Heading home from ‘How to Do it’ – Creating Bottom up Political Participation, a couple of days that brought together academics, political activists and community organisers to contribute to the working out of a question central to the current political climate: ‘how can we create progressive and effective political participation?’
Like most such events, I find a range from ‘kind of useful’ to ‘totally inspiring’ and the last two sessions (and allied lunchtime conversation) were certainly the latter. These were on how to organise political parties and urban assemblies, taking inspiration from Podemos and Take Back the City (as well as Frome) and for me raising one fundamental question: Given that the prevailing political system is so manifestly unfit for purpose, are we brave and strong enough to replace it with one based on how we will work together? Putting how we will work together to make decision and what our ethics will be above promoting what we will do when in power? I was deeply struck by how many of the core aspects in these areas that we have found effective in Frome are shared by Podemos in Spain and are the aspirations for Take Back the City.
The lunchtime conversations inspired me because Florin – now heading home to Transylvania to take on the corrupt old-guard in local elections in May and Eleanor, the Women’s Equality Party Lambeth leader – full of the energy of new radical politics (each now armed with their copy of Flatpack) are less than half my age. Indeed, the majority of those at the weekend will have enough years left to make a difference and on a weekend when a significant number of people hauled themselves off the sofa to protest at the hypocrisy epitomized by Cameron’s dodgy investments.