Nutshell version

Are you fed up listening to bullshit from all quarters, watching and listening to meaningless waffle on television posing as news? Do you ever get the impression that those who think they know everything, don’t?

Are you thinking that having a job, a place to stay and a bank balance in the black, isn’t enough anymore?

Are you thinking you should not feel so useless just because you are unemployed?

Are you thinking you have better solutions to the problems you see in front of your eyes each day, than the solutions from above that continually fail?

You are not alone. It is difficult outside of those with a vested interest in the allusion that all is well, as they roll out their latest fly-by-night solution to paste over the cracks of a whole variety of problems. Some we are not even aware of yet – but will probably eventually pay dearly for, socially, as well as financially.

The problem for us. (if we are heading along the same lines) is. Knowing something is wrong is a start, but doesn’t solve anything. Understanding all the ins and outs of why things are wrong gets us a bit closer, which is useful. But the bad guys know this to and are happy if that is all we spend our time on.

We could keep protesting till things get better, complain to our peers, neighbours and anyone who will listen. This is what we do, those of us involved. We will try anything, because there is never usually enough people to do anything else.

The problems we will attempt here is.

If we are to engage and raise the awareness of the many we will need, if we are to force any kind of institutional change that will allow ordinary people to lead a decent life. How do we work to create that kind of solidarity? How do we relate the work that needs done in peoples language, understanding and experience?

We could ask. How do we put together some uncontroversial aims, or goals, that would help to form a strategy for working? Ideas around decent housing, fair rents, education for all, preventative health care. Basic standards that more nuanced work could be anchored around?

How do we get our feet under the table and become involved in forming the questions around planning and shaping our communities, before developers have their say, or way? (If we need to protest it is usually to late.)

Are there places we can do this? Where do people go? How do we rebuild and establish working class institutions that are not controlled by expensive rents, the whims of boards of governors and funding bodies?

Is there need to go on? Can we even think to the major problems of ecological disaster, war and global poverty, when the social base of our communities are being destroyed from so many quarters? Without some kind of social stability in our communities, can we expect folk to even think about the bigger important issues?

Is this not what we call working from the grass roots? Building from the ground up? There is good reason for thinking like this, because it is the first thing that gentrifiers and the neoliberalism project, seeks to destroy. The blight of land goes hand in hand with the blight of community structure.

Think global act local, as Patrick Geddes, wisely suggested. But the thinking needs to lead to intelligent answers. Because knowledge on its own is not intelligence. Intelligence comes from shaping knowledge into useful ideas. That’s the job of the radical imagination.

The beauty and what should give us hope, is we have most of the answers and plenty of ideas. How do we implement them, is the sixty four thousand dollar question. Part of the work towards that answer we hope to contribute to in this project.

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Basic Idea