Principled Resistance Principles

I responded to my friends’ election result despair with this riff:

Principled Resistance Principles: 
• The System is what needs to change
• To change the System we need to understand it deeply as it is and as it works
• You cannot hack a System you don’t understand
• Moral indignation is a great emotional motor, but no substitute for understanding the System to change it
• The personal is the political is the personal: we need to support each other morally and emotionally and intellectually in the quest to change the System
• We need to listen to each other, as well as study and understand the people we oppose, the servants of the System. And learn to debate to generate better solutions.
• We need to be economics literate, but mindful of: no planet no economy, no economy no humanity
• We need to be numerate and base our strategy on evidence and debate not on orthodoxies or sound bites
• We need to learn from our mistakes in the recent past and learn from our future mistakes as we make them, without blame. The only blame is for the failure to learn.
• We need to be strategic and make tough choices: there are trade-offs, Rome was not built in a day and purist approaches, the Vision without a Path, hand the system stability that it doesn’t deserve
• We need to leverage the cognitive diversity of the progressive coalition to find creative new solutions that win the strategic battles
• We cannot be silos of identity politics: we need to connect and align the interests of all parts of the progressive coalition and focus on strategically meeting our common interests as well as respecting our specific interests and meeting the needs of those outside our coalition: the wider We the People, who have turned against us
• The drive for greater equality is a possible organizing and connecting principle for our environmental, racial, sexual orientation and gender justice, employment, economic stability, immigration, health and education politics
• We are starting a Long March through our political and economic system: attention span is measured in years and resilience vital in the face of set backs
• We need to understand and find ways to counter Post Truth Politics of the Trump variety

About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
This entry was posted in Conflict History, Conflict Processes, Creativity and Conflict, Economic Conflict, Environmental Conflict, US Political Conflict, Ways to handle conflict and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Principled Resistance Principles

  1. louploup2 says:

    “We need to be economics literate, but mindful of: no planet no economy, no economy no humanity”

    I recommend for decent economic analysis. Warning: it’s depressing.

    • I am fully stocked with depression at present. Any hope on order? I read military history about the Eastern Front in WW2 for inspiration..and remind myself we were down to 11 democracies in 1940: US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Sweden, Iceland, Chile, Finland and Ireland. 123 today or 122 if you exclude the US 🙂

      • louploup2 says:

        Those stats ignore the fact that much of the world was still under the colonial thumb of some of those “democracies” (along with Germany in parts of Africa and Italy in Ethiopia).

        My sense (that’s the strongest word I’ll use for my ability to see the future) is that Gail Tverberg (author of OFW) is correct that the combination of increasingly constrained access to cheap energy combined with an increasingly inequitable economic system leads straight to collapse.

        Remember that in many ways our “democracy” is not very democratic. See Also, check out this study:

        My solution: start preparing for vastly less “globalization.” I.e., our lives—food, energy, community—will need to become focused on a much smaller geographic area. There simply will not be enough energy to keep pushing crap around so much and so far, and maybe not even to maintain this internets thingy. Not so long as there are 7 billion plus people to keep fed, heated and housed, and entertained. The data shows that the global economy is indeed slowing down.

      • Well overcoming colonialism is part of the point. And I know the work of Gilens, read his book and it is interesting and a distortion of democracy. Once countries exceed about $10,000 a year per capita income they tend to have 1.6 children per couple so population starts falling as per the developed countries without immigration. So we have a maybe 50 year problem and then under population starts happening. 9 billion in 2050 falling at 20% per age cohort. So maybe we will blow ourselves or maybe not. It’s path dependent and Trump sure won’t help.

      • louploup2 says:

        Yes, I overlooked that point (release of most Third World countries from direct colonialism in post war decade).

        How is Gilens a distortion of democracy? That paper basically says our political economy is a plutocracy. Domhoff analyzed the American power structure for decades, as have others, and came to the same conclusions. I do not believe “under population” is a problem until global population drops below about half a billion. Maybe it’s a problem in countries that try to maintain a capitalist growth dependent economy, but that’s Gail Tverberg’s point: corporate capitalism is growth dependent and in a finite world continuous growth is impossible. Either transition out of that form of capitalism or collapse (not mutually exclusive!). That’s also the conclusion of the Motesharrei paper I cited: The combination of resource overshoot and inequity increases the odds of collapse. A lot. Collapse does NOT mean everyone drops dead; it’s the scenario I outlined above; breakdown of larger systems into smaller ones that are more “sustainable” because they are less complex. (Assuming we still have a livable climate at that point.) Are you familiar with Joseph Tainter’s work? Or Howard T Odum’s ecological systems analysis? I think they also point in the same direction.

        Tom Jay (Port Townsend WA artist): “Civilization Is Entropy in Drag.”

      • Gilens describes a distortion of democracy but mostly democracy delivers otherwise we would be in the streets. And yes I know Tainter and I see the risks, but also know we are not drowning in horse shit in our cities. Trends continue until they stop. How we end our current trajectory, I am not sure. But I use the work of Peter Schwartz scenario based futuring and you describe one such scenario: collapse as per Jared Diamonds work. There are other possible futures good and bad. I will give them some thought. Thanks for your input.

      • louploup2 says:

        Thanks for balancing out my tendency to dwell on the doomer scenario.

      • The trouble with doomster scenarios is that they tend to be self fulfilling. I just posted four scenarios on Trump Presidency. Would like your take

  2. louploup2 says:

    Revisiting due to search for Tom Jay’s quote.

    Trump is a manifestation of the fear and anger resulting from the disintegration (i.e., falling apart) of our ecological and economic systems. The studies I have read above make it clear the two systems are inextricably linked. Economics is subject to the Second Law of Thermodynamics just like everything else in human time scales. (First Mover and Big Bang questions are pretty irrelevant.)

    As for doomster scenarios being self-fulfilling, I am now ready to differ. Collapse is not something we choose or not; it is the result of systems doing what they do—increase entropy. Collapse of the global capitalist/Western/modernist enterprise is now pretty well baked in. If the global economy collapses, GHG emissions will be greatly reduced and perhaps the ecology will gradually recover enough stability that humans can rebuild a new civilization(s). If the global economy continues to function (BAU—business as usual) for another decade or two, the amount of AGWarming baked into the global system makes even species survival questionable. At the best, it would take a few millennia for the ecological system to attain a new relatively stable thermodynamic disequilibrium conducive to self-organizing evolution moving toward “intelligence” again.

    So, yes, it’s pretty depressing.

    • @louploup2. I tend to agree. Been trying to figure out a way to short civilization. 🙂 I do think it is theoretically very reversible but the chances of the required reversing actions being taken close to zero.

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