Notes from first PPS- Down Under Meeting

PPS-Down Under  First Meeting notes-

On the 28th February an initial get together occurred for Project for a Participatory Society Down-Under (PPS-Down Under) members who live in Melbourne, Australia. While a small turn out, all three of us were enthusiastic as to future efforts and contribute a variety of perspectives from our various backgrounds and experiences. Over a few drinks we discussed our political inclinations and our experiences and understandings of progressive and working class efforts in general. The shared hope for the group is to explore, implement and develop participatory values and structures.  After some interesting and engaging conversations we all determined some points to focus on for the next meeting. We agreed that to begin we would-

·        Exchange writings, book suggestions and website addresses. This enables each of us to understand where we’re coming from and to create some points for discussion and exploration. A focus was on articles and links that focus on participatory values or groups and current efforts that can inform our future efforts.


·        Confirm time and date for the next meeting. At the moment the group hopes to meet at least once a month and hopefully also have time for either online discussions with others across the country or some outreach work. Sometime early in April is the current expectation for the next meeting.


·        Decide upon some key questions and possible ideas/vision to promote for the group and future projects. As this first meeting was to determine if we all would like to work with each other and pursue participatory efforts in Melbourne, the group needs to outline a more defined structure both in terms of how the group is organized but in terms of its vision and focus. Current suggestions outline Vision and Strategy as the two areas to build from- examining and presenting participatory vision while having clear strategic and tactical aims that allow the group to advocate and act. These points will hopefully be fleshed out over coming meetings to ensure a solid and participatory foundation is in place for Melbourne PPS efforts.


·        Small steps in building our group. We all agree that we need to realistically and patiently build our efforts. All involved have existing commitments so we hope to build an inviting forum for people to participate that does not require huge commitments of time and effort from people initially. In recognising this we realise that the process will be slow and hard. While it’s great to have vision and hopes for great participation and success, we all agreed that if we remain persistent and consistent with our efforts we can build a growing momentum of the coming months and years.


·        Examine print avenues to expand exposure and participation. We agreed that we should seek participants from outside the usual progressive circles, i.e ‘not preaching to the choir’. We all felt that there are others like us within the community who share our values or have become disillusioned with more traditional Leftist organizations and structures. This does not mean that we will exclude working with or engaging with people from progressive and radical groups. We think our vision and values are attractive and offer a means for people to move past dogmatic and bureaucratic structures by creating meaningful avenues for participation and the ability to create a movement that reflects the type of society we want to create. As a first step towards this we’re seeking to develop information and recruitment material to reach out to people to ensure that we can constantly grow and reach new audiences.


·        Community agriculture/farms one possible avenue of community engagement/application of participatory ideas. One member is involved with and has experience in working with community agriculture projects. We all felt that this might provide a means to reach out to the community in a constructive manner while providing examples of participatory practices at work.

These are the initial ideas and focus for the coming months. As stated, it’s hoped that a working structure and foundation will be put in place in the coming months that will allow us to concentrate further on outreach and advocacy. A large majority of this year will be spent in developing these basic first steps.

Any feedback, ideas and recommendations on pitfalls to avoid, projects that have worked well, and strategies to attract people to participate and become involved is more than welcome. We hope to share our experiences as we go and to learn from, and with, the Z Community as we go

Our efforts can be followed here on Z at our ZSpace Group page- http://www.zcomm.org/zspace/group/PPS-Down Under

Or visit our Facebook group page by searching for ‘Participatory Society Australia’ where interested people across Australia can be found.

Watch this space, more to come!






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