This evening, BBC Four will be looking at how 'life without government' - both the idea and the practice - seems to be gaining traction:
Futures Forum: Life without government >>> Carne Ross, the 'Accidental Anarchist' @ BBC Four
However, the question for us living in 'the West', let alone East Devon, is whether these ideas are relevant or of real use...
So, to what extent can we organise 'life without government'?
THE LEADERLESS REVOLUTION:
Carne Ross had already written about these practicalities five years ago:
The Leaderless Revolution
The Leaderless RevolutioN - Financial Times
The Leaderless Revolution - YouTube
It comes down to on-the-ground change. The most illuminating example Ross cites is the experiment conducted in Porto Alegre. In 1989 the Brazilian city was one of the most unequal in Latin America. It then embarked upon "participatory budgeting", with citizens encouraged to join debates about local spending priorities. Some 50,000 of its 1.5 million citizens take part. Apparently the number of schools has increased fourfold, while provision of sewerage and water is now comprehensive.
His message to the elite is that if they do not listen and act, they will face the consequences: "The less people have agency – control – over their own affairs, and the less command they feel over their futures and their circumstances, the more inclined they are to take to the street."
The Leaderless Revolution by Carne Ross – review | Books | The Guardian
LOCAL INITIATIVES IN THE SID VALLEY:
Many local initiatives have been 'bottom-up':
Vision Group for Sidmouth - Markets
Sidmouth Science Festival
Sidmouth Sea Fest
Sidmouth Coastal Community Hub
PEOPLE DOING IT FOR THEMSELVES IN EAST DEVON:
With more local initiatives of people doing it for themselves, whether on
Futures Forum: Community Land Trusts and affordable housing: part three: residents developing their own plans to build
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >> Scoping Study consultation > Economic Evidence Report
Futures Forum: Festival town Sidmouth
or small businesses:
Futures Forum: The Trials and Tribulations of running a small Devon farm
Although to be really 'bottom-up', it should not be at the behest of government:
Sidmouth communities to get ‘planning power’ - Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald
And it should certainly not mean that 'bottom-up' means 'the state is turning to volunteers to do its dirty work':
Futures Forum: Communities filling the budget gaps in the Jurassic Coast >>> "We need communities to be part of this process which is why we’re asking for their views."
Futures Forum: Communities filling the budget gaps by filling the potholes...
Futures Forum: Communities filling the budget gaps by cutting the verges
And vigilantism is not always the way forward:
Futures Forum: An uncertain future for policing: "It is the fact that places such as genteel Frinton no longer feel they can rely on the state."
Perhaps government is 'withering away' anyway:
Futures Forum: Devolution deals 'mixed and inconclusive'
Futures Forum: "The solely economic focus of devolution – and the corresponding lack of attention to the democracy of devolution."
Futures Forum: 'The Christchurch question' >>> 'Austerity has made local government financially unviable. Radical reorganisation may be the only answer.'
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: of devolution and rising costs
On the other hand, the Transition Town movement could be seen as all about 'organising life without government':
Futures Forum: Flatpack Democracy: 'Vote for Chaos'
Futures Forum: Transition towns and getting 'political'
THE WAY AHEAD:
And meanwhile the ideas being aired on tonight's BBC Four piece are taking root on the ground:
Futures Forum: Taking matters into their own hands in the face of seven years of austerity policies
Futures Forum: Life after the elections >>> "Anarchy in the UK? It could be the best government we’ve had"
Futures Forum: Neighbourhood Power: The New Localism
Futures Forum: Devon New Economy: at the forefront of new thinking
And these ideas go far and wide:
Futures Forum: What are the most efficient forms of energy.. at a local level?
Futures Forum: Open Source Ecology >>> Homebrew Industrial Revolution >>> Do-it-yourself sustainable development
Futures Forum: Sharing economy or gift economy?
Futures Forum: The empty promises of 'Job creation' - and the real possibilities from 'entrepreneur-led revitalisation' and the 'return of a spirit of self-reliance'