Do what is right. Rosa Parks An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come. Victor Hugo Whenever you are in doubt, recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man. Gandhi . . . for with freedom come responsibilities. Nelson Mandela *

Citizens’ Reappropriation of Politics

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Citizens’ Reappropriation of Politics



How to break out the system trap. A model to support conversations for a more strategic activism.

The purpose of this paper is to learn about and improve our system change (Great Transition) strategies to overcome our inequitable growth-obsessed global economic system as well as the globally spreading culture of consumerism and marketisation of nearly every sphere of life; and promote the transition to an economic system based on the principles of ecological limits, solidarity, human well being and intergenerational justice – in this paper called eco-solidarity economy.

To help us have an informed discussion on how we as change agents in civil society can improve our theories and strategies of change, in 2011 the Smart CSOs Report introduced a model of change. This is an evolved version of the multi-level-perspective diagram previously used and developed by transition researchers F. Geels, J. Rotmans, A. Smith and others. This short paper presents an updated version of the original model and makes an attempt to show its practical relevance. The paper puts the model into the context of the world we are currently living in, reflects on what is holding us back from a transition to sustainability, and provides a few examples of how civil society organisations are using promising new ways of working towards systemic change.

This paper is a contribution to the Civil Society in Transition conference and beyond. It puts its faith in the assumption that the model and its above exemplary application can support conversations among thoughtful activists who want to learn now their campaigns, projects and initiatives can increase their impact towards the Great Transition.

Two examples are described, which are in fact two experiments of new civil society practice and
activism and representing two of many possible new approaches that shall be discussed and experimented with.




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