Blogs >> The Power of Rebellion: A Walk through Totnes’s Radical Past, Present and Future

The Power of Rebellion: A Walk through Totnes’s Radical Past, Present and Future

Ruth Potts

Through my work with bread, print and roses I have been collaborating with Independents for Frome to share their newly-launched Flatpack Democracy a guide to taking power and getting things done…

Their story, goes something like this: in 2011 a group of people got together, formed a coalition of Independents, stood for election and got elected (ten of them) to the local council in Frome, Somerset. The experiment has since been replicated in Liskeard, with groups formed in Bath and Radstock. Frome council now runs by consensus decision making, uses open space, world cafe and other participative tools, and are generally doing local politics very differently.

They have cancelled a 10 year waiting list for allotments by buying land and handing it over, in trust, to the community, have supported a number of youth mentoring projects, set up a support centre for people in financial difficulty, renovated the local arts centre and extended its use as a youth centre, supported the establishment of a renewable energy co-operative, developed a neighbourhood plan with the community using open space and much more besides. The guide, Flatpack Democracy, can be found at:

On 2nd May, they’re coming to Totnes to join us for a radical walk, and pub chat – the event is free, but we’re inviting people to sign up so that we can keep an eye on numbers. Click here to sign up

"All walking is discovery. On foot we take the time to see things whole.” Hal Borland

Event details

From Dissenters to sculptors; from radical poets to theorisers of the Welfare State, Totnes has a fascinating history of social change. Together we walk through community politics past and present; from bread riots to radical experiments in education, local livelihoods and the transformation of almost every aspect of our lives in response to the end of the oil age, to explore models of social change. What can Totnes’s past (and present) tell us about a more active future?

Walk: 5pm, Friday 2nd May 2014

Ending with a pint of the New Lion Brewery’s ‘Beer the Change’ and pub debate at The Bay Horse Inn from 6pm

Join Flatpack Democracy author, Peter Macfadyen, Independents for Frome member Alexandra Hart, Frances Northrop from Transition Town Totnes, at The Bay Horse as we explore what democracy is, and what it could be. What might more communitarian models of politics look like and are they possible? Could a practical guide to DIY politics help transform democracy?

The walk and talk are free, but places are limited. Sign up at:

Ruth Potts is development co-ordinator, MA Ecological Design Thinking

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