Context for action

A few ideas to get people going and the scope of the project. The possibilities are limited only by the imagination

Tool Box?

This project is a localised version of some of the elements of building solidarity towards a global movement for change. We do not want to get involved reinventing the wheel. If there is stuff already happening out there we want to support it, not reinvent it. Our main concern is not so much with the activist, although our fellow activists should probably agree, but with expanding the movement for change by finding ways of getting ordinary people involved. Not just mobilising them for rallies but encouraging new community leadership building understanding and resilience in their communities in tackling the neoliberal policies that are making their lives miserable. So what tools do we have to share? What is it we do not know about? Where is everybody? Not just in the city centre, in the peripheries, but in the country and elsewhere?

Check the user map see if you are on the list. We will populate the toolbox as time goes on.
Contact for more information:
Check ideas page
The Neoliberal Toolbox
The Citizens Handbook
Glasgow User Map

Deconstructing the Pyramid of Superiority

There is still a propensity not only in working class communities to depend too much on the judgments of others, voting and so on, on outside expertise. The idea is for communities to stand up for themselves. And the work here is difficult, which many shy away from. This being the in-depth community organising and listening that needs to be done that will help find and inspire community leadership. True leadership that can articulate and represent community solidarity to demand or negotiate the change they have found consensus for. The temptation for outsiders is just to get on with it and do things for people. This is fine if it is the kind of help that leaves a residue that the community can pick up when the visitor, activist, artist, moves on. Rebuilding devastated working class institutions is an imperative if a grass roots is to be invigorated. That is slow and sometimes painful work that needs to be developed at the root of the community and remembered by the transient activist or strategic developer that stratgies need to be informed by the process of that work.

Collabourations & coalitions 

When we speak about collaboration, coalitions and solidarity there is always something to be given up, something we need to relinquish to others. Sometimes we need to stand back and let others get on with it. It is only natural particularly when so much time goes into developing ideas, we all have egos and pride to some extent. Making the judgments can be difficult, trust is fickle and open ended. But built into the work we do should be the ability to walk away from it, or give it up and be able to start afresh with new ideas. Because things change, nothing stays the same, we need to keep ahead of the curve. Sometimes all you get out of activism is the privilege of being involved. Because building sustainable change takes time, it does not bring instant gratification. It is about trying things, if they don't work try something else. It is about getting used to disappointment loosing battles and being ready for the next challenge. Working with others is the same. You need to enjoy what you are doing and be ready to give it up for the common good. And remembering. If we agree about every thing, it wouldn't be a coalition

City Evolution

Cities are a process of evolvement and that evolution needs to include the public or the people who will take up the space, their ways of life, cultures, traditions, occupations as well as public and private life. Otherwise they become reduced to their commodified value and susceptibility to exploitation. Cities are not only about buildings but about the organic transformation of culture, living habits, taboos and traditions. That is how folk identify with them. Remove these elements and you are left with lifeless hulks where communities live, but do not thrive, or can not innovate to take part in the evolutionary process. Becoming locked in bland housing, regulated lifestyles, in which the car, the wage, the purchasing power is the standard of life.
Healthy cities evolve when people have options on how they want to live. What we are offered is deregulation for capital and Dickensian regulation for people and their activities.  When we once had pioneers of ecological and social living we now have developers of private interests. We need to reinvest in ideas based on human intelligence, not those thrown up by computer algorithms.
Patrick Geddes   Anna Buchan  Ian McHarg

Climate Breakdown

Part of the problem in the climate catastrophe we are facing, apart from the all consuming problem itself, the enormity of it and lack of understanding of what needs to be done, by ordinary people. If we look at the city as a microcosm of the world it could offer some useful practical ideas towards understanding of the bigger picture and things we can do in looking at the pragmatic questions that communities all over are dealing with. If we can not solve problems and create solidarity in the microcosm of the city, what do we do when it comes to the major overarching problems of climate change? While our local environment may so far escape the disasters our fellow human being are suffering in other parts of the world, our cities, western cities are the epicentres of these catastrophes in the first place. When our school kids need to take the day off school to protest the destruction of the planet, we need to wonder what our education system is there for in the first place. When our school kids look to the community to find support, answers and solidarity in protecting their future, where they can not find it in their banking education system. It should give us hope for better places of learning about the world. And the belief that the thing the masters of destruction fear most is self determined organised communities. Where we believe our work should begin - is turning problems into opportunities.
Pollock Free State

Harvesting Power

Based on the assumption that we can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect something different to happen. We will just get exhausted. Activism is like a jet plane it takes masses of energy to get it into the air. But once it is airborne it can cruse and glide on a fraction of the fuel it takes to get off the ground. Like the fuel on a jet plane we need to be economic and careful where we spend our energy. The struggle against neoliberalism is continuous. It is not about using masses of amounts of energy voting every four or so years but about using our fuel to keep us buoyant for the long-term in building solidarity. The struggle is continuous. We can educate people about growing food, the disciplines, care and attention needed in yielding a healthy crop. We could also be apply the same principals of permaculture, (common sense gardening) to community work in finding organic community leaders who can first understand the connections and relationships that are needed, if we want to, turn jobs back to work and land back to earth and to understand the inter-connected social, political and economical, relationships to wholesome food is this is also applicable to the energy needed in building wholesome communities

Place Based Learning

Young people deserve an education that respects their unique contribution to building our society. Not as a means of getting out of their community. We need to see learning as a means to make our communities wonderful places to live and be in and want to stay in. Place-based education emerges from the fertile intersection of environmental education and community development, but it offers a fundamentally different approach to both. It bucks the trend of one-size-fits-all knowledge - by immersing students in local heritage, regional cultures and landscapes. These local opportunities and experiences can be the springboard for studying more regional, national and global issues, as well as helping folk to make positive changes in their own communities. Where: Learning takes place on-site in the local community and environment and focuses on local themes, systems and content. Learning is personally relevant to the learners experiences and can contribute to the community’s vitality and environmental quality. Learning is supported by strong and varied partnerships with local organisations, groups and is interdisciplinary. Learning experiences are tailored to the local audience. Learning is grounded in and supports the development of a love for one’s place. Local learning serves as the foundation for understanding and participating appropriately in regional and global issues. Like teaching architecture to children. And while teaching business studies in school, we would also be teaching students how to start and run a trade union.     Common Good Scotland

Architecture as a social subject

"Today the relationship to what is being built is between the architect and the client rather than the people who will live in or use the building. "With the vast amounts of tax payers money spent by the authorities on public works, how then are the public expected to asses such public building projects in terms of their usefulness to the community. Architecture and design are treated as vocational subjects. Why are design and architecture not treated as social subjects early on at school? In a multi materialistic society the assessment of design quality in building and when purchasing goods, would be of economic and practical use to most people, after all people are born in buildings, and spend most of their life in them. People send their kids and parents attend dance class, drama class, and art classes. Less than 1 per cent of these children will take up dancing acting or art as a full time career yet classes are crowded because they are enjoyed. For while most of us do not take up professional dancing, or indeed professional architecture, we all do spend most of our lives in buildings. Why do we not teach architecture to children?" Victor Papanek When so much of our environment is in the control of experts and usually paid for with public money, why isn't some of the budget put aside in order that the public can employ their own representative, expert, who would work to inform the community of the social and economical impact of major building works in their areas?
Design for the real world  The Green Imperative

Social History

Maybe we could look at he lack of working class institutions, places where folk can learn about the history of struggle and what is going on. Particularly concerning young folk joining the movement. Were are the places they can learn, not only from their peer group but from inter-generational discussion and connection with their history? Without these institutions we are constantly doing the same work over and over again and with each generation reinventing the wheel in ignorance to what has happened before.
There is plenty of scope but practical topics could be: Looking at ourselves before looking at the system. The free university existed before the internet mainly through face to face meetings, place based learning and framing the issues in the community experience as well as the international context. What have we learned in how to resist the capitalist model; in reshaping values, social economics and building solidarity? Are we building strategies towards institutional change, rather than only cultural change, like not just about learning how to survive in a corrupt society, but learning how to change it? The question could be. How have we as an alternative movement progressed in building a movement to challenge the status quo over the last 50 years and what can we do to improve on it?  Spirit of Revolt  The Sparrows nest

Glasgow User Map

The map has been up for a few years now and is due for updating. It would be great to have the information on the Open Street Map rather than Google. If there are any map developers out there? We will use the map to update this project. If folk have any links to groups, history places of interest please send them, with a picture if possible. 
Also: Common Good Map

Dereliction of duty to people over commerce and industry

One would need to spend a day to even plot out a fraction in the corruption and abandonment through partnerships and trust in Scotland of milking the cash cow of state funding into the pockets of business. Non more so than Glasgow, with around 30% of the population of Scotland within the Glasgow area. 'Unfortunately, this is not the kind of 'missing £5k' that gets people arrested in Scotland; it's the kind of 'missing £30 billion' that gets absolutely no-one arrested in Scotland ever." Robin MaAlpine Amid new list of library closures and the threat of closure of the places like the Museum of Modern Art, to the closing of "Legacy Hub" in the east end of the city. Which was supposed to be part of the legacy of the Commonwealth Games. All of these closures are due to continuous administrations freeing our assets to privatisation, and bad planning, then, trying to blame and raise funding streams from the public to pay for them. Glasgow city council argued to every court in the land to stop women employees having equal pay with men. The public are given options with what we want to save as if the fault is with the public, whether it is parks abandoned to dereliction, or exploitation of our mass transit system. The cities procurement process relies on selling off of assets putting communities in debt to the banks with things they already own through Asset Based Community Transfer ABCT. When the need is for Asset Based Community Development. Meaning ownership remains the states responsibility and day-to-day running of assets in the hands of the community. But even in this study how these things are applied is worth keeping in mind. For us, we think that ABCD provides the wrong answer, but asks some of the right questions.

Commons and The Common Good Fund

To understand the work of our group it is useful to have some understanding of what Scotland’s Common Good Fund is. (CGF)
The CGF, is unique to Scotland, it is worth tens of millions of pounds in places up and down the country. Consisting of money, land, buildings and movable assets, the fund is 500 years old and has laws to protect it. These funds are held in stewardship by the different councils for the good of its citizens, and future generations. Any moneys made from CGF rents and sales, should automatically, be put back in to the CGF for community use.
Over the years, through a lack of awareness particularly by young folk that the fund exists has allowed many of these assets to be misplaced, lost and privatised. We believe these funds should be used for what they were intended. That local folk should be able to access them to build nurseries, schools, or have street parties, or whatever the various communities think they should be best used for. The group are part of campaigning work, in places all over Scotland to identify, record and restore, Scotland’s CGF back into public control, through workshops, publications, and informal training. There is also the process of creating, more common good and also identifying our work as common good.  Scottish commons Website      Common Good Map PDF 
What is Scotland's Common Good Fund? (video)