affinity groups, grassroots dialogue

As you know, I’ve been interested in, what’s probably a cliche by now, a
time and place for dialogue. Along these lines, if there’s going to be
such a thing, that time and place should be part of people’s everyday
lives, or else there’s a disconnect between the ideal and the actual.

So, I started to think about this. There’s real life opportunities to
develop and promote dialogue within normal activities for people
involved in grassroots or progressive movements certainly, but there’s
also opportunities in the labor/union movement. With this in mind I
started to check around.

I have not really compiled the resources for labor/union examples, but
there’s the example of the “Affinity Group” which has been called
various things, like “Cell.” These minimally hierarchical structures
have been amazingly effective at distributing leadership in places like
Palestine and in any of the resistance struggles as well as in the every
day activities of progressive groups like the SOA Watch.

Here’s a couple links:

Anyhow, there’s more to this idea, that the need for dialogue training
is like the organization of any other progressive resistance movement.
This was something I kind of started to ask about when I asked Christine
Vernon about whether there was “enclaving” in response to the loss of
the “fifth discipline” support in her group, an enclaving that I’ve
experienced in the past also. That’s the formulation of informal
resistance. Why not make that kind of thing implicit?

For example, why should we not start thinking about dialogue and in fact
all grassroots resistance skills as something that it is our patriotic
duty to learn and teach? Dialogue, consensus and non-violent resistance
tools could be part of our societal citizenship training and brought to
all aspects of our lives.

Okay, so I feel like I’m on the verge of a rant, so I’ll stop there.
Suffice to say that I thought I’d share what I was thinking. As an
example, I’m thinking of suggesting a project to my discussion group on
fridays where we each engage with dialogue in some other setting and
spend time talking in the friday group about how that’s going, a kind of
dialogue check-in.

Anyhow, that’s probably enough said. ;) Time to leave for class!