How to scale up and extend practices of radical democracy beyond specific urban locations is a key question. In the age of instant horizontal communication, it ought to be easier to resolve this question.
I realize now that the path to social transformation is not a binary choice between personal or political change. We must live our political values within the daily routines of our personal lives and grow a new kind of politics that’s grounded in a higher quality of human relationships—unafraid of asking much more of us than our votes.
The Alternative UK recently convened a “Friendly” meeting in Plymouth as part of The Alternative’s work on engaging communities in people centred politics – a far cry from the male dominated madness and general machismo of Westminster – The gatherings aim to build practical and replicable community-based initiatives – and partnership in which men actually listen to women.
I would estimate that two thirds to three quarters of our base was not involved politically before the 2016 election. My goal is to help build political power alongside these folks in my community, and in other communities across the country.
Every city has its graveyard of nonprofits, cooperatives, social clubs, and community centers. Without a strategic vision, local projects cannot possibly amount to a systemic alternative to capitalism.
Fear and uncertainty seem to have settled into our societies, not only among citizens, but also political leaders and transnational corporations who see their capitals and centres of power stagger in the face of the combined effects of slowing global economic growth, imminent energy decline and increasing climate chaos. In this context, we are witnessing a multitude of responses, with three approaches that stand out.
What lies in fact between or beyond direct action, prefigurative communities, and meaningful elections? One idea that occurs to me (and has occurred to others, as well – see Micah White’s excellent The End of Protest: A New Playbook for Revolution) is to combine electing some as yet unknown kind of “progressive” government and forging social movements to push it from below and alongside to make good on its promises, and for the new kind of parties that would lead such governments to make links with other movements, nations, and organizations everywhere.
While the media is full of the story of the declaration of independence of Catalonia and the subsequent response by the Spanish national government, what is not being told so much is the very real, and remarkable, story of the municipalist approach that has risen there, and elsewhere in Spain.
Big changes are underway in Gdansk, Poland today. Since July 2016, some of the city’s most vexing problems have been dealt with calmly – even enjoyably — by a changing, randomly-selected “citizens assembly” made up of approximately 60 ordinary city dwellers, who are brought together and given the authority to take action.
Almost every global city has a similar dynamic – a battle between the finance capital that seeks to make money from the city and the needs of the residents who seek to make the city their home. Rarely do we see residents successfully push back against the power of finance capital. But for those wanting to know how this can be done, look to Barcelona.
Incipient anti-fascist coalitions hold the potential to call a new politics into existence in the United States. Socialist municipalism could be a means for both resisting the far right as well as articulating a libertarian socialist alternative. While there is much to critique in Bookchin — even from a municipalist angle — the basic guiding principles hold.
The word Decidim translated from Catalan means we decide, and it’s the name of Barcelona’s digital infrastructure for participatory democracy. One part functional database and one part political statement, organizers say Decidim is key to a broad digital transformation that is taking place in Barcelona — its institutions, markets, and economy.