Presidential inauguration day. Hurray, at last we are clearly being shown a key ‘democratic’ ritual as the facade it is, with unchecked global corporate power lathered all over the place. Donald represents one way to turn when democracy isn’t working – placing blind faith in someone who promises to do it for you (while showing equal blindness to costs). The President of the United States! Apparently the most powerful role in the world – basically next to God….if he can’t sort things who can?
This armchair approach to sorting the world (sit back and wait for Trump/May/Putin etc to do the job) has a number of problems – primarily the aforementioned corporate powers who pull the strings and have an agenda that is not that of either the people or the planet. But it is also ultimately deeply dissatisfying because it leaves you and I with no role
An alternative response to the collapse of a functioning political party system is to look local. To take control of what we can really change ourselves. That’s what we did in Frome in 2011 and how we did that was of enough interest for me to write Flatpack Democracy. However, what’s really much more interesting is what happened next and our (sometimes bumpy) ride towards repositioning the role of the Council as a facilitator of community initiatives.
As Frome continues to innovate and to wave two fingers at austerity at a local level, I find myself drowning in requests for support and information on what we are up to. Within this are a myriad of fascinating links and connections to other towns, communities and individuals experimenting with ways to find a real politics which I want to find time to understand. Each of us needs to be able to draw on nuggets within the other’s struggles, to build a real alternative for our own unique situation.
So, I’m trying not to notice what Trump’s up to and stick to the knitting and somehow find the time to unearth the gems of real politics in the everyday activism of families and communities.