is a global circle, composed of many smaller circles and groups, in which leadership
is shared by all.
The Next Step connects groups. Groups agree to take a step, and a series of steps, towards solving major global problems. Once we have gathered critical mass, we step. Then step again.
Along the path, we ask ourselves: What causes injustice? What is the cure? What critical mass of power and influence will be needed? What is the next positive step for humanity? When shall we be ready take it?
An internal combustion engine combines fuel and air and adds fire to generate mechanical power. The Next Step combines critical mass and consensus and adds action to generate political power.
It is the responsibility of those with a vision and passion for justice to work together to re-ignite the people's hope. The extreme injustices on this planet are growing. History demonstrates that large, coordinated movements for social change work. Hope will fourish when inspired by exciting, practical movements for justice.
Consider barn building in Amish communities. Everyone helps one family construct their barn. And, in turn, the members of that family help other families in the community. Big projects get done quickly and every family gets their barn built. To combine the power of many people with diverse commitments, we will take a series of steps, devoting weeks or months to one project, then moving on to the next.
IT IS POSSIBLE
The Next Step applies hopeful, practical common sense to the whole world. Picasso said, "I don't search, I find." The Next Step is not about TRYING to fix problems. We will fix them.
We are not about symbolic actions or arguing or making statements. We don't want to spend much time writing or raising money. We may not focus a lot on converting people to our political point of view.
Protest actions, local projects and issue-specific long-term projects are all valuable and we don't want to drain resources from those efforts or disparage them. But The Next Step is different.
We will identify a step we all want to take. We will act only when we have gathered enough people to ensure that a major change will occur. We will move on to the next step.
Our vision does not rely on topdown leadership. Too often in groups with such structures leaders are either victimized or corrupted. We share power and responsibility equally, around the rim of the circle rather than from the top of a pyramid. We welcome organizations with other types of leadership models into the circle.
Consensus takes time, but it engages everyone and makes room for newcomers. Someone said, "You can either have a relationship, or you can be right." We naturally want both, but we put a higher value on relationship than is often the case in political organizations. For us, the right thing to do is the thing that we can agree to do together.
We will solve problems by deciding together what to work on. Small circles, groups and organizations will make up the large circle. We will need many, many groups to acheive our goals. It may sound impossible, but we believe most people do want a world that is fair and safe and, presented with the opportunity, they will get involved in efforts to make it happen.
It's frightening to join an organization whose goal is to actually succeed at changing things. At some level everyone knows that effectively challenging the status quo often brings oppression, harassment, death threats, assassination. This is probably one of the main reasons justice minded people aren't more active. It's a double bind: venture, succeed and risk death, or don't venture, risk nothing and don't succeed. But out of double binds can emerge great creativity.
We will remain scared, it's human. But we aspire to be something new: a huge, consensus led organization in order to receive the courage of each other's company, spread the risk and eliminate through loving power the need for such risking in the future. We will also search for as many other creative ways to both care for the world and thrive as individuals.
One way to build consensus is through circle councils. Listening in circles and building consensus are valuable activities that remain largely unexplored and are often perceived as inefficient.
The idea of sitting in a circle, viewing the space in the center as equally shared, has ancient origins and continues into the present. But few today have been introduced to this form of taking responsibility in the body politic.
In the circle, wisdom comes from experts and non-experts alike. Our collective wisdom is sufficient, surprising and superior to those ideas held before we met as one body. We discover our personal and universal concerns to be surprisingly interwoven. We appreciate diversity as a path to a more complex, sustainable unity. We open our minds to varied descriptions of, and new ways of relating to, our global predicament. Leadership rotates and resides in each person present. Everyone who participates has equal voice and power.
This process embodies the values of relationship we affirm: that, when we listen, the wisdom of the whole becomes known; that each individual has a vital contribution to the articulation of the whole; that people at their core desire the well-being of others; that means and ends must concur if the desired ends -- a vital, egalitarian social justice movement and a safe, sustainable world -- are to be attained.
The strategic order of projects create cumulative momentum. Early steps on one problem will have a ripple effect upon other problems.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
then we invite you to join us in the following activities: