A new independent political movement that promises to return power to the people has launched in Birmingham, with an ambitious plan to win a people’s majority at the City Council elections this May.
The new movement, People Power Brum, is founded on the belief that local government can be run more effectively by everyday citizens, rather than by politicians caught up in traditional party politics.
Their plan is to stand one independent candidate for every available seat at the Birmingham City Council elections on Thursday 3rd May 2018 – that’s 101 in total – and to win a people’s majority.
Instead of following a political party line, People Power Brum candidates are taking the ‘People’s Pledge’: “If elected, I will return power to the people, by making Birmingham the first city in the world to implement liquid democracy, where everyone is included and empowered to help drive society forward.”
Liquid democracy is an innovation which allows more people to be regularly involved in making decisions, by voting on issues themselves, or by delegating their vote to someone they trust on the issue. This process is enabled by the use of modern technology being developed specially for People Power Brum by Democracy Earth. With a smartphone app, as well as regular citizens’ assemblies, the aim is to put power in the hands of everyday citizens, while ensuring high quality debate and decisions.
The founding members of what is now known as People Power Brum, met at TEDxBrum in October, where Sunny Sangha gave a talk on innovating democracy. Following a series of public meetings at Impact Hub in Digbeth, the movement has now grown to a community of over 100 active citizens.
Sunny said: “Many people are disaffected with politics, at all levels. It’s telling that the usual turnout at Birmingham City Council elections is around 30%. People feel distant and disengaged from the Council, despite being directly affected by the decisions being made there. We feel this can be different, and we want to help build a city where everyone is included and invited to shape things.”
“The idea of replacing political parties with independent ‘People’s Councillors’ has already been tried in Frome, Somerset, and has worked very well since 2011. We believe Birmingham is ready for this idea, and the challenge of scaling it to our own city of 1.1m people is really exciting. If successful, Birmingham would really take its place as a global pioneer in a new form of people-powered politics.
Sunny, who also works as a community organiser for leading UK charity Migrants Organise, added, “So far this has all been driven by volunteers: so-called ordinary citizens who are standing up and taking it upon themselves to reinvent democracy. Now we want to find 101 inspirational community leaders – everyday heroes from all over the city – to stand up for Birmingham together, as a new ‘People’s Council’ that will build a better Birmingham.”
For more information on People Power Brum, and to find out how to become a People's Councillor, visit: peoplepowerbrum.org
For more information about liquid democracy, watch Sunny’s TEDxBrum talk