Category Archives: Rick Turner

Rick Turner: Participatory Democracy (Chapter 4 of ‘The Eye of the Needle’)

Participatory Democracy (Chapter 4 of The Eye of the Needle)

Rick Turner

A Christian society is one in which we prefer people to things, a society based on freely expressed love. Our problem is to work out what kind of institutions, social, political and economic, would be needed for such a society. In answering this question it is obviously going to be necessary to theorize, for such institutions do not as yet exist. But it will also be useful to look at those societies that have tried non-capitalist ways of life, even if all we learn from them is what not to do. We can thereby discover some of the problems specific to post-capitalist societies and give the theorizing at least so practical reference points. In building an ideal possible society, let us start from individuals and their needs for freedom and love, as postulated by the Christian model. In terms of this ideal human model, I need to be free from hidden conditioning processes. I need to be free to be open to other people. I need to be free from external social coercion. I need meaningful and creative work, work that is an expression of my own autonomous being and not something I do unwillingly and without understanding what my particular job is for. The social system required for the satisfaction of human needs must be one that (1) enables individuals to have maximum control over their social and material environment, and (2) encourages them to interact creatively with other people. These two ideas are combined in the idea of participatory democracy. Continue reading