Article: Building Bottom-Up Democracy Through Co-Governance

Screen Shot 2023-03-13 at 1.04.14 PM

Read this analysis from Ben Palmquist of Partners for Dignity & Rights, published this week in The Forge.

People’s movements are challenging oligarchic power and holding out a powerful vision of robust political and economic democracy to replace it, but our power so far remains marginal, and we are nowhere near ready to govern. To both build and wield mass power, we need to deliver real benefits for people through equitable, participatory effective governance that makes a palpable difference in people’s lives. That requires tying mass organizing not just to policy advocacy but to the long, hard work of building democratic muscles and institutions from the bottom up.

Co-governance, in which community or labor organizations build authentic, power-sharing relationships with government entities, can be difficult and frustrating. But when it’s paired with other mass-power-building strategies and designed specifically to advance equity and build independent community power, it offers real opportunities to effect transformative change.

This article was published by The Forge and American Prospect in their joint Countervailing Power series, which explores the ways organizers can use public policy to build mass membership organizations to neutralize oligarchic power. Read the full article at The Forge.