From our experience of working on grassroots community projects, they generally attract a fairly wide range of people. What unites them all is the desire to work together on something that will deliver tangible results and make their neighbourhood a better place to live. Additional side benefits are meeting new people, making new friends, sharing skills and learning new ones. All of these things help to build a sense of community where people are willing to help each other out.
People getting involved in neighbourhood projects may well have views that stretch more of a distance across the political spectrum than is the case with those who define themselves as activists. From our experience when we were canvassing for the Independent Working Class Association back in 2007 and 2008, more often than not, people can’t be pinned down on the political spectrum because they hold a range of views that stretch across it. Obviously there’s no room for discriminatory behaviour or prejudice in a neighbourhood project. Mind you, having worked on a few grassroots projects, we’ve never actually witnessed any such behaviour. The reason being is that people realise that what unites them is more important than any differences they may have over issues such as Brexit.
Over the last decade and in particular over the last five years, there have been a lot of events and issues that have proved to be toxically divisive. There’s been Brexit, massive differences over the response to Covid, profound differences of opinion over the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and now on top of everything else, the fierce debate over the future of the monarchy in the wake of the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the succession of King Charles III to the throne. All issues which it’s highly likely that the range of people working on a neighbourhood project are going to disagree on. The point is, without accommodating discriminatory behaviour, we need to learn how to agree to disagree and remember what’s important about the project we’re working on.
What we absolutely have to bear in mind is that the bastards who presume to rule over us do not want their power diluted by successful neighbourhood projects that offer the possibility of bringing power right down to the grassroots. They want us atomised, even fearful of each other and reliant on their governance to frame our lives. The last thing they want is for us to be offering any challenge to their malign desire to totally control as many aspects of our lives as they can get away with. Which is why they and their compliant mates in the media foster a toxic climate of division in a bid to set us at each others throats.
All we can say is that when you see this toxic shit stirring taking place and can sense it’s starting to impact on a community project, take a deep breath, take a few steps back, look at the bigger picture and ask what’s going on. The bastards are trying to divide us any way they can. We need to recognise the games they’re playing with us and then work out how we can face them down, unite and then thrive.