We use the term Foundation in the sense that a builder might use it - i.e as a solid basis for further construction. This site has been set up to facilitate the establishment of a Participatory Society Network, which we see as that foundation. To assist in the development and growth of our Network, we have also set up a number of Real Utopia Teams - each focusing on a different aspect of organising.
Our general objectives are laid out in our Mission Statement. Following our position on strategy (see our brief overview of Participatory Society here) our initial focus is on consciousness raising and commitment building. As interest grows and support increases, however, we intend to go beyond this initial focus and incorporate contestation and construction into our efforts.
The opposite of utopia is hell on earth. Leading scientists warn that we are currently facing an existential crisis of unprecedented proportions. Clearly, we are closer to hell than to heaven.
The need for serious popular organising for radical-progressive social transformation has never been more urgent and utopian vision can inform such efforts. Much of the Left, however, tends to reject the development of vision on the grounds that it is either impractical (romantic ideas of perfection) or inherently authoritarian (dogmatic blueprints of how things must be).
Being authoritarian or impractical are good reasons to reject vision. However, the Left's typical position on vision is problematic for at least two reasons. First, developing and utilising vision does not have to be impractical or authoritarian. There are ways of undertaking this task that take these concerns into account. Second, having no vision debilitates efforts at organising. Having no real understanding of what we are trying to build means that we are unable to lay solid foundations for the future today.
The Left’s tendency to neglect vision also generates a problem focused culture. Most of what the Left discusses constitutes analysis of what is wrong in the world. Being essentially negative, this focus tends to foster a psychology of cynicism and even hopelessness. In contrast, developing and utilising good vision has the potential to generate a solution focused culture. This essentially positive orientation fosters a psychology of optimism and empowerment.
Vision, therefore, can be both practical and liberating. We present Participatory Society as an example of this - a Real Utopia!