Claiming Our Future
On Saturday 30th October, 2010 an event was held that may spark a new wave of political
accountability in the State. The event called Claiming Our Future saw the launch
of a new progressive civil society movement which ranked equality, environmental
sustainability and accountability among its core values. A maximum income, a reformed
tax system, and a minimum income threshold emerged as policy priorities at Ireland’s
first ‘citizens forum’ in Dublin’s RDS. Over 1,100 participants also called for
a stimulus package to maximise job creation in the social and green economy, and
expressed overwhelming support for a radical new emphasis on economic security and
social and environmental sustainability.
Siobhan O’Donoghue of the Community Platform said the event was a huge success,
which demonstrated a massive appetite for an alternative approach to economic, environmental
and social policy in Ireland. “We brought together people from every county in Ireland
and from a vast range of backgrounds and experience. The movement we launched on
Saturday, 30th October, 2010 is going to grow in size and volume until the political
system wakes up to demands for sustainable economic and social policies based on
values of equality, accountability, solidarity and participation,” she said.
The event was massively oversubscribed with over 2,000 seeking to register for the
1,100 available places. Hundreds more have participated in local events and debates
at www.claimingourfuture.ie and its associated social networking sites.
Uniquely in Ireland, the event used new software technology, which allowed participants
to have an equal input into discussing and agreeing the values and priorities for
this new civil society coalition. Innovative software enabled the 1,100 participants
to follow the debate across the whole event and to identify, in real time, the emerging
themes and final agreement. Hundreds more participated on line through social media
and www.claimingourfuture.ie, where the event was streamed live.
Claiming Our Future was initially developed by Is Feidir Linn, the Community Platform,
ICTU, the Environmental Pillar of social partnership, the TASC think tank and Social
Justice Ireland. Registered participants in the event were from groups involved
in community action (18%) voluntary services (11%) education, arts and culture (10%)
conservation and environmentalism (12%) trade unions and workers’ rights (19%) urban
and rural enterprise and economy (7%) politics (10%) global justice and development
(7%) and faith beliefs and ethics (6%). (Note: These figures have been rounded).
Claiming Our Future is neither a political party nor an electoral initiative. It
has no permanent staff and is sustained by volunteer effort and the contribution
of time and volunteers from its supporting organisations. The 30th October event
was financially supported by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, Atlantic Philanthropies,
the One Foundation and the Community Foundation for Ireland. Mandate trade union
has given temporary office space and other trade unions are providing small financial
contributions. The overall initiative is not dependent on any of the organisations
that have allocated funds, time or expertise.