Pete Lawrence on alternative political landscapes where Campfire can play its part...
Shadow politics starts with imagining our world, reinventing ourselves as a utopian political movement of independents, in a very different mould, as a much-needed alternative to the circus of conventional party politics.
What do we want and how do we get it? It might normally be suggested that we’d be indulging in this for fun, but things aren't normal and the situation has suddenly become a whole more serious and we need to do something positive now.
We are now facing a rare opportunity to work towards a system of truly democratic politics that brings back control to a more localised level, based on consensus not compromise.
We need a way that people can start to govern themselves via more direct forms of democracy and we have the technology to support this. We can construct a community-led constitutional convention (that could be as simple as outlining our ways of working) that sets out its stall as a truly modern co-operative, which can also become a hub for a network of independent operators to challenge conventional politics in their local constituencies. It's not for Campfire to determine how we elect our representatives, how we ensure that they are accountable to us, and how local members can be truly involves in a wide range of political debates but we can certain act as a conduit for getting people talking to each other.
Campfire has a global vision – not just in terms of what remains of the UK, or even in relation to a reconstructed Europe. It stretches wider than that. We now need to take a global standpoint as our axis, a belief that though there may be local factors that provide variants, we are all essentially coming from the same place. There is no ‘other’ in our language, we are all in this life together and need to find ways of celebrating each other’s company, each others' unique qualities and the social and economic benefits that can flourish through diversity and collaboration. The magic that occurs when sparks ignite between people..
We have a duty to shape our politics around the notion of ‘we’ before ‘i’. We are all about people helping each other, working for the good of all. When the community prospers, we all prosper and share the fruits of our successes. Campfire's Kudos scheme aims to reward those who put the most in and work for the benefit of the community.
People have not been heard or listened to for decades. Campfire can build resources, we will create an environment where our members can listen to others, we will aim to make sense of the world around us through discussion and build policies and solutions by consensus. What can we learn from each other? What can we give to each other? We will encourage our members to find their own voice, to maximise their own skills, creativity and earning potential by engaging with the wider community in a global context. We need to move from the traditional job market economy into what comes next, which we ourselves can define. Campfire has the scope to be a truly international progressive force for change as it ultimately works towards a world without borders, where we join the dots but respect the differences and always look for the common denominator.
In the landscape of shadow politics, the Independents movement can offer the true alternative to monolithic, outmoded political party squabbling by identifying and electing local movers and shakers that are grounded and well-versed in local issues, initiatives and welfare incentives. We can facilitate discussions about the burning issues of the day - whether they might be supporting the increasing momentum towards universal basic income, the idea of reforming Westminster politics, of tighter environmental controls to counter global warming, of free education, of shared resources in the public interest, against privatisation of many of our basic services.
These policies can become central to Campfire too and our role will quickly become clear, whether as pressure group, think-tank or activist campaigners, whether working alongside progressive political independents or trailblazing our own initiatives.
The Campfire has symbolically been a great leveller, a place where social bonding occurs, a space that taps into the essence of how we communicate with each other, fostering a culture of listening, a spirit of open-mindedness and altruism. These qualities will be at the heart of Campfire, ensuring that the younger people who will shape our future can make the best of this world. As a priority, we will discuss what we can contribute to future generations at a time when society is so fractured and polarised.
We are in a position to new facilitate this new Project as a political entity, which can act as a hub for discussions and initiatives with a view to changing the political landscape. We invite you to come and join the discussion and get involved at our Campfire Conversation meetings around the UK and at the annual Convention.
We will discuss how we can collectively focus on the important policy initiatives happening at local level at our Campfire Circle meetings. It will be our duty to listen to the voices that have been exiled in the democratic vacuum around us. In the meantime, Campfire aims to be fun, provocative and thoughtful.
If you wish to avoid political involvement altogether, there are 14 other Guilds you can gravitate towards and maybe you're happy not to challenge the status quo?
As Margaret Mead said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Campfire Convention preview website