It is intended to offer resources and explore ideas with the potential of purposefully directing the momentum needed for communities to create their own new community paradigms.
It seeks to help those interested in becoming active participants in the governance of their local communities rather than merely passive consumers of government service output. This blog seeks to assist individuals wanting to redefine their role in producing a more direct democratic form of governance by participating both in defining the political body and establishing the policies that will have an impact their community so that new paradigms for their community can be chosen rather than imposed.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
The small why was a desire to establish a foundation for the argument for the ostensibly lofty goal of creating new community paradigms. Ostensible because even though the goal is not within the apparent reality of most, requires significant transformations in all areas of community governance and economic development, is inherently complex and requires more exploration in new territories and likely future reassessments, revisions and regroupings, it is still possible to achieve through technology placed under a system of citizen based democratic governance. This argument though still continues to need to be build further.
This effort, the big why, is still to directly provide resources and connections to supportive groups to members of a community in creating new community paradigms on their own of their community through community governance by the members of that community, with or without city hall.
The primary focus is on citizen based democratic governance, more specifically direct participative democracy as featured in the Governance through Community wiki section and related blog post. Although having a technologically adept community is important in this effort, technology itself takes a supporting not a starring role as discussed here. We already have the resources necessary to start building new paradigms for community governance and to enhance the ability to fulfill the economic needs of the community's members as discussed here and here. What has been missing is the means of utilizing these resources and the community will to do so.
This brings up the at first seemingly unattainable chasm created arguably as a symptom of the current system of local political and economic power. Most people are not involved enough in their communities to make the necessary changes. Many currently have zero involvement because they have been turned off by the current system of power which becomes all the more entrenched because people are not involved. This is a matter of learned helplessness which can be unlearned.
Others continue to try to make changes but are locked out by the current benfactors of politics occupying city hall which often has the appearance of a democratic system but the culture of entrenched power.
In future articles, it will be asserted that this is not as unattainable as may be seemingly apparent. While members of a community may have different degrees of involvement in their community, it is still possible to organize to generate the necessary community will for change.
For this to be even considered possible one would have to be able to first demonstrate that the current political and economic development system was starting to crumble under its own weight because of its increasing inability to provide true economic benefit to communities and explain why this was happening. This is not the primary focus for this blog but the media is full of stories of cities going bankrupt and organizations such as Strong Towns arguing that the current template for economic development is a giant ponzi scheme. These stories are often featured in the related Economic Development in San Gabriel plus World Facebook Page and Community Paradigms Twitter feed. It would also be necessary to argue that continuing on the current path is not sustainable. This argument can be made for both economic and environmental reasons.
There is though no choice in abandoning the current system, only in trying to determine what will replace it, the quicker, the better. Those decisions, are in part, already being made by those in power under the current political system of city and municipal government and related economic development benefactors. They will not only hold on to the old ways as long as possible despite any destructive tendencies, they will also try to mold any replacement of the system not only to their own benefit but in support of the culture entrenched under the current system. In many cases, the culture of the existing system is so pervasive that the system repels attempts to change it even when someone does try to do so with the best of intentions. This is the reason for a lack of faith in any politician or political interest that claims to be the only means of bringing about change but only if they are voted in.
This may be like a small drip of water against a giant stone but I know that others are working on this in their own way and if we continue to consistently and persistently work on realizing these new paradigms for our communities we will start seeing desired changes at the most fundamental levels.
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