Oasis Peoples Parliament
Why have we chosen to rename the Oasis ‘Charities Parliament’ as the ’Oasis People’s Parliament’?
Oasis set up the Charities Parliament to encourage debate, inspire innovation and enable social change. But, under that name we constantly heard the same comment: ‘I’m not involved with a charity, so I am excluded. I can’t get involved’.
Changing our name to 'Oasis People’s Parliament’ sends a clear message of enfranchisement to those who until now have felt they have been disqualified from taking part and having a voice.
But it is more than that. As, we have shared news about our change of name we’ve been heard the question: ‘But, isn’t Westminster the People’s Parliament?’ Our answer is, of course, ‘Yes’. However, the hallmark of any healthy democracy is that is gives expression to two types democracy; representative and participatory.
Democracy used to be focused around participation as much as representation, two ideas which together created a balance.
However, in our modern society, the democratic process has become far more passive and is now dominated by the idea of representation, where elected representatives (e.g. MP’s) are held responsible for delivering the needs of those who voted, or who didn’t vote, for them. Westminster is the seat of representative democracy.
Our society needs to invent new forms and practices that combine representative with participative democracy. The two can and indeed must meet. And the crucial point regarding the relationship between the two – between representative and participative democracy – is that the activity of the second guarantees the quality of the first. Representative democracy needs to be held accountable by participative democracy. Only this healthy balance will bring the deep-seated change we all long for. David Cameron calls this ‘The Big Society’.
The Oasis People’s Parliament exists to play its part in reshaping the meaning of politics in the 21st century.
Steve Chalke MBE
The Space for Thinking Activists
The Oasis People’s Parliament inspires community innovation and encourages debate between civil society and government. We do this through a programme of seminars, forums, 'do tanks', lectures campaigns and conferences exploring current policy issues with Government Ministers, opposition spokes people, community activists and opinion formers. We believe that our democracy should and can be more democratic. The People’s Parliament gathers at the Oasis Centre, which is home to dozens of inspirational charities, it is situated on the south side of the river and is a stones throw from Westminster.
As its name makes clear the Oasis People’s Parliament is an initiative of Oasis. Oasis is about life changing work with young people, families and communities in the UK and across the world.Our work in the UK is focussed around what we like to call 'hubs'. These are areas of activity in which we provide integrated and diverse services in order to benefit the whole person and the whole community.