George Lakey has campaigned and written about non-violent social change since the 1960s. He co-founded Movement for a New Society in the 1970s, which for nearly 20 years specialized in organizational innovation for social movements, and has led over 1500 workshops on five continents, training coal miners, homeless people, prisoners, Burmese guerillas, steel workers and others. He spoke to New Left Project’s Ed Lewis about his latest book, Toward a Living Revolution, connecting its ideas with the Occupy movement.
…stage two is about the organisational outcome. It’s about nuts and bolts – it’s about, for example, can an Occupy movement deal with disruptive people, whether they’ve been paid to be disruptive (provocateurs and so on) or whether they’re just volunteers that are immersed in some kind of pathology or whatever and wander onto the scene and make it impossible for people to get their work done. Can we find organisational forms that will enable us to do that or not?
So stage two is about that, it’s about creating organisational forms that will enable us to support us to do the long-term stuff, and that comes from a historical conclusion that I’ve drawn – that unorganised revolutionary movements don’t bring about a new society. They can bring about turbulence, excitement; they can even open up a power vacuum, throwing off centre, off kilter, the 1%, but they can’t deliver the goods if they don’t know how to organise themselves, so stage two is very important in that way.
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