Or so says this article published in The Guardian. The article is written by George Monbiot. In it he talks about how participatory culture like the one we are building on Onalaska, stimulates government. He also states that it helps citizens to take back the control of their government. Very interesting thoughts I think. I've included an excerpt of the article below... What do you think?
This is how people can truly take back control: from the bottom up
By George Monbiot,
@GeorgeMonbiotWednesday 8 February 2017 01.00 EST
"Without community, politics is dead. But communities have been scattered like dust in the wind. At work, at home, both practically and imaginatively, we are atomised.
"It is in the powder of shattered communities that anti-politics swirls, raising towering dust-devils of demagoguery and extremism. These tornadoes threaten to tear down whatever social structures still stand.
"When people are atomised and afraid, they feel driven to defend their own interests against other people’s. In other words, they are pushed away from intrinsic values such as empathy, connectedness and kindness, and towards extrinsic values such as power, fame and status. The problem created by the politics of extreme individualism is self-perpetuating. Conversely, a political model based only on state provision can leave people dependent, isolated and highly vulnerable to cuts. The welfare state remains essential: it has relieved levels of want and squalor that many people now find hard to imagine. But it can also, inadvertently, erode community, sorting people into silos to deliver isolated services, weakening their ties to society.
"... We could restore political life by restoring community life. This means complementing state provision with something that belongs neither to government nor to the market but exists in a different sphere, a sphere we have neglected.
"There are hundreds of examples of how this might begin, such as community shops, development trusts, food assemblies (communities buying fresh food directly from local producers), community choirs and free universities (in which people exchange knowledge and skills in social spaces). Also time banking (where neighbours give their time to give practical help and support to others), transition towns (where residents try to create more sustainable economies), potluck lunch clubs (in which everyone brings a homemade dish to share), local currencies, Men’s Sheds (in which older men swap skills and escape from loneliness), turning streets into temporary playgrounds (like the Playing Out project), secular services (such as Sunday Assembly), lantern festivals, fun palaces and technology hubs.
"Turning such initiatives into a wider social revival means creating what practitioners call “thick networks”: projects that proliferate, spawning further ventures and ideas that weren’t envisaged when they started. They then begin to develop a dense, participatory culture that becomes attractive and relevant to everyone rather than mostly to socially active people with time on their hands.
"Participatory culture stimulates participatory politics. In fact, it is participatory politics. It creates social solidarity while proposing and implementing a vision of a better world. It generates hope where hope seemed absent. It allows people to take back control. Most importantly, it can appeal to anyone, whatever their prior affiliations might be. It begins to generate a kinder public life, built on intrinsic values. By rebuilding society from the bottom up, it will eventually force parties and governments to fall into line with what people want. We can do this. And we don’t need anyone’s permission to begin."
Read the full article here.
So my fellow Onalaskans, I want to say good work. By participating with the Onalaska Alliance we are creating one of those "thick networks" that will stimulate better government and allow us as citizens to reclaim control over our government, our community and our lives. Keep up the good work! We can do it together.
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