Global Solidarity Conversations
Part 2: Consulting and Deciding about Actions
If you have not read the basic introduction yet, go here first.
For Part 1 Assessment of Reality - Questions for Local Community Assessment, go here.
The objectives of these conversations are to heighten and broaden the consciousness of all participants about the various problems of the community and to develop and nurture a deep sense of solidarity that will enable determined and effective actions necessary for fundamental change.
It is not necessary to “complete” the assessments in all areas before moving toward action to address the most urgent problems. This will necessarily be an ongoing process of assessing conditions and consulting about how to improve them. It will continue with reflections on the benefits of actions taken, followed by further assessments, evaluations, and actions.
There are some fundamental prerequisites for this second step:
When consulting about one specific problem, it is important to keep the complexity of the situation in mind, to always remember the well-being of all people as well as that of the environment.
Depending on the topic discussed, it may be essential to draw in experts in the particular field.
When considering action, it is essential to be mindful of the human and financial resources available.
The participants also need to consider the range of their agency. Neighborhood or community groups may not have the same authority as the government to institute change.
The success of the project lies in unity. After diverse views were heard and ideas explored, once a majority finds agreement on a certain action, everyone would need to support it, even those who hold other opinions.
The project should be approached in an attitude of learning. Mistakes will show a clearer path forward. Tolerance, patience, and perseverance will be prerequisites for success.
When consultating on the actions needed to improve the community’s conditions, it is important to remember global interconnectedness and the well-being of future generations.
The process of the conversations will be determined by the participants as it is dependent on the size, nature, and the resources of a group. Generally, it is best to begin with small actions.
One possible way to start is with identifying one or perhaps two areas where action is most urgent.
Another option is to think about some low-hanging fruits, in other words, are there some possible actions that can easily be taken right now?
The following may be some useful aspects to consider:
- Are people most affected by the issue discussed represented in the group or is there a need to specifically invite them to future meetings?
- Does the group have sufficient information about the problem? What needs to be done to learn about its specifics and its interconnectedness with other issues?
- Does the issue require scientific expertise? Identify scientists who could assist.
- Invite officials from governmental institutions that may be instrumental in achieving major change.
- Identify the ethical principles that would guide the process, for example, is it an issue of justice for a certain segment of the population, or an issue of justice considering future generations, or is it an issue that requires a commitment to truthfulness and honesty?
- Be careful with publicizing your intended actions so that you don’t create an “us” versus “them” mentality in the community. The whole project is about “we”. That is why, at the beginning, publicity may be best focused on informing about the purpose and ethical foundation of the Global Solidarity Conversations and inviting participation. The next step may be to inform about the facts of an issue, perhaps highlighting how it is connected to other issues and linking its solution to the commitment to solidarity.
- Discuss how education considering all ages can help with getting support for meaningful action.