Thanks to everyone who took part in session 1 of ‘Anti-Austerity, but Pro-What?’ last night.
The event brought together around 60 people took part from a range of backgrounds, to explore what our alternatives to austerity and neoliberalism are (hence ‘Pro What?’) In particular, we’re looking for an alternative to neoliberalism’s ‘big 5’: free markets, small state, low taxes, individual liberty, and big defence.
Our 3 speakers helped set the scene: Christine Berry (New Economics Foundation) encouraged us to think not just about our values, but the mechanisms that uphold those values. Karen Leach (Localise West Midlands) highlighted that a key challenge is to show that we are pro economic activity – we just measure it differently (e.g. in human wellbeing.) And Neal Lawson (Compass) encouraged us to take ourselves seriously – the challenge of making chance may be a big one, but there’s lots of positives happening that we casn build on.
However, the main focus of the workshop was a ‘world café’ discussion with all the participants, led by independent facilitator Andrew Lightheart. This week focussed on collecting ideas, finding points of common ground and looking for patterns in our ideas and how we express them. You can see some of the common threads we pulled together at the end of the session in the picture above. There were lots of interesting conversations happening, and Andrew noted that we’d been preparing the ‘part 2 next week, we’ll aim to boil these ideas down to something more succinct and think about how we can communicate our principles effectively. Maybe we can even come up with a ‘big 5’ for progressives!for change. In
There will be a video of the events available soon, and everyone is welcome to join the conversation: just search for #ProWhat on social media and add your ideas.