Dave – the editor
A simple observation – if it wasn’t for volunteers, a lot of things that people take for granted simply would not happen. This post is being written the morning after two of us volunteered to help out at the Keynsham Winter Festival which was held on the evening of Friday 26th November. One of us was greeting visitors wanting a cup of tea and somewhere to sit down at the Methodist Church, while I was working with the Keynsham Wombles on the litter picking team. The whole event is organised and run by volunteers, albeit facilitated by Keynsham Town Council and Bath and North East Somerset Council. If it wasn’t for the volunteers, there wouldn’t have been a festival. That’s just one example…
Take a look at this page: The Directory and these regional sub-sections: Essex and: Avon and you’ll get an idea of just how many grassroots projects are run by volunteers. These range from community support: Community at 67 through grassroots sports clubs: Easton Cowboys & Cowgirls and onto environmental care: Southend BeachCare Group and resident run local parks: Passionate about Hardie Park. Take the volunteers out of the equation, and none of these things would be happening. The world we live in would be a much diminished place.
All of this shows that there’s a basic human desire to help each other out and offer solidarity when times are tough. What it also shows is that the seeds of a society based on mutual aid and co-operation are already planted. It’s showing that there are many ways of meeting our needs outside of the market economy we’re constantly being told there’s no alternative to. What we’re talking about is described as prefigurative action:
Prefigurative politics are the modes of organization and social relationships that strive to reflect the future society being sought by the group. According to Carl Boggs, who coined the term, the desire is to embody “within the ongoing political practice of a movement […] those forms of social relations, decision-making, culture, and human experience that are the ultimate goal”. Prefigurativism is the attempt to enact prefigurative politics.
The links in The Directory show a range of groups who each in their own way, are trying to make the world a better place. Whether they would define what they do as prefigurative let alone anarchist is possibly open to debate. Regarding that, we’ll leave you with this quote and link:
The anarchist conclusion is that every kind of human activity should begin from what from what is local and immediate, should link in a network with no centre and no directing agency, hiving off new cells as the original grows.
Colin Ward – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colin_Ward