Participatory Budgeting Project recently held their staff retreat in Los Angeles and were hosted by one of our members, Dani Knoll from Los Angeles for All (a project of Solidarity Research Center) at the Los Angeles Ecovillage. Here is their account of the visit.

Dani Knoll from Los Angeles for All gave a presentation to Participatory Budgeting Project’s (PBP) staff retreat about popular movement assemblies (PMAs), both in general and on the Los Angeles People’s Movement Assembly of which Los Angeles for All has been a part. This entailed a review of a prominent popular movement assembly, the Southern Movement Assembly.

 

Here Dani shared how PMAs across the South come together to surface issues and coordinate action in support of frontline organizations. The before, during, and after cycle of organizing with a PMA was also covered to reflect how assemblies are not ‘one-off’ events, but ideally experiences which both help one reflect on past events and offer next steps to the next assembly, as well.

 

Dani then spoke to successes, and some challenges, within the Los Angeles People’s Movement Assembly, which has hosted large gatherings with movement leaders such as Kali Akuno and David Cobb, ranging in location across Los Angeles from the Robinson Space, the Pilipino Workers’ Center, and the Strategy and Soul Center. Issues such as developing decision-making processes, organizing people logistically, and navigating sometimes difficult conversations in the assembly context were then discussed with the folks on the PBP staff.

 

With a shared vision for more democracy in our political discourse, PBP could play a unique role in the PMA process. Whether that is in sharing presentations of their own about participatory budgeting or participating directly as members to grow the movement, there is definitely room to support direct democracy in Los Angeles and beyond.

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