Progressive Macromovement Logic Model

A logic model is a visual tool to conceptualize and communicate a program, organization, or initiative from its raw materials to its ultimate ends. I have created a draft of a logic model for the progressive macromovement. Creating this model helped me think through what I see as the ultimate ends of progressive activism and what it will take to get us there. This model is certainly not representative of all people who care about progressive social change; it is heavily biased by my own ideas and values. I would love to see how you envision the progressive macromovement. Please share your logic models with me and other blog readers!

Alpha-Omega Testing

You may have heard of beta testing. This is when software companies share their most recent developments with a select audience to uncover bugs so that they can be fixed before the product’s full release. At this stage, a team of developers has likely already invested a great deal of time conceptualizing, planning, creating, and refining the software. In a wolf pack, the omega wolf is the one who is most often hurt and excluded yet creates harmony within the group; she or he is submissive and may stray from the pack.

I like to think of this blog as an alpha test for ideas. This is a space where I share my somewhat moderated thoughts and ideas so that they can be collectively thought through and tested. I do so with an omega spirit. Opening up myself in such a way requires humility, vulnerability, and risk of ridicule.

Je Suis Libree

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin

That day came and went for me, over and over again for several years. The bud began to rot inside, starved from light and unable to grow.

This is one of the reasons why I recently left a relatively secure and stable job as an executive director so that I could launch an online school for my progressive friends around the world. That particular job was occupying too much of my intellectual and emotional space, distorting the boundaries and destroying the terrain.

At the same time, I felt like the queen of a complacent little island while the whole rest of the world raged on fire. I realized within my soul a burning desire to more meaningfully serve humanity. And so I lovingly descended from my precious throne, only to swim through uncertain waters and encounter red eyed rabid crocodiles whose greatest pleasure would be to eat me alive. With the island further and further from view, I risk being burned and consumed; drowned and eaten alive.

Goodbye, Family Connection. Hello world.

Detachment from Dogma

My perspective is to detach from dogma and to explore possibilities. I am not a ‘pure’ post-modernist, integralist, material-realist, etc.; rather, I float within and among various positionalities as a means to expand my realm of personal understanding.

As a result, I may say things that seem to be contradictory. I like to think of them as complementary instead. Each idea is but one microscopic iteration of the reality that I have observed and absorbed.

I revere this as a precious gift. I am able to review two opposing views about an idea and (usually) appreciate some kind of beauty and profundity in each. Of course, there are many things that I have observed which I have chosen — consciously or not — to not absorb. These things, real or imagined, may be outside of my compassionate heart (hate groups), my intellect (calculus), and/or my experience (parasailing) so that it seems disconnected from that which is already in me and therefore has little to no meaning or value.

Written while barefoot in Bryant Park

Changemaker Chat: David McReynolds

David McReynolds is lifelong Socialist Party activist, a pacifist who worked with the War Resisters League from 1960 through 1999, an author of essays, a speaker, and an organizer, with more than a few arrests during actions. He was also the Socialist Party candidate for President in 1980 and 2000 and the chair of War Resisters International for one term. You can learn more about David by visiting www.edgeleft.org.

How did you first become interested in social change?

I suspect I became interesting quite early, in high school, partly as a result of the teachings of the Baptist church I attended, and partly as a result of following events in World War II very closely, and the aftermath of the war.

How do you define social justice?

Social justice would be a society in which, without trying to “level everyone,” there would be no massive concentrations of private wealth and the general population would have decent housing, medical care, and access to education.

What has been your most exciting experience as an activist?

Perhaps the demonstration in Moscow in 1978, opposing both the Soviet and American arms races. Our group demonstration in Red Square as the same moment as fellow pacifists walked onto the White House lawn and unfurled a banner.

What is the most interesting project in which you are currently involved?

Probably trying to sort through the thousands of negatives and prints in order they can be useful to pacifist and socialist historians (photography having been a hobby of mine).

What is your vision for a better world?

Less emphasis on “nation states,” more serious work on disarmament to a police level.

What are your plans for the future?

At 82, there are no extensive plans for the future

Rethinking Utopia

In 1998, I lived in a 15th floor studio apartment in West Philadelphia. At my desk overlooking both lovely Fairmount Park and the city skyline, I created a never published website simply called Utopia. The vision for the project, according to the second home page I developed, was to empower and motivate young women and men to actively construct their lives and communities in order to exist more peacefully and harmoniously with themselves, others, and the environment. I promised readers to publish a quarterly journal entitled Utopia: An Overture of Peace and Harmony and to create a website that would: educate people about their rights, responsibilities, and human potential; distribute information that is helpful in cultivating compassionate, well rounded, and determined human beings; share experiences among each other so that we may learn and grow with each other; analyze psychological and social theories and discover how to apply them to get more out of our daily lives; enlighten with art, poetry, and prose; and provide an exchange for buyers and sellers of intellectually stimulating, ecologically sound, and socially responsible products and services.
With the exception of the last statement and the nuances of naivete, I am struck by the similarities between the aforementioned forsaken website and the relaunch of The Fruition Coalition this summer. Something deep within my soul, which I have repressed and redirected over the past 15 years, is yearning to be set free.

I am grateful for the many detours my life has taken since the initial conceptualization of Utopia: I have earned two and a half graduate degrees; helped to raise two lovely girls who are both now college students; and served the community as an executive director and in several other capacities. All of these experiences — indeed, all of my experiences — will inform the ongoing development of this and other projects. I am especially grateful for this opportunity to integrate my inner dreams, perhaps my soul purpose, with everything I have learned about myself and the world in which I live throughout my early adulthood. Still a work in progress, I look forward to reviewing blog posts from The Activist’s Muse, posts on Le Salon Utopique, and recordings of classes from The Fruition Academy of Social Imagination and Action in another 15 years to reflect on my journey and the person I am becoming.

Thank you for being a part of this journey. To Utopia we go!