OK, that’s a lie. Sort of. The Slovenian superstar is not, to the best of our knowledge, headed north.
But it got your attention, and here goes –
Zizek wrote recently –
“Today’s protests and revolts are sustained by the combination of overlapping demands, and this accounts for their strength: they fight for ‘normal’, parliamentary democracy against authoritarian regimes; against racism and sexism, especially when directed at immigrants and refugees; against corruption in politics and business (industrial pollution of the environment etc); for the welfare state against neoliberalism; and for new forms of democracy that reach beyond multi-party rituals.”
Well, that’s what could/should/sort-of-is happening in (Zizek comes to) Manchester, with the astonishingly radical demand that, um, people be consulted on how to spend their money.
In the most predictable move since an ursine mammal chose to defecate in an arboreal ecosystem, Manchester City Council has decided it knows best. When it received its £14.5 million dividend (thanks to its 35% ownership of Manchester Airports Group), there was probably a whole nanosecond’s consideration of whether to consult with citizens about what their priorities were. In true business-as-usual style the Council made its decisions behind closed doors, announcing it to the world ahead of a rubber-stamp process.
So, unless a petition that needs 4,000 votes by next Tuesday, 24th September, succeeds, the “Clean and Green Spaces” initative will become Council policy.
What is meant by clean? Well, one proposal is for “smart bins” that tell street cleaners when they are almost full. No, we are not making this up.
And “green”.? Well, when it was pointed out that the very slender report – two pages, which comes out at £7.25million a page – had no mention of carbon dioxide or biodiversity- the response from the Executive Member for the Environment was “we don’t want to be too prescriptive.”
We need a different way of making decisions.
We need reflexive government for reflexive modernisation. We need “adaptive governance.” And if we don’t take amazing opportunities like this – £14.5m is a lot of money – then when WILL we start to re-empower citizens, recharge the sinews of the state?
It’s late. We won’t get too many more last chances. We need to grab this one with both hands.
Please sign the petition, and let your friends know that you have done so.
Photo lifted from here.