Why use community assemblies?
Assemblies build community by enabling communication and collaboration across cultural, economic and political divides. Their inclusive and structured nature creates a safe space in which people can share their perspectives and ideas. This not only enables people to better understand others and their needs, it also creates a fertile space for problem solving and collective decision making.
As democratic processes, assemblies also help promote and build democracy. Their structure, which values all voices equally and champions collective decision making, gives those who participate a direct experience of a functional and inclusive democracy. They offer a clear and hopeful alternative to the established way of doing things and the hierarchical, dominant and exclusive cultures that permeate our politics, workplaces and social lives. When used effectively, they can help communities develop as self-organising, self-directing and self-managing bodies, which make decisions democratically and work for the advancement of the collective.
People’s assemblies are also incredibly powerful tools for personal empowerment and bonding with others. Being actively listened to is a transformative experience and helps people realise that their words and ideas matter, whilst meeting with strangers and sharing feelings helps to build trust and to establish genuine emotional connections.