The pulling-it-all-together process has started. Last week I looked at some exploits and realisations that I had about a few things like positioning ourselves as campaigners, the deficiencies in the political and the polity, what woman can do specifically and why, and that we must transcend: from the ego to the eco (develop as humans in a complex system). In my blog I also started to seriously grapple with my relationship to D.E.M.O.C.R.A.C.Y. Here I summarise my thought development since that nightmare moment waking up on Elm Street.
It really does seem that it was the Brexit referendum that had kicked my mind into a state of wanting to understand. Argh. What’s going on? Although some trauma was involved I am sure, I also tried to look at the unfolding and unravelling events with a certain detached interest. I am planning to move back to Germany (fekk off back to the country whence I had crawled out of in 1996). It made sense to me to write a post about neoliberalism as Germany has not been exposed to this kind of “economy first” politics with such passion as the UK has (in German).
Brexit was a major wake-up call to my mind. So much so then came the Trump election. All this that started happening to us – all around us – had begun to make sense to me. We had politically been too passive. Sir Appleby’s thin end of the wedge had now been reached. Bump. We, the electorate and civic society at large, took the eye off the ball that is democracy. Democracy is fickle and needs careful attention. We forgot that it is only ever a few steps away from totalitarianism and authoritarian regime.
I started thinking about my (loony leftie) position in this. Change can happen quickly, and it happens all the time, and it can normalise at a pretty rapid pace. Trump is subverting our sense of security and self, that the previous systems gave us. Mind you, in the absence of care for the environment and the trumping of economics, the previous political systems were ready for a big shake up… to rectify the power of turbo-capitalism. Instead we lunged to the right.
First, it was the local effects that concerned me. As an activist/campaigner I had noticed the council’s processes of marginalisation and exclusion of civic society and I had begun to theorise about these. Also I had noticed council’s self-prescribed states of serial amnesia. No past, no identity, no future. No justification needed and no responsibility required seems to be the memory-loss motto in Newcastle council’s strategy. This sorry state is politically endorsed too. The effects of ill-defined direction are bad communications and the public being left to do some twitching between anger and lethargy, condemned to a never-ceasing state of childhood under the care of a split personality parent (yes, this made me angry). It got obsessive for me… I put together some thoughts on community engagement and also here and here too.
Following my deliberations about consultation, I turned to the political. Councillors in Newcastle are either dull or deliberate in their dismissal of policy (as a direction giver) and conceptualisation of public majority. I specifically looked at my local ward Councillors who are brilliant at frantic inaction, attention-grabbing opportunities that are not theirs and general sandpit skirmishes. It is a very fraught civic environment. Resulting in this council-confetti outburst. A public debate about democracy and the democratic processes we follow is badly needed in Newcastle, evidently.
Having wrestled and reckoned with the local, I was ready to do some panning out again. I looked at political theories and started developing my political-sciences knowledge of the tripartite political worldviews. Putting sociology and politics together gives a melange. Answer to the questions “why is that happening now?” and “what is democracy” can be attempted. Put overlord economics in the mix and it gets toxic – and here. Our current world system is dehumanising, hence humans splinter, become suspicious and anxious. Bringing this back together, healing these contradictions, is the socio-ecological system – once we acknowledge that we are mere humans, humility and responsibility included, society can blossom and nature can thrive. You would not normally shit in your own living room, surely?
Yes, frames and mottos matter in politics. Bremen (my comparison city) is in the g-grips of the “cyclists are safer on the road” mantra of the vehicular cycling sectarians. This is now slowly changing in Bremen – too slowly for my taste. Call me a campaigner. Yet political action can also be impressive (especially in comparison to Newcastle) leading from the front, as I described here.
The regular reader of my blog may have noticed, that I have ranted very little about drivers. Partially this is the case because my old blog had put that to bed, resting relatively peacefully in my head at least. The campaigning mind comes in developmental phases, yes. Yet pan out one step (from personal to the socio-technical level), and automobility is a problem. A massive, massive-massive, MASSIVE problem. In part it is a problem because decision-makers and advocates believe it is the majority view – I say they could not be more wrong.
Putting together the three political worldviews and the three planes of the socio-ecological model, I devised this schematic to illustrate how a more healed and whole polity can emerge. Thanks for reading.