Margaret Mead was the queen of networks. She looked at people, cultures and the way that societies evolved. She was brilliant and inspiring. I was thinking about Margaret's "change the world" quote in the context of our current work to change the world. Network-Centric advocacy is a reflection of the small group nature of her vision. Small groups can and do change the world.
The interesting idea is that our approach to important issues of environment, health care, education and human rights is often not focused on small groups. We pour time and money into larger and larger organizations hoping for more powerful results. We simply assume that if 10 people are politically powerful 100 must be 10 times stronger.
Mead warned that "If we let our generals and our statesmen involve us in international threats and reprisals which fail to bring out the strengths in our character--we may lose" The strength of our movement is not in the centralized organization but in the small bands of activists that sit in each neighborhood.
Our movement marches lock-step with American doctrine to centralize power and control. We seek to build bigger and stronger organizations to fight for progressive policy. The promise of network-centric advocacy is that it focuses on reinforcing casual connectors to issues of social concern. Network-centric advocacy puts everything on the shoulders of the small thoughtful groups and fosters their leadership and clout. Small groups can change the world, our challenge is to help without getting in the way.