This is an article which originally appeared in seventh issue of the Alternative Estuary paper.With a few minor edits, we’re posting it up here as it pretty much encapsulates what we want to achieve with Grassroots Alternatives.

With our right to protest becoming ever more restricted, how can we challenge the system and start to build the new world we want? Resistance takes many forms. It’s more than protests on the streets. It’s about flying under the radar of the authorities. It’s about building the new world we want inside the shell of the increasingly dystopian one we’re currently forced to endure.

Being against the system doesn’t just mean reacting to events. It’s about showing the kind of world we want to build. It’s about creating the social and community structures we need, so that when revolution comes, we have the foundations ready for the world we want. It’s about the kind of prefigurative action we can engage in to bring this about. It’s not separate from revolution – it’s an integral part of the process.

It’s not just about the physical stuff such as community gardens, community kitchens, food banks, clothing banks and the like. It’s about learning to work with each other in a collective, non-hierarchical way. It’s about finding and developing ways of working and learning that enable people to grow and develop. It’s a positive glimpse of what the future could be.

There’s only so far a grassroots initiative can go before hitting the constraints imposed by the system. Experiencing the impact of those limits and understanding why they’re there, will make people see why radical change is needed and why existing power structures have to go.

People want to see examples of grassroots projects that bring about real change. No two grassroots projects are the same. Each one has evolved to deal with a specific set of circumstances in their neighbourhood. Generalities can be made when it comes to why a neighbourhood needs a foodbank or a community garden. However, there will always be specifics, not least regarding the people involved in the project.

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 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 –