Trust in politicians has vanished. People have been alienated from politics and the only choices available seem to be denial or resignation. Many of us are quietly but consistently reminded that one should choose a side. In order to have a say in the local affairs of their own town, people are forced to join a party not out of conviction but because it is useful. If the city council is transformed into a mere playground of party politics and ceases to represent the interests of communities, people, the very foundation of the town and its principal source vitality, will be discarded. Such a town cannot be sustainable.
There are many people in Tartu who are able and have the drive to contribute to local governance, but are not willing to choose between the squabbling political parties. Besides indifference and resignation, there must be a third option.
We are a cooperation network born out of the free initiative of the residents of Tartu. We consider what has already been done in Tartu and what needs to be done, we listen to each other’s ideas, we consult with experts. Our working methods derive from the local brainstorming tradition and culture of creativity of online communities. For the autumn elections, we will put together our programme, set up candidates from amongst ourselves and will aspire to introduce a more human-centred cooperation culture to city council and city administration.
For us, membership in the city council is not an end, but only means. We are espousing and promoting a new culture of participation and wish that people outside the political parties would gain seats on the city council. We desire that people could directly influence the political process not only during the elections, but also between them. Instead of political parties, the communities should assume the key role in city council.
A city is an integral ecosystem, based on networks of human relations. The strongest networks will emerge as communities. Communities can overlap and entwine, one can belong to several communities at the same time. The precondition for a vital city is the direct participation of the communities in the city’s governance. The city must support its communities and take care of them. That is the only way to ensure sustainable development of the city.
Our members and supporters come from many communities of Tartu — you know us and we know you. We are members of district communities and environmental organisations, we are artists and managers of cultural events, scientists and scholars, professors and students, enthusiasts for non-motorised transport, activists against deceitful politics, residents with disabilities, advocates of new social practises and information freedom, citizens of different EU countries, officials of local authorities, stakeholders in the lawmaking process, owners of small and social entreprises, etc.
Join us and help us to prepare our programme for elections and implement it in the city council.
- We invite new members from among all peoples of Estonia, all sexes, all professions.
- We reject hostility toward minorities and empty words.
- There is room among us for those who care for their neighbours, city, nation, state, planet Earth and the global infosphere.
Information regarding our meetings can be found here, at our home site. You can check the founders of our initiative and read more about their perspectives in our gallery of addresses.