Monday, 24 October 2011

Why Power In Community?

My name is Nick Durie. I have set up Power In Community to use the methods and practice of community organising to move Scotland forward.

In 2004 I was made homeless with my partner at the time, when we ran out of money. This sent me on a path that was to lead to becoming a community organiser for London Citizens (an English charity, which uses community organising to campaign for living wage jobs, housing, and sanctuary for refugees and migrants). My own community activism from 2004, till now, has been based in tenants organisation primarily.

The role that structural unemployment levels have on the stress on communities is very stark- I have seen this first hand. I have seen organised criminal gangs operating with what looks like impunity, mob violence, alcoholism, drug addiction and deep depair and it sickens me to the core that our society tolerates such a waste of human talent and human potential.

As Jimmy Reid put it, "It is the cry of men who feel themselves the victims of blind economic forces beyond their control. It's the frustration of ordinary people excluded from the processes of decision making. The feeling of despair and hopelessness that pervades people who feel with justification that they have no real say in shaping or determining their own destinies. Many may not have rationalised it. May not even understand, may not be able to articulate it. But they feel it."

I want to live in a country that I feel proud of, not one that shames me because it allows some people to feel that they have no stake in it at all. I believe I can do something to change this through an organisation that is focussed on developing civil society leadership through community organising, and using it to bring wealth and power back into those communities where it has been leached from.

My experiences of community organising and tenants activism in communities such as Maryhill and Possilpark have led me to appreciate that ending social exclusion, bringing power back to the people cannot be achieved simply by winning improvements to folks homes or communities, however good and important that is. When I left Glasgow to move to London last year, I felt that many of the challenges could not be solved within my lifetime, as there was simply not enough well paid work available. In community organising they talk about anger and a leader’s political self-interest as being linked. That’s my ‘self-interest.’ It makes me angry to see wasted talent. I am passionate about renewables in Scotland for this reason. The agenda to reindustrialise the country has given me and thousands of others hope, in a time of change for Scotland. Now it is time that we harness our HUMAN Potential to see 130,000 new jobs go to the generations who were already "lost."

If we believe in moving Scotland forward, that should be a national mission, as in everyone, and that is what we in Power In Community mean to achieve.