Transition Whatcom

I feel that TW is again moving towards a left-political agenda, and it is not necessary or good for the movement locally.  Again, IF we are to build true resilience, we must ALL work together- liberals and conservatives- to do so.  Just because most of the people involved in TW are liberal politically, this does not mean that we have to identify the larger group as such...there are so many other avenues in our community for expressing our political opinions, can we please have one group that is just focused on building community resilience? 

I am involved with lots of different organizations, and I don't demand that they all follow a liberal agenda in order to do thier work.  For example, I totally support the Whatcom Film Association- in their job to bring great films to Bellingham. I don't expect them to take a political stance though- that's not their mission.  Let's take off our political hats if we can when engaging with TW, and put on our hands-on building practical self-reliance hats so we can welcome even those who disagree with us on particular issues. 

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Comment by J. C. Walker,Jr. on August 20, 2012 at 11:15pm

With most of the wheels intact...

Comment by J. C. Walker,Jr. on August 19, 2012 at 1:53pm

...and yet another framing of the debate.

Comment by David MacLeod on August 14, 2012 at 2:46pm


I think we are interpreting Kate differently, so it therefore becomes a point of exegesis before we can determine if Kate is making a false argument.

It seems you are interpreting Kate as saying most people here share the same values ("our values").  I am interpreting her as saying that some people have been communicating in ways that suggest that they think everyone here shares the same values as the values they hold, or that everyone should share the same values.  I think her point is that we shouldn't be making those assumptions, and we should be welcoming those who hold different values, as long as they are interested in working with us in building greater resilience.

Hopefully I haven't further muddied the waters. Perhaps Kate needs to come back once again to clarify her clarification. This is the downside of online communication, where there are time delays, lack of facial cues, etc.  Something that could perhaps be quickly clarified in person, doesn't always come across as easily in this format.

Comment by David MacLeod on August 14, 2012 at 12:35pm


I don't agree that Kate made a straw man argument.  My observation is that some people involved in TW often do assume that we all share the same values.  Essentially, I thought you were making a similar point in a recent post directed to another member who seemed to assume we all hold to the values and principles of Permaculture.

When discussing "our values," this can be confusing unless we define what we're talking about.

No, Kate doesn't det to define what "our" values are as a community of individuals networking on this site.  This is exactly the point.  This is supposed to be a place where people with different backgrounds and opinions can come together and work toward community resilience. 

First of all, TW does not have an official membership.  Many people participate on this site, not because they have "joined" TW as an organization, but because they find value in interacting with the people here.  We can't make assumptions that anyone believes anything.

However, TW as an organization does have an identity.  Those of us who initiated TW had the right to define that identity and protect that identity, which includes some amount of moderation of how people interact on this site.  That's one of the reasons we created the TW Guidelines document to direct those responsible for making official organization decisions. 

Neither Kate nor I currently hold any decision making powers, so our comments here are to be taken for what they're worth based on the merit of the argument, and perhaps respected for clarifying the intentions we had when we participated with others when we initiated the organization.

My half hour lunch break is over, so I'll have to continue these rambling thoughts another time... I believe the current TW Operating Group will be discussing some points raised in this thread in their meeting tomorrow night. 


Comment by Kate Clark on August 14, 2012 at 10:28am

To clarify, my comment is that TW is always subject to pressures from members in a variety of ways to move towards taking (usually leftist) political stands and to action against climate change, or corporatization of government, or other actions.  Our Transition GOAL, as I understand it, is to make our communities resilient, in order to best weather the coming changes we are likely to experience, due to peak energy, climate change and economic instability.  If we also to take on the goals of mitigating, preventing, managing, correcting, campaigning against, taking to the streets against, or taking direct action against any of those three issues, that is fine, and if we want to connect with people we know on the Transition ning or website or at a TW event about these issues, that is one's right.  Free speech is free speech.  However, in order for us to be successful in building a fully resilient community, we MUST engage people who may disagree with us on any of those three issues

This means that we make Transition Whatcom as welcoming, open, and accepting of all viewpoints, whether or not we agree with them, as we work towards our common goal of community resilience and security. If TW is becoming associated with lefty political types- that is not a good sign.  I am bothered that on the ning, and at events, we assume that everyone there shares our values and politics- we had better hope that we are reaching out to those who do NOT agree with us on all things, because if we keep to our comfortable sphere of people like us, our cause is lost.


Comment by J. C. Walker,Jr. on August 14, 2012 at 7:46am

Thanks Heather. My question came from Kate's comment "it seems we are always having to say no to groups that want to have a presence at TW events, for example, the anti-coal folks" which seemed at odds with tackling climate change. Getting this question answered is part of communication, where as posting an event for the Aug 31st – and then wait to see if event is approved , doesn't address whether TW turning down the anti-coal folks from having a presence at TW events conflicts with tackling climate change. After reviewing the 7 Principals I took note of Our primary focus is not campaigning against things, but rather on creating positive, empowering possibilities and opportunities. Looking at the current list of TW endorsed events I’m not seeing one creating opportunities to tackle climate change or peak oil for that matter. If embracing the efforts of the Anti-Coal Folks efforts to raise the communities awareness regarding the burning of coal resulting in greenhouse gasses marks a divergence from our goals in this movement, please help me see it. It’s my understanding, along with the support from, the march is part of a campaign from the mines to the ports. I also see where they are pushing for green union jobs. In the video “Race Relations and Reconciliation” Gandhi’s grandson tells the story of his grandfather being asked about non-violent demonstrations purpose. Paraphrasing, he replied to give a voice to the people and to avoid violent demonstrations which you may not be able to control…And please take  note in “Principle 1”, the word primary was chosen, not absolute. Juxtaposed against

“always having to say no” 

one might have a hard time avoiding the possibility of an epistemological error, at the expense of community resilience.

Comment by J. C. Walker,Jr. on August 14, 2012 at 6:28am

“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.”
-Abraham Lincoln

Comment by Heather K on August 13, 2012 at 6:49pm

JC- See “7 Principles of Transtion” … Maybe consider posting an event for the Aug 31st – and then wait to see if event is approved.....We each carry a piece of the wisdom;  may we all do our best to welcome each ones point of view....


7 Principles of Transition... include:

2. Help People Access Good Information and Trust Them to Make Good Decisions

Transition initiatives dedicate themselves, through all aspects of their work, to raising awareness of peak oil and climate change and related issues such as critiquing economic growth. In doing so they recognize the responsibility to present this information in ways which are playful, articulate, accessible and engaging, and which enable people to feel enthused and empowered rather than powerless

Transition initiatives focus on telling people the closest version of the truth that we know in times when the information available is deeply contradictory. The messages are non‐directive, respecting each person’s ability to make a response that is appropriate to their situation.

3. Inclusion and Openness

Successful Transition Initiatives need an unprecedented coming together of the broad diversity of society. They dedicate themselves to ensuring that their decision making processes and their working groups embody principles of openness and inclusion. This principle also refers to the principle of each initiative reaching the community in its entirety, and endeavoring, from an early stage, to engage their local business community, the diversity of community groups and local government authorities. It makes explicit the principle that there is no room for ‘them and us’ thinking in the challenge of energy descent planning.

Comment by J. C. Walker,Jr. on August 13, 2012 at 6:29pm

I didn't hear a response to the question about the "No Coal Folks" and TW's commitment to tackling climate change, and there's a march on 8/31 at 5:00 at the Federal Building in Bellingham. Am I allowed to say that? I don't believe I've diminished the resilience of the community in doing so. Please advise.

Comment by David MacLeod on August 13, 2012 at 12:28pm

J.C., looks like a great book, thanks for the link!

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