In ten years, old political systems will be gone. All around Europe we are seeing a wave of change of communities and citizens coming together to take power back from politicians. Citizens are mobilising all around the world proving that the people can and should play a much bigger role in our democratic societies.
The city of Brussels is facing great democratic, ecological and socio-economic challenges. We, residents of Brussels, believe a citizens’ movement is the most effective way to restore hope, reinforce equality and empower citizens, in all their diversity, to decide what is best to improve their city and their lives. The citizen Spring is finding its way into Brussels, accelerating the transition to a new paradigm where active citizenship becomes real power.
Many citizens already work to shape the city and find solutions to everyday problems. But many — too many — organizations feel a glass ceiling when it comes to scaling up their initiative to do more and do better. This glass ceiling, in our perspective, has two main root causes: the first is the lack of political will to support experimental initiatives which transfer power to citizens; the second is the socio-economic system that makes collaboration as well as circular local economies the exception instead of the norm.
In order to change this, we are calling for a free-citizens’ gathering so that, together, we may organise the city and bring together groups of people representing the diversity that makes Brussels unique. Collectively, citizens of all origins and backgrounds are the only force capable of adapting the city and establishing the priorities which meet the needs and aspirations of its inhabitants.
We believe in people, in you, in us — together.
What we propose is to create a new way of exercising politics. We want to use collective intelligence to design creative alternatives and bring about effective solutions. We will start from a blank sheet where you and all those around the table will have the opportunity to express concerns, propose approaches and develop solutions. We believe the time has come to push for alternative ways to do policy-making, including:
- TRANSPARENCY, RESPONSIBILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY : Citizens want real transparency on all decisions, the guarantee that their needs are being addressed and that their ideas can influence decisions.
- MORE THAN VOTING : Citizens can do more than voting. They can jointly identify priorities, co-create policy and allocate budgets.
- COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE : Collective intelligence techniques should be at the root of decision-making. Internal processes of participation need to go beyond the opinions of individuals. Deliberation sessions between citizens of different walks of life lead to creative solutions that are far better adjusted both to reality and to the needs of stakeholders.
- ACTION : the movement needs agility and experimentation, embracing bold approaches piloting possible solutions and improving them continuously.
Few things are as powerful as an idea whose time has come. If you feel energized by these ideas, we would love to create it with you.
This is the first ‘mood check’ to scout the energy to ignite this Movement and take back Brussels in the 2018 communal elections … otherwise, we will have to wait for another 6 years.
The citizen spring is here and the time is now!
We, citizens from Brussels
See also, for ideas and a sense of possible:
- Barcelona en Común and taking back control
- When a movement becomes a party — the example of Barcelona
- Win the City Guide
- Ministry of Ideas — A new way in Iceland
“This is not a traditional (movement) that thinks it can run things better on behalf of the people. This is a movement that believes the people can run things better on their own behalf, combining citizen wisdom with expert knowledge to solve the everyday problems that people face.”
Stacco Troncoso, P2P Foundation
Image: Brussels — Luc Schuiten