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Building hopeful politics in Australia

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One rainy day, we shut down the World Economic Forum.

What can we do to encourage a "politics of hope" to thrive in Australia?

preemption.jpg
Australia's post democratic society (download poster)

absov.jpg
Aboriginal Sovereignty (Adelaide Indymedia

first... some stories...

I want to start this section by linking to some awesome stories of the Earthdream convoy in 2000, that went to nuclear mines like Beverley, with Uncle Kevin Buzzacott and the local Indigenous communities (you can find the audio here) and also, I always love reading the Labrats' epic tales, and you might too.

These stories are examples of direct actions, and the transformative power of just being out there, bearing witness to injustice, and taking direct action where it is strategic to do so. Direct actions have such a great way of unmasking power for what it is, and are opportunities to begin passionate conversations with people who were actively involved or observing.

Skilling up each other as Organisers

There is a great value in the practice/ praxis of "organising" in everyday life. There are so many opportunities to wake people up to power relationships, increase solidarity and to increase peoples' confidence in facilitating their own community decisions. [see this section to read a story about my organising experiences]

Supporting each others'development as change-makers

My lecturer, Lyn Carson, encourages us to develop a culture of critical self-reflection, by cultivating practices such as (professional) journal writing where we evaluate our assumptions and our realisations, striving to become more effective and open-minded. Also, having a "critical friend" who listens to our situation and asks Strategic questions for example "what are the barriers in the way of you doing this goal?"

Critical thinking

If we want our communities to become better at critical thinking, we've got to stop being afraid of arguments. George Lakoff points out an overriding metaphor in our culture, that we see ARGUMENT as WAR, and therefore something to be avoided. However, what is to stop us from seeing argument as a dance?

Unless we are prepared to confront each other and focus not on what unites us, but try to clarify/ crystallise AND RESPECT our differences (and not see that as a threat to unity), we will not have the ability to deal with bigger issues of difference.

Crucial to this is an understanding that disagreement does NOT presuppose binary opposition. It is the binary mindset that thwarts the fertile potential of disagreement. (dialectical productivity) .... for a vision of an Australia that sees beyond binaries, read Derrida's vision for Europe

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After the federal election, the willingness of Australians to re-elect a morally bankrupt Liberal party to office suggests a fearfulness that cuts to the heart of suburban mortgages.

Ironically, it was control over the economy, and interest rates that figured high in voters' minds. This is the only kind of self interest that the Liberal party can claim to satisfy working class people with. Everyone is trapped by the cycle of debt. (Read Antonio Grubacic's article on Zmag for an insightful analysis of post-US elections- ppl voting against even their self-interest)

This is in the context of a world where interest rates are far more influenced by the war on Iraq than by any domestic measures to reduce inflation. Even governments are left "helpless" bystanders when they have ceded their power to corporations and IFI's (International Financial Institutions).

The Liberal Party now claims it has a "mandate" for sweeping changes, (it calls "reforms") that are likely to pull the carpet of security from beneath the feet of ordinary Australians.

Financial, moral and social securities, will become subjugated to technologies of insecurity: surveillance and militarisation. To the right is a poster I wrote a caption to, that you can download. The picture is sourced from Not Bored.

Will post more later.- Write about Ghassan Hage and transforming/ resisting the current model of political parties

Student Issues

Living in Community, urban design, slowing down fast cities

Participatory Democracy

Any initiatives that hope to increase the joy of our community need to be centred around participatory democracy.

Education to enable participatory democracy

*People need to be inspired to question everything around them, and to think deeper beyond the surface level.

Praxis

*People throughout Australia need to learn skills of participatory democracy, such as basic facilitation.

In this way we will gain confidence as a community, in trusting outselves to make decisions and to sort out problems collaboratively.

Deliberative democracy in the form of a citizens jury was trialled in Bronte, Sydney, as outlined in chapter 13 of a book called "The Tao of Democracy". Chapter 14 is also on the web, along with an extensive bibliography. This methodology was trialled by my lecturer, Lyn Carson. She has a website, Active Democracy.

Children

*Children should learn skills of dialogue

This could be through a modified form of debating- dialogue debating, which aims at consensus rather than winning.

Children can learn skills of conflict resolution from their parents. Jenny Ledger (2000) p7 recounts a story of how a group of six year olds who grew up on a commune resolved a conflict about bikes.


Education: Creating a strong academic community

Media

Questioning media and developing new forms

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...Here, I will document stories of people like you and me who are working to deepen democracy in Australia.

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