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Challenges to connecting nodes in the ecosystem of social movements

on Thu, 02/03/2011 - 20:11


  • Difficult to form a new node. To turn a few individuals with common aims into a collective requires a lot of effort. Each time, the collective must begin from scratch, re-inventing the wheel again and again. There are no “common practices”, shared solutions of common problems, or “howtos” accepted and spread (e.g. howto start, which tools are helpful, what not to do…). A direct consequence is the continuous redundant efforts and cyclic discussions.
  • Difficult to strengthen a node. New nodes are small and unknown and thus it is very complicated to attract supporters and resources. They depend completely in the commitment of the few members, and it is common their weakening and disappearance after a period of time.
  • Nodes work isolated. Too frequently, we do our daily work disconnected from others. We don’t spend time/effort on finding common points, learning from the others’ experience and synchronising common actions and initiatives.
  • Poorly connected. Each collective usually struggles to name 3 or 4 different collectives that have similar aims or tasks. This results in a lack of mutual support and coordination.
  • Difficult communication flow. We do not have easy procedures to communicate or to discover similar collectives. And even if you know them, to synchronise actions requires a lot of effort.
  • Alliances are rare. Sometimes groups of collectives do build common initiatives, but they are usually punctual or temporal campaigns/events/platforms. Consistent alliances to build things in common or to continuously synchronise with each other are rare.
  • No long-term cooperation. Even though collectives do work for the long term, they don’t usually have long term cooperation in common projects with others, due to the lack of alliances. This results in difficulty to handle large scale common aims.

Source: Manifesto of the Comunes group


That list is a good beginning for reviewing and jointly transcending the difficulties of connecting the dots and discovering/strengthening synergies in the global ecosystem of transformational movements. Quoting it here, I hope to open a conversation with Comunes about how we can reduce those difficulties in our connecting with one another.