I am seeing a lot just recently about the Transition Initiatives.  A movement dedicated to encouraging people to take action to help their local communities become more relilient to changes anticipated due to peak oil and climate change.  Even The Guardian has got in on it with an article by Madeleine Bunting: Beyond Westminster’s bankrupted practices, a new idealism is emerging.

Is Transition a radical and creative way to re-engage ordinary people with progressive politics and participatory democracy?  Or is it simply non-political self indulgence by a small number of middle-class hippies?  Very few of the comments on the article posted on The Guardian’s web site attempt to debate the issues raised, which is disappointing but hardly surprising.  So many of the comments on most pieces seem to be coming from a relatively small number of juvenile trolls that the section should be renamed from Comment is Free to Comment is Banal.

I went to a screening this evening (organised by the York in Transition Initiative) of a documentary film about how Cuba coped with the sudden loss of oil, fertilisers and other imports following the collapse of the USSR in the nineties.  It was not about how Cubans became middle-class hippies, but how a society was forced by circumstances to introduce radical changes in order to survive.
We can argue over how much and how quickly we are going to experience volatile change here in Europe thanks to global recession/depression, peak oil and climate change, but it’s stupid to insist we can avoid a crisis.
The illusion of security (whether in work, health, retirement or environment) available in a free-market, class-based economy  is being torn away.  This growing insecurity perhaps partly explains the degree of anger being directed towards MPs and the growing disaffection with Westminster.
This is an opportunity for us to look not just at the formal trappings and institutions of ‘representative democracy’, but also to question what sort of society we want to live in and what actions we ourselves can take to bring it about.  It should not simply be about surviving ecological shocks but more importantly social justice and the distribution of power in society.