Why are we meeting? What can this group uniquely accomplish? There are always a ton of relevant conversations that could happen, but there is usually a very small set of conversations that a particular group, at a particular moment in history, can have and move forward, given their capacity, resources, time, focus, and beliefs.
Some of the core features of anarchist organization, according to Ward, are (1) that collectives and groupings should be based on voluntary participation, (2) that they should be aimed at performing a specific function and (3) should temporarily exist only for as long as they perform that function, and (4) that they should be small and based on face-to-face contact between participants.
How we are at the small scale is how we are at the large scale. The patterns of the universe repeat at scale. What we practice at the small scale sets the patterns for the whole system.
Uprisings and resistance and mass movement require a tolerance of messiness, a tolerance of many, many paths being walked on at once.
Remind participants that change happens at a pace relevant for the people involved—we are not ahead of or behind each other, we are in a million experiments.
Here’s how it works in a murmuration/shoal/swarm: each creature is tuned in to its neighbors, the creatures right around it in the formation. This might be the birds on either side, or the six fish in each direction. There is a right relationship, a right distance between them—too close and they crash, too far away and they can’t feel the micro-adaptations of the other bodies. Each creature is shifting direction, speed, and proximity based on the information of the other creatures’ bodies.
Starlings’ murmuration consists of a flock moving in synch with one another, engaging in clear, consistent communication and exhibiting collective leadership and deep, deep trust. Every individual bird focuses attention on their seven closest neighbors and thus manage a larger flock cohesiveness and synchronicity (at times upwards of over a million birds).
Movement moments are emergent, but there are systemic ways to cultivate networks and collective capacity to strategize and act together in nimble and powerful ways when those moments arise.
Without the labour of large-scale, collective social organisation, declaring one's desire for global change is nothing more than wishful thinking.