Modelling Ethical Power Structures in Three Organizational Manifestos

These principles, reconstituted from ancient patterns of thought and Earth-centred spiritual traditions, collectively present a cultural critique, if not an indictment, of a manifestly abusive system enshrined within conventional histories, patriarchal theologies, and dominator ideologies. Their enduring unifying spirit provides an inclusive philosophical remedy to many of the societal ills deriving from hierarchical models of thought and the deeply embedded elitist, exclusively male-dominant values enshrined in patriarchy.

‘The Ten Key Values’ manifesto, or ‘The Original Values Statement’ of the Green Movement,’ began to be formulated in the early 1980s. Inspired by the Eco-Feminist Goddess Spiriturality movement in the Bay Area/San Francisco, it was informed by the works of activists, artists, writers, scholars, scientists, and philosophers like Starhawk, Mary Beth Edelson, Marija Gimbutas, and Charlene Spretnak, among other prominent theorists of sustainable social models. Fundamentally, with these guiding principles in place, the Green Movement synthesizes a new/ancient philosophical Pantheist Movement. It is these links and connections which spawned the Gaia Movement within both science and spirituality, and which may well hold the vital keys to survival and ethical living on Earth.

Core values for the actual crafting of the manifesto included collective process, non-hierarchical consensus, and connectivity. This statement of belief not only unified a movement, but also provided a road map for an entire, tired, and fundamentally morally compromised patriarchy to return to the sustainable ideological that preceded its violent ascendancy. The formation of the Original Values Statement unfolded in accordance with the collective, consensual tenets that would be outlined in its ultimate point-form format. The way that went down is as follows.

Journalist Mark Satin was invited to cover the Green Party founding meeting where the Values Statement was created. His Green-oriented monthly newsletter New Options would become a must read in the late 1980s. He later wrote about the meeting: “The Ten Key Values were birthed at the St. Paul founding meeting, during a late Saturday night marathon session facilitated by then Los Angeles-based and later Eugene, OR activist Jeff Land (who would later co-host Green Gathering ’89), with primary contributions by Spretnak and by many close to Murray Bookchin of the New England Institute for Social Ecology […] A ‘collective brain’ seemed to take hold, and we began working together as one… No single individual came up with the idea of a values statement; it just welled up from out of our intense discussion … Seamlessly, we began discussing what our own values or pillars might be. Someone began recording our suggestions on a large flip chart. Ten, 15, 20 suggestions went up on the chart with seemingly no end in sight.”[i]

Example 1: ‘The Original Values Statement’ of the Green Movement,’ Introduction

This list of values and questions for discussion was composed by a diverse group of people who are working to build a new politics, which has kinship with Green movements around the world. We feel the issues we have raised below are not being addressed adequately by the political left or right. We invite you to join with us in refining our values, sharpening our questions — and translating our perspective into practical and effective political actions.

Ecological Wisdom

How can we operate human societies with the understanding that we are PART of nature, not on top of it?

How can we live within the ecological and resource limits of the planet, applying our technological knowledge to the challenge of an energy-efficient economy?

How can we build a better relationship between cities and countryside?

How can we guarantee the rights of non-human species?

How can we promote sustainable agriculture and respect for self-regulating natural systems?

How can we further biocentric wisdom in all spheres of life?

Grassroots Democracy

How can we develop systems that allow and encourage us to control the decisions that affect our lives?

How can we ensure that representatives will be fully accountable to the people who elected them?

How can we develop planning mechanisms that would allow citizens to develop and implement their own preferences for policies and spending priorities?

How can we encourage and assist the “mediating institutions” — family, neighborhood organization, church group, voluntary association, ethnic club — to recover some of the functions now performed by government?

How can we relearn the best insights from American traditions of civic vitality, voluntary action and community responsibility?

Personal and Social Responsibility

How can we respond to human suffering in ways that promote dignity?

How can we encourage people to commit themselves to lifestyles that promote their own health?

How can we have a community-controlled education system that effectively teaches our children academic skills, ecological wisdom, social responsibility and personal growth?

How can we resolve personal and intergroup conflicts without just turning them over to lawyers and judges?

How can we take responsibility for reducing the crime rate in our neighborhoods?

How can we encourage such values as simplicity and moderation?


How can we, as a society, develop effective alternatives to our current patterns of violence at all levels, from the family and the street to nations and the world?

How can we eliminate nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth without being naive about the intentions of other governments?

How can we most constructively use nonviolent methods to oppose practices and policies with which we disagree, and in the process reduce the atmosphere of polarization and selfishness that is itself a source of violence?


How can we restore power and responsibility to individuals, institutions, communities and regions?

How can we encourage the flourishing of regionally-based cultures, as distinct from a dominant monoculture?

How can we locate the power of our political, economic and social institutions closer to home in ways that are efficient and practical?

How can we reconcile the need for community and regional self-determination with the need for appropriate centralized regulation in certain matters?

Community-Based Economics

How can we redesign our work structures to encourage employee ownership and workplace democracy?

How can we develop new economic activities and institutions that will allow us to use our new technologies in ways that are humane, freeing, ecological, and responsive to communities?

How can we establish some form of basic economic security, open to all?

How can we move beyond the narrow “job ethic” to new definitions of work, jobs and income that reflect the changing economy?

How can we change our income distribution pattern to reflect the wealth created by those outside the formal, monetary economy — those who take responsibility for parenting, housekeeping, home gardening, doing community volunteer work, etc.?

How can we restrict the size and concentrated power of corporations without discouraging superior efficiency or technological innovation?

Post-patriarchal Values

How can we replace the cultural ethos of dominance and control with more cooperative ways of interacting?

How can we encourage people to care about persons outside their own group?

How can we promote the building of respectful, positive and responsive relationships across the lines of gender and other divisions?

How can we encourage a rich, diverse political culture that respects feelings as well as rationalist approaches?

How can we proceed with as much respect for the means as the end, the process as well as the product?

How can we learn to respect the contemplative, inner part of life as much as the outer activities?

Respect for Diversity

How can we honor cultural, ethnic, racial, sexual, religious and spiritual diversity within the context of individual responsibility toward all beings?

While honoring diversity, how can we reclaim our country’s finest shared ideals — the dignity of the individual, democratic participation, and liberty and justice for all?

Global Responsibility

How can we be of genuine assistance to the grassroots groups in the Third World — and what can WE learn from such groups?

How can we help other countries make a transition to self-sufficiency in food and other basic necessities?

How can we cut our defense budget while maintaining an adequate defense?

How can we promote these ten Green values in reshaping our global order?

How can we reshape the global order without creating [the equivalent of] just another enormous nation-state?

Future Focus

How can we induce people and institutions to think in terms of the long-range future, and not just in terms of their short-range selfish interest?

How can we encourage people to develop their own visions of the future and move more effectively toward them?

How can we judge whether new technologies are socially useful — and use those judgments to shape our society?

How can we induce our government and other institutions to practice fiscal responsibility?

How can we make the quality of life, rather than open-ended economic growth, the focus of future thinking?

Example 2: 13th HOUSE MYSTERY SCHOOL TRADITION: Statement of Belief


* That the Divine Principle is manifest within the personal AND the collective Self.

* That any and all initiatory entrance into this revealed Mystery is undertaken by virtue of Self Realization.

* That all people carry within them the knowledge of their own perfect and unique Path.

* And That we of the Thirteenth House Mysteries Tradition, as Initiating Priestesses and Priests, serve merely as facilitators of entry into the Individual, Collective, and ultimately Personal Mystery.

Structure of Tradition:

Circle or Clan structure, with interconnecting groups of one to thirteen individuals, ideally.

Founders of Tradition:

Nine Founding Priestesses, all of whom were Initiatrix.

Growth, Expansion of Tradition:

The structure allows for “hiving-off” from founding body into sub-groups.

Rank and Hierarchy of Tradition:

None. There is one initiation into the Mystery, whereupon Priestesses or Priests choose their Avocation. The core structure is directed toward upon Self-Expression through Creative Acts, with a focus upon Art, Performance, Writing, Healing or Teaching. A further Initiation into the personal legacy of genetic or soul lineage is available for those who are called to create, perform, heal or teach under the auspices of the Thirteenth House Mystery Tradition, whereupon the Priestess or Priest is entitled to represent the Tradition, and pass it on through initiation, if they so choose.

Initiation into Tradition:

Any and all Initiations into the Personal Mystery of the Thirteenth House Tradition are to be undertaken after an apprenticeship to the Tradition for a period of time lasting A Year and a Day of study, observation and introspection, as well as the Tree of Life initiation.

Dogma, Doctrine and Credo of Tradition:

In that this is a Revealed Mystery Tradition, no one dogma, lore or Book of Shadows is obligatory for Initiates, Priestesses, or Priests of the Tradition. Each individual is empowered within the collective to formulate their own mythos, theology, theory, and practice within the Wiccan Rede, including that of Shamanism.

Functions of the Thirteenth House Mystery Tradition:

* To provide a matrix with leadership for Self Realization for individuals within the collective.

* To provide public classes, to conduct rituals, and facilitate Initiation into the Mystery of the Tradition, when appropriate.

  • To provide private, personal teaching and guidance when Initiation into the Tradition is appropriate, within the context of Wicca and Shamanism.

Example 3: The 10 Principles of Burning Man

Burning Man co-founder Larry Harvey wrote the Ten Principles in 2004 as guidelines for the newly-formed Regional Network. They were crafted not as a dictate of how people should be and act, but as a reflection of the community’s ethos and culture as it had organically developed since the event’s inception.

Radical Inclusion
Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.

Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.

In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.

Radical Self-reliance
Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.

Radical Self-expression
Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.

Communal Effort
Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.

Civic Responsibility
We value civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.

Leaving No Trace
Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.

Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.

Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.


[i] The Green Party U.S. website. Retrieved on February 12, 2018:




I'm a writer/researcher/arts educator on Vancouver Island and all round global citizen who loves humans even though we're such a phenomenal pain-in-the-ass.

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Yvonne Owens, PhD

Yvonne Owens, PhD

I'm a writer/researcher/arts educator on Vancouver Island and all round global citizen who loves humans even though we're such a phenomenal pain-in-the-ass.

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