On a Year of Harmony

6th May 2021
by John Urquhart, Party general secretary

Flying to the future.

As Harmony develops, it becomes ever easier for us to talk about what it is.

A federation of assemblies. A direct democracy. Radically socialist. Unrelentingly lovely. Seeking to reduce suffering wherever we can. Dedicated to mutual aid.

What we are becoming is a direct, in your face challenge to the Big Lie that people cannot self-organise without top-down authority. That people deserve democracy is rarely denied; that it can be truly achieved, without compromise, often has been denied – and we will prove that lie to be a whopper.

Already, over the last year, Harmony has lived up to its name. Our decisions happen in three phases, two of them optional – informal discussion, debate, ballot. If we all agree in the first phase, then great! We’re done. The same goes for the formal discussion or debate phase – if everyone agrees, there’s clearly no need to ballot.

But here’s a thing:

We’ve still not had to ballot after a year of operation.

We’ve made decisions about how to couple our lack of leaders with the insistence of a political party system saying we must have a leader; we’ve decided on a Policy Framework, a radical offering of a core set of reforms that, even alone, would utterly alter the landscape of British society. We decided on what we believe to be the fairest, most open and transparent system of candidate selection possible.

We have crafted written statements collaboratively as well as designed media (graphics, videos, etc) collaboratively. We’ve done lots of policy work too – releasing more than 40 radically transformative policies in the past couple of weeks, some of which are still partially in development, but that will ultimately no doubt be crucial to our future manifesto.

We’re currently working on designing other processes and making a slew of other decisions, too – each decision makes it more natural, more simple, and people become more confident to propose, to take point on what matters most to them.

All of this was and will be achieved by volunteers who have, by and large, never met one another physically, and who in many cases, did not know each other at all before joining Harmony.

Forming during a pandemic has meant that strangers – complete strangers – have been thrown together to make decisions.

And they did, and have, and will.

Nobody had to lead them to it. Those decisions, those choices, are theirs.

It has, quite honestly, been astoundingly easy to get things done. Not necessarily fast: volunteerism can be frustrating when you all have other jobs, or have to care for family members or partners, or have disabilities that mean you have to ration effort carefully.

Sometimes we’ve been slow to execute, which was always going to be a problem at the smaller end of the scale – but we’ve never actually struggled to make the decisions, and discord has been much less common than harmony.

Now that we’re basically operational and have repeatedly proved the concept of our operation over the last year, I’m confident we’re ready for the next big steps: actually drawing people in, and building out this structure fully. It works. We know it does.

And now we can teach others how to take part as readily as we have ourselves.

Look out for the swallow.