Why Get Involved, You Might Ask?
Many of us have faced the turmoil of the Great Recession without a community of support. Forming a circle has been a lifeline for many participants, a way to personally prepare ourselves to live in a new and changing economy. Some of the reasons why people are starting circles include:
To Break Down Isolation and Shame. In this digital age, coming together for a face-to-face discussion is one of the most important things we can do.
To Face Changing Times Together. The news coverage about the economic crisis includes positive signs that the economy is rebounding. This is encouraging, but there are many other indicators that unemployment will remain high and home values will not recover. And there are signs that the speculators on Wall Street have no intention of changing their gambling ways. Other signs point to the possibility that our economy is undergoing deep structural changes and that we may be moving into uncharted territory. Many people find it is good to have a group to prepare with.
There is Much We Can Do Together. Circle participants have been inspired by things they can do together to boost their economic security. After two generations of “you are on your own” economics, it is really hard for people to ask for and receive help from their neighbors. We encourage groups to start small. Our mutual aid muscles need to be stretched and slowly warmed up.
We Need to Become Better Informed and Trust Our Own Thinking. The economic crisis has raised an interesting question: Who can we trust? The “brightest” financial minds on Wall Street were blindsided by the 2008 financial crisis. The experts told us not to worry. But it’s clear that unemployment is not going down soon, and that food and fuel costs will continue to rise. It’s time once again to be suspicious of the reassurances of learned experts. We must listen first to our own common sense.
Once There is Trust, There Are Few Limits. For circles that have been together for several months, there are wonderful benefits. People are able to share challenges at a deeper and useful level. The group develops a shared understanding of the changing economy that informs social action.