Questions To Ask New Movements/Organizations/Revolutions/State and Corporate Policies
By Sohail Inayatullah
While PROUT as a theoretical framework is quite sophisticated, as a methodology for policy development and for evaluating revolutions, social movements, it remains comparatively undeveloped. This note articulates PROUT as method. The questions posed can be used as a check list to determine how it measures against the values, policies and perspectives of PROUT.
The assumption behind such a need is that we tend to use our narrow sentiments (based on nation, culture, religion, ego-needs) to judge social and political phenomena. A checklist thus can help each person move beyond their own limits and become truly a neo-humanistic person.
BROAD CIVILIZATIONAL TRANSFORMATION
In Sarkar’s work, along with a grand theory of macrohistory – his theory of varna – he has identified factors which determine the long term success of a civilization. These factors can be thus used as a method to determine the possible trajectory of a movement.
Does the movement – for example, social movements such as the feminist, ecological, ethnic, regional, and consumer — have the necessary characteristics to create a new system?
· Do they have an authoritative text that helps negotiate conflicting interpretations.
· Is the leadership inclusive, visionary and transformational? – Does the leadership steer one through the mundane? Does it help develop capacity? Dopes it enable and ennoble?
· Is there a theory of political-economy that defines the practical world of living, of power and money?
· Are there clear spiritual practices that show how to expand, concentrate and cultivate the mind and refine the body?
· Is there a fraternal universal outlook – deep inclusion of others?
· Is there an overall theory of Being/Consciousness? – why are we here, what is our purpose?
· Is there a clear Perceptor- A founder that can cohere?
While these criteria provide an overall perspective, the following are more specific questions. While we should not expect a movement or policy document to score perfectly on all the points, by using the following checklist we can compare which are closer to PROUT and which are foundationally in ideology or in practice opposed to PROUT ideals.
Overtime, this checklist could like, the UN Human Development Indicator list, become an accepted evaluation document.
SPECIFIC QUESTIONS AND CRITERIA
· Is leadership moral,
· Do leaders lead by example?
· Does the leadership have sadvipra qualities:
· innovative and
· knowledge oriented ?
· Or is leadership moving toward these qualities?
· Is it a goal?
What level is the organization/movement neo-humanistic in terms of ideology, practice and overall culture
· Principle of Social Equality
· Movement beyond geo-sentiment and socio-sentiment and toward humanism
· Movement beyond humanism and toward neo-humanism (respect of all humans, plants and animals – a Gaian nature-friendly ethic and practice)
3. Use and Distribution of Resources
· Are economic strategies distribution and incentive based?
· Is there a progressive use of physical, intellectual and spiritual resources?
· Does the economic ideology and practice ensure that basic needs are met (housing, education, health, clothing and food)? Or is this true only at the level of ideology?
· Does economic ideology and practice allow for challenge – struggle – or is the economy concerned mainly with floors? Or is this true only at the level of economic ideology?
· Does money leak out of local areas?
4. Inner and External Balance
Does the economic ideology and practice follow the principle of prama (dynamic balance at all levels)
· Individual and collective
· Geographical regions
· Intellect and spirit and body
Are the ideas and practices gender balanced? Is partnership a process and goal?
· In ideas only
· In practice
· In ideas and practice
6. Spiritual Transformation
Do ideas go beyond consciousness-raising to consciousness transformation? That is, is there a spiritual dimension to social change? Or is social change the only goal?
Is Microvita negative or positive? How do you know?
Are local languages respected?
Is there cultural diversity?
8. Political System
· Is the Political System Transparent?
· Are politicians held accountable to the promises they make when seeking election?
· Does the constitution include the right of purchasing power, as well as rights for plants and animals?
9. Time, Place and Person
Is the movement sensitive to changing needs per time, place and person?
Clearly no movement and revolution fits all the above criteria. But we can assess movements based on movement toward these goals as well if they clearly violate these principles. For example, the Taliban clearly violates the principle of gender partnership, even if their leadership practices a type of simple morality. The USA argues for an international human rights protocol but refuses to allow its citizens to be judged by International Human Rights Courts.
These points can also help distinguish between finer points of ideology and practice. For example, Malaysia claims to be engaged in capital controls in terms of helping local people, however, this has generally only been to ensure elite status of local billionaires (so they are not affected by currency speculation) and not poorer groups. As well, the Malaysian government practices torture of dissidents.
The recent Fiji coup claimed to be for local people, however, even if one accepts that, it was predicated on racism. Instead of challenging global capital, revolutionaries choose the far more visible and problematic effort of attacking other local people. Similarly with the One Nation Party in Australia. It claims to represent ordinary Australians against Globalization. However, it too fails tests of neo-humanism.
Localism as well – the concern for protecting the local economy – as with the Malaysia case is a guise for nationalism. Australia, New Zealand and numerous other nations have embarked on a Buy Australia or Buy New Zealand Policy. However, this first shows no solidarity with labor in other regions (China or Indonesia, for example). In addition, from the PROUTist perspective, the issue is not national but is the product nature (neo-humanism and the global environment), gender (gender partnership) and labour (distribution) friendly. Buy Local strategies generally help local large corporations, which then use the additional capital in sales as a way to themselves become multinationals.
 Dr. Sohail Inayatullah is author of Situating Sarkar: Tantra, Macrohistory and Alternative Futures (Maleny, Gurkul, 1999) and Understanding Sarkar (Leiden, Brill, 2001). S.email@example.com. www.metafuture.org