Politics > Spiral of Political Maturation > Stage-7: Participation Surges in the Communalist Mode

Stage-7: Participation Surges in the Communalist Mode

Willingness Matters

In the Communalist mode, territorial communities mobilize themselves.

Willingness continues to be the crucial ingredient as noted earlier. To move to this final stage of maturation, people must be willing to confront the nature of individuality and inequality.

An emotionally logical argument will run something like:

I require a viable functioning community to meet many of my everyday needs… if a community exists to meet my needs, and I have become aware that others are like me, then others must have the same requirement for community—to meet their needs.

But a community only does things through its members making the effort… and so communal life requires my personal efforts, in some appropriate fashion, to meet the genuine needs of others.

This notion of a community existing for its members was where the concept of governing began, but it has taken a long maturational process for this to be culturally viewed as part of the nature of things.

Values & Institutions of the Communalist Mode


Integrating Force:
ClosedCommunities for each and all

Social groups will become aware that politics is a means to serve each and all in regard to communal living. Political failure will lead to communities fragmenting as people remove themselves mentally and/or physically.

Just as there is a deep inequality implicit in personal individuality, communities are unequal in their own uniqueness. They may compete to keep good individuals, just as individuals can compete to be valued within a community.

Socio-political Institution:
ClosedNeeds-based policy-making

The political and governmental preoccupation turns to what its citizenry and community really need, rather than on waging distant wars, interfering in foreign countries, or manipulating money and markets for electoral purposes. 

In particular, all intentions or promises to meet needs in the future will be costed and adequately funded by willing agreement with the community. The monetary system is likely to be completely reformed with free-banking enabling any community to look after its own prosperity. Such an ethos will encourage people to become risk-aware and to expect communal risks to be sensibly addressed.

Governance Requirement:
ClosedLocalism and subsidiarity

What counts are the actual territorial communities where people live and potentially interact. These will only thrive within a philosophy of localism in which political power is maximally devolved. That gives those in government the possibility to grasp the issues and see effects of their choices.

Subsidiarity is about ensuring decisions are taken as close as possible to those affected i.e. the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority. There will still need to be several tiers of government, but the unnecessary expensive intrusions from higher levels must reduce.

ClosedMore on size:

The tragedy is that ordinary citizens are not recognizable in vast societies defined by most Nations. No national politician ever knows either what is going on in most towns and districts, or the effects, both expected and unintended, of most central government decisions. Centralization, nation-creation, and hegemonic aspirations are usually power-centred and paranoid, not person- and community-centred.

ClosedMore on subsidiarity:

This makes corruption a local matter, so affecting lesser powers and smaller sums. Governmental incompetence is also likely to continue but the damage should be more localized, more varied, less severe and less wasteful.

More on tiers and their appropriate responsibilities:Closed see the section on the natural political territories at the end of this Satellite.


Personal Benefit:
ClosedBeing valued by a community

After safety and the ability to make a living, everyone regards being valued and respected in their community as important. The social implications of personal attitudes and behaviours will come to the fore in public attention.

The view that individuals have many potentials will provide opportunities to discover value. So the ethos will oppose tendencies to mindlessly label people. Mature mutuality free of stereotypes will still be a long way away, but scapegoating attitudes should become increasingly unacceptable.

Social Interactions:
ClosedEffective use of diversity

The other consequence of recognizing individuality will be a far better use of the diversity within the community. The source of prosperity in the specialization of labour has been recognized since the days of Adam Smith at least, but that was still an instrumental perspective.

At this stage, it becomes desirable and possible to generate a vigorous community through the distinctive emotional and psychological strengths that people have.  Social well-being will burgeon through this form of specialization dedicated directly to what social life is all about—gratifying social interaction.

Provision of Knowledge:
ClosedFreedom of information

The Internet made access to information easy, but did not make officialdom pleased to reveal its activities and knowledge (“people will misunderstand” or “people will get anxious”). Laws guaranteeing freedom of information required too much bureaucratic cooperation and were vitiated by often invoked clauses allowing secrecy 'in the public interest'.

Terrorism and criminality, the excuses for secrecy, will not disappear—but people will be unwilling to allow governments to attack the same values that terrorists and criminals disdain. Perhaps all information could be made available automatically without an exceptionally good reason, and that judgement could be made by a random panel of citizens.

Personal-Ethical Requirements

Core Value:

Peace could well emerge as the key value. People desire and enjoy living peacefully and working hard in secure communities. There are many examples of long-standing peaceful coexistence amongst disparate ethnic groups in a town or district—until coexistence gets disrupted and poisoned by outside forces for extraneous political purposes. 

All earlier political values thrive when peace reigns, and are often put aside when it does not. War exhausts itself, but the capacity for peace is inherent and self-sustaining. If the desire for peace is strong, the use of hate to unite a society may possibly be rejected. Although border skirmishes and revolutionary insurgency may continue in many countries, the probability of total war between prosperous civilized societies might become rather unlikely.

ClosedDisappearance of War?

Civic Virtue:

The aspiration in communalist ethical choice of altruism may be asking too much. However, people living peacefully in a community are capable of activating their own good nature, being helpful to others when possible, contributing appropriately to community life, and rising to challenges in emergencies.  This disposition in regard to civic and political matters can be summed up as «benevolence».

Originally posted: July 2009; Last updated: 11-Apr-2014

All posted material is part of a scientific project and should be regarded as provisional. Visitors are encouraged to think through the topics and propositions for themselves. Copyright © Warren Kinston 2009-2016.
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