The Baron de Merxhausen has been involved with the Middle East since he was accidentally caught between a Bedouin tribal war in Egypt during the Arab Spring. Since then he has striven to develop horizontal communities in Australia and abroad. In past lives he has been the Director Secretary of Gulcom – a rural water distribution scheme in New South Wales, led the user experience design for the Flux party’s Digipol democracy app, was a technology advisor to the Maltese government, and founded a poverty alleviation project in Lebanon during the Syrian civil war.
These days he runs the award-winning speakeasy/cultural hub known as Storyteller in Deniliquin NSW, chairs the Edward River Council Arts & Culture Advisory Committee, and is a director of Burning Seed – Australia’s largest regional Burning Man event.
At last year’s packed-out rollercoaster of a workshop, there was a lot of resonance around ideas of vulnerability, leadership and the hurdles faced by trying to find our way in a rapidly changing world.
So it seems these questions are more pertinent than ever: How do individuals work together to achieve common goals without creating hierarchies, institutions, and authoritarian power structures?
How do we restore political power to local communities in a peaceful and transformative way?
Can modern technological advancements be used to reduce political corruption?
This workshop will discuss the challenges facing a globalised world and how we can humanely respond. It will draw on the everyday experiences and recent examples of empowered communities locally and around the world, and those who are actively demonstrating emergent democratic processes and a return of political power to the people. It will also touch on how new technologies can help overcome bureaucratic hurdles and decentralise economic and governmental activity for the benefit of both general and marginalised populations (such as refugees).
Workshop participants are encouraged to share and listen to stories about their communities, technological innovation, and their experiences of mutual aid.
The workshop may cover (depending on what topics resonate with people and how much time we have):
* Why should we be interested in anarchism, and what does it even mean?
* How can grass-roots community engagement compete with the coercive powers of the modern state?
* How can decentralisation facilitate greater political power and economic justice?
* How does mutual aid draw attention to the failures of the welfare state?
* How can we confront the issues of powerlessness engendered by our society, and by consumerist culture?
* How can we present alternative modalities of governance that are accessible to all and contribute to quality of life and self-actualisation?
Finally, we would like to draw out some connections between local examples and stories to larger global movements of political and social change, and their relationship to global economic trends. As always, we will try to run this workshop using progressive facilitation techniques and to teach them as we go along so people can take home new skills or ideas.
Join us for an exciting discussion about the changes that are happening in our world today, and how we can benefit from understanding them.
Note: Because there is a lot of scope in this workshop and a limited time we may not be able to cover ALL of the above content, especially if specific subjects are of particular interest to the group. At the conclusion of the workshop feel free to ask The Baron where more tools and resources can be found.