Posts Tagged ‘Change Now’


Out of coffee with a friend/mentor comes a recommendation to explore George Monbiot (2017) Out of the Wreckage: A New Politics for An Age of Crisis which encapsulates many of the thoughts around community renewal, postulates some new ones, but truly percolates what is needed in our divided times (see my reflections on Rabbi Sacks works)– that is discussion, discourse and community building. For I see this work as something that harkens back to use during a simpler time, that when Pastor Douglas was growing the CCF and Pastor Aberhart was growing the Social Credit (yes I realize there was many involved in growing/educating these movements, I am using the two historical premiers as a short hand not as an all inclusive they did it independently fallacy).

See, they had their resources, for Aberhart it was social credit, for Douglas it was the Regina Manifesto if you will. It happened a household at a time, over tea and coffee times, with friends invited for study and discourse (much like a church plant if you will, growing and learning together as healthy community has the same points of genesis). This is how I can see this book work, over a few weeks of meeting together with then each small group choosing an activism activity that has come to mind from the text.

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It is at once a political science-political economics primer couched in cultural study which is easy to read and follow. Monbiot takes the reader through the short history of the shift from Keynesian theory underlying public policy and economics to Neo-Liberalism and its affect on the worker, community and shift from collectivism to exploited independent contractor to celebrity culture as they explore alienation. The continued exploitation and redefinition of the commons, whom it is actually to benefit. The writer touches upon what this looks like in ripple effects, and how it has impacted voting.

Two quick case examples are used, Trumps win in 2016 due simply to the fact that a plausible alternative could not be demonstrated to the Labour loss in the UK in 2015 to the Tories, simply because they had produced a till receipt platform (costed to remove their “threat” as seen in the media and corporate world) but forgot the connecting narrative of Hope that voters were looking for (wonder if this can be extrapolated to the NDP loss in 2015 in Canada federally?). Also a bonus snapshot later on is looking at Bernie Sanders, and how to empower volunteers and actual talk with folks to propel movements.

Why does this matter? Whether Monbiot is writing about economic choices, the balance between corporate or state control (actually more of a balance, with each having their own sphere of influence). To exploring what democratic reform needs to look like in its simplicity (single transferable vote) to online direct civic democracy like in the Nordic countries (quite a case study of rapid feedback and impact). Yet as you wind through the democratic reform what emerges is a topic I am familiar with, the important of co-operates, interdependence of citizens; fair taxation; belonging– more pragmatically for Canada is a renewal of the Constitution Act 1982 that would see an abolishing of the provinces to empower/equip the Federal and civic governments appropriately. It reads as the need for governance being local, known, and impactful (as well as held accountable).

It is not just a book for a bookshelf. I will be using ideas within my research on community building for my 2021 writing project. For the political activist though now, who wants to affect positive change I law out a simple path.

  1. Online or within your cohort (it is covid times) establish a coffee-tea book klatch to read-discuss and activate.
  2. As we head towards municipal elections, borrow from my 2006 playbook (which I borrowed from Rt. Hon. Joe Clark in Calgary City Centre 2000) and establish healthy rainbow coalitions of teams to run for the positions in your municipal or country councils; and school boards.
  3. Ensure it is not the candidate with the most money you are voting for (especially with election donation rules changing), but the one most connected to your local communities.
  4. Leverage the network of the rainbow coalition to renew community association, non-profit, community, sport league and if you have religious members, their boards for new vitality health and working together for the best of the communities you exist in and the households that make them up.
  5. Take time to understand and discover who your neighbours are, and how different ideas of co-ops and alternative economics may benefit everyone.

Just a few thoughts to begin percolating your thoughts. Healthy community based transformation is possible, it literally begins one household at a time rejecting the concept that our governance bodies are for sale.

What’s your first step out of the wreckage and into the rebuild?

P.S. if you haven’t already Albertans check these folks out who are doing great work, Reboot Alberta,

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