Marrying revolution and transition – can it be done?

These are two apparently very different films that I see as being totally on the same page.

The first How to start a Revolution, is already out, garnering jury prizes at film festivals around the world. I haven’t seen it yet but I love the book on which it’s based, From Dictatorship to Democracy. It lays out a radical, non-violent message of change.

The second film, In Transition 2.0, wears its politics less obviously but ultimately raises the same questions of power. Its focus is on peak oil, climate change and community resilience in the face of both. I haven’ t seen the second film either though I did see In Transition 1.0 and I know the work of the Transition Network. Its message, too, is one of radical, non-violent change.

The challenge is how to marry the thinking and actions of the films’ constituencies to address a problem that is common to both – namely the poor quality of Western representative democracies and their effective capture by global corporations and banks.  The revolutionaries and transitioners would do well to work together or rather it would be in their mutual interests to do so.

I count myself as being in both camps.

My approach is to do and to nurture local, citizen journalism focused on the transparency and accountability of government. We need to learn how to do it ourselves and to teach it to others who want to learn. Having built such journalism up locally, practitioners can soon stretch out to focus on political accountability and governance at higher levels, linking up with other reporters doing the same. The result would be a reporting network focused on improving the quality of our governance, locally to globally.

That way, we might have a chance of bringing about the sort of radical political changes that both these films talk about.

I’d better watch them then.