Review: Beautiful Trouble — A Toolbox for Revolution

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Andrew Boyd and Dave Oswald Mitchell (editors)

5.0 out of 5 stars Common Sense Of, By, For the Community, October 5, 2014

From a second reading after attending The New Story Summit at Findhorn Foundation in Scotland.

QUOTE Stephan Duncombe (104): “”Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” But waiting for the truth to set us free is lazy politics. The truth does not reveal itself by virtue of being the truth: it must be told, and told well. It must have stories woven around it, works of art made about it; it must be communicated in new and compelling ways that can be passed from person to person, even if this requires flights of fancy and new methodologies.”

I bought this book at Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) in NYC, along with Michel Sifry’s The Big Disconnect: Why The Internet Hasn’t Transformed Politics (Yet) that I am reviewing now, both of these books are huge, and the Sifry book relatively unknown when it should a “top 10″ reading for all progressives.

This book (Beautiful Trouble), at 138 pages in pocket size (3/5ths of a normal pocketbook), is an utter gem. At a minimum it forces reflection. Produced by a team of people and organizations, this is a community resources in every sense of the word.

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Oct 5

Review: What Wags the World – Tales of Conscious Awakening

cover what wags the worldMiriam Knight and Julie Clayston (editors)

5.0 out of 5 stars A Potpourri of Endless Possibilities, September 27, 2014

Ervin Lazlo, among whose many books I have reviewed Dawn of the Akashic Age: New Consciousness, Quantum Resonance, and the Future of the World, opens the book with the observation that we are in a race with time and the cosmos is longing for us to show life and consciousness.

His foreword is followed by a short introduction from Miriam Knight, from whom I extract this quote:

” The revelations and personal shifts that people have described run the gamut from profound understandings of the nature of the forces underpinning the very fabric of physical reality, to the ability to visualize the interior of human bodies and having the capacity to change their molecular structure and create miraculous healings, to the ability to hear and even see beings in other dimensions, and convey their messages to friends, loved ones, and the world at large.”

In her own introduction, Julie Clayton observes that we are asleep to a lot of things in the world, but humankind is stirring into wakefulness – the contributors listed below are showing the way and making the point that the paths toward transformation are many.

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Sep 27

Review: Death of a King – The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Year

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Tavis Smiley

5.0 out of 5 stars OK to Challenge Racism and Poverty — NOT OK to challenge militarism and the national security state, September 12, 2014

The publisher has done a rotten job of summarizing this book. Here, paraphrasing the author as he just spoke on the John Stewart show, is the bottom line:

The minute that Dr. King turned against militarism and denounced the USA as the greatest purveyor of violence upon the world, he was first marginalized and then assassinated. “The System” was fine with Dr. King focusing on racism, and even poverty, but it would not tolerate for one moment his questioning the military-industrial complex and the national security state.

The author — whom I found to be very inspiring, coherent, and concise — a brilliant articulator of the key points in the book — goes on to have a conversation with Jon Stewart about how the USA simply cannot handle truth-tellers in relation to “big money” matters such as elective wars (racism and poverty being “little money” matters, and deliberately so).

Dr. King was ultimately assassinated by a US Army sniper on detail to the FBI and under the personal direction of J. Edgar Hoover. The story is told in An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King and has also been documented and validated in a judgment by a federal court awarding the King family the single dollar in damages they requested.

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Sep 12

Review: 11 Days in May by J.D. Messinger

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J. D. Messinger

I bought this book at the suggestion of Miriam Knight, and found it engrossing. This is not a conversation between the author and God, but rather between the author’s mind (from the World of Form) and the author as a soul (straddling into the World of Light).

There are multiple bottom lines, I will list just four that jump out at me from my notes:

01 Finding your authentic self — and hence finding sustainable happiness and positive effect — must be rooted in a deep critical appreciation of how false our current world is, particularly its materialistic and reductionist nature, the false assumptions about scarcity, valuation. This sets the stage for personal liberation.

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Aug 19

Review: Beautiful Trouble – A Toolbox for Revolution

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Andrew Boyd and Dave Oswald Mitchell et al

5.0 out of 5 stars Common Sense Of, By, For the Community, July 23, 2014

EDIT of 5 October 2014 to add bullets (highlights) from a second reading after attending The New Story Summit at Findhorn Foundation in Scotland.

QUOTE Stephan Duncombe (104): “”Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” But waiting for the truth to set us free is lazy politics. The truth does not reveal itself by virtue of being the truth: it must be told, and told well. It must have stories woven around it, works of art made about it; it must be communicated in new and compelling ways that can be passed from person to person, even if this requires flights of fancy and new methodologies.”

I bought this book at Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) in NYC, just concluded, along with Michel Sifry’s The Big Disconnect: Why The Internet Hasn’t Transformed Politics (Yet) that I am reviewing now, both of these books are huge, and the Sifry book relatively unknown when it should a “top 10″ reading for all progressives.

This book, at 138 pages in pocket size (3/5ths of a normal pocketbook), is an utter gem. At a minimum it forces reflection. Produced by a team of people and organizations, this is a community resources in every sense of the word.

By all means use Look Inside the Book, it does offer a Kindle version look at the contents, otherwise I would have repeated the table of contents here. This is an important book, perhaps most useful as an inspiration and as a source of reflection on what is possible. It is a book I will carry in my briefcase to visit across many days and places.

Here are some highlights from my notes:

+ Book offers a “pattern language,” in essence a formula for telling a new story with new means
+ See the website, a growing community
+ Song creates sympathy
+ Coordination across organizations and industries is key — most are fragmented beyond imagination
+ Debts are shared fictions – pull the plug
+ Winning the revolution is an information challenge — challenge the core premises publicly
+ Flash mobs work well, especially under repressive conditions
+ Strikes are non-violent but only work when they are general and cross-industry
+ Guerilla projection (projecting truth messages against facades without doing damage) is HUGE tool
+ Hoax stories that get picked up by mainstream media reveal the larger mosaic of lies that is the mainstream media
+ Core practices include clear motive and story, disruptive action with disciplined non-violence, open to participation
+ Strategic non-violence demands DEEP education of all participants to avoid false-flag provocations to violence
+ Repressed female and minority power is a huge resource to be respected and embraced
+ Highlighting human (and true) cost of any issue is not something the media does — we must
+ Play to your SECONDARY audience (the follow on viewers of the YouTube)
+ Shift the spectrum of allies from hostile to neutral to friendly to stalwart
+ Tell the story — the “naked truth” is simply not that effective because the story grabs the heart and the heart is central
+ Message discipline is vital — leave the conspiracy theories even if known to be true – for after the revolution
+ Listen to those most affected by the issue, let their authenticity be your foundation on that issue
+ Challenge the behavior in context, not the person — everyone really is a good person trapped in a bad context
+ Most are ignorant of the power they can exercise by withdrawing consent and buycotting

Below I list other titles to consider in two blocks — five in this genre, specifics of organizing, and five in the larger context of collective intelligence and public power.

Organizing for Social Change 4th Edition
Strike Back: Using the Militant Tactics of Labor’s Past to Reignite Public Sector Unionism Today
Doing Democracy: The MAP Model for Organizing Social Movements
The Occupy Handbook
Occupy: Reflections on Class War, Rebellion and Solidarity (Occupied Media Pamphlet Series)

A Power Governments Cannot Suppress
The Power of the Powerless: Citizens Against the State in Central-Eastern Europe
The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People
Participatory Budgeting (Public Sector Governance and Accountability)
Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth, and Violence at the Edge of the 21st Century

Best wishes to all,
Robert David STEELE Vivas
THE OPEN SOURCE EVERYTHING MANIFESTO: Transparency, Truth, & Trust

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Jul 24

Review: Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action (Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions)

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Elinor Ostrom

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 Star Collective Common Sense Relevant to CYBER-Commons Not Just Earth Commons, May 27, 2014

I read this book shortly after I had read Stop, Thief!: The Commons, Enclosures, and Resistance (Spectre) and my first impression is that the book should be re-issued in 2015, a quarter-century after it was first published, with additional material on how everything here is applicable to governing the cyber-commons. I have to recommend the two books together — STOP THIEF lays down with deep historical and multi-cultural foundation that gives GOVERNING THE COMMONS even more credibility — and for those that do not realize, this book earned the author a Nobel Prize in Economics.

On that note, I would point out that this book crushes the traditional explanations for why the state or the firm are superior decision-making alternatives to bottom-up citizen common sense. This book is also consistent with the LOSING proposal to the Club of Rome that recommended we focus on educating the global public (a universal bottom-up approach). As well now know, the Club of Rome chose the wrong solution, Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update, because is assumed that top-down mandated measures were the only measures that could be effective.

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May 28

Review (Guest): Bowling Alone – The Collapse and Revival of American Community

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Robert Putnam

5.0 of 5.0 Stars. The Promise of Social Capitalism

By Ed Brenegar on May 18, 2000

When I first came across the idea that Robert Putnam wrote about in his 1995 article Bowling Alone, I felt like a whole new world and language had been openned up to me. Every thing he writes about in his book is familiar, and yet it is fresh and insightful. The crux of the matter is that our social connectedness is diminishing. Social capital, or the value that exists in the level of trust and reciprocity between individuals, institutions and communities needs to be strengthen. This isn’t just about being better people or having a stronger economy. This is about the network of relationships that determine whether a society, both local and national, can meet the challenges of its problems, and thereby sustain a high quality of life.

Putnam’s book should be read as an exercise in building social capital. By this I mean, you should distribute it to friends, family, coworkers, neighbors and especially elected officials in your community. Then plan to meet and discuss it over lunch or coffee. This book has the potential for being the most significant book on society in a generation. When we scratch our heads and wonder why in the midst of a booming economy, we have such tragic social dysfunction in our society, you can look to Putnam’s book as a perspective that offers promise that social capitalism is a signficant aspect of the answer.

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May 26