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  • Bruce Baker

Vision for a new form of democracy in Takoma Park in 2021

Takoma Park will formulate a new model for democracy. We will connect people and empower them to solve problems.

We are already moving in this direction, and in coming years we will create urban agriculture and food cooperatives, local sustainable energy and recycling industries, and will foster new enterprises that use information and technology. We will generate wealth through B-Corporations, which devote a portion of their profits to nonprofit ventures.

Local businesses will be financed by a credit union. Residents will create a multi-cultural network that teaches job-related skills. We will protect diversity through creative home ownership and rental practices. And we will expand open, meaningful and culturally diverse expression in the arts, literature, and politics.

The current model of “representative” democracy cannot produce this. It is driven by competition and implemented by professional bureaucracies for their own interests. Those with more resources usually win at the expense of those with fewer resources. The current process is conflict oriented. It does not work.

The new model starts with engaging all community members – yes, all of us — in a process of visioning and goal setting. We must work collaboratively to formulate actions and measure progress. The primary drivers should be community members acting in association with each other in their neighborhoods and in informal social networks.

This process will build stronger connections and produce greater accountability.

Even as global resources diminish, residents here will share and economize, expand production, and facilitate distribution through networks that protect the most vulnerable.

The fruits will be seen in active, connected, diverse, and innovative people, evident in a robust local business community, a responsive and effective local government, and a high-quality community life.

Published with permission of the Takoma Voice

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