Transform the System: A Work in Progress


What is “the system” and how should we change it? This draft declaration offers an answer to that question. It is motivated by the belief that compassion compels us to address a root cause of needless suffering: our social system.

You’re invited to help improve this work-in-progress — or suggest your own answer. You can submit comments or essays at

My ideas are presented as food-for-thought, not the final word. I assume others could compose a better response and hope someone does.

However, I do believe the issues discussed here are important, and I believe my unique approach holds potential. So, I’d like for you to help me craft the best possible statement. Thinking together is often the best way to think, and writing helps me clarify my thinking.

Respondents will be invited to discuss the issues online as well as participate in workshops to review the responses and agree on feedback. For more info, see

After self-publishing this booklet, I may seek a publisher for the next version, which could include essays written by others addressing the same issues. Ideally this effort will prompt one or more strong organizing committees to initiate some of the projects recommended here.

With this draft declaration, at the age of 73, I sum up conclusions from my life experience. In school, my main areas of study were political science, psychology, and theology. Those three subjects have been my main interests ever since.

After receiving my bachelor’s degree, a field major in social sciences, and studying in seminary for two years, I was employed by various non-profit organizations for twenty years. Then I discovered that I could manage financially working part-time as a cab driver, until I retired last year. That work left me free to do whatever community work I wanted to do.

Throughout my life, the consistent thread has been the effort to nurture communities whose members share basic beliefs, help one another become better human beings, and engage in political action to improve public policies. My efforts have taken many forms. Some have been more successful than others. All have been learning experiences. My community organizing history is summarized at the end of this draft declaration in the “About the Author” section.

I look back most warmly on a neighborhood organizing project that was rooted in a volunteer-based food cooperative. We recruited shoppers to participate in square dances, clam bakes on the beach, volleyball games in the park, door-to-door voter registration, and get-out-the-vote. It was a lively, rich sense of community.

One failure was an effort to stop state legislation that was designed to force cities to increase public-transit fares, which hurt low-income passengers. When we met with our representative, he wouldn’t even discuss the issue and we got nowhere.

Some twenty friends and associates have contributed to this effort so far. I hope you join us. 

NEXT: Introduction



Roger Marsden:
 nice humble tone - is inviting.

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