Global Research Assembly:

Chicago Task Force R


July '75



Activating Agents






An activating agent is a structure already existing or newly formed to fill a gap in existing structures through which the economic and social life of the community can cluster and grow. The creation of the agent my be by local businessmen, ICA staff (initially), and concerned citizens or the community. One body may fulfill both economic and social functions, or there may be two, each concerned with one arena. The activating agents four main roles are coordinator, economic developer, creator and sustainer of the vision of possibility in the minds of the people. Implicit in these roles is the leadership component.

The activating agent will be concerned with all of the problems of all of the people in a community: socio­economic and cultural, governing a wide range or issues; e.g., education, public health. A high degree of coordination is necessary to ensure continued cooperation, continued clear focus on goals, program monitoring and planning within and between the structures.

The successful economic development of the community is essential to the achievement of the community's selfhood and social well-being. The activating agent will have the responsibility of ensuring the creative utilization of natural resources, raw materials and the distribution of goods and services.

The social development of a community includes providing adequate social services. Initiating programs to attain these services is the role of the activating agency. The Agent should provide the means of research, the finance and vehicle for the carrying out of the Programs.

To create and sustain the vision of possibility is perhaps the major role of the activating agent. Through the continued presence of the agent and the success of the ventures initiated by it, individuals in the community perceive the possibility of ongoing transformation of their situation. There are several operational considerations which constitute the basic context for the activating agent's work.

The activating agent is the official legal entity which­is responsible for representing the people on committees and at hearings. It is also the entity which seeks finance and enters into agreements and contracts. It is not a profit­making body. It is dissimilar to a large corporation or holding company in that the activating agent is merely a vehicle through which money and resources are transferred to be distributed to businesses and social programs. A model for the future should be that all surpluses from economic transactions made by those businesses which make up the agent should be distributed amongst all the people, not merely the owners.

The over­riding operational consideration is that the activating agency he controlled by individuals drawn from the community. This handing over of responsibility to a cross­section of citizens, though it may take time to implement, is necessary before total autonomy and participation becomes a reality. From a more practical point of view there are four broad functions of an activating agent: financing, planning, economic control, and training. These functions are applicable to both economic and social development, because neither is possible without the other, and it should be emphasized that social development is the predominant area of which economic progress is a foundational dynamic.

Financing is the procuring of funds and investments from all possible sources, and the allocation of these funds for sustaining faltering business, expansion of existing industry, and helping to develop new businesses and industry. In order that social development has a sound financial basis, the agent has a major role in allocating moneys to community projects like health centers, preschools, etc.

Planning can be seen to divide clearly into two areas, economic and social. Economic planning can be further split into long-term and short­term. Long-term economic planning is mainly concerned with the establishing of objectives, e.g. increases in production over a period, or establishing a thriving export industry. Short-term planning is more concerned with the furtherance of certain projects and has practical proposals which are steps towards the objectives.

Social planning is the determination of community needs and then deciding what action is needed by whom and when to fulfill those needs. Local people do this planning and they must implement it if the measures are to be successful. The decisions made here will involve governments, financial planning and specialist skills, all of which must be coordinated with grassroots effort to initiate a successful program.

Economic Control of the project is in the hands of the activating agent to ensure that the project does not fail because of lack of economic support. Broadly speaking, the activating agent has the responsibility of ensuring that the local people are adequately trained for all the work that is available and necessary for the continuance of the project. Local people have to be trained to fill many of the roles held by ICA members in the catalytic core. The employment of apprentices would be a necessary part of the economic development and is one of the functions or the agent to ensure that local companies are following such a policy. The final aspect of activating agents which we might wish to consider is the question of common goals.

Having a common goal with other organizations does not mean being similar but rather it is identifying those areas where agreement exists and cooperating within them. When other agencies are working in the community, duplication of effort is a real possibility. Appropriate relationships and channels of communication should be set up to prevent ineffective overlapping.

Another field of cooperation which must be sought is resource reciprocation to ensure that resources are not wasted. Possible reciprocation exists between both social agencies and the public and private sectors or materials, manpower, expertise and methods.

Finally, a good credit rating is necessary for expanding business activities. The agent's good reputation filters through the business sector and widens possibility for further contacts.






A social demonstration is initiated by a core: a group of people who decide to build care structures and train local people. Therefore, the first force is the Urban House which is built out of 8 local colleagues and 8 ICA staff, either nationals or foreign. After the consult the Urban House and other local leadership work on the realization of the consult proposals. This will be supported by local guardians.

The tasks of the catalytic forces are summarized as:

1. Nurture: Collegiality in the common task of planning, coordinating and implementing the project.

2. Training: Training local leadership to take responsibility for the project during a period of 2­3 years.

3. Catalyze the supporting forces.

  1. Initiate the activating agents.

The global guardian network forms an expertise bank for the guardian consultants will be assigned to consults carrying their financial expenses for their travel.

Occupational guilds (e.g. medical or farming) might be the vehicle for dealing with particular arenas in which expertise is needed. New forms of providing public health might be worked through and implemented by a medical guild for instance. Consultative treks of guardians could be a practical means of making expertise available to the mass of projects.

In order to have an on­going global band for social demonstration some structures are needed. A centrum post could have the function of delivering information to all involved forced and structures. This includes project coordination of consultation requests, financing, model interchange and assignments. A common consult model is crucial to the commonness of the project. Finally, it is recommended that an interchange of local leadership from one project to another by assignment after the first year be considered. A person from Majuro could spend one year in Jeju­do for example. This dynamic is a social demonstration in itself.



Underlying any operational consideration in social demonstration is the issue of releasing local or community motivity towards broad creative engagement in the social fabric. Miracles are the key to this release of motivity. This is the method of discerning what key explosive event which from the perspective of all of those engaged in the project are so impossible as to be overlooked or ignored even though they are parts of the inclusive model. The concept of miracle action is the essence of indirect approach to social change, With the essential surprise coming either from as shocking rapidity of implementation or ingenuity of the form of implementing.

The Miracle Effect





For local man, a sociological event becomes a miracle when the profound, primal questions of life are revealed in the midst of his local situation. Because a miracle is an event which demonstrates the possibility or what previously seemed to be impossible, it calls for local man to take a more positive stance toward his situation. By giving him a reason to say "yes" to his situation, the miracle event becomes a basis for the creation of new images of the individual in relation to his community.

When a community experiences a miracle, the collective imagination of local man is focused on one event and a common community memory is created. That memory serves as the foundation for a new community story upon which community identity is established and sustained. That story provides a basis for local permission to operate and for the further engagement of local man.

In addition to the story which remains after any miracle that turns common concerns into local action, certain miracles may leave visible signs or on­going programs as concrete manifestations of the practical vision for renewed community as well. Opening a pre­school or building a community symbol are such miracles. Whatever form the manifestation of the vision may take, it engages local man in dramatizing the new style of caring for his community. The projection of that positive image through the fulfilling of a felt need extends the practical vision to the community.

The anticipation of a community that has internalized the practical vision due to a miracle event will catalyze the tactical system that enables that vision. While the miracle event is itself designed to act on the contradiction, it is not a tactic. Its greater gift is that the event engages potential colleagues, community forces, and sources of support. By awakening community care a miracle event contexts the community so that local man can activate the tactical system to enable his vision.

Indices Of MiracleThinking

After creating the practical vision, discerning the contradiction and building the tactical system, the question of how to activate the model is addressed by the systematized set of planned miracles. During the initiation phase of the project, this miracle system becomes the common model for corporate action.

In discerning what event would be a miracle in a given situation, the following indices are helpful for corporate brooding. What appropriate to the situation that is apparently impossible, representing the actual consensus of the community would catalyze the tactical system:

1. The miracle is always appropriate to the situation. What a miracle would be in any situation comes out of the stuff of that situation rather than superimposed on it. An intercultural festival in a culturally diverse community could be a miracle but it would be less likely that such an event would he a miracle in a community where there was only one culture. An obvious exception was the 5th City UR festivals in summer of '67 where a Black community celebrated the gifts of all cultures in this case. The event was miraculous because the community consensus was to affirm the gifts of mankind.

2. Community consensus. An event is miraculous when it reflects the community's current momentum or consensus even though the consensus is unselfconscious. The 5th City Congress of 1971 was a good example of after having Congress after congress, fewer people show up than planned for more than twice as many show up. It was clear that the community had decided to have a Congress.

  1. Apparently impossible. The key to community miracles is doing the impossible, relative to that situation. In Majuro, getting those ships is a miracle because of the way it happened. If we had arranged to buy those ships, it would not have been a miracle. If Rockefeller had given us the money to buy those ships, that would not have been a miracle. If we had worked it out over 18 years, that would not have been a miracle, just plodding through, just enduring. But to be able to come home in a month and say, "Somebody gave me ten ships." A miracle. People don't go around giving away ships. It's utterly impossible.

4. Catalyze the tactical system. A miracle event in a given situation is one that would catalyze the tactical system and thereby indirectly affect the contradiction. Selling 100 watermelons in Oombulgurri was a miracle because the tactical system was activated and practical vision given concrete form in that moment.

A miracle engages the entire community either directly or indirectly. Direct engagement is manifested by the creativity elicited from the community by the event itself in either the task of preparation or participation in the various activities that make up the event. Indirect engagement is manifested by the concrete response demanded from each individual as he encounters the event.







Since at the beginning of our research we had no criteria for discerning a miracle other than the opinion of those who had participated in them, we began by compiling a list of events from the three social demonstrations. Having derived a list of what were thought to be miracles, we did a polar gestalt which resulted in four miracle types. We then plotted each gestalt on the social process triangle in order to discern a screen from which those miracles could be arrived.

Awakening miracles are the first step in the initiation phase of the social demonstration and are not usually initiated from within the community. Their cruciality lies in the grounding of the community in time and space. The recreation of a common history are the first steps in building the self­esteem of a people. These miracles have involved the delineation of the community in terms of its geography and the creation of imaginal grids to interiorize where the community stands in space. They are highly visible and unsophisticated in nature enabling the whole community to be touched. The transformation of space miracles allow the community to participate in symbolically caring for itself in the most basic and elemental forms.

Miracles that release indigenous leadership for engagement are initial steps toward a self­sustaining global community. Although these miracles involve and engage particular groups of people, they have direct implications for the entire community. These miracles are the first sign of a community deciding to care for itself. Before these miracles can occur, a groundwork has to be laid that will require training in effective operating, methods to release indigenous wisdom and expertise. Finally, these miracles require not only the involvement of particular segments of the community but commitment in terms of time and resources. The screens for discerning these kinds of miracles are found in the political, economic and cultural poles, most specifically in the following arenas: Secure Existence, Natural Resources, Formal Methods, and Significant Engagement. Some examples of this type of miracle are the Fifth City Board of Managers and the opening of the business school on Majuro.

An initiating miracle is an event that mark s the beginning of an on­going program that serves a practical community need. While the program itself is both long range and may be costly, the miracle is only a sign or symbolic representation of the larger, concrete manifestation of the vision. By spot­lighting a situation in which corporate power has created or restored effective care structures, a miracle event may not only celebrate a new program but also release the community support needed to carry this program and others into the future. Since an initiating miracle precedes a program, it is most likely that the form of the miracle will be indicated by the program itself. Thus, the screens for discernment taken from the social process triangle are, in this case, used to discern which program should be activated first and spot­lighted most: Corporate Welfare, Secure Existence, Consumption Clans, and Standard of Living. Examples of these types of miracles from our previous experience might be the Health Outpost, the ferry system on Majuro and the preschool in 5th City.

Actualizing miracles occur at the end of the initiating phase of social demonstration and announce the people's debut as a global community. frequently celebrative in nature, these miracles symbolize the establishment of a positive link between the community and the external world. When a community tells a success story that is recognized by the outside world, both the consciousness of that community and the globe are expanded and the inter­dependence of global communities is celebrated. Actualizing miracles honor community wisdom and the concretion of a part of the practical vision. The screens for discernment listed below are most effective when used to discern what is to be honored as well as what form the miracle event will take: Cultural Arena, Community Wisdom, Radical Awareness, and Community Integrity.


Framing Procedures




Any action which a human being makes is in some way "Framed." That is, the action is supported in some way and is executed through some sort of "agent." Framing has to do with the decision to win in the performance of any action. This has to do with sophistication. It is the orchestration and focusing of actual resources leaving "no stone unturned" in the process of eliciting various forms of participation in action. Framing provides a platform on which to stand. Relative to social demonstration, framing begins with the moment of initial contact, leads to some form of community consult, and provides support and a vehicle for executing the decisions of the consult. The support will generally come from the public sector and the private sector. The vehicle will consist of necessary economic and social activating agents. The support forces and activating agents will be initiated by some catalytic core.

The procedure of planning a framework moves toward the discernment and analysis of power centers of support, and then toward the tactics to activate the frame. The following procedures assume that a tactical system and initiating miracles have been built. The first step in uncovering the power centers is listing the needs of the tactical system and miracles. This is a list of all the resources required to implement tactics and miracles which have been decided upon. From this a list of the necessary forces and support sources to fill these needs is created. This list is plotted onto a chart which separates forces and sources according to proximity to the economic or the social and the public sector, the private sector or catalytic core.

The source and force items are then moved as necessary to group similar related data. The clusters formed by this are POWER CENTERS.

The frame design is examined to discern gaps in the existing structures which must be filled by a new one: These will be the activating agents. In Majuro, these are the M-COT (social) and TASC (economic) structures. To activate the support forces, the power centers must be named, and the relationship among them, both positive and negative, should be determined.






An effective project requires the following forms of support:

1. Funds

2. Personal participation

3. Technical Resources

  1. Legitimization

Funding means financial support whether through loans, grants, small donations, or some other form. Consideration for the work required in setting up the project will indicate the people whose support is required. An example of important expertise is knowledge of statutory provisions that may support or limit a project. Other expertise includes local knowledge, technical knowledge and professional advise. Legitimization is obtained from community leaders (e.g. church leaders, trade union officials, businessmen, newspaper editors, civic clubs) and public officials. Legitimization can be in the form of authorization, letters of support, newspaper editorials, or simply a name under which to operate.

Support for the project will come from the following:

1. Public sector

2. Business community

3. Community organizations

4 . Church

The public sector is local, regional and national, and consists of civic leaders, elected representatives, political parties, and government agencies. The business community is made up of small shop owners and large corporations, as well as lawyers, accountants, medical practitioners, newspapers, and radio and television. Community organizations include private foundations, natural or interest groups, universities and wealthy people. The church is key to support, and includes all churchmen of all religions. The business community, community organizations and the church are generally considered as belonging to the private­sector. Support from individuals in the private­ sector takes the form of service as a guildsman, guardian or patron. The guildsman is a local direct participant in the project. The guardian may or may not be local but is a professional or businessman who supplies particular forms of expertise as well as funding and contacts. The patron provides the support of his name, his contacts, or his money.

When approaching individuals for project support, four tasks must be accomplished:

1. Researching possible contacts

2. Making the contact

3. Telling the story

4. Making the covenant

Researching possible contacts consists of identifying candidates for support, performing in-depth, detailed investigations of the decision makers to determine their backgrounds, prejudices and methods of operations, and thoroughly studying the structures of the organization. Candidates for support should be categorized according to the probability of their support and prioritized. Those candidates that demonstrate the greatest probability or support should be contacted first.

Deciding upon timing and priorities involves several steps. First, determine what forms of support are needed, when they are needed, what is needed most, and what will require the greatest effort and time to obtain. Second, determine who should be asked for support by considering the following guidelines:

1. Approach people most likely to be sympathetic

2. Approach key local people first

3. Approach people in authority

4. Approach people as the logical development of the project requires

The initial contact should be personalized (e.g. personal letter or visit). Data gathered through the investigation should be utilized. Initial contacts should be made by people who share common interests or experiences with the candidate. For example, if the candidate is a political leader, it could be helpful to make contact through a member of the candidates political party. The candidate can be most effectively approached if close friends or confidants arrange the meeting or act as precursors. Long-term objectives and the possibility of ongoing support should be kept in mind. There are dangers of being involuntarily drawn into a compromising and devastating situation. The complexity of this situation demands utmost caution.

Telling the story of the project is key to gaining full support. Total familiarity with the project and the clear, comfortable, and easy way of telling the story is necessary. Drawing the supporter into the project and relating the project to the supporter's self-interest is most likely to lead to a positive response.

Making a covenant of support is the purpose of the approach. A "yes" to any part of the project is essential. A seemingly insignificant "yes" today can be turned into a very important "yes" tomorrow. When a candidate agrees verbally to support the project, commitment should be obtained in writing indicating the kind of support, how much, the effective date and the method of transfer. A written statement can be obtained by simply asking, "Could you jot that down for me so that I can keep it clear in my head." or, "Would you send me a letter to that effect." or, "I'll write a first draft, if that would be helpful." Follow-up on each item and date is imperative for a successful conclusion.