We’ve written a fair bit about the importance of building from the grassroots upwards if people are serious about radical social and economic change. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, real radical change means that decision making power comes down to the level of the neighbourhood – that can only happen if movements for change start out with a solid, accountable base in the community. Secondly, the range and variety of grassroots projects all provide opportunities to experiment with ways to build the new world we want in the rapidly decaying shell of the one we currently have to endure. Below is a selection of posts from our sister blog, the Heckler, that we wrote on this theme last year:
Staying grounded… 21.06.19
Just getting on with it… 26.04.19
Plugging the gaps 15.04.19
The onset of the COVID-19 crisis sparked off some real growth and experimentation in grassroots mutual aid and solidarity groups. As the ‘crisis’ looks as though it will be with us for many months if not years to come, hopefully these groups will grow and adapt to whatever shite is going to be coming our way in a very uncertain and precarious future. This is a summary we published of a number of reflections on how these projects were going and what lessons could be learned from their experiences:
We’re entering a different phase of what is starting to feel like a never ending COVID-19 crisis. This comes against the backdrop of rising social tensions plus an economy in tatters after months of lockdown with a steep rise in unemployment looming on the horizon as the furlough scheme is wound down with an increasing number of companies making redundancies or facing collapse. Essentially, we’re talking about a clusterf**k of crises…
If ever there was a need for grassroots community action, solidarity and mutual aid groups, it’s now as we enter an unpredictable and potentially volatile period. Looking at the news, everything can seem totally overwhelming with absolutely no hope for the future. The key to combating this is finding something that you, working collectively with your neighbours, can control. A community vegetable garden that gives you some degree of control and autonomy over your food supply is just one example of what can be done. Not only that, working on a common community endeavor plays a major part in building the solidarity we’ll be needing.
What we’re going to do with Alternative Estuary and our sister blog, the Heckler, is to revisit what we have already written and adapt and update it to meet the situation we’re now in. We don’t pretend to have all of the answers and realise that there’s no one size fits all model that can be applied to a grassroots project. They all have to evolve in their own way depending on who is involved, the resources they can secure and the situations they’re having to deal with. What we hope to do is provide the inspiration for people at the grassroots to work together for positive change.