Towards a Politics of Listening

This shows you how I understand social change. The chart keeps going up to the right, with bigger and bigger scales: cities, states, the planet, all of life, etc. Many of us are motivated by large-scale change, I expect that’s why we’re at this conference: we want to rebuild the economy for equality, or reimagine politics, or repair the division between humans and the rest of nature. Big big change. But social change is very complex, and non-deterministic, it’s not a straightforward system. I don’t know how we re-wire society, but this picture shows my intuition. I believe we need to consider many different scales at once.

For example: I want to change the system called patriarchy. It seems to me a very urgent challenge. But if I just focus on the large scale, trying to dismantle the system, I may miss a lot of insights that are down at the lower end, much closer to me and my immediate experience. Down here there are some questions just for me: how do I support patriarchy, how do I benefit from it? or, how do I reproduce patriarchal dynamics in myself, how do I dominate myself? and then one step up, looking to my relationships: am I in equal partnership, or in domination relationships? Then I can examine my teams: are we treating each other with respect and equity, or does one person dominate the rest? To me it is very important to have integrity and alignment at all scales. So yes, I will join a social movement against patriarchy, demanding a change in how we distribute power in society and how we run institutions. And also I need to work at the very small scale.

This is what is in my mind when I am using Loomio. I believe it is very important to practice deliberation at the small scale. Learn how to share power, to negotiate, to listen, to make concessions, to empathise, to let go of demands, to find creative solutions. Simply, I believe the practice of small scale democracy makes me a much more capable citizen.

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