Skip to main content

Evoke BC?

Evoke? Evoke what exactly?

Good question. Evoke BC is a group of people dedicated to sharing and exploring new
practices, approaches, and institutions for democratic decision making.

What does that mean? Think of people working together on a board or committee to run a farmer's market. Think of citizen assemblies. Think of community forums or participatory budgeting. Think of a group of neighbours organizing a block party.

Community governance. Community decision-making. Empowered political citizens from all walks of life. Collaborative governance.

Currently, our democratic institutions are centred around: 1) voting, 2) elected representatives. But democracy can happen in so many different ways. The Evoke research effort is focused on exploring and sharing different and alternative democratic practices that can deepen our civic engagement, and improve community decision-making.

Think Peace of Westphalia, Magna Carta, United Nations, colonialism...all of which shaped our communities, and how they are organized, in big ways. What's next? What's the next big shift in how we make decisions about our communities?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Running for office: no experience necessary

There are moments when I hear people question the qualifications and experience of those who are running for, or hold, positions in office. Shouldn't there be some minimum, established, standard or criteria for holding a public position of power? Some minimum level of education?

The short answer is no. If we start looking to impose minimum standards or benchmarks other than: 1) residency, 2) adulthood* we've missed the whole point of democracy, and a critical part of what democracy means. A fundamental democratic principle is equality of voice, or equality of voting. Every person has decision-making power. This principle is based on the concept that not a single one of us is more qualified, or has any right, to impose decision-making or power over others, any more than they also have a right to impose decision-making or power over us.

By contrast, in other spheres of life, we want trained experts to hold some degree of decision-making power. For example, Doctors should probabl…

Why public hearings are terrible

It's a typical public hearing, and over a dozen speakers have arrived to speak for or against the proposed development. When called, each speaker heads up to the microphone and passionately relays their personal perspective on why the new development should, or should not, be permitted.

At the end of the hearing none of the speakers has changed their mind, and very few have learned anything new. Council makes their decision. Those who are aligned with the vote rejoice, while those opposed to the decision lament and decry the process as well as the decision.

A democratic exercise? Certainly doesn't feel like one. Public hearings are notorious for leaving council members exhausted, members of the public frustrated, and decisions that seldom seem connected to the proceedings themselves. This format and mechanism are partially products of our focus on democracy as accountability and equality of voice. At a public hearing, any resident can register to speak, and views are expressed…

Freedom to do stuff vs. freedom from stuff

As our children grow up we typically give them more freedom and discretion over the activities they will pursue, and increasing freedom of choice when it comes to who they will associate with and the type of education they want. It's commonly accepted that freedom from tyranny, oppression, and control is a hallmark of a democratic society; we should be free to lead and build a life of our choosing. Leading and guiding one another to a life of freedom is a great privilege that many communities are still fighting and striving towards. 
However, when our children are young, we're a bit more directive. When I wake up my daughters in the morning, whether they get dressed, eat breakfast, and get ready for school is not up for discussion or deliberation. At first, commanding them when to put on their shoes might seem to contravene their freedom of choice. Am I restraining their liberty? Obstructing their progress as free individuals? In directing them through these activities, it is…