Sat 2 Nov 2019

Future Democracy Beyond XR: How should the future democracy hub begin to reach beyond the XR network?

Will Franks Public Seen by 345

FDH exists to embed democratic practices in the DNA of wider society - not just within XR. To that end, we’d like to encourage local groups to start hosting democratic sessions for their communities/towns etc. seeking diverse and inclusive attendance... and this might be more readily achievable if we remove the “XR” branding from these sessions, but keep the “climate and ecological emergency” context. (Because while XR is aiming for 3.5%, any project worth the name “Future Democracy” will always be aiming for 100% ;) )

Perhaps we could keep the “future democracy hub” branding and explain it as an “offshoot” of XR... just thinking aloud here!

What might be discussed in these sessions?
What concrete outcomes might they have ?


Simon Carter Sun 3 Nov 2019

I would like to participate in such an initiative. Having been a humble town councillor I know first hand how much hierarchies are loved by those 'traditionally' attracted to politics at all levels.

The key I would suggest is to have a vision that is unchallengeable, except maybe by those who see their platform as being diluted. Frankly,, representative democracy is an invitation to the egoists, all these MP's switching parties being a case in point, insisting that they know & reflect their communities mind.

What might be discussed is mass engagement & respect for every ones voice, which by extension should be the concrete outcome goal. Maybe such an approach could replace the first level of town & parish councils, creating a new culture feeding further up the food chain.


Alex Papworth Sun 3 Nov 2019

If the purpose is to embed democratic practices in the DNA of society I feel the need to bring up the fact that many groups' needs are more immediate than the climate emergency. This speaks to the criticism of XR being white, middle class etc.
This is something I am trying to understand and explore. In particular, I am inspired by the feeling of being part of something bigger and showing what democracy and a regenerative culture can look like when being part of the recent XR actions.
To give a concrete example, I live in Haringey, London which has a diverse community. One example is here - https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/london-gentrification-latin-village-market-seven-sisters-closure-social-cleansing-tottenham-a9153641.html
The charity where I volunteer in Northumberland Park which is a huge success for the vulnerable and the homeless is at risk as the community centre is marked for closure for spurious reasons. Here is some recent info on what they are tackling - http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2018/07/21/good-news-haringey-council-ends-its-2-billion-social-cleansing-deal-with-predatory-developers-lendlease/

I live in comfort at the rich end of the borough and am only aware of this through my volunteering.

I would love to collaborate to explore how we reach these communities. For example, developing a Conversation of the Month (Talking Box) to help explore these issues in local (e.g. affinity) groups across XR.


Nathan Cooper Sat 4 Jan

The idea of having a Local Democracy Working Group would be very useful. I would have the following thoughts (happy to discuss further):

(1) I would double check any duplication with existing Working Groups such as Local Politics and Climate Assembly. Happy to point you in the right direction so you can check the mandates/ products of potentially overlapping WGs.

(2) I really like the product-focus of the guidance document, which gives concrete ideas on what kind of events LGs could organise. A resource of this group could be consolidating and disseminating best practices and lessons learned on these events. Having a list/ calendar of who's doing what would be very useful.

(3) I would suggest as a short term strategy that we use the impetus and networks made during the climate hustings which many LGs organised as the 'hook' for the next democratic event.

(4) Many other WGs are criticised for not having transparent decision-making process, so maybe ensuring all minutes and actions are publicly-available could solve this.

(5) You may want to reach out to orgs such as Democratic Society (https://www.demsoc.org/) to do a teach-in or offer guidance on how to maximise your effectiveness.


Carlos AG Mon 6 Jan


I have been thinking about this topic for a while. I believe and share the aim of Future Democracy hub is to create people's assemblies and everything else as described in the LDWG guide. But the process to get to that may not be to start creating people's assemblies everywhere straight away. First we need to be ready for democracy and this can be learned outside a people's assembly. One good example is at work through cooperatives or anarcosyndicalism.

There are many already established groups, projects and political movements out there that could do with healthy democratic processes.

In an informal chat with other people in my XR group we started identifying existing local groups to which we could offer help facilitating their internal processes. Could it be the way to "reach beyond the XR network"?

Having said that, something to be aware is that we cannot go to anybody and tell them "We have a great idea about how to make your internal processes democratic" and expect to be welcomed. So another question is: once other groups have been identified, how can we engage with them in a way that they will welcome and want our democratic processes? I guess it depends on the nature of the group, it is not the same a progressive Welsh pro-independence movement than a framers union, for example


Tom Atlee Sun 26 Jan

What if XR members (not AS XR) took on the role of catalyst for an emerging coalition or network of community democracy-building initiatives. We wouldn't be trying to get other groups to join us, nor trying to help them directly, but rather to convene conversations (using processes like World Cafe and Open Space) that help all such groups (including XR) to network, collaborate with, and learn from/with each other in useful ways of their own choosing. Through such conversations, XR groups could find other entities (e.g., Transition Towns) with whom we share (or could easily develop) common visions, strategies and tactics and with whom we can work under an ad hoc common banner without the XR label becoming a PR problem. Meanwhile, thorough convening these larger conversations on a regular basis, we'd be helping dozens of other groups who have other visions and strategies to further their democracy-development work in parallel with ours without anyone needing to compromise what they are trying to do in order to have an all-around shared agenda.


Edwin Rutsch Mon 27 Jan

The Extinction Rebellion Empathy Circles Work Group; would be glad to help host Empathy Cafes on different topics. The Empathy Cafe is like a world cafe but adds active listening to the process and the practice can be used in Open Space breakout groups as well.

As Rosa practices it, Dynamic Facilitation uses Empathy Circles as a first step..  Rosa Zubizarreta just presented her workshop "OMAH" (Opening Minds and Hearts) here.  Skill-building for Heart-Opening Conversations includes Empathy Circles and Dynamic Facilitation.  it was here in Berkeley and here is the video and report on it. http://bit.ly/372LMWz

What do you thinks are important topics to discuss?

I was at the XR San Francisco meeting last week and the plan is to hold a large open Peoples Assembly for Earth Day and invite other groups to it to talk about how to Unity here.

I'd like to hear more on how to organize and host a Peoples Assembly here in the SF Bay Area.
Is there a Peoples Assembly facilitators - organizers support group?


Nikki Kennelly Tue 28 Jan

Hi Edwin

I am part of a XR PA facilitators telegram group used for sharing info, training dates, requests for facilitators. Is that the sort of thing you mean?


Joe Milton Tue 28 Jan

https://zoom.us/j/548044806 2 Feb 7:00 PM 2 hours

online Peoples Assembly Facilitator training Caroline and Julian xr-peoplesassembly@protonmail.com

"In response to the many requests for help with facilitating Peoples Assemblies pretty quickly due to the wave of Theory of Change Peoples assemblies coming up, that many of you have registered to do, we are going to hold an online Peoples Assembly Facilitator training on Sunday 2nd February from 7 pm -9 pm.

Although we know in-person training and opportunities to practise are ideal, we hope that we can help you feel a bit more confident about facilitating or get another local group member trained up to do it with you.

Please forward this on to whoever in your region you feel would be interested.

We will be running these monthly along with regional in-person training, so please take whatever support you need." https://zoom.us/j/548044806 2 Feb 7:00 PM 2 hours


Joe Milton Tue 28 Jan

We're getting plenty of offers for training in democratic community structures - holocracy and sociocracy -

The sociocracy structure means that the local working group can form a central circle within XR, but members of this circle can join local groups outside XR, and they can also form new sociocracy circles outside XR. This means that we can also create a structure that facilitates independence from XR while XR members in XR the XR circle behave according to XR values and visions. It would be great for the XR local groups (as well as FDH) to have structures in place that enable us to build a confluence network in the community without getting bogged down with confusing questions like "are we XR or not". Please contact me at joemilton3@gmail.com if interested.


Edwin Rutsch Tue 28 Jan

thanks Joe,
have you created Facebook events and link for this training? I find it's easy to add Facebook events to my Facebook calendar to keep track and to invite friends as well.

Your times do not say the time zone?


Edwin Rutsch Tue 28 Jan

Nikki, how do we connect with  XR PA facilitators telegram group? I don't know what telegram is?


Joe Milton Tue 28 Jan

I will add this tomorrow.


Nikki Kennelly Tue 28 Jan

Hi Edwin It's an app called telegram (like whatsapp) - not sure if it's just a uk thing though (not very tech savvy).


Nadia Franchi Wed 29 Jan

Hi Nikki as a facilitator myself I'd like to join that group . Could you add me ? 🙂


Nadia Franchi Wed 29 Jan

Cool x


Nikki Kennelly Wed 29 Jan

Hi Nadia

It's on Telegram do you have that? Edwin how did you get added?


Edwin Rutsch Wed 29 Jan

Nikki, I don't have telegram.. I think it's for cell phones? I don't use my cell phone much..


Fran Thu 30 Jan

Telegram is also available for Desktop: https://desktop.telegram.org