After attempting to galvanise enthusiasm for the creation of a parsoc advocacy group a little over 12 months ago through the organising of talks on participatory economics and politics and associated meetings i turned away from such advocacy per se in favour of increasing my involvement with existing instruments of local democracy, namely my parish council and my social club, despite their lack of participatory ideals as understood through the collection of parsoc works. Despite the lack of this open advocacy, their defence is of great importance; the social club has been threatened by corruption, whilst the parish council, as relic of an era before my village was incorporated into Newcastle Upon Tyne, serves as an important check on developments affecting the local area.
I have applied to be ‘co-opted’ onto the parish council, a decision is to be made after i have attended the next two meetings. It has a budget of 2000 pounds per annum, half of which is spent on the employment of a clerk. It functions primarily as a lobbying body, having the ears of city councillors and established links with the police etc. The ongoing development of the green belt adjacent to Hazlerigg is something the Parish Council can influence, to some extent.
I have been involved with the reopening of my social club under new management, a process through which i have come to know many of the members. The Club represents community assets in the region of 500,000 pounds and lies at the heart of Hazlerigg Village. I am concerned that part of the club is going to be sold to pay debts, as has happened in the past, and intend to make sure other options are pursued.
In addition i have moved into a Housing Coop nearer the centre of Newcastle where i intend to live whilst maintaining a role in Hazlerigg through the above institutions. The fact my rent now goes to the development of a community asset gives me a great deal of satisfaction. Other than that i have ordered 20 T-shirts from a friend, who advocates Parecon values: “One T-Shirt Closer to Revolution” with the pps logo. I am working towards a MA in Latin America and intend to specialise in Food Security, an issue which I believe is very much entwined with participatory economy.