Remunicipalisation as a Response to Privatisation’s Failures

Even where corporate power is entrenched people can reclaim and improve services.  Remunicipalisation is an acknowledgement of the falsity that private is best or most efficient (except possibly in the support of hoarding wealth), and thus moves to return services to the public sphere.  This aims to make the services accountable to more than a motive to increase profit/power, emphasizing the needs of the community rather than the wealth of a few. This enables a focus on supporting the needs of all members of  the public, the environment and engagement with other similar projects in a reinforcement of solidarity:

 

https://www.tni.org/en/publication/here-to-stay-water-remunicipalisation-as-a-global-trend

http://www.municipalservicesproject.org/

http://www.remunicipalisation.org/

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Participatory Democracy: How Democracy Might Be Done Differently.

Whilst the mainstream media and established powers might intimate that the functioning of democracy would not be possible when placed in the hands of the people, this article suggests a number of ways that they could be involved, and have already in some places:

https://roarmag.org/essays/real-direct-participatory-democracy/

Raising Capital for Community Projects

Direct Public Offerings offer the opportunity to raise money that will support community projects without having the domineering requirements of quick profits or loss of control that might come with the usual funding opportunities. Read here for more:

https://www.cuttingedgecapital.com/direct-public-offering/

Comunalidad: Positioning not for your self

Here are two articles that act as an introduction to the notion of Comunalidad, a concept emphasised in Oaxaca, Mexico.  It is introduced/summarised as:

“Comunalidad is a way of understanding life as being permeated with spirituality, symbolism, and a greater integration with nature. It is one way of understanding that human beings are not the center, but simply a part of this great natural world. It is here that we can distinguish the enormous difference between Western and indigenous thought.”

“the vitality of comunalidad as it presents itself witnesses to the integration of four basic elements: territory, governance, labor, and enjoyment (fiesta). The principles and values that articulate these elements are respect and reciprocity.”

“What needs to be taught is nothing more than sharing the sharing of anger, enchantment, routine, misfortune, pain, tenderness, joy…All of which leads us to understand that no one can teach anyone else, or all of us must teach each other, and with that we reproduce intentions and resolve needs. This is what we learn from comunalidad.”

 

In this then…

“Communal beings, as Benjamín Maldonado affirms, make sense of themselves in terms of their relationship with the land… a relationship with the land that is not mercantile, a relationship of sharing and caring. That is, humans are linked to the land not only for organic sustenance, but also for spiritual and symbolic sustenance…We must find in the experience of our peoples the lessons necessary to create new conceptual frameworks. And we must not be afraid to construct new epistemological notions that will lead us to transcend even ourselves.”

The second article before relating an experience of comunalidad, first relates an encounter with choba-choba in Peru:

“The term choba choba is a Quechua word that means ‘hair with hair’ (choba means ‘hair’ in Quechua Lamas).  The significance of the meaning of choba-choba comes from the interweaving of hair braids that occurs during marriages.  This notion is extended to the interweaving of people, communities and the land.”

Before moving on to tell us how comunalidad focuses around four aspects:

“1. Territory:  Territory involves knowing the land where one is, the place that sustains the community, its history and stories, its plants and animals, not unlike what the Blackfoot where also teaching at Red Crow around place-based learning and traditional foods.

2. Work: Work involves the different kinds of jobs and skills that people from the community take part in and which is not necessarily only about an individuals’ work and skills. This can also be about collective or cooperative forms of work such as the choba chobain Peru, or the mutirão in Brazil.

3. The organisation of the community: The organisation of community life in indigenous communities and around Oaxaca happens through the various assemblies and individual roles of responsibility, cargo, which take charge of different aspects of the community.

4. The fiesta: Lastly, the fiesta is the celebration of work, of the community and the land, also having as Jaime points out, a spiritual dimension. It is the culmination of community life and comunalidad.”

Anyway read more yourself to give you a fuller picture:

http://realitysandwich.com/55644/the_fourth_principle_comunalidad/

http://enlivenedlearning.com/2013/02/28/inter-weaving-people-and-the-land-choba-choba-and-comunalidad/

Community Wealth Building

Here’s a website of an organisation that has a focus on creating an alternative economic system rooted in shared ownership and control, as well as ecological sustainability, emphasising the values of:

  • Broadening ownership and stewardship over capital
  • Democracy at the workplace
  • Stabilizing community and emphasizing locality
  • Equitable and inclusive growth
  • Environmental, social, and institutional sustainability:

https://democracycollaborative.org/

The Natural Commons As A Community To Which We Belong, Rather Than A Resource To Be Exploited

These two articles explain the basics of Community Land Trusts.  The thought behind these is that communal ownership of the natural resources, particularly in relation to the land, enables them to be used in a more responsible manner as many of those who are affected have a say in how they are used.  The alternative, that private interests are allowed to own the land and use its resources how they see fit, often leads to a pillaging of the resources with minimal concern for the impact this has on the rest of the community.  Whilst predominantly used in relation to community housing projects there are developments that see the retaining of ownership of the land by the community also being used responsibly to encourage other opportunities that benefit the community as a whole such as agricultural and commercial projects.  The crucial aspect is that if the community as a whole owns the land, the community as a whole can set the terms by which it is used, and also revoke the right to use it:

http://www.centerforneweconomics.org/content/community-land-trusts

http://community-wealth.org/strategies/panel/clts/index.html

Communities Rather Than Investors, Developing Rather Than Siphoning

Here’s a video that has a great brief explanation of how economics and power are interrelated in responding to the parable about teaching a man to fish.  As a suggestion off the back of this the article draws your attention to how a community can, through its governmental resources, enable an enterprise that benefits the community.  It does so through creating an investment cycle that cuts out any rentier investment entities (private investors who draw off the profits for themselves, meaning the money leaves the local community) and so passes financial benefits through members of that community (by giving them the opportunity and the profits in a more spread out way, making it more likely each will spend them within that community in some form).  This then serves to retain the benefits within the community and the extra income that is spent there offers opportunities for other people to develop other opportunities to the benefit of that community:

https://f4dc.org/2013/economic-incentives-yes-but-directly-to-the-community/

 

Chitsvachirimurutsoka Cooperative Farm

Chitsvachirimurutsoka (meaning nothing ventured nothing gained) farm in Zimbabwe has grown from a simple cooperative to playing a much larger role in supporting the local community through a number of initiatives and investments.  It’s development has included not only providing practical infrastructure (such as roads, sanitation, education, etc) for the local community but also encouragement to others to form cooperative models in different areas (such as housing, retail, savings, etc).  Within the video it’s revealed that there is a law in Zimbabwe that before a company folds it must offer the workers the opportunity to form a cooperative from it first, have a read/watch:

http://unsdn.org/2015/10/01/cooperative-newsletter-september-2015-activities-of-cooperatives/

Sumak Kawsay / Buen Vivir (Living Well Together), Not “Development”

Here is a set of sources that speak of a way of thinking and living in relation to development that focuses on well balanced relations between people, and with nature as a whole (on the video you can skip to 9.35 for an explanation of what the term means).  It attempts to move away from a growth orientated extractive model, and more toward a participative model that emphasizes equality and sustainability for all those involved (not just people), as well as suggesting use of open knowledge models.  It focuses on understanding the individual as situated within the context of their community and environment rather than as distinct:

http://www.resilience.org/stories/2013-12-17/ecuador-open-knowledge-and-buen-vivir/

https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/blog/buen-vivir-philosophy-south-america-eduardo-gudynas

 

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1057%2Fdev.2011.86

Basic Income and Communal Ownership More Than 30 years Old in Alaska

Here’s a fascinating piece outlining how shared communal ownership of resources can and should benefit the whole community rather than simply being siphoned off for those who are already wealthy.  With opportunities for generating a basic income and returning control of the environment back from corporations to a more democratic control much of what is suggested feels like a no-brainer for anyone thinking outside of a neoliberal model:

https://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/karl-widerquist/alaska-model-citizens-income-in-practice