Global Research Assembly

Chicago Nexus

July 23, 1976


I want to welcome you to a victory celebration. Some of us thought this was going to be continental council. Then we said, "No, we don't want one of those. That's a lot of work. This is a celebration." Other people said, "What can we do, let's not call it a rally." So we asked what their images were. Their images were basically MYF. This is not an MYF rally. Somebody used the image of the Democratic Convention. That's not bad because those were a group of people who came together to celebrate the victory that was theirs. So with us. Yet ours is not a victory simply of the past, but a victory of the future. That is somewhat the happening of this event. We are gathered here today to announce what has happened.

It is not exactly what we thought would happen. We went out with all kinds of images about "indirect catalyzation", which we thought meant somebody else would do the work. That was an illusion which we all knew that after a couple of hours. But something incredible has happened. Some people have been saying, "This town meeting business is all right. I suppose since we can't have everybody doing social demonstration, then in order to keep the rest of us from being bored, we have something to do. When the time comes we can all do the real thing." That has been exposed as a false understanding.

The key is to get down underneath Community Forum. One of the essays that has been written takes the paper on separation and reconciliation by Paul Tillich and translated it into sociological categories. It is unbelievable in terms of capturing what we have discovered through Community Forum. We stumbled upon a catalytic tool that has the possibility of occasioning the kind of happening where a community can see itself as actually reconciled.

What has struck me is that acceleration is a fact. A lot of us came here thinking things were moving but not anything like a snowball. Snowball meant that you were walking along and all of a sudden it would all fall on your head. That has not happened, but acceleration is a fact. This addressed me in a series of events that happened in California during the last few weeks. I want to point to the incredible potential for acceleration that is already there, but hidden in every situation. We have tried to raise money, symbolized by going to the Bank of America a year ago with a proposal for $18,000. We would have had as much luck if we had put it out on the corner of the street, hoping someone would pick it up. A whole series of events like a good track record in California, a fine contact developed on the east coast, etc., lead to the event of yesterday, that the Bank of America voted to allocate $50,000 to Town Meeting. All the other banks out there follow the lead of the Bank of America. But that is not where the real excitement comes. There are­ other things that went into that event. There is a group of corporations that make the major decisions in the state of California. They were in trouble relative to their public image. They formed a group called the California Roundtable. They endorsed Town Meeting '76 two days ago as a great happening with which they want to work closely. Two days ago we got a letter of endorsement from the State Chamber of Commerce. After that, the Bank, in addition to giving money said that they are concerned and willing to do whatever is possible to catalyze local meetings. When you stir all that, you get a swirl that frightens you to death in terms of possibility.

I am not so naive as to think that the economic establishment has said an unqualified Yes. However, strategically, it seems to me that there is potential for celebration, not only on the west coast, but across the country in terms of break open. This is only one of innumerable stories that point to acceleration as a fact.

I want to talk about accomplishments of the past; then I want to talk about our breakthrough in phasing; then about contradictions; then strategy. Last year we said we would come back here with 1,000 town meetings. Many have suffered guilt as a result of not achieving that goal. We were doing one town meeting after another, rather than dealing with fundamental contradictions of society. We began to see that the number of meetings was not what was crucial. What was crucial was doing the job on society. Think of this: Where have people these days gathered together in 437 locations with an average of over 200 people per meeting?

Now to some statistics. Quarter I which was last summer, we had 11. In Quarter II we had 37. Then we tripled in Quarter ITI with 109. We tripled again in Quarter IV with 192. Unbelievable acceleration! If you look into the future, you note that there are 175 dates set for the next few quarters and we haven't even started. It does not reflect what has happened in July. And even that 175 excludes some because we only counted those that are definitely set. If you add those projected in the next two months to those scheduled during July, the total i6 more­than we have done in the last two years. Statistics are always behind, but we have scheduled 67 during Quarter I, which is summer, when nobody ever does anything. In addition to Canada and the U.S., we have had approximately 50 Town Meetings in eight other nations, including Korea, the Marshalls, the Philippines, Japan, India, Australia, Great Britain, and Venezuela.

As the Global Research Assembly considered Global Community Forum, I want to go to that second large chart that you have. Probably one of our greatest breakthroughs was to see this campaign in terms of phases. We are not doing one town meeting after another into the sunset. There is a phased kind of activity. We knew that but now we have it said in a way that is helpful. We are on the beachhead, and need to think what that means. We were all out over the water and had to build ourselves ships so we wouldn't sing. We had to build ourselves a plan of where we were going. We had to find a beach to go to and we had to figure out who the enemy was. We had to build all of the equipment to get to the beach. We then had to train all of the soldiers that were going to go in the use of the equipment. We had to build weapons for them when they got there. Now when you stop and think about it in those terms, you know Normandy and a few other places were nothing compared to the securing of this beachhead. We got to talking and a colleague said, "We're halfway there"' Now we have only 10% of the meetings in one sense, and I'll come back to that, but we are halfway there when you understand that all we have to do now that we are on the beach is to figure out how to charge up the hill and take the positions that we are trying to take. When you stop and think that we have build the army and the equipment, taking the beachhead becomes a rather incredible kind of happening.

When we noticed that acceleration was a reality, it was extremely helpful. Analyzing the data only confirmed what had occurred to us ­­ that acceleration was a fact, not a hope or a plan, but a fact. Then the question was; How to build on that acceleration? Rather than just saying town meetings into the sunset, we began to think through how you would phase that kind of acceleration. How would you figure out what it is that needs to happen in the time that is ahead? To deal with 5,000 Town Meetings, our internal experience was that 5,000 or 2 million was about the same. You look around at your troops and you say, "My God, help us. We'll never make it."

We built a context, not a plan or a strategy, but a way of perceiving the battle which allows you to grasp that victory is in fact a reality. It's laid out on a chart but I'll describe it. If you take zero town meetings and you add 500. How many do you have? Right­­500, that is the phase of Securing the Beachhead. You take 500 and you add 1,000 in the next phase, Initiating Acceleration. How many do you have? Right­­1,500. You take that 1,500 and add 1,500 in the Activating Acceleration phase. You have 3,000. You take 3,000 and add 2,000 in the Massive Acceleration phase. How many do you have? Right­­5,000. Now the significant figures through there are 500, 1,000, 1,500 and 2,000. Take the 500 which we just die. We are in principle fairly confident that we could do 500 between now and Christmas if we just continued at the rate we were at a month ago. Acceleration hasn't even been added into these figures in any serious way yet. Without doing anything else, assuming that we all take a four month discontinuity and don't do any circuits between now and Christmas. You've got 500 in the bag.

We questioned when that next phase would occur. We looked at the time between now and Christmas. Was 1,000 even a helpful strategic objective for the next six months? Say you were able, by capitalizing upon the fact of acceleration, to do 1,000 between now and Christmas. This would be doubling all that you have done up to now. Mind you, we have 500 in the palm of our hand. That means that you have to go out and get one more for each of the ones that you already have. When you begin t­o break it down in that kind of fashion there's nothing to it.

Then if you have 1,500 in the next phase that is not even doubling the previous phase. It is almost like acceleration is cutting back. You did 1,OOi in one phase and the next phase is only 1,500. Then the phase after that is only 2,000. It's even less acceleration. It's almost deceleration, in the kind of phasing that we have worked out here. Without even knowing it, by working with phases or strategic objectives, you turn around and discover that you are at that mythological figure, 5,000.

Now, the other thing that I want to say is that what we were clear about, but forgot, is that trying to do 5,000 is methodologically wrong in one sense. By that I mean, going out and trying to do a goal was a complete contradiction and complete denial of our methodology. Everybody else is trying to reach a goal, rather than figuring out what society needs and then doing what society needs. It may have been that 500 was enough, but probably not. It may be that 1,500 is enough. It might be 3,000 or 5,000 or 7,500. That is not the question, doing some abstract thing for 5,000 town meetings. It is a question of how many town meetings have to be done to break through the contradiction and release the momentum to create a whirlwind on this continent unlike anything that has ever happened. That question is the one before you. Working for an abstract goal called 5,000 is a different reality than setting a strategic objective for yourself or for your particular campaign.

What I am trying to say is that it is not equivalent to everybody going out and doing as many as they can. That's a perversion the other direction. Rather, you look at the war that you are fighting and figure out where you have to be. Then you figure out how you're going to get there, how to deal with the contradictions that have been identified.

Let me get that clear by saying that if we decide that as a continent we are going to do 1,000 meetings between now and Christmas, that is not setting some abstract goal. It is saying that standing on the beachhead, we see that we have to hit that position, that one and that one. We have six fronts and we have to move on these six basic fronts and that means strategic objectives.

I want to move on to contradictions. I have already indicated there was an incredible breakthrough, for me in Sudtonggan. In a small village in the Philippines, sitting in a locked room with six or seven others for four ways that seemed like 17 days, trying to identify those contradictions, I got clear for the first time in depth what we meant when we said that we were contradiction oriented and not goal oriented.

We had a great time trying to do that in terms of town meeting. We brought in all of the work that you and I have been doing in order to identify what is blocking us, what is preventing us from going into the future. We pulled that together about 16 different ways, built some initial holding categories, then went through again and again and again trying to get it cleaned up. I think one of the keys was the method. We followed the consult method in identifying the arenas. We identified the arenas of contradiction, the trends in society, and the trends in the campaign.

What we have often done in the past is hunt down some problem or some little complaint or some irritation, elevated that because it irritated us and claimed it was a contradiction. Usually the result was a statement of the situation that was extremely irritable. We thought that was somehow a contradiction. We learned a contradiction is a doorway to the future because of the trends. If the trends aren't there, it is a joke. If the trends we listed are not reality, this thing will putter out in about a week. But what we began to see was that time after time the trends were there. Talking about contradictions, identifying them, is the most exciting thing you can do. When you begin to see that the future is going a certain direction. The only question is: what is blocking our campaign from pursuing that direction? T.4aat is blocking us from participating in the unbelievable direction of the future? When you get it said like that, the contradiction is a different ball game. You can begin to see that all we need to do is this, and we will be going the direction that the future is going.

Two months from now, when a little bit of your fervor has cooled and you are out going from one town meeting to the next, look back at the contradictions. If you are in charge of one of our groups and you begin to wonder what is going on. get this out and go through the manifestations list. You will see that you have been caught up in one of the contradictions. You will think, "Why didn't I see that before?" I was just out doing town meetings into the sunset and what was necessary was that I make sure that I push town meeting to the profound happening it is, and not fall into the deep malaise in that community. This is one way you might very well use these contradiction statements

I want to walk through them quickly. We saw in the first one, The Unarticulated Underlying Philosophy, a growing awareness in local community that affecting sociological engagement deals with vocation. What had happened is that we had failed to recognize that acceleration was a fact. We had not recognized that this was the destinal moment. Now that is not stupidity, it simply had not yet been revealed. It had not yet come clear. Now it is coming clear; and here we are still having not articulated that community forum is the necessary response for the individual in the community in our time.

If you come upon a patient with terminal cancer, you don't give him an aspirin. Terminal means you see that a community is totally in despair. For you to go in there and spend your time giving them some little dinky follow-up that isn't going to make any difference finally, you are not a very good physician. You go back into that community and get them to hold five more town meetings there and in surrounding communities. Then there is the chance of an explosion of possibility.

You know the only way that cancer has a chance of being cured is to hit the jackpot in terms of the number of meetings needing to happen on this continent. Where the momentum and the whirlwind begins, there is a possibility that lives can be cured across the whole continent. We have got to get articulated this to ourselves.

Look down at second contradiction, The Obscured Future of the GCF Campaign. That one really goes with the first one in my mind, where we get caught in programmatic oriented focus. We do not see that we are initiating a revolution. We are not doing a program. We are initiating a revolution, not , a revolution like anybody has ever seen before. It is not a boom­boom revolution. Rather, it is a revolution in terms of the hope and possibility of individual lives and community lives.

Another contradiction, The Paralyzing Tactical Operation of the GCF Campaign, which has to do with the failure to see the profound implications of the GCF for bringing about social change in the community. I think of a small community in California. We went in and did a town meeting. We were surprised we made it through it. This was a year ago. They did not "form a cadre" that started meeting weekly so we said, "Well, write it off." About four months ago, the community came alive. Some of the people whose lives had been turned around on the day of the town meeting, picked up their proposals totally without our initiation, started meeting. There are close to 100 people working, in there today. I still don't believe it and I can tell you don't believe it either. We are caught. The door is there. If we believe that something unbelievable is happening. It scares us ha1f to death.

The contradiction that we called the outdated campaign strategy is very simple. That does not mean that my colleague over there who used to be brilliant, has all of a sudden become dumb. We have gotten on a beachhead and we now have to go up the hill. Can you imagine somebody saying, "All right, everybody jump in the landing craft, we are going to go back out into the water about four miles. Get up as much speed as you can." You go roaring back up onto the beach and you make it about six more feet. It is so obvious now we have to have a new strategy to get this up the hill. To come roaring through the water will not do it. We have also realize that direct tactics are over. We cannot do this with direct tactics. You and I doing it all won't work. We have to find ways to increase our own effectiveness, but probably it is going to happen somehow through our catalyzing more troops, rather than us working harder and faster. That is the troop dimension equivalent of "town meetings into the sunset".

I want to go down to the fifth one for a minute, Reduced Understanding of our Presence. I want to go to the trend there. There is a growing concern in society for effective ways for individuals to serve their community. We have demonstrated a style of effective service, that is far more effective than anything that has ever been done before. Yet we sit around acting like we haven't had a breakthrough. We collapse into ineffective disestablishment or ineffective establishment styles. We get into a steering committee and we say, "Well, I wouldn't want to tamper with their process. I will just let them go on their merry way or do whatever they want. You know it is their town meeting and if they want to fail, let them," rather than going in there and saying we have something that works. I am not suggesting necessarily that you put it quite that way, but you will need to at some points and at some places.

Being overly secretive about who we are as the religious, with a kind of paranoia is another trend we saw. I am not going to make a big speech on that one, but what the world hates and what we hate is inauthentic religious style, not authentic religious style. What the world hates is a style where people go around trying to shove their style down someone else's throat. What the world responds to is an authentic demonstration of a style that is effective and increases engagement. Once you get that said then the question is: what does it mean to use rituals that are effective in a particular situation not whether they are secular or religious.

I want to talk some about strategies. The broad strategic arenas are Locate Strategic Demonstrations, Mobilize Area Strategy, Focus Campaign Designs, Equip Missional Teams and Simplify Tactical Methods. I think our breakthrough was seeing that we do not need another manual. We do not need a lot of complex plans. We do not need some big old long­drawn plan that tries to get everybody into idealistic focus. Rather, what we need is some profound statement on strategic arenas that we sense will win in the future.

We have discerned the area to be the crucial operating arena of the next phase. You have to build an areal strategy that will win. We are hoping that this will get done, or at least we will get it roughed out, during the time we are here. I think you are going to find that to be exciting. You will have to take that and devise areal and local tactics to bring off the war on the particular front where you are located. That was one of our breakthroughs.

We probably have at least six fronts, or maybe just five. We have got one in west, one in the midwest, one on the eastern coast, one in the south, one in the far north or maybe two in the far north. What you need to do in Canada is radically different from what you need in Houston. Now that is not a denial of the necessity of global activity. We are convinced in this phase of global community forum that you have to work as ally, if you are in Kenya, Indonesia or wherever. You are not going to get anything to work in Houston, if you are not dealing with the genuine contradiction of the world. We are clear now that they are the same across the world. I mean local man is on the rise across the world and the structures are collapsing across the world. Those things are happening everywhere you turn. If you do not deal globally, then you will find yourself in a reduced operation.

If you operate out of the image that we out in San Francisco with all this space have this unique problem that nobody else has and, therefore, we have to do something unique, we are going to create our own little creative thing over here, then that is not what we are talking about with areal strategy. What we are talking about is taking these broad strategic arenas and using unbelievable creativity to figure out how to do them in your turf. These are broad enough that they are not restricting at all. They get hold of the basic principles of how to accomplish this kind of revolution.

Finally, as you do these you keep your eye on the contradiction. Our first breakthrough had to do with geography. We discovered that town meeting after town meeting was done out of immediacy. People were doing them without any sense of phasing. We discovered people who were out just doing circuits. Again, I say people but I am talking about me and you. I found myself saying let's just keep going from one place to the next covering every one of them because that is the systematic coverage of the circuit. That is program oriented thinking that says that if you hit the geography on the same frequency in every single place then you are systematically covering the circuit. Really, you are just out making trips, you are not doing systematic coverage of the circuits. That is as inaccurate as saying in social demonstration that we'll start all the programs at once and you start them all at once at the lowest possible level so you can start them all and you do a little bit with each of fifteen programs. Rather, you sit down and figure out your phasing so that five of your programs go wham and another five shoom and others go whoom. In a phased fashion you cover your geography.

I have already talked about utilizing special maneuvers. We talked about why we have to have one in every polls. Why can't we just cover New York with 600 or with 800? Do we really have to do Oregon? We started thinking and we said, if you do a whole bunch in Cincinatti, the ripple will extend out over the rest. Baloney! Talk to people who have studied the country, talk to politicians, and it doesn't work that way. The people in the small towns of Nevada, don't care what the people of Reno or Las Vegas think or do. It doesn't work that way. There is effectiveness in working that way and we have to figure out how to maximize that. What we are clear about is that a revolution occurs when you begin to change the basic operating images and the basic structures at the most basic level of society across the whole of the geography. That's what catalyses a revolution. You can turn them out in New York City, but if you don't do upper New York you will not have a revolution. Grass­roots is doing geographic concentration because there is no other way to occasion a revolution in images. The campaign story has to be localized. I told you about those essays, I think you are just going to be thrilled when they come out. You will be just amazed at what we have been able to get said in terms of what we are about.

The second strategy arena, Mobilize Area Strategy, has really been a fantastic breakthrough. We began to see that we can move people where we need to move them. We have not had a town meeting in Oregon. It has become an albatross. What we are going to do in the first five days is to sent ten people to Oregon and wipe it out. The exciting thing is that we can send them from Los Angeles, Denver or anywhere we want to. We sit down and pick out where we have to hit and then we do it. To effect geographic penetration, we figured that we only hit a little less than 300 polises out of the 1,300. We need to move immediately and finish that up and mind you that is not the only thing that needs to happen. But that definitely has to happen.

We also have to deploy special forces. We sense we are at the point now where we need to experiment on this continent with a force of 24 people. Here's the exciting thing, that four of them would go each to an area, in principle, and the area would decide what to do with them. You might have them raise money. You might have them go into Oregon from town meeting circuits. They might go into San Francisco so that they could create a continued explosion of what is going on there. We could get town meeting after town meeting if we had the forces and if it seemed strategically right. Can't you see some of the exciting stuff that is going to come out of that? You sit down in an area and you start talking and you say let's bring a person up to Memphis. That guy says "wait a minute, I have all these plans for New Orleans." Then you really get into an exciting strategy conversation. Is it more important to hit it in New Orleans or hit it in Memphis. All those kind of conversations will be very exciting.

I think that in intensifying areal development we are at the point where this next year we need to move in terms of funding. It is not self­support like we usually think of it. That Area San Francisco figures out how much they think they need and then they go out and raise it is a highly refined and sophisticated perversion that we are trying to defeat/ What we have to do is to figure out what the globe needs and where we are going to get it. Then we figure out in relation to that what San Francisco needs and where we are going to get it. Frankly, I think we can raise more money in Area San Francisco than we can spend. You may not agree, especially if you are from Area San Francisco, (And that isn't even counting the Bank of America's $50,0003. That kind of possibility is there. Now mind you ·e have to go and follow up the Bank of America and the like but last year ­'; trillion dollars was given across the nation. Twenty four billion of that was given by individuals. Sometimes you get a breakthrough with a foundation or a corporation but if you know what you are doing you can consistently keep money coming in, if you allow individuals to give, it is that kind of strategic awareness that is absolutely crucial if we are going to win.

In the strategy to Equip Missional Team, the key there is generalship, seeing that the only thing that prevents us from winning now is our decision and our own strategic prowess. Probably we can ground the generalship image if we decide how to practicalize consultant training which is simply a matter of taking what we know and making sure everybody knows it. In this area, the key to sustaining people is engaging them. What we need are those morning structures in the houses and then periodically we ought to get together and study and do one thing or another because it is necessary to keep our engagement going.

O~e strategy that will expand support is to simplify tactical methods. You are going to be excited about the work that has been done there this week. We have reworked the orchestrators manual and it is really fine. You think, what should I actually do now that I am here and have this amount of time? We tried to work that through so that there are strategic priorities. If you don't get this done Friday night or you don't get that done Saturday, the thing is going to fail. Underneath this, we have used names like orchestrators, consultants, coordinators, circuit riders and about 18 other names. We see that there are just three. There is the consultant which is the dynamic that catalyses and initiates the local. There is the coordinator which is the local dynamic of bringing off the meeting, and with it those who care in the local situation. Then there is the orchestrator who comes in and assures the victory that is already won. We finally became clear on that and structured it in that fashion.

The coordinators manual is going to be very helpful. It is no longer 18 billion different things that local people already know how to do. It is the things that they don't know how to do. There is a quote that will hold before them where they are going. There is a conversation, for instance, one is on winning, which gives them a chance to participate in the renewing of the spirit before the meeting starts. There is a song introduction. We have learned that when you get a group of people together, you have them sing and a basic human re-motivation occurs. New life is given to those people. We have known that for 20 years and yet we walk around like we think these people don't like to sing. You have to be a general in terms convincing the local people that you know what you are talking about, that if they sing every time they come together they will have a town meeting. Then you have a workshop on the work that has to get done during the day.

The third thing is the consultant manual. They did not go the direction of an encyclopedia. What you need is: What am I going to do in this next dash up the hill? We have it down to about 8 to 12 steps, which cover from the day you enter a town until the meeting is held. They have worked it through now so that it is going to be a manual you will want.

The other broad strategy has to do with Social Demonstration. Ivy City is ready to go in area New York. We are planning to do one on an Indian Reservation in are San Francisco. Are Houston is looking toward a small rural town, then one or more in Canada. This strategically increasing the number of demonstrations CO that down the line as the snow ball grows we can capitalize on it. Probably next year we have to think about what it would look like next year to do 50 or so across the continent. That is why we have to maintain that primal community experiment base. If you haven't already gotten them involved in the forum, obviously that is the most important thing that they can do right now.

The major thing I would say to you is that acceleration is a fact. It is not a hope. It is a fact. As we move out, in this next phase, this next five months, we have to find a way to keep our eye on the contradiction while we do the tactics like crazy. The key, I think, is going to be generalship. I put it this way. Winning is a decision. Nobody knows what the future will hold, victory or defeat. The key is which you choose. ­You can choose defeat and that is what you will get or you can choose victory and then figure out how to win it. You have seen the articles we put out some time ago that said we had a possibility of bending the trend of history. Well, we are at the point where we have the possibility of putting roller skates under history. Instead of just bending the trend a little bit, we have the possibility of taking off. This planet is just going along and we are very clear that nothing or no one is in charge somewhere making things happen. Groups of people decide that things will happen. Very clearly we stand at a crucial point with the possibility of directly influencing the future of this entire planet. That has hit me in a new way. We have talked about it before, and interiorally we have laughed and cried, depending on where we were in this journey. We sense now, out of what has happened with community forum, out of the stories that we have heard, that we are at a critical juncture, not to just bring off a program but to mobilize ourselves so that new life comes across the whole of this planet.