THE MOVEMENTS THAT CAN SHIFT THE WORLD: A Call to Action
This essay, a 5 minute read, is “A Call to Action” to restore American democracy as well as jumpstart a global renaissance. The facts support the existence of a critical mass of people who are working to heal the planet or who might be sympathetic to such efforts. What remains is for these forces to unite in common cause before it is too late. A protest against abuses of power requires global resistance. This raising up of “The Movements That Can Shift the World” is urgent.
By Alice Holstein, Ed.D. February 2018
The Women’s Movement has emblazoned the world in the nick of time. It is time to redefine “power” as justice and compassion as opposed to the greed and abuses of power of the old order. To do so may not only empower the feminine; it may also save the world from its imbalances. What is happening now all over the world with the outpouring of women protesting and claiming their rights is beyond what most in the women’s movement have imagined. The grand possibility is that a critical mass of people exists, when other movements are joined with the women, to shift the entire planet to an “Awakening of Humanity.” Will the many related movements see the potential and seize the initiative? This is a moment in history that is unparalleled in all previous ages. Peaceful protests can be the start of further action to create a better world.
The world is sore in need and democracy in the United States is endangered. Some leaders are liars, propagandists and panderers. Science and the Common Good are being turned on their head. Governmental agencies and regulations that are stabilizing forces are being dismantled or de-legitimized. Civility has all but vanished. A necessary critical mass of many millions, however, exists to shift the balance of power to win elections and create the basis for a healing and reinvented planet. My suggestion about how to make that happen is to mobilize a massive outpouring. Here are the reasons why both protest and an evolutionary outcome are possible.
First, a recognition---a vast “underground” of people and organizations is already operating to heal the world. A decade ago Paul Hawken, environmentalist, entrepreneur and author, identified “the largest movement the world has ever known” as working beneath the radar like a giant immune system bent on healing the world. Today, millions have been added to his 2007 Blessed Unrest figures. They compose a huge, vital, transformative force that can come together into common cause toward building a new civilization that is already underway. The recent numbers involved in marches, new resistance movements and humanitarian and environmental causes have risen to record levels. These forces, if united beyond their present fragmented nature, and if oriented to a larger vision, can help restore democracy in the U.S. and jumpstart a global renaissance. The very soul of the great American experiment in democracy is at stake and so is the soul of the world.
We deal daily with the saber rattling of nuclear war; we suffer increasing environmental disasters, senseless wars and injustices of inequality and poverty. The list of intractable problems is long and discouraging, yet there is something ordinary people can extraordinarily accomplish.
The 2018 elections will be a testing point. A vision of moving from mere resistance to one of a broader renaissance can achieve the “impossible,” a lifting up and mobilizing of THE MOVEMENTS THAT CAN SHIFT THE WORLD in the service of renewal and reinvention. This potential gigantic force, composed of parts that can retain their identities, could provide a “we the people” leadership to move us beyond racism, bigotry, out-of-balance capitalism, war mongering and fear. There is the opportunity now to engage a global, non-violent, peaceful outpouring. “Save the World” can be a rallying cry that assists winning of elections. A hashtag, #Shift can help catalyze a worldwide paradigm shift in the same way that the Berlin Wall and Communism fell. 2020 will be critical, perhaps “the” tipping point when there can be a pervasive shift, a substantial uplifting for the millions who are ready for higher consciousness without presently knowing that they are.
Grass Roots Rising
The time is opportune, either soon or in 2020, to mark the time when the whole world wakes up to the CONSCIOUS EVOLUTION of building a renewed, reinvented world. In 2007 Hawken’s book, Blessed Unrest was published. His long subtitle for the original 2007 edition hints at the larger story---How the Largest Movement in the World Came Into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming. He estimated then that the movement consisted of between one to two million organizations all working in one way or another to save the planet. His 100- page appendix, one-third of the book, lists categories of concentration and significant numbers of entities working in those areas. He said that what unites these diverse efforts was a set of shared beliefs. Underneath it all were two basics----The Golden Rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” (which exists in all major religions in one way or another), plus the idea that all of life is sacred. What is amazing is that these entities represent differences in size, purpose, effectiveness, charters, leaders and every other aspect of organizational life. But what is unique, says Hawken, is that they do not conflict with one another, which is an unprecedented historical happening. I add that we do not need hierarchical l leadership to achieve mobilization of these resources because they are a self-organizing system with its own radar and guidance emerging from the bottom up. They are truly a grassroots, democratic movement of unparalleled but still latent power.
Since that 2007 book, there have been millions more added to Hawken’s numbers. They too are evolutionary agents, holding a more comprehensive, planet-saving worldview than the present mainstream. Some of them include the Occupy Movement that mounted demonstrations in 82 countries, 600 U.S. communities and 951 cities around the globe. The glorious Women’s March of 2017 rallied 3.5 million in the U.S. and several million more from around the world plus the 2018 marches. The recent #MeToo movement added strength to the fact that waves of women are claiming their power by saying NO to assault and harassment. Women activists, both Democratic and Independent, even Republican, have proven a potent force in new organizing efforts, running for office and making cooperative choices. The Women’s March and other women’s organizations are lighting up the world. In addition, an unknown number of members of Black Lives Matter has emerged in response to police brutality and racism. The “Bernie Sanders Revolution” attracted millions of young people. The Standing Rock Sioux Reservation pipeline issue involved representatives from 300 Native American tribes, joined by thousands of military veterans, Black Lives Matter activists, religious leaders, civil libertarians and citizens of different faith, races and political beliefs.
Shortly after the 2016 election, the remarkable “Indivisible” document appeared, inspiring more than 6,000 grassroots organizations and now winning important legislative victories. The massive MoveOn organization is enormously active. The Scientist’s March inspired 610 other Global marches; there is a growing Resistance Movement with an unknown number of activists, and there is the millions-strong LGBTQ movement that won their rights after Hawken’s book was published. In addition, there are the “Cultural Creatives” identified by Paul Ray’s 2008 statistics as 80 million strong, or 35% of the U.S. population. They have a worldview that is either ecologically or spiritually oriented or both. Immigrants are another potent force. All of these and more represent a critical mass to catalyze a paradigm shift.
While this is a picture of unprecedented, potential power, the trouble with this accumulation of like-minded activists is that they do not yet see themselves as part of “The Movements That Can Shift the World.” Too often they operate in silos or sometimes think that one group, such as the environmentalists, is more important than the social activists, or vice-versa. But ALL are important and have a role to play in healing the world and its people if they could but see that the larger vision is what unites them. The cause is bigger than any one segment. When a larger picture is understood, the opportunity to shift the global power structure emerges. They do not have to give up their identities in order to participate! A vision of combined power can be the mobilizing element because a continuing, hierarchical leadership is otherwise not required.
Hawken didn’t name this movement, but I believe it is time for a name. An umbrella concept, such as “The Movements That Can Shift the World” needs to become known so that it is visible enough to uplift the masses. What is invisible remains unknown. We need to “brand” this phenomenon so we can be inspired by its identity and characteristics. The naming and the concept can take us beyond our local causes to see that the task is to reinvent ourselves along evolutionary lines. This movement of movements can create the shift to a new paradigm. The fall of the Berlin Wall and Communism are examples, but these are minor compared to what can happen in the U.S. and globally. I see that “women rising” is a potent leadership ingredient but that “women and men as allies” is essential. I foresee that this effort would have thousands, if not millions, of “leaders,” all dispersed, unable to be toppled. This is a self-organizing system, moving like an amoeba, to organically address causes and needs within the larger whole. Various segments would identify, in part, with building a better world without having to be accountable to an institutional hierarchy. There would be no one “savior leader.” The elements would see themselves as part of a global renaissance, not merely a resistive force that becomes the engine for the overall shift. This requires a non-violent, peaceful ourpouring with an evolutionary purpose. The 2018 elections can be a turning point. Democracy must be restored. This shift can lay the groundwork for a 2020 big shift when massive healing forces can be unleashed, both personal and planetary. Global awareness and action are possible.
Women are a key. It is time to say NO to patriarchy’s abuses of power and greed. We may have needed the patriarchy for our evolution, but it has gone horribly out of balance. Women are the birthers and the healers, the skilled relationship and process experts who are needed to balance our lop-sided feminine-masculine energies. This is not merely a “woman’s thing,” however, or a bid for matriarchy but rather, the opening to a new era in history. Feminine-masculine balance is the goal, and that will need men organizing alongside as well. “Women and men as allies” need to claim a redefined concept of power as justice and compassion, not “power over.”
Lighting The World
Some years ago I had a dream that there was a world of darkness with black spots spreading over it. This vision, however, was followed by a bright, yellow-orange ball that I knew to be the earth. The black dots disappeared while light spread over the globe. I believe this vision represents the “Awakening of Humanity” that Barbara Marx Hubbard writes about as the turn from UNCONSCIOUS evolution to CONSCIOUS evolution. It is the evolutionary spiral of the universe that revolutionary Jesuit priest and paleontologist, Teilhard de Chardin predicted. 2020 could be the time when there is the opportunity to experience a massive outpouring of activists, ordinary people and organizations. This IS “The Movements That Can Shift the World.” This can be a show of force that models an enlightened state of consciousness. A gigantic culture shift can be the result.
Confidence in us as “we the people” can be restored despite threats to the survival of American democracy. Together we can take a stand. We face many systemic problems, but we can begin to manage them if we understand that peaceful, non-violent resistance may be necessary while remembering that love of one another is the ultimate answer. #Shift is a way forward to global renaissance, a new era in history. Protest will not be enough, but jump-starting an “Awakening of Humanity” can be the beginning of healing, renewal and reinvention.
For more information, go to Part 2 “The Larger Story,”which is a more detailed vision of what “The Movements That Can Shift the World” might involve. It contains a list of references. Also at Part 3 “The Back Story: How The Movements to Shift the World Came to be Written.”
You are invited to pass this vision on with acknowledgement of the author.
C Alice A. Holstein, 2018