"Beyond the mainstream of elections and governments... a politics where hope is most at home"


A conference in Brussels, 3-4th November, asks this question:

So, what about politics? This event looks at initiatives that could be seen as the avant-garde of a new political era.

In a critical period of crisis in our political systems, we welcome artists, activists and academics - those who use innovative technological tools to reclaim political processes. Or to shape new forms of organisation, from local collectives to global movements.

As  Rebecca Solnit says, “Democracy is flourishing in bold new ways in grassroots movements globally...There is far more politics than the mainstream of elections and governments, more in the margins where hope is most at home.”

How does this apply to the margins of our technological imagination? Which tools and practices are being dreamed of, tested and explored?

In short, what is the impact of today’s Internet-inspired, post-institutional thinking on the practice of political action? For this we focus on tactics, tools and visions of grassroots initiatives, as well as on changing government policies and strategies.

The symposium revolves around questions such as:

  • What are the politics of a peer-to-peer society?
  • How can we perceive a network as a real “distributed agora”?
  • What can we learn from artist- or activist-led experiments, which focus on collectivity and political agency?
  • And most important: What are the concrete tools and initiatives today that really try to facilitate and use new forms of agency - such as liquid democracy, e-governance, civic intelligence, platform cooperativism and autonomous self-organisation?

Day one of the event has keynotes from Michel Bauwens, Geert Lovink and many other experimenters in "post-institutional" politics.

Day two is also interesting - a workshop day using a new political-digital platform called Consul, used "by Madrid and over thirty other cities in Spain, as well as several cities in Latin America. In the last few months it has also been used by the social housing company of Paris for participatory budgeting and by Britain's Momentum for their annual meeting".

Sign up for the weekend here, and event location is here.