduction, Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky show that, contrary to the usual image of the news media as cantankerous, obstinate, and ubiquitous in their search for truth and defense of justice, in their actual practice they defend the economic, social, and political agendas of the privileged groups that dominate domestic society, the state, and the global order.”
See also: Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda, by Noam Chomsky. (An Open Media Book) Second Edition. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2002.
Orwell Rolls In His Grave (Film). Written, directed, filmed and edited by Robert Kane Pappas; produced by Miriam Foley. Sag Harbor-Basement Pictures, a Sky Island Films release in association with Magic Lamp, 2003.
Director Robert Kane Pappas’ Orwell Rolls in His Grave is the consummate critical examination of the Fourth Estate, once the bastion of American democracy. Asking whether America has entered an Orwellian world of doublespeak where outright lies can pass for the truth, Pappas explores what the media doesn’t talk about: itself.
Unreliable Sources: A Guide to Detecting Bias in News Media, by Martin A. Lee and Norman Solomon. (A Lyle Stuart Book) New York: Carol Publishing Group, 1990.
“This is one of the single most thought provoking books I’ve ever read. It provides the reader with a real behind the curtain look at the media and politics. This is a must read for every American!”
—Review by a reader
Centre for Research on Globalization – http://globalresearch.ca
“The Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) is an independent research and media group of progressive writers, scholars and activists committed to curbing the tide of “globalisation” and “disarming” the New World Order. The CRG webpage publishes news articles, commentary, background research and analysis on a broad range of issues, focusing on the interrelationship between social, economic, strategic, geopolitical and environmental processes.”
Environmental Research Foundation – http://http://www.rachel.org/
“Environmental Research Foundation (ERF) was founded in 1980 to provide understandable scientific information about the influence of toxic substances on human health and the environment.”
Independent Media Center (IndyMedia) – http://www.indymedia.org
“The Independent Media Center is a network of collectively run media outlets for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of the truth. We work out of a love and inspiration for people who continue to work for a better world, despite corporate media’s distortions and unwillingness to cover the efforts to free humanity.”
Truthout – http://www.truthout.org
“Covers latest international news, current political issues and various topics. Also includes forum, editorials and contact details.”
Venezuelanalysis.com – http://www.venezuelanalysis.com
…an editorially independent website produced by individuals who are dedicated to disseminating news and analysis about the current political situation in Venezuela… Our goal is to become the primary resource for information and analysis on Venezuela in the English language.
The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, by Samuel P. Huntington. A Touchstone Book. London: Simon and Schuster, 1997.
A classic by one of the foremost spinners of matrix illusion. In the guise of historical analysis, Huntington fabricates a worldview designed to justify Western domination under globalization. According to The Economist, Huntington’s civilization-clash paradigm has already become the “sea” in which Washington policy makers swim. The book reveals the backbone structure of modern matrix reality, putting day-to-day official rhetoric into an understandable framework. And it clearly reveals the real intentions of elite planners regarding the tactics of global management through selective interventionism.
Colossus: How the Corporation Changed America. Edited by Jack Beatty. New York: Broadway Books, 2001.
The corporate way of doing business needed both a revolution and the Constitution of the U.S. to succeed. While some fought against it, the authors of the Constitution were wealthy men whose interests lay in England, and who were involved with the East Indies Company, and saw the opportunity that existed in America.
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, by John Perkins. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2004.
“In his controversial book, John Perkins tells the gripping tale of the years he spent working for an international consulting firm where his job was to convince underdeveloped countries to accept enormous loans, much bigger than they really needed, for infrastructure development – and to make sure that the development projects were contracted to U.S. multinationals. Once these countries were saddled with huge debts, the American government and the international aid agencies allied with it were able, by dictating repayment terms, to essentially control their economies. It was not unlike the way a loan shark operates – and Perkins and his colleagues didn’t shun this kind of unsavory association. They referred to themselves as ‘economic hit men.’”
CovertAction Quarterly magazine, published quarterly by Covert Action Publications, Inc., Washington D.C.
Keeps you up-to-date on covert activities, cover-ups, military affairs, and current trouble spots. Contributors include many ex-intelligence officers who came to see the error of their ways.
Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion, by Gary Webb. New York: Seven Stories Press, 1998.
“Gary Webb was a cherished friend of ours, and one of the best investigative reporters we’ve ever known. He attacked stories with a unique blend of zeal and skepticism. Gary had no axe to grind, and typically Gary himself didn’t fully believe in his own stories until he’d finished them. If he could overcome his own skepticism then he’d done his job. Anything less than that would have been unworthy of him, and he was incapable of lowering his standards, although he must have been tempted sometimes.”
—Daniel Simon, Publisher.
The Fed: the Inside Story of How the World’s Most Powerful Financial Institution Drives the Market, by Martin Mayer. New York: Free Press, 2001.
Foreign Affairs, a journal published quarterly by the Council on Foreign Relations, New York.
The best source I’ve found to track the latest shifts in the matrix and to glean an understanding of current elite thinking. As the publisher accurately puts it on its webage: “Since 1922, the Council has published Foreign Affairs, America’s most influential publication on international affairs and foreign policy. It is more than a magazine—it is the international forum of choice for the most important new ideas, analysis, and debate on the most significant issues in the world. Inevitably, articles published in Foreign Affairs shape the political dialogue for months and years to come.”
See also their website: http://www.foreignaffairs.org/
Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America, by Bertram Gross. New York: South End Press, 1980.
Illuminates the increasing collusion between Big Government and Big Business to “manage” our society in the interests of the elite.
The Globalization of Poverty: Impacts of IMF and World Bank Reforms, by Michel Chossudovsky. Second Edition. Shanty Bay, Ont.: Global Outlook, 2003.
This detailed study by an economics insider shows the consequences of “reforms” in various parts of the world, revealing a clear pattern of callous neo-colonialism and genocide.
The Global Trap: Globalization and the Assault on Democracy and Prosperity, by Hans-Peter Martin and Harald Schumann. Translated from the German by Patrick Camiller. London, New York: Zed Books; New York: Distributed in the USA exclusively by St. Martin’s Press, 1997.
“This remarkable book explores the spread of globalization and the likely consequences for jobs and democracy. Written by experienced journalists on Der Spiegel, it is informed, up-to-date, thought-provoking and compelling reading.”
—From book jacket
The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, by Zbigniew Brzezinski. New York: Basic Books, 1998.
Brzezinski expresses his apparent worldview when he quotes (p. 31) Samuel P. Huntington: “The sustained international primacy of the United States is central to the welfare and security of Americans and to the future of freedom, democracy, open economies, and international order in the world.” Anything less than world domination, evidently, would be a disservice to humanity! Brzezinski traces the history of the world’s notable empires, characterizes the U.S. as being the first truly global empire, and sets out to establish a framework for U.S. global hegemony, based on the premise that Eurasia is the Grand Chessboard of world affairs. This book can be seen as the academic version of the PNAC’s “Rebuilding America’s Defenses.”
The Growth Illusion: How Economic Growth Has Enriched the Few, Impoverished the Many and Endangered the Planet, by Richard Douthwaite. Revised Edition. Dublin: Lilliput Press, 2000.
“Douthwaite’s captivating book makes the arguments used to support economic growth look unconvincing and indefensible.”
—David Hickie, An Taisce, the National Trust for Ireland
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, by Jared Diamond. With a New Afterword. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1996, 2005.
The author traces the development of civilization, seeking to establish the preeminence of geography as a determining factor. He perhaps carries his thesis a bit too far, but in the process he presents a broad and colorful account of the development of civilization in different parts of the world.
See also his latest book: Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, Viking Books, New York, 2005.
Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance, by Noam Chomsky. (The American Empire Project) New York: Metropolitan Books, an imprint of Henry Holt and Company, 2003. Paperback: Owl Books, 2004.
If you have to pick just one book on the American Empire, pick this one. It’s Chomsky at his best…”
—Arundhati Roy, from the cover
Money and Power: The History of Business, by Howard Means. New York: Wiley, 2001.
“This sweeping business history shows the dramatic movement of power from east to west, providing an expansive global view of choice moguls across various industries, including finance, transportation, communication, and more. It’s an engaging narrative about greed, money, and the moguls and dynasties that have defined business.”
On the Rampage: Corporate Power and the Destruction of Democracy, by Robert Weissman and Russell Mokhiber. Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2005.
“Mokhiber and Weissman again strike at the heart of corporate power and malfeasance in this excellent book, On The Rampage. These journalists uphold the time-honored and now all-too-rare tradition of dogged muckraking, exposing corporate criminals and their bought politicians in the spirit of Ida Tarbell, Lincoln Steffens, and I.F. Stone.”
—Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!
A People’s History of the United States, by Howard Zinn. New Edition. New York: HarperCollins, 2003.
“Known for its lively, clear prose as well as its scholarly research, A People’s History of the United States is the only volume to tell America’s story from the point of view of – and in the words of – America’s women, factory workers, African-Americans, Native Americans, working poor, and immigrant laborers.”
The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade: Afghanistan, Southeast Asia, Central America, Colombia, by Alfred W. McCoy. Second Revised Edition. Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books; Distributed by Independent Publishers Group, 2003.
“The Politics of Heroin includes meticulous documentation of dishonesty and dirty dealings at the highest levels from the Cold War until today. …this groundbreaking study details the mechanics of drug trafficking in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South and Central America. New chapters detail U.S. involvement in the narcotics trade in Afghanistan and Pakistan before and after the fall of the Taliban, and how U.S. drug policy in Central America and Colombia has increased the global supply of illicit drugs. …Alfred W. McCoy is a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He holds a doctorate in southeast Asian history from Yale University and is the recipient of the 2001 Goodman Prize from the Association for Asian Studies.”
Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, by William Blum. Updated Edition. Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2005.
“In Rogue State, learn about decades of ubiquitous U.S. cruelty, kept – remarkably – from penetrating world consciousness or shocking world conscience. Though President Clinton called America ‘the world’s greatest force for peace,’ William Blum shows that our Rogue State is really a marauding Western brute.”
See also Blum’s earlier book, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, also from Common Courage Press, 1986; Second Updated Edition, 2004.
Trilateralism: The Trilateral Commission and Elite Planning for World Management. Edited by Holly Sklar. Boston: South End Press, 1980.
This well-researched anthology explains the role in global planning played by such elite organizations as the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Bilderbergers. Examples from various parts of the world are used to show what kinds of considerations go into the formation of on-the-ground policies.
When Corporations Rule the World, by David C. Korten. Second Edition. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; West Hartford, Conn.: Kumarian Press, 2001.
“This is ‘must read’ book – a searing indictment of an unjust international economic order, not by a wild-eyed idealistic left-winger, but by a sober scion of the establishment with impeccable credentials. It left me devastated but also very hopeful. Something can be done to create a more just economic order.”
—Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate.
Who Will Tell the People: The Betrayal of American Democracy, by William Greider. A Touchstone Book. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993.
This best seller shows in detail how the American democratic process is subverted at every stage by corporate interests. Greider was a highly respected journalist for many years at the Washington Post and his high-level contacts permit him to present an insider’s view of how the influence-peddling system actually operates.
World Hunger: 12 Myths, by Frances Moore Lappé, Joseph Collins and Peter Rosset; with Luis Esparza. Second Edition, Fully Revised and Updated. New York: Grove Press, 1998.
Debunks Malthusian thinking, among other things. Here’s a sample: “During the past twenty-five years food production has outstripped population growth by 16 Percent. India – which for many of us symbolizes over-population and poverty – is one of the top third-world food exporters. If a mere 5.6 percent of India’s food production were re-allocated, hunger would be wiped out in India” (Lappé, 11).
The Battle of Venezuela, by Michael McCaughan. (An Open Media Book) First North American Edition. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2005.
“McCaughan gives a vivid eyewitness report of the extraordinary events of the coming to power of Hugo Chavez… His book will be welcomed by all those interested in the complexities of the most original political experiment in Latin America since the Cuban Revolution.”
—Richard Gott, author of In the Shadow of the Liberator
“Brazil’s New Experiment: Participative democracy in Porto Alegre,” by Bernard Cassen. Le Monde diplomatique, October 1998.
“The town has set up a parallel organisation operating alongside the municipal council, enabling local inhabitants to take real decisions for their city. And it works. Especially for the least well-off for whom it offers a way to stake a claim on public funds normally spent on the more prosperous areas of the city.”
—From the article
The Case Against the Global Economy, and For a Turn Toward The Local. Edited by Jerry Mander and Edward Goldsmith. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 2001.
This fine collection of forty-three chapters by knowledgeable contributors analyzes the broad structure of globalization and its institutions, and explores locally based and sustainable economic alternatives.
Collaborative Spunk: The Feisty Guide for Reviving People and Our Planet, by A. Gayle Hudgens, PhD. Helena, MT: SOS Press, 2002.
“For us to thrive, even survive, Hudgens contends that we all need to take rapid, meaningful, and effective action. Her groundbreaking strategy synthesizes two well-established systems to help that happen: the brilliance of The Natural Step Framework, an award-winning, scientifically rigorous initiative pioneered in Sweden that has already fostered health and prosperity for thousands of communities, organizations, businesses, and individuals worldwide; and, Life Coaching, the hugely popular goal-oriented, human development technology that enables extraordinary personal success that began sweeping the U.S. and abroad in the ‘90s.”
Crazy Horse: The Strange Man of the Oglalas, by Mari Sandoz. With an introduction by Vine Deloria Jr. New Edition. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004.
An account taken from the recollections of a Sioux who lived in the time of Crazy Horse – provides an insider’s view of Sioux society and its decision making process.
Envisioning a Sustainable Society: Learning Our Way Out, by Lester W. Milbrath. SUNY Series in Environmental Public Policy. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1989.
“The evidence is increasingly persuasive. We are changing the way our planet’s physical systems work – irrevocably. These changes are global and interconnected and unavoidable. They are upon us already, making it virtually impossible for any modern society to continue its present trajectory of growth. This book provides a penetrating analysis of how we have come to this point, of why science and technology will fail to solve these problems, and of how we as a society must change in order to avoid ecological catastrophe. The scope is broad, the urgency of the message is impossible to ignore.”
Gaian Democracies: Redefining Globalisation and People-Power, by Roy Madron and John Jopling. Totnes, Devon: Published by Green Books for the Schumacher Society, 2003.
“Gaian Democracies would tackle the task of co-creating a global network of just and sustainable societies that could co-exist symbiotically with Gaia’s systems. …Throughout the Briefing, the authors stress the systems framework on which they have based their proposals. They draw on examples such as the Mondragon Cooperatives of Basque Spain, Visa International, the Semco Corporation, the Athenian city state and the hundreds of Participative Budgets initiated by Brazilian Workers’ Party to show how many of the principles of Gaian democracies have been successfully applied in the real world.”
Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action, by Elinor Ostrom. Cambridge (Eng.), New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996, c1990.
“In contrast to the proposition of the tragedy of the commons argument, common pool problems sometimes are solved by voluntary organizations rather than by a coercive state. Among the cases considered are communal tenure in meadows and forests, irrigation communities and other water rights, and fisheries.”
The International Journal of Inclusive Democracy
“Inclusive Democracy aims to become the international forum for the new conception of inclusive democracy. That is, direct political democracy, economic democracy (beyond the confines of the market economy and state planning), as well as democracy in the social realm and ecological democracy. In short, inclusive democracy is a form of social organisation which re-integrates society with economy, polity and nature.”
Mondragon Cooperative Corporation – wikipedia
“Mondragón Corporación Cooperativa is the fruit of the sound vision of a young priest, Don José María Arizmendiarrieta, as well as the solidarity and efforts of all our worker-members. Together we have been able to transform a humble factory, which in 1956 manufactured oil stoves and paraffin heaters, into the leading industrial group in the Basque Country and 7th in the ranking in Spain, with sales of 10.400 million euros in its Industrial and Distribution activities, 10.000 million euros of administered assets in its Financial activity and a total workforce of 71.500 at the end of 2004.”
“The Mondragon Co-operative Federation: A Model for our Time?” by Mike Long. Reprinted from Freedom, Winter 1996.
“The Mondragon Co-operative Federation (MCF) is a community of economivcally highly successful worker-owned, worker-controlled production and consumption co-operatives centred around Mondragon, a town in the Basque region of northern Spain, and now spreading throughout the Basque provinces and beyond. The MCF is an experiment in participatory economic democracy rooted in a powerful grassroots movement for Basque cultural revival and autonomy, but inclusive of non-Basques.”
—From the article
The Natural Step – http://www.naturalstep.org
Since 1988, The Natural Step has worked to accelerate global sustainability by guiding companies, communities and governments onto an ecologically, socially and economically sustainable path. More than 70 people in twelve countries work with an international network of sustainability experts, scientists, universities, and businesses to create solutions, innovative models and tools that will lead the transition to a sustainable future.
A New Way to Govern: Organisations and Society after Enron, by Shann Turnbull. (NEF Pocketbook No. 6) London: New Economics Foundation, 2002.
“Networks of network organisations achieve economies of scale and scope, provided that no higher level network undertakes activities that are better carried out by a lower level self-governing unit. This principle of subsidiary function is illustrated by the nested networks that make up the stakeholder control enterprises around the town of Mondragon in Northern Spain that operate more efficiently than investor owned firms. Like a mutual enterprise the Mondragon firms do not require equity investors.”
—From the abstract
No Space, No Choice, No Jobs, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies, by Naomi Klein. New York: Picador USA, 2000.
“With a new Afterword to the 2002 edition. No Logo employs journalistic savvy and personal testament to detail the insidious practices and far-reaching effects of corporate marketing—and the powerful potential of a growing activist sect that will surely alter the course of the 21st century. First published before the World Trade Organization protests in Seattle, this is an infuriating, inspiring, and altogether pioneering work of cultural criticism that investigates money, marketing, and the anti-corporate movement.”
Participatory Democracy: Prospects for Democratizing Democracy. Edited by Dimitrios Roussopoulos and C. George Benello. New Edition. Montréal, New York: Black Rose Books, 2005.
“This wide-ranging collection probes the historical roots of participatory democracy in our political culture, analyzes its application to the problems of modern society, and explores the possible forms it might take on every level of society from the work place, to the community, to the nation at large. Part II, ‘The Politics of Participatory Democracy,’ covers Porto Alegre, Montreal, the new Urban ecology, and direct democracy.”
The Post-Corporate World: Life After Capitalism, by David C. Korten. San Francisco, Calif.: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; West Hartford, Conn.: Kumarian Press, 1999.
“David Korten, amongst a few prescient others, predicted the collapse that was set in motion in Asia and is now spreading worldwide. [Korten] once again looks ahead, envisioning the rudiments and principles of an economy that is guided by life rather than currency. It is an articulate and hopeful expression by one of the leading architects for a positive future.”
—Paul Hawken, author, The Ecology of Commerce and Chairman of The Natural Step U.S.A.
The Simultaneous Policy – http://www.simpol.org
“The Simultaneous Policy is a peaceful political strategy to democratically drive all the world’s nations to apply global solutions to global problems, including combating global warming and environmental destruction, regulating economic globalization for the good of all, and delivering social justice, peace and security, and sustainable prosperity.”
Society’s Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People, by Jim Rough. Bloomington, Ind., AuthorHouse, 2001.
“Society’s Breakthrough! presents two social innovations and suggests that in a particular context, they could be used to transform the global paradigm so that all-of-us-together would act responsibly, respectfully and intelligently. The two innovations are: 1) Dynamic Facilitation – a proven approach to helping small groups of people address “impossible” issues creatively and collaboratively and reach unanimous conclusions; and 2) the Wisdom Council – a way to dynamically facilitate a whole system of people (a city, corporation, county, high school, etc.) to do the same thing and to create a voice of “We the People.” Used together at a national or international level, these tools offer the prospect of facilitating a transformation in thinking, and a shift to actions that are collectively intelligent.”
—The book’s webpage: http://www.societysbreakthrough.com/
See also: Dynamic Facilitation Skills (Jim Rough & Associates, Inc.)
The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World that Works for All, by Tom Atlee, with Rosa Zubizarreta. Cranston, R.I.: Writers’ Collective, 2003.
“Demonstrating that groups, communities and whole societies can be more intelligent and wise collectively than most brilliant individuals, Tom Atlee shows how ‘collective intelligence’ could revolutionize politics and governance, bringing wise common sense to every issue – from city budgets to terrorism to global warming. …Readers will find descriptions and links to over a hundred proven approaches to this new form of democracy – organizations, participatory practices, innovations, books and more. The most powerful innovations – citizen deliberative councils – have been used hundreds of times around the world – from Denmark to India, from Brazil to the U.S.”
See also: The Co-Intelligence Institute – http://www.co-intelligence.org
“Appropriate technology” –
This entry, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, begins with a definition: “Appropriate technology is a term which refers to using the simplest and most benign level of technology which can effectively achieve the intended purpose.” Contains cross-references (“See also”) to related Wikipedia articles and URLs to appropriate technology websites.
Building Sustainable Communities: Tools and Concepts for Self-Reliant Economic Change, by C. George Benello, Robert S. Swann, Shann Turnbull, and others. Edited by Ward Morehouse. ( A Toes Book) New York: Bootstrap Press, 1989. Second Edition, Revised, 1997.
“This book presents the underlying ideas and essential institutions for building sustainable communities. Three major sections deal with community land trusts, worker managed enterprises and community currency and banking.”
Citizens Jury Process
“A Citizens Jury provides the opportunity for citizens to learn about an issue, deliberate together, and develop well-informed, common ground solutions to difficult public issues. The Citizens Jury process also allows decision-makers and the public to discover what people really think once they have heard witnesses and taken a close look at a topic.”
Co-Intelligence Institute – http://www.co-intelligence.org
“Healthy communities, institutions and societies – perhaps even our collective survival – depend on our ability to organize our collective affairs more wisely, in tune with each other and nature. This ability to wisely organize our lives together – all of us being wiser together than any of us could be alone – we call co-intelligence. Co-intelligence is emerging through new developments in democracy, organizational development, collaborative processes, the Internet and systems sciences like ecology and complexity. Today millions of people are involved in co-creating co-intelligence. Our diverse efforts grow more effective as we discover we are part of a larger transformational enterprise, and as we learn together and from each other.”
Community Crossroads – http://communityx-roads.org
“The purpose of the Community Crossroads site is to provide a clearinghouse for information regarding the activities of community-building groups and individuals around the world – announcements, information on upcoming events, ‘reports from the field’ – and also to provide a source of related information that may be of interest to those engaged in the Community Building effort.”
See also facilitator listings by country and state:
Conversation Cafés – http://www.conversationcafe.org
“The Conversation Café project addresses the need to increase social intelligence, to build social capital and generate the social engagement so we can actually HAVE a wise democracy. I am doing this by building a network of Cafés where people can have weekly drop-in dialogues about the key inner and outer issues of our times.
“I envision a culture of conversation — a culture where people talk freely — without fear or taboos — with friends and strangers alike. I once asked a Dane how Denmark had resisted the pressures of globalization. He said two words: study circles. Most Danes throughout their adult lives have the habit of conversation about things that matter in small groups.”
—Vicki Robin, President of the New Road Map Foundation
Culture Change – http://www.culturechange.org
“Through independent thinking and cooperative action it is possible to attain bioregionally based economic security that would greatly heal the Earth’s and our own wounds. We are not only “concerned” about global climate change; we present a realistic analysis of the so-called techno-fix. We demonstrate alternatives to sprawl and petroleum dependence while fighting unwise development such as new road construction.”
Dynamic Facilitation for Group Transformation, by Tree Bressen. Eugene, Oregon: The Co-Intelligence Institute, August 25, 2000.
“This great article about Jim Rough’s remarkable group process was written by a student of Jim’s who is majorly involved with consensus process and the intentional communities movement. It is the best material currently available in writing on the process behind the Wisdom Council.”
—Tom Atlee, Co-Intelligence Institute.
See also Atlee’s brief write-up on dynamic facilitation at:
The E. F. Schumacher Society – http://www.smallisbeautiful.org
“Building on a rich tradition often known as, the Society initiates practical measures that lead to community revitalization and further the transition toward an economically and ecologically sustainable society.”
TheFacilitator.com – http://www.thefacilitator.com/
“The Facilitator is a quarterly publication written for facilitators by facilitators since 1993.”
Fellowship for Intentional Community – http://fic.ic.org/
“The Fellowship for Intentional Community nurtures connections and cooperation among communitarians and their friends. We provide publications, referrals, support services, and sharing opportunities for a wide range of intentional communities, cohousing groups, ecovillages, community networks, support organizations, and people seeking a home in community.”
Global Village – The Institute for Appropriate Technology
“Global Village is a non-profit organization created in 1974 and chartered as a tax-exempt charity in 1980 for the purpose of researching promising new technologies that can benefit humanity in environmentally friendly ways. The philosophy of the Institute is that emerging technologies that link the world together are not ethically neutral, but often have long-term implications for viability of natural systems, human rights and our common future.”
Going Local: Creating Self Reliant Communities in a Global Age, by Michael Shuman. New York: Free Press, 1998; paperback: New York: Routledge, 2000.
Ask your family, friends, and neighbors what matters most to them, and you’re likely to hear words like love, security, spirituality, beauty, good health, even. This book cuts through all of the conventional public discussions on the economy and society to make a clear, convincing case for reviving local communities.
Horizons of Change – http://www.horizonsofchange.com
“HORIZONS is a group of experienced organization development consultants and community organizers, specializing in “whole system” approaches to organization and community development and change.”
International Association of Facilitators (IAF) – http://www.iaf-world.org
“The IAF encourages and supports the formation of local groups of facilitators to network and provide professional development opportunities for their members. Regional groups from around the world are invited to become affiliated with the IAF to help promote the profession of facilitation as a critical set of skills in the global society of the 21st century.”
See also: Certified Professional Facilitators
The National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation (NCDD)
“The National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation is a network of nearly 300 organizations and individuals who regularly engage millions of Americans in dialogue around today’s critical issues. Often led by trained facilitators and oriented toward community problem-solving, these groups offer one of the few hopeful signs of growth in American democracy today.”
National Issues Forums – http://www.nifi.org
“National Issues Forums (NIF) is a nonpartisan, nationwide network of locally sponsored public forums for the consideration of public policy issues. It is rooted in the simple notion that people need to come together to reason and talk – to deliberate about common problems. Indeed, democracy requires an ongoing deliberative public dialogue.”
Recreating the World: A Practical Guide to Building Sustainable Communities, by Michael Bopp and Judie Bopp. Calgary, Alberta: Four Worlds Press, 2001.
“Recreating the World is a comprehensive field guide to sustainable community development. Rooted in more than 20 years of hands-on development work in North America and around the world, it is written to be used by people who are working to bring about change in their own communities, and by professionals working with communities to solve critical human problems.”
Study Circles Resource Center – http://www.studycircles.org
“The Study Circles Resource Center is dedicated to finding ways for all kinds of people to engage in dialogue and problem solving on critical social and political issues. SCRC helps communities by giving them the tools to organize productive dialogue, recruit diverse participants, find solutions, and work for action and change… In addition, many colleges and high schools are organizing study circles to engage young people in dialogue and problem solving.”
Tools for Change Institute – http://toolsforchange.org
“Tools for Change Institute is dedicated to inspiring a cultural transformation in which history, heart, spirit, values, and vision are all at the center of public life. …We work with communities and organizations, assisting them to create sustainable and democratic structures in which people can reclaim their wholeness and contribute their best. …We envision a time in which decisions are made by those most affected by them while honoring the natural world upon which all life depends – a time in which trust, care and creativity are the currency of culture. We strive to model just relations and inspire re-affirming leadership for building a movement to bring this about.”
Tree Bressen’s Group Facilitation Site – http://www.treegroup.info
“Tree Bressen is an experienced facilitator working with nonprofits, cohousing groups, activists, schools, and a wide variety of other organizations. Her base is in intentional communities, groups of people who live together and have to deal with each other every day! Her work arises from a desire for people to learn the communication skills that will enable all of us to build a better world together. Tree gives workshops on consensus decision-making, meeting facilitation, conflict resolution, and related subjects.”
The World Café – http://www.theworldcafe.com
“The World Café is a flexible, easy-to-use process for fostering collaborative dialogue, sharing collective knowledge, and discovering new opportunities for action. Based on living systems thinking, this is a proven approach for fostering authentic dialogue and creating dynamic networks of conversation around your organization or community’s real work and critical questions, improving both personal relationships and people’s capacity to shape the future together.”