In this ZNet Update mailing we convey a message from the activists of a new International Project for a Participatory Society (IPPS). Born out of Z Sessions on Vision and Strategy this new project starts with a membership of 59 activists from 18 countries. Here is their announcement...



June 1 - 6, 2006 about thirty five people from eleven countries assembled in Woods Hole, Massachusetts for what was called Z Sessions on Vision and Strategy.

Each day we had four sessions, each with a presenter, someone to comment, and then discussions. Everyone who presented at one of these sessions also attended the other presentations. Beyond the many sessions, we of course also socialized and explored ideas and commitments. Everyone boarded at a nearby friendly motel and ate at an also nearby famous oceanographic institution cafeteria. The focus was “what we want” and “how we get it”--not for the short term and for narrow issues, but rather for the long term and more comprehensive issues.

Sessions ranged from kinship vision, through political vision, into international relations, and cultural and also economic vision. Issues of organization, program, lessons from current experiments and struggles around the world and especially ideas about long-term vision and strategy were highlighted. For more on ZSVS, please see the site:  https://www.zmag.org/junemtg.html

Perhaps the most notable and unusual attribute of this gathering was the extent to which, in just a few days, a tight and inspiring solidarity emerged among those attending who discussed all manner of topics, but beyond sharing ideas, also developed a sense of shared commitments. This solidarity, in turn, fueled a desire to maintain ties and to expand our efforts. Thus was born what we called the International Project for a Participatory Society or IPPS (http://www.zmag.org/ipps.html).

IPPS was not to be a vanguard or a party of any kind. Rather, IPPS was to be a growing group of people, united initially by shared views and an intense few days of discussion and debate, coming together to continue their individual, joint, and collective work on behalf of winning a better world. The group settled easily on an IPPS mission statement:

The International Project for a Participatory Society (IPPS) is a group of people concerned with inspiring, facilitating, and supporting efforts to develop, share, and promote vision and strategy for attaining a new participatory society.

IPPS stands for a classless economy based on self-management and equality, for democratic and participatory politics, and for the elimination of patriarchy, racism, and all other hierarchies and oppressions.

IPPS seeks to elaborate a vision of a participatory society in order to demonstrate that there is an alternative to current race, gender, political, environmental, and other injustices.

IPPS membership began as everyone who actually attended the Sessions in June, but agreed that we would also invite those who had been invited to the sessions but were unable to attend them. Beyond that group, it was agreed that additional people could begin working with IPPS via contacts and friends at any time, but that “official” membership would be decided/ratified at yearly meetings – and that the next such meeting  would occur on or around the U.S. Social Forum next Summer.

At the Z Sessions, beyond agreeing on a name and mission statement for IPPS, we also decided a project definition, basic principles/values, a date for the next policy meeting at the US social forum next summer, and to present a Participatory Society program at that forum.

We decided to focus on the following tasks in the next six months:

·         Creating a web site and blog system  for public communications, etc. and a first incarnation of this now exists, at www.zmag.org/ipps.html

·         Researching experiments around the world in visionary institution building

·         Creating an internal newsletter

·         Developing tools to aid experiments in creating participatory society institutions

·         Developing program for the U.S. Social Forum

·         Creating a speakers bureau for members

·         Assisting members with pursuing, evaluating, and publishing their work

·         Establishing means for dealing with internal disputes, conflicts, errors, etc.


The essence of IPPS’s purpose is to contribute to enlarging the attentiveness of the left to matters of vision and strategy and their implications both for long term and present activity. IPPS is described at its web site http://www.zmag.org/ipps.html  The initial membership list appears below. We hope to work well together, and with others, in a growing effort to better understand what a new and participatory society could be like, and how our actions might help bring it into being.


IPPS Members

Ezequiel Adamovsky - Argentina

Michael Albert - U.S.

Bridgit Anderson - Great Britain

Jessica Azulay - U.S.

Normand Baillargeon - Canada

Elaine Bernard - U.S.

Peter Bohmer - U.S.

Patrick Bond - South Africa

Jeremy Brecher - U.S.

Dennis Brutus - South Africa

Irina Ceric - Serbia/Canada

Daniel Chavez - Netherlands

Noam Chomsky - U.S.

Carol Delgado - Venezuela

Brian Dominick - U.S.

Mark Evans - England

Kendra Fehrer - U.S.

Susan George - France

Jonah Gindin - Canada

Sean Gonsalves - U.S.

Andrej Grubacic - Serbia/U.S.

Serge Halimi - France

Elizabeth Hartman- U.S.

John Hepburn - Australia

Pervez Hoodhboy - Pakistan

Robert Jensen - U.S.

Ria Julien - Trinidad/U.S.

Naomi Klein - Canada

Sonali Kolhatkar - India/U.S.

Jamie LeJeune - U.S.

Rahul Mahajan - U.S.

Mandisi Majavu - South Africa

Felipe Pérez Martí - Venezuela

Pablo Ortellado - Brazil

Ilan Pappe - Israel

Cynthia Peters - U.S.

John Pilger - Great Britain

Evan Henshaw Plath - U.S.

Justin Podur - India/Canada

Thomas Ponniah - U.S.

Vijay Prashad - U.S.

Milan Rai - Britain

Carola Reintjes - Spain

Manuel Rozental - Colombia

Chantel Santerre - Canada

Lydia Sargent - U.S.

Steve Shalom - U.S.

Devinder Sharma - India

Marina Sitrin - U.S.

Chris Spannos - Canada

Marie Trigona - Argentina

Tamara Vukov - Canada

Harsha Walia - India/Canada

Hilary Wainwright - Great Britain

Tom Wetzel - U.S.

Greg Wilpert - Venezuela

Tim Wise - U.S.

America Vera Zavala - Sweden

Howard Zinn - U.S.


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