There are different approaches one can take to social justice issues – poverty, affordable housing, homelessness, jobs, racism, sexism, domestic violence, crime ……
I would like to discuss here an approach which is based in two ideas
i) AUTONOMY: a community has within itself the resources to solve most of its own problems
ii) TRANSFORMATION: a community can transform the way the people in it relate to each other and to themselves.
This process is brought about by facilitating methods. There is a facilitating of getting resources of community to help each other and there is the facilitation of the transformation process. The facilitation of the transformation process best when it works at the emotional, mental, body and spiritual levels.
And the organization structure for this self-organizing movement is that of an open collaboration. So it is i) nonhierarchical ii) non-owned/gift economy iii) emergent iv) open v) participatory
This kind of project can allow for resilience, adaptibility, and the ability to grow very fast. It also allows a community to self-express who they are.
And the project management structure for such an open collaboration is an Agile project management strategy.
i) prototype the project
ii) have people self-organize around that project
iii) reflect on how it went
iv) repeat the process with the next iteration of the project at a more detailed, larger, more finessed level with more people if they decide to come on board.
So lets take an example of how this process works with that of finding housing for people in the community. A traditional way of doing this is to look for governmental funding for affordable housing, and to create homeless shelters.
The open collaboration process would involve helping a community see that it can solve its own housing situation – that it has the ability to be autonomous without depending on government to solve the problems. It involves facilitating a community to look at the resources it already has available. There may be a lot of empty rooms, garages, lawns that people may be ready to share with others at low of free rates. As an example of a project that can be helpful for facilitating this is couchsurfing.com. It allows people to find each other to offer housing stays.
This process also involves transformation. People in many communities often feel awkward others in their house. And they may feel especially awkward around having homeless folk. Part of the process would be guiding people homeowner, and new resident learn how to navigate that social process. To learn to live in new ways.
The way of organizing this kind of project can be done in a more non-hierarchical way, non-owned way and individually autonomous way. Basically no-one is in charge of saying whether you should open up your house or not, of whether you should participate in this project or not. This kind of individual autonomy means that there is a lot of diversity in the system, and it means the system can adapt to different circumstances. There is a lot more freedom, there is no need for a lot beuracracy to go through so people can offer up their homes.
And the project management style is basically to try it on a small level. Do it with one or two houses in your community. Then learn from how it works. There maybe a need for more facilitation, or coaching of the people moving in. There maybe other needs. Then iterate