To me, this movement, of civic participation, of open culture, of horizontal collaboration, of community building, is profoundly about stripping away abstraction.
It is about the destruction of facades. The re-introduction of complexity. It is about the acknowledgement that humans are complex. That our democracy is fragile and flawed. That there are difficult differences in our society, among our communities. That our common values are still up for debate.
It is about facing difficult reality and truth head on. No bullshit. It is about communication with honesty, care, transparency, and as little assumption as possible. It is about removing information asymmetry as much as possible.
To me, being given the spotlight is being given an opportunity to be honest and to live out one’s values. Simple stories with a grand vision can be a force for good but more than often they create unrealistic expectation that is counterproductive for building equal, trustworthy relationships. Success stories are meaningless without the back stories. A packaged presentation strengthens hierarchy and subjugates the listener under the presenter. Honest communication builds honest connections, distributes knowledge and power and therefore empowers each participants.
To me, the mission of the middleman is to eliminate the need for a middleman. The mission of the middleman is not to build the strongest connection one can build, but to nurture the most diverse and robust network one can nurture. To have multiple points of contact. To have open communication channels. To distribute the power and the risk of personality. To set up systems of accountability for matters of communal or public interest.
To me, the question is not how to bring people in, it is how to bring people out. (@nodescription / @patcon ++ 🙌) To always go out of the way to make a clear distinction between opinion of oneself, of others, and (rough) consensus of the community. To always be careful when using the word “we” (in all languages). To always take time and extra work to try and bring out as much different experiences and perspectives as possible. To allow workers to represent themselves as much as possible, not be represented.
I cannot describe the future for you because I am writing this alone. — @Caroline Woolard, Solidarity Art Worlds, 2013
After all, a network with a single point of failure is not a network.