In a time of austerity, governments around Europe are talking about ‘big society’, and ‘participatiemaatschappij’ – more active citizen participation – as a solution to the retreat of the welfare state. How are they using these slogans of empowerment to push these policies of privatization and budget cuts? Are they leaving to charity the burden of funding social services and programs? This evening we talk about two real forms of social and political participation: participatory budgeting, and participatory/alternative schooling methods. Sure, we want participation, but we want it our way!
We will start by discussing participatory budgeting; a method that allows citizens to identify, discuss, and prioritize public spending projects, and gives them the power to make real decisions about how public money is spent. Later, we will talk about initiatives that take a radically different approach to education; such as the Deschooling Society and Montessori schools, which are shaping the foundation for tomorrow’s societal autonomy.
This evening is the concluding event of the KSU reading group about the effect of the crisis on young people, where we want to share some of our ideas, conclusions and results.