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The European Integral Political Salon (EIPS) is a format for inviting a transnational conversation about new, more holistic ways of doing politics, and for transforming our existing political systems towards a new paradigm/integral operating system.
The Salon is conceived as a joyful, interactive and explorative gathering, with both inspirational input from experts and practitioners in the field, as well as space for dialog, sharing and exchange about the implications of a holistic/integral paradigm in the realm of politics. We hope that it will also facilitate co-creative, emergent processes of tapping into a deeper transnational, transrational collective intelligence and wisdom, in service of the larger common good.
Topic in focus: Sociocracy and Politics / Politics from below
As an inclusive model for shared decision-making, sociocracy is a suitable tool for integral politics. Gerard Endenburg, the source of the SCM - Sociocratic Circle Organization Method, has described it as "empty" because it only describes the principles and processes of how equivalence can be produced. Wherever these principles are implemented, more peace is created. Sociocracy as an “empty method” can be used everywhere.
Barbara Strauch will first briefly describe the principles and then show practical applications, from cohousing projects to NGOs, schools, hospitals and companies, to examples in politics. Today, the health-promoting aspect of participation is also an issue in Austria, and there are several examples of how sociocratic approaches in cities and communities strengthen cooperation with the inhabitants.
She will address the levers that help bring sociocracy, subsidiarity and self-organization into politics, and the hurdles that prevent this. What can a system change look like that can lead to common solutions despite party politics and neoliberalism?
Dr. Pia Haertinger is one of the "early adopters" of Sociocracy in German local politics. She has taken the method into various contexts in the city of Augsburg from where she will share insights and experiences.
Keywords: "Politics from below - Sociocratic Neighborhood Circles", "Collective Impact Network".
Presenters: Barbara Strauch (Austria), Henny Freitas (Brazil), Dr. Pia Haertinger (Germany)
Barbara Strauch, born in 1956, got to know sociocracy in the context of the Austrian "Austrotopia - Network for Community Living" in 2009 and, together with others, founded the Sociocracy Center Austria in 2013, based on the source Gerard Endenburg. She has been leading the expert training since 2014 and is the author of the standard book: Soziokratie. Organisationsstrukturen zur Stärkung von Beteiligung und Mitverantwortung des Einzelnen in Unternehmen, Politik und Gesellschaft. (engl.: Sociocracy. Organizational structures to strengthen the participation and shared responsibility of the individual in companies, politics and society.) With the aim of spreading the know-how about sociocracy, namely how collective decision-making becomes a reality, she is committed to the implementation of sociocratic neighborhood circles and the establishment of sociocracy centers in Europe and in worldwide international networks.
Dr. Pia Haertinger has been a city councillor in Augsburg since 2014. There, she is Chairwoman of the Social Committee and a member of the German Association of Cities. At the same time, Pia is the first chairwoman of the Sociocracy Center Augsburg e.V. and an active member of the steering committee of the Association of German-speaking Sociocracy Centers. For many years, she has successfully worked to bring sociocracy into local politics.
She was the initiator of the sociocratically moderated "Job Center Round Table" with managers from the city administration of Augsburg (2018). In 2019, she was the sociocratic co-moderator of the "Social Round Table" with managers from the social administration of the City of Augsburg (a second sociocratically moderated Social Round Table is planned for the end of 2023/beginning of 2024). She organized workshops to introduce sociocracy for visitors of the Volkshochschule Augsburg, for employees of the Stadtwerke Augsburg, as well as for housing & neighborhood projects.
Pia is co-author of the SONEC handbook, which was created as part of the 2-year EU Erasmus Plus project "SONEC" (Sociocratic Neighborhood Circles), as well as SONEC facilitator - coach for sociocratic neighborhood circles. She is also a lecturer for "Participation and Empowerment with a thematic focus on sociocracy as an instrument of participatory decision-making" at the Chair of Social Work, Augsburg University of Applied Sciences and works in the Erasmus Plus project ABIA 3.0 in the field of emergency housing assistance (focus: sociocratic group offers for young men).