Localism & a New Democacy
Localism describes a range of political philosophies which prioritize the local. Generally, localism supports local production and consumption of goods, local control of government, and promotion of local history, local culture and local identity. It's about building communities that are more healthy and sustainable - backed by local economies that are stronger and more resilient.
While the current global trade model pushes for corporate success and efficiency on a greater scale than ever before, it also extended failure and inefficiency to the same scale — and nowhere has this been more obvious than in the political and social sphere.
Today, every nation in the world is being induced to enlist in a single, highly - centralized economy, one which depends on vast homogenized markets and ever - increasing trade.
Resistance to further globalization is mounting. I wish I could say that the majority of resistance has progressive goals and energy. The rise of nationalism and xenophobia, fueled as a consequence of corporate driven neoliberal trade, not just in the U.S. but around the globe, is extremely disconcerting. But there is a growing progressive side to localization.
It’s understandable to feel isolated and long for a sense of place in our “one size fits all” world. We want to make a difference, and it’s so much easier to do this not in mass organizations or seemingly distant causes, but in connections and relationships close to home. Localism is one process that could restore confidence in a failing democracy.
America is built on our stories – and if the myths we live by and national plot has taken a dark turn, it’s imperative that we write new narratives of hope and renewal in our local communities. Localism requires that we replace pessimism, which tends to be counterproductive, with a “conditional optimism” that opens the door for imagination and action.
Rather than waiting for change to happen from above, communities must take it upon themselves to solve problems, focusing on their unique local assets to collaborate and reach consensus on what needs to be done.
Localism is not a panacea for all issues, some of which are indeed better addressed on a larger scale, climate change being the most urgent and global in complexity. It is necessary to build networks with other communities experimenting with localism, enabling local experiments to grow into national movements, demanding government policies that would promote small scale on a large scale, allowing space for more community-based economies to flourish and spread. If we are looking for a place to start, where individuals can experience a greater degree of control and satisfaction in their lives, where better than in our own backyard.
Our panelists are Georgeann Johnson, Steve Gloss and Yonam Ayon, all avid supporters of the localism model. They will present information on organizations both local and international that are currently building strong, healthy and more sustainable communities.
La Biblioteca Publica, Rejoj 50A, Centro
San Miguel de Allende, GUA 37700