Since about 2009 my activism has focused on trying to build towards a better way of running society from the bottom up with full participation and real direct democracy and on a human scale. The first step seemed to be to get everyone who was active in a variety of ways in a local community all working together to resist bad stuff and do good things and to start to make their own power; and then to get the previously inactive people involved and gradually build a new type of democracy – simple ! ;). Many elements of this have happened in the past in various areas and are still happening, but it seemed that nowhere had yet brought it all together. I suspected that once one area did this then others would follow their broad outline and the idea could take off – I now think this might be happening with ‘Our Tottenham’.
It’s early days of course, but the range of people and organisations affiliated, the breadth of sub groups already established and the attitudes of the people involved indicate to me the possibility of a completely new form of organising for action that could also be the start of a new way of organising society in general.
What’s perhaps most exciting about it is that it’s a process rather than an organisational model as such, and so is inherently flexible for adapting to other local situations in different areas. At the recent conference someone from the Our Tottenham network put it brilliantly when he said “ultimately you want to create an atmosphere where people are encouraged to be involved, all sections of the community, to talk to each other to grapple with the real issues to come up with a kind of consensus to say ‘this is what we want”
I think the simplicity and directness of calling a local network ‘our xxx’ has immense possibility. I am already aware of people in one other area considering launching an ‘our’ network in their neighbourhood and also perhaps other existing groups who are already doing something similar might want to re title themselves ‘Our xxx’ to build a wider network of networks?
watch this space…