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英文解釈の思考プロセス 第166回



今回の題材は、2017年2月8日付の The Guardian 紙に掲載されたジョージ・モンビオット氏によるエッセイ、This is how people can truly take back control: from the boottom up  ”これが一般の人々が実際に社会的支配力を取り戻す方法です:即ち、地域社会から立て直すことです”  です。誰もが気楽に参加できる様な地域社会を重層的に再生することが、政治の再生に結びつくことを提言しているエッセイです。全文の和訳はオリジナルの次にあります。

Politics Opinion

This is how people can truly take back control: from the bottom up

George Monbiot

Our atomised communities can heal themselves. Through local initiatives we can regenerate our culture and make politics relevant again


Mary Clear (left) and Pam Warhurst of Incredible Edible in Todmorden, West Yorkshire Photograph: Gary Calton for the Observer

Wednesday 8 February 2017 06.00 GMT Last modified on Wednesday 8 February 2017 06.03 GMT

Without community, politics is dead. But communities have been scattered like dust in the wind. At work, at home, both practically and imaginatively, we are atomised.

As a result, politics is experienced by many people as an external force: dull and irrelevant at best, oppressive and frightening at worst. It is handed down from above rather than developed from below. There are exceptions – the Sanders and Corbyn campaigns, for instance – but even they seemed shallowly rooted in comparison with the deep foundations of solidarity movements grew from in the past, and may disperse as quickly as they gather.

It is in the powder of shattered communities that anti-politics swirls, raising towering dust-devils of demagoguery and extremism. These tornadoes threaten to tear down whatever social structures still stand.

When people are atomised and afraid, they feel driven to defend their own interests against other people’s. In other words, they are pushed away from intrinsic values such as empathy, connectedness and kindness, and towards extrinsic values such as power, fame and status. The problem created by the politics of extreme individualism is self-perpetuating. Conversely, a political model based only on state provision can leave people dependent, isolated and highly vulnerable to cuts. The welfare state remains essential: it has relieved levels of want and squalor that many people now find hard to imagine. But it can also, inadvertently, erode community, sorting people into silos to deliver isolated services, weakening their ties to society.

This is the third in my occasional series on possible solutions to the many crises we face . It explores the ways in which we could restore political life by restoring community life. This means complementing state provision with something that belongs neither to government nor to the market but exists in a different sphere, a sphere we have neglected.


Stephen Dowdall, John Roach, Tom Callander of Men’s Sheds in Kirkintilloch. Photograph: Martin Hunter for the Observer

There are hundreds of examples of how this might begin, such as community shops, development trusts, food assemblies (communities buying fresh food directly from local producers), community choirs and free universities (in which people exchange knowledge and skills in social spaces). Also time banking (where neighbours give their time to give practical help and support to others), transition towns (where residents try to create more sustainable economies), potluck lunch clubs (in which everyone brings a homemade dish to share), local currencies, Men’s Sheds (in which older men swap skills and escape from loneliness), turning streets into temporary playgrounds (like the Playing Out project), secular services (such as Sunday Assembly), lantern festivals, fun palaces and technology hubs.

Turning such initiatives into a wider social revival means creating what practitioners call “thick networks”: projects that proliferate, spawning further ventures and ideas that weren’t envisaged when they started. They then begin to develop a dense, participatory culture that becomes attractive and relevant to everyone rather than mostly to socially active people with time on their hands.

A study commissioned by the London borough of Lambeth sought to identify how these thick networks are most likely to develop. The process typically begins with projects that are “lean and live”: they start with very little money and evolve rapidly through trial and error. They are developed not by community heroes working alone, but by collaborations between local people. These projects create opportunities for “micro-participation”: people can dip in and out of them without much commitment.

When enough of such projects have been launched, they catalyse a deeper involvement, generating community businesses, co-operatives and hybrid ventures, which start employing people and generating income. A tipping point is reached when between 10% and 15% of local residents are engaging regularly. Community then begins to gel, triggering an explosion of social enterprise and new activities, that starts to draw in the rest of the population. The mutual aid these communities develop functions as a second social safety net. The process, the study reckons, takes about three years. The result is communities that are vibrant and attractive to live in, which generate employment, are environmentally sustainable and socially cohesive, and in which large numbers of people are involved in decision-making. Which sounds to me like where we need to be.

The exemplary case is Rotterdam, where in response to the closure of local libraries in 2011 a group of residents created a reading room from an old Turkish bathhouse. The project began with a festival of plays, films and discussions, then became permanently embedded. It became a meeting place where people could talk, read and learn new skills – and soon began, with some help from the council, to spawn restaurants, workshops, care cooperatives, green projects, cultural hubs and craft collectives.


These projects inspired other people to start their own. One estimate suggests that there are now 1,300 civic projects in the city. Deep cooperation and community-building now feels entirely normal there. Both citizens and local government appear to have been transformed.

There are plenty of other schemes with this potential. Walthamstow, in east London, could be on the cusp of a similar transformation as community cafes, cooking projects, workshops and traffic-calming schemes begin to proliferate into a new civic commons. Incredible Edible, which began as a guerrilla planting scheme in Todmorden West Yorkshire, growing fruit and vegetables in public spaces and unused corners, has branched into so many projects that it is credited with turning the fortunes of the town around, generating startups, jobs and training programmes. A scheme to clean up vacant lots in the Spanish city of Zaragoza soon began creating parks, playgrounds, bowling greens, basketball courts and allotments, generating 110 jobs in 13 months.

The revitalisation of community is not a substitute for the state, but it can reduce its costs. The study commissioned by the London borough of Lambeth estimates that supporting a thick participatory culture costs about £400,000 for 50,000 residents: roughly 0.1% of local public spending. It is likely to pay for itself many times over, by reducing the need for mental health provision and social care and suppressing crime rates, recidivism and alcohol and drug dependency.

Participatory culture stimulates participatory politics. In fact, it is participatory politics. It creates social solidarity while proposing and implementing a vision of a better world. It generates hope where hope seemed absent. It allows people to take back control. Most importantly, it can appeal to anyone, whatever their prior affiliations might be. It begins to generate a kinder public life, built on intrinsic values. By rebuilding society from the bottom up, it will eventually force parties and governments to fall into line with what people want. We can do this. And we don’t need anyone’s permission to begin.

Twitter: @GeorgeMonbiot. A fully linked version of this column will be published at

< 全文和訳例 >


その結果、多くの人にとって政治とは自分達とは無縁な影響力として認識されています:せいぜいのところ、たいくつかつ的外れであり、最悪の場合には抑圧的で恐怖の念を抱かせるものです。それは、一般の有権者の意思に基づいて形成されるものではなく、社会のエリート層から言い渡されるのです。それには例外もありますが ― 例えば、(2016年のアメリカ大統領選において、ヒラリー・クリントン氏と民主党の大統領候補の座を争った)バーニー・サンダース氏や、(英国の労働党の現党首である)ジェレミー・コービン氏の戦況キャンペーンが該当します ― しかし、それらのキャンペーンでさえも、過去に隆盛した連帯的活動が社会に深く根を下ろしたことに比べると、皮相的なものに見え、支持者達が結集したの同じ速さで霧散してしまいそうです。





それらの先駆的な取り組みをより広範な社会再生へと転換することは、それらの実践者達が “重層的なネットワーク” と呼んでいるものを構築することを意味しています:即ち、その開始時には予想すら出来なかった大胆な試みや考えを更に推し進めることによって、増殖していくプロジェクトなのです。そうなると、主に時間的な余裕のある社会活動家にとってではなく、全ての一般住民に魅力的で関わりのある充実した参加型の文化を育み始めます。

ロンドン・ランベス特別区に資金提供された一つの研究が、如何にすればこの様な重層的ネットワークが発展する可能性が最も高くなるのかを模索しました。通常、そのプロセスは、”ささやかだが活気のある” プロジェクトと共に始まります:即ち、それらのプロジェクトクトは非常に少額の予算をもって開始され、試行錯誤を繰り返すことで急速に拡大していきます。それらは、単独で活躍する地元のヒーローによってではなく、地元の住民相互の協力によって発展するのです。これらのプロジェクトは、”ミクロ型参加” の機会を地域社会の住民に提供します:つまり、住民は献身的な関与を必要とせず、気楽に出入り可能なのです。


その様な活気溢れる魅力的な地域社会の模範的な事例が、オランダのロッテルダムです。そこでは、2011年に地元の図書館が閉館した際、ある住民のグループが古いトルコ式浴場の建物に仮設の読書室を設けました。そのプロジェクトは、演劇、映画、及び討論の為のフェスティヴァルとして始まりましたが、しばらくするとその読書室は恒常的な施設となりました。それは、地域住民が語り合い、読書し、そして新たな技術を習得することが出来る会合用のスペースになり―  それから直ぐに、市議会からの若干の援助を受けて、レストラン、様々な研修プロジェクト、介護事業、緑化プロジェクト、文化交流、そして多様な工芸店が誕生しました。


他にも、ロッテルダムの事例の様な可能性を秘めた多くの取り組みがあります。イースト・ロンドンのウォルサムストウは、コミュニティー・カフェ、料理プロジェクト、研修会、そして交通渋滞緩和の取り組みなどが市民的日常生活の一部として増殖し始めることによって、ロッテルダムと同様の変容の先端的事例に成り得ます。インクレディブル・エディブル(Incredible Edible)は、ウエスト・ヨークシャーのトッドモーデンにおいて、公共の土地や使われていない私有地に無許可で果物や野菜を育てるゲリラ的植栽プロジェクトとして始まりましたが、多くの起業、雇用、そして職業訓練プログラムを創生することで、その町の財政を好転させることに貢献した非常に多くの下位プロジェクトへと分岐することになりました。スペインの都市であるサラゴサにおける、市街地の空き地を清掃する取り組みは、その後直ぐに、公園、遊び場、クリケット用グラウンド、バスケットボール・コート、市民菜園等を造り始め、13か月で110の雇用を生み出しました。



To be continued.