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“The New World Alliance is a conscious attempt to create a national political movement based on values that have traditionally stood outside politics”
– Jessica Lipnack and Jeffrey Stamps, Networking: The First Report and Directory, Doubleday, 1982

New World Alliance:
The First National
Transformational Political Organization
(1979 1983)

by Mark Satin, in Consultation with Some Other Former Members of the NWA Governing Council

Five years before the founding of the U.S. Green Party, and 20 years before the founding of the radical-centrist New America Foundation, a proto-Green and proto-radical-centrist political organization was launched in the U.S.

We called ourselves the New World Alliance, and we operated from 1979 to 1983.  You can find an excellent early article about us HERE (scroll to p. 14 / pdf p. 12), our introductory brochure HERE, our political platform HERE, our ongoing thoughts HERE, our final reflections HERE, and a carefully arranged galaxy of print-media mentions of us toward the bottom of this page.

Most of the founders of the New World Alliance were Baby Boomers who, for better or worse, described their politics with terms like “transformational,” “ecofeminist,” “humanistic,” “spiritual,” or “holistic.”  Having just written a book called New Age Politics (1978), I tended to favor the term “New Age.”

During the few but intense years of our existence, the New World Alliance was the principal U.S. national political organization for such people, whom we felt numbered in the millions.  (In 2001, in their book The Cultural Creatives, social scientists Paul Ray and Sherry Anderson put the number at 50 million.)  There were some entities abroad that already in the 1970s shared much of our vision, such as the Values Party in New Zealand and The Future in Our Hands group in Norway.

Our initial 39-member Governing Council included Len Duhl (a former Robert Kennedy speechwriter), John McClaughry (a Ronald Reagan speechwriter), Donald Keys (president of Planetary Citizens), Corinne McLaughlin (co-founder of an intentional community in rural MA) ... all in all, an amazingly wide variety of professionals and activists from coast to coast.  You can see all 39 GC members’ names and affiliations at the end of our brochure, linked at section II below.

History has a bad memory, particularly when it’s written by partisans of competing organizationss or paradigms.  So what you’ll find here are texts that can fill you in on this underreported but – I suspect – evolutionarily significant experiment in American politics.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. A great article on the Alliance

II. Our introductory brochure

III. Our political platform

IV. Our ideology 

V. Twelve of us describe our projects and processes

VI. Fifteen of us reflect on why we failed (or how we succeeded!)

VII. Passages about us from 20 books and articles

VIII. For further research

 

I. A great article on the Alliance

The best article about the Alliance, by acclamation, is Marilyn Saunders’s interview with Bob Olson, “The New World Alliance: Toward a Transformational Politics” (CLICK, then scroll to p. 14 / pdf p. 12), in the December 1980 issue of AHP Newsletter, a publication of the Association for Humanistic Psychology.

Bob’s day job was senior researcher at the Office of Technology Assessment of the U.S. Congress.  But he was also chair of the coordinating committee of he Alliance – our  “president,” in effect, though he never called himself that.  He not only covers our history, goals, and programs in the interview.  He does so in a way that beautifully captures our hopes and sensibilities from that time.

 

II. Our introductory brochure

Thousands of these were distributed over the years, often in direct-mail packets.  I have reproduced most of the text from the original (1980) brochure, “The New World Alliance: A Different Kind of Political Organization” (CLICK TO VIEW).  I only regret you are not able to see it in its original sun-yellow and sky-blue trim.

You might enjoy comparing and contrasting the Alliance’s 10 Broad Goals in the brochure (or the second-to-last page of the platform, below) to the Black Panther Party’s 10 Point Plan, or the U. S. Green Party’s 10 Key Values.

 

III. Our political platform

As Bob Olson explains in the article under I above, one of our major projects was to create a political platform that could point Americans to better (more personally rewarding and more globally responsible) ways of acting in the world.  Over 200 Alliance members contributed to it, and nearly every Governing Council (“GC”) member reviewed it.

A Transformation Platform: The Dialogue Begins (CLICK TO SEE), was laid out and printed by GC member Rarihokwats, co-founder of Akwesasne Notes and staff member of Green Revolution magazine, just in time to be introduced by Bob Olson, Kirk Sale, at others at a National Press Club briefing in Washington, D.C., on January 28,1981.

Unfortunately, the press did not know what to make of it.  Neither did many activists, who were still caught up in top-down (rather than dialogic) ways of developing their ideas, or who were still pursuing one-eyed, left- or right-wing approaches to public policy.  Parts of the platform still await their political moment.

 

IV. Our ideology

If you’d like to delve deeper into our ideology at the time of our founding (1979), you can do no better than read the books written by our original Governing Council members within two years of that date:

Clement Bezold, ed., Anticipatory Democracy: People in the Politics of the Future, Random House, 1978 

Nancy Cosper, You Can Can with Honey, self-published, 1977

Melvin Gurtov, Making Changes: The Politics of Self-Liberation, Harvest Moon Books, 1979

Lex Hixon, Coming Home: The Experience of Enlightenment in Sacred Traditions, Doubleday, 1978

Donald Keys, The United Nations and Planetary Consciousness, Agni Press, 1977

Patricia Mische (and Gerald Mische), Toward a Human World Order: Breaking the National Security Straitjacket, Paulist Press, 1977

James Ogilvy, Many Dimensional Man: Decentralizing Self, Society, and the Sacred, Oxford University Press, 1977

Kirkpatrick Sale, Human Scale, Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 198 

Mark Satin, New Age Politics: Healing Self and Society, Dell Publishing Co., 1978

Although published in the 1990s, two more books by three other founding GCers may also help:

Corinne McLaughlin and Gordon Davidson, Spiritual Politics: Changing the World from the Inside Out, Ballantine Books, 1994

Stephen Woolpert et al., eds., Transformational Politics: Theory, Study, and Practice, State University of New York Press, 1998

 

V. TWELVE OF US DESCRIBE OUR PROJECTS AND PROCESSES

The Alliance’s newsletter, Renewal, carried a column called “New World Alliance Update” (CLICK TO VIEW) that gave GC members and chapter coordinatorrs a chance to sound off about Alliance projects, purposes, and processes.  We’ve PDF’d14 good ones for you here.

 

VI. Fifteen of us reflect on why we failed (or how we succeeded!)

In 2008 – 25 years after the Alliance dissolved – 15 Governing Council members reflected on why their organization failed to become part of the fabric of American political life.  The resulting article, “Participants Agonize Over (and Draw Lessons From) the Death and Life of the First Transpartisan Political Organization” (CLICK TO VIEW), was published in Radical Middle newsletter.

As you can see, some of our responses were emotionally fraught – even a quarter of a century after the fact! – and among them they cover an enormous amount of ground; some of us claim we did not “fail” at all.  I hope the article proves helpful to you in thinking about your own political organizing.

Caption for picture above:  Kirkpatrick Sale, center, flanked by Faith Sale and Bob Olson.  Bob, a senior researcher at the Office of Technology Assessment of the U.S. Congress, was chair of our Governing Council.  Kirk, a decentralist author and activist, was a member of the GC.  On January 28, 1981, Bob, Kirk, Jim Benson (an environmentalist GCer) and Mark Satin presented the Alliance's "Transformati0n Platform" at a press conference in the Capital Room of the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

 

VII. Passages about us from 20 books and articles

We have confined ourselves here to passages from commercially published, non-Alliance texts.  For primary source materials, see roman numeral "VIII" below.

///////////////

A. IDENTITY AND PERSPECTIVE

1. First of its kind

“Satin has ... begun to facilitate the formation of a national, New Age-oriented political organization – the first of its kind.”
– Alison Wells and Stanley Commons, “Moving Politics with Spirit (and Greyhound),” New Realities magazine, June-July 1979, p. 23

“In 1981 the group put forward a ‘Transformational Platform,’ which was the first attempt [in the U.S.] to take ecological, decentralist, globalist, and human-growth ideas and translate them into a detailed, practical political platform with about 300 specific proposals.”
– Arthur Stein, Seeds of the Seventies: Values, Work, and Commitment in Post-Vietnam America, University Press of New England, 1985, p. 136

2. CHARACTERIZATIONS

“[T]he Alliance is a new national political organization with a point of view that’s often called ‘transformational;’ or ‘New Age,’ or what Marilyn Ferguson calls the ‘Aquarian Conspiracy.’”
– Bob Olson, in Marilyn Saunders (interviewer) and Bob Olson, “The New World Alliance: Toward a Transformational Politics,” AHP Newsletter, December 1980, p. 14.  Publication of the Association for Humanistic Psychology

“[T]he ‘New Age’ movement, an alliance of decentralists and former counterculturalists, often adopts surprisingly libertarian positions.  A recent issue of the New Age newsletter [i.e., the New World Alliance newsletter – ed.] Renewal provides a case in point.”
– Robert Poole, Jr. and Christine Dorffi, “New Age Budget Biting,” Reason magazine, November 1981, p. 20

“The New World Alliance is a conscious attempt to create a national political movement based on values that have traditionally stood outside politics”
– Jessica Lipnack and Jeffrey Stamps, Networking: The First Report and Directory, Doubleday, 1982, pp. 107-08

“Satin ... develop[ed] an organizational structure for what can be called the ‘transformative change’ movement.”
– Stein, (1985), p. 134

“[Satin] joined Marc Sarkady and others in an attempt (in Sarkady’s words) ‘to embody a new holistic vision of politics in America’: the New World Alliance.”
– Annie Gottlieb, Do You Believe in Magic?: Bringing the Sixties Back Home, Simon & Schuster, 1988, p. 153

“The New World Alliance ... sought to combine left and right as well as personal and political.”
– Jerome Clark, “New Age Politics,” in J. Gordon Melton, Jerome Clark and Aidan A. Kelly, New Age Encyclopedia, Gale Research Inc., First Edition, 1990, p. 324

“ ... the first national ‘New Age’ political organization.”
– Mark Satin, New Options for America: The Second American Experiment Has Begun, The Press at California State University, 1991, p. 5

“And here I was, eight years later, with another group hoping to launch a national postliberal / Green / transformational (there was still no widely accepted term) political organization.”
– Satin (1991), p. 6

“ ... an early new paradigm group called the New World Alliance.”
– Corinne McLaughlin and Gordon Davidson, Spiritual Politics: Changing the World from the Inside Out, Ballantine Books, 1994, p. 70

“[T]he New World Alliance ... was a short-lived precursor of the North American Greens.”
– Stephen Woolpert, in Woolpert, Christa Daryl Slaton, and Edward Schwerin, eds., Transformational Politics: Theory, Study, and Practice, State University of New York Press, 1998, p. xi

“ ... a national ‘post-liberal, pot-socialist’ political organization called the New World Alliance.”
– Mark Satin, Radical Middle: The Politics We Need Now, Westview Press and Basic Books, 2004, p. 29

“[The Alliance’s] ‘third way’ ideas (basically, radical middle ideas) ...  .
– Satin (2004), p. 188

3. GOALS AND VALUES

“[A]lmost everyone on the Governing Council has been involved in the human potential movement in one way or another and is attracted something like the Greek conception of Paidea, the idea that the entire society and all of its institutions should function to develop and refine people’s abilities.”
– Olson (1980), p. 15

“[The Alliance’s] stated objectives included the following: ‘The NWA seeks to break away from the old quarrels of “left against right” and help create a new consensus based on our heartfelt needs.  It emphasizes personal growth – and nurturing others – rather than indiscriminate material growth.  It advocates “human scale” institutions that function with human consideration and social responsibilities.  It draws on the social movements of the recent past for new values like ecological responsibility, self-realization and planetary cooperation and sharing.  It draws on our conservative heritage for values such as personal responsibility, self-reliance, thrift, neighborliness and community.  It draws from the liberal traditions a commitment to human and civil rights, economic equity and social justice.  We call this synthesis “New World” politics.’”
– Stein (1985), p. 135

“Its political vision included healing, rediscovery, human growth, ecology, participation, appropriate scale, globalism, technological creativity and spirituality.”
– Sara Parkin, Green Parties: An International Guide, Heretic Books Ltd., 1989, p. 294

“’Politics is the way we live our lives,’ stated ... the New World Alliance ... .  ‘It is not just running for office.  It is the way we treat each other, as individuals, as groups, as governments.  It is the way we treat our environment.  It is the way we treat ourselves.’”
– McLaughlin and Davidson (1994), p. 70

/////////////// 

B. The start-uP

1. THE BUS TOUR  

Picture at left: The bus tour continues, April 1979.

“Since [Satin’s first speaking invitation, he] has covered more than 55,000 miles – mostly by Greyhound bus – and always with a couple of boxes of New Age Politics by his side.  He has given half a hundred talks and workshops on his ideas before groups as diverse as those at a cultural center in Harlem and the Institute of Politics at Harvard, a decentralist ‘gathering’ in Oregon and a world order ‘colloquium’ in New York. ...  Satin has, in fact, begun to facilitate the formation of a national, New Age-oriented political organization ...  .  Wherever he went people would ask him if there was an organization they could join that shared this new political perspective and that was trying to do something politically practical and concrete.  ‘I kept having to say no, and I finally said no one too many times.’”
– Wells and Commons (1979), p. 23

“When [Mark] Satin returned to the United States under [President] Carter’s Vietnam amnesty program, he decided to take a cross-country bus trip to assess the mood of ‘new age’ activists, to learn from them what was needed to start a new national political organization.  ‘I went systematically to 24 cities and regions from coast to coast, ...’ he wrote to us in a letter.  I stopped when I found 500 [accomplished] people who said they’d answer a questionnaire ... on what a New Age-oriented political organization should be like – what its politics should be, what its projects should be, and how its first directors should be chosen.”
– Lipnack and Stamps (1980), pp. 107-08

2. The questionnaire process

“When Mark Satin was doing the networking that originally brought the Alliance into existence, he sent out a 21-page questionnaire on what a transformation-oriented political organization should be like that was answered by about 350 people involved in personal growth and social change organizations.”
– Olson (1980), p. 14

“Twenty-one pages long, ... Satin’s questionnaire plumbed people’s political and philosophical beliefs with wide-ranging questions like ... ‘How can we make small family farming more of an option for Americans?’ ... ‘How should we, as a society, deal with the future?’ ‘How large should the Board of Directors be?”
– Lipnack and Stamps (1982), pp. 107-08

"Of the original 500 people to whom the questionnaire was sent, 350 responded.”
– Lipnack and Stamps (1982), pp. 107-08

“The Alliance originated from a 21-page questionnaire sent out by Mark Satin, author of New Age Politics, to 350 people involved in a variety of personal-growth and social-change activities.”
– Parkin (1989), p. 294

“[T]he New World Alliance ... was founded ... after a nationwide Delphi-type survey among 500 academics, policy experts, and political activists interested in this emerging [transformational] political perspective.”
– Woolpert (1998), p. xi

3. STRUCTURE AND PROCESS

“Participants [in the questionnaire process] elected a 39-member Governing Council.”
– Ted Cox, “New Age People: Alternative to Militarism,” The Churchman magazine, August-September 1980, p. 7

  “[T]he NWA Governing Council [consisted of] 39 members.”
– Stein (1985), p. 135

“NWA is nonhierarchically structured, working in decentralized committees.”
– Lipnack and Stamps (1982), pp. 107-08

“An unsigned article in the January 26, 1982 issue of Renewal described the Alliance as expressing commitment ‘to consensus building in all our groups and projects and to using short periods of silence to draw on our intuition in making decisions and solving conflicts.’”
– Clark (1990), p. 324

4. THE OFFICE

“[The Governing Council] set up headquarters at 733 15th Street NW in Washington, a block and a half from the White House.”
– Cox (1980), p. 7

///////////////

C. THE GOVERNING COUNCIL

1. Choosing the Governing Council

“Satin returned the questionnaire tabulations to the respondents, asking them to nominate themselves to the governing council – 89 people did, from whom 39 were chosen for the council by an unusual selection process developed from the questionnaire response itself: 40 percent by mail ballot, 30 percent by lottery, 20 percent by Satin himself, and 10 percent by four women.”
– Lipnack and Stamps (1982), pp. 107-08

2. Members of the Governing Council

“Included [on the Governing Council] was a Reagan speechwriter, a Bobby Kennedy speechwriter, the vice president of a major corporation, a co-founder of the Federation of Egalitarian Communities, a spiritual teacher, a member of the Colorado Legislature.”
– Cox (1980), p. 7

“The first Governing Council of the Alliance ... included ... a co-author of the Pentagon Papers, several people from the erstwhile counterculture, and even a number of spiritually-oriented people. ...”
–Olson (1980), p. 14

“While a number [of members of the first GC] clearly come out of counterculture backgrounds, an equal number have backgrounds in government and academia.”
– Lipnack and Stamps (1982), pp. 107-08

“[T]he NWA Governing Council included teachers, futurists, environmentalists, feminists, think-tank members, an other from a variety of professional backgrounds.”
– Stein (1985), p. 135

“There was Bob, a project director at the U.S. Congress’s Office of Technology Assessment; Jim, one of the original Nader’s Raiders who’d just gone off in his own less adversarial direction; George, a human resources consultant for major corporations; Nancy, fabled grassroots networker of the Pacific Northwest; and on and on, an amazing array of talent and energy.”
– Satin (2004), p. 187

3. Meetings of the Governing Council

“In December 1979, the NWA held its first governing council meeting in New York.”
– Lipnack and Stamps (1982), pp. 107-08

“The New World Alliance ‘governing council’ met semi-annually to discuss strategies for social transformation.”
– Marilyn Ferguson, “Foreword,” in Mark Satin, New Options for America, The Press at California State University, 1991, p. xiii

///////////////

D. PROJECTS

1. POLITICAL PLATFORM

Picture at left: Governing Council member Alanna Hartzok (a grassroots land-rights and land-tax activist in the tradition of Henry George) worked on the Land and Natural Resources section of the platform.  She would later write The Earth Belongs to Everyone (2008).  Her account of her experiences with the Alliance, which includes a critique of the overall platform, is one of the most affecting – and revealing; go HERE and scroll about two-thirds of the way down.

“ ... a new form of political platform that we call a Living Platform.  The platform offers concrete political proposals, but doesn’t purport to offer final answers.  It includes commentary and dissenting opinion, and it asks readers to criticize it and help improve it. ...  I think it’s already, in its first draft, the most innovative political platform that’s been done in the United States.”
– Olson (1980), p. 15

“ ... a political ‘living’ platform that defines its positions on global policy, crime and justice, economics, science and technology, energy, health, and the environment.”
– Lipnack and Stamps (1982), pp. 107-08

“In 1981 the group put forward a ‘Transformational Platform,’ which was the first attempt [in the U.S.] to take ecological, decentralist, globalist, and human-growth ideas and translate them into a detailed, practical political platform with about 300 specific proposals.”
– Stein (1985), p. 136

2. Political Awareness Seminars

“[A] half-dozen people [are involved] in the creation of a Political Awareness Seminar, an intensive one-day or weekend experience that will help people to discover and blend their visions of a better society and to explore ways to implement their visions.  The idea is to allow people to experience their own potential for political effectiveness and explore their own highest values, without propaganda.  Much of the work will involve connecting people’s inner psychological and spiritual life with their outer political expression.”
– Olson (1980), pp. 15-16

“[The Alliance] sponsors ‘Political Awareness Seminars’ designed ‘to give people confidence that each one of us can have a significant impact on changing the world’”
– Lipnack and Stamps (1982), pp. 107-08

“[I]n a New World Alliance seminar called ‘Political Awareness,’ ... participants were asked to pair up and role play their feelings toward their political adversaries and then to reverse roles and play their adversaries.  Many deep insights resulted, with participants discovering that they themselves often had problems similar to the ones they accused their adversaries of having.”
– McLaughlin and Davidson (1994), p. 109

3. CHAPTERS

“As the membership grows, we’ll encourage the organizing of local chapters around the country.”
– Olson (1980), p. 16

4. CONSULTATIONS with GOVERNMENT officials

Picture at left: GC members Clement Bezold (already a prominent futurist) and James S. Turner (one of the original Nader’s Raiders) head beck to Washington, D.C. after meeting with Governor Jerry Brown, Chief of Staff Gray Davis, and others at Paul Hawken’s house in Palo Alto.  GC members Betsy Lehrfeld (a Washington attorney) and Mark Satin also participated in the weekend-long event.  Subsequently, the Alliance sponsored two “Consultations with Government Officials,” one in the Midwest under the leadership of GC member Marc Sarkady (a management consultant), and the other in New York under the watchful eye of GC member Robert Buxbaum (policy analyst at the Office of the New York City Council President).  GC member Miller Hudson, a Colorado state legislator, advised on both events.

“ ... a first national conference of transformation-oriented elected officials.”
– Olson (1980), p. 16

“Members of the Association for Humanistic Psychology and the New World Alliance have drafted amendments for Democratic Party platforms in the state of California.”
– Douglas R. Groothuis, “Politics: Building an International Platform,” in Karen Hoyt, ed., The New Age Rage, Revell Company / Baker Publishing Group, 1987, p. 97

5. Political newsletter

“ ... a newsletter that will report on current events from a transformational perspective, and report on the emerging transformational movement itself.  Mark Satin, the author of New Age Politics, will be the editor, and he’s decided to call it Renewal.  Anyone who’s read Mark’s book, with its remarkable cataloguing and synthesizing of transformational ideas, will appreciate that he’s the right person for that project.”
– Olson (1980), p. 15

Renewal, edited by Satin, intended to take a ‘critical’ and ‘constructive’ look at ... ‘politics as if people mattered.’”
– Lipnack and Stamps (1982), pp. 107-08

Renewal: New Values, New Politics ... was instituted as an ongoing forum and clearinghouse for the movement. ...  Each of its founding sponsors – Ernest Callenbach, Willis Harman, Hazel Henderson, Karl Hess, Patricia Mische, Jeremy Rifkin, James Robertson (from Britain), Carl Rogers, and John Vasconcellos [–] were accomplished writers, researchers, and activists in their fields.”
– Stein (1985), p. 136

Renewal focused on the human growth, decentralist, and world order movements and sought ‘to critically assess and not just praise the books, pamphlets and articles that are relevant to those perspectives.”
– Stein (1985), p. 136

///////////////

E. THE END

“In August 1982 the Alliance collapsed, unable to establish stable chapters in any major city.”
– Clark (1990), p. 324

“The NWA Governing Council dissolved and then reconstituted itself, all during that one weekend in August 1982.  The Alliance agreed to close its Washington, D.C., office but to keep the Governing Council together, and called for its next meeting to be held at Esalen in California.  It was decided that the Alliance thereafter would be an umbrella for a variety of entrepreneurial projects.”
– Stein (1985), p. 138

“I was able to help organize ... the New World Alliance (1979 – 1983, R.I.P.)
– Satin (2004), p. 29

///////////////

F. ASSESSMENT

1 . High hopes were raised

“Clearly, what Mark Satin seeks to create could fill a large vacuum in American politics.”
– Wells and Commons (1979), p. 25

“New political parties such as the Citizens Party have been formed in the United States. ...  Similar efforts that are les focused on immediate electoral victories include the California-based Campaign for Economic Democracy. ...  The more visionary, global movement coalescing around the prodigious communication efforts of Mark Satin, author of New Age Politics (Delta, 1979), has now incorporated as the New World Alliance.”
– Hazel Henderson, The Politics of the Solar Age, Doubleday, 1981, p. 19 n.8

2. CRITICISMS

“After four or five [Governing Council] meetings, Mark [Satin] realized how little practical action comes out of intoxicating rhetoric.”
– Ferguson (1991), p. xiii

“Reflecting on the movement, Satin observed: ... ‘We are engaged in theoretical-verbal overkill ... [because we] are afraid to move.  We don’t know what to do, and we don’t know what to do because we are afraid to try and fail.’ ...  [That] critique was presented at a panel discussion ... at a conference of the Association for Humanistic Psychology in Washington, D.C., in August 1982.  [An] estimated 400 people ... crowded into the meeting room at American University. ...”
– Stein (1985), pp. 136-37

“[Another] panelist, Walter Truett Anderson, ... noted that the concept of transformation had been turning into a cliché. ...  It also ‘has some of the quality of becoming what I think can rightfully be called a cult.  The concept itself has become vague – it’s not very clear to many people what we wish to transform and when, how much, where and how.”
– Stein (1985), p. 137

“Another panel participant, Michael Marien, editor of the World Future Society’s Future Survey, chided the transformation movement for the overuse of words like network, caring, holistic, creativity, synergy, and feedback, and not coming to grips with the realities of competition, crime, and corruption.  ‘Maybe they’ll just go away,’ he quipped.”
– Stein (1985), p. 138

“[New World Alliance co-founder Marc] Sarkady feels [the Alliance] ‘was still too rooted in the New Age countercultural movement.’”
– Gottlieb (1988), p. 153

“We would rather be good than do good.  We would rather be pure than mature.  We are the Beautiful Losers”
– Mark Satin and Kevin Kelly (interviewer), “Mark Satin,” Whole Earth Review, no. 61, winter 1988, p. 107

“[The] insistence on consensus made for extended meetings and minimal results. ...  Within a few months, one member of the group was complaining the Alliance had turned into a ‘diddler’s cult.’”
– Clark (1990), p. 324

“As ... Robert Olson wrote in the last issue of Renewal, ‘What happened was a collective letting go of the expectations we had all put upon ourselves when the Alliance was founded, an admission that in terms of our personalities and skills we were not the collection of people to create the kind of tightly-organized, hard-driving, mass membership organization we had originally envisaged.’”
– Clark (1990), p. 324

“We were nearly aglow with great new political ideas.  But when it came time to getting those ideas onto the American political agenda, we were stumped.”
– Satin (2004), p. 187

“[M]any ... meetings were held, but little money got raised and few projects got done.  Astonishing amounts of energy went down the drain.”
– Satin (2004), p. 188

3. Internal reflections after 25 years

[See the remarks by 15 former Governing Council members HERE.]

4. POSITIVE VIEWS

a. Impact on beyond-left-and-right politics

“The New World Alliance was one of the first groups to articulate aspects of the new transformational politics, especially the idea of creating a new synthesis of left and right.”
– McLaughlin and Davidson (1994), p. 72

b. Impact on the Green Party

 "[T]he New World Alliance [was a] precursor of the North American Greens.”
– Woolpert (1998), p. ix

“On the weekend o August 10-12, 1984, ... 62 thinkers and activists from across the U.S. came together ... to found what eventually became the U.S. Green Party. ...  Eight of us had ties to Murray Bookchin’s Institute for Social Ecology.  Even more of us had been associated with the New World Alliance.”
– Mark Satin, “Miraculous Birth of the ‘Ten Key Values’ Statement,” Green Horizon magazine, vol. IX, no. 2, fall-winter 2012, p. 19

c. Impact on the American Political Science Association

“Ten years later [i.e., 1983 – M.S.] the key values of the Alliance were incorporated into the Transformational Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. ...  Corinne [McLaughlin] regularly presents papers in the Transformation Track.”
– McLaughlin and Davidson (1994), pp. 72-3

d. Predecessor to New Options newsletter

“Satin[‘s] ... unique New Options newsletter [was] begun in 1984 as successor to his Renewal newsletter.”
– Michael Marien, “New Options for America,” Future Survey, vol. 13, no. 7, July 1991, item 91-315

e. Impact on transformational political theory

[After the Alliance’s collapse, many former GC members made original contributions to transformational political theory.  (See books by Duhl, Gurtov, Hartzok, James, McClaughry, McLaughlin / Davidson, Olson, Sale, Satin, Turner, and Woolpert.)]

f. Impact on contemporary social change movement in general

“Two decades later we know that Satin’s hopes for a new political platform did not materialize.  But ... he caught sight of and began to plan for the general movement for change that is taking place now.”
– Paul H. Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson, The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World, Harmony Books / Random House, 2001, p. 206

 

VIII. For further research

For the Wikipedia biography of Satin, now a “Featured Article” there, go HERE.

For Satin’s Amazon Author Page linking to all six of his books, go HERE.

If you’d like to do original research on the New World Alliance, three excellent document collections are now available:

In Philadelphia

The Contemporary Culture Collection, at Temple University library in Philadelphia, holds the New World Alliance / New Options Correspondence Files.  Within it are hundreds letters from Alliance Governing Council members, chapter members, and supporters, as well as all the existing public documents, internal documents, and memos.  An Alliance supporter at the Contemporary Culture Collection obtained this material for the library.

 In Ann Arbor, Michigan

The Joseph A. Labadie Collection, at the University of Michigan’s Hatcher Library, houses the Mark Satin Papers, and among them you can find an entire section devoted to the Alliance.  There are sub-sections consisting of 50 internal documents generated by he Alliance, 15 media mentions of the Alliance, 15 articles from the Alliance’s newsletter about the Alliance, and Satin’s personal memoir of his Alliance years.

In the San Francisco Bay Area

Mark Satin keeps a copy of the Labadie Collection’s Mark Satin Papers in his personal possession in Oakland, CA.  If you would like to access them there, write him at msatin (at) mindspring (dot) com.  Please be brief, use 14-point type (because of his eye condition), and put “Research” in the subject line.

 

ABOUT THE RADICAL MIDDLE CONCEPT

WHY "Radical Middle"?

WIKIPEDIA Weighs In

50 Thinkers and Activists DESCRIBE the Radical Middle

50 Best Radical Middle BOOKS of the '00s

GREAT RADICAL MIDDLE  GROUPS AND BLOGS:

Over 250 Great Radical Centrist GROUPS and  Organizations

25 Great Radical Centrist BLOGS

SOME PRIOR RADICAL MIDDLE INITIATIVES:

Generational Equity and Communitarian platforms 1990s

First U.S. Green Party gatherings, 1987 - 1990

Green Party's "Ten Key Values" statement, 1984

New World Alliance, 1979 - 1983

PDF of  the Alliance's "Transformation Platform," 1981

SOME PRIOR  WRITINGS BY MARK SATIN:

New Options Newsletter, 1984-1992 (includes back issue PDFs!)

New Age Politics: Healing Self and Society, 1976,  1978 (includes 1976 text PDF!)

OTHER
PRIOR   RADICAL MIDDLE TEXTS:

50 Best "Third Way" Books of the 1990s

25 Best "Transformational" Books of the 1980s

25 Best "New Age Politics" Books of the 1970s

NOT JUST RADICAL MIDDLE:

10 Best U.S. Political NOVELS

50 Current Political IDEOLOGIES

50 Current Political  MANIFESTOS