2009 saw PPS-UK develop in a number of ways. Membership continued to increase – however there still seems to be only about 10% of members taking an active role within the organisation, a figure that has been consistent from day one. Also, of these active members some attended a number of events to give talks on participatory vision and strategy. Amongst other things we also had a National gathering which generated interesting discussion around organising as well as creating an opportunity for members from different parts of the country to get to know each other a little better.
All of this constitutes important development for our organisation – but what should our priorities be for 2010? Obviously this is an open question for all of us to consider but I want to put down some ideas for what I think should be our priorities for others to consider and give feedback on.
PPS-UK and IOPS:
One of the issues I think we should focus on next year has to do with the establishment of an international organisation for a participatory society (IOPS). As I think of it, PPS-UK is a National chapter of a future IOPS. However, we cannot set-up an IOPS unless, and until, there are a number of other National chapters (… or can we?). If this is the case what is this number? How many other National chapters do we need before we can sensibly initiate an IOPS? And what is the role of PPS-UK members in helping move things towards a situation whereby it is possible to establish an IOPS? What kind of activities can we engage in that will take us towards this goal?
These are some of the questions I think we need to be thinking about and discussing amongst ourselves and writing about in our Z Spaces and elsewhere throughout next year.
Our Part in the Fifth International:
On a similar subject, recently it was announced that the Venezuelan Government is interested in founding a Fifth International. This, I think, is very exciting indeed. Although we don’t have a lot of information to go on regarding what this new international would look like and how it might function the very fact that it is being considered very strongly indicates a dissatisfaction with the existing approaches of radical-progressive organising at the international level. This is something that I also feel and I am sure I am not alone. In particular, the founding of a new international by the Venezuelan Government could help to overcome the Marxist / anarchist divide that has helped to maintain the split within the revolutionary left – which of course weakens the movement and in turn makes the elitist dream of corporate lead globalisation all that much easier to make true.
As more information becomes available we (PPS-UK) will need to think about what our role within this new international could be and what part we might have in helping to establish it
Thinking about Decision-making:
One of the central issues that became clear during the past twelve months has been that of decision-making within PPS-UK. Some members feel that we should establish a more formal, nested council, structure for decision-making as soon as possible (or right away) whilst others feel that, at this stage in our development, an informal approach will suffice until we have more active members and more functioning local chapters. At the last National gathering the consensus seemed to lean towards the latter approach but I am sure that this issue will continue to be debated into next year.
Developing a Collective Program:
Another big issue that emerged during 2009 was that of developing a program for the organisation. We only really started to discuss this near the end of the year but it will no doubt be a central issue for us in the future. At the last National gathering I presented a program for others to consider, on which some members have commented. However, I would like to know what others think and I hope that more members will present their proposed programs – out of which could develop a collective program.
Growing Local Chapters:
In addition to organising for an IOPS we also need to think about how we can encourage new local chapters to be set-up as well as the growth of existing ones. As I laid-out in my program proposal I think the best way to do this is by promoting local chapters as new political institutions in embryonic form. I think that promoting local chapters in this way gives them a real sense of purpose and also helps demystify the transition from representative democracy to participatory democracy.
More National Gatherings:
All of the above requires people getting together and thrashing out ideas for organising. To some extent we can do this via our forum on the PPS-UK site. However, although great in many ways I am sure most will agree that there are real limitations to what can be achieved via such facilities. It is therefore paramount, if we are to more forward as an organisation in 2010, that we have more National gatherings to discuss our priorities.
Happy New Year!