I've heard criticisms about local democratic control, that it leads to small minded closed communities that won't address non-local issues (e.g. climate emergency, exploitation, capitalism).

I feel that it would go well if expanded, with appropriate structures in place (e.g. citizens assemblies).

Is this blind faith or are there some decent resources that can shed some light?

I can imagine there are specific examples of it working (or not), but I wonder about a more general analysis.

@nicksellen I never fully acknowledged the "oil stain theory" : starting small scale everywhere will lead to a mass mouvment. I feel an insurrection spreading like wildfire overnight will do more to bend the people who spreads the global catastrophies you mentionned.

@jums but how do we get beyond just our feelings about what will work?

It seems too easy to build solutions in one's head which seem to make sense but don't actually work when faced with reality.

That seems like it might be what happened with neoliberalism, to give the original architects the benefit of the doubt, that they didn't really intend it to quite go this way (markets that are more corrupt than free), and were merely just short sighted.

@nicksellen im not sure i can go "beyond" my feelings (and i surely dont pretend to have the solution in my head). I only witness the reality i perceive. As an example, I perceived that burning ~300 traffic enforcement camera overnight bended the autorities to not repair them (most of them are still out of order). This is a success that did not need democratic assembly to vote for the destruction of this control, car drivers were fed up, they burned what they were angry at, problem solved.

@jums I would widen the question to include that kind of action - I probably really mean "local people powered", which can come in many forms.

My question came when asking someone from Oxfam what they think about more localized power, and she was concerned about the limits of that mindset. I didn't have much, other than my personal feeling, to argue in favour.

Burning traffic enforcement maybe plays into that too - does the same process also deal with non-local issues?

@nicksellen The example was picked to show a success at a national scale (not a local issue) but without any local organisation/decision upfront.
Except this oil stain theory, i cannot answer you question about ressources. I feel expanding local democratic assemblies will always be against the dominants tools to stifle "local people powered" voices, making those local governance very hard to scale at national or international levels. and yes thats only my feelings...

@nicksellen Local democratic control likely will have a lot of inherent benefits for its members, but that doesn't prevent it from having negative externalities. For that, some degree of external oversight is still needed, but this is the case for just about every kind of organisation anyway and isn't a reason to not organise that way.

@captainbland I'm wondering the limits are, what they are based on, and what is the evidence for these points of view. Do you know of any resources that explain the negative externalities and why they are that way? Models, theories, case studies....

I'm looking for some things I can say when someone expresses their skepticism at the power of local organising to care beyond small minded self interest.

@nicksellen The recent Stir to Action had a few articles picking up on this point as well. Don't have it to hand but from memory it was interesting but not super rigorous. One made a good point that local focus or municipalism should always be thought of as a means not the end in itself.

@neil thanks, I'll see if I can find it to look at.

Although if municipalism is just a means, who is defining the ends? To me it seems the ends should just be the slightly random set of things the individuals want to do. I guess in this way the municipalism is just a means to achieve those ends given we are not all just individuals.

But ends can come in from the top too for those with a grand vision.

You made me dig through a load of my old bookmarks.. has a research focus, with open data sets. Might find useful stuff there?

Huge direct democracy link collection

Folks who theorise a society based around local direct/participatory democracy tend to suggest federation (via delegates) to address bigger issues

2 projects that promote such (& may have research on this issue)-



… Finally I know you said you weren't interested in examples, but it was (is?) a widespread implementation - Over recent years Venezuela put a fair amount of effort/resources into local democracy

maybe if you dig you may find some stuff about how it has played out there.

Here there are some films about this stuff in Venezuela from about 15 years ago (also other interesting stuff)

@dazinism super! Thanks for all that. Will take a while to dig through :)

I would quite like to take my findings back to the Oxfam person that triggered my current thought process and see what they make of it.

... but first, 3 weeks hiking in the Highlands

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