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Part 5.
These points on the Great Transition have been excerpted from the email/web discussion. Which of these statements do you support?

Please check off all points where you agree, and offer an edited version where you would agree if the wording were slightly amended.


The Great Transition Initiative and the Tellus Institute have published an essay by Robert Paehlke entitled "Global Citizenship: Plausible Fears and Necessary Dreams". It is available in .pdf here.

This survey is addressed to readers of this essay, and excerpts many points from the email commentary. The survey is intended as a helpful and illuminating exercise in itself, but it is also an exploration of digital methods for convening agreement on complex high-dimensional issues that must be resolved in a collective context -- perhaps the very sort of thing that must be addressed if the Great Transition Initiative is to be successful.

This survey is in five parts
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

This is Part 5, and includes points introduced by Tobias Troll, Liisa Horelli, Bruce Schuman, Tom Bowerman, Helene Finidori and Arthur Dahl

Thanks for your participation or comment!

GTI: Great (or Global) Transition Initiative
GCM: Global Citizens Movement
GJM: Global Justice Movement

Select ALL statements that are true for you (perhaps more than one).

If the options appearing here do not express your own view, you can add new options, which will be available to all participants.

If the meaning of any concept or term seems uncertain, follow your own personal interpretation.

As Paehkle argues, sustained by the examples of the American civil rights movement and the environmental movement, the multitude of approaches and actors make a GCM "more decentralized, more unplanned, more possible, and less threatening." (Tobias Troll)
Experience also tells us that attempts to unite the great diversity of people, initiatives, and organisations motivated by the frustration of exclusion in the current economic and political global (and national) decision-making, and the will "to make the world a better place" are doomed to fail (Tobias Troll)
In the rather homogenous realm of international civil society organisations (INGOs) such as Amnesty International, Doctors without Border, or Oxfam (examples set by Paehlke), a joint political agenda is far from an immediate possibility. (Tobias Troll)
Topical and/or geographically limited popular struggles and movements such as the Arab spring, Indignados, Occupy Wall Street, or Gezi park protests [are also difficult to organize as a joint agenda] (Tobias Troll)
the bare diversity (geographic, ideological, organisational) of [participants in social movements] united shows that a western style objectives and outcome-based strategy setting has strong limits. (Tobias Troll)
The participants in this conference challenged the initial idea of a joint final "declaration", and instead adopted a more open "Johannesburg Compass: Questions and Orientations": "Together, in humility, we started a journey of transformation and developed a common vision that we believe will drive a fundamental shift in our world, the way we work in our organisations, and within our societies." (Tobias Troll)
[Perhaps we should say] "In humility, we know that we don’t have all the answers, that we have and many questions. And that we are aware that we should find new ways of expressing our politics and therefore this is not a Declaration but a Question we pose to ourselves and the world." (Tobias Troll)
Current religious institutions compromise the concept of religion. (Tobias Troll)
The role of creating community in the emergence of "new semiotics" is central to building a GCM, and the experience of the mentioned Johannesburg conference confirms this assumption. (Tobias Troll)
Linking people, their struggles, and beliefs works first of all through creating a joint language and identification, which is a pre-condition for joint action (yet strategy). (Tobias Troll)
The work of the Common Cause group on values and frames ( clearly outlines the power of values and joint narratives in order to create bonds between people through alternative "values such as justice, modesty, participation and diversity instead of money, standardisation, efficiency and consumption" (Tobias Troll)
If we don’t address the values and frames – the semiotics – through which these organisations (and the individual decision makers in them) are working, we won’t make them join whatever GCM… (Tobias Troll)
Civil society organisations (CSOs) currently mainly act within the existing paradigms of markets and competitions, and apply intrinsic change strategies based on policy work and institutional lobbying. (Tobias Troll)
An increasing number of people identify themselves as “global citizens” (Paehlke, also, for example, Schattle, H. (2008) The practices of global citizenship), and the motivation to join a still abstract “global citizens movement” is growing. (Tobias Troll)
The consolidation of such a [GCM] movement has first of all to emerge through the consolidation of alternative values and joint narratives, in order to create identity and new semiotics (a new "religion", as Michael Karlberg puts it). (Tobias Troll)
The emergence of new worldviews is an open and dialogical process, based on mutual learning, creation of trust and radical inclusiveness, as Paehlke points out. We cannot predefine the outcome of this process, and thus the wish for centralised leadership or strategy is not only futile but also counterproductive – as desirable it might be given the urgent and massive challenges humanity is facing. (Tobias Troll)
The Global Citizens Movement cannot – and should not – have one central website. (Tobias Troll)
We are leading our everyday lives in a glocal context which is becoming increasingly familiar, not only to the leaders of corporations, public institutions, and global citizen movements (GCMs), but also to ordinary citizens. (Liisa Horelli)
The process of glocalisation consists of a two-way traffic comprising macro-localisation (expansion from the local towards the global, often aided by digitalisation) and micro-globalisation (incorporation of global ideas to the local level). (Liisa Horelli)
There is buzz going on in urban neighbourhoods in which residents seek to manage their lives by participating in urban planning, community development, and local co-governance involving “a play with the glocal.” (Liisa Horelli)
Participation [by local citizens]often takes the form of self-organisation which has a direct local impact in addition to gradual systemic change. Therefore, these people are not laggards but an important population of future glocal citizenry. (Liisa Horelli)
Local co-governance tends to take place, at least in the democracies of Northern European countries, in different types of public spheres that are both informal (cafes, local Facebook walls), formal (city boards, councils), and semi-formal (neighbourhood assemblies, local web-sites). (Liisa Horelli)
Local co-governance can ideally be considered as an integrated deliberative system. (Liisa Horelli)
Co-governance seems to require the application of the Quadruple Helix model which comprises public, private, people-partnerships including the academia. (Liisa Horelli)
The transformative strategy does not only depend on the citizen movements, although they are extremely important as change agents or in the form of citizen pilgrims (Richard Falk), especially in terms of flipping the current power-holders (Morton Winston). I do think that the Quadruple Helix partnerships could and should be upscaled to the global level as well. (Liisa Horelli)
GCM is not a religion but certainly one of the mechanisms of global transition towards a more viable planetary culture. (Liisa Horelli)
Citizenship is a psycho-social, cultural, and political construction that is negotiated between a variety of (democratic) institutions and the citizens in public spheres. (Liisa Horelli)
With whom can citizens negotiate global citizenship? Justice does not emerge automatically; the poor and fragile think fair treatment is a privilege. And in spite of several motivational theories, we still don’t know what makes people tick in terms of planetary issues. (Liisa Horelli)
Transforming cultures is a complex process that takes a long time to develop. I don´t think that the process is yet ripe for a fixed institutional solution, although targeted and radical actions are needed. (Liisa Horelli)
We have the time to test different multi-level models of action and co-governance and to co-create better theories of change and motivation. (Liisa Horelli)
"Glocal" can refer to the full range of life in community, whether economic, cultural or spiritual. As ideas and understanding are universalized by the process of globalization and intercultural encounter, ideas at the local level everywhere are being "de-parochialized" and converging towards universal common ground. (Bruce Schuman)
Like a fractal, the “philosophy of community” (unity/diversity/co-creativity) becomes identical at all levels of scale, with universal ideas at the core across all levels, down to the intimately local. (Bruce Schuman)
[On centralization] It could be said from a psychological level that this “center” is the core of the individual human mind or spirit (Jung). At a mystical level, as defined by Teilhard deChardin, these multiple centers are “one center.” Thus there is a oneness and wholeness at the core of this process, that nurtures both economic and spiritual life. (Bruce Schuman)
As the form of [the glocalization] process becomes clearer, and the presence of the internet becomes more ubiquitous, there may be emerging potential for explosive convergence -- a new kind of “Arab Spring” where millions of people suddenly move in the same direction – “towards the center.” (Bruce Schuman)
I’m sympathetic with much of Robert Paehlke’s underlying motives for global citizenship. I am less convinced that it necessarily should or could lead to global governance. (Tom Bowerman)
Just because I view myself as a world citizen before national identity does not cause me to believe that a one-world governance model would be an improvement on the nation-state, regional state, or city state in terms of policy development and implementation. (Tom Bowerman)
It is unclear to me that a world governance model would necessarily be exempt from forms of tyranny, only that redress may be more difficult. Beware the law of unintended consequences as well as the challenge of distant monoliths. (Tom Bowerman)
Richard Falk’s comments are persuasive to me – that preeminent to achievement of Robert’s goals is a world-view paradigm shift which renders obsolete the neo-liberalist economic model and ushers in a respect for ecological stability and cross-cultural egalitarianism. (Tom Bowerman)
We might speculate just when our culture significantly shifted from humankind seeing the Earth as a large and threatening place to seeing humankind as a large and threatening presence on a small and fragile planet. (Tom Bowerman)
We may see evidence of large majorities of the world population, industrialized nations included, as possessing a world-view that our present collective behaviors are unsustainable. (Tom Bowerman)
As John Gillroy appropriately calls out, we have run into the Collective Action Problem. (Tom Bowerman)
In context of the larger discussion then, is [the collective action problem] more appropriately resolved at the planetary scale of governance or in the diversity of a multitude of pedestrian scale democratic workshops at local levels? If I were called to wager, my bet would be on the latter. (Tom Bowerman)
Because we are dealing with fundamental evolutionary issues here, perhaps the appropriate metaphor is natural systems diversification (see Panarchy: Understanding Transformations in Human and Natural Systems). (Tom Bowerman)
I think, like John Martin Gillroy, that we are faced with an issue of collective action. History, as well as—in a more mundane way—our discussions, shows how difficult it is to agree on courses of action and on setting priorities. (Helene Finidori)
I would like to say is that paradoxically, if we want results fast, we won't get there by seeking an agreement on an overarching plan. (Helen Finidori)
We will get results fast by unleashing all the forces for change that are 'somewhat' pushing in similar directions, but are in competition in their discourses or for resources, and by helping all the change agents and activists on the ground (at any type of level) to act as efficaciously as possible. (Helene Finidori)
We need to build a movement that is coherent, decentered, and flexible, yet also “self conscious” and “coordinated.” How do you achieve this? That's where Michael Karlberg’s semiotics can help. But maybe not in the sense he intends it. Rather in the sense that leverages the radicals in each ‘semiotic niche’ that are somewhat pushing in similar ‘archetypal’ directions. (Helen Finidori)
I have suggested in David Bollier's discussion and in much of the work I have produced recently that this archetypal aspiration may well be the commons, these distributed factors of opportunity and ongoing renewal of the system--call them rights, access, justice, democracy, nature preservation etc. (Helen Finidori)
In any ‘semiotic cluster’ (those that believe in markets or not etc), you have efficacious agents that have the focus to stir and steer the ‘action logic’ of the cluster in a certain direction. (Helen Finidori)
What makes us efficacious on the ground is exactly what makes us inoperative in coordination because of the totalizing or watering down of solutions mentioned here. (Helen Finidori)
[An important question| So how do we keep the effectiveness and individuality of agents and get the effect of their actions to coalesce to produce an effect greater than the sum of each individual action? (Helen Finidori)
What I suggest is taking the semiotic route one step further, identifying these ‘forces,’ laws, and conditions that are leading the system into the wall, and those that would lead to other more beneficial effects, and express them in the narrative of the various action or engagement logics so that change agents can jujitsu efficaciously at their own level and scale of intervention. (Helen Finidori)
I suggest an open source pattern language for systemic change ( that uses as a framework Donella Meadow’s leverage points (slides 11 & sq of the embedded presentation), starting with the paradigms (slides 6&7), that would enable the political forces at all levels to express and implement the change that they elect as a priority (without of course eliminating discussions on priorities). (Helene Finidori)
This would include much of the approaches proposed here, leading to an emergent form of coordination. Fluid unity in diversity. (Helene Finidori)
The role for an Global Transition or Global Movement organization would be to facilitate mutual recognition of the variety of approaches that let all forces for sustainability and human well-being form aspirations express themselves, and for finding the elements of commons ground and underlying logic (Helene Finidori)
the archetypal shared aspiration and vision that would form the basis of the pattern language to be expressed in multiple narratives on the ground, ready for ad hoc multi-dimensional multilevel action, with systemic type of agents building the bridges across levels, scales, and paradigms as described by Liisa Horelli. (Helene Finidori)
Such organization would also hold space for members to assemble and reassemble ad hoc in a liquid form for specific actions. (Helene Finidori)
As suggested by Tom Bowerman, we are never sure of what a centralized authority could become, in order for them to receive the feedback that would help make sense of what is going on in the system and where interventions are needed. (Helene Finidori)
In this systems perspective, the paradigm does not need to change prior to the political action, the change of paradigm is the result of the transformative action. (Helene Finidori)
The systems perspective raised in several contributions helps to bring some elements of order to this rich and complex discussion. It is clear that guiding the forces of change in a constructive direction towards a global transition through a multitude of local actors and communities will require shared aspirations and vision, elements of commons ground and underlying logic, and a paradigm shift in world views. (Arthur Dahl)
What has not emerged so clearly in the discussion, at least since Michael Karlberg's contribution, is the importance of an underlying moral and ethical framework. (Arthur Dahl)
An intellectual understanding is insufficient to mobilize such fundamental change; an emotional and even spiritual commitment is also necessary. (Arthur Dahl)
A common set of global values can ensure that the diversity of local approaches will converge and not conflict as momentum builds. (Arthur Dahl)
With respect to a local versus global focus on governance, local action at the community level has a better chance of immediate progress, but global governance is also essential. (Arthur Dahl)
Unlike biological systems and other organic models, humans have developed complex economic and social interactions at the global scale, multinational corporations, a planetary network of information exchange, and global environmental impacts, that require governance at the global level. Anarchy at this level is our undoing. (Arthur Dahl)
If the mechanisms of global governance are given a strong enough moral and ethical framework for action in the common interest, with appropriate safeguards to ensure that this is enforced, that could protect against the fear of the misuse of power that justifiably makes many people hesitate about global government. (Arthur Dahl)

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