George Lakey and How We Win

George Lakey and How We Win

A review
How We Win: A Guide to Nonviolent Direct Action Campaigning
George Lakey
Melville House Publishing, 2018, 221 pages

George Lakey and How We Win
By Wade Lee Hudson

George Lakey understands internalized oppression. If anyone would support mutual support for self-improvement, you’d think he would. But his new book, How We Win: A Guide to Nonviolent Direct Action Campaigning, primarily relies on top-down training. 

Though the book presents many valuable recommendations concerning tactical nonviolence, as well as a compelling overview of Lakey’s rich, long history as an activist and nonviolence trainer, it does not propose intentional, open-ended, peer-to-peer support as a way to unlearn negative conditioning and become more fully human. 

How We Win includes some material about personal issues. It affirms the need to “avoid competition” between activist groups and to “establish productive relationships” between activists. …

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Diderot’s Encyclopedia

Diderot’s Encyclopedia

A review
The Encyclopedia
Stephen J. Gendzier
Harper & Row, 1967, 246 pages

Diderot’s Encyclopedia
By Wade Lee Hudson

With forty collaborators, including writers such as Voltaire, Rousseau, and Montesquieu, and many more contributors, the 18th Century French polymath Denis Diderot served as principal editor of the Enlightenment’s remarkable The Encyclopedia. Diderot wrote many of the entries himself. Exactly how many is unknown because he didn’t sign much of his work in order to avoid a second prison sentence. He and other co-editors were imprisoned at times for offending the Church and the Monarchy. 

Among other innovative thoughts, the 28-volume series promoted natural human rights, opposed slavery, advanced democracy, and vigorously supported the scientific method. In so doing, they helped lay the groundwork for the French Revolution. …The Encyclopedia inspired the structure of this Systemopedia, which consists of interrelated subjects arranged alphabetically.

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Still Looking for a Holistic Community

Still Looking for a Holistic Community

I seek a community whose members promote systemic transformation, engage in political action to improve public poilcy, aim to become better human beings, and set aside time to support each other with those efforts. 

That’s it. The essential ingredients of a holistic community that involves the whole person and helps change the whole world. It seems straightforward and sensible. From time to time, I’ve tasted holistic community enough to convince me it’s practical. But those experiences, including my own efforts to organize one, have been fleeting, and I know of none I can join.

My primary motivation is that I believe holistic communities could help relieve suffering. As I address in Transform the System: A Work in Progress, it seems to me that most social change efforts specialize in ways that undermine their effectiveness. Most focus on either the outer world or the inner world. Holistic communities that integrate the two could provide mutual support for both open-ended self-development and improvements in the external world, including political action to impact public policy.

A mission statement for a network of holistic communities might be something like: to help transform our country into a compassionate community dedicated to the common good of all humanity, our own people, the environment, and life itself. That wording would enable people in any country to endorse it.

To help achieve that mission, community members might adopt a commitment such as:

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A Holistic Masterpiece

A Holistic Masterpiece

A tour de force by Asoka Bandarage, Sustainability and Well-Being: The Middle Path to Environment, Society and the Economy is more in sync with my thinking than any book I’ve read. This excellent, well-written work presents a holistic framework that addresses both the whole person and the whole world. Published in 2013 with 68 pages of text and 17 pages of notes, this comprehensive essay, as described by its publisher, Palgrave Macmillan UK, offers:

An integrated analysis of the twin challenges of environmental sustainability and human well-being by investigating them as interconnected phenomena requiring a paradigmatic psychosocial transformation. She presents an incisive social science analysis and an alternative philosophical perspective on the needed transition from a worldview of domination to one of partnership.

The chapters are titled:

  • Environmental, Social, and Economic Collapse

  • Evolution of the Domination Paradigm

  • Ecological and Social Justice Movements

  • Ethical Path to Sustainability and Well-Being.

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