A very English revolt
The Guardian Weekly had an interesting article on June 6th. The title, “a very English revolt” with a lead in, “The people of Frome in Somerset call it ‘flatpack democracy’ and it has seen party politics cast aside in search for local solutions. See Guardian article here (26 June)
The basic aim seems both simple and benign: (says author John Harris) “Taking political power at a local level, then using it to enable people to have a greater say in the decisions that effect their lives” He further writes – But the results have been explosive: the routing of Liberal Democrats and Conservatives from Fome’s town council, and the arrival in power of a coalition of self-styled independents, united by belief that democracy needs a dramatic revival.
This movement to take charge was initiated when it was evident that the town council could not come to terms with environmental issues in any meaningful way. Like-minded residents came together and decided to use the democratic process to take total charge. They ran candidates in all ridings and these “independents” took all 17 seats on Frome’s council. Interestingly, several other towns have had similar movements to take over their local city councils.
When I read this article, I immediately felt that this grass roots idea was what we need to address the thousands of social and environmental issues that threaten our very survival on this planet. I was somewhat surprised when my letter was printed as I suggested a worldwide movement. I will paste it here just as it appeared:
The solution to everything
Within the article A very English revolt (26 June) is shown the key to addressing all (Yes! All!) of the thousands of social and environmental issues on the planet.
For years, I have been advocating that we need a worldwide movement to counter the power that business interests have over people and planet interests. The “Frome movement” suggests that to this, we need to add a political party element.
There are many voices that advocate change through revolution or civil disobedience to promote change. In Frome, these ordinary citizens have shown that what we need is people participation with the goal of making democracy work for both the people and planet.
How about we form a global support and advisory movement with a name like Civis Mundi? “World Citizen”(envision this in all language equivalents) is something we can universally rally under. And how about a political movement called Terra Cotta; as “burnt earth” seems to convey the message and urgency for some people-backed changes.
Just one suggestion: No prayer before meetings.
Matthew R Foster
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
If anyone wants to discuss or debate this idea, my email is on the site under Bio and Contact info, and my phone number is on 411 Canada