Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 33 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/30/11

Riding the Bottom up, Connection Revolution Wave to Build New Coalitions for Change

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   4 comments, In Series: Bottom-up, Top-down
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Rob Kall
Become a Fan
  (295 fans)
I'm working, with some fellow local activists, to build a local coalition aimed at magnifying our strengths by sharing resources.

There is power in numbers. There are literally hundreds of thousands of grass roots organizations trying to change the world, to make it a more just, safer, healthier place for people, workers, animals, the environment, the weak and vulnerable, even the arts and those aspects of humanity that make us more human.

We live in times when elected officials, regardless of party are becoming less and less accountable as they become more and more the proxy servants for lobbyists and corporations.  With corporations exploiting their rights of corporate personhood-- from the coffers citizens United unleashed to the depredations of globalization, the middle class, we-the-people are under attack more than any time in recent memory, maybe even ever.

Paul Hawken writes, in his landmark book, Blessed Unrest, "Most social-change organizations are understaffed and underfunded, and nearly all are negotiating steep learning curves."

There are hundreds of thousands of such organizations but most are struggling, with very limited resources. When an organization with 200 people on a membership list, which usually has a dozen or so people show up at an event tries to influence legislators, local newspapers or members of congress, it doesn't get too far.

We need those small groups. But I like to think in terms of biological systems. The higher functioning, most versatile life forms have many parts that work together. It is time, it is necessary for groups promoting change to come together, to consciously decide to find common ground, to find ways to share strengths and resources, to explore weaknesses and ways we can help each other. There is a "body politic." We need a "body activic" or "body de change."

There are reasons to hope that our world, our culture is changing, going through two revolutions, a spiral rather than a wave of change, from top down to bottom up and from information to connection. These changes are huge manifested in literally a million ways, from Facebook passing google in pageviews, a major signal of a change from an information to a connection era, to the explosion of flash mobs, mashups, meetups, listserves and blogs-- millions of them.

The web and social media tools have made the creation and support of groups and organizations more affordable and possible in more creative ways than ever before. There are more possibilities for cooperation and interdependence.

But the 80-20 power rule still holds. Eighty percent of the work and the leadership will be done by twenty percent of the participants. Today, we also have the "long tail" which basically means that the twenty percent of the work done by the other 20% of the participants really does add up and makes a difference.

So we have millions of organizations, probably hundreds in your county, when you include activists, churches, unions, local service organizations... and again, that power law applies. Twenty percent of them will be doing eighty percent of the activism. I say that their effectiveness can be greatly increased if a "container" is created that coordinates the efforts-- of the leaders and of the "long tail" the less active member resources.

I don't know how such a body will look or function. I have some ideas on what it can do.
  • build a regular communication network between organizations-- top-down, between leaders and bottom up, among grassroots members.
  • Identify common interests, goals
  • Identify and share resources-- connections, contacts, technologies
  • support actions-- protests, petitions, letter writing campaigns
  • Join together to influence those needing to be influenced, like legislators

There are impediments to making this happen.
  • turf and control issues
  • trust issues
  • lack of infrastructure
  • resistance to new approaches and technologies
  • failure to engage enough groups
  • failure to build strong communication and resource sharing infrastructure

We can make this happen, even though we don't know what it will look like, what kind of creature it will become. There are forces in the world-- powerful, transnational corporate forces that are coming together to build systems that are not organic, not human-centric. We who care about humanity, about we-the-people, don't have the billions in resources that they have... yet. We must build with what we have to create competing visions. I say visions because, as a bottom up entity, creature, animal, our vision can not and will not be singular. It will be more like the compound lens vision of a honey bee.

At first, I envisioned that the coalition would be a "progressive" coalition. But as conversations ensued I realized that there were natural allies who were not necessarily progressive-- farmers interested in re-localization, for example. But in many ways, they were on the same page. Labeling a coalition as progressive would be a mistake that would exclude many potential potent allies.

We have the potential to build a permanent infrastructure that supports temporary coalitions and alliances that can be very robust and powerful. That's the conversation I'm trying to start.

Which organizations does your organization already cooperate with? What ways do you cooperate? How many more organizations could your org be cooperating with?  What changes could those cooperative coalitions be making that are not happening yet? The potential is unfathomable, but great.

Today, we're meeting face to face. That's one of the most costly ways to operate-- in terms of time and effort. My hope is that this first meeting will lead to further face meetings with a growing number of groups and interests as part of the coalition. But I am also hoping that the effort, started with face to face, analog connection, will evolve to become a connected process as well as a "thing" organization-- that we'll use some of the new tools we've recently had access to to-- to find new, synergistic connections at the most basic bottom up levels, between members and supporters between groups. This will be good in a lot of ways.

People want to find connections. They need to. People want to do good things and help others. This coalition will evolve organically. Leaders will evolve, projects will evolve. We just need to decide it is an idea worth putting some energy into.
Must Read 2   Well Said 2   Valuable 2  
Rate It | View Ratings

Rob Kall Social Media Pages: Facebook Page       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media.

Check out his platform at

He is the author of The Bottom-up Revolution; Mastering the Emerging World of Connectivity

He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites,

more detailed bio:

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind. Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives one person at a time was too slow, he founded which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big) to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

A Conspiracy Conspiracy Theory

Debunking Hillary's Specious Winning the Popular Vote Claim

Terrifying Video: "I Don't Need a Warrant, Ma'am, Under Federal Law"

Ray McGovern Discusses Brutal Arrest at Secretary Clinton's Internet Freedom Speech

Hillary's Disingenuous Claim That She's Won 2.5 Million More Votes is Bogus. Here's why

Cindy Sheehan Bugged in Denver

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend