We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Assemblies for Democracy: A Theoretical Framework

Click here to access article by Richard Gunn, R.C. Smith and Adrian Wilding from Assemblies for Democracy (Britain).

In their actions against the Greeks, capitalist leaders in the Eurozone have inadvertently taught many activists all over the world that even the largely fake version of capitalist "democracy" doesn't matter when it conflicts with the interests of international capitalists. It was a wake-up call to all those activists who thought that working within the existing system could bring ameliorative relief from neoliberal austerity policies. This has invigorated many activists to study more radical solutions to the rule of international capitalists in this new neoliberal stage of capitalism. This article is an illustration of this kind of effort.
General elections are top-down events: attention focuses on political parties and their leaders. Personalities and success or failure move centre-stage. Policies get a mention, but are assessed like moves in a game of chess. Can this top-down perspective be reversed? Can a form of politics be found which retains a grassroots or ‘bottom-up’ emphasis?

In these notes, we attempt to do two things. We explain why, in our view, this question is important. And we explore challenges that a grassroots politics must face.