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Welcome to my blog. Im always looking for new ways of bringing people together to build campaigns. Im always amazed by the energy and passion of the people I meet and the different skills they bring to making change happen - the ideas we try out, the campaigns we work on, the relationships we build together. I want to share those stories with you. I hope you enjoy them!

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Building European democracy by shaping it together

Many of the countries in Europe have become what can be called “fragmengrated societies” – where electoral choice is dominated by a dual paradox of fragmentation and integration. People want a dynamic economic model where everyone can access opportunities and be rewarded on individual merit, but also a society which empowers them to work with others to ensure mutual respect and social justice. These patterns, previously predictable and individually coordinated are now increasingly fluctuating and interdependent of one another. Shaping these contradictions has become easier than keeping them in shape. European social democrats need to reclaim the story about enabling people to control their own lives, by shaping them together.

A narrative for the next generation

On the European social democratic left, we can learn these lessons. This doesn’t mean instinctively thinking that if we lurch to the other side of the political spectrum, the grass will be greener. What we think works or doesn't at any certain time needs to be seen through the context in which we live in, with the ever changing and ever more complex needs and expectations of our citizens, not through the lens of empty pragmatism nor prescriptive dogma.

Trying to minimise these expectations or targeting exclusively individualistic approaches to common problems do not resolve issues that are interconnected between citizens and dependent on common endeavour. However, neither does denying people’s need for individual autonomy in choosing how they participate in this common endeavour.

Why should I join your revolution if I can’t dance?

We need to channel those expectations through facilitating easier and better ways for our citizens and communities to influence the “body politics” and the “body society”. In other words, if we are to engage in a hegemonic battle for values, then this also has to be a battle for political equality. Especially when the lowest social classes engage four times less in civic activism and twice as less in civic participation as the highest social classes. Indeed, to paraphrase a cult socialist proverb, if the people can’t dance, they won’t want to join our revolution.

An invitation to the party: seeing the good society as our citizens do

We have a duty to invite, inspire and involve all social democrats into shaping the narrative, especially those excluded from political and civic participation. This invitation needs to make sense to our citizens and connect to their everyday lives and values. It needs to be worthwhile for them and make a difference in a way which is accessible. It needs to instil a sense of enthusiasm and hope, that by working with others towards this common endeavour, they can contribute to emancipating others by emancipating themselves towards “a society where everybody has access to the resources they need to live a good life”. European social democratic political parties are ideally placed to build this consensus to enable people to gain a better understanding of European politics and participate in its development by

o enabling everyone to shape a cross-European manifesto for the good society so we can better connect with the public and campaign in the political and social arena – building on examples such as Compass’ Programme for Renewal, Désirs d'Avenir’s “participative campaign” or PASOK’s “open democracy” and of course the PES Your Space Manifesto!

reaching out to those who share our values but not membership of a political party into the progressive coalition - learning the lessons of coalitions such as London Citizens and acting as a community hub but also inviting them to complete a regular “external audit” of our direction of travel which we are accountable to respond to, like the one carried out by the Swedish social democrats

devolving power to our party members so their everyday experiences and connections into communities can inform our parties and policies – building create two-way channels of communication to the people our policies aim to help, such as the Belgian PS’s “best local practice” or the Swedish SAP’s “devolved party democracy”

provide a flexible and accountable approach to European social democratic renewal at all levels - where everyone is tasked with identifying their "roadmap for renewal" from the leadership of our political parties (such as a charter of trust) to the grassroots - and what support they need to implement it

engaging people in a way which reconciles the tensions between their interest in social issues and distrust of party politics and enabling them to better experience democracy - people want the opportunity to participate when they want to and to not have to participate when they don't want to – such as Spanish PSOE’s “ideas mapping”

A lurch to the good society

We need to reconnect with the individual to better motivate common endeavour. We need to go beyond the nostalgic nimbyism of the right and foster a more inclusive civic pride which recognises the fluidity and diversity of the world we live in, where social justice is where we want to go and participative democracy is how we want to get there. We need to combine idealism and pragmatism, turning the interconnections of individual self-interest into a common endeavour, translating socialist values into the narrative of everyday experience and linking rights and responsibilities through the lens of a new social contract of participation and a redefinition of our framework of values. In short, we need to embody and act the change we wish to see in the world. “We become autonomous beings because democracy enables and empowers us to do together what we could never achieve alone”[2].


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