Community Democracy Project

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HOW DO WE CREATE.... life beyond the rat-race competition for scarce resources?

...a broadly shared sense of our interdependence, based on concrete experience and not just good intentions?

...public decision making that reflects the diverse insights and experiences of all?

...a working model of collective power emphasizing the regular actions of many over the extraordinary actions of

  a few?


that in Oakland, community forums are regularly held in every neighborhood - in libraries, churches, schools, and other community spaces.

People come together to discuss the important issues of their neighborhoods and of the city.

Unlike the usual sorts of public forums where officials where officials deliberate with token input from ordinary folks, these gatherings are run by people in the community.

At these empowered Neighborhood Assemblies people do not merely make reccomendations or share their opinions.

They make fundamental decisions.

They decide how the city is run.

They decide the city budget.

What percentage should go to police, to youth programs, parks, transits, etc.?

What new programs do we need?

Which programs do we phase out? Etc.

Although city staff provide necessary technical expertise, reports, etc., and city officials continue to do the detailed day - to - day work of managing city business,

the fundamentals of how our city works - as reflected in our budget - is decided directly by we the people.

We will have strong participatory democracy at the local level.

This bottom up "people's budgeting" program could be a template for other cities to follow, and could scale up to inspire the deepening democracy at the county, state, and even national level.

By bringing people together to discuss, debate, and decide on concrete issues that affect their lives, the Neighborhood Assemblies would help thousands of people in Oakland - from all walks of life - improve their communication, critical thinking, and leadership skills by building collective understanding and colective power.

This is exactly the kind of culture shift our society needs.

Your City. Your Budget. Imagine That.

Join our campaign as we rewrite the rules in Oakland.