Happiness is revolutionary. Caring about people and our community

Proposal abstract

We are planning meetings/events of political education and awareness, with a view to reinvigorating citizens’ participation and the democratic debate in the city. We aim to get the collective dimensions of politics back, reacting to the individualism of today’s mainstream politics and to the particularly difficult times for active participation, which followed the pandemic outbreak.

The main topic will be the right of each and every person to live their place, in the everyday life, based on principles of well-being, happiness and care. This responds to the feelings of anxiety and dissatisfaction which are shared by many people across the society, and represent the individual repercussion of political dynamics of individualism and competitiveness.
We want to work, inspired by our municipalist principle, to strengthen the dimension of care as epicentre of our political action.

Who we are

Cambiamo Messina dal Basso (CMdB) is a municipalist movement which spontaneously emerged in 2013-14, in the context a wider civic platform, which won the 2013 local election in Messina (the fifth metropolitan area of Southern Italy). As CMdB activists, we share the need to be actively engaged with the city, through a new civic and political awareness. We encourage and support the individual and collective commitment of those who want to improve the life of each and every one, taking care of the environment, the city and the system of human relations. We do our best to strengthen participatory practices, civic and associative networks and the centrality of the commons as constitutive principle of the social life of our territory. Our movement is embedded in a network of formal and informal relations with other Italian and international experiences, committed towards the right to the city and new municipalism.

What we want to do and how we will do it

We foresee approximately five bi-monthly meetings/events, of two hours each. These events will address those issues that negatively affect our lives, well-being and happiness. In doing so, these initiatives will build a bridge between the individual dimension with the collective and political nature of the root causes that determine our well- or ill-being. At the end of each of these meetings/events, the group will identify and plan a concrete, political action, which will be connected to the topic addressed during the meeting and will be carried out throughout the city. To that scope, several outputs are foreseen, e.g. publications or initiatives which will make it possible to attract individuals who tend not to be attracted by the traditional forms of politics. Each meeting/event will involve several participants and will be facilitated by guest speakers with a diverse expertise. We will encourage the participation of people coming from different places and experiences. Meetings will also be animated by figures who are widely acknowledged within our social and political community: they will have the pivotal role of facilitating the horizontal interactions with and within existing networks in the city, and to favour the engagement of a diverse public. To make sure that care will not be addressed as an empty word, but as a concrete practice already, we will offer some children activities during our meetings/events. This will make it possible a broader and non-discriminatory participation. The series of meetings/events is articulated as follows: 1. From the ill-being to the well-being. Collective and individual practices 2. Identifying the oppressing Power. Neoliberalism and patriarchy 3. Identifying the oppressing Power. Concentrated and spread powers 4. The right to happiness. Care of themselves, the others and the world as a revolutionary act 5. The Buen vivir: the reality of a political alternative

How much money do we need and what for?

We foresee a need of EUR 200 for each meeting/event (location, service, catering) + EUR 100 for each meeting to cover (or, at least, contribute to) the travel and accommodation expenses of speakers. We also plan to spend EUR 800 to pay two local artists (to be selected) to realise artistic graphic material for the promotion of the events and of its contents (see the variety of outputs mentioned above). We wish to properly fund this work, which in Italy, in most cases and when it comes to political initiatives, is done pro bono: we believe that remunerating the artistic work as it deserves to – and as it is done for each other sector – is crucial. Moreover, EUR 400 are foreseen for printouts and communication/dissemination activities, and EUR 270 (i.e. 10% of the overall budget) for general expenses (mostly logistics), necessary for the realisation of the events. The detailed budget estimate is as follows: Location, service, catering: EUR 1,000.00 Cultural, artistic and graphic activities: EUR 800.00 Speakers (travel and accomodation): EUR 500.00 Printouts, dissemination, communication: EUR 400.00 General expenses (10%): EUR 270.00 TOTAL: EUR 2,970.00

Why / How does it contribute to /reflects the municipalism principles

Within each meeting, the political, social and economic consequences of the topic will be addressed with regards to the local, national and global scale. Participants will gain a better and deeper understanding of the city, identifying those everyday elements that hinder their access to happiness and to a sense of care in the city. They will also learn to distinguish tasks and responsibilities, identifying the relevant local institutions to address in order to make their claims and demands. Most remarkably, they will learn how to develop and use tools apt to make a change: critical mass productions, designing political campaigns, launching forums and civic committees, experimenting mechanisms of citizen participation, etc. All these aspects substantively contribute to empower local communities in terms of a municipalist approach to politics.