by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
Democracy, true participatory democracy, not the fake that masquerades as it today, came from the village and to the village we must return (and democracy) for society and communities to work, and that also means to remake the village in the city.
Most cities, if they are “old” ones, especially, are but a number of villages joined and grown together, for form it and in some places the structure of the village still exists in those towns and cities. Where it does not or no longer does create it or recreate it we must.
The powers-that-be, aware of the strength that lies with and within the village structure try their very best to destroy the village, especially in towns and cities but also in the countryside. It seems to be come neo-liberal idea and ideal.
When we but look at the London Borough of Tower Hamlets – and the word hamlets is a dead giveaway here – and it also applies to all other boroughs and towns – is a group of villages; in the case of Tower Hamlets consisting of Stepney, Poplar, Bow, Mile End, and a few others. All were villages once, hamlets outside the city walls, in fact.
With some of the outer region boroughs of London it is often more obvious still as some “rural” life still prevails, even a far or two, though often the true village character, spirit and community even there has all but gone due to many changes they have undergone, not least of them the influx of outsiders which have turned those places into dormitories, almost, as has also happened with many of the villages in the countryside.
In order, however, to bring (back) true community and democracy the village must be built and rebuilt, made and remade, everywhere, for it does take a village. And, and that is important also, to function properly, those villages must be small in number of “residents” and ideally should not exceed 150 individuals.
In the city the village can be an apartment block or similar and in the case of an apartment block it would be ideal to incorporate small shops, workshops, artist studios, and such like on the ground floor level.
The size of many of today's villages, in the main, whether in Britain, France, Germany, etc., is too large to make for a cohesive and self-governing community and thus even there changes are required in that they must be “broken up” into smaller segments.
If we are, as we must, going to return to a much more agrarian and artisanal society and world it will be small autonomous but interdependent, self-sustaining and self-reliant villages that will enable this and the villages into which our towns and cities are broken up into must also be like that.
Only the village can bring normality back into our lives and the future is a more agrarian society again and an artisanal one rather that big industry.
Small self-reliant villages that are interdependent of and to one another are the future for mankind and the Planet and thus making and remaking the village and village community must be a priority of the highest order.