Thursday, 9 January 2020

After #GE2019 what do we do?

Anyone who has read my posts on this blog will know there is a common theme and that is economic democracy, which means businesses being owned and controlled by the people who work in them. As I've said many times this is something we can do now and its happening all over the world. I've given many examples in previous posts and pointed people in the direction of help and guidance to get started - here is an example from 2012, which describes how people built their way out of the economic ruins of Detroit and the crash of 2008.

The beauty of worker cooperatives is that they are rooted in the local community. They don't downsize or outsource and most of the wealth they create stays in the local community boosting its health and wellbeing and quality of life. This is why everyone on the left needs to get behind building economic democracy.

So what has this got to do with the 2019 election? A lot. We are now faced with another five years of Tory government and probably a hard Brexit. The assault on the unemployed and disabled will continue. Rough sleeping will continue to grow. The economy will struggle and may go into recession. There will continue to be a hostile environment for migrants and nothing will be done about the climate crisis. 

To deal with this We need a two-pronged approach working to elect a radical Labour government in 2024, and building community support from the grassroots upwards. At a community level, this means mutual aid - solidarity not charity. But it isn't just about providing food, clothing, and shelter for the victims of this government. It's about creating meaningful jobs and building homes. It's about recreating and rebuilding the commons. We can do these things ourselves and it's already happening.

To really make this take off we need help. Finance is a major issue. Whilst some projects can be realised through crowdfunding others will require financial support. This is where local councils come in, and despite the fact that they have had budgets slashed by the Conservatives there are still many things that councils can do to support local groups and build community wealth, which is why it's important to elect as many Labour councillors as possible.  We need to ensure that councils are following, where possible, The Preston Model of community wealth building. 

Councils can also help in the fight against the climate crisis. They can improve public transport systems and pedestrianise town centres. They can improve local recycling facilities, rewild council land, build energy-efficient housing and help set up community energy companies powered by green energy. 

One example of community action from the UK is CAG Oxfordshire:

"Community Action Group (CAG) Oxfordshire consists of over 70 groups across Oxfordshire, at the forefront of community led climate change action, organising events and projects to take action on issues including waste, transport, food, energy, biodiversity and social justice.
Started in 2001, the network is the largest of its kind in the UK, running over 2,000 events per year, attended by around 80,000 local residents and contributing over 20,000 volunteer hours to the county."

This government isn't going to help us so we need to get together and help ourselves. We can do it and make a positive difference in people's lives. We still also need to work and campaign at a national and regional level to put pressure on the government, and campaign to get Labour elected the next time around. There's a lot to do but we can do it. Let's get on with it.

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