Public awareness of these events led to protests, notably the Occupy movement. Norwich had its Occupy, which started in October 2011 and it brought together many people who would not otherwise have met and inspired many conversations and thoughts which would likely not have occurred. Yet within six months the world-wide Occupy movement had collapsed in confusion.
And the principal development in the world economic system has been to make open and brazen, what was formerly denied, that the poor are subjected to 'austerity' to give more to the rich and to provide insurance for the latter's high risk transactions. (Excuse us, we are angry.)
The current problems are not solely financial. Banking in general, terms of trade, fixation on growth (as measured in conventional economic terms), power hierarchies, wars, exploitation of the defenceless, rape of the earth - the list can seem endless.
It is in this context that the core idea of VfC was born. Over the last half-century the world has regressed, has moved away from even the level of justice and sustainability that existed before. So the efforts of those working for a just and sustainable world, while achieving some real gains, have been less influential than the neo-liberal agenda. Something new must be tried.
That new thing, and it is no doubt not entirely new but at least it is not widespread, is to put together the power of the internet, the need for a holistic view of current problems and the centrality of personal rapport and trust. VfC considers that putting these three elements together is a contribution to movement building.
VfC does not supplant or compete with the efforts of its contributor groups and events. Rather it strengthens them. VfC is about making the whole more than the sum of the parts.
VfC also holds general meetings at roughly annual intervals (but not as formal as AGMs) in which the needs of the subscribers can be reviewed. More about this is explained in the 'How VfC is organised' section.
We are working to develop the website further, into a local networking platform for exchange of ideas and information. Occasionally important events further afield will be publicised, to which some locals may be anticipated to travel but in general the focus is Norwich and District.
The themes of the discussions are pre-announced, having been chosen by a previous discussion meeting. The themes relate to our overarching motifs 'just and sustainable world' and improving communication. They are not specialised, so that the views and life-experience of everyone can be heard. Themes such as 'cooperation and competition', 'radicalism' and 'education' have been discussed in the past.
The circle meetings are followed by socialising at the bar.
Anyone may read the website information and attend and contribute to the discussion meetings. If you subscribe (a subscribe box is near the top right of most pages) you will be on our mailing list and may contribute to our, roughly annual, general meetings (more on this in the later section How is VfC organised?)
If, in addition, you register (a register button is in the top bar of most pages and you choose your username and password) you may submit notices announcing any group or event for which you are in a position to speak (we rely on trust for this).
The Login button is on the top bar of most pages. Enter your username and password, select Groups or Events, as needed, and then press the Add a Group (or Event) button.
Fill in the mandatory fields and as many of the others as you wish (fuller information is in general better). Click on 'submit' at the bottom. You will get a message saying that your Group (or Event) will be added subject to moderator approval.
Moderators will be able to tell who created the event, so that they can come back with questions if something is unclear.
If you have any problems, notice any bugs or want to comment on the website features, do drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
VfC is not a membership organisation. It is a resource, or facility, freely offered to the local community of those working for a just and sustainable world. Nevertheless the Steering Group wishes to be responsive to the needs of this community.
This structure has been worked out, after wide and lengthy discussion, as a practical way of allowing a small group of volunteers to provide a service, responsive to the community, yet effective; not overcome by the full bureaucratic apparatus suitable to a membership organisation. The structure is minimal and relies on trust more than rules.