Stakeholders! Empowerment! Holacritic! Nodes! Doughnut Economics! Flatpack Democracy! Sortition! Curation!

The Brixton Buzz isBrixton’s biggest and most comprehensive news , features and listings site”. It has “long rallied against the divisive, exclusive and downright incomprehensible jargon that self-elected community representatives The Brixton Project have been spouting recently”. It turns out that “sortition” is part of this bombastic jargon.

Some excerpts from the Brixton Buzz article:

The Brixton Project – the ‘community group’ who intentionally exclude most of their audience

The Brixton Project promises:

Stakeholders! Empowerment! Holacritic! Nodes! Doughnut Economics! Flatpack Democracy! Sortition! Curation! All resulting in: Inclusive and Cohesive Community Agency!​

The Brixton Project has been at pains to underline its commitment to inclusiveness across all the people of Brixton.

But – according to the Fleischer-Kincaid grade index, a widely accepted measure of comprehensibility – BP’s prose requires graduate-level comprehension, and is intelligible to only about 30% of the general public.

BP’s prose is a trifecta of gobbledegook: a turgid pseudo-intellectual blend of civic bureaucratese, cultural studies academic jargon and architectural-theoretic gibberish, which is pretty intimidating for anyone with limited or average English proficiency.

Is this sheer opacity of BP’s prose intentional? Language can be used to exclude as well as to communicate.

Try these examples:

With the community as client and active agent, in robust conversation with the Council and commercial stakeholders from inception to operation, this plan has a chance to build on the lessons of former interventions that have failed to create power and empowerment for local people in central Brixton”

We propose a Holacratic structure that fundamentally shifts the notion of ‘power’ in Brixton.

We imagine the creation of a distributed network of community nodes who are able to interact with (but not be controlled by) each other. These nodes will have clear roles and responsibilities (not job titles) – and the authority to act. A central community committee will provide coordination and accountability, and will be made up of nominated representatives from the network nodes.

The distributed nature of operation will allow diverse approaches to be utilised in an agile way. From Future Design principles to Doughnut Economics, Flatpack Democracy to Sortition, there are a wealth of innovative and complementary frameworks to encourage and enable meaningful community agency.

The reactivity of this situation has only served to negate the believability of the applicant’s community strategy for those that oppose the building. For all involved it has reached a level of harm to the cohesion of our community.

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